Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers – #3

Archie Deep_RingMaster Review

With two releases under their belts, French rockers Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers might still be lurking in the shadows of recognition with a great many but that could be changing with the release of their new mini album which is simply called #3. Bursting with attitude loaded, fiery rock ‘n’ roll, the band’s third offering is a blaze of impassioned sound and inventive tenacity which makes a very good impression first time around but just gets more creatively impressive and boldly persuasive with every taking of its rousing stomp.

Hailing from Oléron, an island off the Atlantic coast of France and due west of Rochefort, Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers consists of Archi Deep, Camille Sullet, and Martin Leroy. Formed around two years ago, the band quickly sparked attention with debut EP #1 in the November of 2013. Shows and tours around France followed with hunger, the band more recently spreading their sounds in French tours and into the UK after the successful release last year of their second EP, #2. Now their energy fuelled blues spiced, and slightly warped rock ‘n’ roll has an increasingly thrilling outing with the latest proposal from the band. With this also our introduction to Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers, we cannot say how it compares to their previous encounters, or describe the growth of their sound, but looking ahead with #3 as evidence, this is a band going places and more than worthy of a hefty moment of your time.

cover_RingMaster Review   Their sound is a kind of a mix between two UK bands past and present, a kind of coincidental hybrid of My Red Cell and Medusa, and as suggested more irresistibly tempting with every excursion. The EP starts with Nowhere Man and a great scraping of guitar which in turn triggers a groaning bass groove aligned to equally cantankerous and thickly enticing scythes of melodic tonic. The voice of Archi carries similar attitude and expression, his tones also crawling seductively through ears but with an intimidating glint of devilish intent in tow. The song continues to prowl until the blues rock enterprise within the strings and fingers on the guitar cannot restrain their resourceful and smiling endeavour any longer, throwing off any wrap to further light ears and imagination. The band’s current single, it is stirring stuff with the heavy swiping beats only ensuring further that its impact just gets bigger and more tempestuous over time.

The excellent start continues with I’m On The Run, a song opening with a far mellower and gentle coaxing for ears. The enjoyable and already slightly off-kilter vocal delivery is an immediate tempting which is hugged by a hazy melodic web of guitar. Attention is tempted instantly and firmly hooked once a mighty rally of beats sparks the track to burst out with an infectious swing to its body and gait. A wonderful gnarly tone from the bass quickly adds to the theatre and addictiveness of the song, its raw snarl matched in fuzzy kind by riffs, the intensity of the beats, and the salacious glamour lining the enthralling tendrils of blues skinned craft spinning from guitars. It also carries a great stoner-esque feel to its almost bruising rock ‘n roll, another additive to leave thoughts and appetite grinning greedily.

High Minds engages ears next, its acoustic kaleidoscope a tapestry of flavours and seemingly inspirations, merging everything from rock to rap to indie to Lennon and McCartney with imagination. The song is an instant friend which again, as is the theme of the release, just gets more compelling and involving with every escapade with it, a quality once more reflected in the southern kissed, desert rock of I Can See. Whether, moving on a relaxed and spicy canter or uncaging a bracing tempest of energy, veined by molten guitar and spiky rhythmic adventure, the song is aural virulence and quite irresistible.

Taking a little longer than others to tap into the same kind of reactions found elsewhere, Real is a smouldering incitement which just seems to get more determined to have its way with every play, that an inevitable success with its great emotive and melodic turbulence, though with personal tastes it still has to settle for the shade of its companions, especially against the closing mercurial roar of If Only It Was Sunny. The song is glorious, an unpredictable and explosive blues croon of dirty and heart felt rock ‘n’ roll, and the perfect way to conclude one riveting release.

If you like your rock ‘n’ roll on fire than take it from us, Archi Deep and the Monkeyshakers and #3 is a must check out. Simple as that!

#3 is released October 2nd and available digitally at the band’s Bandcamp.

http://www.archideep.com/     https://www.facebook.com/archideep

Pete RingMaster 01/10/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Snaking adventures and confrontations: exploring Medusa with band founder Julian Molinero

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UK rockers Medusa are one of those provocations it is impossible to lose an appetite for especially when they unleash creative tempests as impressive as new album Headcase’s Handbook. The successor to their acclaimed second full-length Can’t Fucking Win, the new album is punk fired rock ‘n’ roll which explores a new maturity and inventive ferocity to the songwriting and sound bred by founder and vocalist/guitarist Julian Molinero. Having been seduced by the excellent incitement we were eager with thanks to Julian, to find out more about its breeding, recording, and look back over the history of Medusa.

Hi Julian and thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

For those new to the world of Medusa can you first of all just tell us about the band and its origins?

We formed in 1998 in Blackburn, Lancashire as a punk band while I was still at school and over the years, it’s had a lot of different members and varied in style but the band is still as passionate and obnoxious as ever.

We all have a band, a song, or moment which makes music from something which is just there, to being as essential as carnal endeavour; what was it which flicked the switch for you?

Just the punk and rock I discovered as a teenager, I just absolutely connected with it and it made everything else make sense.

From that moment was a band always the destination?

There wasn’t a moment but I did gradually slide more and more down that path and it felt right.

Is Medusa the only creative adventure for you or were there other exploits before its formation?

Aside from a couple of jokey cassettes I made prior, Medusa was the first and only band I’ve ever been involved with.

I believe Medusa has been around in two parts with a couple of years as a ‘hiatus’ in between. What brought about the gap and in turn what sparked the band’s return? 15264114200_e1e89dfc64_z

I was living with the other members of the band and it all turned really horrible and eventually ended. The level of drama on a day to day basis was the absolute maximum imaginable. Up until that point we were a punk band and then I started becoming very interested in flashy guitar solos and also some heavy metal music, so for one or two years there was no active band and I was purely interested in developing as a guitarist. When we re-emerged it was with the debut album and that has a definite influence in there of the type of heavy metal I was into at that time. The fact it was recorded so fast, under very tight, difficult circumstances is what gives it its punk edge and I guess that combination makes it quite unique but it definitely wasn’t how it was intended to sound.

Was there anything different in your thoughts and intentions sound wise for the band when you resurrected it? Did you see Medusa as the same band as when it started second time around or something entirely new?

The new direction and debut album were intended initially to be a platform for my guitar solos but I wasn’t able to get my amplifier to the studio and my guitar broke beyond repair the night before going down to record so these factors sent the album in a different direction and, as I say, more like punk than was intended.

We discovered you guys with the excellent Can’t Fucking Win album, a striking attention grabber certainly for us. It in many ways was just the appetiser for your new full-length Headcase’s Handbook which came out a few weeks ago. How do you see the evolution and differences between the two releases?

Well, I feel I’ve developed more as a songwriter and it’s possibly more of defining album. It has the same kind of sound throughout so it’s less confusing to people as to what the band’s style is. To me though, I don’t think either of them is better than the other, they just have different appeals. Can’t Fucking Win has a more epic quality where the drama is greater and the songs are longer and then the new one is more simplified and concentrated. I see it as almost kind of patronising, like a ‘for dummies’ version.

It is easy to say and hear your previous two albums are not short on passion but Headcase’s Handbook seems to have tapped into an even greater fire in that aspect; what do you feel has sparked that new burst?

If that’s true then it’s something I’m oblivious to because if anything the dramas in my life that I was writing about were much less extreme and intense for this album. I see the albums partly as a continuing autobiography of whatever happened in my life at the time of writing. There were definitely things that I was really pissed off about for this one but I just remember the intensity being much bigger for the first two. Maybe I’m communicating it more effectively now or maybe it’s the production value… or the fact we were trying to make it more concentrated? Who knows…

I have also felt an intimacy in the lyrical side of your songwriting; what sparks that side more often than not, is it experience or observation?

It is honesty and my experiences but the focus is on emotion. The lyrics are only there to serve that.

coverTell us about the new album’s title and is there an underlying theme across tracks?

Well, the theme is insanity and feeling lost. It does spread across the tracks, the album’s sub-heading in the liner notes says

“a guide to living for the confused, lost or mentally disturbed [those who see things as they really are]”.

The artwork is tied up in it too and there’s a conclusion to it all at the end of the album, if you look out for it.

Headcase’s Handbook was recorded with producer Lee Batiuk, compared to Can’t Fucking Win which was partly with Romesh Dodangoda. How did the link up with Lee come about and what did he bring forth in your songs which you had not foreseen or imagined?

Only two songs on Can’t Fucking Win were mixed by Romesh, we didn’t really have a producer for that one. For the new one, I just eventually came to the conclusion that a polished type of sound is what the album needed. I was thinking about it in terms of the discography as a whole and that it would be good to have one album that had that obvious type of production that gives focus to the songs. Lee did have a few changes he put in place, to make the arrangement more powerful in places, for example. With him being a perfectionist and me being a perfectionist too, but in a totally different way, it really helped to refine it but it didn’t make it easy.

Tell us about the recording process of the album.

We travelled to Wisbech in Cambridgeshire to record it. It was tense but fun in places. We would drink beer and play cards at night and then fully focus on recording during the days. It was filmed on high quality equipment which will become part of a documentary on the band, at some point.

Are you a head to the grind kind of band in the studio or like to let things evolve in a gentler energy; is it possible nowadays to record without an enforced urgency because of time and finance restraint?

Well, I think the sense of urgency is needed for this type of music to work. We were sleeping in tents the whole time while recording and I absolutely hated it but at the same time, I planned it like that so it wouldn’t be too comfortable and I specifically wanted to be pissed off and at the end of my tether when doing the vocals, which I was. The vocals were done in two days, both ending early and in the morning before the first, it had rained so hard during the night, that the inside of my tent was soaking and my shoes fell apart like soggy paper on the walk to the studio. We had to get a taxi to a supermarket so I could buy some new shoes and socks.

There is an open eighties rock and punk inspiration to your sound as evidenced by Headcase’s Handbook. How has the sound shifted since those early days of the band?

I think on this album, it’s kind of gone back a lot more to how we initially sounded in 1998; simple punk songs. The eighties influence was definitely at its peak on the first one.

Has it been an intentional changing or simply organic?

Intentional but that was just the formula for this one album. I don’t see any need to make another album like this one, that would just be repeating ourselves. The current vision for the next one is something very different.

Before we do that, I just want to go with the flow of life and see what happens. I think it’s important for your life to be different and to have new experiences before you start working on a new album. We never use old songs from before that era when we do an album so that’s why I feel each one is a document of those years.

As with any album certain tracks stand out over others and hit the listener’s sweet spot. For us the pinnacle comes with the consecutive and distinctly different pair of The Sweetest Elixir and 15072752751_fe2ca517ca_zBlack Snow. Can you give some background to the two adventures?

The Sweetest Elixir seems to be the song most people compliment at the moment. I think we just eventually found an arrangement that worked for it, mainly with the drum parts, which was really difficult. If we hadn’t found the right arrangement, I can just as easily imagine it being the least liked song on the album. As far as what that song’s about, as with a lot of the others, I already said way too much in the lyrics! That was one of the aims of this album too, to make it confessional and autobiographical in places, in a slightly more obvious way than the previous albums. Black Snow is a little bit different because that’s kind of about life after the bomb. I don’t know how obvious that is to people but if you look at the lyrics once knowing that, those references should be pretty clear.

Is there a particular moment or twist on the album which gives you personally an extra tingle of satisfaction or excitement?

Maybe but I view the album as more for other people so I think their relationship with the album is more important and hopefully the messages and ideas I was trying to put across, did come across.

I can assume Medusa will be thrusting the album out live at some point? Where can people catch you next?

We should be playing Nambucca in London, before the end of the year.

Thanks again Julian for sitting down and chatting with us. Any last thoughts you would like to share?

Our first music video to the Headcase’s Handbook album will be out in a couple of months, to the song Sid and Nancy and should be a cool video. We just cast 2 ten year old kids to play the lead roles.

Thanks!

Read the review of Headcase’s Handbook @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/medusa-headcases-handbook/

http://www.medusaworld.co.uk

Pete RingMaster

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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The Ringmaster Review 17/11/2014

Medusa – Headcase’s Handbook

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It is fair to say that Medusa’s last album Can’t Fucking Win kicked up a potential drenched storm which grabbed the attention of a great many. It was a potent and thrilling stomp with a fiery character and a middle finger raising attitude which pushed the London trio into a broader spotlight. Its successor Headcase’s Handbook is spawned from the same belligerent seeds but comes with a new richness of adventure, songwriting, and quite simply creative maturity. It is fuelled by punk fired rock ‘n’ roll and makes another pungent step in the ascent of the inventive tempest that is Medusa.

Formed in 2006 by vocalist/guitarist Julian Molinero, Medusa swiftly made an impression with their self-titled album which came out in a matter of weeks after the start of the band. It was an eighties inspired entrance which made a strong base from which the band’s sound and eventually second album Can’t Fucking Win was bred. Recorded with producer Romesh Dodangoda, Medusa’s 2011 sophomore album showed an evolution in all aspects of the band yet still held onto the striking raw and honest core which lit up its predecessor. That same breath of sound frequents Headcase’s Handbook but as before comes with another leap in depth and growth which is as open and forceful as it is mouth-wateringly enterprising. Recorded with producer Lee Batiuk (Deaf Havana) at Regal House Studio, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, the album roars and flirts with salacious intent and imagination, the band unleashing a hungry and bracing dose of honest rock ‘n’ roll.

The RingMaster Review was honoured to be the band’s first port of call with the album within days of its completion, and we were instantly hooked and gripped by a broad smile as the release began its feisty persuasion with opener Sid and Nancy. A whine of guitar leads into choppy riffs and the expressive tones of Molinero, the combination an immediate lure which only flares with stronger persuasion when the track brings out its punk antagonism in voice and riffs. Instantly contagious and increasingly more so as the bass of Milo De Nack flirts with ears and the imposing beats of drummer Stefan Hale, the track is a raw and insatiable riot starting things off explosively, one with a poise and resourcefulness which right away highlights the band’s evolution between releases.

Things take another step up with Lip Service, a track bringing again that punk rock tenacity into a hard rock web of spicy guitar craft from Molinero, a weave completed with equally tangy riffs and hooks. This is courted by a just as coverinfectious rhythmic and vocal adventure, neither bursting their boundaries but both aspects bringing the heart of the track rich and catchy expression. It is an outstanding song continuing the impressive start to the album, a loft plateau which is not quite matched by either the following Absinthe Minded or Luxury Crisis. Both tracks though reveal further intriguing and inescapably appealing facets and twists to the character of album and sound for a lingering satisfaction. The first merges melodic country kissed rock with a blues flaming for a tantalising caress of provocative and imaginative endeavour complete with evocative washes of guitar and mandolin like vivacity. Though it lacks the spark of the first songs, it grips ears and appetite with ease much as its successor, a song with an inventive canvas of rolling and roaming rhythms picked at by a repetitive sonic plucking. This is coloured by the impassioned vocal delivery of Molinero and melodic enterprise extending from that riveting initial guitar temptation.

Lydia stomps in next, riffs and beats almost furious in their strength and voracity before relaxing into a more controlled but no less fiery stroll. Not for the first or last time there is a feel of Hagfish to the punkier edge and contagion of the song whilst the melodic enticing of the encounter has a classic lilt which comes with a whisper of Turbonegro in its texture. The track almost brawls with the senses leaving them greedy for more, a want fed by the different but just as flavoursome Call of the Abyss. Again predominantly punk and hard rock meet in a rigorous collision of catchy and unfussy rock ‘n’ roll, though there is plenty more spicing the song’s unpredictable and passionate presence as it tightly grips thoughts and emotions.

As masterful and compelling as the two tracks are they are overshadowed a little by The Sweetest Elixir and its thrilling temptation. Electronic toning wraps ears first before heavily striding beats and velvety basslines join the successful coaxing. Lording over this is the excellent vocal lure of Molinero, his smoother delivery drawing the listener swiftly in to the track’s narrative. As it weaves and swerves with bass and guitar imagination, the song swells in potency and invention, becoming the pinnacle of the album with its melodic emprise. It is a delicious song, as mentioned a major peak in the release, setting a touch challenge for the following track to try and rival, a test which Black Snow more than takes in its bordering on deranged stride. A maelstrom of disorientated rhythms and sonic bluster sets the persuasion in motion before it breaks free to establish a predatory and intimidating shadowed clad prowl. With vocals back on more crazed intent and the bass finding its throatiest intimidation yet, the track rages and roars with irresistible animosity and persuasion. It is a fury though which ingeniously explores more reserved and experimental tendencies too and an emotional veracity and ire, the result one more seriously impressing proposition.

The album closes with firstly the more restrained rock ‘n’ roll of Think It Over, a track not bursting with surprises but loaded with anthemic potency and finally the acoustic ballad Cherry Red. The song is a strong end to close out the album on a high, even if not one getting the blood boiling. There is little to dismiss it for though, and it ensures Headcase’s Handbook departs on a lingering touch.

Medusa gets better and bigger with every release, Headcase’s Handbook proof and easily their finest moment to date. It should be a break-through release for the band and if it just misses out on that success, whilst surely drawing a wealth of attention and acclaim its way, you can be sure the band will make that strike sooner rather than later.

Headcase’s Handbook is available now via Cyberpunk Records and @ http://medusaworld.bandcamp.com/album/headcases-handbook

http://www.medusaworld.co.uk

RingMaster 02/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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