Bitter Grounds – Two Sides of Hope

Hailing from Utrecht, Bitter Grounds is a Dutch quartet that has a sound which could be best described as Hagfish meets The Vox Dolomites wrapped in the heart and breath of Bad Religion and Dropkick Murphys. But as swiftly evidenced within new album, Two Sides of Hope, it is a proposition with a bold and individual character that just demands keen attention.

Entangling the attitude and aggression of punk with the instinctive and raw attributes of ska, Bitter Grounds first stoked potent attention with their 2016 debut album Hollowlands. It emulated local support and praise across a broader landscape which now its successor should only strongly expand upon. Since that first release, the band has played numerous shows across Europe alongside the likes of The Real McKenzies and The Interrupters and earned plaudits for their performances at festivals such as like Punk Rock Holiday and Nice ‘n’ Sleazy. It is easy to suspect that Two Sides of Hope will spark an even bigger demand and time for Bitter Grounds such its stirring and virulent nature

As with its predecessor, the new album was recorded with engineer and producer Menno Bakker and immediately gets down to business with opener Lost. Instantly a spicy groove entangles senses rapping beats, highly catchy bait simply reinforced by bass, riffs and in turn boisterous vocals. The infectious attributes of the band’s sound and enterprise is as swiftly evident, coursing song and appetite with a viral quality whipping up eager participation. There is a familiarity to the track yet as with the band’s sound overall, it is a welcoming hue to something wholly individual.

The following Two Sides (of Hope) has a just as catchy lilt and swing to its tenacious swing shaped by a more intensive attitude. There is a defiant edge to every twist and turn, a rousing wind fuelling its incitement as the track swiftly got under the skin; a success more than matched by the contagious antics of Let Me See Now. Another which has a sense of an old friend returning with a new identity and intent, the song quickly had hips and feet doing its bidding as melodic and imaginative endeavour nurtured its brief but highly manipulative exploits.

As with its predecessor, the ska side of the band’s sound fuels next up Bad Dreams; its gait alone enticing physical involvement while the band’s potent dual vocal temptation works away on ears side by side with the jangle of guitar and the moodier stroll of the bass. Instinctively Bitter Grounds seem to conjure hooks and grooves which know what gets the juices going, My Time another addictive example with its melodic revelry and vocal dynamics.

Through the relatively calmer but just as infectious and mischievously woven Faded and the raucous holler of Let Them Talk, the album just reinforces its temptation and the band the creative dexterity of their songwriting and flavour rich music, the latter sparking thoughts that if Angelic Upstarts had embraced ska in their sound way back it would have been something akin to this inescapable trespass.

The album concludes with firstly Seven Nights, a Rancid scented stomp needing mere seconds to command limb and spirit, and finally the punk ‘n’ roll defiance of FML. With compelling rhythms battering the senses and riffs careering through ears as vocals spew attitude, the track is a tenacious and rousing end to one outstanding release.

From first breath to last, Two Sides of Hope hits the punk greedy spot, hungrily proving itself one of the best punk indeed rock ‘n’ roll albums of 2018.

Two Sides of Hope is out now, available @ https://bittergrounds.bandcamp.com/

http://bittergrounds.nl/   https://www.facebook.com/BitterGroundsBand/

 Pete RingMaster 16/10/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Canshaker Pi – Naughty Naughty Violence

The word is that Dutch outfit Canshaker Pi is one emerging proposition sparking excitement and keen attention at every turn.  Now having been introduced to them through their first album it is easy to hear why. Naughty Naughty Violence is a devilishly magnetic and creatively mischievous indie rock romp; one spawned from a fusion of ear grabbing flavours equipped with an arsenal of hooks to make a Cenobite jealous.

The Amsterdam band’s sound is bred through varied strains of rock, punk, indie, and noise woven into a web of rhythmic and sonic manipulation. Since forming, the quartet has earned increasing attention and praise through their music and a live presence which has seen them share stages with the likes of The Cribs, Car Seat Headrest, Parquet Courts, Pip Blom, and Scott Kannberg’s Spiral Stairs and this year alone gather plaudits from playing Eurosonic, SXSW, and The Great Escape. That Pavement link is maybe no surprise as the band’s sound has a certain spicing of them and no doubt helped the band grab support slot on Kannberg’s side project’s tour in 2017 and continues with Canshaker Pi’s debut album being produced by Stephen Malkmus.

Naughty Naughty Violence swiftly shows that there is a definite individuality to Canshaker Pi’s sound, one not necessarily unique but springing a fresh and distinct character of imagination and flavouring which quickly got under our skin. Album opener is Pressure From Above, a song instantly teasing with an electronic wag of its creative finger and soon bursting into a fuzz fired boisterous stroll. As calm vocals join in, the track relaxes but is soon romping again bringing greater clamour and tenacity to its contagious rock ‘n’ roll. Already it is easy to sense that Pavement inspiration and too of bands like The Mai Shi, a kaleidoscope of hooks and melodic unpredictability additionally lighting the great beginning to the release.

It is a start soon eclipsed though, the initial off-kilter sonic lure of next up Tonsil enough alone to ignite our discord loving instincts. It is a kind of false start but the trigger to the glorious swagger wearing exploits of the track, that continuing discord a delicious clamour of temptation and trespass often enticing like a raw pop fuelled mix of Shellac and The Melvins. The final sonic sigh of the track drifts into the opening vocal and sonic discordance of Sooner Later. Around a compelling bass throb, the brief but dramatic track ignites and disrupts the senses, noise and voice a volatile incitement driven by the irresistible manipulation of the drums.

Three tracks in and fair to say we were hooked and only dangling with further enjoyment as Smurf uncaged its infectious canter like a grunge inspired Fountains of Wayne next with the following If Kelly Doesn’t, Then Who Will calming things down with its melodic and rhythmic pop ‘n’ roll. Neither track quite sparked the more lustful responses caused by their predecessors but ears could not evade being caught up in their individual and increasingly persuasive captivations; the latter especially as it just blossomed play by play to have us bouncing around as forcibly as its own endeavour.

But Why provided one minute of rousing noise rock next, rhythms humping ears as guitars meddle with the senses and vocals tease. With not even a breath allowed between them, No Sack, No Way saunters in to match its success, an immediate ear enslaving hook steering its lure. It is matched in magnetism by bass and vocals, each a controlled but virulent tempting entangling for even greater seduction of the imagination. Pop rock has rarely been heard more addictively in our speakers though its successor Put A Record Out with its ballsier rock ‘n’ roll was more than a match as it unleashed its resourcefully fiery clamour around further rhythmic machination.

In contrast to its raucous blaze, Legless provided a calm almost solemn amble through sound and imagination. The outstanding track carries something of early Cure meets Dinosaur Jr to its tantalising slow post punk sway while The Indie Academy straight after is up on its heels swinging along with pop rock devilment to almost as imposingly please.

The final pair of Half Book and Beautiful World brings the album to a potent conclusion, the first of the two again inventively merging flavours and eras with its post punk/pop punk infested rock before the second leaves ears immersed in a shadow wrapped melancholic croon with its own infectious gait and enterprise boiling up to a rousing corrosive climax.

Naughty Naughty Violence is an album which was really hard to move on from which tells you all about its exploits and temptations. As we said at the start, Canshaker Pi is being very highly talked of right now, their new album gives all the reasons why.

Naughty Naughty Violence is out now through Excelsior Recordings.

http://www.canshakerpi.nl/   https://www.facebook.com/CanshakerPi/   https://twitter.com/CanshakerPi

Pete RingMaster 05/06/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright