Medicine – Scarred For Life

photo by Beatrix Zilinskas

We have always had the appetite for covers as B-sides, part of EPs, or as bonus tracks on albums but never quite as keen on complete albums just providing versions of other’s songs and don’t get us started on the merit of cover bands finding great success on the back of others songwriting talent but there is always an exception and the new album from LA based Medicine is one such captivation.

The brainchild of guitarist/multi-instrumentalist/producer Brad Laner, Medicine was one of the most potent bands to shape the emerging shoegaze/noise pop sound and scene in the nineties. After a hiatus of several years they have returned with Scarred For Life, as mentioned a collection of covers which take on new character with the touch of the band. Each song though does not feel like Medicine has deliberately dissected and rearranged them instead they feel like they have simply evolved through an organic and instinctive embrace of the band’s distinctive imagination. It brings potent diversity and rich fascination to the release alongside pleasure which is only escalated with the return of original vocalist Annette Zilinskas (also originally of The Bangles and later Blood On The Saddle, Weatherbell, and 3 Hole Punch).

With a line-up completed by guitarist Matt Devine and drummer Jim Goodall, he again one of the original Medicine members, the band opens up Scarred For Life with its title track and their take on the Slapp Happy song. Immediately a thick jangle of guitar descends as rhythms infectiously manipulate. Within the clamour a melodic breath lures with its temptation in full bloom as Zilinskas’ magnetic tones blossom within the muggy treat.

It is a compelling start to the release which Sentimental Lady more than reinforces. The Fleetwood Mac track similarly has a certain clamour which rises around the entrancing melodic invitation which initially preceded it. It is sonic smog as intense as it is ravening but with a composed trespass around the melodic sun which warmly beguiles before Dead Time Bummer Blues hugs and incites the senses with its luxuriant if raw breath and folkish swing. As all songs within the release there is nothing less than captivation on the agenda with the Judee Sill written track amongst the most irresistible.

Neil Young’s Expecting To Fly follows, resonating on the senses before melodic misting envelopes all and its romancing heart shares harmonic smouldering amidst bracing fuzziness. Enthralling from first to last breath but with increasing effect as keys, provided by Solo Goodspeed, weave their noble threads, the track becomes something truly individual to Medicine, the same easily said about both Absolutely Free and Listen To The Band straight after. The Mothers of Invention original is pure infection, its carnival-esque undercurrent bound in a cast of esurient enterprise and theatrical drama as the band develop the tracks original seeds into their own unpredictably creative parade. It is a glorious encounter followed by another which had the imagination bouncing. The more familiar second of the two is engraved on ears by The Monkees and Medicine simply emphasize its more feral aspects though when we say simply there is nothing less than instinctive adventure in every revisited note and syllable.

Through the rich almost suffocating and inescapably infectious pop fuzz of Sally Go Round The Roses, a hit originally for The Jaynetts, and the pure contagion of The Sweetest Girl, band and album only got further under the skin. The second of the two proved a definite favourite here, the Scritti Politti track bred here on an electronic shimmer with dub instincts cradling sheer captivation in the band’s vocals. It is aural romance, melodies and harmonies rapturous caresses within walls of sonic anxiety and scuzz fed anticipation.

The Green Country provides a canvas for the imagination next, it’s electronically bred instrumental wired by just as intimate and suggestive guitar quick food for thought and emotive interpretation while Pickup Song with its sepia lit keys and atmosphere is an evocative embrace of shadows and melancholic magnetism around and inspired by the slowcore droned air of the Codeine original.

Both tracks simply fascinated as the album moved into far darker corners which are further engaged in album closer, Black Satin. The Miles Davies composed track is a jungle of sound and textures, a heated and slightly imposing yet addictively virulent incitement of sound and enterprise on body and emotion.

It is a great end to a release which has increasingly had us absorbed and pleasured. As we hope new material is on the horizon from Medicine, Scarred For Life is a spellbinding return to be getting on with.

Scarred for Life is out now through Drawing Room Records; available @ https://bradlaner.bandcamp.com/album/scarred-for-life-4

https://www.facebook.com/medicinebandsfv/   https://twitter.com/BradLaner   https://bradlaner.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster 31/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Roxanne De Bastion – The Real Thing

Roxanne

In an interview between us and singer songwriter Roxanne De Bastion held after the release of her riveting debut single Red And White Blood Cells, the artist when asked about her first album said it was a collection of songs with numerous characters and styles involved within their breath. The release of The Real Thing more than lives up to her words its wealth of evocative and emotive tracks taking their own individual journeys towards providing a constant richness of quality and pleasure. The single only hinted at the range of expressive depths and musical voices upon the album, the song itself a wonderful ‘cuckoo’ within a varied and captivating clutch of mesmeric ideas and songs.

Born and raised in Berlin, Roxanne moved to the UK after finishing school on a one-way ticket in 2007. The following years saw her continue to develop her craft and creativity whilst travelling all over the country to play shows , her nomadic approach to music giving her many musical bases and a strongly brewing following. As mentioned her first single drew great and potent responses from fans and media with its striking presence and made the anticipation for her first album eager and excitable. Released on her own Nomad Songs label, The Real Thing was recorded with producer Gordon Raphael (The Strokes / Regina Spektor) in Berlin and brings ten inspiring and graciously caressing songs to the passions. It is a release which also holds shadows within its vocal and emotional touch whilst the likes of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Regina Spektor, and Judee Sill, just some of her potent  musical inspirations, are at times open whispers within her already unique stance.

The album catches the ear with 1964 first of all, its simple acoustic guitar and vocal union an upbeat smile upon the senses with a the_real_thing_coverknowing understanding of how to invite and seduce interest alongside the emotions without making an overstated entrance. The vocal harmonies bring extra warmth to the already wonderfully persuasive tones of Roxanne and though the whistling for personal preferences throws a slight unbalance to the flowing charm of the song, it is a brief aside before the track reasserts its compelling hold.

The following Here’s Tom With The Weather brings a slower walk across the ear, the guitar of Roxanne adding to the narrative painting of lyrics and vocals whilst the touch of the keys add light kisses upon the brow of the song. It is a delightful melodic embrace which sets up the appearance of new single Some Kind of Creature perfectly. The song has an even stronger folk pop lilt to its warm tones than with the earlier songs as well as an open sinew to the vocals and its energy. The Hammond sounds paint an emotive atmosphere behind and around the striking vocals whilst like the first and despite the strong shadows which makes suggestions within words and shaded corners of the track, it has a vibrant and lively stroll to its heart.

The raw Empty Space with its slightly smothered but effective sheltered sound makes way for the excellent Red And White Blood Cells. With a core presence which can be described as The Pixies meets Patti Smith with Belly and the Young Marble Giants adding their unique flavours, the song has a magnetic electric guitar tease stroke niggle which across the song builds and excites itself into a sonic crescendo of energy and eagerness whilst vocally Roxanne is like the angel and devil on the shoulder of the track stroking mischief and beauty with equal clarity. It stands wide apart from the other songs in its individuality and shows even stronger width to the variety at play from the artist.

Both The Life I Lead and Handwriting, in again individual ways, engage the ear and thoughts with accomplished craft and ease, as does the slightly plaintive Somewhere upon Avon before the pinnacle of the album steps forward for the greatest seduction of the release. My Shield begins with a subdued caress of vocals and guitar, the spine and impressive stance of all songs on the album, but then allows hearty beats to add their intriguing touch. At this point the piece certainly has senses and attention riveted but it is when the strings unveil their emotive beauty that a new rapture is ignited. The melancholic yet radiant voices of the cello and violin expand into even more potent wraps and aural beauty bringing every emotive essence from the lyrical narrative and vocal deliverance to irresistible witness.

Closing with the gentle cradle of the title track, The Real Thing is an enchanting and passion capturing treat. The songs recorded as a live capture reaping every ounce of emotive value and musical imagination from their hearts for a mix of styles which leave the purest satisfaction. A must listen from one impressive emerging talent.

http://www.roxannedebastion.com/

8/10

RingMaster 18/04/2013

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Roxanne de Bastion: Red & White Blood Cells

With an album on the horizon it is never a bad thing to tease the world with a track which is startling and unique from it before its arrival. This is just what singer songwriter Roxanne de Bastion has done with the song Red & White Blood Cells. Not only is it the first flavour from her upcoming debut, it is a track which you just cannot ignore or resist, an unpredictable barbed hook to lure one to her quirky sounds and an album which one can only assume will be the same.

Playing her first gigs at ten and writing her own songs at the age of 15, Roxanne set out on her own with guitar in hand from Berlin to London. Though not knowing anyone she was soon playing as many open mic nights, venues, and bars as she could and travelling the country via bus and trains to reach and perform  in as many places as possible. With a growing reputation she was soon being asked back to venues across the UK, Germany, and the United States. Her bio states heroes include John Lennon, Ray Davies, Bob Dylan, and Judee Sill, but as the song shows musically she reaps and blooms a sound which is distilled from varied distinctive sources twisted into her own simple and inciteful sound.

The track opens with a persistent guitar tease which threatens to niggle but instead offers an magnetic aural finger like beckoning which in its simplistic intent is irresistible. It is the perfect companion to the voice of Roxanne, her tones angelic and devilish at the same time. She croons whilst grabbing at words to deliver them with a bite yet soothing directness to have ear and attention only focused on her and the song. Whether representative of what her album will bring time will tell, but Red & White Blood Cells taunts the ear with a touch of The Pixies, Belly, and Young Marble Giants wrapped in the punk breath of Patti Smith and easily ensures the forthcoming album will be paid plenty of attention here.

Barely two minutes long the track ends on a crescendo of fiery guitar sonics and abrasive energy to complete the capture of imagination and enthused intrigue. Produced by Gordon Raphael (The Strokes / Regina Spektor), the track more than hints as to why Roxanne has found a firmly growing success and with the release of her album early next year you can only see her finding even greater ardour wrapping around her music.

Red & White Blood Cells is available for free download from http://roxannedebastion.bandcamp.com/track/red-and-white-blood-cells

http://www.roxannedebastion.com/

RingMaster 16/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright