Skylephant – I Am The Ghost

In close quarters to the release of a seriously captivating debut album in Songs For The Fragile Collective, Skylephant have the I Am The Ghost EP ready to tantalise ears and lure the imagination. With its lead track taken from that critically acclaimed full-length it is a mighty teaser of that triumph but also an inescapable invitation for newcomers into the unique world of the UK project.

Skylephant is the solo project of singer/songwriter/ musician Mark Applin, an artist who locked “locks himself away in his small home studio for three and a half years, to pour himself into an album of self-penned songs.” It was a ‘solitude’ which bore a striking encounter and now a just as irresistible EP.

I Am The Ghost opens up with its title track, the song gently introducing itself with a harmonic sigh, melancholy and a sense of loneliness wrapping its opening melody. The coaxing intensifies as keys and enthralling vocal intimacy lend their magnetism to the blossoming track. Like a shadow in the shadows, Applin’s vocals continue to entrance as potently as the web of just as sadly pensive sounds around him, it all leading to a similarly calm but addictively infectious chorus. The track is superb, an enthralling and haunting twilight to happiness and isolation.

Home Alone follows; its sepia harmonies and sighs a familiar caress before electronic animation breeds a seduction of voice and melody. Once more there is an instinctive catchiness working away within the synth pop serenade, that sense of loneliness as much a kiss on thoughts and senses as a venture into sadness. Even more haunting than its predecessor, the song swiftly spellbound ears and imagination before departing on an emotive shimmer of an echo for its successor to step forward.

The EP’s final song is the Johnny T Remix of She’s Alright, another offering originally from within Songs For The Fragile Collective and a song which with a mere breath is infecting feet and body with its contagion loaded enterprise. Already a rapaciously infectious proposal, the new take leads it straight onto the dance-floor with an eighties fuelled rapture in its eager motion and lively animation.

The sound and songs of Skylephant are one of the most individual propositions out there. Applin with his heart bred and fully rounded songwriting does have something of Colin Vearncombe (Black) about him and the pop catchiness of his tracks remind a little of that conjured back in the day by Paul Haig but his own uniqueness is what makes Skylephant simply an essential pleasure.

The I Am The Ghost EP is released August 16th via Musical Bear Records across most stores.

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Pete RingMaster 16/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dogtooth – What For?/Away

Though formed in 2013 and having a well-received debut EP out four years later, Dogtooth come to The RR as a new proposition through a new two track AA sided single. A quick introduction and visit to the Scottish band’s music and previous songs revealed that they have been a potent potential fuelled enticement for a while but the new dual temptation of What For? and Away simply outshines all the exploits that came before.

As mentioned the Breakthrough EP two years back took Dogtooth to a whole new richness of attention whilst continuing to impress with their live presence. It is easy to expect recognition and praise of the band’s indie/alternative rock bred enterprise to increase now through the bold exploits of both What For? and Away; both songs confirming that theirs is a sound which is really developing its own identity.

The Killers has been suggested as a reference to the band’s music but straight away as What For? strolls through ears and especially as it settles into its eager almost teasing temptation an Inspiral Carpets like hue rises to the fore. Even so it is simply a single flavouring in the band’s indie rock audacity as the guitar and vocals of John Hewitson swing across the rhythmic enticement of bassist Craig Morrison and drummer Robert Lang. There is a great grumble to that bass which earths the loftier melodic threads which spring from the guitar while Lang’s beats just enjoyably nag throughout.

Eagerly infectious, the song is more than matched in craft and temptation by Away; it our favourite of the two with ease without diminishing the strength and impact of its companion. The track strides in with a rapacious rhythmic intent and is immediately bound in the delicious sonic wires of Hewitson’s guitar. Quickly, the song reveals a whole fresh web of imagination and devious textures to trap and enslave attention and appetite. Each twist brings potent drama and turn sets irresistible temptation, the song something akin to a mix of Asylums, The Horrors, and Scars with a hint of The Cuban Heels and quite superb.

Evolution in the band’s sound is on-going with both tracks suggesting bigger bolder things to come but there is a new maturity in their songwriting and craft which is most striking and as exciting, Dogtooth for sure heading to bigger things.

What For?/Away is released August 16th.

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Pete RingMaster 16/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Dollyrots – Daydream Explosion

A party in the ears, romp with the body, and riot with the imagination; descriptions which can certainly be suggested upon the sound of the Dollyrots to date but definitely and strenuously applies to the band’s new release, Daydream Explosion. Across fourteen slices of the band’s inimitable fusion of punk, rock, and pop, the album incites and captivates but equally fascinates more than anything from the Los Angeles duo yet as diversity and adventure fuel an eclectic mix of contagious goodness.

With previous album, Whiplash Splash, one of the rousing treats of 2017, vocalist/bassist Kelly Ogden and vocalist/guitarist Luis Cabezas have pulled out all the creative stops to outshine that acclaimed release with Daydream Explosion. From the moment it gives its first eager breath we can declare aim accomplished and an irresistible slab of infectious enterprise bred.

Produced by the band with long-time producer John Fields, Daydream Explosion immediately had ears and attention in its hands, a teasing hook bringing in the pop ‘n’ roll of opener Animal. Ogden’s seductive tones swiftly join the broadening stomp of the track; Cabezas’ soon after and as magnetic as the rhythms and riffs which collude in a charge of flirtatious punk nurtured hooks. As catchy and inescapable as barbed wire, the song effortlessly gets the album off to a rousing start.

With beats swinging, riffs nagging, Everything steps up next and just as devilishly infests body and spirit. Again vocals simply incite participation as easily as the rhythms manipulate feet, the song’s chorus a heightened exploitation of an already fired up appetite for the record and eager subservience to its pop persuasion.

In Your Face comes with a steadier gait after but even in its shimmering sway there is a zeal and energy keen to break out which it does in another contagion of a chorus, the song’s seductive pop increasingly volatile and riveting before Naked uncages its alternative rock devilment like a pop infested Blood Red Shoes. With a rock ‘n’ roll shaped heart the track quickly builds its own character and grinning escapade to be unique Dollyrots.

As expected hooks escape the band like rocker instincts bound in one listening to the album, next up Last Ones on Earth relishes its own host of ear snaring conjuring. With a pop breath seemingly taking inspiration from an array of decades the song commands air and attention while exploring more eighties pop seeded breeding I Love You Instead follows to get the body popping all over again and sap the lungs just a little more of their willing breath. With all songs, but here especially, you can almost feel the fun and big broad grins the pair should have had creating one devilish encounter.

Through the ear smooching sixties girl group toned Watching the Storm Go By and the frenetically stomping I Know How to Party, band and album only pulled attention further away from reality, both tracks major moments among only highlights with the latter carrying a mischievous nod towards Andrew W.K. in certain moments while Kat’s Meow more than matched their glories with its virulently frisky stroll.

There is no decline in pure temptation as No Princess springs its own individual pop punk epidemic straight after nor as Flippy In My Red Dress infests hips and passion with its rampant rock ‘n’ roll seduction.  Like a mix of The Hillbilly Moon Explosion and Stray Cats but pure Dollyrots, the song is sublime, a major favourite track challenger though tested throughout the album for that honour as proven by the feisty Oblivious and Talk Too Much with its senses taunting hooks and melodic dance, a combination far too potent to resist.

The album closes up with Daisy’s Song, a final slice of punk ‘n’ rock temptation as instinctively sinful as it is masterfully manipulative and simply beguiling. And that pretty much describes Daydream Explosions as a whole, creatively wicked and unapologetically infectious and most likely the best piece of pop punk you will embrace and devour this year or possibly next.

Daydream Explosions is out now via Wicked Cool Records/ The Orchard; available @ https://thedollyrotswcr.bandcamp.com/album/daydream-explosion

http://www.dollyrots.com/    https://www.facebook.com/thedollyrots/    https://twitter.com/thedollyrots

Pete RingMaster 13/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Microcosms – Forget Us

Undoubtedly the Chicago music scene is and has perpetually been the source of some of music’s most striking and individual artists. Microcosms is the latest proposition from within its creative bunker to grip our attention, our introduction coming through their new single, Forget Us. It is one of those tracks which lay predacious eggs under the skin and in the brain from its first breath, growing and festering as an addictive we for one have no wish to dispense with.

Microcosms is the creation of guitarist/vocalist Andrew Tschiltsch, an initial solo project which after a few years saw the addiction of bassist Bryan Emer and drummer Jered Pipenbrink. Musically its alternative rock nurtured sound welcomes the inspirations of artists such as Arctic Monkeys, Bully, Cage the Elephant, Courtney Barnett, Portugal. The Man, and Wolf Alice and emerges as “music to question your beliefs to”. Debut release, the Know My Body EP, enticed well-receiving attention in 2017, its impact soon eclipsed by that of the Fairytale EP a year later. They are successes we expect to be once more surpassed by, given the chance, that surrounding Forget Us.

The song just romps from the speakers, funnelling through ears with one delicious and inescapable hook. The flirtatious antics of the guitar continues to wind salaciously around ears and imagination with the subsequent vociferous rhythmic shuffle within ear gripping noise smog only adding to the tracks infestation of the senses.

Continuing to tease and taunt through each cycle, the song is a mix of threat and seduction seeing the band unleash its more punk bred instincts in comparison to previous encounters. Even so post punk, new wave, and noise pop imagination is just as vocal and rousing within the track with its eventual departure the only moment disappointment escapes.

We cannot say we have heard everything from the Microcosms imagination and enterprise but of what we have and undoubtedly enjoyed, the irresistible proving Forget Us simply eclipses the lot.

Forget Us is available now @ https://microcosms.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 04/06/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

TV Coma – Body Negativity

If you can imagine the results of Weezer and Swound! musically cavorting with Jan and Dean alongside Blur with a punk nurtured revelry you can get a whiff of the sound of TV Coma though not necessarily the individual mischief and enterprise rampaging through their debut EP, Body Negativity. It offers six tracks of unbridled fun and boisterous deeds amongst cleverly manipulative creative antics and is simply one of the most enjoyable exploits we are sure to indulge in this year.

Emerging from the songwriting revelry of brothers Leo and Max Troy, St Albans hailing TV Coma is a foursome by bassist Jamie Rider and drummer Robert Clark. They also seemingly embrace the punk DIY ethics of yesterday with their first release recorded in Max’s bedroom who then mixed the tracks himself before passing them over to Alan Douches (Ben Folds Five, Converge, Sufjan Stephens, Mastodon) to add his professional gleam to things. The result is an encounter which has an organic roar and an instinctive devilry and one which eagerly gets under the skin with unbridled fun in close quarter.

Have A Party kicks things off and rises up from an encroaching sonic lure with big scythes of guitar and matching rhythms. Everything is an intriguing tease leading to the first vocal rally cry before things settle again into a calm stroll and reflection. It in turn invites ears and listeners to its subsequent chant loaded bellow and a finale which the body, if not already bouncing, can no longer escape. Seriously contagious with a great rock muscularity and edge to it, the track is a glorious invitation into the waiting fiendish clutches of EP and band.

There is no escaping thrusting a Weezer likeness to the following Digital Girl, the LA band one of the major inspirations for the brothers. Even so, the track is ablaze with raw pop punk zeal as it is pop rock catchiness and swiftly inciting physical and vocal participation with its rousing holler before Trudy latches on to its infectious antics for its own particular weave of viral contagion. Something akin to Weezer meets We Are the Physics with Asylums in close attendance, the track just saunters along spilling grooves and hooks like confetti as rhythms cast their own manipulative incitement. Surf pop harmonies escalate the fun and listener’s involvement with a track which never leaves a moment void of creative rascality.

A sonic clamour announces next up Unemployable; a short but attention stalking roar of angst and noise around more of the hooks and enterprising taunts the band seem to instinctively breed. The track instantly and effortlessly leads into inhibition losing shenanigans, reactions even more escalated with Football Song, a Blur meets Television Personalities howl which could easily be adopted by the sport’s fans or haters.

Grow Up completes the line-up of plaintive ejaculations. From its initial vocal wail to the punk rock soaked blaze of sound, the track is a zealously waving finger at immaturity and irresponsible fun whilst creatively providing both.

With each track sparked by traits within modern life, Body Negativity is one spirit rousing adventure. It might not be the best thing you will come across in 2019, though it very well could be too, but there will be few as memorable and even fewer as relentlessly enjoyable.

Body Negativity is out May 31st through Wiretap Records and @ https://tvcomamusic.bandcamp.com/releases

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Pete RingMaster 30/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ummagma – Caravan

This June sees the release of the first album in seven years from Ummagma and to herald its arrival whilst offering a rather delicious teaser the indie pop duo has just released the two track single Caravan. As ever the pair’s sound is as eclectic as it is evocative and as is the trend with atmospheric senses involving mastery the new single evokes and inspires the imagination to individual adventures alongside its own.

Emerging in 2003, Ummagma is the creative union of Canadian Shauna McLarnon and Ukraine hailing Alexander Kretov. Ontario based, the pair’s sound is an imaginative fusion of everything from dream pop and shoegaze to post-punk, indie, space rock and much more, it all immersed in a tapestry of ambient and electronic enterprise. The duo has regularly been compared to bands such as Cocteau Twins, Curve, and Daughter but as Caravan alone insists, references which only hint at rather than reveal the richness of the band’s music and imagination.

It is fair to say that our personal appetite to Ummagma’s music is constant but has flourished in varying strengths across their releases and ahead of that new album in Compass, has reached lustful greed courtesy of Caravan. The song instantly had ears gripped as drums set out their ridiculously hypnotic and rousing stroll. Atmospheric suggestion is just as swiftly at play with the imagination, its soundscape of warm wide plains blossoming with suggestive vegetation. McLarnon’s warm magnetic tones are also soon caressing ears as the song sweeps into a synth pop-esque canter, Kretov’s subsequent vocals just as tempting within the pair’s web of musical insistence.

The song is pure adventure, an intimate travelogue of intrigue, intimation, and craft which had the body bouncing and ears enthralled from start to finish.

Ty i Ya accompanies Caravan offering up its own individual temptation; one funk lined and eighties synth pop bred. There is something of Dalek I Love You to the song which only added to its quick appeal and it too brings an atmospheric cascade of enterprise and suggestion which mesmerised throughout even if with varying degrees of strength across its evocative landscape.  Ummagma is a band which is unafraid to push their boundaries and the imagination of others in unexpected ways, Ty i Ya proof it so often works a treat.

It is probably fair to say that any album, indeed release, from Ummagma is eagerly anticipated in numerous corners, Caravan ensures Compass will definitely be truly keenly awaited.

Caravan is out now through Leonard Skully Records; available @ https://ummagma.bandcamp.com/album/caravan with Compass released on June 21th also via Leonard Skully Records digitally, on black vinyl and on CD with artwork by Alexander Kretov.

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Pete RingMaster 17/05/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Slug Comparison – When You Were Living Here

Definitely more a wave than a tingle of anticipation exploded when Dutch label, Rock Company, sent a bundle of their latest and forthcoming releases over to us for consideration. Pretty much the sole reason with respect to all artists put forward being the fact it included the new album from Slug Comparison, a proposition which had seduced ears and ardour so totally through a debut full-length and subsequent EP. There was also a tinge of disappointment at the realisation that we had missed a trio of subsequent EPs; investigation showing a combination of technology fail and not being sent them. It was a niggle swiftly dissolved as When You Were Living Here brings all four previous EPs together with new tracks to offer a festival of sound and beauty from one of the world’s most magnetic and rousing songwriters.

Slug Comparison is the solo project of vocalist/guitarist Doug Harrison of Canadian progressive rockers Fen. The release of his first album, the eagerly acclaimed Trails Out Of Gloom in 2014, brought an enthralling collection of tracks which seemed to knowingly tap into personal thoughts, experiences, and desires. That fusion of intimacy and an instinct for contagious imagination and enterprise was even more intense and seductive within the IIa EP of 2017. The new release reveals that the following EPs were just as rich and potent as too are the brand new tracks gracing the first truly majestic and irresistible treat of 2019.

The Slug Comparison sound is similarly nurtured within the progressive rock heart which Fen embraces but Harrison draws on a seemingly leaner but soon proving itself broader palette of sound. Acoustic and electric dexterity entangle with a craft and infectiousness which easily beguiles and invigorates. There is an energy and snappiness to his melody thick ballads and affectionate intimate warmth to tracks with eager boisterousness. As album opener, exactly what to do, epitomises, all songs with their instinctive catchiness share a confidentiality and affinity to creator and listener. The track swings in on a tenacious but controlled stride wrapped in instantly magnetic strands of guitar. The song’s lures only intensify as its rock ‘n’ roll welcomes the ever captivating tones of Harrison and his web of melodiously thick grooves and hooks. A grungy rapacity brings even greater flavour to the contagious theatre gripping ears and imagination, the track always a big favourite at The RR since its appearance upon the IIa EP blossoming further as the introduction to When You Were Living Here.

The following hyperslump arrives with its own individual swing, a trait all tracks carry in their particular gaits and guises. Again a melody just slips from the guitar like fine wine as vocals alluringly unveil the heart of song and writer. There is no escaping the virulent bounce infesting feet and hips, nor locking into its conflict of desire and obstacle as hook and melody ensnare with almost predatory prowess before let some light nestles in ears with acoustic tempting aligned to dark rhythmic intimation. Emotion clad reflection escapes Harrison’s throat just as suggestively, it all uniting in a masterful flame burning into a heated roar as the song’s chorus flourishes in perpetually infectious temptation.

Alone all three tracks make When You Were Living Here a fascinatingly essential proposal with the added guest contributions from the likes of guitarist Sam Levin (Fen), bassist Mike Young (The Devin Townsend Band), Randall Stoll (Congenital Fixation, KD Lang), Jeff Caron (Fen), Nando Polesel (Fen), Dave Young (Devin Townsend) and others add craft and spicing to these and other songs.

Drama lines every note and syllable of next up fine with it, but a theatre of the heart which smoulders within the track’s calm yet fiery rock breath while thoughts offers a relaxed stroll but with an edge to its tone and thought which comes from Harrison’s inner angst. There is an anxiety to each track which easily aligns to their contagiousness as epitomised in the second of the two, the track maybe relatively reserved but as virally catchy as a cold and with its predecessor alone showing that Harrison is as compelling a vocalist and musician as he is a songwriter.

Two tracks within When You Were Living Here are dedicated to the memory of Eric Rose, “Harrison’s former roommate, friend, and creative accomplice”, the first in the album’s title track coming next with the second, beings far away, coming a few tracks later. Both are pure beauty soaked in enchanting melancholy; when you were living here a haunting almost dream like embrace which just touches thoughts and heart, essences even more intense within beings far away, it too a ballad of pensive sadness bound in love and joyful respect  which incited a lump in the throat even before knowing its inspiration.

In between, the folkish canter of becoming seduced, its smouldering persuasion inescapable manipulation, and the raw edge rock ‘n’ roll of so ya got a great guitar aroused; both tracks a galvanic persuasion in their unique ways impossible not to lend one’s own exploits too. The latter has something of a Fen snarl to it but only a hue to Harrison’s own design and irritable release.

Bringing further fresh shades and temptation to album and ears, hold of you gently smooches with the senses next, its acoustic contemplation and musing Simon and Garfunkel tinged, whilst the closing pair of purple monkey and one more step respectively beset the imagination and appetite with unfeigned evocative beauty and stirringly animated enterprise amidst almost untamed rock adventure.

They conclude an album that simply aroused body, spirit and soul. The music got under the skin as the lyrical explorations sparked thoughts and heart as if Harrison was tapping into one’s own psyche. When You Were Living Here is simply intimate splendour with melodic nobility sure to be deserving of every ounce of attention and acclaim it will inevitably garner.

When You Were Living Here is out now through Rock Company and also available @ https://slugcomparison.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 20/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright