A kaleidoscope of suggestion: talking Shadowplay with guitarist Dan Holden

You may not have heard of rock/alternative outfit Shadowplay but they are a band really beginning to lure strong attention outside of their already conquered home state of New Jersey and further afield. Not to be confused with the Australian rock band of the same name, the Mt. Laurel hailing quintet, since emerging in 2009, has honed a sound persistently and hungrily growing and evolving over the years and releases. Live Shadowplay has equally grown into a rousing and exciting proposition, sharing stages with the likes of Tracii Guns, Doug Wimbish (Living Colour), and Hoobastank as well as undertaking two national tours along the way. Time to learn more so we had the pleasure of exploring the heart of the band with co-founder and guitarist Dan Holden talking origins, songwriting, latest album and more…

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to the beginnings of the band?

I’m Dan Holden and I mainly play guitar for the band Shadowplay. There are four other members in the band: Andrew Corkery (lead vocals), John Sellers (guitar/piano/bass), Ed Flynn (guitar/bass), and Jamile Wiggins (drums). Shadowplay originated in middle school around 2006. In eighth grade I met Andrew at an after school club where kids got together to jam on classic rock music. This was around the time I just started getting into playing the guitar, so Andrew and I decided to start a band. Over time the project evolved into what we are today. John and Ed were both friends of ours from the same school who joined us later on in 2008 and 2011 respectively.

Have you been or are involved in other bands? If so how has that influenced what you are doing in Shadowplay?

I’ve been in Shadowplay for the majority of my life. I’ve played a gig here or there for other bands and with other musicians at other functions, and I often play solo at local shows in my area; however, I’m mostly committed to Shadowplay. We’ve all come from different musical backgrounds, and we all listen to such a wide variety of stuff that I would say each member of our band has definitely influenced another in some way. I originally was the only songwriter for the band, but when John and Ed joined they brought with them their own creativity that really has flushed out our own sound over time. We definitely have gotten each other into different genres and artists that some of us may originally have not been in to (or rather unaware of), and we go see a lot of concerts together and with our friends.

Photo Cred_Reji Berrouet

What inspired the band name?

Shadowplay comes from the Joy Division song. Just thought it sounded cool back when we were 16 years old.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and in what you wanted it and your sound to offer and does that first intent still drive the band or has it equally evolved?

I think originally we just thought rock music was so cool and awesome, and we thought what a lot of bands were doing in the 70’s and 90’s was so fun. We also realized at a very young age that we’d love to be able to play music forever. Originally we were very influenced by those two decades of rock music, but as time went on and we were exposed to all the diversity all music has to offer we sort of have been building towards a different idea than what we probably thought we were going to sound like in our early years. Currently, we really want to be doing things that still have the high energy and high emotion that great rock music are capable of, but we also want to offer people a spiritual connection to us a people. I think we’re moving closer and closer to realizing that every day. We are constantly evolving. Our first album was recorded in 2011, and released in 2012. Our second album was recorded and released in 2016, and a lot has changed in our lives in those 5 years.

Since your early days, can you pin down how your sound has evolved?

When we started we had more of a mix of classic rock with prog, grunge, and arena rock style to our sound. Over time we all began to listen to more electronic music genres, and post-rock, so nowadays we sound maybe a little less commercial? It’s hard to say really because we are constantly changing and trying new things.

Those changes are more organic movements of sound or the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

A mix of both for sure…I find it’s always more satisfying when organic change causes us to try something different or vice versa, it is working with whatever we’re trying to do with a specific song.

You hinted on it earlier that there is a wide range of inspirations and loves across band members; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the Shadowplay sound but also your personal approach to creating and playing music?

It’s hard for me to speak on the behalf of the others because we’re each inspired by our own individual experiences, and those effects vary specifically to us as individuals. I personally would say that I’ve been very inspired by movie scores, cinema, and video game composers in additions to all the bands that I love. I’m a very big fan of taking a melody or motif that sets the mood of the song and engrains itself in the brain of the listener, and then taking that melody and changing it over the course of the song in clever ways or building it up to some kind of emotional climax. Think of it sort of like how you have rising tension in your typical film (or rising action) and then a climax before simmering off into the credits of the movie.

You mentioned originally you were the prime songwriter but that has shifted over time; is there a particular process to the songwriting within the band though?

We each write songs differently, and personally I don’t think I approach any two songs in the same compositional order, but generally speaking as a band one of us will present sort of a complete idea for the music of song to the others. Then we see if anyone else has anything to add onto it, or ideas on how to build the song up even more. Once the music is finished we then write the lyrics. Usually whoever the song is the brainchild of will write the lyrics, or Andrew will write the lyrics. It’s not always the same way though. Sometimes we have lyrics first and song later. Andrew writes a lot of poetry based on his experiences as he travels the world fairly often for his career in journalism and media production.

Where would you say inspirations to the lyrical side to your songs most come from?

From my life experiences and the other artistic mediums that inspire me. My lyrics personally are often inspired by film, video games, and literature that I’ve read and how I fit my own personal life into those ideas.

Can you give us some background to your latest release?

Our latest album is called Almost Lifelike and we recorded it and released it in the summer of 2016. We recorded it with our engineer/producer Ted Richardson at Burn Down Studios in Philadelphia. We had gotten connected with Ted in 2013 thanks to the help of our original band manager, and we recorded a single with him called Sandy Eyes out of respect to people in our home state that were affected by hurricane Sandy. We were very pleased with how that song turned out, and had a great experience working with Ted the first time around so we knew when we were going to do another album he had to be the guy we worked with. Our latest album is our second full length CD.

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

As I said before we are influenced by our own individual experiences as songwriters. The albums lyrics song to song deal with this, but in a manner that’s got kind of a twist of surrealism to the whole thing. We talk a lot about dealing with loss in different stages of grief, anger, and acceptance. Because of the surreal nature to the lyrics and metaphors we use on the record we said that it’s got an almost life-like quality to it, but not quite exactly like real life. This idea is further explored in the album art in which a man has walked into a record store and picked up an album that looks suspiciously like him buying a record.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

We try to make sure the song is ready to go once we are in the studio just because it saves time and money, but how we record them and what texture we decide to give it can happen spontaneously as we record them.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably as for most, when Shadowplay truly come alive.

We definitely feed off of crowd energy. Playing for a lot of people who are really there to enjoy a show helps us enjoy it more and it’s always more cathartic for both us and the audience that way. I’d actually say that being in the studio is my favorite aspect of being in the band, however.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods?

Playing live shows as often as possible and wherever possible, and figuring out what shows were successful and repetitive booking at those venues is really the best way I can describe our success and how a band can make a name for themselves. Philadelphia and southern NJ is a great area for bands to play because there are a lot of quality venues and local artists that can help you network and just keep growing. But as a band you also have to be able to play shows out of your local spot, and we’ve been fortunate to have played in many other states as well.

Photo Cred_Reji Berrouet

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something fully positive or is there an opposite side you have found too?

Social media is a blessing for musicians in an era where there are so many more musicians and artists than ever before. You’re able to work with it to meet new people and keep connections that you otherwise would not have been able to before, and it’s much easier to tell people about yourselves and show them what you’re doing. The only negative I can honestly say is that there might be a bit of oversaturation that could lead to artists getting lost in the fold if they aren’t committed, but if you keep pushing at it good things will happen.

Once again Dan, my big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

The pleasure is all mine, I assure you! Shadowplay is already hard at work making new music and learning a lot of other music so be ready for our next album sooner rather than later!

Explore the world of Shadowplay further @ http://www.shadowplay.band/  https://www.facebook.com/pg/shadowplayrocknrolland
and the album Almost Lifelike @ https://shadowplayband.bandcamp.com/releases

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 07/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Shadowed reflections and bright legacies: embracing the heart of 1919 with Vocalist Rio Goldhammer

Photo by Carl Arnfield

Bloodline is an album which is destined to not only leave a striking creative fingerprint on the year but the decade as a whole for not only post punk/gothic rock, but simply rock ‘n’ roll. The new outing from 1919, a band inspiring generations of artists from their emergence in the late eighties, Bloodline is not only one deeply rousing slice of musical adventure and imagination but also a major last triumph from founding member and guitarist Mark Tighe who sadly passed away virtually days before its release. It is a stunning part of the legacy the musician left global music. With deep thanks to vocalist Rio Goldhammer and also drummer Mick Reed, we had the pleasure to talk about Mark and also delve into the future of 1919, the fabulous Bloodline and much more…

Hi Guys and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

A pleasure.

Before we talk about your album, could you please just say some words about band founder and guitarist Mark Tighe who so sadly passed away recently; about him as a musician and friend.

It’s hard to put into words really. His legacy will be one of sound… it already is. He was an artist and trying to explain his craft in a few words would do it an injustice – it took him a lifetime to do what he did. If you look through his old online posts (something it seems we all do quite regularly), his words are very few – usually to punctuate an image. He lived and breathed art. His eulogy reflected this well. It was mainly music…Exactly what he would have wanted.

As a friend… well, he would have been blown away by the tributes that came for him. From the music press, from fans, from bands we’ve worked with and many that we haven’t. He was a humble guy who always thought of others first. He’d bring chocolate to rehearsals, even when his illness meant he couldn’t eat it himself. He looked after the merch for the band right until his last day – always with a hand-written note. He wanted to do his bit and never took our supporters for granted. I could go on for days about him. Anyone who met him, even for a moment, knows he is a huge loss to the world, and we’ve lived on top of each other for 2 years. It’s still hard to accept not seeing or talking to him

His untimely passing must make the release of your new album Bloodline, the saddest joy possible?

Of course. You know, the label called up after the CDs arrived saying “the album is too good not to be on vinyl”. I wish Mark had heard that. He was desperate to get a vinyl release. Sadness and joy are, yes, perhaps in equal measure. But the prevailing emotion is doggedness. We know what we have to do now, and we know who we have to do it for.

Do you know what the future of 1919 might be without Mark, or is that a question you have yet to ponder?

We’ve had to ponder it for a while but we’re determined to finish what we started. Mark insisted we find someone… he’d wanted to teach them the guitar parts himself but he deteriorated so quickly. He insisted “no one was irreplaceable”, but at the time we were more concerned with being there for him as friends. And indeed, we now have someone in the unenviable position of trying to learn the guitar parts without Mark’s tutelage! We’re determined to honour him, and we will. Humans are mortal. 1919 is not.

We do have someone on board though [Sam Evans]… Someone who met Mark a couple of times. We didn’t want a hired gun because the band is a family. It will be a new chapter for us of course, but we had a good idea of our future direction from our final months with Mark. There are a couple of finished tracks and a handful of demos from the last 6 months so we have a good base to work from. But I don’t think its right to say we’re “without Mark”. He will always be with us, and as long as 1919 is alive, so is he.

It is fair to say that for gothic/post punk fans who knew you first time around, 1919 was one of the most important and inspirational propositions in the eighties. Is that a feeling you found in people if not then when 1919 re-emerged a couple of years or so ago?

Absolutely… 1919 never performed outside of the UK the first time around, but we’ve found a lot of love from across the world. Particularly in France and Germany (and of course our favourite place, B52 in Eernegem) we’ve had some amazing audiences, and they tend to be a lot younger than our audiences at home. The band obviously means a lot to people and we take that very seriously.

Obviously the time between has seen original members grow as artists and people, can you describe how creatively 1919 evolved from those early heady days seeing chart breaking singles and an acclaimed debut album?

Mick Reed: Well, as you say we’re a lot more refined now in terms of musicianship. But you know, in a lot of ways nothing’s changed at all. The writing process is similar; as is the way we rehearse and record. There are no egos in this band and it’s just so easy to get on with it. This incarnation of the band has actually been the most stable line-up in our history. I honestly can’t see anything other than mortality come between us.

How did the link-up with Mark and Mick, of course the band’s original drummer, with you Rio and bassist Karl Donner come about; how did you all meet?

We hit the ground running really. Mark and I had been doing Circle of the Absurd and put the Revenge demo out as 1919. Mick and Karl had been doing some work together on some lost Ship of Fools material… Once Mark and Mick were in touch again we just brought the two pieces together.

Mark’s poetically haunting melodies and grooves showed they had lost none of their invention and evocative touch within the new album but there is a bold new freshness to the whole 1919 sound, more than maybe would be expected with simply maturity and experience involved. How would you assess its new character and body?

It feels fresh. We’re simultaneously an old band and a new one… but aside from that I think you’ve said it yourself. Mark spent a lifetime perfecting a sound that was completely his, and Mick’s drums – the tribal power – has always been a signature of the band. We’re not going through the motions though, we mean every note we play and every word we sing. We’re a tight unit and the music means everything to us. Anything else is up to you to discern.

Can you tell us about the recording of Bloodline? Was it an easily flowing process?

100%. When we recorded The Madness Continues…session in 2015, we did all 14 tracks in a day. For Bloodline we took a little more time, of course, but the core of each song was still recorded live in our rehearsal room. We’re just comfortable there. Live music, a little overdubbing, and then vocals. Then of course we have an excellent producer in James Reid, who does the mixing. Mick sits with him for the most part and he’s got an excellent ear for texture, but it definitely flows.

The rhythmic adventure of the songs with Bloodline is for us addictively invasive, bound in almost tribal persuasion as you just mentioned, and more than matched by the web of sound round them. Mick and Karl have an instinctive understanding it seems, creating a tempting core for the goodness. How did the songwriting work for the album; those dramatic rhythms first, suggestive melodies, or variety of things breeding what it offers?

We jam! A lot of bands don’t… sometimes someone brings an idea into the room and we play with it… I try to scribble some lyrics out on the spot when possible. But there’s no definitive method. We just make noise and the best bits start to structure themselves.

