Los Brigands – Nothing’s Clean

LB_RingMaster Review

We had limited knowledge of Los Brigands up to this point in time but that is about to change and for a great many others no doubt, thanks to the might of their debut album Nothing’s Clean. Co-released with Crowd Control Media, the sixteen track stomp is an incendiary brawl of punk rock in its varied forms and devilry. It is quite simply rousing undiluted rock ‘n’ roll which just hits the sweet spot and can only push the band to greedier, broader spotlights hereon in.

Hailing from Los Angeles, the trio of vocalist/bassist Aroldo, guitarist/vocalist Hector, and drummer Keith have become one of the staples of the LA punk scene since forming in 2009. Inspirations come from the depths of hardcore but as their first full-length shows, the band is unafraid to add and twists things to embrace a host of distinctive styles and flavours within their songs. Back home they are a loyally supported outfit renowned for their high energy shows and catchy incitements of sound. Now with the unleashing of the sabre like charge of Nothing’s Clean, sixteen songs in thirty four minutes, Los Brigands look set to become a name on a much broader expanse of enthused lips.

     The Haters’ Circle starts things off, the track a thickly enticing instrumental slice of psychobilly/punk which alone has body and emotions ignited and ready to feast, which they greedily do on its successor. Like Dead Kennedys meets Tiger Army, the opener brings its two minutes plus to the boil perfectly, making way for the similarly bred but hardcore driven 8 50. Hooks and rhythms are a hungry enticement whilst the vocals roar and brawl to match the addictive impact of the sound around them. For less than a minute and a half, the track incites ears and appetite, and for that same length whilst embracing familiar inspirations and essences, the punk rock passions are aflame, burning greedily for what is to follow.

losbrigandsnothingcleanalbumart_RingMaster Review   10 Times Worse is the first to step up with pulsating beats and a throbbing bassline aligned to ska bred enterprise. The song continues to swing along with infection lining its thick lures and chorus, its body an irresistible mix of UK band The Vox Dolomites and [Spunge] and leaving lips licked and a ripe want for more. The following Robbie does not provide more of the same flavour but is instead a highly agreeable Los Brigands take on Johnny B Goode which leaves rich satisfaction in its wake before the Spanish sung Algun Dia provides a Clash like stirring of ears and energy; its hard bounce another lifting the listener to feet amidst anthemic calls.

Things only get tastier as the belligerent ska brawl of Cold Cold City escapes the album next, it’s bruising attitude and prowess another spark to ignite the passions for the release with a success emulated and indeed eclipsed by the outstanding Dead American Dream. With a feisty tinge of street punk to its tempestuous swagger and defiance fuelled attitude, the song is as spiky as it is infectiously virulent whilst On The Wall straight after, dips into some raw pop punk revelry with a Rancid meets The Bouncing Souls proposition to outshine much around it as impressive though they all are.

The opening volley of beats from Keith straight away puts Downtown Nights on a pedestal to expect big things from, the swiftly rapacious riffs which swoop in not letting anyone down, or the snarling vocals and energy flooding the great confrontation. It is a raging force continuing in the excellent blaze of Fight Fire With Fire and true to form anthems come one after another within Nothing’s Clean but few incite participation as effortlessly as this excellent aggression.

As you will have guessed, variety across the album is rife and provides another colourful shade of adventure through the caustic ska romp of Broke, guitars and sax especially fruity against the growl of the vocals and the brooding bass tone cast by Aroldo. That fluid diversity creates another appealing contrast as the grouchy bellow of First 48 springs its contagious old school punk irreverence on the passions before it has to make way for Bumming Cigs and its bluesy rock ‘n’ roll canter which has all bouncing in their chairs, on their feet, and in the streets on personal experience.

Denver Ave has a feel of Russian punk rockers Biting Elbows to its more relaxed but spicy and increasingly agitated presence next, its magnetic tenacity and creative bait getting body and soul excited ready for Bad Vibes to exploit with its furious tempest of boisterous riffs alongside antagonistic rhythms, they bounding around another steely bass sound to get lusty over. It is the home straight on the album and both tracks are nothing less than impressive and addictive as they steer ears towards the finale that is Last One, a last bracing arousal of ears and enjoyment honed into a tangy and furious anthem.

Major surprises on Nothing’s Clean are not dramatic or regular but with a freshness and passion few bands can contemplate let alone match, Los Brigands has provided one of our favourite slabs of rock ‘n’ roll this year. After this the band deserves to be a big blip on all punk rock radars of fans and media alike.

Nothing’s Clean is available now through Crowd Control Media.


Pete RingMaster 29/09/2105

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The Meow Meows – Friends On Benefits EP

meow meows_RingMaster Review

Starting with one of the most flirtatious embraces likely to be heard this summer and proceeding to cast another two slices of pure aural suggestiveness, the Friends On Benefits EP from UK ska rockers The Meow Meows, puts the irresistible into virulent temptation. Three songs of the Brighton nine-piece’s increasingly renown fusion of eighties ska and even older garage rock with a more than healthy punk bred diversity, the EP is one inescapable incitement for body and imagination.

The Meow Meows emerged on the Brighton live scene around 2005, the collective rising from the ashes of several bands from the south-coast ska-punk scene. It was not long before their reputation and fan-base flourished through their energetic live presence and a sound which bewitched feet and ears with infectious ease. The years since forming have seen the band share stages with the likes of The Temptations, The Skatalites, Reel Big Fish, The Beat, The Selecter, King Blues, The Skints, and Hollie Cook amongst many, and the release of a couple of well-received albums. Debut full-length Songs From The Fridge stirred up plenty of attention but it is probably fair to say that its 2013 successor Somehow We Met, helped push the band into new spotlights. Friends On Benefits, like that album, was recorded with producer and reggae legend Prince Fatty and quickly confirms The Meow Meows as one of the UK’s truly instinctive creators of contagion.

cover_RingMaster Review     The seeds to the Friends On Benefits EP arose from the band being one of ten artists commissioned by Fuel Theatre for their Music to Move to project, its aim to create works from bands in union with choreographers which would inspire the general public to dance. Equipped with another pair of toe inciting swingers, also loaded with humour laced and snarling social /political themed lyrics, band and release swiftly set hips to work with the EP’s title track. Brass and rhythms instantly collude in a gentle but forceful sway as guitars within another breath add their sultry hues to the melodic smile of the keys. Alternating their individual vocals over the verses, both Danny and Hanna spark further hunger, the two ladies temptress like within the rousing swagger and shuffle of the song. With a whiff of The Bodysnatchers to it, as well as The Beaubowbelles and The Jellycats, the track is a spellbinding and lingering bounce of a persuasion swiftly matched by its successor.

London Road has an even chirpier gait to its stroll, brass and beats quick-footed protagonists within the key’s smouldering caress. As in the first, the music embraces the vocals with a more restrained energy yet it never loses the infectious lure ripe in its presence and enterprise, in fact springing new melodic flames with every twist of its irresistible tempting. As it proceeds with a distinctive and magnetically quaint Hammond organ tone seducing, the song gently and seamlessly evolves to subsequently emerge with a Martha and the Muffins like new wave colouring which seems to feed and accelerate the excellent ska fuelled and increasingly agitated climax of the outstanding song.

The EP is completed by Tits & Hatred, a more old school punk endeavour which echoes with essences of bands like Au Pairs and The Raincoats within its severely tantalising and eagerly varied character. The track is again primarily brewed from the band’s seventies inspired 2-tone/ska punk inspirations which of course are in turn dosed up with the band’s compelling touch and imagination; the result being one mouth-watering end to one thrilling proposition.

The Meow Meows create ska punk ’n’ roll to lose your inhibitions and body to, with Friends On Benefits the spark to lustful endeavour.

The Friends On Benefits EP is available on vinyl from July 13th via Jump Up! Records and digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/friends-on-benefits-single/id997669416 or http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00Y6EIGXO?keywords=Friends%20On%20Benefits%20EP&qid=1436784848&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

http://www.themeowmeows.com/     https://www.facebook.com/themeowmeows

RingMaster 13/07/2015

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The Talks – Radio

the talks pic

It is never hard to get feet and passions up for a healthy infectious dose of ska punk and it does not come in any finer form of potency than Radio the new single from UK quartet The Talks. An irresistible toe tapping escapade with the vitality of The Selector, the addictive prowess of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and the irrepressible invention of The Specials, the single ignites the imagination and passions with sublime efficiency whilst breeding a boisterous hunger for not only itself but the band’s highly anticipated forthcoming album Commoners, Piers, Drunks and Thieves. One song does not make an album but if the rest of the exploits are half as enslaving and potent as Radio than a heady ride is coming our way.

Since forming Hull’s The Talks has built and earned a strong reputation for sound and presence across not only the UK but Europe. Their sharing of stages with the likes of The Specials, Rancid, Madness, The Beat, King Blues, and The Toasters has only put the quartet of Jody Moore, Pat Pretorius, Iain Allen, and Richard “Titch” Lovelock into increasingly intensive spotlights. It has been a recognition reinforced and enhanced by their releases; the 2012 single Can Stand The Rain which featured the legendary Neville Staple easily marking the cards of a great many whilst last year’s West Sinister EP took things to greater levels of attention and support. The band’s last single Don’t look behind you pushed it all on again, its success leading to slots at festivals such as Boomtown and Camden Rocks at home and the Sapi Festival in France and the Fusion Festival in Germany.

The new album is the source of the next great hunger sure to be inspired by the band, greed set to be intensified with the rampant appearance of Radio. The single instantly casts a rhythmic coaxing and melodic bait to be pounced upon with feverish energy, an entrance swiftly exploding into a magnetic canter of irrepressible enticement through keys and guitar stabs under the great anthemic singular and group lure of vocals. As all good ska fuelled emprises, the track holds a riveting swagger which is as anthemic to feet and passions as the punchy rhythms framing the whole dance. Complete with flames of brass and constantly seducing keys, the track is an epidemic stride of sound and melodic magnetism with just that edge of punk belligerence.

Radio is a song for steamy climates and floor quaking dancehalls, a celebration to indulge in time and time again alone or in a crowd as we wait the next rigorously intriguing and sure to be majestic exploit from The Talks.

Radio is available on All Our Own Records now digitally and on LTD Edition 7″ Vinyl.



RingMaster 30/06/2014

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The Vox Dolomites: Down For Three / Joan & Frank

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    2013 is primed to be a big year for UK punksters The Vox Dolomites as one of the best and musically resourceful bands in British underground rock n roll release their debut album and a film of the Japanese tour they undertook in the closing weeks of last year. Before both of those forthcoming treats though the band has today put up two teasing tracks as a free download on their Bandcamp profile, two more songs ensuring their album will be an irresistible temptation upon its appearance.

The Stockport quartet of guitarists/vocalists Ant Walsh and Will Farley, bassist/vocals Chris O’Donnell, and drummer Simon Dunnington, have placed the songs Down For Three and Joan & Frank as their newest enticements to their accomplished and thrilling sounds. The members are forever mentioned as ex-members of One Man Stand, The Leif Ericsson and Spiteful Way, and we are no different, but now truly they stand as an immense entity as The Vox Dolomites, one with a character, distinction, and presence which overrides all history. Their sound is an uncompromising riot of directness and energy with songs either driven by a punk attitude or a ska swagger, occasionally though whisper it in their presence, both at the same time. Previous releases in their debut demo EP and the Japanese Tour EP left fans and media keen with their acclaim and ardour whilst live performances around the UK and 2447279504-1as mentioned in places like Japan, has earned the band the recognition of being one of the most thrilling and hardworking live bands around.

Down For Three immediately grips the ears and thoughts and leads them with eager hands on an energetic stomp. A deep alluring bassline from O’Donnell strolls through the centre of the song whilst the guitars of Walsh and Farley tease, stroke, and reward with precise anthemic riffs and passion igniting craft. Though not exactly a pop punk song, bands from that field could learn so much from The Vox Dolomites, their hooks and melodic infection a pure form of pop latched on to a vibrant and compulsive flame of honest rock n roll. With the added lingering kiss of the keys and great raw vocal harmonies, the song leaves a full and by its end impatient lust for the new album, oh how this band torments.

Second song Joan & Frank is a reworking of a track from the Japanese Tour EP. On the former release the song was an impacting ska joy with a mischief and melodic boast as irresistible as its inventive intent. Here the track has been given a punk make-over and emerges as a completely different presence which equals its earlier guise so that it is impossible to have a preference.  The stark and disturbing tale has a different stance in many ways due to the new approach but neither loses or gains power or greater relevance compared to the earlier song down to the quality of both. If the new version loses out to the first it is only in it is over so quickly, but that is what repetition is for, press and go again and again…

As mentioned with album and film coming, both we will cover here upon their releases, The Vox Dolomites should find a deserved expanse of recognition and even greater success, though the band only cares about giving the best passionate sounds and they have done that with each release to date, something you cannot see ever changing.

Grab your download of the new songs @ http://thevoxdolomites.bandcamp.com/


RingMaster 01/03/2013

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Biting Elbows: Self Titled

With enthusiasm and thoughts racing faster than fingers can type in praise of the debut self titled album from Russian punk band Biting Elbows, the ending line to it all is that this is a release which quite simply is magnificently sensational. Consisting of twelve diverse and imaginative slices of melodic punk in its varied guises the album alone from first note to last revitalises and instils a fresh breath to punk music, as well as putting the majority of current melodic punk bands to shame.

Formed in 2008, the Moscow based quartet of Ilya Naishuller, Garik Buldenkov, Ilya Kondratiev, and Alexei Zamaraev, has already inspired strong attention with first EP Dope Fiend Massacre and videos of songs from the release. It is fair though to say to most they are still an unknown but with their debut album that must surely change as nothing this good can remain a secret for long. Recorded across five Moscow studios the album without be openly political challenges injustices of personal and global heights with an infectiousness and irrepressible mischievous energy which one can only eagerly jump on board with.

The wonderfully varied and unpredictable album opens with the ska punk flavoured excitement of Toothpick. The lead single and video from the release, it is a pulsating and mesmeric piece of joy. Like a mix of [Spunge], Face To Face and King Prawn, the song ignites inner fires with sharp riffs and a hypnotic bass sound as instinctive and primal as you could wish for, whilst the vocals of Naishuller are wonderfully expressive and direct without corrupting the ear. To be fair discovering a truly original ska tinted punk song is beyond rare but Biting Elbows bring the strongest challenge to be heard in a long time.

As the opener drifts away the thought of wow that was good is quickly over ridden by the excellence of City Of No Palms and its gnarly bass and attention grabbing beats opening. An emotive sunrise of slashing riffs and stirring vocals over an irresistible persistent grumbling bass, the song is spiced with great group harmonies and incendiary reggae strokes as it builds to a crescendo of greedy energy and melodic beauty. The song ignites the territory bands like Living End owned with Biting Elbows easily rivalling their likes.

Angleton is another Living End type song with more than a whisper of Arctic Monkeys to its air, it is also stunningly delicious. The track is a continually rotating piece of brilliance in songwriting and sound, its orbit bringing the finest individual enterprise and imagination whilst its journey seamlessly crosses indie, classic, and pop punk with more added flavouring. Tight and highly charged inventively the band just stands out from the rest with the progress of the album only bringing confirmation time and time again.

The likes of the police violence addressing Rabid Red, the ska(rred) Who Am I To Stand Still with great brass interjections and warm unexpected keys, alongside the raw old school punk fury of Scaffolds On The Babylon with its Stiff Little Fingers like itch, all fully thrill and incite the emotions as well as continue the great diversity through the album. As much as one tries to temper the adoration with suggested flaws of weaknesses within the album there really is nothing to pull it up on.

The departing half of the album keeps the glory coming through the outstanding Dustbus and Kill The Cooks, but it is the twin masterpieces of The Enjoyers and World’s Most Important Something which steal the honours in the second half. The first as much as one tried to avoid the obvious comparison is vintage Green Day like though as everywhere the songs when heard out of context are distinctively and unmistakeably Biting Elbows. The song plays with the heart through witty lyrics and potent melodic teasing whilst the harmonica even in its relatively brief presence is like that extra tasty flake on the top of your ice cream. World’s Most Important Something is a riot of vintage punk with guitars inciting pure addiction and the anthemic hook of the song leading voice and spirit in a total union. Again one has to use the word brilliant, a word which most accurately describes the album.

Released via Misertia Records on July 23rd, the album which ends on the best melodic sunset a release could have in One Night In ’99 is exceptional. From the packaging with its great material lyric sheet through the additional DVD containing the three videos spawn from their debut EP on to the music, it is pure quality and easily one of the best releases this year whilst Biting Elbows has emerged as our new favourite band.


RingMaster 09/07/2012

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The Vox Dolomites – First Demo 2012

You just have to love it when the first introduction to a band comes in the shape of a heart racing, infectious and openly excited release. There has been no finer an example of this than from UK punk band The Vox Dolomites. A simple piece of fortunate timing, a lucky gaze upon a simple social network post and the gateway to one of the most exciting and excitable releases heard in a while opened. Simply called First Demo 2012, the release is a pulsating trio of tracks that urge and enthuse emotions and limbs to react and be part of their impressive blast.

From Stockport and formed in September 2011 the band bring a heady and eager punk sound that at times is spiced up with irresistible infusions of ska. They stand somewhere in between the harsher intense punk of a Rancid and the open and teasing melodic contagion of a Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Vox Dolomites also lie midway between a US and UK sound, the latter more evident when they bring in the ska spice as shown in the opening track of the demo.

Comprising of ex-members of One Man Stand, The Leif Ericsson and Spiteful Way, the band of guitarists Ant Walsh and Will Farley, bassist Chris O’Donnell (all three contributing vocals), and drummer Simon Dunnington from the off jump in with insistent hooks and insatiable melodies on ‘The Horrorshow’. Greedy choppy guitars, a boisterous bassline and wanton keys caress and stoke up the ear as the band’s irrepressible energy burns a wonderfully fulfilling groove upon the senses. The band can skank like there is no tomorrow bringing a [Spunge] feel alongside a Rancid punk touch and using it to flavour their own voracious sound.

The other two songs on the release are straighter punk gems but no less engaging. ‘Alone In Mexico’ is not exactly a sterner track than its predecessor but has a more serious tone behind further hungry riffs and sharp melodies. Another great bassline from O’Donnell this time carrying a moodier tone and an incisive razor like guitar attack from Walsh and Farley ensure the track lingers after its last note and is very easy to return to, though that applies to the whole demo to be honest.

Final track ‘Losing Hands’ ripples and flames within the ear, strong forceful riffs, commanding rhythms from Dunnington, and another bassline to drool over rage and badger whilst pleasing far beyond the ear. We are in definite Rancid territory now but The Vox Dolomites have an indefinable extra that takes them into a class of their own. Group vocals punctuate the track excellently adding thirsty energy and texture to the track.

The trio of tracks started with a vibrant party and ended in a juicy riot, three songs that inflame and light up the senses. The release is an introduction to the band and a taste for a debut album due later in the year, and without doubt the demo makes the anticipation for that keen and impatient. This is punk of the highest order and there really is no excuse not to go and get it, especially as The Vox Dolomites have it as a free download at their bandcamp profile………..Still here?


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Overweight – Chapter 11

There is something about ska punk that is always infectious to some degree no matter the ability of the band bringing its enthused energy into view. With bands like Belgian ska punks Overweight this infection borders on contagion, their catchy insatiable sounds a festival for the senses. December 5th sees the release of their new EP Chapter 11 to further please and delight with five songs that grab hold and unleash aural joy on the ear.

Overweight began in 2001 in Vilvoorde when school friends started up a punk band, this soon evolved into ska punk as a brass section was added. Early demo ‘What We Call Paradise’ started the rise of attention to be solidly reinforced by the 2008 demo ‘Back To Life With A Hangover’. The following year saw their debut album ‘The World For Sale’ really fuel a growing appeal and eagerness for the band from further afield. Impressive shows and a French and UK tour raised their stock further and despite departure of a founder member in 2010, Overweight regrouped to return with the new line-up of Gert Thielemans (vocals and trombone), Kevin Boonen (guitar and backing vocals), Jurgen Ral (trumpet and backing vocals), Julien Daiche (drums), and Willem Merck (bass), and an EP to take them even deeper into willing and enthusiastic demanding ears.

It is fair to say that diversity amongst ska punks bands is not the widest, the core sound in some ways quite limiting and it is the quality of songwriting and musicianship that sets bands apart something Overweight are impressively strong on. References have been made to the band sounding like Less Than Jake and one can understand that but on the EP’s evidence the quintet sit firmly alongside the likes of Mad Caddies, Reel Big Fish and [Spunge]. They do add some harder punk rock sounds too that remind of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and in some ways Rocket From The Crypt to produce music that appeals loaded with substance.

The EP opens with probably the most obvious and straight forward song in ‘Turbo’. Energetic and bouncy with choppy guitars, group harmonies, and fluid brass sounds the song delivers with direct and eager intent even if without producing any real surprises. It is fun and comes with a determination to not leave until toes are tapping along, making a great start to Chapter 11.

Guantanamo’ leaps in next with equal boisterous energy and mischief. A great bassline supports the melodic dance, purposeful lyrics, and resourceful brass sounds making the track irresistible. Things really step up though when ‘Generation?’ moves in to show its wanton wares. The first two songs are great fun but from this point right through to the end the levels are pushed up a notch or two. The third song comes with a punkier edge and attitude without losing the infectious and mesmeric melodic funky grooves. A word like catchy really does not do it justice; its hypnotic charm staying with the listener long after it passes the musical torch onto the next track.

It that was hypnotic then the pulse and contagious hooks of ‘I Want It You Got It’ are certified aural addiction. The song is so infectious that at the song plays whilst writing this section the keyboard has danced as much as the eager limbs below its stand. Well crafted and realised this is pop music of the highest order, something the best ska punk can produce effortlessly it seems.

The punk fused epidemic that is ‘No More’ completes the release bringing forth more appetising melodic hooks, warm brass sounds and an unlimited supply of not to be denied infections. There is nothing but good things that can be said about this song, in fact every song that makes up Chapter 11.

The EP admittedly is not breaking down boundaries for ska punk but it is hard to think of many that do break out from the ‘traditional’ sound, but there are going to be even fewer as satisfying and enjoyable as Chapter 11 from Overweight.

RingMaster 15/11/2011

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