A Blue Flame – What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remain

A Blue Flame_RingMasterReview

Three years after the release and success of a debut album, A Blue Flame has released successor What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remains, a collection of songs which musically tug at the imagination and lyrically at the emotions.

A Blue Flame is the solo project of British songwriter Richard Stone, a Leicester based artist who has been stirring attention these past months through a host of suggestively ripe and ear pleasing singles. What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remains follows his 2013 cast first album someone else’s dreams will fill our home; an offering released under the name of Woodman Stone. As suggested, it was a proposition which grabbed ears and plaudits alike, its lead song Does Madonna Dream of Ordinary People especially drawing strong support and airplay across the likes of BBC 6Music and BBC Leicester with Tom Robinson calling Stone’s music: “wonderful unashamed pop music that comes with an inbuilt English Pop sensibility running through to its very core“.

Featuring some of Leicester’s best musicians including co-producer Adam Ellis on guitar and Tony Robinson from The Beautiful South on keys and brass, What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remains is now whipping up even more loud attention. It needs little time to make a potent impression with When Time Slowed Down first up and readily caressing ears. Stone’s sound is a folk scented mix of British flavouring from pop and Brit Pop to a more rock hued proposal. The album’s opener is a gentle folk coloured slice of enterprise, a flavoursome coaxing gently drawing the listener into a release which just grows in strength and stature song by song. Keys and guitar cradle the dusty tones of Stone, a jazzy whisper coating every note and tone of the engaging start.

ablueflame_RingMasterReviewEveryday Yesterday similarly makes a low key entrance though there is a latent sturdiness from its start. With the firm beats of drummer Damon Claridge leading the way as guitar and keys amidst warm harmonies colour the track’s sky, a captivating catchiness descends on ears.  It is a quality ever present in Stone’s songs, making an increasingly vocal present here and in the following The Girl Inside of You. The new single, the track is a rousing slice of melody thick revelry embraced in Brit Pop meets folk rock flavouring. Increasingly addictive with every listen, the song has bodies bouncing and thoughts thickly involved as Stone’s lyrical and vocal prowess works on the imagination. A thumping proposition setting an early peak to the album it is also the spark to a new plateau within What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remain.

Next up is Our Memories Fade, a less energetic endeavour initially which grows in energy and emotion as sultry guitars glow across crisp beats. It too has an instinctive infectiousness, an organically appealing swing wrapped in Americana-esque charm while Stone grips attention with his words and inviting vocal style. Its highly pleasing endeavours make way for Be Kind To Yourself, a smouldering ballad which might not have the same spark as its predecessors but simply beguiles with its fifties hued cry.

Earthy punk infused rock ‘n’ roll treats ears next in the shape of the excellent I Don’t Know, another imposingly enjoyable sing-a-long canter with Skids like fuzzy guitar, while the equally compelling Out There Somewhere shares its own piece of rock where again a Stuart Adamson comparison arises as the song has a touch of Big Country to it. Both tracks increase an already eager appetite for the release, a satisfaction which From God on Down feeds with even greater strength. Flirting ears with a twist of reggae inspired devilry and slight dub effect within its formidable rock ‘n’ roll, the track takes top honours.

A Julian Cope feel shades the inescapable magnetism of Marlborough Park Avenue, a scent which only adds to its bewitching prowess and success whilst The Sun Refused To Shine dips into the fifties/early sixties again with its teasing melodies aligned to another potent Stone croon and alluring harmonies. The two songs alone reveal the diversity of sound and invention which frequents the album, a variety continued by the country twanged folk of Feeling The Same and finally Goodbye as What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remain goes out with the same poetic gentleness it began with, if with greater melancholy involved.

Enjoyable on the first couple of listens and near on essential thereon in, What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remain announces A Blue Flame and Richard Stone as one of Britain’s most compelling propositions and exciting songwriters.

What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remain is out now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/a-blue-flame/id1078425623 and http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ABlueFlame across most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/ablueflame/

Pete RingMaster 25/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Happy Diving – Electric Soul Unity

HappyDiving_RingMasterReview

Managing to scorch the senses while seducing them into matching submission, the new album from San Francisco born Happy Diving is a swamp of thick fuzz and melodic romancing; neither aspect dominant yet both overwhelming and across twelve sweltering songs, instinctively magnetic.

Formed in 2013, Happy Diving has gone through various member and location changes while breeding a rich reputation for their fiery and sonically blistering live presence. It is a quality and strength of sound now found within Electric Soul Unity, a raw and intrusive proposition which just as potently entices with emotion and evocatively smouldering melodies. The likes of Dinosaur Jr., Drive Like Jehu, and Swervedriver are offered by the press release as an indication to what lies within the album; suggestions easy to endorse though similarly someone like My Bloody Valentine infested by Birdland or Hot Snakes suits too.

It opens up with Bigger World and an incendiary wail of guitar and sonic forcefulness as inviting as it is abrasive. Throbbing bass and repetitious riffs soon join the initial squall of sound; shaping and driving the song in its expanding adventure before the warmer tone of vocals become engaged in the persuasion too. It is a wholly magnetic affair as increasingly infectious as it is bracing and without a moment to contemplate matched by Don’t Be Afraid of Love. Raw sonic trespass and melodic enterprise collude as the track engulfs ears, its rhythmic coaxing equally as catchy and rousing as the band shares all elements with individual clarity while combining every texture masterfully.

art_RingMasterReviewDrifting away, the song makes way for lead song Holy Ground, a raw and emotionally inflamed proposal searing the senses as vocals and hooks tempt the imagination and an already keen appetite for the intrusive Happy Diving sound. With anthemic rhythms whipping up further enjoyment, the song steps aside for the album’s punk fuelled title track and in turn the melodic charm of Head Spell. Both tracks hit the spot, the first with its Nirvana-esque seeded essences and its successor through gentle melodies and warm vocals in a calm reflection though its climate is volatile and erupts to fine effect throughout.

Through the fervid sonic enticing of the Pixies toned Fantasy and the sweltering smog of Shed Light, band and release simply increase their hold on a now greedy appetite, each springing a net of melodic contagion as powerful as the sonic wash around them. Their thrilling invasion is emulated again by the poppier and highly stimulating assault of Lost My Way and indeed the swinging causticity of The Call, It Thunders. There are times across the album where a similarity between songs is apparent, the second of the two an example yet throughout it whips out a hook or twist which gives individual character to its presence.

More open diversity emerges in the latter stages of Electric Soul Unity; the calm reflective beauty of Pain Country and its suggestive melodies an irresistible seduction holding court even when the song ignites while Unknown Feeling is a beguiling vocal and melody shaped serenade to drift away with.

Final track River Will Flow ensures the album leaves on a tempest of sonic agitation and temptation, but of course with its own weave of rich melodic and harmonic enticing. All three songs provide a fine end to an album which grows and impresses more with every outing. They say noise annoys, not in this case.

Electric Soul Unity is released August 26th via Topshelf Records @ http://www.topshelfrecords.com/products/573831-happy-diving-electric-soul-unity and available now @ https://happydiving.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/happydivingca/   https://twitter.com/happydiving

Pete RingMaster 25/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Righteous Reprobates – Scarlet Sky

Righteous Reprobates_RingMasterReview

Scarlet Sky is the new single from UK indie rockers Righteous Reprobates, a song which infectiously shimmers and lingeringly jangles from its first touch.

Based in London and Kent, Righteous Reprobates draw on inspirations from the likes of Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin. Openly a nineties Brit Pop flavour escapes their sound, the quartet using it, on the evidence of Scarlet Sky, to spice up an instinctive ability to create an infectious proposal. Certainly the song wears its influences openly; a familiar character to its sound hard to escape but similarly the new single shows all the attributes and invention which has seen the band draw strong attention and radio play since emerging.

From the first breath Scarlet Sky grips ears in its glowing lure of sound, its steely texture and smouldering melodies encasing warm vocals and harmonies as rhythms frame it all with a web of catchiness. The vocals of guitarists Rob White and Jack Griffiths emerge to unite perfectly across the inviting landscape of the track, their fingers equally casting a weave of angular and melodically spicy enterprise with just a touch of the 80’s more mod inspired bands such as Purple Hearts and The Chords to it.

With bassist Jack Collier offering a pulsating stroll through his strings as drummer Charlie Kenny drives proceedings with captivating beats, it all adds up to a highly enjoyable and tasty insight into the anthemic sound and growing imagination of Righteous Reprobates.

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

Pete RingMaster 25/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Astral Cloud Ashes – Too Close to the Noise Floor

Album Art_RingMasterReview

With three attention grabbing and imagination sparking singles under the belt, Astral Cloud Ashes unveil debut album Too Close to the Noise Floor. It is a collection of songs which arouse and serenade the senses, often simultaneously as the project’s mesmeric songwriting and emotive melodic elegance seduces.

Astral Cloud Ashes is the new project of Jersey bred songwriter/musician Antony Walker, previously better known as one half of the Channel Islands hailing Select All Delete Save As. Having already created music under the name ALPA, amongst other monikers, Walker quickly sparked attention to his latest project last year with first single Too Close To The Noise Floor, the now title track to the new album. Primarily a solo project but with backing vocalist Jason Neil a permanent fixture in the band, Astral Cloud Ashes draws on inspirations ranging from The Cure, Bloc Party, Interpol, At the Drive In, Mars Volta, and Say Anything as well as flavours bred in indie and alternative rock/pop. Equally though, the album shows bold ventures into more progressive and post rock pastures without losing the instinctive catchiness and melodic romancing found in those earlier propositions.

Mixed across its tracks by Gareth [The Fold], Edd HartwellPaul Miles, Daniel Szanto,  and Walker himself, with the mastering undertaken by Tim Turan, Too Close to the Noise Floor opens with The Man I Had To Become. Instantly a temptation of bubbling guitar captures ears, the coaxing quickly joined by a wave of rhythmic jabbing and a thicker weave of melodic guitar and harmonious vocals. It is a gentle yet boisterous affair easily whipping up the imagination and spirit with Walker’s distinctive tones the mellow flame within a more combustible web of enterprise. It is a great mix which marked those early singles but already seems to have blossomed within the album into a more adventurous and confident entangling of the listener.

The great start is followed by the album’s title track, Too Close to the Noise Floor showing a rawer, more imposing energy as it takes the imagination into the intimacy and adventure of cosmonautics but equally involves “family values and unwanted first-world paranoia” in its energetically hugged theme. Punching its rhythmic and contagious essences home, it also carries a hazy climate to its atmosphere with the bass a deliciously throaty lure amongst nothing but virulent temptation. Embracing a XTC feel and Melvins like revelry, the track has body and appetite eagerly involved in swift time.

Grateful for the Ghost In Our House steps forward next and as the last track showed a more formidable presence to its predecessor, this song reveals a fiercer predation to its opening and subsequent invention within another wash of suggestive melodies and smouldering dynamics. Though not in the actual sound, it is easy to see where an influence of The Cure comes into play, Walker creating an emotional and musical drama which has the senses riding a roller coaster.

Recent single Get Real follows, strolling along with the ever present catchiness which Walker conjures with seeming ease across every track. Guitars pop and bubble throughout the song as rhythmic tenacity creating an anthemic frame to the vocal and melodic ingenuity before Flashback takes over. A calmer and mellower engagement but even more emotively forceful, the song caresses ears with a lone guitar melody before being joined by a heavily shadowed bassline aligned to a broader floating melodic enterprise. Vocally, Walker provides an introspective narrative as provocative as the poetic almost volcanic fuzziness of his guitar. Adding another individual shade and hue to the album, the track shows the broader landscape of Walker’s songwriting and an intimacy, whether personal or observational, which fuels his words.

With drummer Max Saidi guesting, Avant Blah! strolls boldly in next, its lo-fi pop ‘n’ roll blending Weezer infection with Pavement-esque invention while its successor Lites almost lumbers into view in comparison with the brooding bass and irritable riffs to the fore. In all songs there is a great repetitious quality brewed by Walker, here almost coming over drone like to great effect around the solemn melody and the similarly melancholic vocals. As it expands though, a wave of rich textures and rousing energies flood the song, returning throughout the low-key yet thickly enjoyable, almost imposing encounter.

The excellent This Once Great Place has an air of The Cure again with its atmospheric landscape, reminding of the A Forest/Pornography era of the trio across its own captivating journey before the equally impressive Housing in a Bubble makes a grab for best track with its more punkish/grungy roar of sound. Everything about it has a snarl not heard on the album previously; revealing more of the diversity the release carries whilst stirring up a fresh greed in ears and pleasure.

Our Holiday brings Too Close to the Noise Floor to a sombre and enthralling close, the track initially a dark sigh but soon building its own catchy canter loaded with spiky hooks and spicy melodies around another slightly foreboding and compelling bassline. Once more thoughts of Robert Smith and co are sparked but again as a flavour in something individual to Astral Cloud Ashes. It is a riveting end to a striking and increasingly impressive first album from Walker.

The clues to the project’s potential were there in its first trio of singles, and now confirmed and partly realised by Too Close to the Noise Floor. The feeling is that there is plenty more to come and to be explored within that promise, and going by the strength of this thoroughly enjoyable offering, we are all in for many treats ahead.

Too Close to the Noise Floor is released July 11th @ http://apple.co/1RFvoL8

https://www.facebook.com/astralcloudashes   https://astralcloudashes.bandcamp.com/   https://twitter.com/AstralCloudAsh

Pete RingMaster 08/07/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Maths and The Moon – Familiar Strange

MATM_RingMasterReview

This month sees the release of the eagerly awaited second album from UK alternative rock trio Maths and The Moon. It has been not too many weeks short of three years since their debut full-length, Night Train Daydream caught and captivated ears and imagination with its tapestry of droning seduction and fire drenched melodies spun with uncompromising invention. Familiar Strange is the natural and bold evolution of its predecessor’s sound and character; a generally calmer proposal with fascination and maturity flowing through every pore yet still creatively, an unpredictable and forcibly adventurous exploit.

Southampton bred and made up of vocalist/guitarist/principal songwriter Andy Fielder, drummer Luke Taplin, and bassist Matt Hirst, Maths and The Moon has persistently provided sounds and sonic explorations which have challenged as powerfully as they have enthralled. Formed around 2010, the band made its live debut supporting the legendary Can frontman Damo Suzuki, building on that thick interest sparking moment thereon in before sparking rich acclaim with Night Train Daydream in 2013. The album was an experimental fusion of psych rock and post punk with plenty more involved. Familiar Strange similarly embraces those hues but with an even richer array of equally dramatic flavours involved. It provides a sound and experience which is less spiky than on the first album, even more welcoming melodically and emotionally in many ways, yet still immerses the listener in landscapes as imaginatively scenic as they are emotionally invasive.

The trio has honed their sound and ideas into aural tales, where words and notes collude to cast individual glimpses into shadowed hearts and emotive reflections whilst, to use the words in the album’s press release, losing the listener “in the forest with nothing but shadows, memories and strangely familiar characters.” It all begins with recent single Futurist, a song instantly imposing on ears through the rumbling bass and some heftily swung beats as the guitar spreads an evocative jangle. That relatively forceful first touch soon mellows into a calmer incitement, the song prowling on its rhythms as the inviting tones of Fielder croon over the web of sonic enterprise and drama. The volatility which persistently courts the track does erupt in its chorus to fine effect, arousing ears and appetite further before the song swings through its merger of all aspects while smouldering harmonies and melodic flames colour the fiercely infectious encounter.

Familiar Strange _RingMasterReviewThere is a touch of Muse about the opener, but just a passing whiff before a Pixies-esque spicing emerges in the following Magic. Again it is a scent in an offering uniquely Maths and the Moon; a track which merges a charming sonic irritability with tenacious beats and the spiny lure of the bass. As with the first, the song is inescapably contagious, inciting body and ears with equal prowess and success whilst its fuzzy air and emotive drama seals the imagination’s involvement. Across its length, it blossoms an increasingly blistered surface to its melodies and voice, flirting with a Jesus and Mary Chain meets scorched shoegaze like glazing, while superbly continuing the impressive start to the album with a success quickly backed up by Amongst Trees and its shadow grasped balladry. It is a subdued and mesmeric persuasion where poetically suggestive guitar and voice hug ears as drums and bass build a pulsating frame around them. A thicker stroll of psych rock does emerge within the track, another enticement as catchy as it is soothing in the album, which in turn breeds a rolling rhythmic incitement which provides the hook for celestial harmonies and sultry melodies to hang around.

Howling is another with that alternative meets indie rock essence to its persuasion, the Maths and The Moon seemingly inspired again by the Frank Black kind of songwriting in the creation of their very own addictive tango on the ear. A sizzling slice of dark pop, the track hits the sweet spot dead centre, an accuracy matched by the outstanding In The Ellipse. The track is a ten minute instrumental providing a rhythmic canter with suggestive melodies and lively enterprise in its creative mane. The virulent ride has the scent of The Cure to it, their kind of emotive theatre laid in a tenaciously sculpted and offered gallop though an ever shifting and descriptive landscape.

From the warm and bright emprise of the last track, The Collector envelops ears with a haunting and intimately melancholic sigh. As with the previous ballad, the song is a minimalistic proposal coaxing ears and emotions, but luring full attention with an underlying infectiousness to compliment the maudlin shadows and the great repetitive coaxing around Fielder’s magnetic vocals.

In the band’s first album, Wire often came to mind but not with Familiar Strange, not until Boomerang anyway which weaves some colder steely hues reminiscent of the great band into its low key but snarling seduction of the senses. It is simply just another texture though, taken and twisted to suit and fit what, the album continues to prove, is their most distinctive and robustly compelling sound yet.

Familiar Strange is brought to a close by firstly the solemn acoustic balladry and heart of As The Crow Flies, though a song building a pyre of emotion and sound which burns with more intensity by its departure, and finally, the haze soaked psychedelic saunter and mesmerism of Psych-Seeing. Providing a riveting end to a thrilling encounter, the track glows and resonates across the senses like charmed smog with a melody spilling lighthouse at its heart.

It is fair to say that Night Train Daydream impressed and still does but Familiar Strange is Maths and The Moon on a whole other plateau offering their most exciting and accessible but still invigoratingly experimental proposal yet.

Familiar Strange is released May 20th @ http://mathsandthemoon.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/mathsandthemoon/   https://twitter.com/MathsandtheMoon

Pete RingMaster 19/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Winter 1982 – Worry

Winter1982_RingMasterReview

Another duo to pay some attention to, among many potent ones around right now is Winter 1982, a British folk/indie pairing from Birmingham who, on the evidence of new single Worry, have the knack of uniting soulful melodies and emotions with ear catching yet haunting adventure.

Made up of vocalist/guitarist Phil Barber and pianist/bassist Luke Phillips, Winter 1982 released the Ghosts EP last year, its presence going some way to luring subsequent support from the likes of Amazing Radio and BBC Introducing. It is Worry now doing the enticing on new ears and spotlights with a suspected similar success awaiting it, such the persuasion of its melancholic yet uplifting character and melodic beauty.

Initially, the keys of Phillips hug the emotive tones of Barber, echoing his melancholic sentiment before guitar and bass bring their more intense flames to the quickly blossoming landscape. Equally swinging beats add new textures and energy too, crafting an instinctive catchiness which becomes a constant presence even in the moments where the song returns to its solemn elegance in tone and gait.

It is a captivating affair and increasingly so with every listen; Worry making a highly persuasive argument for keeping a close ear on Winter 1982, something a great many more will surely be doing from hereon in.

Worry is out now @ http://winter1982.bandcamp.com/track/worry

art_RingMasterReview

https://www.facebook.com/winter1982band

Pete RingMaster 16/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com

Falls – One Hundred Percent Strong

FALLS Promo_RingMasterReview

We all have bands, and no doubt many, which almost with their first creative breath spark an instinctive and lustful affair between their sound and ears. For us UK noise poppers Falls is one such union, a riotous quartet which spins webs of invention so contagious that they make the common cold seem lazy. Back in 2014, the band had us hooked with their self-tagged gash pop/fuck rock via the Dirtbox EP. Now they have unleashed its successor, One Hundred Percent Strong; a bigger, bolder, and even more devilish affair to rapture over.

Formed in 2013, Falls has been a hungry and irresistible live presence from day one, tours and shows with the likes of Allusondrugs, Shikari Sound System, God Damn, Blacklisters, Press To MECO, and Black Peaks among their own headlining conquests. The Dirtbox EP equally sparked attention upon its release, eclipsed the next year by the band’s two track single Mastiff which saw a host of radio play and support from the likes of Huw Stephens, Zane Lowe, Steve Lamacq, Alex Baker, and Sophie K. Ahead of a co-headlining tour with I Cried Wolf and an appearance at ArcTanGent in August, Falls is now uncaging One Hundred Percent Strong, a four-track stomp sure to outshine its predecessors in acclaim to match the leap in sound and invention.

There is a more mature and accomplished feel to the songs with the band’s latest offering, but without defusing the loco imagination and quick fire twist and turns which have already marked out their sound and imagination. In fact those elements have been honed with an even keener creative devilment to keep ears and the imagination as busy as the song’s instinctive rock ‘n’ roll does the body. With everything combined, Falls’ music is like a mix up in a noise infested pop factory blending early XTC with Hawk Eyes as seepage from Melvins adds a thrilling contamination.

front cover one hundred percent _RingMasterReviewIt all starts with the kinetic shuffle of Get Well Soon; a track instantly accosting ears with throbbing bass grooves and rolling beats as the guitars of Martin Gallagher and Philip Kelsall perpetually cast wiry hooks and teasing riffs. That alone is enough to infest the psyche and lift the spirit, but add the rousing vocals of the band, with one of the three string pickers leading though no idea which, and you have instant emotional arousal. The track continues to swing and thump, even as its pop fuelled chorus dances provocatively on the imagination. It is simply glorious; we all find manna for the ears in certain songs and this is ours.

Though it is quickly matched by the even more tenacious and slight psychotic Shady Nasty. Again grooves and hooks are swift bait around the lively inviting beats of Steff Jones with the band’s vocals further harmonic and mischief making fun. There is also a volatility to the encounter, at times it almost intimidating ears with the resonating snarl of Ben Griffiths’ bassline a prominent enticement though it is just as compelling in the warmly flirtatious moments too.

SWARM comes next and lives up to its name as riffs crawl incessantly through ears, though there is no particular urgency to their incitement. Instead the song writhes around with steely grooves and off-kilter exploits within a web of punk hooks and noise rock sensibility. Ultimately, it is as funky as it is ferocious, as poppy as it is cantankerously inventive and pure alchemy for the senses and at this point our very greedy appetite for the release.

There is no relaxing of the twisted tempting and addictive ingenuity with closing track Death In Disco Shoes either, the track leaping around like a hyperactive sugar fuelled teenager not knowing whether to party hard or be creatively responsible and doing both with unbridled zeal.

It is an exhilarating end to one of the year’s major propositions so far and no doubt will remain so. Falls and One Hundred Percent Strong are noisy, raucous, and prone to addictive habits; the very best kind of rock ‘n’ roll.

The One Hundred Percent Strong EP is out now via Venn Records digitally and on 7” vinyl @ https://www.vennrecords.com/shop/music/fallsvinyl/

https://www.facebook.com/fallsband   http://www.fallsband.co.uk

Pete RingMaster 13/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com