Can you give us some background to the themes within Bloodline?

The label called it “the soundtrack to the end of the world” in their press release. I like that.  There’s a lot in there really… Life, death, environment and architecture, violence, peace, power, philosophy, representation… a touch of nostalgia. There’s a political element, sometimes abstract and sometimes more direct. But I won’t feed you the minutiae. I prefer to leave room for interpretation.

You have also released a great video for the album’s title track. It was created and filmed by Carl Arnfield of Chalkman Video, the producer of a string of striking videos and films. What brought you guys and him together?

He’d done a video for The Kingcrows which I liked – they’re friends of mine and put me in touch with Carl. He’s done all of our videos now and there will be more collaborations with him without a doubt. We do butt heads occasionally, but only because he has such an artistic vision for his work. He’s in it for all the right reasons and a real asset to be able to call upon. He’s also a top bloke and worked his socks off to get the C.O.T.A video out in time for Mark to be able to see it. Can’t recommend the guy more highly.

It is hard to imagine your emotions as Bloodline sees itself being devoured by fans and lauded by so many,  your proudest moment musically?

Mick & Karl: Watching Joy Division was incredibly important in our lives.

Mick: John Peel too. When he announced he was going to bring 1919 in for a session I couldn’t believe it. To have done two of them will always be something I’m proud of.

Rio: The first time we played Paris (at Le Klub). The power blew in the middle of the set… it felt like the building was going to collapse during the rest of it. It was perfect.

Once again my biggest thanks. Anything you would like to add?

Just some words from our Captain:

 

I work life like it is worked

The moon shimmers red

Cherry red

The glow distilled into exploding fireflies

Roads are long

Fields pass

The blue twilight comforting

I am dazed and even confused

But I realise that I love this life

On the road

My band

High on life

Twitching to go

To play

The electricity overwhelms me

It is immeasurable

1919……….. Forever

A. Tighe

Image by Scott Ford

 http://www.1919official.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/1919official/   https://twitter.com/1919official

Read our review of Bloodline @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/1919-bloodline/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 23/03/2017

Black Space Riders – Beyond Refugeeum

Pressefoto BEYOND REFUGEEUM EP_RingMasterReview

It is hard to say whether Beyond Refugeeum, the new EP from space rockers Black Space Riders, is an epilogue, continuation, or parallel entity to the band’s acclaimed fourth album, Refugeeum of 2015. In varying ways it is all of those identities whilst providing a mouth-watering and spirit rousing proposal from the ever captivating imagination of the German outfit offering four new tracks to tempt with a couple of remixes.

The quartet of original recordings making their first appearance upon Beyond Refugeeum, are songs which the band deliberately kept back from Refugeeum to release separately; tracks which according to vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist JE, are “unlike what you might expect from this band. But you can still tell that it comes logically and quite unmistakably from the Black Space Riders. The songs are exalted, sometimes overwrought, vivid, and yet accessible. Much has happened in Europe and in the world since these songs were written at the end of 2014 and recorded in early 2015, but they seem to be even more contemporary and necessary than ever.

As soon as first track Willkommen engages and embraces ears, it is easy to understand his suggestion. The EP is straight away recognisably Black Space Riders invention but moving in different circles of ideas and fresh directions, and increasingly so across the release. The opener is an instrumental which starts with a gentle intent and touch, guitars coming in one by one with bass and percussion close behind. Each element has a melodic and rhythmic restraint but a provocative essence which brews and grows across the six minute encounter. Spatial yet increasingly aggressive and intimate, the track is like a psychedelic nebula, drawing in denser sounds and energy until creating its own dramatic world, or in this case an intensity fuelled sonic climax.

16_01_04 ep_beyond_refugeeum_cd-digisleeve_RingMasterReviewThe following Freedom At First Sight sees the band venture into a more nostalgic field of inspiration, post and gothic punk with new wave hues enthrallingly flavouring its magnetic presence. The vocals have a dour tone and melodies a colder air to match the ambience of the otherwise rousing roar of the song. In many ways like a mix of Sisters Of Mercy, Killing Joke, and Joy Division, it is glorious with a closing crescendo of voice and sound to get lustful for. Across their releases, Black Space Riders have created some memorable and irresistible proposals but this track might just eclipse them all.

Droneland grumbles into view next, its sonic breath a grouchy nagging which is soon accompanied and overwhelmed by the magnetic light of synths, though an underlying shadow still lingers as the track blossoms a mesmeric flight over shamanic rhythms.  The attitude loaded lure of bass adds another irresistible hue, as too the grainy vocals which soon breed great spirit-raising harmonies. Once hitting its full height, weight, and stride, the track is a forcibly rousing incitement again revealing new shades of colour and imagination to the creative palette of the band.

