Blacktop Mojo – Burn The Ships

The past four years since forming has seen Texan rock band Blacktop Mojo court a potent reputation for their sound and live presence, all the time increasingly nudging global attention to turn their way. The release of second album Burn The Ships is the moment that awareness just might happen, the release a striking and thickly accomplished slab of highly flavoursome, sinew moulded rock ‘n’ roll.

Formed in September 2012 by vocalist Matt James and drummer Nathan Gillis, Blacktop Mojo swiftly leapt into the live scene with the intent of playing as many shows and tours as they could. It is a hunger which prevails to this day, the Palestine, TX quintet sharing stages with the likes of Bon Jovi, Candlebox, Drowning Pool, Aaron Lewis, Saving Abel, Puddle of Mudd, Whiskey Myers, Dirty River Boys, and The Bigsbys among a great many others over the years. Debut album I Am stirred things up at home with its release in 2014, similarly inviting broader notice of the band’s hearty hard/melodic rock sound. Burn The Ships though is a wake-up call to bigger spotlights upon the band, the Philip Mosley produced and Austin Deptula mixed and mastered encounter a fiery roar very hard to ignore or avoid finding a healthy appetite for.

The Blacktop Mojo sound is arguably not the most unique, the band drawing comparisons to the likes of Shinedown, Black Stone Cherry, and Soundgarden yet has an individual character and diversity which lifts it from the crowd with ease. All the evidence lies within Burn The Ships and its inventive and impassioned rock ‘n’ roll; a proposition hitting the ground running with its majorly rousing opener Where The Wind Blows. A lone melody with a country rock twang makes the first beckon, a sister lure swiftly by its side before muscle bound rhythms loom over ears amidst the continuing invitation of that initial welcome. Soon into its thick and potent stride with the growling tones of Matt Curtis’ bass rich bait alongside the meaty swipes of Gillis, the track has its infectious claws firmly around ears and appetite with James’ delivery leading the way and in turn the listener into one peach of a chorus impossible not to get fully involved in. With the riffs of rhythm guitarist Kenneth Irwin equally steering the temptation as lead guitarist Ryan Kiefer spins wiry grooves, it is a seriously compelling proposal,

The following End Of Days is just as formidable and satisfying, its robust rhythms and gnarly grooves alone gripping body and an instinctive passion for heart bred rock ‘n’ roll. As its predecessor, the song carries an irresistible chorus to back up the already successful lures at play and the album’s powerful start, success its title track continues. As provocative guitar temptation wraps its flame lit charms around ears, Burn The Ships quickly shows itself an equal to those before in enticement, gaining even greater strength in that trait as its groove takes on a nagging quality as it meanders around the vocal potency of James. With Seether-esque hues involved, the song croons and roars; flexing its muscle as it spins its inventively intoxicating sonic web with each passing second. The track is pure drama and the pinnacle of the album though challenged throughout.

The earnest strains of Prodigal follow, its Staind lit serenade a mellow emotive caress allowing for a breath whilst enjoying its melodic heat, suggestive flames building  into a bigger blaze before Shadows On The Wall smoulders and erupts in a 3 Doors Down scented fire next, subsequently  followed by the virile throes of Sweat. The trio do not quite teach the heights of the first three tremendous tracks but each with their individual natures and temptations leave plenty to embrace and firmly enjoy.

The snarling properties of Pyromaniac bring the album back to its loftiest heights, the song as heated as its title suggests with irritability in its riffs and a bass grumble so easy to grow lustful for. Melodically, there is a 3 Days Grace air contrasted and complimented perfectly by the grungier textures at work on the senses, both linked by an instinctive catchiness  which again features in potent form within the predacious 8000 Lines, a song stalking ears with rapacious riffs and antagonistic beats as sonic enterprise and vocal drama ignite. The track is outstanding; its unpredictability enhanced by melodic beauty as an oasis of calm shares ears with its tempestuous heart.

Both Dog On A Leash with its red-blooded plaintive call and the reflective cries of Make A Difference leave satisfaction full, each revealing further twists in the album’s make-up and enterprise while Chains brings a web of athletic grooves and beefy rhythms in a burly persuasion raising the ante again. It is pure captivation preying on an already eager appetite for sound and encounter.

Concluded by the emotionally charged Dream On and the melancholic musing of Underneath, the impressive Burn The Ships has plenty to see the band make the next step towards global recognition. Its songs are shapely and sound rich if not always on the truly unique side. Its craft and imagination more than compensates though as ears embrace the open potential also lying within a triumph of a listen.

Burn The Ships is out now through Cuhmon Records @ https://blacktopmojo.bandcamp.com/releases or http://www.blacktopmojo.com/store

http://www.blacktopmojo.com/   https://www.facebook.com/BlacktopMojo   https://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

Pete RingMaster 15/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Enamel Animal – Unfaith

Few rock bands have raised the same level of anticipation for their next move than Queens Of The Stone Age with their full-length debut but that kind of reaction is exactly what UK rockers Enamel Animal have poached with their first album Unfaith. It is an enticingly dirty, fuzzy proposition with instinctive adventure in its veins and contagious often grouchy sounds in its arsenal but with a melodic fire which just as easily grabs a natural appetite for imaginative rock ‘n’ roll. Imagine a rawer Soundgarden meeting a mellower hearted Mastodon with the rousing punk like aggression of Reuben riling things up and you have Enamel Animal.

There is so much more to the imaginative proposals on offer than that though, the album’s songs as adept at creating, with varying but always compelling results, more progressive psych rock explorations.  It makes the Liverpool based quartet of Philip Collier, Barry McKeown, Glen Ashworth, and Ryan Mallows an unpredictable proposition which only adds to the fun of Unfaith. Already carrying a potent reputation through shows alongside the likes of FOES, Bad Sign, Rival Bones, and Ritual King, Enamel Animal give it another big nudge with an album getting down to persuasive work straight away with opener Surrender Reverence. Initially coaxing ears with a lone shadowy riff, the track soon flares up with a dazzling sonic wash of guitar, darker rhythms strolling through the midst of the sunspot as grungy and psychedelic hues merge. Soon a fuzzy groove wraps ears and appetite, warm harmonic vocals rising with them, they like the sounds around them taking on grungier tones by the second. It is a tantalising wash of sound, simultaneously earthy and spatial and quite riveting.

War Machine follows with a bigger muscular presence but also its own sultry smog of melodic psych rock intoxication which opens up into calmer passages of harmonic seduction. That Soundgarden like essence is a rich flame across the track but with its dirtier lining and rapacious groove, nineties English band Skyscraper is also reminded of.

Similar textures unite for the melodic pyre that is Horrified; the track growing more inflamed and tempestuous as wiry melodies entwine tenacious rhythms but also ebbing and igniting again like a sonic fire. There is a certain Foo Fighters air to the track while its successor I Love Creationists taps into Nirvana inspirations for its outstanding and bracing punk ‘n’ roll. It is an agitated treat with the boldest mischief and imagination at play yet within Unfaith, ensuring it’s less than two minutes of devilry is unforgettable.

The already budding diversity of the release and Enamel Animal sound continues into the predacious stalking of ears by Death To The Destroyer. Its hungry rumble wears Josh Homme and co essences like a cloak as the song growls in its belly and menacingly flirts with its own unique metal/heavy rock bred tenacity. Together the pair of tracks provides the pinnacle of the album but closely backed up by the likes of Greetings Earthlings with its creative snarl. There is a great irritability about the song in sound and voice, the track facing up to the listener with an enjoyably grubby air and Stone Temple Pilots scented nature enhanced by more of the band’s psych fuelled flames.

Things calm down as The Thousand Years slowly and gracefully entices the senses and imagination with increasingly widening tendrils of fuzzy melody. In time eager sinew loaded rhythms bring their anthemic almost tribalistic lures to the radiant entrance of the song, textures around them becoming more granular as melodies explore exotic realms. It is absorbing stuff growing more captivating with every listen, a trait shared by the album itself and next up Red Is For Danger. To be fair, its heavy blues lined rock ‘n’ roll pretty much hits the spot straight away but just increases its potency over time as grooves wind around ears and song with incendiary temptation.

As the melody woven beauty of Eintracht simmers, bubbles, and ignites with emotive intensity and the following, A Praying Mantis Does Not Pray makes its own persistently evolving journey of boisterously inventive sound, the album just cements its impressive persuasion. Neither quite reaches the heights of those before them but both only grow in strength as new layers or imagination are found  listen by listen to add to the rich enjoyment of the release.

Unfaith ends with its title track, an emotionally charged flight of progressively honed post rock infusing grunge and stoner textures but suggestively elegant with a raw edge intensifying its heart.

Produced by Jon Lawton who also plays across the album, Unfaith is strapped with potential and ripe with craft and real temptation.  It is a full introduction to Enamel Animal suggesting a band with a great future ahead of them if they continue their growth whilst providing a pleasure to be savoured right now.

Unfaith is available now as a name your own price download @ http://enamelanimal.com/album/unfaith

https://www.facebook.com/EnamelAnimal/    https://twitter.com/anenamelanimal

Pete RingMaster 08/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Colours of the blues: exploring King Colobus with vocalist/guitarist Stewart MacPherson

kc_RingMasterReview

2017 has started with a bang, certainly in regard to introductions to and debut releases from fresh and truly striking bands. One of those making the biggest impressive impact is UK rockers King Colobus. Recently their self-titled first EP was rebooted into national attention, a release to steal one of the lines in our own review providing a “four-track theatre of blues and alternative rock [which] trespassed and seduced the imagination and passions.”

With thanks to Garry at SaN PR we leapt on the chance to learn more about the EP and its creators with King Colobus vocalist/guitarist Stewart MacPherson also touching on their beginnings and other aspects of being in a band…

Hi, thanks for sharing time to talk with us.

Your bio says the band officially began in 2015 but I believe its origins and seeds began long before then. Tell us about its beginnings and lead up to stepping out as King Colobus.

The first ideas started in a 3 piece band called BIBLE JOHN AND THE REPTILES, which included me (Stewart), GRIFTER bassist Phil Harris and former BROTHERHOOD OF THE LAKE drummer Rich Robinson. We spent months rehearsing and just before taking things live, Rich started to have back problems. The whole thing capitulated until James Bailes moved back to the South West. He and I had jammed out demos and worked together on various projects when we both lived in London. We got together and started to share ideas that we thought really deserved a life…and so KING COLOBUS was born.

The re-location to Devon of yourself and James from London seems to have been one of the sparks to the birth of King Colobus. Was that just coincidence or there was something you found down there, apart from meeting Gavin and Simon, which instigated the band?

The main thing that changed for both James and I was fatherhood. We both wanted our kids to grow up in a better environment and having both come from the South West, I guess this felt like the best option. There is also a great opportunity down here to create an alternative music scene. It has been blighted for far too long with tribute bands and folk music and venues like THE JUNCTION are starting to put alternative music firmly on the map again. There’s a lot of talent down here, but it just needs to get its fair share of the opportunities.

kc2_RingMasterReviewIs there a specific meaning or inspiration to the band’s name?

A King Colobus is a monkey that changes colour when coming out of childhood. I found this intriguing.

It is fair to say that your sound is a tapestry woven from a variety of musical textures and styles. How would you describe it to newcomers?

I would say that it is very much rooted to blues, with a heavy dose of trucker rock and grunge. There are so many pleasant, yet sometimes surprising comments we get from people regarding what they can hear in us, we encourage you to listen and draw your own conclusions!

Is there any particular inspiration you would say has helped shape your music as a band and individually?

I think if you heard 3 or 4 of our tracks, you would hear elements of Sabbath, Alice in Chains, Queens of the Stone Age, Clutch, Rage Against The Machine, Soundgarden, Interpol, and Johnny Cash…but to name a few. The likes of Bowie, Radiohead, and Morrissey have always provided a lot of lyrical inspiration, as they tend to tell stories that interest and make you dig a bit deeper into what is being said.

You recently re-released your self-titled EP to swift acclaim it has to be said. How did you approach its uncaging this time around compared to its first outing?

When it was first released, we did it just so that people could have something to take home at gigs if they liked us. After a while, it started to get a great response and people started getting in touch to order it online. It was at this point where we thought that it should be given broader exposure.

Can you personally put your finger on why it has caught the imagination of press and fans alike with great force?king-colobus-promo-shot_RingMasterReview

I think PR has a lot to do with it! You can have the best EP in the world, but it needs PR to get heard…then it needs to sound good for people to talk about it!

As broad as its songs in many ways are in sound there is an intimacy at the heart of the EP which suggests certainly lyrically personal experiences provides their seeds. Where do you draw inspiration most often for your tracks?

Everything I sing about is personal, or it is based upon something I know about. Sometimes looking at personal experiences of those who are closest to me provides for a better story. There’s no point in talking about California if you get me.

How does the songwriting predominantly work within the band?

Most songs are written acoustically at first. I perform solo acoustic gigs around the South West and ‘test’ things out before approaching the band with the idea. It’s a great way to test out the dynamics of a song, without the frills. I think it also helps us all to look at each track from a different perspective, without some massive riff dominating the landscape.

Can you give us some background to the tracks within the EP and their themes? king-colobus-cover-artwork_RingMasterReview

GET UP was actually written around the time of the 2012 Olympics. I lived in Hackney Wick at the time, so it was right on my doorstep. The track was based on the idea of it being used for Olympic Games footage. Needless to say, it didn’t, but it still made for a good track!

The self-titled KING COLOBUS track is based on my teenage years in Plymouth, so it’s a very personal outlook on my experiences throughout the nineties.

TITS AND TEETH is generally about how disposable the music industry has become and how we find ourselves absorbed by TV judging panels, who apparently know what they are doing.

WAIT is borne from a political platform. We keep on telling ourselves that if we vote a different way, things are going to change for the better. We need to believe this to keep going, but it’s far from the truth.

Live you have shared stages with the likes of with Sea Sick Steve, Band Of Skulls, Crazy Arm, and one of our favourites De Staat and that alone shows the diverse appeal of your sound. What is it you think about the band in sound and live which tempts such an array of artists and their fans into the world of King Colobus?

I think good music will always be just that and hopefully we have gained some new fans through doing our best to put on a good show when we play live. All of these bands are genuine, as are we.

Talking of Sea Sick Steve, the last time we saw him highlighted the trend it seems of people going to shows not so much to watch the artist but to socialise, certainly at higher profile events and venues. The sound of chatting often intruded on the music. If you have come across this, how as a band do you mentally deal with it on stage?

I think it’s our job to try and capture the audience’s attention. If we don’t, we need to do something about that! Sea Sick Steve was a really nice guy to talk to and he gave us so much great advice; I wish I brought a notepad! At the end of the day, you are in a bubble when you are in a band, so audience chatter really doesn’t bother me if it happens…but it rarely does!

What is next for King Colobus live and release wise?

We are just starting to branch out of the South West, as we are really keen to get involved in other musical pockets around the country. We’ve been busy scheduling this, as well as festival dates. As we deal with this ourselves, it is quite challenging. We also go into the studio again this Summer to record another 4 track EP, so this will be out way before the end of the year.

Big thanks again for talking with us. Anything you would like to add?

If there are any towns/cities which would like to see King Colobus, let us know!

Check out our review of the debut King Colobus EP @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/king-colobus-self-titled-ep/

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

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Black Mirrors – Funky Queen

 Black Mirrors Pic Nanna Dis 2016

BW, Black Mirrors, Belgium, Music, c Nanna Dis 2016

Every loud acclaim loaded whisper and incessant buzz needs something to back it up and that is exactly what Belgian rockers Black Mirrors do with their debut EP. The Brussels hailing quartet is one of the keenest new names on more and more keenly crowing lips and Funky Queen offers plenty of reasons why.

There is little we can give as background to the band but with their music doing all the talking on their Napalm Records released first EP, additional details can wait. The Black Mirrors sound is a myriad of flavours; at times it is bluesy and punky, in other moments a mix of grungy stoner and psych/heavy rock imagination, more often a blend and varying combination of all and more; a varying web easy to hear in just the four songs within Funky Queen alone. Imagine a boiling pot of essences from the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, My Baby, Soundgarden, Janis Joplin, Jess and The Ancients Ones, and Led Zeppelin and you get a sense of the fevered sound seducing and rousing ears.

Funky Queen opens with its title track making first contact with gnarly riffs and controlled pounding beats contrasted by fuzz gifted harmonies. Swiftly a driving spine of swinging rhythms and grumbling grooves court the alluring tones of vocalist Marcella Di Troia, her magnetic presence and prowess matched by the infectious throes of the sounds around her. There is nothing to stop hips swerving and feet shuffling in league with the virulence, the track’s fusion of desert and blues rock almost tribal in its catchiness.

707_blackmirrors_cmyk_RingMasterReviewIt is a stunning track awakening ears and appetite with lusty zeal and setting them up for the garage rock and blues punk revelry of Kick Out The Jam. Winding around the dark bait of Gino Caponi’s bassline, the grooves and melodic flames from Pierre Lateur’s guitar sizzle as the sticks of drummer Nicolas Scalliet land with relish. Di Troia again stands vocally astride it all with commanding dexterity and vocal zeal, a union of enterprise in spirit raising rock ‘n’ roll providing a striking cover of the MC5 classic.

Actually it is four such escapades on offer, The Mess just as persuasive as it ventures on a slower more controlled stroll soaked in anthemic temptation and sultry melodic juices. Like a siren, the song draws ears and emotions in but the rewards are invigorating not dangerous, except to swinging hips quickly involved in the fiery seduction.

Canard Vengeur Masqué brings things to a invasively captivating close, the song also reserved in its gait but eager in its sonic and melodic tempting with Di Troia a seductress to sound and listener as rhythms twist and turn around glowing grooves and hooks keen to infest the psyche. There is a touch of the now demised British band Karn8 to the song and of the aforementioned My Baby too, but Black Mirrors for the fourth time in the EP stand individual and irresistible in ears and praise.

The Funky Queen EP is quite superb and will only accentuate the band’s already heady reputation while drawing a horde of newcomers to the bold seduction that is Black Mirrors.

Funky Queen is released March 3rd via Napalm Records across most stores.

Upcoming Live Dates:

07.03.2017 TU – Ankara / ODTÜ

06.04.2017 BE – Antwerp / Trix

w/ Horisont

16.03.17 DE – Hamburg / Logo

17.03.17 DE – Siegen / Vortex

18.03.17 DE – Düsseldorf / Pitcher

23.03.17 DE – Munich / Backstage

25.03.17 CH – Pratteln / Z7

26.03.17 AT – Vienna / Das Bach

27.03.17 AT – Salzburg / Rockhouse

28.03.17 DE – Mörlenbach-Weiher / Live Music Hall

29.03.17 DE – Lichtenfels / Paunchy Cats

30.03.17 DE – Berlin / Privatclub

http://www.blackmirrorsmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/blackmirrorsmusic   https://twitter.com/BlackMirrorsmus

Pete RingMaster 03/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

King Colobus – Self Titled EP

king-colobus-promo-shot_RingMasterReview

There are times when something just clicks with ears and imagination, instincts instantly seizing the day and directing responses with almost lustful energy. That is what happened to The RR when facing the self-titled debut EP from UK rockers King Colobus. From virtually its first breath on the opening listen, the four-track theatre of blues and alternative rock trespassed and seduced the imagination and passions. It is pure drama, creative adventure as bold and ballsy as it is imaginatively intricate and sinisterly persuasive.

With its seeds sown in 2013, King Colobus officially stepped forward two years later. Vocalist/guitarist Stewart MacPherson and bassist James Bailes had already collaborated on ideas and songs for a future project when independently they both relocated to Devon. There they linked up with Plymouth based guitarist Gavin Huck and drummer Simon Marsh, uniting as King Colobus.

There is no escaping inspirations found in the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, Soundgarden, Johnny Cash, and Interpol in the band’s sound but equally they have a personality and character to their music and songwriting which is sure to intrigue fans of others like Japanese Fighting Fish, Damn Vandals, and Inca Babies. There is uniqueness to their sound though which is most vocal and suggests why the quartet has already earned a potent live reputation whilst taking in shows supporting artists such as Sea Sick Steve, Band Of Skulls, De Staat, and Crazy Arm.

king-colobus-cover-artwork_RingMasterReviewRe-released this past week, the first King Colobus EP is a majestic introduction to the band and needs mere seconds to grip attention and appetite through opener Get Up. From its initial dark minatory melody, its texture wiry and tone ominous yet pure enticement, the track bounds in with swinging rhythms and a growling bassline supported by just as primal riffs. MacPherson instantly engages and recruits already persuaded ears, the song itself bluesy in air but pure virulent rock ‘n’ roll with an underlying punk snarl. It is a controlled web though, teasing and taunting rather than assaulting and only increasing its grip as a shimmer of guitar around alluring vocals breaks the tenacious trespass before breaking into an even bolder compelling incitement.

It is a stunning start swiftly reinforced by the song King Colobus, it too opening with a juicy lure before uncaging its heavy blues rock saunter. Bass and vocals stand individual in tone but equal in temptation as beats jab with relish at the senses, the song’s flames waiting to erupt in a sizzling blaze before settling down again until further incendiary expulsions throughout its compelling body. Showing an array of flavours making up their sound, at times the track reminds thoughts of Josh Homme and co and indeed The Doors but again the result is individual to the foursome.

Tits and Teeth steals its fine share of the passions next, its dark vaudevillian devilry carrying an air of sadly demised circus punks The Shanklin Freak Show, further evidence of the host of spices in the King Colobus invention. The song as good as stalks its victim but relishing its creative invasion of ears and imagination with energy eager to consume its prey whilst, with virulent catchiness, recruiting their participation.

Final track Wait immediately reminds of nineties band Skyscraper, having their instinctive rock ‘n’ roll infectiousness and tenacity to command attention; invention and imagination blossoming in its success. Grooves and hooks tangle the senses as rhythms ground out an easily given submission to their insistent prowess, vocals leading it all with their own rousing presence.

It is a glorious end to a must hear release not only bringing King Colobus to wider attention for the first time but suggesting there is really something major brewing down on the south coast.

The King Colobus EP is out now through all stores.

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

Pete RingMaster 07/02/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Black Clouds – After All

TBC_RingMasterReview

Formed in 2004, US rockers The Black Clouds has pretty much persistently and increasingly drawn attention and acclaim with their hearty rock ‘n’ roll, a trend set to be accelerated by the release of new album After All. A fiery yet earthy slab of alternative rock lying somewhere between Foo Fighters and Stone Temple Pilots, the album has all the attributes to become a long term passion for a great many.

Hailing from Monmouth County, New Jersey, The Black Clouds consists of vocalist/guitarist Dan Matthews, guitarist Neil Hayes, bassist Gary Moses, and drummer Cory King. The punkish roar of 2008 debut album Wishing Well set the band up potently in regard to praise and broadening awareness, its adventure and success surpassed by Better Days four years later. A feisty fusion of grunge and hard rock, its impressive elements have been joined by those of its predecessor in the striking attack of After All, a rousing fusion of the familiar with new bold enterprise in an exploit which could and should push The Black Clouds towards a position on the global rock ‘n’ roll map.

Produced by Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Soundgarden), After All immediately hits the spot with opener Photograph. As riffs and rhythms collude alongside a spicy groove the song quickly captures ears and imagination, Matthews’ vocals are just as swift a lure as the song heads into a chorus gripping listener participation with instant ease. There is no escaping a Nirvana-esque hue to the track’s persuasion but neither the all tenacious Black Clouds freshness as it stirs up imagination and appetite with anthemic prowess.

The following Self Control has a slightly more laid back charge to its presence but too freely uncages piercing hooks and an instinctive snarl to keep the album’s strong start going. Backing vocals potently compliment Matthew’s plaintive tones as the song strolls with controlled vigour, the song reminding a little of UK band Feud, before Sayonara steps forward.  From its initial bass growl, the song is a volcanic, punk infested trespass. Raw and intrusive with a fine line in melodic contrasts, lava like grooves, and virulent infectiousness, its briefness is the only anti-climax in an impressive assault.

art_RingMasterReview Leave Her Alone brings a calmer presence to After All next; its body just as catchy with broiling eruptions of intensity adding richer texture to its character while Falling straight after seduces with melodic and harmonic charm. Even in its emotive caress there is an underlying rigour which bolsters the song’s already strong temptation; both tracks revealing the enjoyable variation in the band’s album and sound.

Featuring Mark Arm and Jack Endino, Vice bares its sonic teeth and raw energy next, the song a dirty rock ‘n’ roll grumble carrying the punk attitude of Johnny Thunders aligned to the sonic flames of Dinosaur Jr., before Going Going Gone, with again Endino guesting, dons another Nirvana like colour in its contagious holler. Creating another twist in the album’s landscape, the pair of tracks cements the already memorable presence of After All with the excellent Still Alive reinforcing that success with its grunge/punk ferocity. Rhythmically the track gets under skin scorched by scalding grooves and melodic flames cast by Hayes, traits matched across much of the release as a whole.

The gentler duo of Merchants Of Death and Days Are So Long, the latter seeing Endino, Allison Maryatt, Eric Nutting, and Nate Malubay helping out, bring After All to an enjoyable close if without either quite finding the same sparks to ignite personal tastes as earlier tracks. Nevertheless, the grunge infection of the former and melodic elegance of the equally catchy final track, leave satisfaction high and a want for more bold.

The Black Clouds are at the point in their rise where they are teetering on the broadest recognition, After All looking and sounding like the nudge to see them topple into the biggest spotlights.

After All is out now through Capacitor Records on CD and translucent blue vinyl @ https://capacitorrecords.com/products/black-clouds-after-all

http://www.theblackclouds.com/   https://www.facebook.com/blackcloudsofficial/

Pete RingMaster 10/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Rising from the crowd: Talking Ten Miles Wide with Will Andrews

ten-miles-wide_RingMasterReview

Hailing from a city breeding great bands like a lusty rabbit, Seattle quartet Ten Miles Wide is an alternative rock proposal creating music drenched in haunting melodies and tenacious dynamics. Since changes within their ‘previous’ band led to more of a ‘rebranding’ than a wholly new project, Ten Miles Wide has been on a attention grabbing ride. To find out more we had the pleasure to talk with drummer Will Andrews, checking out origins, debut album, and dynamics within the band along the way.

Hello and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

Thanks for having us!

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all?

John Beckman sings, plays guitar, writes the lyrics and births most of the song ideas, Ryan Thornes plays bass and sings backup vocals, Jake Carden plays guitar, and I play drums. We all came up in the Seattle scene together in our 20s, and admired each other’s skills and abilities as musicians.

Have you been in other bands before?

We’ve all been in tons and tons of bands, and a few of us are in more than one band right now, actually. Three out of four of us were in a band together called The Mothership right before Ten Miles Wide started, so you can definitely say that our past bands had an effect on our current band. Prior to 2010, we all were fans of all of our individual bands which prompted us to collaborate. I was actually in a band with Ryan in 2009 before The Mothership happened, so we were already a tight rhythm section.

What inspired the band name?

Ten Miles Wide was the album title of the first full-length released by our old band The Mothership. Since 3/4 of us are in Ten Miles Wide, we wanted to keep a link to your old band and keep our fans happy. We needed to change our name because of the line-up change, and another band trademarked our old name.

tmw_RingMasterReviewDid you have a specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted your sound to offer?

Initially, there was a curiosity to see what we’d all sound like together. Our influences were so diverse, we weren’t sure if we’d sound like a mess. After we got together and jammed a few times, our goal was to make music that we would want to listen to ourselves. We’re constantly refining and honing new skills we pick up, and we’re always looking to push in new directions, so I think we’re definitely achieving our musical goals.

How has that core idea evolved over time?

The ultimate goal is to push ourselves creatively and write the best music we can. When we first started as The Mothership about six years ago we a different checklist of goals we wanted to accomplish. Mainly, we wanted to play our favorite venues in town and develop a solid fan base. After three to four years of networking, performing and releasing a few albums, we ended up selling out our favorite venue for our CD release in 2014. After we re-branded the band to Ten Miles Wide, our fans thankfully stayed on board, so our draw is about the same, if not a little better than before. We’re now looking forward to getting outside of Seattle and possibly outside of the country in 2017 and beyond.

Since your early days as a band, how would you say your sound has evolved and has it been an organic movement of sound or the band deliberately setting out to try new things?

It’s become less straightforward in approach and it has matured. We’re experimenting with arrangements and textures more than before and Jake has been able to add some really interesting complexity with his guitar work. We push ourselves more these days, and we don’t put the seal of approval on a song until we’re all satisfied.

Most of the time, we just write what we write. In the context of assembling an album, one of us might say “we need another up-tempo song” or “let’s get a little trippy on this one”, so things might be a little more deliberate in that instance. We don’t write for any purpose other than to satisfy ourselves, but we do appreciate tight song arrangement and strong melodies. Some of our songs could be a little more accessible than others due to the fact that some of us still listen to accessible music, and it comes out in the writing process.

You earlier mentioned numerous influences but are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

There are so many to mention, but I think a lot of our foundation comes from Nirvana, Soundgarden, Radiohead, and Queens Of The Stone Age. We are enthralled with a striking melody and killer chords to back it up. We also love bands that are varied in their songwriting and their approach. We believe in musical exploration and not pigeonholing oneself into a specific genre. It makes us somewhat unmarketable, but we’d rather express ourselves fully.

Is there a particular process to the songwriting within the band?

There are two methods that have been consistent with us. One method is to pull something out of John, Jake or Ryan’s song bank, or riff bank, then formulate a refined structure after we stick a few parts together. We’ll massage segues and transitions once we’re comfortable with the skeleton of the song’s form. The other method is the “jam method” where we just bang out fresh song ideas by improvising in a room together. Sometimes jam ideas get put into a structure, and sometimes they become a song on their own.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspiration to the lyrical side of your songs?tmw-art_RingMasterReview

Lyrics are John’s department, but they usually seem to come from personal experiences, or the need to exorcise some demons.

Would you give us some background to your latest release?

The Gross is our debut full-length album. It was mostly assembled as a three-piece band, and Jake came on board and added his guitar work towards the end of the process. Some of the songs are brand new, while others are almost a decade old. Sometimes it feels good to take things out of the vault that were dormant, dust them off, and give them a fresh coat of paint. We needed a few “gimmie” songs to help us springboard through the re-branding a few years ago.

How about an insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

My two favorite lyrics on the album have to do with aliens. The lyrics are slightly in jest, but the premise is that the world is such a fucked up, disgusting place these days and the only thing that would unify us or destroy us would be an alien invasion. Some of the other songs are about people who are time wasters, drug problems, and just general venting about the state of today.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

All songs are written before we enter the studio, mainly to save time and money. We like to be efficient at tracking the basic instruments so we can allow for experimentation with overdubs and vocals. If we had the money to live in the studio for a month, I’m sure we’d made a cool record that way, but that would destroy us financially.

Tell us about the live side to the band; that has to be the favourite aspect of the band?

There’s nothing like the feeling of playing a great show to a sea of fans. We’ve been extremely fortunate to have played pretty much all packed shows in 2016, and we hope that trend continues. Just like any live band, some shows are better than others, and sometimes the ones you think suck are the fan favorites.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it in a city renowned for its music and a flood of successful bands?

Seattle still has a strong music scene, which allows for the opportunity to be heard. The thing is, you have to work for it, and you need to make music that connects with the people in the scene. Anybody can get gigs on a Monday at a small bar, but to get the weekend gigs at the choice venues, you have to prove yourself and bring people to the shows consistently. Networking and going out to shows will garner you fans and connect you with the bands. Eventually, if you build up a big enough core fan base, new fans seem to just jump on organically. It takes years and an army of people, but it is possible.

tmw2_RingMasterReviewHow has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success?

Social media is where we thrive and connect with our fans. We try to be very good at responding to every email and Facebook message so that everyone feels like they are part of the band. We haven’t really seen any of the negatives, and the positives are apparent. YouTube has become a monster in the music world and we look forward to tapping into that medium a lot more in the near future.

Once again Will big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add?

Thanks for taking the time to learn a little more about us! Find us on the interwebs and check out our album The Gross on all of the usual streaming sites.

http://tenmileswideband.com   https://twitter.com/tenmileswide206   https://www.facebook.com/tenmileswideband   https://tenmileswide.bandcamp.com/releases

Pete Ringmaster 09/12/2016

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