Calling All Astronauts – #Resist

The voice of celebrity can sometimes rightly and wrongly have a highly persuasive impact on essences of society and political apathy. Equally arousing as proven decade by decade can be the assertion and roar of musicians and their vociferous sounds. They can be a rich echo of the issues and divisions in the world and a rousing ‘call to arms’ to their refusal. UK goth punks Calling All Astronauts have been a creative thorn in a world of indifference, bigotry, persecution and more for the past seven years but maybe one of their releases has never been more relevant and impactful to what is going around them as well as being simply striking than new album, #Resist.

Since emerging in 2013, Calling All Astronauts has regularly entrapped ears and praise with their fusion of goth and electro punk, but a sound never afraid to stretch its landscape and enrich its snarl with fresh enterprise and creative venom. It is fair to say their debut album, Post Modern Conspiracy, that first year immediately gripped attention as it enticed acclaim, both escalating as single and EP led to and surrounded 2016second full-length, Anti​-​Social Network. Each encounter has seen the band grow and intensify the adventure of their sound, each flourishing in evolution which #Resist now basks in.

The seeds for the trio of David B (vocals, programming, keys, producing), Paul McCrudden (bass, guitar, keys), and J Browning (guitar) go back to their time in seminal rap-metallers, US:UK. After its demise, J went on to form pop-punkers Caffeine while Paul joined Goth outfit The Marionettes. A chance meeting though reunited David and J with Calling All Astronauts the result, the threesome back together when Paul linked up as the band set to work on that ear gripping second album.

Mixed by Alan Branch (Depeche Mode, NIN, U2), #Resist took little time to spark an already in place appetite for the band’s sound to date but equally evoked keen anticipation for new development and extension as The Holy Trinity opened things up. Keys immediately surround ears bringing drama and intrigue swiftly echoed in the surges of guitar. CAA have bred an identity and sound which is unmistakably their own and again it envelops song and persuasion as David’s equally distinctive tones lyrically provoke and highlight. With rhythms a similarly dark place of intimation as the fusion of melody and sonic tension around them, the track is a gripping start to the release.

Divided States Of America strolls in with matching strength and tenacity, every aspect built on sharp imagination and persuasive muscle yet it soon reveals taunting hooks and fiery grooves which easily slipped under the skin. Like a fly on the  wall to the state of its concentration, the song unveils a host of compelling twists and turns, all lined with virulent hooks and melodic enterprise with eighties synth pop hues. The track is superb, epitomising the creative growth and imagination in songwriting and its realisation before Give Them A Leader stamps its own authority over attention and enjoyment. David’s dark tones bring an edge to songs which alone court keen heed and regard, here a magnetic shadow across the marching sounds, with Paul’s bass a unique tempter in their midst, sharing a creative flourish just as captivating.

The likes of Ministry, Mindless Self Indulgence, and New Order are regularly touted as hints to CAA’s music, all relevant clues yet as Rapture proves only suggesting shades of their music as it infests the senses with its fusion of eighties gothic rock/post punk and industrial incitement, the track carrying something akin to Alien Sex Fiend meets KMFDM/ Nitzer Ebb in the lining of its uniqueness while New World Disorder shares another electronic hue in the album’s kaleidoscope of imagination. Seduction and trespass align in its body, again essences across recent decades courting originality in its haunting presence.

As Fifteen Minutes and Resist share their individual offerings so the album only gripped all the tighter, the first a punk fired incursion which the release, not for the first time, shares something of an Amen-esque grievance upon ears within. The second in turn nags and harries the senses with its defiance fuelled uprising, the trio enlivening both with their united invention and craft with next up Post Truth World matching their thick temptation with its synth pop saunter and indie rock punch.

Finalising a favourite moment within #Resist has proven impossible so far, every minute of every track a persuasive suggestion but Reason persistently lurks around first thoughts with its animated contagion and enslaving catchiness. Bass and guitars again just ignited greed with their imaginative enterprise, one only escalated by keys and David’s cajoling tones before Welcome To The Black Bloc had the body bouncing and pleasure aflame as thoughts are stoked once more by band and release.

Completed by Not In My Name and brought to a boisterous conclusion by its snappy moves and dark manipulations led again by the devious resonance of Paul’s bass strings, #Resist is the finest and most compelling outing with Calling All Astronauts yet.

In a world of change enforced and desired but one where the worse in man seems empowered by its leaders, a voice for all wrongs and equally something to find pleasure in it’s a hungry desire, Calling All Astronauts and #Resist provide both.

#Resist is out now; available @ https://music.apple.com/gb/album/resist/1513156706?app=music

https://www.facebook.com/CallingAllAstronauts/   https://twitter.com/caa_official   https://open.spotify.com/artist/0xqglBsPF9COYj64LNl85t   https://www.youtube.com/callingallastronauts

Pete RingMaster 11/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview

Rational Youth – Cold War Night Life

photo by Marc de Mouy (1982)

This December sees the release of a deluxe expanded edition of Cold War Night Life, the debut album of Canadian synth pop outfit Rational Youth. It is the second time the acclaimed album has had a fresh outing since its original unveiling and with rare memorabilia and photos, new extensive liner notes, and a host of extended remixes and singles related to the original full-length it provides nothing less than rich and thick pleasure.

Formed in 1981 by Tracy Howe and Bill Vorn, the Montreal hailing band was as notable as releasing one of the first all-synth pop albums released in Canada the following year with Cold War Night Life as they simply were for highly flavoursome songs. The following years only saw their music and releases find more success and further afield alongside arrivals and departures in personnel. Even so Rational Youth came to an end in 1986 but twice the band has returned, the first in 1999 seeing third album To the Goddess Electricity released with the 2009 re-uniting of Howe and Vorn leading to the extremely well-received Future Past Tense EP seven years later when Gaenor Howe stood alongside Tracy. It is fair to say though that throughout, Cold War Night Life has continued to be an inspirational moment for new fans and artists so it will be no surprise if its fresh return finds new appetites and plaudits feasting.

Kraftwerk was a major inspiration upon both Howe and Vorn and openly embraced within their early sound though still no more than a rich spicing to their own imagination as revealed across Cold War Night Life. The band’s second gig was supporting Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and it is easy to suggest they too provided a strong influence listening to the album, especially in moments like City Of Night, a track which dances with ears and imagination half way in to the release. Melodic hooks flirt like cousins to those found within the UK duo’s Enola Gay, luring and seducing with inevitable success such their infectious potency highlighting why the track was one of the bands most memorable and successful.

Before it within Cold War Night Life, opener Close To Nature sets the tone and electronic pop landscape, its dark air and alluring shadows draping the instinctive catchiness of the track’s enterprise and heart. The song has a certain Fad Gadget-esque breath to its breath and character which only adds to its swift beguiling of ears before Beware The Fly strolls in with a more Thomas Dolby meets Landscape like personality and infectiousness to match its success.

With both alone proving that good songs can be fresh and current to newcomers no matter when they were written Saturdays in Silesia soon joins the pair in casting synth pop contagion as melodies and nagging rhythmic enticement reign over ears and imagination. The track is pure virulence before drifting off to allow Just A Sound In The Night to share its richly emotive air and drama within a less urgent but just as magnetic pop embrace which lies somewhere between the John Foxx and Midge Ure fronted eras of Ultravox.

The likes of Le Meilleur Des Mondes with its darkly lit almost menacing instrumental and otherworldly laced intimation and the Visage evoking Ring The Bells further reveal the broadening landscape of Rational Youth’s emerging sound, its own fertile enterprise and suggestiveness an easy involving of the imagination while Dancing On The Berlin Wall, a song which only eclipsed its original success around Europe with its re-release as a single when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, breaths cold war drama and sinister intrigue within its infectious theatre.

For all its pop agility and prowess, the album is just as notable and potent in its instrumentals, Power Zone another almost sinisterly too easy to immerse within and have the imagination conjuring with its disquieting air and haunting electronics. We have many favourite moments within the release but this remains one of our big pleasures and soon rivalled by the equally ominous and haunting Coboloid Race. It too is soaked in a dark magnetism while suggesting a DAF like influence and only captivates from start to finish.

With the album offering Cité Phosphore, the French version of City Of Night, a Danse mix of City Of Night, and an extended versions of Saturdays in Silesia and City Of Night, as well as the crystalline radiance of the band’s debut single, I Want To See The Light, the ever thrilling Cold War Night Life only confirms itself as one of synth pop’s finest moments as it delights fans and newcomers to Rational Youth alike.

Cold War Night Life is released December 6th on CD and digitally via https://rationalyouth.bandcamp.com/album/cold-war-night-life-expanded-and-remastered with a vinyl version available to order via Music Vaultz.

https://rational-youth.com/   https://www.facebook.com/RationalYouth   https://twitter.com/tm_howe

Pete RingMaster 05/12/2019

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Watch Clark – Couch

photo by Christy Wiseman

The sound of Watch Clark is suggested as being akin to the Seattle indie goth/industrial scene of the early 2000’s but definitely there is also an eighties synth pop inspiration which richly flavours its imagination. It is a fusion which goes to make new album, Couch, one ear grabbing and imagination slab of contagion and very easy to recommend to all electronica embracing ears.

Watch Clark is the solo project of Seattle based musician Paul Furio, a former member of Static Engine and SMP. Founded in 2012, Watch Clark released debut album Perfect Imitation the following year with its well-received successor, First Week of Winter unveiled in 2017. Produced, mixed and mastered by Kasson Crooker (Freezepop, Symbion Project, ELYXR), Couch is the striking successor very easy to see pushing Watch Clark into a far bigger spotlight.

A collection of songs themed by a reflection on relationship, political, and life turmoil, Couch immediately had ears and appetite hooked with opener Misery. The blooming of keys and heavy pulse of rhythmic enticement openly wears a Depeche Mode influence but as swiftly the track reveals its own individual character around the magnetic tones of Furio. Industrial dissonance breaks upon the melodic landscape throughout to escalate the potency of drama within the unapologetically catchy and rousing affair.

The outstanding start to the release is matched by the infectious body and swing of the following Class Actress. Like a blend of B Movie romanticism with Kudzu post punk shadows within a Visage-esque croon, the track like its predecessor is pure contagiousness, its instinctive bounce manna to appetite and body before The Sound of Robots Pooping parades its industrial nurtured dance. As dystopian in breath as it is warmly infectious, the predominately instrumental track proved as much a spark for the imagination as an incitement for hips.

Diversity is a potent trait within Couch and potently shows its creative worth with next up Tansfläch, the track an electro industrial incitement bearing the Neue Deutsche Welle tempting of a D.A.F. alongside the cold wave theatre of a Kraftwerk, while The Darkest Place adds its own individual new wave lined proposal in the varied mix with contagious appetite and dexterity. In voice and sound, Furio lights up ears and speaker with a virulent touch which is hard to ignore in movement let alone pleasure.

The following Cross the Chasm has compelling darkness in its heart and touch which only accentuates its bold almost invasive yet haunting quality while The Act of Wanting offers a flirtatious slice of electro rock which again has energies and limbs hooked like a puppeteer across its purposeful stroll. Each again only adds further sides to the varied electronic prism of the album which Math Grenade emulates with its teutonic breath upon industrial dissonance. Again dystopian hues explore thoughts from within the dark infection and once more Watch Clark had attention glued before the equally arousing Get to Win added its particular electro punk grip on ears.

Featuring a vocal duet with Lark Remy in its haunting sigh, Weakness made for easy captivation. Though the sounds around them only hugged satisfaction it was the vocal prowess of Furio and Remy which most seduced and the way the production alternated between moments when each voice has slight dominance in their union.

Completed by the dark infested instrumental of The Cup of Bitter Fate and the melancholy soaked balladry of Choose, two tracks which lingered to haunt the imagination once sharing their final breaths, Couch is an album which provides a rousing fusion of nostalgia and new imagination which as mentioned earlier can only be suggested as a definite exploration for all with a taste for electronic pleasure.

Couch is out now; available @ https://watchclark.bandcamp.com/album/couch

https://www.facebook.com/WatchClarkMusic   https://twitter.com/WatchClarkBand

 Pete RingMaster 15/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Skylephant – I Am The Ghost

In close quarters to the release of a seriously captivating debut album in Songs For The Fragile Collective, Skylephant have the I Am The Ghost EP ready to tantalise ears and lure the imagination. With its lead track taken from that critically acclaimed full-length it is a mighty teaser of that triumph but also an inescapable invitation for newcomers into the unique world of the UK project.

Skylephant is the solo project of singer/songwriter/ musician Mark Applin, an artist who locked “locks himself away in his small home studio for three and a half years, to pour himself into an album of self-penned songs.” It was a ‘solitude’ which bore a striking encounter and now a just as irresistible EP.

I Am The Ghost opens up with its title track, the song gently introducing itself with a harmonic sigh, melancholy and a sense of loneliness wrapping its opening melody. The coaxing intensifies as keys and enthralling vocal intimacy lend their magnetism to the blossoming track. Like a shadow in the shadows, Applin’s vocals continue to entrance as potently as the web of just as sadly pensive sounds around him, it all leading to a similarly calm but addictively infectious chorus. The track is superb, an enthralling and haunting twilight to happiness and isolation.

Home Alone follows; its sepia harmonies and sighs a familiar caress before electronic animation breeds a seduction of voice and melody. Once more there is an instinctive catchiness working away within the synth pop serenade, that sense of loneliness as much a kiss on thoughts and senses as a venture into sadness. Even more haunting than its predecessor, the song swiftly spellbound ears and imagination before departing on an emotive shimmer of an echo for its successor to step forward.

The EP’s final song is the Johnny T Remix of She’s Alright, another offering originally from within Songs For The Fragile Collective and a song which with a mere breath is infecting feet and body with its contagion loaded enterprise. Already a rapaciously infectious proposal, the new take leads it straight onto the dance-floor with an eighties fuelled rapture in its eager motion and lively animation.

The sound and songs of Skylephant are one of the most individual propositions out there. Applin with his heart bred and fully rounded songwriting does have something of Colin Vearncombe (Black) about him and the pop catchiness of his tracks remind a little of that conjured back in the day by Paul Haig but his own uniqueness is what makes Skylephant simply an essential pleasure.

The I Am The Ghost EP is released August 16th via Musical Bear Records across most stores.

https://www.facebook.com/Skylephant/   https://twitter.com/skylephant

Pete RingMaster 16/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ummagma – Compass

Though any Ummagma release is welcomed with eager intrigue and anticipation by us among a great many the recent Caravan single raised the ante for the band’s new album with its captivation soaked release. The fact, though we have had numerous singles and EPs between, that Compass comes a lengthy seven years after its same day released two predecessors only added to the excitement coated suspense. What the duo’s third full-length offers is their most eclectic and rousing collection of tracks and quite simply their finest most exhilarating moment to date.

The pair of Canadian Shauna McLarnon and Ukraine hailing Alexander Kretov embraces everything from shoegaze, dream and synth pop to electronic and rock driven imagination with plenty more in the abundant enterprise of their new encounter. it is a release and collection of songs though which still revel in the atmospheric and ambient dreamscapes the Ontario based pair has earned thick acclaim and a potent reputation for. The album’s first single suggested that the Ummagma sound had evolved to a whole new tapestry of adventure and diversity, a bold aural kaleidoscope now confirmed and taken across a compelling array of individually and uniquely fresh landscapes by Compass.

The album opens up with Rolling and instantly infests the senses with its animated funk incited rhythms. Hitting its joyous stride soon after, the track bounces along dragging the listener to their feet, Kretov’s vocals a ringleader to the boisterous escapade. With its Talking Heads meets Dalek I Love You like shuffle, the track gets the release off to a thrilling start, one more than accentuated by successor Caravan.

The second track similarly had attention and instincts alive with its rhythmic introduction alone, bold tenacious beats a tribal intimation within the suggestive sonic vegetation that surround them. With body and imagination swiftly enslaved, McLarnon’s ever siren tones warmly caress as the song expands its scenically melodic emprise while the alternating blend of the duo’s voices only adds to the cinematic lure and enticing climate of the exceptional encounter.

Otherwise is next up, the song sharing another individual clime of sound and flavour as Caribbean-esque hues gently but firmly trot within an evolving dream pop serenade. More than ever it proved so easy to sink into the soundscapes of Ummagma as within just three songs Compass had unveiled a new plateau of craft, imagination, and temptation; an enticement nagging at the senses as eagerly within the electronic ambience coloured LCD. With voices as much a lively texture as the sounds courting the same evocative space, the track swept across the senses to, if not quite to the same heights as its predecessors, strongly captivate.

Equally the dream nurtured pop of Elizabeth 44 proved a beacon of persuasion and manipulation, guiding hips and attention with a knowing smile as McLarnon again beguiled, while Blown straight after was swiftly under the skin through its opening indie strokes of guitar alone. As its atmosphere grew and thickened with crystalline synth tempting and a hazy breath the track only enhanced its hold especially as cosmopolitan shapes and melodic silhouettes came forth to dance with keen rhythms and conjuring imagination.

The following predominantly instrumental F-Talking is one of those Ummagma tracks which sparks a fresh inference upon the imagination with every listen, its ambient search and discovery enthralling and interpretation never concluded with successor Galicticon, a spatial float across an expansive melodic sky of equal intimation, just as potent on ears and thoughts.

The diverse character of Compass continues at pace with Lotus strolling in on a shoegaze swing as Kretov walks its wiry threads. There is a touch of Paul Haig to the excellent song which only adds to its rich presence as too a Cocteau Twins like seducing which makes for a similarly alluring essence within the pastoral summer of High Day that follows with matching fascination.

The pair of Colors II and Cretu ensures a fair share of the imagination is cast on their adventures too, the first a slice of indie rock with a folk meets post punk shading and the second an ambient glide across mercurial and unpredictable scenery, every instrumental second a dawning of new suggestive sights to captivate thoughts and senses.

The radiant Bouquet brings Compass to a mesmeric conclusion, its hug shadow clad yet brightly seductive and breath foreboding but rousing. It is an eagerly magnetic end to an album which charmed, tantalised and absorbed from start to finish with moments of creative rapture set in between. Ummagma just go from strength to strength, from bold adventure to striking imagination releases by release; Compass the indisputable proof.

Compass is out now via Leonard Skully Records; available @ http://ummagma.bandcamp.com/album/compass

https://www.facebook.com/ummagma   https://twitter.com/ummagma

Pete RingMaster 31/07/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Moonshot – Last Train Home

Try tracking them down in Google and UK bred Moonshot is an eagerly evasive proposition but musically they are one warmly welcoming pleasure especially courtesy of new album, Last Train Home.

Consisting of Dan Kent and Rich Wolfe, Moonshot is an electronica weaving melancholy embracing duo which have been no strangers to praise and recognition through previous releases. Last Train Home is our introduction to their sound which has been described as “Depeche Mode meets Pet Shop Boys and Hurts at Massive Attack’s house party!” You may easily add other eighties nurtured artists to that list yet the London and Margate hailing pair have a sound which is as potently individual as it is at ease revealing its likely inspirations. With radiance burning vocal harmonies and a melodic enterprise which almost physically resonates through every vein of the band’s writing, their new album has proved an unexpected and at times breath-taking treat.

It opens with the lively shimmer of Winter Within, instantly alluring electronic dew glimmering in ears before the song springs into its creative canter around falsetto set vocals. As another burst of energy is triggered, the duo’s truly captivating harmonic union descends perfectly tempered by the darker tone and pulsation of rhythms. Contagion soaks every aspect of the track, its lushness and shadowed intimation a cradle for the band’s vocal prowess and its own suggestiveness.

The following Winter Will Pass is a warmer glaze to the slight chill of its predecessor, again a crystalline soundscape conjured this time with a hue easy to hear why Depeche Mode has especially been mentioned in reference to the Moonshot sound. It too has a dark breath to its often cool caresses and is just as inescapably entrancing before the melancholic sombre of Dark Clouds floats across the senses and imagination. Kent and Wolfe are a sunspot of harmonious beauty, their vocal craft and ethereal dynamics the real sun and heart of the album but as here keenly backed by the understanding adventure and at times climatic contrast of their music. Like a fusion of The Radioactive Grandma and Ladytron the song is irresistible.

The steelier presence of next up Too Much makes just as potent an impression with its rockier ambience soaked saunter, guitars and synths gently swinging to the earnest croon of the vocals while Speak No Words offers a cinematic allusion to its shadow hearted intimacy. The latter also has an instinctive catchiness in its belly which erupts in a chorus which simply beguiles from within the song’s otherwise darkly lit slightly heavy climate. To be honest there are so many major highlights within Last Train Home, and though this may not consistently be one for personal tastes that chorus is aural alchemy.

Illuminations has its own distinct drama, its initial melodic crystals subsequently discoloured and revitalised by the dark atmospheric shadows and headier heavier touch of evocative rhythms. Vocals counter the song’s bold trespass with their usual harmonic radiation, seeping under the skin and into the imagination as richly as the apocalyptic theatre around them.

We did not take to the album’s title track as keenly as other songs yet its melodic luminance as unsurprisingly the band’s vocal enticement is impossible to gloss over as it entices on its way to passing satisfied ears over to Hunting Down the Hunter. You would not say the track was predatory but it definitely has a certain dark edge to its tone and touch even as its dance and infection creating instincts collude and escape into a broadening landscape of persuasion.

The final pair of The Way To Go, a caress of acoustic guitar and vocal reflection within an electronic misting which in certain moments rises to its dramatic feet with compelling tenacity, and the similarly accomplished Angels in the Snow ensures the album’s conclusion is a hug of captivation. The closer is a fascinating slice of storytelling adding just another dark meets light shade to the album’s creative landscape.

Truthfully we did not expect to enjoy Last Train Home anywhere as much as we did due to that fusion of comparisons earlier mentioned, but it was a surprise we have only greedily devoured. There is every chance you will too especially if electronic, pop, harmonic, and atmospheric enterprise is your particular treat.

Last Train Home is available now via F&G Records @ https://fandg.me/independent-label/shop

https://twitter.com/m00nshot

Pete RingMaster 06/09/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Lords Of Acid – Pretty In Kink

We cannot say that techno and acid house are genres we have an instinctive appetite for here but we certainly have a hunger for electro adventure with plenty of confrontation; something you certainly and persistently get with Lords Of Acid. Their new album Pretty In Kink is a riot of electronic eclecticism, twelve tracks infesting body and imagination with creative deviancy and virulent contagion and a collection which salaciously arouse the senses.

Lords Of Acid is the brainchild of Belgian musician Praga Khan, an artist releasing his first single back in 1988. The project apparently evolved from his “extensive experimentation with drugs, Crowley-ian sex magic, and esoteric paths of self-deprivation and mutilation known only to himself”, the band the vehicle for him to “further encapsulate the seductive messages and raw sex of his ever-evolving musical vision.” The new album sees Khan link up again with long-time collaborator Erhan Kurkun and the entrance of new vocalist Marieke Bresseleers.

Praga Khan

Pretty In Kink opens with Break Me, the track emerging from celestial mists with a dulled but imposing throb around which electronics flirt. The immediately striking voice of Bresseleers soon rises from its midst, her vocals openly powerful but equally devilish in their character and delivery. The track continues to pulsate and almost menacingly entice, its electronic simmer simultaneous threat and captivation with infection spilling from every note and syllable.

The compelling start continues with Ma Fille De Joie, it too laden with appealing shadows and electro temptation this time from an industrial seeding. There is a touch of Kraftwerk to the song; its seductive prowl almost predacious at times but persistently darkly flirtatious before Sex Cam Girl opens its creative legs for ears to devour its dark electro juices. With swaying grooves and raw melodic swerves to its gait, the track entices as it fingers the senses and like its predecessors left intrigue and hips consumed with eagerness.

The following EBM spiced trip hop lined Flow Juice took things and attention up another level, the track electro addiction in the making. Bresseleers is the perfect tease amongst the similarly tempting antics of the synths and beats, all getting under the skin with viral ease. As potent a start to the release that the first trio of songs make, the album really came alive for us at this point, next up Like Pablo Escobar escalating the new gear in persuasion. Pure drama from its initial shimmer and bass bred hook, the track rises up into a rousing slice of electro rock again one as imposing as it is manipulatively catchy with guitars and synths colluding in their cinematic theatre.

Neither Before the Night is Over or Androgyny leapt on the passions as instantly as those around them yet with their respective melodic Heaven 17-esque smoulder with underlying volatility and sinister synth pop seduction, each blossomed in captivation by the play as too did Goldfinger, a track borrowing from the classic Bond theme but using the essence to wrap its own techno espionage.

They were soon firmly eclipsed though by the electro punk of What the Fuck! a track with a great Senser-esque feel to its vocal attitude and electronic belligerence. It is superb; a wonderful sonic irritant always commanding an eager scratch while So Goddamn Good straight after is a song which seduces as it croons. Pop and hip hop spawned vocals unite across the track, melodic caresses and sonic blistering teasing together alongside as again Lords Of Acid simply steal attention.

My Demons Are Inside from an underwhelming start for personal tastes was another which eventually wormed into the psyche, its KMFDM like instincts and breeding nagging its way into the passions though it is soon over shadowed by the album’s best track for us. Closing up the release, We Are The Freaks was quite simply irresistible from its first breath. Drama oozes every pore as industrial confrontation rises to its deviant feet to subsequently embrace a minatory Latino taunting. It is a glorious end to an album which not for the first time sees Lords Of Acid enjoyably tainting the music scene with their rivetingly unique electronic disease.

Pretty In Kink is out now via Metropolis Records; available @ https://lordsofacidofficial.bandcamp.com/album/pretty-in-kink

http://www.lordsofacid.com   https://www.facebook.com/lordsofacid/    https://twitter.com/RealLordsOfAcid

Pete RingMaster 06/06/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Kudzu – Defeated

With a sound as eclectic and unpredictable as it is ravenously catchy, US synth pop duo Kudzu have just released their new album, Defeated. It is an infestation of infectious hooks, flirtatious synths, and rousing escapades but to tag it merely as synth pop is an injustice to its diversity, the album a stirring web of post punk, electro punk, industrial and more across its seriously magnetic body.

Springfield based Kudzu consists of Seth Goodwin (vocals, synth, and drum programming) and Mark Gillenwaters (vocals and guitar). Inspirations to the project include the likes of Tears For Fears, The Cure, Spectrum, Guided by Voices, Sympathy Nervous, and This Heat but as suggested, their sound has a much broader tapestry which is as bred in the seventies/eighties synth landscape as the creative now. It makes for a proposition which is as familiar as it is boldly fresh and one massive treat of a listen.

It opens with the punk assault of Some Cops, a track bursting from its electronic shimmer with zeal and urgency soaked in creative dissonance. At the same time it is a virulently catchy incitement, its fuzzy fumes leaving the senses as woozy as the bone shuddering beats. Like Calling All Astronauts meets Artery at its core, the song equally embraces psych rock winds in its contagious turbulence to provide Defeated with one ear grabbing start.

Straight away the variety of the album is at play as the following and quite superb No Backbone breaks the dividing peace with electro pulses straight out of the early Mute Records catalogue. Instantly thoughts of bands like The Normal arise but are soon pushed to the background as guitar spun melodies and harmonic vocals tease and caress respectively.  The hook Gillenwaters casts with his strings is simply delicious, a psyche enslaving lure soon backed by the darker pulsation of keys and the snapping resonance of rhythms; kind of like a fusion of B-Movie, The Cure, and Modern English yet unique from start to finish.

The album’s title track brings a scuzzier breath to ears; its post punk irritability echoed in the John Lydon textured vocals but again there is a repetitious coaxing teasing and tempting at the centre of the fuzz ball which necessitates only submission to its infectious demands. As its predecessor, it brings another hue to Defeated as does next up Burn Yourself, though its electro punk surge is akin to the opener. With the increasingly magnetic vocals almost gliding over the tides of noise springing from synths and guitar, it was so easy to be swept up in the raw yet skilfully nurtured arms of the track as thoughts colluded with its lyrical insight. Defeated is described as “a reaction to mounting disappointments and frustrations with increasingly frustrating and disappointing realities” and with intimacy and a worldly observation its often dissonant words hit the spot whilst almost arguing with the rousing catchiness of their vehicles.