Just as fascinating and thrilling is Starglue Sniffer, a pulsating slice of funk rock with spatters of excitable melodic and sonic temptation across a flirtatious bass lure and exotic rhythms. The falsetto hue of the vocals catch ears by surprise whilst only pleasing though it is the thumping dynamics and almost rebellious textures of the song, as well as sultry grooves, which steal the passions most. Becoming more irritable and volatile with every passing breath, the track snarls and flirts with sublime effect, to join its predecessors in leaving ears and appetite greedy for more.

Completed by VRTX RMX, an atmospherically invasive yet alluringly droning remix of their last album’s opener Vortex Sun, and finally Gravitation, the electro club remix of the band’s Give Gravitation to the People, a song on D:REI the band’s debut album, Beyond Refugeeum is an unmissable treat for fans and newcomers. The final two tracks make great listening but it is the new songs which grab all the eager plaudits whilst revealing an array of new pastures we can only hope the band explore further. We loved the previous Black Space Riders releases, but Beyond Refugeeum might just be our favourite moment yet.

The Beyond Refugeeum EP is out now via Black Space Records on 12” vinyl, CD, and digitally@ https://blackspaceriders.bandcamp.com/

http://www.blackspaceriders.com   https://www.facebook.com/BlackSpaceRiders

Pete RingMaster 16/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

Peter M. Smith – Speak No Evil

Smith _RingMasterReview

Having earned eager praise and success with a cover of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart with JD Kelleher in the Irish rock charts, a track released to raise awareness in the lead up to Ireland’s “Yes Vote” for Marriage Equality, and with the song for the Requiem (For Fighting) on the Ireland Laid Bare compilation album, Peter M. Smith is firing up his own moment in the spotlight with new single Speak No Evil. It is a rousing and commandingly infectious proposition which suggests that the Dublin hailing singer/writer’s moment with be no fleeting period.

Taking inspirations ranging from Thin Lizzy to Lenny Kravitz into his tenacious songwriting and sound, Smith caught the attention of Lonely Child Records to whom he recently signed, no doubt helped by his already mentioned successes that has had the Irish rock scene offering eager support. Now it is Speak No Evil providing the fresh nudge on attention, a song which manages to sound boldly familiar yet similarly openly fresh and individual to Smith.

A great bassline opens up the song, its punkish tone contrasted by the sultry guitar flirting away in the background. Thick beats add to the ears and imagination sparking start, successful bait only elevated by the first showing of Smith’s vocals and the infectiousness brewing up in the already gripping proposal. As he vocally swings with the opening verse, there is a Huey Lewis meets Halls & Oates feel to the song, that strong lure soon boiling into a hard/classic rock roar for the easy to get involved in chorus.

The track continues to romp and incite participation, its tenacious rock ‘n’ roll a spark for feet and voice whilst heavily suggesting Smith is someone ears want to hear plenty more of. With recent successful shows in the UK alongside The Jokers and Emma Stevens, signing with his new label, and now the release of Speak No Evil, 2016 is looking like a big year where many more will be enjoyably discovering Peter M. Smith.

Speak No Evil is available now via iTunes.

http://www.petermsmithofficial.com/   https://www.facebook.com/petersmithsings   http://www.twitter.com/petersmithsings

Pete RingMaster 06/04/2o16

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

Antigone Project – From Its Room

Antigone Project _RingMasterReview

Hailing from the creative belly of Paris, Antigone Project made a potent first impression with their self-titled EP late 2014; a debut which has only strengthened its persuasion over time and listens. It was stirring and eventful tempting, a fusion of provocative flavours which has been lifted to a whole new plateau with its successor, the From Its Room EP.

Embracing the emotive qualities of post and progressive rock in electronic and guitar conjured soundscapes whilst equally drawing on the eighties inspired post punk /synth rock essences which marked its predecessor, the EP is a bolder and more immersive adventure exploring persistently evolving and evocative rock landscapes within tempestuous sonic climates. The leap in creative maturity and indeed experimentation between releases and their individual characters is as open as the wealth of textures woven into the EP’s six striking tracks, and as thoroughly enjoyable as that first offering was, From Its Room simply leaves it in its shadow.

Antigone Project is the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist /songwriter Frédéric Benmussa and a project initially intended as a solo venture. Formed in 2002, the band expanded over time with bassist Manu Ventre and drummer Fred Monaco alongside Benmussa upon the latest encounter. Inspirations to the band includes the likes of Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Joy Division, Tool, and numerous more, spices which were an open spicing within that first release but far less prominent in the unique proposal of From Its Room.

art_RingMasterReviewThe EP opens with First Rush, an immediately provocative mist of keys and sonic suggestiveness surrounding the senses as the song simultaneously brews up a dramatic and tempestuous climate. Benmussa’s soaring tones soon launch across the brooding canvas, his alluringly harmonies entwining with the floating wash of keys. Both powerfully draw ears as riffs and rhythms brew up within them, the imagination firing intro leading the listener to the following creative theatre of The Black Widow. Tangy hooks and sultry surf rock bred grooves engage ears and appetite straight away as the song’s sinister but seriously alluring character blossoms. As Benmussa’s voice brings another beguiling texture into play, the track’s exotic mystique and post punk charm enjoyably increases, addictive rhythms courting the surrounding adventure cast by guitar and keys. The track is stunning, an early favourite and highlight of the EP which alone shows the new diversity of sound and creative boldness soaking the release.

A live version of Trismus comes next, the band opening with grungy guitars as gothic hued keys rise up around them and the darker lure of the bass. Earlier Radiohead was mentioned as an inspiration to the band and here there is no escaping their scent as again a sweltering sonic colouring with surf/psych rock shading escapes guitars and harmonies as cinematic drama and haunting essences collude. It is a beguiling, imagination igniting immersion of the senses and thoughts, soon matched in creative endeavour by the following Sphere.

In three parts but meant as one musical movement, it begins with MoonSphere where gothic toned keys enclose ears as poetic melodies slip from the acoustic prowess of Benmussa, both expanding their temptation with an array of warm and imposing textures as vocals and rhythms bring their contrasting elements. There is a touch of The Cure and The The to the song, that previously mentioned eighties feel showing itself in a song seemingly as much Nine Inch Nails spiced. The track’s infectious union of shadows and melodic persuasion, a dark and light side, leads into the rousing revelry of VenuSphere. Straight away the track erupts, bounding along with tenacious rhythms aligned to a just as frenetic sonic and melodic resourcefulness. Inescapably though, it is still bred from the same emotional heart as its predecessor even when involving ears in its salacious temptress like festivity. Again a skilful collusion of contrasting shades and textures, this time honed into a virulent spirit arousing canter of electro rock/pop, the track sets flows straight in the final movement in the piece, PerfectSphere.

A darkly shadowed and almost portentous coaxing of ears and imagination, its riveting theatre and emotive tapestry of sound beguiles as it inflames and though as the other two, the song does work as a single proposal, Sphere has to be played as one whole flight of sound to ensure the fall through its cinematic and fascinating depths are felt to the full.

From Its Room is a thrilling new experience with Antigone Project; as suggested a major step on from their certainly impressing debut but one still seemingly like it is only part of the way towards something bigger and bolder, of which anticipation is already brewing.

The From Its Room EP is out now digitally through iTunes and on Ltd Edition vinyl via Season Of Mist @ http://shop.season-of-mist.com/vinyl/antigone-project-from-its-room-lp

https://www.facebook.com/antigoneproject    https://twitter.com/projectantigone

Pete RingMaster 05/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

Horse Party – Horizons

Pic by Jeff Higgott

Pic by Jeff Higgott

Regular readers to The RingMaster Review will know we have enjoyed an on-going affair between ears and music with UK trio Horse Party ever since they emerged in 2012 and unveiled their first pair of songs in Clarion Call and Back To Mono.  Since then, as their sound and imagination has grown and evolved, each single, EP, and indeed debut album, Cover Your Eyes, has bred a lustier and greedier appetite for their post punk/indie rock seeded adventures. Now the Bury St Edmunds hailing band has a new album to excite and draw spotlights their way, and in Horizons, one suspects and hopes, the key to deserved major attention.

Horizons is a compilation of sorts; a collection of the tracks released by the band across 2015 through EPs and singles. For fans there is the added bonus of a previously unreleased track and for newcomers, Horizons is an A-Z to why Horse Party is for so many British rock ‘n’ roll at its inspiringly majestic best. Released via R*E*P*E*A*T Records, the album is a kaleidoscope of the imagination and dark yet vibrant sounds which the threesome of vocalist/guitarist Ellie Langley, vocalist/guitarist/bassist Seymour Quigley and drummer Shannon Hope weave into their songwriting and acclaimed live shows. The fact that the tracks are laid out in release order also reveals the growth in the band’s sound over the past twelve to eighteen months alone.

It opens with the two tracks which started 2015 off in major style as a 7” vinyl single. Out Of Sight is first and instantly entices ears with a dour yet flirtatious bass riff. From its first breath, the outstanding song prowls ears and imagination, a predacious air to bass and guitar leading the seduction as beats crisply land around the just as swiftly alluring voice of Langley. Though it broadens its expression and melodic touch, the song never loses its darkly hued and persistent beckoning, even as rawer rock flames accompany the new zeal and energy fuelling the vocals. With psych rock lighting adding to the potency, the track is inescapable anthemic rock ‘n’ roll which is quickly more than matched by Receiver.

The second track shows a fleeter foot in energy and rhythms, almost bounding into view as riffs jangle and entice around the just as thickly coaxing vocals of Quigley. A delicious nagging seeded in post punk and punk with a slither of noise rock to it, the song dances around the senses, only increasing its tempting as transfixing harmonies expose lust in an already eager appetite and hooks toy with an alternation of slim and inflamed bait. Like a mix of like Au Pairs, Joy Division, and Morningwood, the track is simply irresistible.

album cover by Kate Wood

album cover by Kate Wood

What I’d Do steps forward next, its strolling gait and intensity another reserved but vibrant beckoning with emotive hues lining voice and melodic enterprise. The steely tone of bass holds ears tight from within the hazy but openly textured song, its dark touches courting the melancholically evocative tones of Langley as well as the more sultry strains of guitar. A slice of psych/rock pop, the song has a Forever Still meets Stevie Nicks air to it, and easily casts its spell on attention before Horizons shares it’s more relaxed but no less provocative presence. Quigley again takes the vocal lead, his potent presence nestling compellingly within a landscape which uncages moments of tempestuous energy and sonic voracity. There is surprisingly a touch of The Housemartins to the song and indeed a whiff of Paul Heaton to Quigley’s expression though once more what emerges is a song as distinct to Horse Party as their name.

A brand new song in the shape of For All I Know follows and swiftly has ears engrossed and enjoyment stirred as a solemn mix of guitar and bass suggestiveness wraps the equally mellow vocals of Langley and the magnetic rhythmic enticement of Hope. It is another with fire in its belly though that is held in check for the main even with the thick nudges of Hope’s swings, the drummer as shown throughout the album, able to create anthemic incitement without disrupting the emotive flights of songs.

A hypnotic nagging steers Paydirt into ears next, its persistent jab of beats colluding with scuzz kissed riffs as minimalistic but potent grooves flirt. In full swing, the track is a bracing proposition which sonically sizzles whilst in its more mellow moments it is monotone sculpted romancing of the senses, and throughout, an addictive breath-taking stroll cast in dark emotions and predatory shadows. It just lights up air and ears, melancholy lined vocals a single seduction among many shared by the song before Animal similarly provides a rousing and compelling experience. As Langley’s almost challenging tones align with choppy rhythms, the track enforces quick submission to its expanding lures. Everything about the song provokes with aggressive intent yet only flirtation is felt as Hope harries and bass and guitars stalk and erupt. That tempting is especially arousing in the passage of surf rock seduction which has body and thoughts aflame in a moment, as echoed by the lyrics, which is like the glorious eye of an equally thrilling storm.

The acoustic hug of the darkly lit and captivating October enchants next, Langley alone and in vocal union with Quigley mesmeric within the blues expressed guitar before Money Talks saunters in on a scuzzy lure of riffs. Gentle slithers of guitar and catchy beats align with the initial tenacious draw and subsequently the siren-esque call of the vocals, it all finding extra drama in the occasional bursts of intensity which punctures the highly infectious persuasion.

Essences of noise rock and new wave creep into Rocket Science next; its canter a lively enticing within post punk shadows and blues lit sonic suggestiveness. Predictability is never an element within a Horse Party song, a point tenaciously shown here as volatile textures and energies engage with the outstanding encounter’s absorbing and seductive serenade.

Smouldering surf rock inspired melodies shape the beauty of Looking For Life next, the song an elegant and radiant shimmer of melodies and harmonies around resonating rhythms. It is a bewitchment of ears, a sonic smooching of the senses and quite delicious epitomising of another quality in the Horse Party creativity, that every listen just makes a song more compelling and impressive.

The emotive soothing of Howling At The Sun surrounds the imagination next, the twin vocal seducing as rich and dramatic as the brooding atmosphere and sounds around them whilst Gratitude Falling brings the album to a spellbinding close with its evolving tapestry of beguiling sound. From a single melody, the track courts a thick growl of bass and a sharp guitar jangle, going onto breed scuzzy expulsions of tempestuous sound whilst all the while Langley grips ears with her narrative and magnetic tones.

Horizons is simply one of the year’s musts; an essential invitation not only into the creative arms and charms of Horse Party but to one of the new breed destined to inspire the future of British rock ahead.

Horizons is released on download and CD on April 1st via R*E*P*E*A*T Records and @ http://horsepartyparty.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/horsepartyparty    https://twitter.com/horsepartyparty

Pete RingMaster 22/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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SPInnERS – Ghost

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SPInnERS are no strangers to the Greek underground scene but probably, as for us, an unknown quantity and indeed name further afield. With a push and an introduction here and there, that might change in the near future especially as more and more catch on to the band’s new album, Ghost. The nine track proposition is a ripe tapestry of flavours; from punk to grunge, post punk to indie rock, and plenty more, it is all infused into a raw and compelling, uncompromising and fascinating trespass on ears and imagination.

The Athens based band actually started back in 2008, making a swift impact with only their third live show coming as support to Dinosaur Jr in their home city. A three year hiatus swiftly followed though, before they returned and released debut album Everybody needs a lie in 2011. A self-titled successor lured greater attention with its release two years later, leading to a mini Balkan tour across Greece, Serbia, and the Macedonian city of Skopje. Now with the recently released Ghost sparking broader attention, the trio of vocalist/guitarist Panos, drummer Chris, and bassist Tommy O who joined the band following the departure of Vad who played on the latest album, are poised to become an eagerly talked of name on a broader expanse of lips.

First track upon Ghost is Unspoken Words and fair to say that within seconds its twisted lure of hooks and spiky grooves has ears attentive as tenacious rhythms drop agitated yet anthemic bait around them. With the plaintive nature of the vocals and indeed the melodic acidity which veins the encounter on top, the track quickly grows into a heftily alluring slice of sonic and emotive discord. It is bracing, leaning on the side of concussive and virulently gripping stuff sparking the album to a great start.

The following Same keeps ears and emotions similarly enthused; its abrasive but inviting body again speared by a potent line in imposing beats around a grouchily magnetic bassline. The vocals of Panos emotively and harmonically match the tempestuous sounds around it, flavours which unite in a post hardcore meets noise infused punk rock exploration of the senses.

The album’s title track steps forward next, its dissonant bellow carrying a more heavy rock/ grunge essence to its character whilst colluding with post punk/noise rock imagination. In many ways there is a great feel of seventies bands like Artery and The Membranes to the track, magnetic essences which continue to emerge as the likes of My dreams are dead and Mental Detox crawl over the senses. The first, from a yawning scraping of guitar string, slips into captivating sonic smog of thorny aggravation littered with addictive hooks and an almost barbarously persuasive swing whilst the second colours its matching rapacity in sound and attitude with warmer flowing melodies and group vocal roars. It too, is a song that is more an aggressor than seducer but the latter is what it emerges as for ears with its web of spicy grooves, throatily coaxing basslines, and fiercely involving rhythms.

Ghost hits its pinnacle over the next pair of songs, starting with Sick of You. A blend of old school punk and garage/noise rock, the track is irresistible as it plunders the passions with jangling lures and searing hooks, not forgetting more impossible to resist rhythmic tempting. Its triumph is emulated in Additional Expectations, another seemingly inspired by the post punk imagination of a Joy Division or Clock DVA but, as its predecessor, also sharing the infectious prowess of bands like fellow Greeks, Three Way Plane.

(The Apparition) provides a haunting breeze of melancholic sound around a poem performed by Julian Glover next, a track wrong-footing the listener but enticing the imagination before Wish me Well brings the album to a potent close with its thick tapestry of numerous styles and flavours previously mentioned in its own fresh and pleasing narrative. Arguably the most involved and unpredictable track on Ghost, and all songs defy the satisfying of expectations, the Bauhaus-esque song leaves a lingering impression and rich enjoyment as well as a want to explore the album all over again.

SPInnERS are nudging on greater and increasing attention outside of their homeland; a success if not now they will surely earn at some point with offerings like Ghost.

For more info on SPInnERS and Ghost check out https://www.facebook.com/SPInnERS-athensgr-180374258675694 and  https://spinnersathens.bandcamp.com/

SPInnERS Ghost Tour Dates;

Friday 18/3 Salonica (ypogeio) GREECE

Saturday 19/3 Kumanovo (cafe agora) F.Y.R.O.M

Sunday 20/3 Kraljevo SERBIA

Tuesday 22/3 Smederevska Palanka (Balkan rock club) SERBIA

Wednesday 23/3 Niksic (nk club) MONTENEGRO

Thursday 24/3 Podgorica (Montenegro pub) MONTENEGRO

Friday 25/3 Kosovska Mitrovica (Soho)

Saturday 26/3 Krusevac (club zamajac) SERBIA

Pete RingMaster 08/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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