Sparks and passions: Calling All Astronauts 2018

Calling All Astronauts have been no strangers to attention and acclaim for their multi-flavoured and adventurously eclectic electro punk nurtured sound; albums and singles sparking eager ears and support with persistent success. They have inflamed the senses and zealous praise yet again with new EP, Influences; the London trio sharing some of their keenest inspirations in their own inimitable way. Thinking it was high time we caught back up with the band to talk about the EP, a new album and plenty more, we had the pleasure of grabbing some of vocalist David Bury’s time….

Hi and welcome back to The RingMaster Review.

It has been almost two years since we last talked with you, around the release of your album Anti-Social Network. Could you bring us up to date with all things CAA?

We released loads of singles from Anti-Social Network, all of them were really well received, as per usually we did loads of remixes and our ubiquitous low budget videos. We actually wanted to release every track as a single, but in the end didn’t want to be accused of flogging a dead horse, so there are still some absolute gems, that only people who bought the album will know

You have just released the Influences EP made up of a quartet of covers. What was the spark to its idea?

We started writing our next album early last year, however, my wife and I (David) had our first baby in August, so time was kind of against me, but we really wanted to release something new, so we thought it would be a good idea to record versions of four tracks, this then evolved into the idea that we’d make it a “Quadruple A-Sided” single, so we made videos for all four tracks, and had them staggered two weeks apart on the streaming sites and YouTube, having to send promo out on four releases two weeks apart has been crazy, and really not something I would recommend to anyone J

Would you talk a little about each track for those yet to hear the release?

First of all is a drum and bass meets metal version of Gary Numan’s (Tubeway Army) Are ‘Friends’ Electric?, we managed to get synth sounds that are quite similar to the original, but it’s now at 176PBM, with noisy guitars all over it, next is a stripped down version of T-Rex’s Metal Guru, we’ve really slowed it down, to an atmospheric post-industrial type sound, thirdly we’ve taken on the legend that is David Bowie, and put own stamp on his song Scary Monsters; far be it from me to say our version rocks more than the maestro’s original, but you can if you want J, and last but definitely not least, we’ve absolutely brought Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water screaming into the 21st Century, it’s like Skinny Puppy, Rammstein, Ministry all rolled into one, according to the reviews; I’m not sure it is, but I’m happy if that’s what people are saying.

Many bands play covers but most just seem to approach them in the same way the original artists did and maybe hope their own sound comes across. You seem to have gone far deeper into the songs and taken the CAA imagination to certain aspects; the result tracks which are as much yours as their creators. How did you approach each track and decide what way to go with them?

We approached them exactly like we do when we are writing our songs; we kind of got an idea of how we wanted to do them, started off with drum patterns and then layered everything on top of the drums, we didn’t really have any trouble with any of them, the fill before the verse on Scary Monsters was a bit of a challenge, but I came up with that kind of dubstep drop and it all came together nicely.

Obviously the theme to the EP is in its title but in its case is it the songs which were primarily the influences or the artists, and if the latter why these particular tracks from their arsenal of persuasion?

I think it was a bit of both; they are four artists that we liked as kids, and still as adults, in fact Gary Numan’s two most recent albums are awesome, I can’t recommend them strongly enough. I was a big T-Rex fan as a kid and regularly drive past the spot where Marc died; there are so many of his songs to choose from, we wanted to pick songs that we liked but were not too obscure, you know. If we’d done Fad Gadget, Cabaret Voltaire, Japan and Psychedelic Furs tunes, they would still have sounded like us, but only people of a certain age would know the originals, so we picked four tunes, we felt had been significant to us that other people would know.

For us it was a brave move to take on four not only well-known but legendary tracks which virtually everybody knows and so many reveres. It has obviously proved a great move as fan and critical praise has quickly gathered but did you have any doubts at any point in taking on such classics?

We did obviously worry that we could face a backlash, or just get dismissed as, “another rock band doing covers” but after finishing them, we felt that we had, as they say on TV talent shows, made them our own, however unlike TV talent shows, I don’t think we have ruined any of them, I hope we have given a modern flavour to them, that will hopefully make some of our listeners revisit or even visit for the first time the artists that original wrote and recorded these songs.

Has the buzz, support, and acclaim for the EP surprised you in its swiftness and richness?

It’s truly been astonishing, we have honestly never done so many interviews before on any release, I’m feeling there isn’t the stigma associated with covers that there used to be (The Dickies excepted); people seem to have embraced it in the spirit that it’s intended, and for that we are very grateful.

