Death Valley Dreams – Self Titled EP

Death Valley Dreams_Photo_RingMaster Review by Stephanie Martino

Ready for something special? Then we suggest taking a good deep listen to the self-titled debut EP from Death Valley Dreams. The five track treat is a gloriously rousing and dramatic roar fusing eighties seeded new wave and post punk with the kind of psyche/indie rock only modern imagination can conjure, and subsequently one riveting exhilaration of sonic contagion.

Hailing from Pennsylvania, Death Valley Dreams consists of long-time friends and band-mates, vocalist/guitarist Nick Coyle (The Drama Club, Stardog Champion) and guitarist/keyboardist Jon Nova (The Drama Club, An Albatross) alongside similarly established friends in bassist Ryan Dougherty and drummer Matt Rutkoski. Formed in the fall of 2015, it is fair to say that the quartet hit the ground running in creativity and an instinctive union of their talents as proven by this first release. The EP is a seriously accomplished and skilfully sculpted blaze of bold imagination and open passion leaving ears blissful and an appetite for more greedier than flies on a desert lying carcass.

Death Valley Dreams CD_RingMaster ReviewWords Like Fire is the first pungent temptation of ears, the song from its first breath a swarthy flame of melodic suggestion aligned to a gentle caress. Just as quickly the instantly impressing vocals of Coyle bring a new bloom to the tempting, his alluring tones joining the potent lure into the arms of tenacious riffs and scything beats. Hitting a seriously catchy and forceful stroll blessed further by the pulsating moodiness of the bass and broader anthemic vocal calls through the band, the track simply bewitches ears as it incites bodily involvement. There is a touch of The Slow Readers Club and Original Mirrors to the encounter and China Crisis to its melodic suggestiveness but ultimately the song and in turn EP has a sound strikingly unique to Death Valley Dreams.

As equally dynamic and enticing is the following blaze of The Darker Years. The song is a flowing landscape of volatile and mellow exploits spun into another virulent hug with forceful cascades of fierce yet elegant infectiousness, vocal dexterity, and electronic revelry. As its predecessor, the track is in command of feet, hips, and emotions; its flirtatious enterprise forged in a muscular tempest of energy and vigorous resourcefulness before Turn Out Those Eyes offers its own inventive arousal of the imagination. With eighties keys gently swarming over its emerging frame, the song hits a stomping striding rhythm as vocals and guitars expressively flirt with ears, each courting a dark rumble spawned from bass, drums, and melancholy.

Fiery rock ‘n’ roll is tapped into with Take A Look At Yourself, that raw texture aligning with a lusty Futureheads meets The Psychedelic Furs carnival of anthemic celebration and contagion. The track, as so many, is simply irresistible, a puppeteer to full involvement from body and voice, and in turn the passions. The EP is one of those propositions which will not take no for an answer, and certainly had us whipped up into unbridled submission even before the closing charm lit Never Meant For Anyone adds another flavour to the Death Valley Dreams alchemy of persuasion. An emotive croon laying tender but shadow wrapped hands on ears and imagination, the track is a sombre yet warmly bright serenade with sultry sonic tendrils veining dark ambience. Emotion and drama only intensify as the song exposes more of its thick sentiment and discord, it emerging as potently rousing as the energetically incendiary exploits before it.

Simply superb, the EP is an early major highlight for 2016 from a band with the potential to turn the music scene on its head. The name Death Valley Dreams may have connotations of desolate and lonely times, and lyrically some songs seem to have a similar seeding, but the music is anything but bleak or cheerless. A must have proposition.

The Death Valley Dreams EP is available digitally from January 15th worldwide.

https://www.facebook.com/DeathValleyDreams   https://twitter.com/dvdofficial

RingMaster 14/011/2016

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Colony House – When I Was Younger

Colony House new pic_RingMaster Review

Recently US indie rockers Colony House released their first UK single in the feisty and captivating shape of Silhouettes to coincide a host of live dates across Europe with Ohio quartet Walk The Moon. Fair to say a healthy buzz was bred and earned by both the shows and the single which was taken from the band’s debut album When I Was Younger; a fuss easy to expect leading to further potent success this side of the pond with the assumed release of the album here too.

Hailing from Nashville, Colony House was formed by Caleb and Will Chapman, the sons of Contemporary Christian pop superstar Steven Curtis Chapman, with Scott Mills who the pair met through a cousin. Initially called Caleb, the band switched to the name of Colony House in 2013, continuing to work on their first album which they began in 2012 and completed that following year. Its songs are a bold and openly intimate look at issues and experiences observed and felt by the band, the accidental death of the brother’s 5-year-old adoptive sister Maria Sue in 2008 one such tragedy. Their songs, as shown by the album, also explore a hope and understanding within the raw elements theming their bodies, their sounds similarly nurtured to accentuate and emphasize their themes with rich success.

artwork_RingMaster Review     The new single opens up the album and swiftly has ears enticed and gripped, Silhouettes swinging in with energetic rhythms and jangly guitar within a warm atmosphere led by the potent vocals. There is an instant familiarity to the sound of the song, nothing specific but recognisable hues welcoming an appetite for vibrant pop rock. It also comes with a thick drama and magnetic virulence, the song bridging melodic intimacy and rousing incitements with a stirring quality that soaks the album throughout as shown by the track’s successor Second Guessing Games. Again hearty and gentle caresses with a catchy intent lead into boisterous exploits with matching infectiousness, their persuasions alternating and entwining across the dynamic swing of the equally impressing track.

Variety is a constant across When I Was Younger too, the sultry and persistently revolving mix of electronic imagination and indie seduction colouring Caught Me By Surprise and the shadowed eighties toned theatre of Roll With the Punches quick evidence. Both of the excellent encounters steal attention with ease, the second especially compelling within its China Crisis meets Editors like weave of emotive melodies and immersive atmospherics around the ever impressing vocals and craft of the band.

There is a touch of UK band The Sea to the Colony House sound, an element hinting throughout but especially coming to mind within the tenaciously resourceful Keep On Keeping On, one of many tracks which just linger in the memory with its gentle but inescapable hooks and a wonderfully unpredictable imagination merging tender elements with fiery textures and emotional intensity. There is also a natural roar to the song and many of its companions which you can easily visualise being a potent force live, the album, we are assured by those in the know, a strong reflection of the band’s rich energy and power on stage.

Through the lively and heartfelt croon of Waiting for My Time to Come and the bluesy tonic of 2:20, band and album continue to enthral and offer spicy variations, the surf rock lined exploits of guitar in the second of the two especially invigorating before Learning How to Love lowers the intensity with its melodic romancing of the senses. It is a potent caressing which still has a rhythmic agitation to keep an eye on, one sparking increasing volatility as the song grows into its smouldering bellow of melodic temptation without breaking its controlling reins.

Through the acoustic serenade of Won’t Give Up and the evolving energy and creative landscape of Moving Forward, satisfaction and enjoyment is full even if neither quite lights the fires as forcibly and long term as earlier tracks or as constantly in the case of the latter. Glorious has a similar success, making a heavily pleasing and increasingly magnetic companion with every listen but not leaving the same seeds to entice an urgent return as say Silhouettes or Caught Me By Surprise.

The album closes out with Lose Control, another skilled theatre of sound and expression weaving in melancholic strings, dramatic rhythms, and the ever bracing mix of melodic and vocal heart. It is an anthemic end to an excellent introduction to the UK of Colony House, and easy to see why they are a healthily devoured proposal back home.

We have no details of the UK release of When I Was Younger but it seems it is on the cards with Silhouettes a more than exciting teaser worth big attention.

The UK and US releases of Silhouettes and When I Was Younger respectively can be found through most online stores.

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

Pete RingMaster 16/12/2015

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Scarlet Echo – Emergency Exit

SE pic_RingMaster Review

Every now and then a band comes along and just grabs attention by the balls with an almost knowing instinct on what the passions go for. For us UK quartet Scarlet Echo is such a proposition, and though their new single Emergency Exit is just one song from an album yet to be heard here, it and the band have quickly given a keen to be greedy appetite one thrilling poke.

Formed in 2012, the Essex hailing Scarlet Echo has earned a strong word of mouth reputation through their live presence and compelling sound, a buzz reaching us well before a note was heard. The past couple of years or so has seen the band share stages with the likes of Bassment Jaxx, Rat Boy, Hadouken, The Buzzcocks, The Hoosiers, and Department S, and it is the latter in their early days which new single Emergency Exit brings to mind in some ways.

Taken from An Exact Portrayal of Nothing in Particular, the band’s debut album, Emergency Exit instantly splatters ears in inviting melodic drops cast by the guitar. They are quickly joined by the dark throaty temptation of the bass, it in turned courted by the excellent and diverse vocals led by Hannah. The jangle of her and Jamie’s guitars continue to coax and excite as the rhythmic shadows sprung by Miles and the swinging beats of Alex bring further irresistible bait. There is a definite eighties hue to the post punk meets indie rock contagion seducing ears and the imagination, with that colouring of Department S, their early singles especially hinted at, coming to mind as the song hits its dynamic stride. Also though, the melodic prowess of The Passions is reminded of by the single and the darker tonal might of Au Pairs and Horse Party, a band also exciting the now, comes to thoughts too as the track continues to transfix and thrill.

Ultimately though, the outstanding Emergency Exit with a matching video, breeds a character and addictiveness solely Scarlet Echo sculpted with a need to explore their album growing in its wake, and with increasing impatience after every listen.

Emergency Exit is available now, as also An Exact Portrayal of Nothing in Particular, via iTunes.

https://www.facebook.com/scarletecho   http://www.scarletecho.co.uk   https://twitter.com/scarletecho

Pete RingMaster 15/12/2015

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Sugarmen – Plastic Ocean

cover_RingMaster Review

2015 will be marked by many things for different people in regard to music, and most likely amongst them will be not only the introduction to UK indie rockers Sugarmen through debut single Dirt in April but equally its successor, the rousing infection that is Plastic Ocean. The band’s new song is a tenacious dance of jangly guitars and eighties spiced melodies with captivating energy and joyful enterprise to match, it all making up confirmation of the promise and qualities shown in its predecessor.

The year has been a potent adventure for the Liverpool quartet. Between the singles, the foursome of songwriters/guitarists Luke Fenlon and Chay Heney, bassist Tom Sheilds, and drummer Sam McVann have played two Hyde Park shows with The Who and Blur, whilst amongst their own shows they have shared stages with the likes of Sleaford Mods, The Bohicas, Hooton Tennis Club, Deer Hunter, Metronomy, and British Sea Power. The release of the Mick Jones (The Clash) produced Dirt was a attention grabbing spark in the year too and now matched by the voracious adventure of Plastic Ocean.

The single instantly hugs ears with a spicy melody from within the jaws of a groaning bass and crisp rhythmic jabs. As quickly that eighties flavouring springs its welcoming lure, the song like a mix of King Trigger and through its spicy guitar flirtation, Haircut One Hundred. The voice of Fenlon is just as warmly inspiring as the sounds, feet and hips fully involved by rhythms and the catchy swing of the song as the listener’s vocal chords and a greedy appetite are recruited by the vocal and melodic prowess seducing ears.

Within it’s less than three minutes of length, further magnetic infusions of fresh flavouring emerge to line the excellent dips and leaps in energy, it all adding to the undiluted festivity of the song. Quite simply, the track is an adventurous pop rock party which has the listener in the palms of its boisterous hands.

If you missed Sugarmen the first time, be sure not to miss this second slice of their sound, indeed add it to your playlist for this festive period and spread the goodness.

Plastic Ocean is out now via Rooftop Records.

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RingMaster 08/12/2015

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Mouth of Ghosts – Falling Down/Somebody Like You

Artwork_RingMaster Review

It has been two years since UK alternative rock band Mouth of Ghosts unveiled something new to captivate ears and ignite the imagination, but a time seeing the band grow creatively richer and bolder in sound and invention. Equally the already potent temptation in their songs has been honed into a thicker seduction; the evidence is all there in the London based band’s new single. Already this decade Mouth of Ghosts has given ardour an outlet through one of the decade’s best singles in the shape of When The Sun Sets, now they stoke the fire again with a pair of riveting gems, with as potent accompanying videos, in Falling Down and Somebody Like You.

The beginning of Mouth of Ghosts goes back to 2011, guitarist Simon Langford and bassist Marco Italia starting the project with vocalist Alla Seydalieva joining the pair soon after. With their band name taken from a Dillinger Escape Plan song, Mouth of Ghosts quickly whipped up ears and attention with debut EP When The Sun Sets in 2012, its title track as previously mentioned, the bewitching lead into a fascinating merger of romantic melodies, atmospheric textures, and a theatre of expression. The following year its successor, the You Will Go Again From Me EP confirmed the impressive emergence and potential of the band, luring a wealth of new fans and media attention in turn. Now it is the double A-sided single doing the inescapable tempting with real prospect of the trio, Langford, bassist Polyannidis, and drummer Phil Page stepping into the broadest, greediest spotlight.

Falling Down instantly kisses ears with melodic romanticism blessed with warm ambience and the stunning vocal lure of guest singer Elisa Zoot from Black Casino and The Ghost. The recognisable creative hue of Mouth of Ghosts is right there seducing the senses and appetite from the start but already there is a more dynamic energy to the structure of the song and its drama loaded textures. Keys court thoughts and emotions as rhythms build a shadowy landscape over which a sonic and vocal expression glides with infectious charm. A Portishead meets Jingo like air comes with the uniqueness of the song but also a less pronounced but spicy essence which reminds of The Capsules also warms the imagination. The song is aural seduction, a spellbinding slightly tempestuous hug filled with inventive drama, vocal beauty, and enthralling magnificence.

Somebody Like You is a different kind of temptation, a song again fuelled by the distinctive Mouth of Ghosts craft and imaginative colour but exploring a noir lit landscape with more than a hint of Bond inspired cinema to it. The song, as Zoot’s vocals, flow seductively but every element from the slow paced rhythms to the immersive croon are lined with a dark tint of shadowed emotion amidst a similarly smoky ambience. The track, as its predecessor, is pure magnetism; a compelling event in its own right that takes the listener into a world of dramatic aural alchemy.

Mouth of Ghosts has returned better than ever with two songs sure to linger in hearts and push the band to deserving new heights.

Falling Down/Somebody Like You is out now and available for download http://www.themouthofghosts.com/

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Pete RingMaster 01/12/2015

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The Slow Readers Club – Plant the Seed

TSRS_RingMaster Review

If there are any yet to fall into contagious arms of Cavalcade, the second album from UK indie/electronic band The Slow Readers Club, and indeed their rewarding sound then the new single from them is a major nudge in that direction. Taken from the encounter released earlier this year, Plant the Seed is a beacon for the seductively pulsating and captivating adventure of the band’s melodic imagination, and reason alone to take the band’s enthralling and emotively fuelled sound to the heart.

The Slow Readers Club - Plant the Seed - Artwork_RingMaster Review     To be honest virtually the whole of the Manchester quartet’s last album makes itself available as a potent single but for sure Plant the Seed is a rich flame within their fire of enticement. It also adds another confirmation to the quality of songwriting and simply creative imagination the band is renowned and being increasingly acclaimed for. Cavalcade declared The Slow Readers Club as one of not only Manchester’s but the UK most compelling and exciting underground bands; the single just confirms it again.

Plant the Seed opens on a teaser of rhythms alongside a spicy electronic melody, a tempting bait leading to the swiftly emerging vocal tones of keyboardist Aaron Starkie and guitarist Kurtis Starkie, both with their individual prowess wrapping ears in harmonic temptation. It is a rich seduction enjoyably given a just as gripping contrast by the pulsating and throaty lures of James Ryan’s bass and the clippy enterprise of drummer David Whitworth. It all unites with increasing potency as the song strolls through ears with a summery air and a skilfully sculpted range of textures, all thick enticement within the Depeche Mode meets Bronski Beat majesty of the song.

In some ways, Plant the Seed seems to have blossomed again in its own limelight, the single a glorious invitation hard to imagine many ignoring, and The Slow Readers Club, well they continue to leave us smiling with contentment.

Plant the Seed is out now via Scruff of the Neck Records through most online stores.

http://www.theslowreadersclub.co.uk    http://www.facebook.com/theslowreadersclub  https://twitter.com/slowreadersclub

Pete RingMaster 25/11/2015

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Phil Lewis – Patchwork Heart

Phil Lewis_RingMaster Review

Being introduced to Phil Lewis through his highly enjoyable Age of Nothing EP, it is fair to say that we have bred an increasingly eager appetite for the pop rock prowess of the Welsh singer songwriter. Though he had already reaped a potent reputation and a healthy level of acclaim for a trio of earlier albums, the EP was the biggest nudge yet on widespread recognition. Now that potent hint has become a mighty roar thanks to the release of Patchwork Heart, a contagion of inspiring hooks and essential melodies united in some of the best pop tracks you are likely to heard this year.

Hailing from Penarth, Lewis had his musical passion seeded in “frighteningly dressed people on Top of the Pops”, and then in turn “the various genre charts in NME and Melody Maker”. It sparked the dream to have one of his own songs in the charts and in 2008 the release of his first single Just One Kiss became a very close miss on realising that dream. The first spark in an evolving and increasingly successful career came just before it though, with the unveiling of debut album Ancient Light the year before. Since then Lewis has released another pair of well-received and acclaimed full-lengths in Movements In Space (2009) and Ripples From a Small Pond (2011), with the aforementioned Age of Nothing hooking a great many more of us at the beginning of 2014.

artwork_RingMaster Review    Patchwork Heart is the next proposition from the man and in many ways the coming of age of his songwriting and pop invention. Its nine tracks provide a torrent of enslaving pop ingredients but composed and delivered with an imagination and almost mischievous energy and passion. Lyrically the album sees Lewis look with intimate honesty at the tough times he faced over past years, including the death of his father from Alzheimer’s Disease and the end of a long-term relationship as well as himself being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Musically it all comes with a hope fuelled, emotionally uplifting hug though, Lewis easy to suspect a ‘glass half full’ character with sings always seeming to veer towards the long term light.

Created again in collaboration with Ben Haynes, who produced the record and plays all the instruments, Patchwork Heart opens with Tumbling Down. Within a few breaths, the song is coaxing ears with blues spiced guitar and tenacious beats, the voice of Lewis as potent and strong as ever as things bounce and revolve around him. The track’s prime hook has an air of familiarity to it which only adds to the temptation whilst the fiery guitar endeavour of Haynes is extra tang in a rousing opener.

Things only become more infectious and gripping though as the tantalising Japan-esque Up On This Shelf swings up to the imagination. An exotic melody starts things off, a pulsating bass throb with crystalline shards of guitar quickly taking over as the tones of Lewis entice. The track is mesmeric, a sublime slice of elegant seduction with an underlying sonic eroticism. Not for the last time within Patchwork Heart, an open eighties flavouring and inspiration colour song and ears, Right on Time immediately after also providing a similar lusty hue of nostalgia kissed and undoubtedly fresh revelry. Virulent in all aspects, the song romps along on another bait of anthemic rhythms wrapped in the dramatic enterprise cast by guitar, keys, and bass. Like a blend of China Crisis, Pete Wylie, and The Killers, the track is glorious; Lewis at his pop conjuring best.

Healing Hands slips in next with a far more subdued energy to that of its predecessor as shadow toned guitar and vocals are gripped by a warm but melancholic expression. Lewis’ voice embrace ears in a reflectively intimate croon as that bright, crystal like quality to the melodies of earlier songs emerges again to resonate in the spatial climate above the intimate canvas. Over time the song’s air becomes more tempestuous leading to one highly provocative and stirring climax. The track is a powerful incitement on body and emotions, as too the following Smile in its very different way. From a synth pop start, the song is a vibrant shuffle manipulating ears and feet from the get go. The bubbly electronics continue to lure and tempt as guitars and vocals brew up an irresistible feast of pop infection backed by the great vocals of Sarah Haynes. The song takes thoughts again back to the eighties, its pop tonic hinting at the likes of Thomas Dolby and Thompson Twins, and to be honest quite impossible not to get physically involved with.

Next up is Sunshine in the Night, a song just as much a puppeteer on body and appetite which from its initial smothering of emotive beauty breeds a mouth-watering mix of repetitious teasing, contagion spewing vocal tempting, and immersive atmospherics. Rhythmically too, the track is a nonstop invitation which simply gets under the skin and leaves a big grin on the psyche.

The country spiced, fiery shimmer of Fantasy Reality bewitches next, its voice and body an alluring evocation of the heart whilst I Believe is a sixties hued offering with a good whisper of the Walker Brothers to its strolling enticement. The track’s chorus is another rousing hard to resist proposal, though that applies to most of them across the release to be honest, as proven one last time by the brilliant Be A Hero. The closer epitomises a Phil Lewis song, bold rhythms aligned to drama soaked imagination and the rich enterprise gripping ears as Lewis provides the strength of his voice. With more enthralling backing vocals, this time from Lizzie Dean, the track is a jungle of intrigue and emotive theatre, and the perfect way to end a thoroughly thrilling and impressive release.

A Phil Lewis song lies somewhere between those of the previously mentioned Pete Wylie and Colin Vearncombe (Black), and now after Patchwork Heart deserve to be contemplated in the same breath. Also out now is Digging for Earworms, a free to download best of album covering previous releases and including the riveting likes of Let’s Play, Age of Nothing, and Imprisoned. Both are albums all rock/pop fans should treat themselves to, as Lewis confirms himself as one of Britain’s brightest artists.

Patchwork Heart is out now @ http://phillewisuk.bandcamp.com/album/patchwork-heart

https://www.facebook.com/Phil-Lewis-36008838740  http://www.phillewisuk.co.uk

Pete RingMaster 24/11/2015

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