Asylums – Killer Brain Waves

Photo by the Cool Thing Records sparkplug Kana Waiwaiku

Photo by the Cool Thing Records sparkplug Kana Waiwaiku

Amongst the most highly anticipated releases this year here in the office, maybe the most eagerly awaited was the debut album from UK sonic punksters Asylums. Having been hooked on the Southend-on-Sea hailing quartet’s frenetic and devilish jangle since being infested by Wet Dream Fanzine EP within the first throes of 2015, a more than keen and impatient appetite has been brewing and now we can say it has been well worth the hours pacing the floor waiting for Killer Brain Waves.

Taking a snap at any and everything with a mischievous smile on their creative faces, band and release is the kind of sonic devilment ears and music were evolved for. Offering twelve tracks which flirt and bite, tease and seduce, with an imagination and eccentricity found in Bedlam, Killer Brain Waves announces Asylums as one of music’s most essential and even more so irresistibly thrilling propositions. It is a collection of songs within which sarcasm and discontent are frequent visitors as too a virulent dose of humour and fun driven imagination. Musically, Asylums recall in heart and enterprise the likes of Swell Maps, The Dickies, and Supergrass. At times essences also remind of bands such as Weezer and We Are The Physics but as shown a dozen times over, all are hues in a devilry uniquely Asylums.

art_RingMasterReviewMixing a handful of treats from their previous EPs/singles with new slices of angular revelry, the foursome of vocalist/guitarist Luke Branch, guitarist Jazz Miell, drummer Henry Tyler, and bassist Michael Webster open up Killer Brain Waves with the mighty Second Class Sex. Its first breath brings a senses swamping tide of meaty rhythms and nagging riffs engaged in a toxicity of sound which simply infests the psyche. Though its spreads its body into a more expansive tempting, that energy never diminishes. Webster’s bass groans and growls in ears; a great lure matched by the swinging intent of Tyler as the swirling sonic seduction of the guitars lay their trap. With vocals just as potent and a touch of White Noise era XTC to the mix, it is a stunning start to the release, and one not losing a beat as I’ve Seen Your Face In a Music Magazine steps up next.

The second track is just as eager to invade body and thoughts, using a lower gear energy wise as a spicy wiry groove entangles ears and rhythms cast in another rousing and pulsating enticement. Melody and discord court the outstanding tone and delivery of Branch, each adding to the glorious trespass with a tangy hook just icing on the cake. New wave meets pop punk to give some clue to its ingenuity, the song departs so Joy In a Small Wage can share its ‘mellower’ charms. The track almost floats over the listener, keys washing its path though equally there is a darker edge in tone and another beguiling bassline to keep song and ears on their toes. That Weezer reference is arguably at its most potent here but again the result is, within a near perfect pop song, something belonging only to one band.

Bad Influence rumbles as it croons next, plaintive vocals and dirty riffs aligning with a heavy bass enticing to create another epidemic of swinging enterprise before the even more magnificent Wet Dream Fanzine leaps in. It is impossible not to join in with every Asylums song, and especially with this gem. Hips and instincts are grabbed straight away by the opening hook and swinging rhythms, vocal chords soon after as Branch leads a jangle of rhythmic agitation and funk infested bouncing clad in another fiercely tantalising weave of Miell’s sonic invention. A favourite since its appearance on that same named EP last year, the song continues to ignite tingles; as too the following The Death of Television. A nest of sonic vipers and stabbing beats, all with rebellious intent in their hearts, the song is one minute and twenty six seconds of creative agitation demanding similarly off kilter movement and involvement in return for its rare incitement.

The heavy punk ‘n’ roll of Monosyllabic Saliva comes next, its body a prowling beast tempered perfectly by the harmonic quality of Branch’s voice. Fuzzy with a thick feel to its atmosphere, the track is a brooding slice of pop rock veined by the ever insistent grooves and sonic tendrils escaping the guitars. Its dark tone is contrasted by the pop punk saunter of Born To Not Belong, a song which feels like it’s an already known friend as it makes its first proposal but simultaneously adds another string to the albums creative harp.

Necessary Appliances soon has ears greedy, the song twisting and turning with a more conservative sound compared to its companions but still unveiling a tapestry of imagination fuelled endeavour before Sunday Commuters and Missing Persons keep the thrills going. The first of the pair is another more controlled slice of pop rock with great sixties inspired harmonies taking the listener on a stroll of excitable rhythms and fuzz lined tempting while the second seduces with its Weezer/Supergrass hued canter around another commanding bassline and crisply landed beats.

The album closes with the outstanding punk raw challenge of Slacker Shopper, a grouchy and thickly aired proposal which as so many just hits the spot. The band’s most aggressive and irritable offering yet, it is a brilliant end to Killer Brain Waves providing a final new shade to their sound and invention, one we hope to hear more of. There is also a hidden track which we will call Butterfly just because the word is repeated most often. It too shows a fresh side to the Asylums sound; imagine the Beach Boys or Walker Brothers doing shoegaze and you get a hint of the great extra gift within the album.

We expected good things from Asylums with Killer Brain Waves but the album simply out does any expectations with ease. For fans and newcomers, Asylums and their first full-length are simply a must.

Killer Brain Waves is our now via Cool Thing Records @ and other stores.

Pete RingMaster 24/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Slumdogs – Lost and Found


Formed in the September of 2015, British alternative/indie rock band The Slumdogs is looking like making their first full year together a potently successful one. Hailing from Blackpool, the band has already spread its presence and eager fan base into the likes of Liverpool and Manchester; luring ears further afield too through their first tour of England, a thirteen adventure last December. It is fair to say that the quartet hit the floor running and have only intensified their nudge on broader awareness through shows and the recent release of debut single Lost and Found.

front-cover-single_RingMasterReviewReleased through Shropshire based label Hartfield Records, Lost and Found is a swift arousal of ears and imagination. From a gentle guitar caress it blossoms into a lively stroll shaped by spicy melodies, energetic rhythms, and eager vocals. There is no escaping an Arctic Monkeys meets The Libertines air to the track, a rich flavour but one woven into something as freshly Slumdogs as anything familiar. As the song continues to swing along taking appetite and hips with it, guitars cast a blend of emotive and flirtatious melodies around the grumble of the bass and a lure of tenacious beats, it all under the leadership of the excellent vocals.

Accompanying the highly enjoyable track is Slumdog, a self-titled encounter revealing an even thicker glimpse into the imagination and variety to be found in the band’s music. Sultrily hued melodies shimmer around the seductive dark temptation of the bass, their radiance a psych pop wrap to the shadowy lure of the rhythms. Swiftly enthralling ears, the song brings additional Doors like essences into its increasingly flirtatious pop ‘n’ roll, closing on a spirited climax as much surf rock and sixties garage rock as it is a bold new twist of modern indie rock.

The track is glorious, a thrilling extra to the magnetic prowess of Lost and Found, and together the duo provide an introduction to The Slumdogs which few are going to be able to ignore.

Lost and Found is out now via Hartfield Records @

Pete Ringmaster 18/05/2016

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Alphabet Backwards – The Things We Did To Pass The Time EP


British quintet Alphabet Backwards completed their aim to write and record three separate releases in a year without the need of studios or labels with the recent unveiling of The Things We Did To Pass The Time EP. Containing three songs bubbling with the warm and melodically flirtatious sound that the band is becoming increasing renowned for, the release is a fine end to an aim and success which has provided a host of rather irresistible feel good songs.

Consisting of Josh, Steph, Paul, Bob Tom, and James, the Oxford bred Alphabet Backwards have been luring closer and stronger attention for quite some time now, making their first potent mark with a self-titled debut EP in 2009. The trio of EPs, The Superhero in 2010 with The White Russian and British Explorer following the next year, raised the momentum and praise cast the way of the band’s emergence with debut album Little Victories in 2012 putting the band’s fusion of indie and electro pop firmly on the landscape of the UK music scene.

It might be fair to say though that this past threesome of releases starting with Fingertips/Indian Summer, unveiled March 30th 2015, has raised the profile of the band most of all. The two track offering was fuelled by their most infectious and imaginatively creative adventure yet, subsequently built upon and pushed again by the Book About Foxes EP last September. Now to show that the three releases in a year also meant a continuation of the resourceful and inventive prowess soaking the band’s music, The Things We Did To Pass The Time released the end of this past March has ears joyful and spirits dancing.

Alphabet Backwards weaves a sound which simply puts a smile on the face and though the songs within the new EP might not be their most virulent catchy, each has a new depth in warmth and melodic revelry which ignites the same satisfied smile and thick enjoyment. It opens up with The Glass and straight away has ears fully engaged as the now familiar vocals of the band walk amongst a melodic jangle and jabbing beats. As much as the band’s music entices so does their vocal prowess and expression, male and female tones coming together as alluringly as keys and guitars caress a thicker rhythmic tempting. The song continues to caress and seduce with its flirtatious gait and melodic enterprise, warming ears and imagination perfectly for the rolling canter of Escape Artist.