The mesmeric Balking the Grave is next, the song a riveting post/gothic punk shadow bound serenade which almost seeps under the skin with its slow drawl and bordering concussive clang while Sleep in Disguise is a boisterous slice of synth pop/new wave with the scent of bands like Mr.Kitty, OMD, and early Human League to its bright if slightly caustic breeze.  Both tracks border the irresistible yet still get slightly outshine by One Purpose with its flirtatious Blancmange like melodies and climate.

One definite peak in the lofty heights of Defeated is followed by the ear grabbing proposal of When You Were Mine. The song is almost like a weave of the best traits of its predecessors, a tenacious pop song with attitude and seduction in its raw charms which manages to grumble and serenade in the same breath before leaving to allow B.I.Y.E. to bring things to a transfixing close. With its cold scenery and instinctive bounce, the song merges the alluring traits of a Joy Division and Modern Eon in its industrially edged and melodically draped canter. It is a fine end to an album which we are finding hard to shake off as new propositions to look at build up. That is never a bad aspect to have and as Defeated is so enjoyable we are certainly not complaining.

Defeated is out now via Push & Pull Records; available @ https://kudzukudzukudzu.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kudzuspringfield/    https://twitter.com/kudzuzudukudzu

Pete RingMaster 09/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Living Dead Girl – Still Life (Deluxe Edition)

Backing up the potent presence of their new single Still Life, British duo Living Dead Girl has just released a Deluxe Edition of the magnetically haunting encounter. Now a six track seduction, the single continues to captivate as richly as on its first introduction, showing itself one of those encounters which seems to reveal new shades and nuances in its emotion and character listen by listen.

Hailing from Guildford, Living Dead Girl consists of Jessica English (lead vocals, synth, piano, and programming) and Jonno Lloyd (guitar, bass, synth, programming, and backing vocals), the latter also guitarist for Ventenner who themselves have provided 2017 with some striking moments. The pair cast a dark electronic pop sound embracing inspirations of artists such as Massive Attack and Portishead but as the single alone shows, influences which are mere hues in the band’s own individual siren-esque explorations.

Instantly Still Life calls to the imagination, the collusion of wistful keys, skittish rhythms, and an upright bass like stroll gripping ears and attention before the elegant crystalline voice of English warmly wraps sound and senses. Note by note the song evolves and rises up, its atmospheric climate and haunting beauty fuelled by an infectiousness which swiftly gets under the skin. There is a synthpop breeze reminding of German outfit Propaganda to the song too as it glistens and melodically swarms over the senses with gentle but masterful intent. Noir lit drama lines every subsequent note and vocal kiss of a proposition which leaves the imagination basking and appetite hungry for more.

Killing Time provides that sustenance. The song is a beguiling gothic lit shroud of sound, its wrap as bright as it is shadowed. A darksome throb groans as agitated rhythms again court the serenade of English. It is a sombre pulse though which is as welcoming as it is portentous, Lloyd weaving an atmospheric theatre of suggestion with guitar and bass, the colour of the drama provided by the equally compelling portrayal of emotional espionage from keys and voice. With every venture into its obscure scenery the song escalates in intimation and flavours, bewitchment growing to fascination and ultimately lust.

The single is completed by a quartet of alternative versions. Still Life undergoes a Weebl Remix and subsequently PreCog Remix before closing up the release with its Quiet Version while among them there is the Little Death Machine Remix of Killing Time. Each song offers a fresh shade in their respective songs with the final track of the single managing to be even more haunting than its original with its minimalistic yet almost invasive supernatural breath.

An ethereal reflection grounded by a dark questioning within jazzy suggestiveness Still life is pure manna to ears and imagination, their awakening further stirred by the emotional examination brewed by Killing Time. Both tracks alone suggest that Living Dead Girl is a bright light within the British electronic scene which is only going to glow brighter and brighter.

Still Life (Deluxe Edition) is available now @ https://livingdeadgirl.bandcamp.com/album/still-life-deluxe-edition

https://www.facebook.com/pg/livingdeadgirlmusic     https://twitter.com/ldglive     https://www.instagram.com/livingdeadgirlband/

Pete RingMaster 14/12/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Snuttock: An introduction of Rituals

Photograph by Laurie A Smith

Allow us to introduce you to Snuttock, a band from Baltimore in Maryland consisting of Bryan Lee, a classically trained musician, and Christopher Lee Simmonds, the latter also a founding member of Michigan progressive metallers Thought Industry. There the background to the pair and Snuttock ends though the fun and real discovery of the electro outfit is through their music. Some might pin it down as synth pop and certainly that is its breeding but with sonic and emotion cast shadows, a kaleidoscope of flavours and textures, and more twists and curves than a descending slinky, it makes for a proposition which never leaves ears and imagination lost for adventure.

Formed in 2003, Snuttock released debut album Straight Jacket Life two years later. It was the first insight to the pair’s blossoming fusion of industrial rapacity with the instinctive allure of synth pop; a blend shaping Carved and Sutured in 2008 and its collection of new tracks and dance-floor friendly remixes. Where we come in and cast a glimpse into, thanks to Lee and Simmonds themselves, is with the band’s last two releases, Endless Rituals and Rituals Redux. The first is in a way the duo’s proper second album, though it seems to be classed as the third, and was released in 2013. Its successor came out last year and sees a host of artists presenting remixes of its predecessor’s tracks, the album acting like a companion piece to the originals bringing new sides and personas to their already captivating characters.

What Endless Rituals quickly establishes is the diversity across the sound and creative enterprise of Lee and Simmonds; songs ranging from simply synth pop to industrial, dark electro, ambient and much more.  As expectations and assumptions of what comes next arise they are quickly shot down and left floundering as song by song the release persistently presents a new facet to its swiftly captivating presence. For all its twists and new sides though, there is a coherency to it all which links it all as something truly individual to Snuttock.

From opener Attention, intrigue is an eager response, the opening shadows of the track rich in suggestion and invitation before the track breaks into a vibrant stroll. That vibrancy is soon a flood across hungrily catchy endeavour, grabbing body and ears with zeal and infectious energy. There is a feel of early Mute Records bands to the song, The Normal coming to mind most and the laying down of the first compelling moment in the album’s landscape.

The dark wave scented, robotically natured Single Cell Antenna is the first twist in the emprise of sound within the album, its dance dexterity and pop glow managing to also cast a dystopian shadow over the affair. New turns flow through ears from thereon in, the emotional reflection and melancholic sharing of the Depeche Mode like People Too, the reserved but open funk of We Learn with its BEF air, and the dark ambience of Nameless straight away expanding the broad terrains honed by Snuttock. The last of the three is like a flight across cosmopolitan lands, its instrumental blossoming in adventure and suggestion with something akin to a merger of Kraftwerk, Thomas Dolby, and pre-split Human League.

It is fair to say that every track within Endless Rituals stirs the senses; the outstanding and dark, almost predacious presence of Crawl invading the psyche with a prowess reminding of UK band Defeat giving one particular favourite moment though with its thought romancing, dark atmospherics One Day and Spitting Into The Wind with its Blancmange meets Artery like emotive theatre leave their magnetic mark. Even throwing a handful plus of references to give a hint of the songs on offer, the uniqueness of Snuttock is the driving force and continues to captivate across remaining tracks like the haunting post rock/electro ambience of Ghost and the irresistible electro punk popper Advice.

Endless Rituals is a treat, even more so if you can get the deluxe edition with an additional four tracks, which newcomers to Snuttock should make their entry point though Rituals Redux certainly makes for a potent invitation too. Even after years of taking them on board, we have yet to get our personal heads around the appeal and maybe even purpose of remixes especially when the originals are so impressive and dominate. We can equally understand their popularity and in turn demand for others though, even more so after listening to Rituals Redux. Whether it was because we heard it first and numerous times before Endless Rituals, the album like a film or TV show hinting at the majesty of a source book, or simply the quality of the tracks on offer, the mix of all maybe, it certainly awoke an appetite for the Snuttock enterprise and a fun in imagining their originals.

First the only ‘negative’ with the album and that is its radio show skits and bumpers. Whether they are taken from a real show or are simply cast to suggest that surrounding they do niggle personal tastes, especially when coming back to back. It is a minor thing of course and certainly once the music descends and remixes from the likes of Psy’Aviah, Marsheaux, [:SITD:], TweakerRay, and Sebastian Komor, is forgotten as feet quickly leap and the spirit jumps opening track and a sparkling take on Advice by Leæther Strip. Each track takes the core essence and heart of the original songs and casts them in a fresh landscape of imagination or shadow of dark suggestiveness. Major highlights for personal tastes include Sebastian Komor’s fizzy take on We Learn and indeed Marsheaux’s warmly seductive version, The Metroland Protocol’s hypnotic twist on Single Cell Antennae, the noir lit take of the same song by The Rorschach Garden, and Psy’Aviah’s haunting at times senses stalking remix of Spitting Into The Wind.

As we said though, and maybe surprisingly, considering its 2 CD, eighteen track length, Rituals Redux hits the perfect  spot with artists such as [:SITD:], Amarta Project, Statik SeKt, Retrogramme, Red This Ever, TweakerRay, Guilt Trip, L’Avenir, Diskodiktator, and Deutsche Bank Machine equally lighting ears and enjoyment with provocative interpretation and craft.

So that is Snuttock, a band which if synth pop and broad electronic adventure is your appetite should make for a highly pleasing new exploration.

Check them out more @ http://www.snuttock.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/Snuttock/  and their music @ http://www.snuttock.com/store.html

Pete RingMaster 31/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright