Seratones – Power

 

We will admit when reading the press release for new album Power, that US outfit Seratones had set about “trading in the brash proto-punk of their critically acclaimed debut for a timeless brand of gritty soul, one that takes its cues from vintage Motown and Stax even as it flirts with modern synthesizers and experimental arrangements” we had the beginning of a sinking feeling as Get Gone was one vigorously thrilling and addictive encounter. Dipping into its successor though, we quite simply found something even more glorious and irresistible; that casual perusal becoming a rapacious devouring in swift time.

The melodic and soulful prowess of the Shreveport quintet was certainly no secret within their debut album but has just been set alight through the band’s classic inspirations for their hungrily evolving sound and second full-length. The vocals of AJ Haynes again grips attention, within Power her presence and delivery a siren drawing ears and appetite eagerly into the melodic and soulful rock ‘n’ roll of the release. She seems to hungrily relish the new direction in the band’s sound while alongside the major shift in its evolution has led to original guitarist Connor Davis leaving and guitarist Travis Stewart and keyboardist Tyran Coker enlisted to join Haynes, drummer Jesse Gabriel, and bassist Adam Davis; a union which from start to finish had the body grooving and passions racing within Power.

Produced by Cage The Elephant guitarist Brad Shultz, the album instantly lays down the richest bait with the rhythmic lure of Fear, the opener an enticing prowl before slipping into a rapacious stroll with melodic crystals breaking upon its immediate contagion. Haynes just as quickly embraces eager ears with her seductive lures, the tapestry of sixties temptation inciting swinging hips and feet to be as boisterous as the appetite for the song’s sweltering temptation. The first irresistible moment of the release, the song sets the tone and adventure of Power whilst hinting at its diverse web of temptation.

The throaty lure of Davis’ bass is just as manipulative within the album’s following title track, with the animation of Gabriel’s beats rousing an eager canter awash with the caresses of Coker’s keys. Instincts again are quickly sparked by the song, the body bouncing to its enthused energy and movement as vocals and melodies rise with matching persuasion and shimmering heat. If the first track had the listener physically doing its bidding, its successor is pure slavery with creative devilment roaring with a blend of The Crystals bred pop and the power soul of Chantal Claret (Morning wood) and living up to its name in strength, roar, and heart.

Heart Attack follows with a just as enslaving sound and character, Haynes alluring voice an immediate persuasion amongst oriental spiced melodic teasing before another insatiable surge of pop ‘n’ soul flavoured rock ‘n’ roll breaks out. There is a relatively more controlled urgency to its stride compared to those before it even with the hint of power pop insistency with the keys a beguiling shimmer of intimation, one which effortlessly seduced before Lie To My Face brings its own individual temptation and presence forward. It too found no resistance to its slow compelling saunter and heated melodies as subtle but piercing hooks line voice and sound with inescapable resourcefulness.

An echo of the band’s earlier proto-punk styled sound sizzles within next up Gotta Get To Know Ya, lurking around even as the track erupts with spiky R&B revelry. The song’s funk swing gets under the skin within a host of further seconds; its pop instincts just as vocal within the punk breath escaping its lungs while Over You deviously provoked and received full involvement with a seduction akin to a fusion of Aretha Franklin and Mari Wilson.

The array of flavours within the core funk/soul heart of Power is as tantalising as its songs, a gospel-esque undertone to the tantalising croon of Permission with the following Sad Boi bringing a more eighties spiced electronic pop ‘n’ roll to tease and tempt adding to its wealth. Both songs beguiled as they aroused though each are slightly eclipsed by the rapturous enterprise of Who Are You Now, a slice of irresistibility with a great Asa feel to it.

Power is brought to a close by the heart bred magnetism of Crossfire, the rich prowess and call of Haynes’ vocals hugged by the intimacy of keys as dark hues resonate; it all building up to a fire of creative drama for one spellbinding end to a simply magnificent release.

Seratones has taken a bold step with their sound and we can only say we have all been blessed as one of the year’s most essential moments has been born.

Power is out now through New West Records; available @ https://seratones.bandcamp.com/album/power

http://www.seratones.band/   https://www.facebook.com/seratonesofficial   https://twitter.com/Seratones

Pete RingMaster 05/09/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Veldt – The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation Mixtape EP

photo credit Ed Marshall

photo credit Ed Marshall

The Veldt is one of those projects which really does offer something a little different and for a fair while now. It is no different in regard to new encounter, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation Mixtape EP either. Consisting of five immersive tracks bred in the band’s fusion of indie, dream-gaze, soul, and immersive ambiences, the release simply grabs the imagination in a creative adventure pretty much unlike any other.

Formed by North Carolina hailing twins, Daniel and Danny Chavis, The Veldt has had success capturing ears and attention since the eighties with their individual atmospheric sound. Already performing as children and taking inspirations across the likes of gospel, Motown, and Pink Floyd into their personal pleasures and thoughts, the pair emerged then as The Veldt, a name taken from a Ray Bradbury story. To simplify the following years, the duo has worked with the likes of Robin Guthrie, A.R. Kane, Mos Def, and Lady Miss Kier and shared stages with artists such as My Bloody Valentine, The Pixies, Cocteau Twins, Oasis, Living Colour, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and TV on the Radio as well as released a host of acclaimed offerings. A name change to Apollo Heights occurred around the mid-nineties followed by a permanent link up with bassist Hayato Nakao in 1999; that a move which brought a new dynamic to the band’s sound. Eventually a return to the name of The Veldt ensued and its re-emergence is now marked by the release of The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur, it the forerunner to new album Resurrection Hymns to be released later this year via SonaBLAST! Records.

With its title borrowed from an E.E. Cummings poem, the EP opens with new single Sanctified. Emerging on a gentle but sonically misty air soon welcoming the bass throb of Nakao, the song quickly blossoms into a warm yet atmospherically muggy embrace. It is an evocative hug of ears and the impressive vocal expression and prowess of Daniel, in turn a fiery but controlled trespass of the imagination built on an array of melancholic textures, transfixing melodic drones, and sonic layers shaped by the imaginative suggestiveness of Danny’s guitar. With additional vocals from Marie Cochrane to accentuate the emotive harmonies, the track is an inescapably engaging proposal to start things off.

The Veldt - The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur (cover)_RingMasterReviewIn a Quiet Room follows and quickly provides a less intensive and crowded proposition but one still as rich with emotional flames amidst guitar and keys shared drama. The vocals alone ensure attention is a given but add the thick tapestry of sound and trance seeded imagination, and the song as EP almost traps the listener in soulful beauty.

Both Token and One Day Out of Life take ears and thoughts on sultry flights through distortion lined sonically soupy climates; the first swaying and floating with ethereal elegance around more tenebrific rhythms. Its successor is a slower fall into provocative seas of sound becoming a senses smothering and engaging immersion around hypnotic rhythms. What grips the imagination most though, is the theatre of shadows which prowls alongside or courts the radiance of these and all songs; a shade perpetually reflecting and accentuating matching hues within their lyrical and emotional depths.

The EP is closed by the classically soulful and slightly familiar yet rigorously fresh And It’s You. It also has single written all over it; hooks and melodies as tantalising as the vocal and atmospheric shimmer which soaks the song as bolder rhythms pulsate with evocative temptation.

It is a fine end to a compelling release; an encounter which offers fresh intrigue and new enterprise with every listen. As suggested at the start, The Veldt creates music which stands alone; the evidence being The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation Mixtape EP.

The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation Mixtape EP is released March 18th via Skully Records @ https://theveldtmusic.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/The-Veldt-154526351270221   https://twitter.com/veldtthe

Pete RingMaster 17/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Skints – FM

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There are numerous and varying essences which make a great record, elements which create an escape or certainly a potent diversion from everyday issues and drudgery. There are some which go even further, capturing the imagination as forcibly as ears and emotions whilst taking the listener into a landscape that is familiar in some and many ways to their own personal life’s scenery. These are the standout moments in music and FM is without doubt one of those. The third album from UK reggae/dub quartet The Skints, the release is a fascinating and seriously thrilling adventure, an encounter from the band drawing on their own personal pleasures growing up and in turn connecting with the listener’s. FM is an inescapable thrill fuelled by fun, fierce enterprise, and ridiculously contagious imagination…oh there are some rather bewitching sounds involved too.

Following on from their previous acclaimed albums, Breathe. Build. Believe. and Part & Parcel, of 2009 and 2012 respectively, FM is a tantalising proposition which in some ways can be described as a concept album. The release from the East London quartet of Jon Doyle (bass), Marcia Richards (keys/sax/flute/melodica/vocals), Jamie Kyriakides (drums/vocals), and Josh Waters Rudge (guitar/vocals), takes the listener into the heart of an imaginary London pirate radio station, The Big FM / Frequency Murderation, 103.Skints. Across its length we are entertained by four radio shows with the DJ Mr Versatile Breakfast Show, the alter-ego of Tippa Irie, setting the album’s broadcast off. The release is a tribute to the radio culture the band and indeed we have all loved as music fans, whatever our tastes, an ‘education’ and experience arguably lost in the modern internet age. FM is quite simply spellbinding in premise and invention, the songs finding The Skints at another creative plateau yet unafraid to give a nod to their early inspirations and own rawer sound whilst weaving diverse tapestries from roots reggae, dub, rocksteady, punk, Motown, grime, garage, and soul plus much more.

FM is summer in one excitable embrace and instantly steals ears and passion with This Town which follows the opening Breakfast Show skit. Featuring Tippa Irie and Horseman, the song is an immediate seduction. Vocals caress ears as guitar and pulses stroke with equally engaging intrigue. It is potent bait swiftly given greater colour by the irresistible tones of Marcia Richards. The image001song has attention and appetite instantly in its hands right away as a skittish air only adds to its compelling aural smile. London life has never been so warmly and magnetically shown but it is just the start. Both guests add their distinctive and captivating vocal adventures to the invigorating stroll, it all leading to a croon of a chorus which surely no one can resist. The track is spellbinding leaving a huge grin on heart and face and pleasure ready for what is to follow.

In The Night steps in next, its melodies and harmonies gliding over the senses, serenading ears with aural poetry. Elegant and reflective, the song also shows a darker yet unthreatening side, Horseman again adding his rich deep tones as energies brew heavier attitude around him. Imagine By The Rivers meets The Clash and you get a sense of the great contrasts colluding in beauty, though admittedly not the real uniqueness of the offering. Its mesmeric elegance is followed by Come To You, a summery waltz in ears with Richards as vocally enchanting as the pop bred melodies and steamy prods of keys and guitar. You can easily visualise or imagine a video of the song such its cinematic air, for us the singer spreading her melodic romance from the open carriage of a London park situated steam train, its wheels dancing around a track in the sultry heat of summer.

The excellent My War brings a darker edge to the release, the song a cover of the Black Flag track. It is still a fascinating melodically enhanced invitation but has a snarl to its voice and attitude lined swing that breeds an additional intriguing edge to the provocative narrative and shadows. The track is the end of the first show, Dancehall Dilemmas with Dr. Ranking Pegasus (aka. Horseman) opening up the stations next clutch of offerings. Featuring a ‘call from listener Danny’ it evolves into the excellent Friends & Business, another song with an addictive swagger and punchy rhythmic enticing commanding feet and passions with consummate ease. Ska bred with a soulful nature to its heart and vocals, the track also has a mischievous almost vaudeville moment which only adds to the addiction spawned by the slice of rock pop.

Both the feisty sway and swing of Where Did You Go? and the more serious presence of Tazer Beam keeps album and listener aflame with invention and pleasure. The first is yet another call of the summer with intimate melodies and irresistible rhythmic and percussive lures courted by bewitching vocal prowess across the band. As with many songs by The Skints, you feel you know the proposition ahead of ears yet everything about it is fresh and unpredictable, a skill sparking greater lustful reactions. The second of the two songs, explores a darker and grittier premise, looking at gun and associated violence on both sides of street culture. Tippa Irie returns to bring his pungent style to the immersive tones of song and band, contrasts again sublimely crafted in sound and lyrical expression by the band.

After the melodic spell of The Forest For The Trees, sorcery of vocals from across the band kissing ears as words and reggae honed strokes work on the imagination, the Grime Hour With Rivz (aka MC Rival) welcomes Eyes In The Back Of My Head. Also featuring the ‘DJ’, the track almost prowls ears, the hip hop incitement of Rival an alluring and compelling protagonist against the similarly imposing sounds surrounding his spits. Tempering it though, keys and vocals from the band bring their own smouldering seduction; whilst seemingly inspired by the tense streets being explored, the guitar reveals noir lit drama in its creative designs. The track gets under the skin, constantly evoking thoughts and emotions before Got No Say provides its own distinctive and individual flirtation of eagerly simmering keys, siren-esque melodies, and another thrilling and adventurous vocal union. In many ways the song might be the most pop of them all on FM, though as ever it never allows itself to settle into one singular premise of sound.

DJ Mr. Versatile Evening Session is the final show of the broadcast and gives us the mouth-watering beauty of Tomorrow. The song epitomises everything impressive about The Skints. Songwriting alone as enchanting and immersive as the melodies and imagination fuelling every slice of ingenuity held within FM. We have obviously repeatedly mentioned the thrilling melodies and harmonies which ignite songs, but have to also point out the dark throbbing lines cast by Doyle’s bass, the instrument and its dramatic strings perpetually casting additional theatre within the tracks.

It is a masterful end to a stunning release. The band’s previous albums were the mark of a band persistently finding new heights and depths in its sound and invention. Now FM is yet another landmark for not only The Skints but indeed reggae seeded ingenuity as a whole.

FM is available from March 9th via Easy Star Records @ http://easystarrecords.shop.musictoday.com/Dept.aspx?cp=115_68927 and digitally https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/fm/id962280939

http://www.theskints.co.uk/     https://www.facebook.com/theskints

RingMaster 09/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Waves Of Fury – Blood In Fury EP

There are three initial steps to be observed when listening to the Blood In Fury EP from London’s distinctive The Waves Of Fury.

Step 1:  Play and stand open mouthed.

Step 2:  (Very important part) listen again with full attention.

Step 3:  Keep listening and fall in love with music that is real rock ‘n’ roll.

There is nothing straight forward about the Blood In Fury EP, there is no instant gratification with easy hooks and clean A-Z sounds, but what it gives is real and dirty scuzzed up rock music, a glorious blend of psychotic rock ‘n’ roll and 70’s Motown sounds caked in punk filth bliss. Like a Tarantino creation from the musical parts of the Stones, Marvin Gaye, The Birthday Party, Reverend Horton Heat, and Rocket From The Crypt, The Waves Of Fury is a multi-faceted and layered groove machine.

The bands bio states that “Lead singer Carter Sharp began his musical journey in South London trotting along the generic path that most young musicians do. Far from generic, and tormented by creative complexity (and pharmaceuticals), he went on sabbatical in the American South to get back to writing songs and his roots as a musician. The history, folklore, superstition, blues, and brass of America bled into his writing….” and also “…Carter’s lyrics paint a dark and ironic caricature of American novelist William S Burroughs’ big issues: obsession, sex, love, vampires, murderous children and being buried alive by spurned valentines – getting the picture? The subject matter is twisted on surface but presented in a catchy tune in the spirit of Pulp Fiction. Their tales are told from a third person perspective of almost cartoonish scenes and characters to present familiar themes of love and loss, with a deranged gothic spin.” Facts that listening to Blood In Fury readily proves as the release wraps the listener in a seedy underground imagery that takes one deep into the heartland of the songs.  

The quartet of Sharp, guitarist Hove, Jamie Bird bass and piano, and drummer Adam Smith have created a sound that will satisfy and inspire as the EP from the opening throaty bass throbs of ‘The Killer Inside Me’ right though to the crazed end of ‘I Don’t Know What To Make Of Your Friends’ is a unique musical lesson as much as a pure listening pleasure.

Each of the five tracks on the EP are infectious though some take a little more to reach the pinnacle than others. Whereas ‘The Killer Inside Me’ has a chorus and that bass riff to lure the listener readily in the ballad ‘Pretender Soul’ asks for a little more endeavour and patience. Give it that and the result is immense. Once it connects images such as of a forlorn figure on a bridge at midnight with a backdrop of sound as discordant and desperate as his love lost soul are potent.

The best track on Blood In Fury is ‘Death Of A Vampire’. With flowing melodies recalling bands like the Monkees delivered with the dark shadows of the Cramps whilst Edwin Starr looks on the track as is the whole EP to be honest, is inspired and glorious. The brass compliments the guitars jut as their striking and at times frantic play rides hand in hand with Carter’s distinct effect coated vocals. He will not be to everyone’s taste as a vocalist but that is their loss and the band’s sound would be truly lacking without his unique style.

The Waves Of Fury definitely will not be an easy ride for many but for people who really listen to music and flourish on unique ideas and sounds that transport one directly into the song and its premise the Blood In Fury EP released 26th September, is an essential step in their musical appreciation journey.

RingMaster 20/07/2011

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