Keeping it loud: exploring the world of STP Records with founder Stu Taylor

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It is hard not to be rather excited about an ever thriving UK punk and rock ‘n’ roll scene which right now seems to be bubbling rather rigorously with great bands, inspiring releases, and memorable live events. Certainly in the underground, intoxicating and thrilling propositions seem to be a perpetual temptation for our ears, new and older bands with their shows and releases breaching new tenacious creativity with impassioned roars bred from aggressive and uncompromising rock ‘n’ roll. Helping provide support and an outlet for many of those incitements are serious music fans like Stu Taylor and his STP Records. From putting on shows on the Manchester music scene through to becoming a regular port of call at the Rebellion festival, Stu and STP has become one of the most potent and respected presences in the underground scene. Embracing punk to punk n’ roll, basically anything exciting them with flavoursome unbridled rock ‘n’ roll, the label has brought fans some essential and refreshing releases whilst introducing wider attention to their creators artists, and its founders a continual supply of history lingering shows and performances in Manchester and around the UK. Without wanting to sound like an advert, as a music fan and reviewer it is impossible to miss the open appetite and professionalism, insight and passion in wanting to help promote good bands and music within STP. Hearing of new plans and adventure afoot within the label we thought it was time to explore more the people behind many of our favourite encounters of recent times. So we grabbed Stu, piled him with a torrent of questions and went about learning about the background to man and label, future plans and their inspirations, the team behind the face and label, and how he ‘annoys’ the STP ladies at shows…

1185331_483457091780505_1556240827_nHi Stu, a big thanks for taking time away from important things to chat with us J

Can we start by asking some background to and what inspired you to set up STP Records?

The release side of things came about as an offshoot from the shows we have been doing at The Star and Garter here in Manchester since the mid Nineties, and those shows we started to do as bands were simply not playing Manchester. So with a friend, Ian, we used to travel to shows to see bands and simply asked them to come and play in Manchester. Like most promoters, we have been privileged to see a fantastic array of bands down the years, and sometimes that can lead to those bands becoming very good friends as well.

You know how it works, you are in the same room with bands sharing a beer and chatting away about anything and everything, a band mentions that they want to get their songs heard but either don’t know how or have anybody willing to release things.

The very first time we released something was for a band called Sadie Hawkins Dance and it became a collaboration with some Norwegian labels (October Party Records, Goldenmusic, Fucking North Pole Records) so we could get the hang of doing things.

The rest as they say is history as we continue with shows and releases.

Did you have a particular intent with it?

There was no particular intent and no initial thought other than to put on shows in Manchester to begin with to save us travelling when bands we liked were touring. Likewise there was no particular intent with the release side of things other than helping friends out and of course you have to like what you’re releasing as well otherwise it just becomes impersonal. As with anybody that attends a show, I suppose you could argue that the initial intent was, and still is, to have fun doing things and as any of the bands we have worked with will attest, I have always maintained that, and that extends to releases, the fun aspect from start to finish that hand in hand with the hard work and financial outlay leads to that smile when you get that finished product in your hand for the first time….something you don’t get with a download.

Obviously punk rock in its various shades is the focus of STP and your passions as a fan. Has this bred from mere love of the music and like us a hunger to hear and embrace the best of the genre or was there been a musical side to you before moving to create the label?

Various shades sum us up quite well, as we hope our selection of releases to date reflects. Of course in some instances we have more than one release from a band and whilst that becomes immediately identifiable to those buying from us, and fans of that band, we also think that the cross selection of musical styles on offer at STP Records keeps things interesting for us and others, at least we hope so.

Love of music as opposed to a musical background has of course kept us fuelled, and continues to do so, so yes we do like to hear and embrace all that several genres of music have to offer.

That having been said I can bathroom sing up there with the best of them in that tone deaf way so many of us enjoy so much, coupled with that at show beer fuelled singing which again many partake in so I don’t know if that counts as musical background, if so I’m an expert.

How would you say STP has evolved most dramatically since those early days?

Three areas to cover here; live shows, releases, merchandise…

On the live show side of things, from those first tentative steps of winging things and not really knowing what was involved, we now have our own backlines, can and have put on shows in various size venues not just in Manchester but around the UK, and are more than happy to share that equipment and knowledge, which we do frequently.

Regarding releases, again initial enthusiasm has now given way to full knowledge of every release from inception to final product, and in partnership with bands we like to ensure releases get honest reviews which benefit ourselves and bands in regards to constructive positive/negative feedback. We do enjoy reading fuller reviews rather than the one or two sentence variety but do appreciate some zines etc. do not have the space to carry fuller reviews, but all are welcomed.

Merchandise has become an offshoot of both shows and releases and for STP has built into a stall that we are able to adapt in size from a full 3 sided 18ft stall at large shows to a couple of release boxes at local shows. We have also rather than just concentrate on tee shirts and releases, added a whole range of items that cater for people wanting to buy jewellery, hair dye, boot polish, and a whole range of quirky and one off items sourced from a variety of places on our travels.

I think the largest evolvement for STP however is the name getting out and about by word of mouth combined with an online presence, and of course being out and about and recognised. We also count ourselves very lucky that without question, everybody we have worked with, whether band, festival, zine etc. has also endorsed what we do and for that we are grateful; this could I suppose count as a fourth area of evolvement.

For us STP Records is much more than a label, it is a proposition truly supporting the independent punk scene and its artists well beyond just providing an outlet for their releases. We can assume this was and is increasingly the driving force for the label and your personal endeavours?

Very nice of you to say so…Of course we do support as much as possible artists we release for and are reliant on sites like The Ringmaster Review to help us achieve that alongside venues / promoters / radio stations and the general public; all of these combine to hopefully get people out to see a band for the first time if they have not yet seen them or bring them back if they like what they see / hear first time round.

Of course anybody can release anything or put on a show to support a band / scene, and it will always be a work in progress in an ever evolving / changing entity as there is always room to take on board new thoughts. Support within not just the independent punk scene, but any scene / genre works 2 ways for us, we will give it unconditionally and are grateful if we get a return and likewise sometimes we get support and will return it. It doesn’t always work this way but it’s the same in any walk of life so it’s nothing new, you just have to accept it for what it is and move on focusing on what’s relevant to what you are doing, and again this train of thought comes with experience. We like everybody else have made mistakes in this area but for where we are now, we concentrate on the positive and it is this on-going positive thinking that has become our driving force.

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Stu, Sam, and Babs

STP is basically a one man band? How difficult was it to set up the company and more so keep it going in the modern music scene?

Whilst it may seem like a one man band, it’s truly not. Initially a good friend Ian Lewis helped me set up shows back in the early nineties which is where we moved from being paying customers to promoters. Today we also have Samantha Mason (my better half), Barbara Taylor (sister) and Laurence Smith (nephew) who help out in their own inimitable way regards merchandise stalls, taking money / tickets on the door, carrying gear and basically supporting what the public perceives as STP in the manifest form of myself.

Of course people see what I do publicly, with bands and online and it’s easy to see how that is taken as a one man band but the above 3 people are as much STP Records as I am.

I would also count the many promoters we have done joint shows with, the staff past and present at the wonderful Star and Garter in Manchester, the bands we have released with, the people who have paid for our releases or come to our shows, and the staff and promoters at venues worldwide who have booked our bands and played our songs, and Rockers England store on Oldham Street for selling tickets and CD’s…all of these when added together knit a far and wide STP blanket under which we can sleep soundly.

As previously mentioned, anybody can set up a label, put out a release, put on a show. You just need a basic amount of research and how you take it forward is dependent on what you want to put into it or get out of it. And as anybody doing any of these will tell you, you learn as you go, you will make mistakes, you will do things right, you will upset people, you will be upset by people but if you take all that on board and continue, you will know if it’s right for you.

The modern music scene shifts all the time and you have to continuously look at things and not be afraid to change things, and I’ll cover this a little more in one of your other questions coming up a little further down.

Whereas previously you have been running the label alongside ‘real life’, I believe you have recently made STP your full-time job and attention?

I have indeed for many years been fitting a lot of what I do around a full time job. The only time this has been any different was a few years ago when I gave up work to work alongside the fantastic people of Vice Squad until a short illness took me away from this and back into work…but that’s another story for another day.

But yes, the decision was taken by myself with full support from Samantha to hand in my notice at work and I did indeed walk away from the day to day routine. Of course this decision was taken as we have paid off our mortgage and having worked since leaving college. It’s still a little strange for me after 7 weeks…and to be honest as I have mentioned to a few folk, how I fitted so much in before I will never know as I now seem to have so much to do but I am slowly incorporating appreciating time, nature, and more alongside thinking ahead for what I want do personally regards bringing money in, which for the moment is unimportant, and also for changing what we do STP wise, again something I will talk about further down the set of questions.

Was this move something you have intended for a while?

I had intended to do this a while ago as mentioned when I was out and about with Vice Squad, and indeed the last couple of years it has been the main thought to change my life outlook and something I am now dealing with on my own terms with the full support of family and friends as I look to integrate STP into an acceptable lifestyle for myself, Samantha, family and friends.

2015 will see a new shift in direction for STP I believe, can you explain what will be changing and growing with the label?

2015 will see a small change in that following a hectic release schedule in 2014 we have slowed down a touch this year, again to fit into my current lifestyle change. We have just released Horror Movie Matinee by The Obnoxious UK, again another band who over the course of a year or two have impressed with their attitude and friendliness as well as their music naturally, and sometimes you just have to release something to help bands like this get a foothold and that is indeed at this moment in time what I am doing. Outside of this we are planning only another 4 releases this year from Dirt Box Disco, Brassick, The Kingcrows, and Healthy Junkies as we also chase up another 2 outstanding releases from late 2014 yet to emerge….but again, I will cover the change and growth question more in your upcoming 2016 question.

Stu & laurence

Stu & lawrence

What about the live side of your work, shows etc.?

Live wise this is a bit bitter sweet at the moment. Our venue of choice for the last 3 decades for putting on shows in Manchester has been the Star and Garter. The venue has now been issued with a compulsory purchase order connected to the upcoming Northern Rail hub work (a story you can look up elsewhere) and that work is scheduled to begin early 2016.

Now a question I have been asked hundreds of times in the last few months is where will I do shows in Manchester…well the simple answer is that I will not be.

I simply cannot bring myself to begin to build the amazing relationship we have built with this venue, it is something unique and if any promoter elsewhere has the same length of time relationship, you will know exactly what we mean. It will be a sad day if/when it closes but I have taken the decision now to hold a last finale weekend for STP shows here and this will take place on Sat / Sun December 19th / 20th and we are urging people to get their tickets for this as for both ourselves at STP and the venue, it will be an emotional one to bow out on and we are hoping we can sell out 2 nights with everyone simply having an amazing time.

We of course have done shows in other venues in and around Manchester as well as further afield, but in a sporting context we view these as away fixtures with Star and Garter shows our home fixtures. We are truly privileged to have worked with the owners, staff past and present and clientele on some truly amazing shows and there are some amazing stories behind some of those shows.

For the future, the only STP shows that will surface will be Dirt Box Disco shows as that is the band we currently work with on a full time basis, and the occasional album release show for when we do decide on a new full release for a band, but none of those will be in Manchester.

How do you see the UK punk scene right now? From the outside its looks and sounds like it is in one of its healthiest states ever since the late seventies. How have you found it working within it?

Very active would probably be the best description. There is an awful lot going on, more so in some places than others but overall it’s in a good place. There’s a healthy mix of young and old, sometimes combining, sometimes not, but overall keeping things going.

There has always been something happening somewhere since the late seventies regards shows, releases, cafes, record shops and that continues today and long may it do so when we finish and leave our little dent in history.

Working within, we have covered every emotion over the years and I think it’s safe to say that’s the same for anybody who has done it. There is good and bad in all walks of life and people will continue to see it first-hand week in week out, but it all blends into making an ever evolving and hopefully thriving set of conditions for others to jump on board and augment, and as we have aged and grown we have learnt to respect anyone who gets on a stage, anyone who works behind that stage, anyone who puts on a show, anyone who releases anything, and anyone who buys anything or attends anything; they are all jigsaw pieces working to finalise an ever unfinished puzzle.

Can we ask a few things about your own musical tastes etc. like what were and have been the bands inspiring your passions as a fan and to get really involved with music? Has it always been punk first spreading outwards?

I hope this was intended as one question, if not apologies for my making it so but it seems apt. As those who know me well know, the only other interview I have ever done was in November 2006 for http://www.fungalpunknature.co.uk and I hit on this very briefly in that interview. Like anybody else of my age group, music played a big part at school and has remained a big part ever since, and hopefully will do so as I approach the big 50 this year and look beyond that.

I have always been drawn towards noisier bands and fortunate enough even at that young age not to pigeonhole things, something that was sometimes frowned upon for peer pressure purposes in the playground, but nonetheless has stood me in better stead for choosing to look at a broader spectrum. Both Rock and Punk gave me the door to finding that need for loud bands and that was augmented by Indie and extreme metal so to answer the second part of this question, it’s not always been punk first spreading outwards, but a good mix of bands and styles, and to answer the first part there are far too many bands over several years to point at. Of course I feel spoilt at having so many good bands over several good decades to watch and listen to and I hope to continue to be spoiled for a while yet.

How about live, what were your earliest pleasures watching gigs and which again especially went towards sparking an appetite to get involved?625591_3939692244749_705180367_n

Anybody who has been bitten by the watching live show bug will know, it starts young…From watching bands at Butlins Holiday Parks as a kid, to watching bands in school, then progressing to venues and pubs (and underage entry and drinking ones included); there have been many a place and reason for going to see something. My earliest pleasure, and still my favourite pleasure (sometimes much to the STP girls displeasure), I have always loved being in venues as early as possible and I continue this today taking in as much as possible and thus giving every band playing my eyes and ears.

Locally, despite closing venue issues aside, we still have many places to go and watch bands ply their trade on a stage, and that’s the same for most towns and cities. We have of course lost many a venue as well already (Banshee, Boardwalk, Metro, International, Rockworld, Gallery etc. etc.) but there are still places to see live bands and always will be, so as long as there are bands to watch and get involved with, that appetite will hopefully remain intact.

Is there anything about the punk scene or the UK music arena in general which has you feeling excited and alternatively things which frustrate even anger as a fan and a label owner?

Pretty much year on year, it’s the not knowing what’s coming next regards a new band, or a new album that keeps me on my toes. With so much talent out there, you just know that somewhere down the line you’re going to want to do something for a band that will hopefully pass on that excited feeling to others, but of course its individual to each and every one of us and it’s also that diversity of feeling that excites as well. Nothing angers me anymore as either a fan or label, I simply now accept things for what they are, do what we do as a label to ensure the best possible platform for our releases and shows, and then quite simply enjoy things and of course if that translates back into someone else being excited about things, all the better.

You mentioned the great releases lined up for the rest of the year, including Dirt Box Disco’s next album, a highly anticipated release from a band we like so many love with a lustful greed. What can you reveal going in 2016?

As previously mentioned above, regards this year and 2016, we have releases planned for indeed Dirt Box Disco, Brassick, The Kingcrows, and Healthy Junkies, and of course you have already reviewed our first release this year from The Obnoxious UK. That’s going to be pretty much it for 2015 as well as our last few shows in Manchester. Of course we will be out and about as usual around the UK (and possibly further afield) at various times this year and for the 2016 part of this question, let me jump straight to the next question and tie it in……..

Are there any ideas or irons in the fire to which you can hint at if not yet fully reveal?

2016 will see a change in thinking regards us releasing things on CD. A continuously shifting attitude to CDs will mean we will literally be doing at the maximum around 3 or 4 full releases in CD format, and by full releases I mean having pressed quantities of 500+, and even then I may even trim these to 300 copies and maybe add a vinyl option.

We do currently have 2 projects for vinyl in the works, one outstanding and one upcoming and we are going to look at maybe releasing some runs of 300 regards vinyl for initially Dirt Box Disco, and then maybe take a look at our back catalogue regards vinyl and in the case of something that may excite us around the corner, possibly a new band release as well.

I am also in 2016 going to be resurrecting and expanding our STPLE range of CD releases. These are Limited Edition releases of just 100 copies of a CD. These will be aimed at bands from overseas looking for some UK zine coverage and radio play, as well as new UK bands that have been in formation for no more than 12 months. The aim for these is to sell 50 to cover costs and use 50 to promote new bands and bands from abroad that folks have not yet heard….we have done 4 of these to date and they proved a very popular concept, plus of course if you own one you know that they are extremely limited with no repeat run by STP Records, so you have to be quick off the mark to order when we start these in January.

And of course our connection with the rise and rise of Dirt Box Disco will continue apace as we plan for 2016, which will see a change too, but I won’t reveal anything on that just yet, people will have to keep watching the sites and social networks.

Where can people best keep abreast of STP and indeed buy its releases etc.?

http://www.stprecords.co.uk/ is our website and of course you can find STP Records on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Thanks again Stu, any last words?

Absolute pleasure, the questions had me re-visiting some memories and I have no doubt omitted a fair bit but as with all things, anybody reading this can come and see me at a show, on a merch stall and ask me about any of this or anything else

Finally a slightly unfair question but is there one release coming up which you are especially excited about?  

Always excited, as mentioned already, about every release so no single one takes precedence over another in the excitement stakes.

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 26/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

The Senton Bombs – Phantom High

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If there is one thing predictable about UK rockers The Senton Bombs, it is that they will persistently offer feisty dirt encrusted, punk fuelled rock ‘n’ roll. You can always assume a fresh fiery breath driving each and every offering unleashed by the Blackpool hailing quartet too. It has so far been that way since the band’s first album, Sweet Chin Music of 2009, and it continues with new EP Phantom High. Consisting of five diverse songs all bred from punk ‘n’ roll aggression and carrying a hard rock swagger, the encounter is quite simply an attitude loaded stomp of raw and feverishly flavoursome rock ‘n’ roll.

Formed in 2004, The Senton Bombs has been a regular draw of praise and increasing attention thanks to their passion driven live performances and trio of albums, of which Chapter Zero in 2013, brought the thickest wave of acclaim yet. You know what you are going to get with the band; sounds and songs which devour the energy out of the body and feed the instinctive rocker in us all, but equally each of their releases to date has pushed the band’s music and invention in bold strides and ahead of the band’s fourth album later this year, Phantom High is exactly the same. It suggests a new strength of diversity emerging in their songwriting but similarly an even more potent roar and snarl of the rock incitement which sets them apart from most.

The EP opens with its title track, and from the initial sonic scythe of sound, swiftly has ears, feet, and emotions engaged in its adrenaline soaked charge. Vocalist Joey Class uncages his recognisable and alluring tones almost as soon as riffs rub invitingly on ears and rhythms jab with eager intent. Guitarists Damien Kage and Johnny Gibbons proceed to weave a bait of aggressive riffery and spicy enterprise as the track continues its contagious stomp, a solo especially tangy on the ear, whilst drummer Scott Mason and the bass lines of Class sculpt a frame to it all which is anthemic as the roar of the song itself.

10520105_10153295061197281_6683385127408093904_nThe track is an irresistible persuasion and straight away matched by the similarly outstanding Lights Over Phoenix. Whereas the first song was a riot of dirty hard rock and aggressive punk tenacity, the first single from the EP is a more pop punk seeded infection. Small but potently coaxing riffs are aligned to the equally mellower delivery of Class’ sandy tones, a tempting entrance which instantly has ears keen and toes tapping. Bass and beats need little prompting to add their punchy contributions soon after whilst the guitars flame and entice with gripping eagerness and temptation. A more restrained but no less addictive romp to the first, the track strides with unbridled infectiousness and tantalising enterprise creating an encounter sounding vaguely like a mix of Turbonegro and Hagfish, but ultimately all Senton Bombs.

   Black Chariot slows the energies down if not the enthusiasm for the release next. It is a blues rock spawned prowl, employing more classic and southern rock flavouring than anything they have bred before. The vocals are impressive, cleaner and clearer than those usually offered by Class and just as compelling, and  easy to hope they are used more ahead, but in tandem with the dirtier delivery.

The excellent croon of a song allows a breath to be taken by the listener too, enabling a restocking of energy before Passions of the Passive Aggressive unveils its own blues rock inspired bellow of aggressive and chest thumping, belligerent rock ‘n’ roll. Actually the song does not really explode at any point but through its taunting stalking of ears and urgent eruptions of intensity and scorching voracity, it again has limbs, neck muscles, and emotions inflamed.

Phantom High is finished off by the excellent Surf 6-66, again hard and classic rock thrust into incendiary punk ferocity. Think The Ramones embroiled with Mötley Crüe and you get an inkling of the lingering devilry bringing it all to a mighty close. The excellent song epitomises the EP as a whole, The Senton Bombs sound we have come to eagerly devour navigating new variety and insatiably captivating waters.

Phantom High is not a stop gap release before the band’s new album but a massive teaser of bigger and bolder things to come from the band giving further evidence that The Senton Bombs are one of those shaping a new heyday for British rock ‘n roll.

Phantom High is available from March 23rd via Holier Than Thou Records

http://www.sentonbombs.com/bio   https://www.facebook.com/thesentonbombs

RingMaster 23/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

https://holierthanthourecords.bandcamp.com/track/lights-over-phoenix

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Inca Babies – The Stereo Plan

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From the days when the devil thrust his evil designs into music, dark rock ‘n’ roll has been a persistent and endearing temptation. From the leather clad hip and vocal lures of Sweet Gene Vincent to the modern psychotic seductions of Dedwardians, it is a delicious trespass of ears and imagination that continues to evolve rich adventurous psyche twisting pastures. The likes of The Doors, The Cramps, The Birthday Party, Bone Orchard, The 69 Eyes, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, The Dropper’s Neck to name a few, have continued to expose the senses to new ravenous depths of sinister sonic exploration over the decades. One band which from their emergence in 1982 has also sculpted a perpetual warped seduction is Inca Babies. Their almost serpentine invention and dark musical incitements have continued to inspire and invigorate, even during the near on twenty years they were absent from the music scene, but since returning in 2007 you can only suggest that the UK trio must have shaken hands on a new deal with Lucifer as they have risen to truly become one of the leading lights and template setting protagonists of British rock ‘n’ roll.

The evidence is already boldly apparent in their two albums since reforming, the acclaimed Death Message Blues and Deep Dark Blue of 2010 and 2012 respectively. Both releases ignited an already ravenous gothic rock scene and duly deserved all ardour given but each in many ways was just an immense but leading appetiser for the glory of The Stereo Plan. Released towards the end of 2014, the band’s seventh studio album is a masterpiece of the dark aural arts. The third instalment of their death blues trilogy, its fourteen-track proposal twists and turns through the primal essences of post punk, surf, garage punk, trash blues, and every other dark flavour available, but bred in the imagination of Inca Babies transforms into a recipe of ingenious alchemy. It is a transfixing and slightly menacing proposition which has everything from feet to the passions ablaze.

Listening to The Stereo Plan is almost like immersing in a greatest hits collection of songs, every encounter of such irresistible and impressive invention and contagion that there is no time to take a breath and reflect until the final note of the release drifts away. It all starts with the album’s title track and its opening tangy lure of surf bred toxicity. It is an instant inescapable invitation for ears and imagination, the percussive shuffle which soon adds its bait only increasing an enticement which deepens again with the thick bass prowls of Vince Hunt. Continuing to bind ears in his guitar’s delicious spicery too, Harry Stafford pounces with his vocal and lyrical dance, as everything in the song colludes to create satanic rock ‘n’ roll majesty, especially as rhythms grow in intensity and devilment with the vocals to arouse an even lustier persuasion.

How to follow such a magnificent start would have many bands in a cold sweat but not Inca Babies as they match its majesty with a just as compelling incitement going by the name of Scatter. Stereo Plan Front 1The swinging beats of drummer Rob Haynes recruits eager attention right away, swiftly adding appetite as riffs and bass grooves unite with his anthemic beats and the incoming catchy vocal delivery. Into its stride the song expels a punk causticity around its driving rhythmic spine, the fingers of Stafford continuing to dance over the strings of his guitar to create a web of sonic addiction. The aforementioned Dewardians comes to mind as the song bounces with venomous mischief and also Eighteen Nightmares At the Lux with its scuzzy textures.

The salty smoulder of Damnation comes next, an Orson Family like countrified shimmer fuelling the temptation of guitar and rolling beats. As the opening pair of songs, psychobilly bred rapacity coats the song but also here a more garage punk tenacity emerges and grows to an even more potent persuasion in the following River To the Centre of the World. A haunting slice of upbeat balladry with a chorus which simply infests the senses, the track is dark poetic manna for ears and imagination. It also continues the mouth-watering diverse landscape of the album, each song a blossoming of individual and unique gothic theatre bred in sinistrous ideation.

The Cajun cast spell of Stand Down Lucifer keeps listener and album in lustful realms next, its sinuous shimmer and invention a creeping and inescapable seduction whilst Feast With Panthers strolls in with stalking rhythms and demonic hooks within again a fine and alluring vocal proposal. Like Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers meets The Screaming Blue Messiahs, the latter a band easy to offer varying degrees of comparison to across the album, the track swings it frame and flirtation with mischief in its eyes and a wicked lick on its melodic lips. The Stereo Plan began on a lofty pinnacle and this pair again sublimely ensures that there is no slip from such heady heights.

   Last Flight Out of Saigon with its pulsating bassline and acidic sonic veining croons suggestively in ears next, its minimalistic yet cavernous presence a mesmeric hex before the garage pop feistiness of Absolute Leader of the World leaps at the senses. Holding a great raw seventies/eighties punk essence to its contagion, the song is a sweetly caustic roar of blues rock which re-ignites body and energies after the resourceful ‘rest’ found in its predecessor.

Returning to the insidious charms which festered wonderfully in the early songs, Devilfish Anarchy stalks and romps with that gothic blues meets psychobilly predation and devilry. Beats and basslines are the instigator to lust fuelled whiplash as vocals and melodic toxins work away on thoughts and emotion. It is an exhausting pleasure whose rigorous nature is swiftly tempered and contrasted by the funereal stance and classical elegance of Still Mountain, a bewitching ballad wrapped in imposing and provocative shadows.

A dirtier yet restrained heavy rock pushes the walls of Damn Our Hides next, its persuasion not as instant as elsewhere, though swiftly a captivating companion for ears, but slowly burning away behind the scenes and repeatedly nudging thoughts after the event, as so many other songs on the album. Its enduring temptation is another striking aspect of The Stereo Plan, each twist of its design able to return at leisure and with potency, just as the heated jazziness of Ghost Ship. The track is ablaze with sultry trumpet flames, filthy basslines, and delirious sonic enterprise combining for a fiery musical sunset on an apocalyptic landscape.

The album is finished off by the excellent psyche/ surf rock stomp of Blacktop Speedway and finally the garage rock serenade of Late Night Frankie Brittle, a croon which simply grows in weight, intensity, and sonic rabidity with volcanic imagination. The pair makes a thrilling end to one irresistible encounter.

Admittedly having a soft spot for the type of sounds Inca Babies revel in went in their favour, but also it brings more demands but once again the Manchester trio stand tall over them as they again help lead British rock ‘n’ roll into new and exciting explorations.

The Stereo Plan is available now via Black Lagoon Records

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

RingMaster 11/03/2015

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Exciting the dead: Talking Travelling Morgue Horror Punk festival with Johnny Rose and Tommy Creep.

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     The UK horrorpunk and horror bred music scene has never been more thrilling and adventurous than it is right; hordes of bands pushing boundaries and lustful pleasures with their diverse and viscerally tempting sounds. Two musicians have been at the heart of this; been a key cog to the fore and behind the scenes in this emerging creative machine. Johnny Rose of Thirteen Shots and Tommy Creep from Lupen Tooth, have both pushed the British underground rock ‘n’ roll scene with their bands, labels, and simply helping others. Now the pair has linked up to craft and soon unleash the first Travelling Morgue Horror Punk festival at the Actress and Bishop in Birmingham on April 4th. Already more highly anticipated than a feisty fondle in back street of a movie house playing the entire Hellraiser franchise, the event is set to be a landmark in the UK horrorpunk scene. We grabbed the chance to talk with both Johnny and Tommy about the festival, pulling it all together and what is in store for those braving its dark temptations. We also dug into the hearts of their bands and record labels to learn…

Hi guys and thanks for taking time out to talk with us ahead of a busy time with your bands, labels, and the upcoming Travelling Morgue Horror Punk festival you guys are behind.

Can we talk about the event first and what sparked the idea to out the festival together?

Johnny – It was something Tommy and I have been talking about for a while, we just had to get the courage to do it!

Tommy – Yeah absolutely, there are too many awesome UK horrorpunk bands around at the moment to fit onto a normal bill so some kind of festival had to happen.

Was this an idea seeded in your thoughts for quite a while or a more recently proposed adventure?

Johnny – It something I think both of us have been thinking about for a while, we just needed each other to help push each other! Both of us are trying to help boost exposure for the UK Horror scene so it made perfect sense to collaborate.

It is easy to come up with the idea of holding an event like this but far more problematic and difficult to actually pull it together. How have you found it so far? Thirteen Shots

Johnny – So far so good, the scene is quite close so the line-up took shape pretty much automatically

Tommy – It’s pretty straight forward so far I think, because Johnny and I are both quite organised people

Has it helped that both of you are the driving force behind the event rather than others and how have you shared the organising and promotion of the festival?

Johnny – Yes I really think working together has been a real advantage; Tommy and I both have different strengths so it makes to a more complete job being done!

Tommy – Yeah so far I’ve been handling the design and ticketing while Johnny’s been organising some of the more logistical stuff, it makes a nice change from working completely solo as we do with our labels.

Are you looking at this as a one off event or already have designs on an annual festival of the best horrorpunk bands and sounds around?

Johnny – That purely depends on the success of this one, I would love it to be a yearly event with different bands and some more international bands joining the line-up.

Tommy – Definitely, as long as people show up, there’ll definitely be more. We’ve already had loads more bands contact us wanting to be on the bill so there’s no shortage there. This’ll be the third event under the name the Travelling Morgue (the last two just being one off gigs), so I’d really love to keep going with lots of smaller events throughout the year culminating in a massive party like we’ve got planned for April 4th!

If it does grow will you look at spreading the type of bands playing it to keep it fresh each time or do you see there enough diverse talent within the European if not the world scene, to cover that anyway?

Johnny – Exactly, would be great for all the bands and for the international bands. I was delighted when Jamey Rottencorpse and the Rising Dead agreed to headline the festival, I have been a big fan of them for a long time, I have a list as long as my arm of bands I would like to book.

Tommy: There’re definitely really diverse bands out there that’d still totally fit the theme. For me the “horror” element is definitely more important than the “punk” element. There are loads of bands in the world, like Creature Feature for example, that while completely different from the horrorpunk bands would fit perfectly on a Travelling Morgue event.

How easy was it to choose the bands to invite to play the show or did you always have a certain few in mind and maybe on board before the event was a reality?

Johnny – Yes it was pretty easy, Tommy and I pretty much agreed on line-up before inviting the bands, a couple of bands we wanted couldn’t make it but hopefully there is next year.

Tommy – There was no way any of the UK horror bands, that me or Johnny have gigged with, would want to miss out on this so it was just a case of whether they were available or not.

Lupen ToothHow can people grab details of and tickets for the April 4th show at the Actress and Bishop in Birmingham?

Johnny- everything you need to know about the festival, tickets, line-up etc. can be found at www.thetravellingmorgue.co.uk

Back to the line-up, both your own bands are playing. Tell us about both Thirteen Shots and Lupen Tooth and their histories.

Johnny – yes, it’s a bit egotistical for us to have our bands playing but we weren’t going to miss out! Thirteen Shots will be playing this show as our only local show of the year so far! It will be great to play for a crowd that may enjoy what we do in the UK before we head out to Europe! We have so many new tunes to debut.

Tommy – Lupen Tooth have only been going since the summer but we’ve already been into the studio 4 times and got a load of material to choose from. People can expect live horror film sampling and several songs about necrophilia haha!

Both bands have new releases in the offing too, will they be available and paraded on stage at the Festival?

Johnny – Our new album will not be ready for the festival, but we will be debuting a lot of songs in our set. We also still have a few copies of our limited edition CD available.

Tommy – Yep! Our EP Strawberries & Cream came out 2 weeks ago so we’ll have those for sale and definitely be playing everything from that, along with some even newer tracks.

Can you share some spoilers over both releases?

Johnny – I can’t give too much away yet, all I can say is this album is our most adventurous one to date. We’re really impressed with how it sounds so far! It is scheduled to a May 1st release.

Tommy – There’s not really much to spoil about Strawberries & Cream as it’s already out, but if you’d like spoilers about the themes for some of our new tracks, just Google “skeletonization” or “cadaveric spasm” haha!

Give us quick run-down of who else will be playing the festival.

Jamey Rottencorpse and the Rising Dead – From Bremen in Germany, I have been a massive fan of these guys for ages and I’m delighted when they agreed to headline!

Jamey R...Pic (c) Johanna Streich

Jamey R…Pic (c) Johanna Streich

Zombina and the Skeletones – Clever, hilarious, catchy, surfy, bubblegum-horrorpunks! Been releasing awesome spooky tunes since 1998, a no-brainer that they should co-headline our festival!

Army Of Walking Corpses – a hard n’ fast, metal-tinged, horrorpunk 5-piece. 2 EPs under their belts and a split 7inch with horrorpunk legends the Crimson Ghosts

Gravedale High – Tight, melodic, fast, awesome horrorpunk, been going almost 10 years, shared the stage with pretty much every international horror band that’s come to the UK.

Headstone Horrors – Female fronted Horror Punk band from Nottingham, gaining a great reputation for being a well put together Horror Punk band!

Trioxin Cherry – Sleevy Horror garage Punk Band from Nottingham, These guys/Girl are one of my favourite bands in the scene, recently confirmed for their second appearance at The Rebellion Punk Festival in Blackpool

The BloodThirsters – Birmingham based Horror Punks, a great opportunity for them to play their first gig to a Horror Punk crowd.

You also as if this was not enough work, run your own labels; Johnny and Undead Artists and Tommy with Graveyard Calling Records. Was there a specific spark or moment which inspired the move to set up your own label for not only your own releases but those of a great many emerging and exciting new bands?

Johnny – For myself I had a feeling I needed to protect and support bands a little bit more. We had been signed to two labels and had really bad experiences with them, so I set up Undead Artists as a label for bands, run by a band. Hoping that I can help my bands and support them correctly, because I understand what they need.

Tommy – I had a solo release that I wanted to put out on tape and thought it’d be more fun to put it out as a “cassette-horror-double-feature” along with another artist’s release and it just grew from there.

Tell us the mind set and intent behind both labels and the type of music and bands you are releasing and giving opportunities to get their music out there.

Johnny – Undead Artists is a record label for Horror Punk/Psychobilly bands; the aim is to help give them the exposure they need. I like to work with bands who dare to push their sound within the genre; I only sign bands I like too. I feel like I can help them more if I’m a fan of the music!

Tommy – Graveyard Calling puts out any music that fits the horror theme, whether it’s electronic, punk, surf, metal, music for haunted attractions, anything spooky! In terms of format, so far I’ve put out cassettes and digital compilations.

zombina....

zombina….

Can you see the labels expanding further to embrace more expansive areas of music eventually?

Johnny – It’s something I’m looking into., If I’m honest I’m not doing it to make a load of cash, I am more about helping the bands. So I would have to really like the bands to sign a band out of my genre.

Tommy – The 80s/retro/synthwave kinda stuff tends to go down best on cassette, while the horrorpunk fans seem to get more into the compilations I put out; so in the future I think it may be the case that I stop mixing things up so much and focus on putting things out in the formats that the fans of the different genres want to buy.

How do you choose what you release? You touched on this earlier Johnny but is it primarily just down to whether something excites you personally or are there other factors?

Johnny – Exactly, if I like the music, I will work with it. It’s really tough saying no to a band but I keep it positive because at the end of the day, just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean they are not a kick ass band.

Tommy – At the beginning it was definitely more a case of “wow, this artist is cool-as-hell, I’m going to record a load of tapes of them”, but now it’s definitely more “this artist is awesome, but would anyone actually want their music on tape?”

Back to the Travelling Morgue festival, what can those treating themselves to its adventure expect?

Johnny – A whole afternoon and night of the very best the UK has to offer, it’s the perfect festival for fans of Punk and Metal too, don’t be put off by the Horror tag, these bands have so much to offer you.

Tommy – Whether you know the bands or not, it’s going to be an awesome day, a bunch of friendly, like-minded people hanging out and enjoying some brilliant music. There’ll also be a stall from Savage Monster Clothing, a raffle, loads more fun stuff!

And might there be any offshoots from the event?

Tommy – So far I’ve put on two Travelling Morgue gigs in Bristol, I’m hoping eventually to have it as semi-regular nights in different places around the UK- nights that fans of spooky music know that they can get dressed up for and catch a couple of cool horror-themed bands.

Also I’m currently organising Bristol Horror Convention for this October, which will be a day celebrating horror in film, books, music, games etc. There’ll be stalls for Graveyard Calling and Undead Artists, and hopefully some kind of after-party-gig. For more info people can check www.bristolhorrorcon.co.uk

Thanks again guys for talking with us. Any last words you would like to leave with or a sales pitch? ;)

Johnny – Thank you for all your support to our scene, I would like to take this moment to thank a couple of great sites helping make this event possible. A thank you to Undead 13, Monsterfiend and Punk alive! See you in April!

Tommy – If you live in the UK, don’t miss out on our horrorpunk fest! Besides the awesome bands, you’ll meet loads of cool people and have a great time.

Thanks RingMaster for the support! If anyone wants to find out more, check out the following links:

Website: www.thetravellingmorgue.co.uk

Tickets: http://www.etickets.to/buy/?e=12288

Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1545097419078600

Free compilation: https://undeadartists.bandcamp.com/album/the-travelling-morgue-festival-meet-the-bands

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Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 08/03/2015

The Obnoxious UK – Horror Movie Matinee

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With a title like Horror Movie Matinee, you cannot help expecting a viscerally imposing and furiously bloody proposition unafraid to go where angels fear to tread, and it is fair to say that the new album from UK punkers The Obnoxious UK does not disappoint. Bulging to the point of bursting with fifteen tracks which resourcefully draw on horror punk and psychobilly flavours as well as a thick dose of punk rock from over its most potent ages, band and release makes for one compelling and thoroughly enjoyable punk ‘n’ roll roar.

The Midlands based band began in 2001, and whilst going through a few line-up changes over the years has persistently grown and lured in devoted local attention and support which over recent times has solidly spread, Horror Movie Matinee poised to be the band’s biggest and most potent instigator yet. The release of the video for album track God For A Day really whetted the appetite for the forthcoming full-length, though it turns out it is only one particular spice in the hellacious riot.

Anthemic rhythmic bait is food and drink to these ears and that is exactly how album opener Drinking With The Dead makes its first wave of persuasion. The drums of Fez roll in and along with attitude and catchy tempting, swiftly joined by the raw and similarly magnetic riffs of guitarists Bri and Kimbo. The latter is close behind with his vocals too, potently adding to the infectious incitement of the horror punk escapade. It is not a song with a startling statement of originality yet with its punk tenacity and carnivorous shadows, easily provides a soundtrack for any salacious moonlit and cemetery based jiggery-pokery.

The tremendous start is backed by Walking Dead, another horror punk spawned proposal equipped with spicy hooks and melodic fire, though the blood lust seems restrained, as indeed the song, in presence and effect in comparison to the first and the outstanding Drag Me To Hell which follows. Psychobilly is given a poke this time but equally the track has an old school rock ‘n’ roll blaze to its addictive stomp. The string pulls of bassist Jacko resonate across the song whilst the duller but no less gripping beats only help infuse a great vintage tone to the song. With fiery enterprise from the guitars employed too, the track sets down a lofty plateau for the album which is matched and worried time and time again.

     Loaded Roadkill is one straight away unleashing a potent challenge. Fusing a hard rock and rockabilly tenacity into its punk attitude, the song bounces over and pounds the senses with accomplished vindictiveness and anthemic charm. Already across a quartet of tracks there is a distinct variety on show which continues in the mischievous Elvis Is Dead. Opening with what just could be the final croon of the man before he died, we wish, the track erupts into one of those irresistible old school punk sing-a-longs. It is barely over a minute of unbridled shouting and stomping from band and listener alike, loosening things up ready for the more intensive might of Burn and straight after Cadaver Doll. The first of the two snarls and growls in sound and vocals, Misfits like toning coating the caustic punk heart of the contagious track whilst the second takes the influence of the US protagonists even deeper into its primal instincts and expels an extremely tasty and feisty prowl of horror punk with a dash of Calabrese. It is another of the biggest peaks in the landscape of the already highly thrilling release.

The same kind of recipe igniting the last two songs is a flavoursome essence in God For A Day, though the song has a more volatile punk intensity which reminds a touch of Crashed Out. Veined by a great sonic groove and adventure, the track hits the personal sweet spot before making way for the excellent Time For Change. Think Angelic Upstarts meets 4 Past Midnight yet singular to The Obnoxious UK, and you get a thick idea of the excellent encounter, which in turn has to depart to allow the hard rock sculpted When Angels Fly Away to blaze away. Initially the song is a classic rock like croon but once its switch is flicked, it bursts into sonic flame fuelled by a punk abrasion and heavy rock temperament. It is another strong offering but lacks the same kind of spark as other songs and especially that within 3 Dead Souls which preys on ears right after. Another irresistible parade of dark rhythmic tempting opens up the encounter, soon followed by a melodic and sonic venture just as shadowed and gripping. As the song pulls back slightly on its predation for the vocals, a raw Tiger Army breath adds to the intrigue and invention, entangling with the rest of the track’s rock ‘n’ roll for a hefty slab of virulence.

Through the psychobilly/horror punk washed Ginger Is A Werewolf and the hostile punk ‘n’ roll of Iceman, the album tightens its grip further on ears and emotions. Both are inescapable offerings which ruggedly seduce and intimidate respectively before Amelia brings a little caustic ‘necro’ romance to the mix.

The bonus track of The Cottage Strangler brings the CD to a close, and it is indeed a bonus as the band slips into a ska punk and dub warped treat of a finale. Like the Vox Dolomites meets Ruts and probably more so Ruts DC, the song is pure pleasure.

Horror Movie Matinee is not really troubling boundaries and forging new inventive templates for punk and rock ‘n’ roll but The Obnoxious UK has definitely unleashed a romp which has body and imagination eager, and pleasure oozing from every receptive pore. That alone is one big reason for all punksters to check out band and album.

Horror Movie Matinee is released on Friday March 13th on STP Records and can be pre-ordered now @ http://www.stprecords.co.uk/page4.htm

The same day sees the album’s launch party the Cottage of Content in Chasetown where The Obnoxious UK will be joined by Dirt Box Disco.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Obnoxious-UK

RingMaster 04/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

 

Cris Pinzauti – Black

Pic by Ilaria Costanzo

If like us the name Cris Pinzauti is a mystery then we suggest you change that as soon as possible by checking out his debut solo album Black. Consisting of eight songs which all captivate ears and attention, and at times explodes into one of the most thrilling and essential acoustic rock propositions you are likely to find anywhere, the release just leaves you wanting more. It is not an encounter which always hit the sweet spot of personal tastes but when it did boy the pleasure was thick and irresistible and at those other times satisfaction was still a done deal.

The background to Pinzauti sees him born in in Florence, Italy in 1971 and from a young age writing songs before self-teaching himself the guitar at 16. From here on, Pinzauti was part of numerous musical projects, creative collaborations, and played thousands of concerts throughout Italy and Europe, many with SUZY Q the band he and his brother Marzio founded and hard rock band Devil’s Mojito over recent times. Equally as a solo artist Pinzauti has strapped on his guitar and clicked on his loop station to light up audiences for over a decade in local venues with his creative style of acoustic rock. Now Black is poised to take the singer songwriter’s sounds to broader spotlights and appetites. Recorded exclusively with acoustic guitars, acoustic bass, and additional acoustic guitars used in percussion mode, and with guest appearances on certain tracks from Marco Di Maggio (Di Maggio Connection), Jack Meille (Tygers Of Pan Tang), Francesco Bottai (Articolo 31 and Irene Grandi Band), and brother Marzio, the album is a wake-up call for us all still unaware of this captivating talent.

Themed by “the BLACK or dark side of our lives, that which society labels as “dark”, but in reality is not” and contemplating the shadows behind forbidden love, sex, loneliness, soul searching, cynicism, inner demons, and rock and roll, the album opens with The Devil in the Closet. A breaking storm heralds in the song and its narrative, a stranger walking into a vaudeville bar room springing from an imagination sparked into action by the encounter before the potent tones of Pinzauti unveil more of the expressive scene in the company of his creative fingers on guitar strings. There is a mix of delivery styles to his voice; his offering equally a theatre of characters in the brief but intriguing folk bred opener.

It is a magnetic start but not as potent as the excellent My Black Is Back which follows. The song is instantly popping with melodies against vivacious beats, the infectious coaxing soon cris coverenhanced by a gentle strum of guitar. Again Pinzauti mixes up his tones, a gruff offering turning into a much stronger and compelling clean delivery which as the elevated melodies which hug it, gives the song a new energy and pungent contagion. The string plucks equally add a fascinating fun and creativity to the outstanding encounter to match that of the adventurous vocals, which once more never settle with one line of persuasion and only add weight to the enthralling temptation.

The country lined folk croon of Wasted Years comes next and has ears and thoughts hooked with its warm melodies and reflective vocals. The song does not give expectations a hard time but has enjoyment full before the brilliant Down brings its own transfixing beauty to bear on the senses. The resonating bassline is an instant hook whilst the guitars almost flirt as they sculpt a weave of melodic enterprise. Vocally too, and as now expected, Pinzauti only impresses as he increases the infectious tenacity and persuasion of the song’s gentle yet lively stroll.

The Vampire’s Lullaby is one of those moments which still has yet to fully convince. It is again a drama, a music play for today in some ways set in two parts. Let Me In is a spellbinding instrumental narrative, the fingers of Pinzauti bewitching across the strings of his guitar as he sculpts an imagination firing suggestiveness of a gothic tale. The storm of the first track again cracks and shares its intensity as Hush comes in and Pinzauti finds his dustiest Tom Waits like tones to bleed into the dreams of the song’s recipient. The track is a skilled and fascinating offering but one which misses sparking the same reaction as other tracks despite the exceptional vintage wine like melodies he pours across the song. Primarily it is the raw vocals which do not quite do it for us, just a personal thing and for others will work a treat, just like the rest of the compelling track.

