Ceremony – In The Spirit World Now

 

As Californian outfit Ceremony continue to search out and explore the next evolution in their creative voice, they have sparked one treat of an itch to get under the skin in recent times. In The Spirit World Now is one of those encounters which immediately infests attention and proceeds to haunt it thereon in, ensuring returns to its contagious body are not only inevitable but inescapable.

It seems some people still compare the Rohnert Park quintet’s early voracious hardcore sounds to each new offering as if they have gone off course. Every artist though needs to follow their instincts and hunger to grow, something Ceremony have relished and flourished with for our thoughts. It has not been quite as a dramatic shift as that Ministry undertook and undoubtedly blossomed from but step by step it has been certainly marked and as In The Spirit World Now proves, compelling.

Moving on from but also drawing in some ways from the Joy Division-esque captivation of last album, The L​-​Shaped Man, Ceremony embraces the breath and virulence of eighties post punk and new wave within its successor. Whether by chance, coincidence, or deliberation there is a potent Devo influence to the sound making up its collection of infection loaded tracks, stronger in some than others, yet it only goes to accentuate the band’s own imagination and individuality.

The Relapse Records released, Will Yip (Title Fight, Circa Survive, Turnover) produced album opens up with Turn Away The Bad Thing. An immediate synth draw is quickly joined by the resonating drawl of Justin Davis’ bass. In little time the vocals of Ross Farrar are striding across the wires cast by guitars, the confidence indeed swagger in his tones a magnet into the melodic web of sound growing with potent catchiness. Crystalline shimmers interrupt the boisterous motion to calm the senses but it only adds to the lure of the song especially with the female voiced caresses which glide forward to seduce. All the while emotional tension builds until the track again bursts into creative animation.

It is a strong and pleasing start but for us only a teaser to greater moments starting with the album’s stirring title track. With something of a Modern English meets John Foxx era Ultravox breeze across its spiky but fluid motion, the track has a wealth of hooks and melodic wiring at its disposable courtesy of the imagination of guitarists Andy Nelson and Anthony Anzaldo with synths just as skilfully manipulative before Further I Was reaps the temptation of both for its own body of virulence. One of those moments when that Devo reference is most keen, the song strolls along springing new wave contagion and post punk dynamics, the angular delivery of Farrar matched by the jerkiness of riffs and rhythms with the swinging beats of Jake Casarotti alone a rousing incitement.

Presaging The End prowls ears next though its presence is all invitation, its melodic romance draped in dark shadows and melancholy, the latter carrying a slight Skids like essence while Say Goodbye To Them brings unbridled pop insistence through its gait and dynamics. Even so there is a restraint which only adds to its easy infestation of appetite and imagination; an invasion with the richest rewards as another irresistible moment within the release is uncaged, one swiftly echoed by the punk feral We Can Be Free. Scuzz lined, hook throwing guitars collude with the melodic tease of keys, rhythm egging on their mischief and the movement it is hard not to offer from the outside.

Through the quirk pop stomp of Years Of Love and Never Gonna Die Now with its Devo/Wall Of Voodoo like creative drama and sonic gesticulation, In The Spirit World Now just stepped up another level, the second our firmly favourite track. Song by song, the album took a firmer grip of our greed, simply becoming more captivating as echoed by I Want More. Again in many ways punk instincts drive its holler, vocals, riffs and the great bass nagging especially coated in that irritability but all tempered and bound in the led synths dance.

From Another Age provides a riveting quick footed incitement next, rhythms jabbing as synths and guitars duel with mutual temptation. In the midst Farrar adds his own pugnacious but welcoming agility, it all galvanic persuasion.

The album concludes with the intrigue coated post punk theatre of Calming Water where rhythms almost stalk ears as they provoke feet, wiry hooks and acute melodies further intoxication as the song sends the release away on a high. Not that its absence proves long as In The Spirit World Now is a record which so far is proving impossible to stay away from.

With a few moments of poetic intimacy between some songs, the album has thoughts as animated as body, spirit and pleasure.  For us Ceremony just keeps getting better and more fascinating.

In The Spirit World Now is out now via Relapse Records; available @ https://ceremonyrohnertpark.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ceremony/   https://twitter.com/ceremony   https://www.ceremonyhc.com/

Pete RingMaster 11/09/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dry Cleaning – Sweet Princess

Picture credit: Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz

There are times when you realise that unknowingly you have been waiting for a certain encounter and such is our feeling with the debut release from UK outfit Dry Cleaning. The Sweet Princess is a fascinating chunk of post punk/new wave drama which is openly inspired by the dark glories of the eighties but revels in an imagination and creative irreverence which wholly belongs to the London based quartet.

With a karaoke party in 2017 inspiring an instrumental collaboration, Dry Cleaning found its whole and voice with the addition of Florence Shaw six months later, she with no prior musical experiences joining Lewis Maynard, Tom Dowse, and Nick Buxton. Together they recorded the six-track Sweet Princess EP before playing their first show only last year which has been followed by headline shows and a tour with NYC’s Bodega. That live presence has already urged keen interest which their debut as a full introduction can only embrace and further ignite.

To try and place the sound of Dry Cleaning, it sits somewhere between Pylon and the Au Pairs with an originality which embraces some familiar hues but twists them to its own inventive devices. Shaw’s spoken word styled delivery sparks thoughts of Lesley Woods of the latter of the previously mentioned bands and at times The Anaemic Boyfriends, her words almost snatches of life and opinion woven together to create and echo kitchen sink situations as well as broader issues. EP opener, Goodnight quickly reveals it is a potent and striking incitement just as magnetically matched by the sounds which stride alongside. The first song concussively strikes like a sonic cobra before breaking into a virulent stride the Gang Of Four would be proud of. Vocals and rhythms collude in their temptation, the insistence of the latter led by the throbbing bass irresistible as guitars add their choppy lures and beats swing with matching rapacity. A melodic hook right out of the Buzzcocks songbook is extra manna to devour as it entwines the intimacy of word and reflection.

The following New Job quickly proved itself to be just as tantalising, also needing mere seconds and breaths to tempt and enslave as beats draw in another eagerly enticing hook aligned to the melodic tones of Shaw. Its punk breeding is soon released in flames of jangling guitar, a Raincoats meets early Cure spicing lining the track’s irreverence romance of discord.

An ode to the Duchess of Sussex and look at the intent and deeds of the media towards such celebrities, Magic of Meghan entangled ears in a guitar bred web from the off, appetite only further bound as the song  sets off on a sonic saunter driven by the band’s ever tenacious rhythmic nagging with its Artery-esque agility. As its predecessors, it burrowed deep within the skin and enslaved in no time, a prowess just as hungry within the dark crawling proposition of Traditional Fish. Even in its almost predatory prowl there is an energy which is pure incitement as too is the melodic and sonic wiring that threads its Feelies like body.

For all the references Dry Cleaning is a band which only uncages a sense of uniqueness in its sound as evidenced once more within Phone Scam. There is a Fire Engines hue to the guitar as the song shapes its refreshing presence around Shaw’s ever potent collage of words and phrases; that alone proving enough to incite greed though it is the delicious bass and drums propelled lure at its core which turned greed into lust.

Concluded by the keenly swinging sonic shimmer of Conversation, the song a final piece of dark and pulsating imagination, Sweet Princess is a release we for one cannot get enough of. Over far too soon, the EP sparked excitement as thickly as pleasure; at times that is a rare find in music but easy to imagine the first of many alongside Dry Cleaning.

Sweet Princess is out now via It’s OK; available @ https://drycleaning.bandcamp.com/releases

A

Microcosms – Forget Us

Undoubtedly the Chicago music scene is and has perpetually been the source of some of music’s most striking and individual artists. Microcosms is the latest proposition from within its creative bunker to grip our attention, our introduction coming through their new single, Forget Us. It is one of those tracks which lay predacious eggs under the skin and in the brain from its first breath, growing and festering as an addictive we for one have no wish to dispense with.

Microcosms is the creation of guitarist/vocalist Andrew Tschiltsch, an initial solo project which after a few years saw the addiction of bassist Bryan Emer and drummer Jered Pipenbrink. Musically its alternative rock nurtured sound welcomes the inspirations of artists such as Arctic Monkeys, Bully, Cage the Elephant, Courtney Barnett, Portugal. The Man, and Wolf Alice and emerges as “music to question your beliefs to”. Debut release, the Know My Body EP, enticed well-receiving attention in 2017, its impact soon eclipsed by that of the Fairytale EP a year later. They are successes we expect to be once more surpassed by, given the chance, that surrounding Forget Us.

The song just romps from the speakers, funnelling through ears with one delicious and inescapable hook. The flirtatious antics of the guitar continues to wind salaciously around ears and imagination with the subsequent vociferous rhythmic shuffle within ear gripping noise smog only adding to the tracks infestation of the senses.

Continuing to tease and taunt through each cycle, the song is a mix of threat and seduction seeing the band unleash its more punk bred instincts in comparison to previous encounters. Even so post punk, new wave, and noise pop imagination is just as vocal and rousing within the track with its eventual departure the only moment disappointment escapes.

We cannot say we have heard everything from the Microcosms imagination and enterprise but of what we have and undoubtedly enjoyed, the irresistible proving Forget Us simply eclipses the lot.

Forget Us is available now @ https://microcosms.bandcamp.com/

https://www.wearemicrocosms.com/   https://www.facebook.com/WeAreMicrocosms/   https://twitter.com/WeAreMicrocosms

Pete RingMaster 04/06/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

She Made Me Do It – Drenched

pic by @dcmusicvideos

There is nothing better than an encounter which immediately enthrals attention and appetite but is only scratching at the depths of temptation and adventure within. The Drenched EP from She Made Me Do It is one such offering; a release which instantly had ears pricked and the body bouncing but was just revealing the seeds to blossoming levels of imagination and seduction.

The four track release is another in a long line of rich enticement from the duo of Shaheena Dax (Rachel Stamp) and Will Crewdson (Rachel Stamp, Adam Ant, Scant Regard, The Selecter, Bow Wow Wow, Flesh For Lulu) and one of the pairs’ most deviously tempting offerings. From start to finish it is a magnetic almost teasing fusion of dark shadows and elegant radiance bound in an equally rich mix of punk, new wave, post punk and alternative rock adventure. The successor to their 2017 album, The Frantic Legion, the compelling exploits of Drenched sees the band’s sound even more defined yet bolder in its adventure and tapestry of flavours. Through the captivation and intimation of Dax’s golden yet often almost portentously lined vocals and the descriptive yet rousingly tenacious antics of Crewdson’s guitar to the suggestive caresses and intriguing shimmers of their keys, She Made Me Do It create a captivating web to immerse in and dance with.

Produced by Crewdson and with Joe Holweger providing drums, Drenched opens up with the swiftly irresistible Bones. Straightaway post punk tendrils escape Crewdson’s guitar, their clinging hues something akin to the claws cast in the past by the likes of Leitmotiv and Sex Gang Children. Escalating these lures by the second, the track builds into a lumbering but lively stroll where Dax soon springs her own potent temptation as bass and drums steer the dark throes of the song’s canter; the punk hues of guitar only adding to its anthemic and equally predacious swing. Inescapably infectious but with that great edge of danger and intimidation, the song, as indeed the EP, needed a mere play to get under the skin and only burrowing, deeper and deeper thereon in.

The following Broken Morning is a just as skilful manipulator of ears and appetite even as it instantly reveals a much warmer and calmer nature. That is no chain to an instinctive catchiness and creative eagerness though, the song devilishly impossible to resist joining in with especially when faced with one contagion laded chorus and again a swinging energy which enlivens the body and spirit of song and listener alike. There is something, if right now indefinably, familiar to the track but a hue which only adds to its compelling design and persuasion.

Ashes is next up, electronic pulses gently but firmly resonating before the dirtier breath of the bass joins up quickly followed by the similarly beckoning strains of guitar and voice. A song which relishes its electro pop instincts as fully as its rock ‘n’ roll heart, it offers a tapestry of flavours and creative twists, all as unpredictable as the track is unsurprising in its voracious zeal and stirring enterprise.

The release ends with the melodically celestial beauty of Time, a song of intimate and spatial elegance over an earthbound spine that just as easily ignites the imagination as the siren-esque flight above.  It is a hauntingly mesmeric conclusion to a release which as we said just grows more impressive and tantalisingly by the listen. It is a heavier, more guitar driven rocker than predecessors but equally richer in its melodic and broad weave of flavours and adventure; a must in anyone’s book.

The Drenched EP is out February 1st on Catranstic Records with pre-ordering available @ https://shemademedoit.bandcamp.com/album/drenched-e-p and https://shemmdi.com/store

 

https://www.shemmdi.com/   https://www.facebook.com/shemademedoitpage   https://twitter.com/SheMMDI

Pete RingMaster 30/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Siblings Of Us – Gargantua

Creating a maze of intrigue and diversity smothered in a web of unpredictable imagination UK outfit Siblings Of Us offer up their new release. Any sound and encounter which refuses to be pigeonholed provides an instinctive lure and without doubt the Bristol trio and their Gargantua EP defies any attempt to pin them down as essences from synth and progressive rock entangle with elements of indie, new wave, and plenty more. It makes for an ear enticing proposition which admittedly left us a little bewildered, slightly unsure occasionally and thoroughly pleasured.

Emerging in 2016, Siblings Of Us consists of Fonzy Armour (vocals, guitar, synth), Zack Reed (vocals, synth), and Ellie Daymond (drums). Since venturing forth, the band has released two EPs, a couple of singles and a threesome of videos, all luring greater attention and new waves of fans. Gargantua is sure to continue the trend, its four tracks all providing a rich kaleidoscope of adventure with the conspiracy of a puzzle.

Gargantua opens up with Pizza Liza where synths immediately create a spirally coaxing before swinging rhythms and melodic heat accompanies the song’s emerging muscular presence. There is a natural catchiness to the weight though, synths all the while creating a bubbling sea of melodic intimation and temptation and at times adding a scent of The Stranglers’ Dave Greenfield to the fun. We will admit that the falsetto vocals of the band, a proposition something akin to The Bee Gees woozy after having their unmentionables firmly squeezed, was the one element personal tastes laboured with but certainly they are no weakness in the band or its sound especially as they add a touch of organic energy and a great emotional ‘desperation’ to things.

The following Chicago Glass Twins similarly strolls in with its old rock ‘n’ roll inclinations to the fore, synths and vocals flirting with ears as they ride the intrusive rhythmic tide craftily led by Daymond. Detours and suggestive interludes accompany the track’s bold trail of enterprise, every moment adding to its captivation as it outshines its predecessor before Breed & Company repeats the success as it flows into a calm, reflective mood and melodic croon. It too carries an intensity which erupts with Muse meets Axis Mundi imagination, the song bursting with volatility to fine effect.

The EP closes up with A Gang Called Wonder, a slice of infection loaded synthwave with predatory instincts and just a shade of mania to its intent. The track epitomises the whole EP; a fascinating and thoroughly magnetic affair that just demands attention.

By the record, the Sibling Of Us sound has evolved with eager adventure, Gargantua another highly enjoyable twist in its journey; a pleasure ensuring their next offering is going to be highly anticipated.

Gargantua hits all outlets on 2nd November, via RetroSynth Records.

https://www.facebook.com/siblingsofus   https://www.instagram.com/siblingsofus/   https://twitter.com/siblingsofus

Pete RingMaster 30/10/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Tommy And The Commies – Here Come

Entangling the addictive hooks of Buzzcocks, the pop contagion of The Undertones, and the punk irreverence of The Cortinas with the early mod punk instincts of The Jam sounds like one rather tasty aural recipe; a mix which the imagination does not have to merely ponder as it is at the heart of the irresistible sound of Canadian outfit Tommy And The Commies. Their debut release, Here Come, soon proves there is much more of an individual character and flavouring to the band’s sonic holler though, a sound which you just feel would have been as potent back in the late seventies as it will undoubtedly be now.

From Sudbury, Ontario, Tommy And The Commies is the united exploits of Jeff Houle (Strange Attractor), his brother Mitch, and frontman Tommy Commy. Together they create “hooliganistic mod-punk” as nostalgic as it is rigorously fresh and in raucous evidence within the Slovenly Records released Here Come. The album immediately erupts with opener Devices, vocals and guitar colluding in instant temptations as rhythms boisterously roll. Very quickly we found ourselves agreeing with the Howard Devoto spicing to Tommy’s vocals as suggested by the album’s press release, but as within the music individuality soon wins through. The track continues to romp and stomp with punk/power pop infectiousness inciting body and vocal chords from start to finish, success only matched and escalated across the remaining slices of viral boisterousness and tenacity.

The following Straight Jacket shares its own virulent catchiness; from its first breath getting under the skin with excited riffs and melodic enterprise. Slightly more restrained in urgency than its predecessor, the track is still an unbridled bundle of energy and creative uproar bounding along without inhibition before Permanent Fixture springs its Dickies scented revelry. Again riffs and hooks collude in its excitable endeavour as rhythms robustly stir and bite within a full fusion of the familiar and new.

Something akin to 999 meets The Vapors,  Hurtin’ Boys provides another major highlight in nothing but across the album; its jagged stroll swift and a constant incitement on body and spirit before new single Suckin’ In Your 20’s entangles raw seventies power pop with modern day indie dissonance to similarly manipulate hips and throat.

A definite hint of The Ramones teases within the wiry antics of Throwaway Love, the guitar laying a mesh of hooks and melodic niggling which just brought lust to the appetite as rhythms simultaneously worked away on a body just as much badgered and inspired by the infectious clamour of So Happy where a Pixies like hue adds to inescapable temptation.

The release closes up with Reggie Rocks, another irrepressible slice of mod infused pop punk which is all mischief and noisy attitude wrapped in instinctive enterprise and contagion; a track which throughout epitomises the fun and energy of the band let alone their creative animation.

For us the best releases leave you feeling alive and inspired; Here Come does that and more.

Here Come is out now via Slovenly Records; available @ https://slovenly.bandcamp.com/releases

 https://www.facebook.com/TOMMYSCOMMIES/

Pete RingMaster 06/10/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Secret Sight – Shared Loneliness

Back in 2014, we like so many others were impressed and hooked on the debut album from Secret Sight. It was a release which surprised having come out of the blue awareness wise and introduced us to the captivating dark post punk/gothic rock sound of the Italian band. Now the Ancona hailing outfit has repeated the feat with their second full-length, Shared Loneliness; a collection of songs as striking and captivating as their predecessors but with a maturity and enterprise which sets it apart.

Secret Sight emerged the same year as their Red Cat Records released debut album Day.Night.Life, though there is a 2013 self-titled EP under the name Coldwave before then. Recorded with Paolo Rossi (Soviet Soviet, Be Forest, Brothers In Law), Day.Night.Life swiftly sparked support and praise carrying attention, the band supporting its release with an extensive tour around Italy, Switzerland and Austria where the plaudits continued coming. A quartet at the time, the band has since slimmed to a trio with former vocalist Matteo Schipsi leaving, vocals being shared across guitarist/synth player Cristiano Poli and bassist/synth player Lucio Cristino. With its line-up completed by the dramatic rhythms of Enrico Bartolini, Secret Sight linked up with producer Alessandro Ovi Sportelli for Shared Loneliness, resulting in an album which has mellowed out in regard to the raw edged post punk tone of its predecessor but blossomed in its haunting melancholic drama and melodic suggestiveness.

As with their first album, the band’s sound harkens back to eighties post punk/new wave and their gothic companions but with a bolder identity and imagination belonging to Secret Shine. It opens with Lowest Point, the initial coaxing mist of synths soon joined by the atmospheric lures of guitar and bass, keys simultaneously thickening as melodies simmer and echo in the ears. The instrumental’s shadows carry over into the following Stage Lights where the mesmeric groan of the bass and aligning dark textures seduce the imagination ready for the song’s spirited stroll which erupts soon after. Like a fusion of Leitmotiv and The Sound the track dances on the senses, its rhythmic shuffle sculpting their own catchy charm to the temptation. Superb in voice and enterprise, the song swiftly grips attention, vocals as enticing as the sounds around them and with a great nagging essence to its tenacious rhythms, infectious melodies, and tantalising hooks, the tone and heart for the album is set.

The following Blindmind matches its success with its own compelling design and creative intimacy. As in the last song Cristino’s bass makes an addictive proposal, moody and melancholic in its bold exploits with the same traits fuelling the adventure and intimation of Poli’s guitar which beguiles the imagination in its own right. To be honest all three musicians seize attention with their individual prowess but uniting perfectly to create an even greater temptation, that aforementioned maturity lining every twist and turn.

There is also a breath and tone to the song which reminds of The Cure around their second album, a thick shadow draped air which is as open in songs like next up Fallen and its successor Flowers if to lesser degrees. The first of the two similarly bounds through ears, emotively conjured melodies webbing its rhythmic canter as a China Crisis like catchiness brews while the second with a calmer energy has something of a Modern English to it. Though neither song quite matches up to those before them each leaves pleasure high and attention glued before Swan’s Smile envelops the senses and drives the spirit with its sprightly canter. With a scent of The Danse Society cast, the track simply made an already keen appetite hungrier for more, a want quickly satisfied by the rampant dynamics of Over led by the skilful endeavour of Bartolini. A fusion of post punk with gothic and synth pop, it is a rousingly infectious affair with theatre in its veins and emotional drama in its voice.

The pair of Surprising Lord and Sometimes completes the album in compelling style, the first a pulsating and again relentlessly catchy incitement on body and pleasure as dark and imposing as it is hopeful and anthemic. The evocative balladry of the final track ensures the pleasure listening to Shared Loneliness is relentless even if the song does not quite meet the lofty heights of many of its companions such their might. Epitomising the release in its emotional depth and musical enterprise, it is a fine end to another mouth-watering outing with Secret Sight.

We suggest focusing on the CD edition of the album as it carries a quite excellent cover of The Sound song The Fire as a bonus track, Secret Sight not detouring too far from the original but giving it all the energy and passion it and that great band deserves; just a shame it is not on all versions.

Shared Loneliness is available now through Manic Depression Records for its vinyl edition, Unknown Pleasures Records for the CD, and digitally @ https://secretsight.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/secretsight

Pete RingMaster 16/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright