Luis Mojica – How A Stranger Is Made

photo by Kelly Merchant

For us music is a grand adventure and the best encounters are those which take us away from the real world whether it is for four minutes of a single track or an hour or so of a larger aural emprise. The new album from Luis Mojica is one such invitation to escape reality, a truly unique proposal which has turned irresistibility into an art form.

Already renowned as part of eclectic avant cello-based collective Rasputina, Mojica has forged his own alluring presence as a solo artist, one which is simply striking within new full-length How A Stranger Is Made, the successor to his acclaim 2016 debut, Wholesome. Mojica is like a troubadour, carrying a piano on his back and a storybook in his voice and imagination with How A Stranger Is Made a quest across a strange land plucking tales and characters from its unique landscape, drawing from their experiences to confess or certainly hint at his own emotional intimacy. The release as a whole is enthralling and each song a piano centred tapestry of the lives of individuals amidst idiosyncratic stories but easy to feel moments which are equally sharing an aspect of the creator himself.

Though it is fair to say that every song within How A Stranger Is Made fascinated and seduced pretty much effortlessly, its opening pair stood atop the mountain of favourites. Insane is first up and immediately hooked ears with the thick beats which announce its entrance and drama. Straightaway there is a contagion in the keys of Mojica, each note dancing and flirting with attention yet equally sharing a just as gripping emotive pungency. Like a siren, the sax of Caelan Manning shines on the shadows of song and word, its smoky lures just as darkly shaded to similarly enslave with the rich notes escaping the piano. The track is superb, easily one of our favourites songs of 2019 and swiftly matched in potency and pleasure by its successor.

Shaman Food strolls in with a swarthy swagger, spirits enticing with vocal tempting before Mojica and his word wrapped keys bounce through the imagination. The rhythm s of Evan Glen Adams infest feet and hips as the man himself entangles thoughts and spirit with his own; another realm of crepuscular shadows brought alive with craft, adventure and a vocal prowess which itself is a cast of a thousand souls.

From its first breath, there is an open intimacy to next up Invoked, the painting of its protagonist revealing more than just a singular entity. The silvery radiance of Mojica’s piano and tones are courted by the darker hues of Jason Sarubbi’s bass, their contrasting textures united in magnetism as rich and inescapable as Mojica’s rousing vocal palette; that mix as thickly enticing within the folkish hued, volatility breathing Moon Men. The cello of Sister Ursuline is a particular seduction, the tones of Mojica another and with his keys ever conjuring, the imagination was ensnared once again.

Across the quirkily stroked, aberrantly woven Cowboys and De La Saint with its melody pouncing, spring in the step sharing shamanic beauty ears and appetite were again enslaved, the latter of the pair a delicious track far richer and diverse than our words can intimate while Witch Love after them offers another shadow draped seduction impossible to hold at bay as once more craft and imagination rise up with startling enterprise.

If not quite to the depth of those before, City Friends only transfixed though there are certain moments of inflamed rapture which absolutely got under the skin, a trait The Ranger similarly offered with its controlled but animated gait and swing. With the violin of Rebecca Moore and Manning’s sax adding their bewitching aural paint the song’s canvas, temptation was inescapable.

Queen Song again unites shamanic and liturgical essences in its own rich musical textile, every note and syllable picturesque for the imagination and leaving a lingering impression as it makes way for the album’s final offering, a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Stranger Song. Though it did not ignite the passions as any before it, the voice and piano of Mojica absorbed time and attention.

It is a mesmeric and haunting conclusion to an album which even after numerous plays just thrills and impresses more and more; Luis Mojica a minstrel unafraid to share worldly and personal souls.

How A Stranger Is Made is set for release on October 4th with pre-ordering available @ https://luismojica.bandcamp.com/album/how-a-stranger-is-made

https://www.luismojica.com/    https://www.facebook.com/luismojicamusic   https://twitter.com/luismojicamusic

Pete RingMaster 24/09/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Scott Gray – Raincoats and Other Short Stories

This month sees the exclusive re-release in the U.K. and Europe of Raincoats & Other Short Stories, the latest EP from US singer-songwriter Scott Gray. Featuring re-mastered songs and a bonus track, the seven song release is a familiar croon for the heart and a picture book for the imagination which provides a rather enjoyable companion for the ears too.

Nashville based, Gray takes inspiration from the likes of Sting, Leonard Cohen, and Jamie Cullum and like them instinctively crafts his songs as stories embracing the imagination and personal experiences seeded in the broad and intimate moments in life all in some way can relate to. Musically, these adventures further blossom from their creator’s infectious fusion of pop and jazz, a blend carrying a breath as soulful as it is melodic rock energetic. Certainly artists like Michael Bublé and Harry Connick Jr come to mind at times across Gray’s new release but more so it offers an eagerly captivating fresh and individual character.

Raincoats & Other Short Stories first embraces ears with Raincoats, a song which immediately got under the skin as the body bounced to its catchy lure of voice and piano. Gray’s fingers stroll over keys with smiling eagerness, his tones just as vibrant and enthused and almost grinning as they welcome the subsequent full spirited swing of brass and the summery sparkle of keys. The flames of the chorus add another virulent hue to the inescapably catchy encounter and thrilling start to the EP.

Maybe It’s You follows and is no less a flirtatious temptation, its more concentrated canter a joy of nagging bass and again balmy keys cast melodies. Harmonies and brass simply accentuate the track’s affectionate tale and persuasion, a growing classic rock hue another magnetic spice to its swinging heart and keenly sauntering demeanour. As its predecessor, the track quickly had us eating out of its enterprising hand before making way for the sultry charm and intimate jazz club climate of She Remains. Smoky brass joins melancholic keys alongside the reflective reveal of word and Gray’s ever alluring voice; every second of their melodic and wistful contemplation effortlessly beguiling.

Equally thoughtful and pensively mellow is Captured, a tale of dejection, determination and unstoppable romance. Though it maybe took a play or two more to tempt as those before it, the song emerges another ear and appetite ensnaring proposal persistently tempting with an almost gnarly throated sax, invigorating crescendos and Gray’s consistently potent and persuasive voice, the latter especially just as commanding and compelling within the following Someday, Gray’s latest single. Sharing a park bench with the listener watching life go by, it is a melodic musing easily embracing and sparking the imagination.

The lively infectious rock ‘n’ roll of Games You Play, a pop fuelled canter with a jazz rock bred personality and bounce that again needed little time to gain ears and participation, brings further variety to the EP before it closes up with bonus track, As If. An emotionally charged serenade of voice and sound with a fire in its heart, the song makes a fine end to a release which just grows and blossoms in ears and enjoyment play by play and is easy to see bringing a whole new audience the way of Scott Gray from this side of the big pond.

Raincoats and Other Short Stories is only available in the UK and Europe on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/raincoats-other-short-stories/1451747753

http://www.scottgraymusic.com/    https://www.facebook.com/500HatsMusic/   https://twitter.com/ScottGrayMusic

Pete RingMaster 24/03/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Phobophobes – No Flavour

 

Photo by Keira Cullinane

Photo by Keira Cullinane

Phobophobes is a British quintet releasing their debut single this month and though it is only one song heard, it is hard not to join the clamour of suggestion that the Londoners are going to provide the UK music scene with a new and fresh spark over coming years.

No Flavour is the name of the band’s first single, a track which shares its virulent psych pop/garage rock enterprise with a vaudevillian like mischief whilst instantly shedding light on many reasons why the band is causing a stir. Formed in 2014 within the creative belly of Brixton, Phobophobes consists of vocalist Jamie Taylor, guitarist George Russell, bassist Elliot Nash, drummer Dan Lyons who played in the original line-up of Fat White Family, and keyboardist Chris OC also plays in Meat Raffle. Fair to say, the band has earned a glowing reputation across the capital and beyond for their stage presence and sound, something sure to blossom just as eagerly elsewhere once No Flavour escapes the shadows.

Thick swinging beats hit ears first, their resonance as enticing as the fuzzy edge to the emerging guitar. Once keys dance in with flirtatious melodies, that carnival-esque hue is working away on ears and imagination, being only enhanced by the controlled barker like tones of Taylor. The virulence of sound is echoed in the vocals, especially in their broader prowess in a chorus for which there is no antidote for its incitement of listener involvement.

Continuing to bounce and enslave, the song swings and thrills like something akin to The Doors meets early Horrors meets Tankus The Henge, with added Cardiacs like mischief, to match that of the lyrical side, for keen measure. The track is manna to ears and imagination, with no complaints from feet and hips either. Coupled with a reportedly “extraordinary version” of Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song on the B-side, a pleasure we have yet to hear, No Flavour is a mighty introduction to Phobophobes, a band as mentioned earlier, it is easy to suggest has a very potent future ahead of them.

No Flavour is released March 25th on 7” vinyl and download on BAM Records (via Republic of Music).

https://www.facebook.com/Phobophobes/   https://twitter.com/PPhobes

Pete RingMaster 21/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Jane Allison – Just Another Girl

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The album may describe its creator as Just Another Girl but its contents give compelling proof that KarmaDeva’s Jane Allison Stanness is anything but as an artist and songwriter. Under simply Jane Allison, she has cast a blend of intimate acoustic and folk elegance with potent Americana flavouring into a collection of songs which seduce whilst embracing emotive shadows and personal angst. Equally there is an infectiousness to the tracks which adds an inescapable weave of colourful persuasion lyrically and musically, it all suggesting as mentioned that Allison is anything but just another singer songwriter.

The songs for her debut solo album Just Another Girl were written whilst Welsh born Allison was in Berlin, having moved there to finish the second KarmaDeva album. Taking inspirations from childhood heroes such as Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Joan Baez, the songs were bred from her soul and inspired by the experiences and struggles of previous years. Recorded at The Tea Rooms studio in the heart of the Ardennes and produced by Alonza Bevan, Just Another Girl also sees additional guest guitarists on some tracks in the skilled shape of Country Dave Caven as well as Mark Legassick of Howlin Lord. The now Bristol based Allison, who also has notable acting roles and appearances under her belt, including the Julia Davis penned shows Hunderby and Nighty Night, as well as Human Remains and the Simon Pegg movie A Fantastic Fear Of Everything, takes little time to embrace ears and stroke emotions upon her first album.

The title track starts things off, warm vocals and acoustic guitar instantly smiling at ears alongside evocative melodies. It is a gentle start bringing the folk and country hues which vein the whole album swiftly into view before a subsequent 10351077_671996669557637_1070732306411286045_nbolder Americana suasion adds further texture and substance to the emotive encounter. It is an alluring introduction to artist and release, a soft and catchy coaxing awakening a quick appetite for the proposition which is soon reinforced by the first single from the album, Hymn To Hope. Similarly the track offers an elegant hug to the senses with its melodies and a great skittish rhythmic enticing which courts the thoroughly appealing and impressive vocals of Allison, her additional harmonies just as mesmeric as the track expands its provocative dance. As its predecessor, the folk seeded song complete with a healthy country twang, does not leap from the record but certainly raises further enthralling temptation for ears and imagination to immerse in.

Seizing a tighter grip on thoughts and passions is the following Fading Moon. From its first seconds there is a rhythmic tenacity to the track which even in its simple pace provides potent bait as vocals and melodies emerge and bloom around it. A folk charm soaks every note and syllable with essences of Fleetwood Mac making hints as the song wraps radiantly around ears and emotions. With a contagious swing to its respectful gait only adding to its captivating presence, the track is one of the biggest pinnacles of the album, though it inadvertently places a shadow over the next up Country Lovin’. To be fair the song also strolls along with a infectiousness which is impossible to dismiss and a fascination which actually slips pass our inherent disinterest in country music, whilst with each listen it just grows on increasingly open ears as Ms Allison lays an unexpected hex on the appetite.

Both Catch Me and All Over Now ignite imagination and ears with ease. The first explores western scenery beneath a sultry melodic sky, seducing from its first acidic twang and the open embrace of its Morricone kissed climate. It is a gloriously cinematic narrative with similarly captivating vocals whilst its successor is a slow croon with provocative key sculpted drama, and another track which simply blooms and increases its riveting seduction over time through its sixties enchantment. Each leaves a greedier taste in emotions and appetite before the brilliant Joan Of Arc offers its own impassioned balladry. Allison is scintillating, her voice as melancholic as it is beautiful, whilst the melodic lure of the track combines with her emotional majesty to send tingles down the spine.

From one impressive peak the album brings another straight away with Real Life. Again a sixties adventure cloaks the song, aligned this time to a seventies rock heart with psychedelic whispers. It is a transfixing encounter which shows the inspiration the like of Joan Baez has made on Allison. With guitars bringing electrified invention to the song, it leaves ears wanting more and duly served right away by the just as thrilling Wait For Me. It is a song bred from the same vat of invention and flavouring yet sculpting its own unique proposition within the album. In many ways the second half of the album is its strongest and most adventurous, pushing the creativity and presence of the artist to even greater heights.

Completed by the piano driven ballad Farewell My Boy, with Allison again vocally radiant, the melodically glowing Just Another Girl is a thrilling treat to lose thoughts and senses in with the richest rewards in return. Jane Allison is a bright spark in folk inspired invention with the potential to make a potent mark with her solo endeavours in the future.

Just Another Girl is available now @ http://janeallison.bandcamp.com/album/just-another-girl

http://www.jane-allison.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 11/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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