Straight away the second song reminds a little of eighties band The Woodentops, its flirty rhythms and strolling melodic shuffle matched in magnetic kind by the vocals. That nostalgic feel continues as keys bubble and rhythms take their moment to entice as moments of slim but infectious relaxation break. The song predominantly though is a lively affair and quite superb, emerging the favourite amongst a trio of seriously addictive proposals completed by the vivacious waltz of Television. The last song’s swing is pure pop and its intimate textures almost folkish; a combination which simply lights ears and emotions as guitars and keys swirl and smoulder around more of those captivating vocals.

Alphabet Backwards is proving to be a band that induces real anticipation with every upcoming release; The Things We Did To Pass The Time EP showing exactly why.

The Things We Did To Pass The Time EP is out now via iTunes and other stores.

Pete Ringmaster 19/04/2016

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The Velvet Hands – Trains


Creating a sound somewhere between punk, garage, and indie rock, The Velvet Hands has begun to stir up a bit of a fuss around their emergence on the British rock scene. The release of new single Trains can only add to the Cornish band’s attention luring success, its two tracks of highly flavoursome sound and temptation something to easily get a taste for.

The Velvet Hands is the creation of Toby Mitchell and Dan Able, a pair who began writing and playing together in 2014. Inspired by the likes of The Stones, Strokes, Beatles, Stone Roses, and The Clash, the band quickly drew eager ears and attention from fans and media their way with a live presences which has seen them share stages with the likes of Wild Smiles, Lost Dawn, Saturday Sun, and The Bluetones over time as well as make a handful of successful festivals appearances. The first pair of singles from the band, Games/Who Cares last October and Habit this past TVHTrainscover_RingMasterReviewMarch, stirred keen praise and support into action which Trains can only stoke up again for Mitchell and Able with Louis Willbourne and Sean Nichols alongside.

Released on 7″ white vinyl for Record Store Day through Easy Action Records, Trains opens on a swiftly potent and virulent bassline which quickly entices melodically spicy guitar and crisp beats to come and play with ears too. It is a great blend of raw pop and stylish enterprise matched by similarly textured vocals and harmonies.  The band has been suggested as being “in the grand tradition of great British bands like The Libertines and The Buzzcocks” in the past and both of those bands do come to mind a touch throughout the song; the first in its vocals and unfussy character with the latter through the nagging hooks and swinging infectiousness shaping the song.

Accompanying the track is Curtains Close, a delicious seducing crafted with surf scented melodies, acoustic enchantment, and vocal expression. Though a more relaxed character than its predecessor, the song is just as addictively catchy and beguiling; to be honest it was our favourite out of two highly enjoyable encounters.

Trains shows why people are crowding round the emergence of The Velvet Hands whilst equally pushing the band’s reputation on again to suggest this is definitely someone to keep a close ear on!

Trains is out now as a limited edition (300) white vinyl 7″ single through Easy Action Records in all good independent record stores with a digital release following April 29th.

Pete RingMaster 18/04/2016

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Hardactors – It’s My Life

Hardactors Bridge ORIGINAL_RingMasterReview

Hardactors is a British band creating what they call “Picturesque Pop”. Recently the project released new single It’s My Life, a song which springs from a truly irresistible start into a captivating flirtation of ears and imagination.

The band is the project of Suffolk hailing singer /songwriter / musician Joe Bailey. Last year he released Bloom, a debut release which, with its Ltd Edition physical release alongside its download, was keenly received and praised. Recently its successor was unveiled in the shape of It’s My Life, an EP/ track written as a tribute to eighties band Talk Talk. Without knowing that, the older UK band certainly comes to mind as the single caresses and infects ears but equally for an open homage, it has plenty of its own character to firmly embrace.

The opening lure of bulbous rhythms and soon after a throbbing bassline aligned to throaty guitar strings seduces attention and imagination alone, remaining a pungent attraction as lighter melodies and the warm tones of Bailey join the tempting. Once into its resourceful stroll, the song ambles along with a smile on its creative face and engaging warmth to its eighties seeded body, all the while that initial addictive lure still nagging and further stirring up an already eager appetite for the song.

Unsurprisingly, the track’s air is strongly familiar, given its inspiration, but a scent which only adds to four highly enjoyable minutes that provides a thoroughly pleasing proposal each and every time. The single, as mentioned, is also the title track to an EP completed by the captivating tracks Such A Shame and Dum Dum Girl, with all now available via iTunes and other stores.

Pete RingMaster 11/04/2016

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WE-ARE-Z – Easy

Wearez _RingMasterReview

Yet again showing themselves the puppeteer of hips and funk in induced revelry, UK based indie poppers WE-ARE-Z release new single Easy this month, a song that pulls you to your feet to share moves probably best kept under wraps. The song is a virulently persuasive little number, something for ears to wear and inhibitions to depart for from a band making a habit of turning the world into an eager dance-floor.

Formed in 2012, the London based Anglo/French quintet merge individual experiences of playing with artists such as Beyonce, The Waterboys, Pharell Williams, and James Morrison with inspirations ranging from David Bowie, Serge Gainsborough, Talking Heads and Blur to The Clash, Devo, XTC, and Sparks. The band’s debut track Airbrush sparked potent interest in 2014 though fair to say Walkways the following year was the real attention grabber. With its success backed up by tracks like Knucklehead and a live presence which leaves everyone out of breath, you might say that WE-ARE-Z and their songs have become one of UK pop’s eagerly anticipated adventures.

art _RingMasterReviewThe new single pulsates into view, its initial electronic tempting soon joined by rhythmic throbs and vocal bait. The ripe coaxing, speared by the purposeful swings of Guillaume Charreau, increasingly grows as sultry hues caress ears, their lures aligning with a just as potent melodic and harmonic drama. In no time body and imagination are lost in the flirtatious and riveting theatre of the song with the dark rhythms, led by a gorgeously throat bassline cast by Marc Arciero, alone just irresistible. The keys and guitars of Clément Leguidcoq and Drew Wynen sparkle and dance as they entangle with each other around the ever welcoming and tenacious vocals of Gabriel Cazes, he like the ringleader to a band of sonic mischief makers with a delivery which simply lures the listener deeper into the party playing with their ears.

As with previous songs from WE-ARE-Z, our thoughts bring the likes of Shriekback and Franz Ferdinand coming to mind but also there is a touch of Sparks and Talking Heads to a song which, at the end of the day, really only sounds like another highly enjoyable and rather naughty WE-ARE-Z soirée.

Easy is released April 8th via Sputnik Records.

Pete RingMaster 06/04/2016

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Alfred Hall – Safe & Sound EP

Alfred-Hall-Image _RingMasterReview

Fuelled with the qualities to be a warm and captivating soundtrack fit for basking in the mesmeric summer sun to, Norwegian duo Alfred Hall release their new EP Safe & Sound, the band’s first offering to the UK market. The band and their absorbing sounds will be no strangers to other European regions but now it is time for British awareness to be stoked up, with easy to expect success in tow.

The band consists of Hans Thomas and Bjørn Tveit, childhood friends since the age of 10 who decided to form a band in the summer of 2009 while working as farmhands on Thomas’ family’s farm. Within three years, the pair had stirred up national attention and appetites for their fascinating sound, debut single So Bright finding strong success on national and international radio. 2013 saw the Norwegian release of first album Wilderness, a proposition finding itself nominated for Best Pop Album at the Norwegian Grammys. With its title track gracing the worldwide Netflix trailer for Ricky Gervais’ comedy-drama series Derek, the Safe & Sound EP is Alfred Hall’s nudge on UK’s ears and fair to say it needs little time to potently seduce.

The single Safe & Sound opens up the EP, instantly infecting ears with its exotic percussion and jabbing beat as the gossamer caresses of the pair’s vocals wrap and float over the senses. Melodies are just as bright and magnetic whilst being skilfully contrasted by thicker and darker rhythmic hues as the song strolls and flirts with vivacious energy and contagion.  You can imagine yourself bouncing within the kiss and warm reassurance of the summer to the song, its addictive catchiness simply inescapable

Following a Simon Field Remix of the first song, So Bright entices with its own cast of temptations; boisterous rhythms and charming guitar jangles crowding round the bewitching falsetto laced vocals. The song is like an aural portrayal of sun rays glistening on a rippling stretch of watery beauty, transfixing and calming yet with plenty of inviting agitation to stir the spirit into bolder life.

As the first, the track is like a hex on the imagination and eager feet, leaving a lingering presence even as closing song Wild At Heart provides a Paul Simon like spicing of melodic calm and reflection for ears and thought to immerse in. The radiance of guitars is matched in voice and keys, all aligning with the shadows of rhythms and emotional contemplation to alluring effect.

The song is a fine end to what is an introduction to budding UK fans of Alfred Hall; a proposal which it is easy to expect, whether by individual tracks or the EP as a whole, finding as much enthusiastic attention as the band’s music has found at home and further afield. The summer starts here.

The Safe & Sound EP is out now.

Pete RingMaster 06/04/2016

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