The blues flavouring of Forever Yin Forever Yang is a vibrant collusion with a funkier endeavour sure to bring the listener to their feet whilst Hellbound Train explores that country breeding again with a southern rock balladry. Both tracks are short and potent temptations continuing the impressive nature of the album, but soon surpassed by Zombie Attack. The closer is easily the pinnacle of Black, its initial sandy croon the lead into virulent revelry blending melodic rock and pop into one quite sensational triumph. Addictive and ridiculously infectious yet intricately sculpted without taking any short cuts in seducing the listener, the song slips under the skin and into the psyche with sublime craft. Experience also knows that once infected the song never goes away, not that you will wish it to of course.

Black does not quite steal the passions for the whole of its body for us yet there is never a moment you wish to pass over and when it hits its heights, Cris Pinzauti simply has us in the palms of his creative hands. The bottom-line is that this is a must check out rock ‘n’ roll album and as the last line of Zombie Attack says “If Rock is dead, we are a Zombie Attack!” and that about sums up the attitude of this album and rock ‘n’ roll period.

Black is available now via Red Cat Records @ http://www.redcatpromotion.com/ita_store.html

http://www.crispinzauti.com/

RingMaster 27/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Madre De Dios – Self Titled

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It is hard to get enough of out and out heavy booted rock ‘n’ roll, especially when it comes in the kind of shape of the self-titled debut album from Italian rockers Madre De Dios. Consisting of eleven tracks which blaze away with all the instinctive and prime essentials any thumping rock song needs, the quartet’s introduction is a stomp of impassioned energy. The band is not interested in break down walls of originality it is probably fair to say but in bringing a release which anyone can give their bodies and pleasure to, the band has an undoubted success on their hands.

Hailing from Bari, Madre De Dios was formed in 2010 by guitarist Stefano Pomponio aka S.P. Jesus (Natron). The band’s first line-up was completed by bassist Gigi D’Angella (Anuseye), vocalist/guitarist Gianpaolo di Stasi (Stainer), and drummer Marco Ninni (Swedish Death Candy), a foursome who’s live presence was soon luring in increasing masses of devoted fans. Over time a more stoner-esque character emerged in their heavy rock ‘n’ roll propositions, their sound continuing to evolve as a shuffle in personnel saw vocalist Frank Bizarre (The Missing, Cafè Bizarre) and drummer Vince Floro (Stainer) replace di Stasi and Ninni respectively; the latter joining the band after his predecessor had recorded the album in 2013, and a year’s break for the band soon after. As the album, swiftly shows, the band’s sound draws in numerous spices from varying decades to create something familiar yet fresh and compelling. With shows with bands like Bud Spencer Blues Explosion also on their CV, 2015 is looking like turning into a potent and break-through year for Madre De Dios, especially as their album grips many more appetites like ours week by week.

The albums gripping devilry opens with The Evil Guide, a song exploding from a crotchety riff into a full on assault of bracing grooves and pungent rhythms within a blaze of melodic enterprise and tenacity. There is an immediate snarl to the song but equally a captivating infectiousness, every element an anthemic lure in the rigorous persuasion of the excellent incitement of feet and appetite. Just as swiftly the craft and creative attitude of the band is an open temptation too, every swing of the sticks, casting of tangy grooves, and vocal expression drenched in a stirring energy driven by personal adventure.

The same applies to the following High Living in the Sunshine, well every song on the album to be truthful, the track making a more deliberately controlled entrance but loaded with thick MoftheRspicy grooves which make slavery of ears and imagination right away. Exploring a potent mix of hard and classic rock, the song is soon leading the listener in a sing-a-long chorus and head nodding participation for the slower but catchy stroll of its surrounding verses. Not as dramatically persuasive as its predecessor maybe, the song is still soon a masterful treat, and even more so once bluesy stoner bred temptation begins to colour the song’s increasingly appealing canvas.

That blues tang is just as ripe in Flamingos! which comes next, its rich spicery again merging with a more classic roar of rock as jabbing beats keep an antagonistic edge to the rhythmic side of the infectious encounter. This virulence is exploited further in the similarly sculpted Big Head. Coming straight out of the previous track there is an unmissable similarity to certainly the riffs and grooves of the song, though that is tempered by the excellent grizzly growl of D’Angella’s bass and the ever engaging dusty vocals of Bizarre, not forgetting a grunge meets stoner air which at times has a slight feel of Kyuss and Gruntruck to it.

I Crashed Your Car opens up our favourite part of the album, its rhythmic agitation and fiery melodies an exciting and inventive embrace for the magnetic vocals and creative majesty of Jesus’ solos. The throaty bassline also adds further irresistible bait for ears, its dark presence contrasting and complementing the increasingly imaginative weave of raw and spellbinding melodic ingenuity. As great as it is though, the song is just the appetiser for the delicious exciting meals of Shake it Baby and Mad City. The first as so many, just slips out of the song before with seamless and natural ease, and straight away unleashes an enthralling and invigorating rock ‘n’ roll dance. Like a sonic epidemic, the track is soon infesting ears and psyche, not to mention body and soul, as riffs and beats unite in a merciless temptation whilst grooves and vocals toy with the passions. Hooks are spilled left right and centre across the adventure whilst the bass has lips licking in excitement even just thinking about its lures. The brilliant proposition is matched by the just as insatiable tempting instrumental which follows, Mad City a foot to the metal juggernaut of toxic riffs and just as venomous grooves within a tempest of rhythmic and sonic charging. If you are aware of the equally addictive Buzzcocks track Late for the Train from Love Bites, you will understand the unrelenting potency of the track.

A mischievous nature adds to the raucous bellow of Ordinary Man next, the song another creatively stormy and exhaustingly fun rock ‘n’ roll romp matched by the excellent cover of The Beatles’ Helter Skelter, renamed Mater Skelter here. The Siouxsie and The Banshees version still holds the heart but Madre De Dios’ cover definitely gives it a run for its money at times, the band not twisting it around too much but still giving it their own spirited slant.

The album is completed by the stoner blues breathing Merry Go Round Song, a song which seems part Pearl Jam and part The Black Crowes, with a scent of Clutch but again finding something more to stand out, and lastly by the spatial adventure of Orbit. The final track seems to draw on all the flavours permeating album and sound so far, casting them all into its own individual escapade of eighties, nineties, and modern day rock ‘n’ roll. Like the album as a whole, it makes no demands and makes accessibility and enjoyment a done deal within the first handful of seconds, but as on all tracks it offers plenty of imagination and enterprise to be an intriguing and thrilling proposal at every turn.

If you want ground-breaking stuff, want to have your boundaries pushed into new realms, Madre De Dios will please to a certain extent but if you want rock music to leave you bloated on undiluted pleasure and fun then band and album is a must.

Madre De Dios is available on most digital music platforms and CD through Red Cat Promotion.

https://www.facebook.com/madrededios2010

RingMaster 27/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/