Tess of the Circle – Amplify

TOTC_RingMasterReview

Though a trio of exceptional singles have already provided a powerful and thrilling insight into the new album from British band Tess of the Circle, it still has not stopped Amplify from surprising and impressing beyond expectations. The eleven tracks making up the band’s second full-length offers virulent roars and irresistible croons, and a collection of rock ‘n’ roll fuelled songs which leap with zeal and passion at ears and imagination.

Rising in 2013 within the British Independent Collective, an artistic union of friends and talent in various mediums formed by singer/songwriter/guitarist Tess Jones, Tess Of The Circle soon sparked potent attention from fans and media alike with debut album Thorns. Jones’ songs soon found regular airplay which has continued since, especially with those recent singles. The past couple of years have been especially busy and successful for the band; that national radio support leading to a double figure amount of live sessions backed by a stage presence which has seen the band play five shows at Glastonbury, sub-headline the 2015 Acoustic Festival of Britain’s second stage, and headline Bear Gryll’s Festival in London. Such the might and majesty of the Gavin Monaghan (Editors, Robert Planet, Lemmy, Ryan Adams, Grace Jones) produced Amplify, all before seems like just being the prelude to bigger and bolder things for the Oxford hailing band; bigger success sparked by a release which it would not surprise if it emerged as an album of the year contender for a great many come December.

With guitarist Lee Clifton, bassist Ben Drummond, and drummer Paul Stone, alongside Jones, Tess Of The Circle get right down to business with opener Love Is the Drug That You Crave. As potent and contagious as first time heard as a single, the song is soon filling ears with the distinctive voice of Jones and scythes of guitar within an electronic shimmer. The relatively controlled start soon erupts into a feisty burst of energy and bait soaked hooks; a two prong coaxing repeated before the track hits a tenacious and rousing stroll. It is quite simply a blaze of melodic and rhythmic infectiousness; a bracing stomp only given greater depth by the great backing vocals around fiery textures cast by guitars and keys.

It takes little time for the variety within Amplify to emerge; from The Cars meets John Butler Trio feel of the first song, a Gary Numan air colours the following I’m Not Ashamed, though it is a spice predominantly cast by the vocal tone of Jones. Nevertheless, a great range of emotive and rhythmic shadows wrap the energetic canter of the song, adding weight and intrigue to the hazier lures of guitars and harmonies. As its predecessor, it takes little time to get fully involved with the grungy encounter, a swift persuasion matched by You Take Me Out of My Head and its thumping slice of bullish hard rock and anthemic rock ‘n’ roll. From its fiery jangle and imposing rhythms, the song demands attention, rewarding the submission with addictive hooks and beguiling grooves courted by the delicious throb of Drummond’s bass. Riffs are equally as formidable and persuasive; the track the perfect blend of aggression and seduction with blues enterprise for further drama.

A chance to relax is provided by the emotive croon of Believe (Into Her Arms), though ears and imagination are as busy as ever in being beguiled by the outstanding encounter. With blues hues lacing the guitars and a gravelly texture enjoyably coating Jones’ vocals, the song mesmerises as skittish rhythms entice. Even in its balladry, the track offers a catchiness which is impossible to resist as our hips and throats can attest to before they are given an even greater workout by the Nirvana-esque incitement of Mother Daughter Son. The track leaps and pokes with matching intensity; stirring up appetite and spirit with its slightly volatile revelry in a persuasion more than matched by Digging At My Bones. Like a tango, the song twists and turns, ebbs and flows in its unpredictable drama and enterprise. Emotionally more than physically tempestuous, the track uncages a theatre of sound and invention which gets right under the skin, tapping into the instincts for heart rousing rock ‘n’ roll.

The excellent Face the Changes flirts with a REM scented adventure next, its rock pop contagion a gentle but inescapable tempting, whilst Drowning Without You as good as steals the whole show with its dark and swampy rock ‘n’ roll. The brooding twang of the guitar is manna for the ear with extra spice provided by the provocative mystique infested melodies. The song nags the senses, seduces the imagination, and flirts with body and soul from start to finish, standing as album favourite with consummate ease even in the company of seriously impressing companions.

The heart blues serenade of Summer Rain is next, holding ears and enjoyment firm before allowing The Waves Break Us Down to share its intimate ballad wrapped in emotive strings and vocal melancholy. Both songs make compelling persuasions whilst adding fresh shades of creative colour to Amplify; one final hue offered by the closing beauty of This Higher Ground and its folk rock embrace of intimate sentiment and lively endeavour.

Amplify is quite sensational, not only living up to the promise of its temptation laying singles but revealing numerous more sides and imagination to the songwriting and sound of Tess of the Circle. It is not a must check out album recommendation we offer but  a must have suggestion.

Amplify is out now via Vintage Voice Records on iTunes and other stores.

http://www.tessofthecircle.com   https://www.facebook.com/TessOfTheCircle/

Pete RingMaster 26/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com

Mark Mathews – Black Heart Down

Mark Mathews_RingMasterReview

As a teaser for and invitation to his new album, The Raging Sea, British singer songwriter Mark Mathews releases new single Black Heart Down, a song to get the feet moving and spirit bouncing. It is a song which does not startle yet needs little time to spark an energetic response to its boisterous rock ‘n’ roll.

Half Spanish on his Mother’s Side and Northern Irish from his Father’s, Belfast bred Mark and his family was moved to the East End of London by his actor Dad, leaving a home town “heavy with stories of death and guns.”  Mark’s musical tastes and heart was inspired, amongst other things, by the discovery of Sgt Peppers in his Mum’s vinyl collection and a freebie tape titled Sixties Mania that came with a box of Kellogg’s cereal. The emergence of Oasis was the trigger for Mark to pick up a guitar and write songs. Embracing the sounds and songwriting craft of other artists such as The Beatles, The Kinks, The Band, and Ryan Adams too, his music passion and career was soon a full-time involvement.

Since that start, Mark has gigged, toured, and busked around the world, been voted one of the best artists in London by readers of the Metro newspaper, and been awarded first place in the Indie International song writing competition and nominated for 2 Indy Music Awards for best live act. Either solo or with his band, Mark Mathews’ Late Night Players, he has shared stages with the likes of Andy Fairweather-Low, Frank Turner, Nigel Clarke (Dodgy) Luke Toms, The Draytones, and Dan Le Sac. With a quartet of EPs and a trio of singles also under his belt, Mark is ready to nudge even broader attention with The Raging Sea, and its lead, the highly enjoyable Black Heart Down.

The single has ears cupped in a melodic hug straight away, the alluring acoustic start matched in potency by the darker hues of the bass. They are quickly joined by the strong and inviting tones of Mark, his vocals continuing the warm beginning yet holding an edge and intensity which is soon seeping into the catchy chorus and the overall drama of the track. Continuing to stroll along, the song shares an expressive nature in sound and emotive character in heart whilst infectiously taking feet on a lively ride.

There are seemingly no major landmarks or striking elements to the song yet is as memorable and captivating as you could wish, carrying a craft in songwriting which alone sparks a want to hear more and indeed Mark’s new album.

Black Heart Down is released April 25th as too is The Raging Sea on iTunes.

Upcoming Live Dates:

April 27th The Bedford London

April 29th The Cavendish London

April 30th Asylum Essex

May 6th Café Del Marsh London

May 8th Amersham Arms London

May 12th Dublin Castle London

http://markmathewsmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/markmathewsmusic   https://twitter.com/markmathewssong

Pete RingMaster 25/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com

Sharp teeth and rock ‘n’ roll: talking Yorkshire Rats with Don Mercy

YR_RingMaster Review

March sees the release of the Trouble City EP, another rousing and provocative slice of punk infused rock ‘n’ roll from UK band Yorkshire Rats. The successor to last year’s outstanding debut album, Sea of Souls, the new three-track release is further confirmation of a band with anthemic punk ‘n’ roll flowing through their creative veins and a hunger to push themselves and their creative adventure with every song and release. Ahead of the EP’s unveiling; we gratefully took some of band founder Don Mercy’s time to dig into the origins, history, and new phase of the Yorkshire Rats increasing impact on the British rock scene.

Hi Don and thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

You formed the band back in 2004; what was the spark bringing Yorkshire Rats to life and was there a particular idea for the band?

No problem! Fuck! 12 years ago, I must say I didn’t think we’d be back rolling around, not after we pulled the plug in 2007, I think it was.

Originally it was me and a good friend of mine called Sean Brewin who came up with the idea for the band. We used to hang out together, go skateboarding drink cider, the usual teenage shit. I’d played in various bands before with friends from school but wanted to do something a bit different. I was massively into the punk rock thing but not many of the guys in my school were. Sean was from another school local to me and there were loads of guys who we grew up with that we’re big Fat Wreck, Green Day, Rancid fans. I think we were around 17 when we started the Rats. There was an old pub in our home town of Pontefract called the Counting House. All the local alternative folks used to go in there and they had live bands on every Tuesday night. We’d been drinking in there from the age of 14 and we ended up meeting a few other musicians who were into our idea to start a band. I’d write the songs and we’d kind of share lead vocals. We learnt a few covers and got into a practice room.

I think we wrote our first EP in about a month, recorded it and sold DIY copies to our pals. We played our first shows in the Counting House and they were always great. A lot of people really liked what the band was about, we sang about miners and the working class’ history of struggle in the area.

There wasn’t any big plan involved, we just wanted to have fun and play some music, cliché I know…

Photo by Carl ChalkmanVideo Arnfield

Photo by Carl ChalkmanVideo Arnfield

You had previously played in Abrasive Wheels and Billy No Mates; how did those experiences impact on how you wanted Yorkshire Rats to be, sound like, and differ?

I actually only did one tour with Billy No Mates, I wasn’t a permanent member, I just filled in for one of their guitarists. We had the same manager at the time and they had a European tour booked.

I was 18 and had never been to Germany or Italy. I got a call from our manager, then a call from Duncan. I had a week to get a passport and learn 18 songs; we never even had a rehearsal, we just went straight to Berlin and played a show. It was amazing! It was my first real tour and I learnt so much about how it all works. To be honest I don’t think I would have progressed any further without doing that tour, there’s only so many times you can read about it before you have to grab it by the balls and get out there. I seized that chance and will be forever grateful for that opportunity.

I’m not sure how much it influenced my band’s sound…..

I was in Abrasive wheels for a couple of years; this was before I started the rats back up. It was ok; I was playing with some really great musicians in that band so it definitely raised my standards in terms of what kind of musicians I would want to have in the new incarnation of the rats. I wouldn’t be happy with just anyone now. I’ve always been a big fan of the early 80s UK punk thing so playing with them was fun for a while. They just didn’t tour enough for me and they all had 20 plus years on me ha-ha

The members of Yorkshire Rats were all known to each other before the band was formed; before and post break?

This is a completely new line up from the original. Me and our other guitarist Matty went to school together from the very beginning, good Catholic boys, well once upon a time anyways.

We had to get a new drummer and bass player since we released Sea of Souls because the other guys couldn’t commit to serious touring. So we got Chris on drums and then Josh on bass. We found both of those guys just before German tours. I’d suggest that anyone stuck for band members, book a German tour! You’ll find whoever you need…. eventually.

It was a strong couple of years first time around seeing a well-received single and EP released and the supporting of Rancid live amongst numerous successful shows. Then the band went on a hiatus. What primarily brought that about?

I think we all had different agendas; it went from being fun to being a drug fuelled mess. We’d had various line-up changes because people couldn’t commit and it just seemed no matter what I did, we just kept going round in circles. We were young, maybe we thought that because we had management, a label, and had done some higher profile shows that things were just going to fall into place on their own. I now know that’s not how it works, getting higher profile shows means the band is moving forward and that’s precisely the time to put extra pressure on.

And the biggest spark to the return of the band?album art_RingMaster Review

Obviously Brewins isn’t here on lead vocals, but the plan was for him to be the singer again when we reformed. He’d joined the Army after the band split and I hadn’t seen him for a while, but we met up at a Bad Religion show in Manchester. It seemed just like the old days so we agreed to give it another shot with a new line up of people we could trust to help us do it right. His Army career was supposed to be winding down so we set to work on new songs and rehearsing but it turned out that it wasn’t going to work out so we agreed that I would take over all the vocal duties.

Was it easier in many ways to return to a keenly waiting and expectant fan base than when starting out originally or vice versa?

I didn’t really give it much thought to be honest. I knew that I wanted to keep some key parts of the old band, anthemic songs, big guitars etc., but I also knew that I wanted to bring everything up to date and move forward. There’s always going to be people that say you’re doing things wrong but I usually don’t pay much attention to those guys.

Would you say that anything specifically changed within you for the band through that period away? In sound, the drive of personal etc.?

I think the sound of the band has definitely progressed. We pulled back on the hi gain guitars and it’s all about the rhythm section. I just try to write good songs. I think a good song will always win. I guess in terms of sound we have a classic rock n roll type sound; I don’t think we’re really that stylised. My songs always start on an acoustic guitar then we beef them up in the rehearsal room.

I never write a song with a particular sound or genre in mind. I don’t know whether that’s a curse right now. It’s almost like if you don’t sound like Nirvana no one cares. But then again when we first started unless you sounded like Arctic Monkeys no one cared ha-ha

Debut album, Sea of Souls marked your return in potent style with its acclaimed release in 2015. Fair to say it poked stronger and broader spotlights your way?

I think it made people take us seriously for sure. I’m not one for doing what everyone else is doing, maybe having a different sound made the album stand out.

It’s still a hard slog and we do as much of the work as we can on our own. Getting the CJ Ramone tour was a big deal for us, and now he’s a fan of ours which is really surreal. I’m a huge Ramones fan so to have someone like that telling us that we’re doing something right is a real boost. We’re hoping to play some more shows together in the near future but nothing is confirmed yet, we’ll have to wait and see.

Now you are poised to uncage its successor in the shape of the Trouble City EP this March. How would you say the two differ in their punk ‘n’ roll sounds and how you approached each in the writing and recording?

I guess both Sea of Souls and Trouble City had the same approach in terms of writing and recording. Sea of Souls has some old revamped songs from back in the day that never came out.

A lot of the songs for the rats seem to write themselves. I dick about with a guitar for a while and sing some nonsense and things seem to come together pretty quickly. That being said I don’t let any old shit through, if a song isn’t working I just throw it away and move on. I think the sound has become more mature since Sea of Souls. It’s the same kind of vibe but it feels and sounds like a band that’s been playing consistently together for a good few tours.

Trouble City art_RingMaster ReviewI believe the Trouble City EP was recorded in Berlin late last year whilst you were on tour in Germany? Was that always the aim to record the tracks over there or more making use of opportunities?

That’s right. It wasn’t part of the plan to start with, but we had a couple of shows that fell through on our last German run so had 4 days off in Berlin. A good friend of mine suggested a great studio; it was an old telecom building or something, every wall in the live room was filled with patch bays. You can just imagine loads of German phone operators flying round on their office chairs transferring calls backwards and forwards. A pretty cool vibe and the place sounded great, we plan to finish the second album there. We’ll just add some more studio time onto the back end of a German tour or something.

Give us some idea to the inspiration to the EP’s tracks and character.

We wanted to lay down some balls to the wall, riff driven tracks. I guess you can hear some Social D, Stiff Little Fingers, Ramones, Springsteen. Me, and our other guitarist Matty are really dynamic players so I wanted to enhance that on these recordings. We don’t have super hi gain amps, they’re relatively clean in all honesty, it sounds great but it makes you have to play better and play with a bit more thought into chord voicing etc.. Anything that makes us better is a good idea in my eyes.

What things and situations spark your lyrics more than most?

90% of my lyrics are true to life. Usually come from people I meet, or conversations I overhear. Trouble City is the start of a story about a prostitute called Amy that I met on tour once. We sat and drank some beers and talked shit for a while, you couldn’t make up most of the stuff she was telling me so that seemed like a good place to start with Trouble City.

Tell about the new video for the EP’s title track which you made with one of the UK’s best and brightest film makers, Chalkman Video.

Carl’s a great guy and he did a great job on the new vid. We didn’t have much time with it so we just got into our rehearsal space, he set up some lights and off we went.

Looks pretty cool I think. We spent 4 hours or so filming it then he had it finished 3 days later, he doesn’t mess around.

The EP is going to be the spark for another hectic year, live wise?

I hope so, we’re working on loads of UK dates throughout the year and heading back to Germany in October, there’s a couple of other things in the works that I can’t mention yet but yeah, we’re trying to keep as busy as we can.

YR Promo 2_RingMaster Review

Photo by Carl ChalkmanVideo Arnfield

What has the band already got in place as 2016 evolves in other news?

We managed to nail down a show with Snuff which should be fun, I haven’t seen Duncan for a while….

We’ve also confirmed a show with The Dictators.

More releases in the pipeline?

Of course! But probably not this year. Who knows.

Once again many thanks for chatting with us Don. Any last thoughts you would like to share?

No problem, I guess if people could just keep supporting us like they did last year that would be awesome, we really appreciate it.

And finally, give us an insight into the records and artists which could be claimed to have most inspired your own life and creativity.

RamonesPleasant Dreams, Stiff Little FingersGuitar and Drum, Green DayNimrod, Drag the RiverYou Can’t Live This Way, Ryan AdamsHeartbreaker.

I love all these records; you can probably hear these influences in the rat’s songs. I guess my songs start as simple folk songs then turn into anthems when the band gets hold of ‘em.

Read our review of the Trouble City EP @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/yorkshire-rats-trouble-city-ep/

http://www.YorkshireRats.com/    https://www.facebook.com/yorkshirerats

Pete RingMaster

RingMaster Review 19/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Lewisburg – Of Hollywood

Lewisburg_RingMaster Review

Increasingly mesmeric with every listen, the new single from Lewisburg lights ears and imagination like a sultry Summers day. Equally though, Of Hollywood embraces a tinge of melancholy and suggestive shadows as magnetic as the warm textures washing over the senses. It is aural tantalising at its best and if arguably not quite a song to turn your day upside down, though for some it might, it will be the moment which lingers the most enjoyably.

Lewisburg is the project of London based singer songwriter Ali Robertson and it was on his return from an eighteen month trip around the world that he began Lewisburg. His early musical days saw him play the bars of Williamsburg, Brooklyn and it was not long before his songs were being played on the likes of LA’s radio station, KCRW, especially debut single El Celebro of last year; an acclaimed introduction to his music sparking plaudits and attention around new fans and media alike. Drawing on inspirations such as Phosphorescent, Ryan Adams, and Eels for his provocative blend of folk and indie pop, Robertson now follows the success of his first single and songs like Nowhere Man with the richly alluring Of Hollywood.

cover_RingMaster Review   Co-produced by Robertson and Olly Betts of The Duke Spirit and Furs, Of Hollywood opens on a single strum of guitar but within a couple more seconds or so, becomes a melodic sigh of golden keys and their instant seduction. To that though, there is an underlying and rousing lure of rhythms sparking a controlled but anthemic stroll to the song which perfectly ebbs and flows around the reflective, sandy tones of Robertson. His voice carries an angst lining but as the music equally a captivating expression and texture which just invites the ear. The song continues to blossom a spicy air and sonic adventure around its catchy spine, resulting in one irresistible temptation which just gets stronger and more addictive with every listen.

The same can be said of accompanying song No Plateau, an intoxicating caress of melodic mystique within a sultry immersive climate. There is a surf/psych air to the track’s celestial atmosphere and exotic breath whilst the vocals of Robertson bring a more earth bound emotion and prowess to the tangy flight of the song. With sixties hues also revealing their whispers throughout, the song just enthrals as it completes one impressive release.

As suggested the single does not demand attention with an explosive nature and presence, but flirts and coaxes to the same kind of rewarding success. Lewisburg is the name; one surely to be more recognised and renowned with each passing and evolving release.

Of Hollywood is out now.

Pete RingMaster 18/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Retrospectives – Confusion

The Retrospectives_RingMaster Review

If you needed any evidence that UK rock duo The Retrospectives were raised on 60’s and 70’s rock, punk, and wave, then you only have to check out the pair’s new single Confusion. Like a mix of Tom Petty and Ryan Adams with a spicier feel of Television to it, the song is a sultry flight of guitar pop ‘n’ roll which without quite setting the passions ablaze provides ears and pleasure a very flavoursome four minutes.

Hailing from Sheffield, The Retrospectives consists of guitarist Tom Galton and bassist Will Stocks. Emerging in 2004 with an infectious vintage guitar sound inspired by artists such as Elvis Costello, The Rolling Stones, and indeed Tom Petty and Ryan Adams, the band quickly courted a strong and loyal fan base through their hunger to play live and their subsequent singles. 2014 saw the pair play over 60 UK gigs just between March and July whilst over time they have shared stages with the likes of The Boomtown Rats, The Buzzcocks, Bruce Foxton’s From The Jam, Paper Aeroplanes, and My First Tooth, as well as sell out Liverpool’s famed Cavern Club themselves. Fresh from Brighton’s The Great Escape and with a headlining tour this summer in its support, the band’s new single is ready to add its charm to upcoming hot days and sultry nights.

Confusion instantly cups ears in a caress of guitar jangle and expressive vocals, crisp beats kissing their introduction at the same time. A spicy guitar groove adds its brief lure as the song slowly spreads its charm, eventually offering a rich and lively sigh of rawer rock ‘n roll before relaxing back into its initial hot smoulder. Familiar and wantonly catchy at times, the song blends nostalgia with a fresh imagination to entice from start to finish with resourceful enterprise.

Confusion is not a song to incite swinging from the rooftops in lust but it will keep luring anyone with an appetite for vintage and modern rock with a swig of Americana back for more and more; a strong success in anyone’s book.

Confusion is available June 29th through https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/confusion-single/id1013127552

https://www.facebook.com/TheRetrospectives

RingMaster 29/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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