Hibernation Masturbation: The Video

km-vid_RingMasterReview

As the world and its ‘masters’ increasingly seduce and trap its inmates in their own design, the new single from Scottish indie musician/songwriter/producer Kevin Mcgowan is a timely statement and wake-up call with a striking video to reinforce its attention grabbing presence.

Hibernation Masturbation was written seven years prior to its new release and back then it reflected a growing virus within a populace increasingly disconnected from the world and its furtive and often more openly selfish vices. Fair to say the track’s observation is even more relevant to the now and the apathetic blindness to the controlling addiction shaped and driven by technology and media.

Talking about the song recently, Mcgowan said,” The song is basically saying how we are all in a state of hibernation and are unaware of what is going on in the real world around us. We get all our information from a screen, be it TV, mobile phones, computers or mobile tablets, and it has become a problem to decipher fact from fiction.

We are all caught up in the subterfuge in various ways, even reading this and watching the video part of being connected to “some kind of self-absorbed internet addiction”; Mcgowan adding; “As a society we have lost our way and exist in our own little bubbles where we can’t tell the real person from their social media profile. We are an idea of our dream selves rather than simply existing, images dictate our own person, creating unattainable needs, desires and aspirations.

km2_RingMasterReviewThe song’s video and its surreal atmosphere is an echo of those thoughts; its intimate and occasionally claustrophobic insight reflecting the bewitching fantasy and the ease in slipping into its fake but easy to devour stealing of choice and honest observation.

Even loneliness is nurtured by the reliance on thought dictating and enslaving technology and its wares, the video again with its distant but potent Alice In Wonderland like surrealism a direct poke which makes you think and assess as the enthralling song itself captures a share of the imagination.

With deceptive self-reliance on this escape leading to being wrapped up in one’s own world similarly courted by the enticing imagery of Hibernation Masturbation, an eye luring landscape interrupted by great shots of Mcgowan and his guitar craft, the video and indeed song enlightens and transfixes while almost being a paradox in that captivation with its theme.

The video is also a wealth of fun which should not be skipped by, with the power of a great song as its soundscape, Hibernation Masturbation is a spark for a grinning but thoughtful imagination to fall in to.

Check out the Hibernation Masturbation video @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgNxdF01iX4  while the single is available to buy via imagine & believe Records on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/hibernation-masturbation-single/id1146680042?ls=1&app=itunes

For more information and news from go to https://www.facebook.com/kpmcgowan and https://twitter.com/kevinmcgowan67

Pete RingMaster 30/10/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Kevin Mcgowan – Hibernation Masturbation

km-pic_RingMasterReview

Hibernation Masturbation is the new single from Scottish musician/songwriter Kevin Mcgowan, an artist who collaborated a few months back with Karel Fialka on his new album Peace v War. Written seven years ago as Mcgowan reflected on the growing reliance of the world on technology and the media for information and allowing its guidance of our lives, the song is a tantalising landscape of indie rock with the potent harmonic tones of its creator inciting the imagination in fine style.

The theme and insight of the track is even more relevant to the now as people seemingly live their lives in the fantasy of the internet, its relationships, and through media controlled information rather than the real world around them.

km-art_RingMasterReviewMusically the song carries a nineties indie/Brit pop feel, essences of bands like Suede and Pulp teasing ears within Mcgowan’s own open invention. Its opening touch is woven by the strings of Mcgowan’s guitar, each note a lure inviting and tantalising as darker rhythms stroll alongside with the weight of shadows on their shoulders.

Instantly engaging with a growing catchiness to its character and gait, Hibernation Masturbation only tightens its grip on ears and appetite as a blossoming tapestry of captivating hooks and suggestive melodies entangles the imagination along with the descriptive potency of the lyrics and vocals.

With every aspect of Hibernation Masturbation from creation to release a solo effort by Mcgowan, the single is a creative statement which commands attention, its sound and enterprise simply ensuring that success is a done deal.

Hibernation Masturbation is out now via imagine & believe records on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/hibernation-masturbation-single/id1146680042?ls=1&app=itunes

https://www.facebook.com/kpmcgowan   https://twitter.com/kevinmcgowan67

Pete RingMaster 28/10/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Stoor – Self Titled

stoorJosef K meeting Wall Of Voodoo at the behest of Dead Kennedys with the rhythmic virulence and discord of The Fire Engines

No idea what is in the water over at Stereogram Recordings but this past twelve months has seen the label release a clutch of albums that simply ignite ears and connect with the imagination like no others. Amongst them have been encounters with bands such as St. Christopher Medal, The Filthy Tongues, and The Eastern Swell. Now adding to that adventurous collection of treats is the self-titled debut album from Dundee based outfit Stoor, a release which just might be the most impressive and ridiculously addictive of the lot.

The Stereogram Recordings offering is actually a full re-release of the band’s first album which was self-released on vinyl last year but sure to be the first real engagement for a great many with a quartet which rose up back in the first breaths of the nineties. Musically Stoor seem to embrace post punk/new wave sounds found in the couple of decades before their emergence, and though it is bordering on impossible to pin down their sound imagine Josef K meeting Wall Of Voodoo at the behest of Dead Kennedys with the rhythmic virulence and discord of The Fire Engines and the warped imagination of Pere Ubu in close attendance.

Centred around the off kilter invention of bassist/vocalist Stef Murray, drummer Scott McKinlay, and guitarist Ross Matheson with guitarist Davie Youngblood completing the current line-up, Stoor get straight into ears and psyche with album opener Secret World Of Cement. It is an instrumental which gets right into our already existing passion for post punk devilry, sparking the imagination with its cinematic urban soundscape. Hips and feet are swiftly indulging in its virulent Fire Engines hued strains as hooks and melodies tease and tantalise within something wonderfully akin to the most addictive sixties TV theme tunes.

It is a wonderful start quickly matched up by Liberator, a track just as rapid in its persuasion as spicy lures of guitar link up with the tenacious rhythmic bait laid down by McKinlay. The vocal tones of Murray attract like a mix of Jello Biafra and Pere Ubu’s Dave Thomas, expelling their earnest cries from within another seriously catchy stretch of invention before the brilliant Aye, No raises the ante. A fiercely seductive bass line invades first, strolling from the initial clash of sound to be quickly joined by equally salacious guitar hooks following the same route as Murray’s grooving. Like a pied piper the union draws the listener into an explosive crescendo, riffs and rhythms colliding before the temptation begins all over again with even greater strands of delicious discord involved. All the time Murray places a potent vocal grip on an already eager appetite, backed by the band within what is one gloriously repetitive and enthralling swagger of a song.

art_RingMasterReviewInfect Me steps forward next to keep the enslaving of ears tight, its Gang Of Four like rhythmic escapade chaining attention alone, the brooding basslines and stabs of guitar extra chains to trap attention and ardour. Bursts of raw rock ‘n’ roll only adds to the magnetism as too the distinctive and increasingly flavoursome vocals of Murray, here finding a Stan Ridgway flavour to his excellent theatre of voice. Between them Murray and McKinlay rhythmically have the passions chained up like Houdini, though no escape is possible especially as Matheson and Youngblood create a web of melodic intrigue and deranged drama.

Through the heavier almost muggy escape of Devil Rides Out, a song with a touch of Scars meets again Pere Ubu to it, and the pulsating psych rock infested instrumental of March Of The Molluscs, the album adds further diversity and creative theatre to escalate an already established habituation to its additive prowess, backing their success up with the punk rock of Frack where thoughts of bands like Swell Maps and television Personalities are sparked, though, as constantly across the release, Stoor conjure up proposals unique to their own senses entangling invention.

The calmer saunter of Open The Box comes next, its character a more stable affair but prone to Devo-esque twists and turns before making way to allow the psychedelically spiced Hold That Thought to serenade ears. To its warmer and gentler nature though, there is an underlying tempestuousness which channels its energy into a swinging post punk canter a la The Three Johns.

The bands new single Witchfinder General has ears and lust over excited next, its rhythmic romp alone an unshakeable grip with Murray’s bass swing a predacious seduction reinforced by the tangy weave of guitar and the eager dance of the vocals. Dark and mischievous, compelling and shadowy, the track is superb, a certain doorway into the album come its release though fair to say any track is a suitable invitation.

Going out as it came in with a mouth-watering, imagination stoking instrumental going by the name of Sure Beats Me, a piece which plays like B-52s engaged in carnal knowledge with The Shadows, the album leaves only an urgent urge to dive right back into its body of fun.

Stoor may have been around for a fair few years now but this is the moment they should be enveloped by the biggest spotlights, courtesy of an encounter which has to be considered as an album of the year contender.

Stoor the album is released October 28th on Stereogram Recordings digitally and on CD with the single Witchfinder General out on October 21st.

STOOR are supporting Brix Smith & The Extricated on Sunday 30th October 2016 and The Membranes on Friday 27th January 2017, both nights at Beat Generator in Dundee.

https://www.facebook.com/stoormusic/   http://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk/artists/stoor/

Pete RingMaster 19/10/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Spaztic Robot – Skip Rope Rhymes

album_art_RingMasterReview

On an empty sunny day in 1990, when I was nine years old, I saw two dead dogs. Each at opposite ends of the same street. One was big and brown, the other small and grey. Both greeted me with the exact same pitiful manner. Their sunburnt tongues bathing on the gravel gave the illusion of salmon rising from black tar rivers. As the odour began to rise with the dusty heat, I felt like I’d snorted fizzy pop. I chucked up. Through teary eyes I scanned the motionless street in which I stood. Nothing. Nothing but ugly new houses. Ugly new houses with identical square gardens laid out in front of them.

I wasn’t to know it at the time, but Spaztic Robot was born at that very moment. With no evidence offering itself to the mystery of the dead dogs, my nine year old self began to piece together his own chain of events…a different one lending itself to each house on the street. I was convinced that behind the bricks and mortar of one of these seemingly inconspicuous houses lay a dirty little secret.

Skip Rope Rhymes was created in the same vein. It’s a gathering of characters and stories. Characters and stories that could all easily exist, in one street, behind the closed doors of ugly new houses with identical square gardens laid out in front of them.”

This biography placed introduction to Spaztic Robot pretty such sums up the air and dark intensity which floods a myriad of sounds and imagination making up Skip Rope Rhymes, the band’s debut album. In a broad array of characters, songs offer shadowed adventures all equipped with intimate secrecy, like behind closed doors insights as dramatic and often cinematic as they are seriously captivating.

Spaztic Robot is the solo project of Robbie Sparks, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter of Stourbridge punksters Rebel City Radio. With the band taking a break from gigging and writing over the past year or so, Sparks has used the time to dive into the writing and creating of this his debut album. Recently released, Skip Rope Rhymes has taken little time in drawing eager praise. Its potent diversity means some tracks more forcibly connected with personal tastes than others but from start to finish it is one compelling exploration easy to hear why it has lured strong attention.

The album opens up with Robot Rape, metallic sounds immediately surrounding the senses as whispers in the dark outskirts of the piece share their paranoia. Samples and infectious rhythms soon join the enticement, varied vocal eruptions and a pulsating throb in tow as Sparks begin infesting the imagination in word, tone, and sound. It is an enthralling start which leads into the magnificent theatre of Walk The Long Way Home. Again bold ideas collude with a whiff of insanity as they lead the listener into a sinister noir lit drama of intent and emotion. Nagging and virulent in its catchiness, the track is like a bedlam bound Brian Brain (aka Martin Atkins of PIL, Nine Inch Nails, and Killing Joke fame), a contagious infestation of ears and psyche from repetitious invention and nagging imagination. It is off kilter, bordering deranged, and inescapably irresistible as waves of intensity and psychosis engulf the listener.

The Ants! follows sharing everyday observation in alignment with broader dangers. It sweeps over the senses with again heavily pulsing rhythms and electronic shadows suggestively courting thoughts as much as the intimacy of the vocal and guitar melody. Its low key but involving presence makes way for the pop toned exploits of Confetti Crowns, a song which was one of those not quite igniting ears and imagination as much as those encounters around it. Musically and in songwriting, the song does little wrong yet feels like it is there to provide an accessible doorway and infectious invitation into the real and challenging heart of the album where for us the major excitements lie. Nevertheless, the song does please before the Aphex Twin meets The Cure like Ugly Flower and the scuzzy neurosis of Fingered At The Disco steal their share of attention. The first is a shadow thick serenade of sorts whilst its successor again has a tinge of Brian Brain alongside essences hinting at the likes of Fad Gadget, Pere Ubu, and Wire. It is a glorious and disturbing slice of rhythmic dementia and sonic aberration matched in creativity and emotion by Spark’s schizophrenic vocal delivery.

The melancholy soaked embrace Birth (Goodbye Roggar) offers a collage of flavours and samples next, reminding a touch of Cardiff producer Conformist as it flows like melodic mist through ears with whirls of creative and emotional disturbance interrupting its tempestuous calm while This Is God! induces smiles and glances over the shoulder as the introspective story of death bound life comes with the nag of throbbing rhythms, repetition fuelled melodic temptation, and the stable reflection of its provocateur. Another pinnacle of the release, the track bewitches before Sparks infests the classic (Don’t Fear) The Reaper with his own haunting and acoustic imagination to fine effect.

Skip Rope Rhymes concludes with firstly the creative delirium of At Daggers Drawn, a song which absorbs ears in its society bred dementia and finally the invasive yet solemnly beauteous darkness Extinction Song. Both tracks ignite ears and imagination while challenging each, a quality which infests and shapes the whole of Skip Rope Rhymes in varying ways.

Only listening to Skip Rope Rhymes does it true justice though words like ours, as with Confetti Crowns, hopefully become an enticement to want to leap into the dark and thrilling realms of Spaztic Robot; the rewards are swiftly evident for those that do.

Skip Rope Rhymes is out now across most online stores.

http://www.spazticrobot.com/   https://www.facebook.com/spazticrobot   https://twitter.com/robbiesparks

Pete RingMaster 08/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bag of Nickels – Amen

art_RingMasterReview

Amen is the first release since US rockers Bag of Nickels returned from a recent hiatus and an encounter to work neck muscles and hips. Creating an indie rock sound with a penchant for infectious hooks and rousing vocals, the Wilmington, Delaware bred band is not stretching boundaries with their new offering but it is certainly a release to light the day and heart.

Coming together in 1995, the life of Bag of Nickels has seen several breaks as its members worked on side and solo projects and to defuse the effect of “the grind of playing shows, working 9-5s, and inner turmoil.” The band’s previous albums, Soul Change and Mantequilla, coincided with potent local success and the earning of a strong live reputation which in time has seen the band venture into North Carolina and play several shows in New York.

Amen suggests a band returning from a break re-energised and with intent and the energy to stir up ears and bodies. Produced by Dennis Prado and co-produced and mixed with Grammy-award winning engineer Mike Tarsia, the album immediately gets to work with Hold Your Form. Riffs and whining guitars instantly grip ears as rhythms beat out a captivating lure. The bass is a great throaty element too, its dark grooves contrasting perfectly with the infectious vocal delivery and throbbing nature of the song. It is a great start to Amen quickly engaging body and appetite as familiar yet fresh hues escape the band.

The following Impurities wears more hard rock like essences with its less urgent but as rhythmically empowered character. Again guitars weave a web of enticement combining whining grooves and spicy melodies for two minutes of nothing less than highly enjoyable fun before making way for the Mike Tarsia Remix of Trapper Keeper. Without matching the snappy nature of its predecessors, the song slips easily through ears into an already keenly waiting appetite to hear what is next within Amen, pleasing with every second as the variety across the album blossoms and continues with the equally satisfying funk seeded and blues lined heart of The Set Up.

The rawer rock ‘n’ roll of Liquidation Sale forges a new peak within the album, its feistier melodies and rhythmic incitement compelling as again vocals impress and draw greater listener involvement while rhythms entice feet to share their energy.  More potent with every listen it still finds itself in the shadow of the excellent Speedball, a slice of fiery rock ‘n’ roll with hungry riffs and swinging beats not forgetting another juicily heavy and flirtatious bassline. There is a whiff of Foo Fighters meets The John Baker Trio to the track but as throughout the album any familiar essences collude with the band’s own invention and for the main are not so easy to pin them down.

The gentler hug of the album’s title track is next, guitars and harmonies a warm breeze across the evocative textures of bass and drums, vocals again drawing the imagination with their expression and words. The song is an enthralling encounter, another highlight with a volatility which sparks and erupts to fine effect across the album’s most exciting time, a success which continues to its close.

Amen is concluded by firstly the exotically hued Refrain, another mesmeric and rousing piece of melodic incitement matching the might and imagination of the previous song, and lastly with the bewitching adventure of Sex. Carrying a great XTC feel in their English Settlement era to it, the track glides through ears, stroking the imagination with its folkish yet boisterous melodies as another rhythmic escapade enslaves body and spirit.

Strong and enjoyable from the start but simply irresistible in its closing stretch, Amen easily warrants close attention from bigger spotlights. As suggested Bag of Nickels might not be venturing into unknown pastures with their album and sound but both leave a thick pleasure and keen want for more behind, a success many other bands can only dream of.

Amen is out now @ https://bagofnickels.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/BAG-OF-NICKELS-127836390586804/    https://twitter.com/bagnickelsband

Pete RingMaster 02/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

John Thayer – Face To Face EP

JT_RingMasterReview

Recently singer songwriter John Thayer released new EP Face To Face, a handful of songs which instinctively captivate as warm and suggestive melodies unite with emotion fuelled lyrics and vocals. There is also an intimate drama to each song which often blossoms to broader heights even as Thayer keeps it personal with his introspective exploration and reflections. The result is a release which captures ears with swift success and only lights the imagination further with subsequent listens.

The brother of Tommy Thayer, the lead guitarist in Kiss, John creates a sound inspired by the likes of Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Steely Dan, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and The Who and based, as suggested by his latest offering, around ear seducing melodies. 2013 saw his indie/pop rock sound quickly grab ears and support through debut album Laurel Street, released as the new EP on EON Records.

Already stirring up eager attention, latest record Face to Face was co-produced by John and singer/songwriter producer Rob Daiker (Meredith Brooks, The Fame Riot) at Commune Studios in Portland Oregon and mixed by Greg Collins (U2, Matchbox Twenty, No Doubt). Straight away it seizes ears and imagination with its title track, the opener caressing both with gentle keys and ethereal harmonies initially. That earlier mentioned drama is just as swift in working its charm, coating the emerging orchestral bred keys and vocal expression of Thayer. Equally there is an instinctive catchiness which arises through the song, riffs and hooks mellow but potent as they add inescapable infectiousness to an affair which takes little time to seduce and involve the listener while providing an impressive start to the EP.

art_RingMasterReviewNot Afraid follows and quickly eclipses its predecessor as a thick wall of dramatic rhythmic and sonic energy hits ears. The song soon relaxes as Thayer’s vocals begin sharing melodic sighs and expression though the bass continues to bring dark shadows while prowling the calmer waters, lurking and waiting to join the frequent expulsions of that initial energy with erupt. It is gripping stuff reminding of British artist Johnny Wore Black, and with great unpredictability to its twists and dark hues to its emotion easily takes best song honours upon the EP.

In many ways the song sets a plateau the release never reaches again but enjoyment and creative imagination is still a potent proposal as firstly the melancholic stroll of Really Doesn’t Matter warms the senses to be followed by the evocative serenade of Angel. As the heart bred and felt tones of Thayer slip enjoyable through ears both songs are a flame of melodic enterprise within that ever dramatic air to richly satisfy.

The EP closes with Lonely Eyes and a tapestry of string bred shadows and guitar shaped intensity entangled with suggestive vocals and poetic melodies. There is something cinematic about the song too even as again Thayer ventures into the deepest emotions of the song’s heart. With a flame of a solo and the perpetual majesty of orchestral temptation, the track provides a striking end to an increasingly captivating release.

The Face To Face EP is our first moment shared with the songwriting and sound of John Thayer and like so many others we are sure, it will not be our last.

The Face To Face EP is out now via EON Records through most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/johnthayermusic

http://www.johnthayermusic.com

Pete RingMaster 02/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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