Was there any specific intent in unveiling the four tracks within Influences one by one over a handful of weeks rather than as a single entity?

The original idea was to just release it as an EP, but when we got them back from Max, our mastering engineer, we were like, these are just too good to promo as a group; tracks are going to get lost. We thought it would be a shame if that happened, so we came up with the idea of 5 different release dates, 1 for each single and a final one for the EP as a whole, I’m glad we did it this way, because different DJs have had different favourites, so we’ve ended up getting an amazing amount of radio play

Tell us about the videos accompanying each song.

Here we are, confession time, as you know we have very small budgets, so we commissioned two of the video’s on Fiverr, the Scary Monsters lyric one and the Smoke On The Water one; for Scary Monsters, we just sent her the lyrics, told her we’d like it to be scary, paid her $12 and that’s what she came up with. The SOTW one, cost a little more, $30 I think, we gave the director carte blanche to do what he wanted and what he came back with, though quite surreal, works perfectly. Are ‘Friends’ Electric? was a little different. We have a friend called Stevie Mac, he makes animations for video games. He had a short story of around 90 seconds that he’d done, that wasn’t owned by any of his employers. He kindly said we could use it, so I cut it together with royalty free footage that Paul found online. Metal Guru is a whole other story. A Twitter friend of ours in Texas offered to make us one for Metal Guru, he was making a stop animation video for us but as release date loomed it became obvious he wasn’t going to get it done in time, so he came up with this one. He did go back and re-edit it as there where a few scenes towards the end that were quite disturbing, but all in all to come up with four videos for less than fifty quid, is a right result J

Was there anything about recording the EP which was more difficult than creating your own music?

I wish I could say there was something, but Paul and J are such accomplished musicians, they got their parts down really quickly and everything just fit into place. The mixing is always the hardest part for us, because we always have bass, kick drum, sub bass and bass synth sitting in the same part of the audio spectrum, so a lot of use of lo-pass and hi-pass filters is always needed.

Is there a possibility of an Influences Part 2 in the future?

Without a shred of a doubt, we will revisit this; we’ve just had so much fun with it. Don’t ask me when, there’s album three to finish first

Any hints to songs or bands which might be considered, I know you guys have eclectic tastes and inspirations.

We have tried a lot of other songs; we did Adele’s Someone Like You [but] my vocal was so out of tune, I cried with laughter’ I’d like to cover some things that nobody would ever expect us to, maybe The Shirelles’ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? or The MVPs Turning Your Heartbeat Up. Who knows, we will just have to wait and see.

As you mentioned, the band is working on their third album. How is that actually coming along and have you a timescale to its release?

We have 16 songs so far in various stages. It’s sounding enormous, and as eclectic as you would expect from us; it goes from drop D metal circa Lamb Of God to expensive anthems almost reminiscent of early Simple Minds. The 16 songs we have so far will probably not all end up on the album; we will undoubtedly write some more, amalgamate some of them, and probably save some for singles B-Sides

I also heard there could be a release for a previously unreleased album from J’s previous band Caffeine on your label, Supersonic Media; could you tell us more?

They had a couple of albums which are now on Supersonic from when they were touring with the likes of The Offspring, AFI, New Found Glory etc. Alain their original single left and the recruited Scott who is now in the Candle Thieves, they recorded an album with Andy Hawkins from Midget producing. It’s a fantastic album that never got released; it’s quite reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World or Alkaline Trio. For fear of sounding like Trump, it really is fantastic, super, terrific, maybe it’ll do well in Mexico J

Our big thanks David for taking time out to come chat with us; anything you would like to add?

Thank you for having us.

People can check out every aspect of our new EP at http://smarturl.it/Influences-EP

Explore Calling All Astronauts further at:

http://www.callingallastronauts.com/    https://www.facebook.com/callingallastronauts   https://twitter.com/CAA_Official

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 06/04/2018

 

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Powerman 5000 – New Wave

Since first album The Blood-Splat Rating System was uncaged in 1995, it has been so easy to form a soft spot for the metal exploits of Powerman 5000 and all the reasons why are there blazing away in new album New Wave. Across nine studio full-lengths, the band has aroused and stirred the imagination in varyingly successful degrees but always left a potent impact on personal pleasure, their new offering hitting that mark with ease once again. Whether New Wave is their best proposition to date or indeed their most unique we will leave others to debate; as to whether it is one of their most exhilarating and addictive incitements there is nothing to question.

Though metal bred, Powerman 5000 has always felt as much punk rock in tone and attitude as any more recognisable punk ‘n’ roll proposals; an air which is at its most vocal within New Wave. The album opens with Footsteps and Voices, its electro instincts teasing and tempting as rhythms and vocal chants gather in the industrial background. In no time though, the track is strolling along with a muscular swagger, vocalist Spider One the ringmaster ready to share his spirit rousing rap as the rhythmic shuffle of drummer DJ Rattan and bassist Murv Douglas flirt with the electronic revelry. Like a fusion of Marilyn Manson and Hed (PE) but uniquely Powerman 5000, the track has the body bouncing and vocal chords hollering; its rock ‘n’ roll inescapable bait.

The following Hostage is just as manipulative, again bringing all its virulent aspects together before leaping into a contagious canter with biting beats aligned to compelling grooves and riffs cast by the guitars of Ty Oliver and Ryan Hernandez. Submission and involvement with its epidemic of enterprise and incitement is unavoidable and liberating as the track’s punk fervour takes hold before exhaustion soaked pleasure is passed onto and emulated by the band’s latest single. The warped love affair of Sid Vicious in a Dress lives up to its theme in sound, a psyche twisting infestation only leading to addiction as heavy grooves and rapacious riffery unites with the rapier swings of Rattan and Douglas’ bass grumble. As its predecessor, the song’s catchiness and ear arousing antics are viral, a toxic sonic trespass leading to dependency from which escape is not an option. There are plenty of familiar aspects to the track and all adding to its forceful persuasion upon body and spirit.

 The electro waltz of David F**king Bowie is no mean spirit in stirring ears or appetite either, its gait and energy a calmer but lively instigator swiftly tempting forceful participation from vocal chords. Its celestial meanders allow a breath to be taken though equally it leads to a hankering to be back romping which the song subsequently provides before Spider stands centre stage to call on ears and his flock with Cult Leader. An anthemic hard rock meets glam punk roar again very difficult not to get caught up in it does lacks some of the unique sparks of its predecessors but leaves the listener wanting little.

The alluring balladry of No White Flags settles the charge of the album but not the rich attention it continues to earn; the song a tantalising mix of melodic alternative metal and heavy rock while Thank God is a gloriously irritable slab of nu-metal lined punk metal as raw and antagonistic as it is uncontrollably contagious. One minute plus of primal temptation it sets yet another lofty marker in the landscape of New Wave, one teased if not hit by successor Die on Your Feet, a song of typical yet openly individual Powerman 5000 enterprise carrying all their established traits in its scuzzy rock ‘n’ roll blaze.

Get a Life steals the passion next with its prowling Dope/Rob Zombie-esque taunting. The track hints at and flirts with an instinctive tempest but keeps it restrained to only further seduce. That volcanic eruption never does not really escape even as the song expels a more tempestuous energy and aggression in its riveting stalking, again though this only adding to its show stealing majesty.

The album concludes with Run for Your Life, an electro rock nurtured, groove swinging slice of infection which in no time has hips swaying as feet and spirit dance. At times there is whiff of Ministry before Al Jourgensen turned his synth pop industrial metal to the song which potently colours up the Powerman 5000 creative theatre working away on the imagination. As it departs with a clunky abruptness you wonder if the song was a late addition or originally meant as a hidden treat, or indeed maybe a clue from the band of things to come, but it is a welcome and thoroughly enjoyable addition which lingers as much as any other gem within New Wave, an album which declares Powerman 5000 as essential as they have ever been.

New Wave is out now via Pavement Music across most online stores.

http://www.powerman5000.com    https://www.facebook.com/officialpowerman5000/

Pete RingMaster 08/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Pig – Prey & Obey

If there is a more potent manipulator of body, imagination, and spirit than Raymond Watts it is hard to think of them especially as the latest <PÎG> EP is infesting the psyche with virulent ease. The mastermind behind <PÎG> and a founding member of KMFDM, Watts has infested the senses and passions with frequent regularity since the eighties whether in his projects or in collusion with numerous others, a long list we will leave you to explore, the Prey & Obey EP now adding to that tide of irresistible industrial rock bred temptations and trespasses.

Consisting of three new psyche trespassing incitements with drama fuelled remixes of each backing them up, Prey & Obey embeds itself in ears and appetite straight away with its title track. Guitars instantly rub themselves upon the senses, their raw intensive strokes almost flirtatious as thicker brooding textures come with rhythms and vocals. With Marc Heal and Phil Barry of Cubanate in league with Watts, the track prowls and preys on the senses, Watts like a dark conjuror as hooks and grooves crowd and litter washes of industrial toxicity. It is a glorious web of intrigue and danger, subservience coaxed and demanded by the track’s rampant rhythmic muscle as well as its virulent sonic and electronic dexterity.

The robustly stirring encounter is followed by The Revelation, an even more imposingly catchy enticement body and vocal chords alone fall before in swift time. Co-written with Ben Christo, long-serving guitarist with The Sisters of Mercy, the track roams with a predacious intent, its creative indoctrination built on waves of persistence honed into thought provoking, body twisting primal seduction. With an additional Ministry-esque nagging around glimpses of cinematic theatre, the song is pure devil spawn scheming, Watts the insidious engineer.

The Cult of Chaos ventures across a calmer landscape of persuasion though the song written with former Combichrist member Z.Marr shares its own individual and challenging shadows. Their dark edges court the mellower presence of vocals and melodic suggestion, the song’s infection carrying eighties industrial flavourings merging with harsher textures reflecting the world today. Transfixing in its throbbing repetition, magnetic in its harmonic and melodic tapestry, the track beguiles and intrudes with equal ingenuity; addiction the guaranteed response.

Completing the release is firstly a psychotic remix of the track Prey & Obey by Leaether Strip, the track given a make-over resembling the bastard result of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers meeting Celldweller. Its inescapable stomp is followed by the Z.Marr Revelectrix Mix of The Revelation; a version which simultaneously feel heroic and serial killer like in its tone and physical intent.

Completed by the En Esch Remix of the opener, a subdued but enticing take, the Prey & Obey EP is pure industrial corruption bred with the finest creative toxins. Each of its three tracks is a rabidly tempting and resonating anthem backed by highly evocative alternative aspects; what more would you want?

Prey & Obey is out now through Metropolis Records @ https://metropolisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/prey-obey

https://pigindustries.com/    https://www.facebook.com/pigindustries/    https://twitter.com/raymondwatts

Pete RingMaster 18/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Estetica Noir – Purity

EN_RingMasterReview

There is no need of any written text to realise the inspirations to the sound of Italian band Estetica Noir, strong flavours which openly line each song within their debut album Purity. They weave haunting and atmospheric, frequently addictively infectious, proposals which court the imagination as easily as ears; all eighties new/dark wave influenced encounters as familiar as they are refreshingly fuelled by twenty first century imagination. The result is a sound which demands attention and a thoroughly enjoyable first album.

Hailing from Torino, Estetica Noir was formed by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Silvio Oreste and bassist Rik Guido in 2013. Their self-titled first EP came out in 2014 with a re-mastered re-release coming two years later, its body showing more of the electronic spicing which now adds to the tapestry of sound shaping Purity. With their track I Will Kill You making a potent addition to the For The Bats compilation and another in Beautiful Absence part of the third instalment of the series, the songs nesting between offerings from the likes of The March Violets, The Eden House, and The Danse Society, Estetica Noir have only lured increasing interest and support to match a praise drawing live presence seeing the quartet share stages with bands such as Christian Death and The Chameleons. Last year, Estetica Noir linked up with Italian label Red Cat for the release of Purity, both sure to come under greater spotlights due to the album’s captivating presence and character.

With its line-up completed by guitarist/backing vocalist Guido Pancani and drummer Paolo Accossato, Purity swiftly grabs ears with opener Hallow’s Trick. An initial electric shimmer of guitar is the spark for a great crystalline melodic hook within a fuzzy keys bred seducing around a swinging rhythmic coaxing. It is an instantly successful persuasion increased by the expressive tones of Oreste. Like Thomas Dolby meets the synth pop version of Ministry, the track strolls magnetically into the imagination, its virulent chorus inescapable bait for participation as it makes a powerful introduction to the release.

art_RingMasterReviewNext up Plastic Noosphere is no less a tempting; its own instinctive catchiness immediately grabbing body and appetite as guitars and keys conjure individually descriptive enterprise for a B-Movie meets She Wants Revenge like offering with a nagging rhythmic persistence from Guido and Accossato recalling the likes of Leitmotiv. As its predecessor, the song has ears in the palm of its creative hand before In Heaven provides a fiery romancing of ears with its steely guitar bred melodies, melancholic yet inviting bassline, and fuzzy keys. A thicker intensity and drama does little to lessen an inbred infectiousness in the Estetica Noir sound, rather showing the variety and imagination nurturing it, echoed again in the likes of Suicide Walk and I Hate.

The first of the two creeps around ears like atmospheric fog, almost prowling with its instrumental suggestiveness as a melodic radiance glows at its heart while the second straight away flirts with the senses through bold but controlled and imagination serenading melodies. It is just the opening shadow to another rampantly catchy escapade with lively beats and a just as tenacious brooding bassline calling from inside a web of feisty electronic and guitar spun temptation.

The outstanding Polarized brings its electro pop spiced exploit next, complete with another irresistible hook and smouldering keys in something akin to Nine Inch Nails meets Blancmange while Deluxe Lies Edition reveals the strength of inspiration the band find in The Cure, its dark climate and emotive shadows as inspired by Robert Smith and co as Oreste’s vocals. Both tracks captivate and inspire ears and imagination respectively, the adventure in the Estetica Noir creativity here and across Purity compelling.

Hypnagogia is a second instrumental which like its earlier companion is a provocative piece, its piano cored emotional shadow intriguing before the band gives its own touch to the Pet Shop Boys written, Eight Wonder track I’m Not Scared. It is another easy to embrace offering but lacks something the band’s own penned songs have, as emphasized by A Dangerous Perfection which follows. Laying somewhere between Modern English and again The Cure and early Ministry, the track throbs with rhythmic and melodic theatre as an epidemic of creative infection swarms through ears.

Completed by the melancholy haunted You Make Life Better, an imaginatively twisting and turning track as fascinating and persuasive as anything on the album, Purity leaves nothing but lingering pleasure in its wake. As mentioned, its influences are a strong texture in its body and songs but it is a ‘lack of uniqueness’ which matters little in the unbridled enjoyment found. If any of those influences mentioned hit the spot, checking out Estetica Noir is a must.

Purity is out now via Red Cat Records through most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/esteticanoir   https://twitter.com/esteticanoir   https://esteticanoir.wordpress.com/

Pete RingMaster 31/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Circle of Dust – Machines of Our Disgrace

As treats go, the re-release last year of all four Circle of Dust albums was rarely rivalled, until the last sigh of 2016 that is and the unveiling of a brand new collection of songs from the 90’s emerging industrial / electronic-rock project. Circle of Dust was the introduction to the craft and stirring talent of artist/producer Klayton, the fore-runner to his acclaimed and inspiring project Celldweller though the differences to the pair of propositions is an open roar no more potent than in the breath-taking Machines of Our Disgrace.

The quartet of Circle of Dust releases in Circle of Dust, Brainchild, Metamorphosis, and Disengage and also the Misguided album from his side project Argyle Park had been ‘lost’ to our ears for over twenty years with the rights to all unavailable to Klayton after the labels they were released through shut down back in the nineties. After two decades chasing, he re-gained ownership of the rights in 2015 and set about re-mastering each of the five full-lengths last year, expanding all with additional demos, unreleased bonus tracks, acoustic/alternate versions of tracks as well as some new remixes.

Whether they were the spark to writing new Circle of Dust songs and creating a brand new episode in its distinct landscape of adventure or a new album was an idea already in motion matters little in the face of an imagination lit and gripping proposal offered by Machines of Our Disgrace. Entangling metal and electronic essences in a virulently infectious industrial incitement, Klayton and album set another bar for others to be inspired by. There is formidable steel to riffs and a backbone of rhythms which invade the senses with a crunch throughout the release while surrounding them a multi-varied and ever present snarl stalks sound and lyrics.

machines_of_our_disgrace_cover_RingMasterReviewOpening with the suggestive air and throbbing ever intensifying lure of brief encounter re_Engage, the album swiftly consumes ears and thoughts with its title track. From behind an initial sample, repeated throughout, Machines of Our Disgrace looms, advancing with rapacious intent before launching its metallic riffs and wiry guitars grooves. Electronic provocation unites with this predacious embrace, senses and imagination infested and pleasured by the predacious tapestry as Klayton’s tones prowl with harmonic enterprise and invasive potency.

It is an exceptional full start sparking body and emotion and backed just as powerfully by next up Contagion. Living up to its name, the track soon surrounds ears with a treacle like melodic tempting, subsequently beginning a relentlessly catchy enticement with just a whiff of Ministry to it, that evolving into a more Dope/Society One like trespass as Klayton’s vocals prowl and question while the song reveals its full repertoire of creative stimulation.

There is no relinquishing of imagination and appetite with Embracing Entropy next. Featuring Celldweller, i.e. the combining of Klayton’s two unique creative sides, the track pulsates with intrusive drama and invasive energy. As across the whole of the release, samples are skilfully and evocatively used whilst sounds feverishly bubble, igniting senses and thoughts in turn. From blisteringly agitated to melodically seductive, the song is a theatre of sound and texture, inescapably persuasive and hungrily addictive.

Just as powerful is the ferocious presence of Humanarchy, the track a ravenous threat of metallic and vocal rabidity locked in allegiance with a just as imposing electronic swing while after the warning of Signal, the following alt_Human uncages a sonic tempest as enjoyably challenging as its lyrical examination of science and morality. Fuelled by rapacious infectiousness, the song easily infests body and imagination with a swift and almost prurient craving.

Hive Mind is a simmering, bordering on predatory croon tempting ears like a blend of synth pop era Ministry, Ghost In The Static, and Nine Inch Nails while straight after Outside In and Neurachem serenade and growl respectively. The first of the pair is an absorbing melodic embrace, almost warm in its touch, whilst its successor is an irritable and fiercely captivating trespass binding ears with metallic and introspective melodic seducing, both adding further pinnacles to the lofty heights of the release.

A sonic kaleidoscope evocatively devours ears next with k_OS, samples narrating its dramatic landscape before Neophyte bubbles and bursts in electronic espionage for another irresistible, contagion loaded adventure for the imagination to lose itself in.

The album closes with Malacandra, a brooding fog of sound and atmospheric suggestion haunting ears and thoughts alike across its instrumental soundscape. It is an edgy and emotionally charged piece of noir lit evocation bringing a superb adventure to a powerful and magnetic close.

Even though Celldweller has forged pleasure and lust in ears and imagination, Circle of Dust has been missed, its distinct industrial presence an absence never filled until now with the exceptional Machines of Our Disgrace where Klayton swiftly suggests he is ready to push genre boundaries once again.

Machines of Our Disgrace is out now via FiXT across most online stores and @ https://circleofdust.bandcamp.com/album/machines-of-our-disgrace-2 or http://fixtstore.com/circleofdust

http://circleofdust.net     https://facebook.com/circleofdustofficial    http://klayton.info

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cool Thing Presents: Alternative Occupations EP

ep-cover_RingMasterReview

There is no hiding that we have a lustful appetite for UK band Asylums and their feverishly inimitable sound, a hunger now being fed again by the Alternative Occupations EP. The Southend-on-Sea quartet have also shown through it that not only do they create some of the most essential propositions heard in recent times they have an eye and ear for other striking talent. Evidence comes in the trio of bands providing the other songs making up the EP released on Asylums own label Cool Thing Records; each an attention grabbing proposal just as ruthless on bodies and imagination.

asylums_RingMasterReviewAsylums set things rolling with a new previously unreleased track written and recorded as the busy wake of releasing acclaimed debut album Killer Brain Waves was settling down and the aftermath of Brexit consuming, that album still drawing plaudits and excited new fans the way of the foursome. Reflecting on “harsh education and health service cuts, post-Brexit Britain, and the running battle of grafting at creative efforts vs. grafting to keep afloat”, Alternative Occupations descends on ears with searing guitars and robust rhythms, openly sharing the creative traits which made the album and its songs such a rousingly infectious proposition. The warm and engaging vocals of guitarist Luke Branch increase the enticement, lyrical suggestion to the fore as melodies fly skilfully from his and fellow guitarist Jazz Miell’s strings. Feet are swiftly recruited in turn by the rhythmic tenacity of drummer Henry Tyler; it courting the seductive throb of Michael Webster’s bass as every element combines for another unique, memorable, and instinctively irresistible Asylums encounter.

The second track on the release comes from Petty Phase, an all-girl quartet also from Southend unleashing a fiercely infectious slice of punk rock

Petty Phase-photo kana waiwaiku

Petty Phase-photo kana waiwaiku

going by the name of You’ll Be Dead. Like a belligerent mix of L7 and The Kuts, the band pulls no punches with their attitude loaded sound in this their debut single, delivering one minute twenty of skilfully raucous invasively catchy rock ‘n’ roll for the EP. It is a snarling, hook swinging flirtation with riffs and rhythms as uncompromising and addictive as the melody lined snares gripping the imagination; though there is just one issue with it, the glorious strike is just so damn short.

The Horse Heads photo kana waiwaiku

The Horse Heads photo kana waiwaiku

The EP’s second side brings Essex punks The Horse Heads and their new single Castles to the party and as their companions the Chelmsford trio need little time to incite body and appetite with their post punk/punk rock trespass of the senses. Created by vocalist/guitarist Ronaldo Rodriguez, drummer George Young, and bassist Chad Worsley, Castles grumbles from the off, a deliciously throaty bassline the lure into a raw wash of biting beats, caustic riffs, and the similarly grouchy tones of Rodriguez. There is no escaping the old school punk air to the song and its components, an Angelic Upstarts/early Clash spicing flirting with scuzzy essences of bands like The Hives as its virulent assault equally stirs up nostalgia and fresh adventure. It too is over before enjoyment would wish, something applying to every song to be honest, meaning the replay button is well used across the EP.

Closing track I’m Still Here comes from Bait, a musician/visual artist we can tell you little more about except that he creates a tapestry of post punk contagion within his offering which is addiction in a speaker. Nagging hypnotic beats and rapacious riffs surround haunting predation lined vocals, an incessant tide of lures coaxing the listener deeper into the song’s tempestuous and imposing imagination coloured by lyrical suggestiveness. Artists like Brian Brain, Shock-Headed Peters, and Ministry are nudged across the compelling encounter but as all tracks within Alternative Occupations, it breeds its own uniqueness swiftly and dramatically while slipping unstoppably under the skin.

There has been numerous splits/multiple artist offerings in 2016 but few, if any, have induced lust like the Cool Thing Records proposal.

Cool Thing Presents: Alternative Occupations EP is available now on limited 12” white vinyl @ https://asylums.tmstor.es/

https://www.facebook.com/asylumsuk   https://www.facebook.com/pettyphase/   https://www.facebook.com/TheHorseHeads/

Pete RingMaster 14/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Boundless lifescapes; exploring the realm of Lucid AfterLife Interview

lucid-afterlife-pic_RingMasterReview

With a sound as eclectic as the themes within its imagination driven walls, Vancouver hailing Lucid AfterLife has earned loyal attention and support at home and across a global landscape. Renowned as one of Canada’s more impressive and memorable live propositions, the progressive groove rockers are luring bigger spotlights their way with their new EP, the successor to their well-received debut album I Am, expected to spring a new wave of invention hungry fans the way of the quartet. We recently had the pleasure to find out more about the band, that upcoming EP, and the creative heart of Lucid AfterLife with guitarist Thom Turner

Hello and thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

Hello, Thom from Lucid AfterLife here.  Thank you so much for having us!

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

In the beginning our vocalist Nat Jack was floating through the aether contemplating the purpose and form of existence.  He then came upon our drummer Matt.  The two of them forged a great alliance. From this union a great universe was born. It was one of never ending inspiration and possibilities. To round out this vision myself, Thom, and our bassist Miles were sought. Together we are take these rough shapes and turn them into the most honest and kick ass songs that we can.

Have you been or are any of you involved in other bands? If so have they had any impact on what you are doing now, inspiring a change of style or direction maybe?

I am a current member of the band Freya as well as being a professional musician for the last 15 years.  I have played in numerous groups.  The work ethic and attention to artistry that I got from that band is immense.  Sonically they are very different.  Miles is a member of Riftwalker and Hallux. Matt has played with many groups as well.  As for Nat Jack…He simply is.  All of us take our experience and add it to everything we do. That is one of the best things about LAL. Genre does not factor in. Whatever mood serves the lyric or vibe is what it needs to be.

What inspired the band name?

As a group we feel that reality is in an illusion…More than that it is malleable. Life, death they are merely shades on a continuum.  So through our music we transcend.  To be able to visualize and experience multiple levels of existence is.  We can experience multiple worlds through our songs and live shows.  That is what Lucid Afterlife means to me.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

There are always stories that come to us…things that may be inspired by every day.  Some come from deeper more existential places.  All of them are important to us.  As we have toured we have been lucky to see that these topics hit home with so many people.  So we continue to write them.  As for the sound it is meant to be inclusive.  To be the heaviest thing ever when the emotion is deep and powerful then, turn around and be very clean and melodic to represent another story or character is as honest as we can be.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

Constant evolution…we are all about that.  That said though most of the same principles are the corner stones of what LAL is.  Relatable honest music that is served with all the energy we have live.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

Since I was brought on I would say that the sound has evo-loved.  We still love Sabbath and Monster Magnet.  On top of that we explore our mutual love of progressive music.  Things like Kansas and Yes and Porcupine Tree and Kings X.  It adds a broader pallet to the stories we can tell. Really though it all comes down to the live show for us.  Nat Jack is a wild man on stage and we push out the sound track for the listener’s experience.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

Extremely organic I believe.  We work to service the songs that come out.  Our sound is extremely diverse.  Yet, when you hear it you know it is LAL.  It all comes from that point of honesty in the lyric and music.

You mentioned some already but presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any others in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach to creating and playing music? As I said before Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Monster Magnet, Yes, Kansas, Porcupine Tree.  Also Ministry, Cream, Dream Theater, Kings X, Hendrix, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu Tang Clan, Body Count, MF Doom.  Soooo much music goes into what we do.  From rock to jazz to metal to Hip-Hop, it all moves us.

Does the band have a particular method to its songwriting?

We work in very brotherly way.  I will write some things, pass them to Nat and a lyrical idea will usually pop out.  From there Matt and I go to work on fleshing out an arrangement and Miles lays down the bass.  So far it has been all hands on deck movement.

Where do lyrical inspirations more often than not come from?

Everyday life through the lens of existential global truths…A lot of our songs have to do with relationships.  Not really with people per se, more archetypes.  If we do a song that is very obviously about sex then you can bet it isn’t at all about sex.  We like to lead people, through the parlance of our time to deeper truths.

lucid-afterlife_RingMasterReviewCan you give us some background to your latest release?

Our new EP Occult Mafia Mistress is an opening salvo into what is coming next for LAL.  With this line-up we have 4 great singers so we wanted to put that to use.  Most songs really take advantage of all of us.

How about an insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs?

This record focuses on themes of transcendence.   Be it through love, sex, meditation or sheer elation.  They are explained in somewhat adversarial roles.  Some characters and ideas want to hold you down from your potential.  Others are the inner explorers rupturing out into being against that oppressive force.  We are able to do this through the use of many styles and genres, from hip hop on a song like Time Killaz (feat. Merkulese) to the pure rock and roll of Retarded Owl, the voice of the song blends seamlessly with the lyric.

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

The frame of a song is all done by the time we get in there.  Because we play the crap out of the songs live and see what goodness comes out. So when we get into the studio what happens is we add all the touches; layering and vocals.  A record should be a piece of art unto itself.  Music is ephemeral.  It changes depending on your mood; where you listen to it, even through the course of the song.  Then it is over.  That time has passed.  So when we are in there recording and mixing everything is fluid.  What comes out is even more magical then what went in.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

Live we are a completely different band depending on Nat Jack.  His mood and character shape our live performance…never the same thing twice.  We reach out to the audience and invite them in…literally.  They play with us.  We feel that the live stage is a conversation so we go all out.  We breakdown our bodies and minds while we are up there and show the people they can too.  We do a lot of improv along with our normal songs as well.  We ask the audience for suggestions on style and lyrical content.  And we go at it…all within the confines of a normal set.

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? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

With the internet EVERYTHING IS REGIONAL; we have many devoted fans and neighbors in BC.  They are amazing and we love them.  But, we also have some amazing fans all over the world just looking for the same stuff we are.  The impact is right there.  The days of $500,000 an album contracts are gone.  We are out there just to make these connections…One person at a time.  Art drives life; even if only one person listens to us and passes it onto one friend.  That is growth and the conversation continues.  As long as you are creating you are growing.

Do you see the internet and social media impact you mentioned destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or when or if it happens it is more that those bands have struggled to use it in the right way?

The internet is reality for many people.  So ignorance on how to use it to your advantage doesn’t seem to make very much sense.  Every tool is right there for you.  It can be no different from handing a demo to a person on the street.  As long as that person passes it on you are good.  I really think it is a matter of perspective size.  Many musicians hold themselves in light of Metallica and Sabbath and Kanye and Adele or whoever Enormous star.  These standards can be so daunting that you quit creating.  This is an atrocity.  Look, did you know that Platinum albums are now 500,000 albums instead of 1,000,000?  That proves that the old system is dying.  That level of “success” is meaningless without a real connection with people.  That is what the internet affords you…The ability to connect with THE WORLD.  We all want to be able to make a living off what we love to do.  But, that can’t be the end goal.  We all have a world of art inside us and we owe it to ourselves and humanity to get it out there.  So go into it with the goal of making great honest art, whatever that is and, people will take notice.

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

Myself (Thom) and all of LAL want to tell you and your readers that we are so thankful for you to be participating in all this with us.  We are looking forward to meeting all of you.  Remember to keep your head up and your mind open.

Occult Mafia Mistress is released digitally and on CD December 9th @ http://lucidafterlife1.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lucidafterlife/   http://lucidafterlife.ca/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 15/11/2106

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