Pearl Handled Revolver – If The Devil Cast His Net

Pearl Handled Revolver _RingMasterReview

This month British rockers Pearl Handled Revolver release their third album, a collection of dark rock ‘n’ roll encounters which almost deviously seduce ears as they work their way into the psyche. The band spins tales of mystery and intrigue graced shadows, creative episodes shaped and coloured by the magnetic hues of blues and psych rock, though that is simplifying the enthralling tapestries of sound and imagination making up If The Devil Cast His Net.

Since forming, Pearl Handled Revolver has released four EPs and two full length albums, all between 2010 and 2013, and shared stages on tour at shows with the likes of The Black Crowes, Stray, The Blockheads, FM, The Quireboys, Black Star Riders, Toots and the Maytalls, Donovan, and Focus along the way. It is fair to say that the quartet has not been lost for acclaim and attention but equally with If The Devil Cast His Net, they have breached a new plateau on creativity and sound which you can only see being rewarded by a similar increase in attention and reward.

With the gravelly tones of Lee Vernon fronting the house of blues mystery, a Tom Waits like comparison is easy to offer but equally the band’s sound has tantalising hues reminding of The Doors, Nick Cave, and Japanese Fighting Fish to its magnetic body and invention. It is a rich temptation working away at seducing ears from the start of If The Devil Cast His Net, opener Help Me Down From The Trees gripping the imagination within seconds as the pulsating lure of Simon Rinaldo’s peddle bass is immersed in the mystique soaked suggestiveness of his keys. It is a quite mesmeric coaxing driven by the great nagging beats of Chris Thatcher and only increasing in temptation as the scythes of guitarist Andy Paris seem to spark a new weave of organ cast enterprise. Dark and brooding yet simultaneously warm and celebratory, the song beguiles as it intrigues, Vernon’s dusty tones opening up the narrative for greater captivating drama.  It is mesmeric stuff, the bass a perpetually enjoyable nagging and the spicy lilt of the keys a dark temptation within a fiery dance of sound and creative theatre.

Pearl Handled Revolver Front Cover_RingMasterReviewThe sensational start is followed by the more straight forward rock ‘n’ roll of Don’t Throw It Away. A cleaner tone to the vocals is matched by a lighter spring in the step and voice of the psychedelia lined sounds around them. A sixties/seventies mixed scent potently adds to the inviting lure of the song and though it cannot live up to its brilliant predecessor, it has ears and body rocking before they are faced with the tantalising seduction of Someone Like You. It’s surf rock spiced melodies and ambience is a swift bewitchment, as too the rolling rhythmic bait of Thatcher; all caressing  and coaxing the senses as Vernon’s sandy tones paint an evocative picture in word and tone. It is a hex of a song, a spellbinding incitement of appetite and imagination to bind listener and release closer together.

The rhythmic design of the track is emulated in the album’s title track, though around it the guitar and keys weave their own distinct episode of encroaching shadows and sultry flavours around the devil’s lyrical play. A compelling persuasion, it is matched in success by the melancholic hug of Walk These Streets. Reflective and emotive, the song is a smouldering serenade painted by the cleaner side of Vernon’s voice, provocative strings, and the sombre yet graceful caress of keys. As expected, shadows court this cast of emotive protagonists, bass and drums guiding their intervention as much as the sorrowful scent of voice and word.

Current single, Absinthe In Adelaide stirs air and spirit up again with its almost rapacious growl of voice and steely grooves whilst Loverman is a primal shuffle of blues courted rock ‘n’ roll; both tracks basking in the unique psych and classic rock imagination of keys and guitar. The second of the pair is especially irresistible; a heady, almost muggy trip into the dark psychedelic backwaters of mysterious deeds and lives. We have not really touched on the cinematic side of the album, each song tempting the imagination to conjure their own at times almost pagan-esque adventures to accompany the rich tales of the band with this proposition a prime example.

The album closes with Into The Blue, a groove entangled romp luring the listener into a salty tango of organ spun melodies and wonderfully niggly hooks, all driven by the ever compelling rhythmic persuasion of Thatcher and Rinaldo. It is an impossible to resist flirtation bringing the album to a riveting anthemic conclusion.

Some tracks shine over others within If The Devil Cast His Net, but from start to finish it feeds the spirit and ignites a hungry appetite for more; almost as if the Devil had a hand it.

If The Devil Cast His Net is released April 29th through all platforms.

http://www.pearlhandledrevolver.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/pearlhandledrevolver/   https://twitter.com/PearlHandledRev

Pete RingMaster 27/04/2016

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Phobophobes – No Flavour

 

Photo by Keira Cullinane

Photo by Keira Cullinane

Phobophobes is a British quintet releasing their debut single this month and though it is only one song heard, it is hard not to join the clamour of suggestion that the Londoners are going to provide the UK music scene with a new and fresh spark over coming years.

No Flavour is the name of the band’s first single, a track which shares its virulent psych pop/garage rock enterprise with a vaudevillian like mischief whilst instantly shedding light on many reasons why the band is causing a stir. Formed in 2014 within the creative belly of Brixton, Phobophobes consists of vocalist Jamie Taylor, guitarist George Russell, bassist Elliot Nash, drummer Dan Lyons who played in the original line-up of Fat White Family, and keyboardist Chris OC also plays in Meat Raffle. Fair to say, the band has earned a glowing reputation across the capital and beyond for their stage presence and sound, something sure to blossom just as eagerly elsewhere once No Flavour escapes the shadows.

Thick swinging beats hit ears first, their resonance as enticing as the fuzzy edge to the emerging guitar. Once keys dance in with flirtatious melodies, that carnival-esque hue is working away on ears and imagination, being only enhanced by the controlled barker like tones of Taylor. The virulence of sound is echoed in the vocals, especially in their broader prowess in a chorus for which there is no antidote for its incitement of listener involvement.

Continuing to bounce and enslave, the song swings and thrills like something akin to The Doors meets early Horrors meets Tankus The Henge, with added Cardiacs like mischief, to match that of the lyrical side, for keen measure. The track is manna to ears and imagination, with no complaints from feet and hips either. Coupled with a reportedly “extraordinary version” of Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song on the B-side, a pleasure we have yet to hear, No Flavour is a mighty introduction to Phobophobes, a band as mentioned earlier, it is easy to suggest has a very potent future ahead of them.

No Flavour is released March 25th on 7” vinyl and download on BAM Records (via Republic of Music).

https://www.facebook.com/Phobophobes/   https://twitter.com/PPhobes

Pete RingMaster 21/03/2016

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MountainJam – Waiting

image1_RingMasterReview

Following the success of recent single Lemon and Lime, which itself cemented the prowess and potency of MountainJam as first discovered within the band’s debut EP and its singles of last year, the UK band now have its successor Waiting in line to please ears. The new single reveals another shade to the band’s persistently enticing sound, an emotively sculpted landscape of melodic rock with just a tinge of Americana to its alternative bred rock ‘n’ roll.

There also seems a broader depth to the flavouring building the sultry climate of sound and atmospheric enterprise and climate embracing ears. It is nothing overwhelming but as suggested a new shade of melodic and sonic colour to intrigue, fascinate, and as it proves again, excite. Influences to the Midlands hailing quartet of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Dean Dovey, lead guitarist Andy Varden, bassist Nick Roberts, and drummer Pez include the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Neil Young, Small Faces, Cream, The Verve, The Stone Roses, and The Who. Many are influences which arguably make a stronger showing within Waiting than some of the band’s previous songs to date, aiding the new hue to the becoming renowned MountainJam sound.

Emerging on the warm ambience of keys, the song soon strolls through ears with a melodic smoulder to its trails of sultry guitar and a feisty edge to its rhythmic tempting. Dovey as so often in songs becomes a potent focal point upon his entrance, but as usual too, his expressive voice is soon hugged by the strength of the sounds which here reveal a touch of psyche rock lacing and an almost sweltering atmosphere through guitar and keys.

With it all, also comes an infectiousness which, especially in the rousing roar of the chorus, has body and imagination as involved as the sonic swathes of sound which seduce in the track’s mellowest moments.

It is fair to say that Waiting does not infest the psyche as immediately as other MountainJam songs, though ears are thoroughly contented in moments, but with its magnetic layers and almost epic structure of emotion and sonic enterprise, the single is another richly and increasingly enticing lure to a band which just seems to grow with each and every track written.

Waiting is out now through most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/MountainJam2015   https://twitter.com/mountainjam2015

Pete RingMaster 29/02/2016

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MountainJam – Lemon and Lime

MJ_RingMaster Review

Having lured attention with their first pair of singles last year and even more when those tracks came together with further new offerings to form a debut EP, UK rock band MountainJam has more than suggested they are an emerging talent to keep a close eye and ear upon. The release of the Tamworth/Hinckley quartet’s new single Lemon & Lime only adds weight to that intimation and the sizeable potential already showing its potency within the band’s captivating sound.

A boisterous rock ‘n’ roll stroll bred with the spicy strains of alternative and indie rock aligned to fiery blues flames, Lemon & Lime shows another shade to the colourful tenacious weave of melody, harmony, and rousing energy which predominantly shapes a MountainJam song. Inspirations to the band comes through the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who, Small Faces, The Doors, Cream, The Verve, The Stone Roses, and Neil Young, and as in previous songs here they are spices which, if not openly fuelling the encounter, reveal some of the sources to its imagination and invention. Formed early 2015, the foursome of Dean Dovey (vocals, rhythm guitar), Andy Varden (lead guitar), Nick Roberts (bass), and Pez (drums) soon caught ears and appetite with their double A-sided single debut Jealous Of Me/Lust last July and its quickly following successor Lord of My Hours. They subsequently became part of the release simply called EP which ignited even stronger awareness of MountainJam, an awareness which Lemon & Lime can only successfully reinforce.

The song cups ears in a sonic mist initially, intriguingly holding the senses as a pungent union of sonic tendrils from the guitars and resonance fitted bass tempting gets involved. With firm beats in the mix too, the track soon blossoms a heated mesh of enterprise against which the potent vocals of Dovey begin sharing the lyrical persuasion. In turn catchy hooks and a swinging groove join in the sweltering fun, bringing greater blues essences into the flowing and evolving landscape of a track. Such the resourcefulness of the songwriting and imagination, every roaming riff and twist of that evocative bait loaded groove seems to find another dimension within the song’s design, a shimmering psyche rock breath and pop rock tenacity further aspects breaking out within the festivity to prove the point.

For personal tastes Lemon & Lime does not quite match up to previous tracks The Lord of My Hours or Lust yet as all offerings from MountainJam to date, it leaves pleasure full and anticipation of more rife. If you are yet to explore the rock escapades of MountainJam then Lemon & Lime is the perfect tonic to get enticed by.

Lemon & Lime is available now

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Pete RingMaster 13/01/2016

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Alpha Shallows – Set the Fires EP

AS_RingMaster Review

It may only be four songs but the debut release from British indie rock band Alpha Shallows suggests a fruitful union between the band’s sound and the appetites of the adventurous music public is on the cards. To be fair, Set The Fires already establishes that connection with its shadowed wrapped and emotionally powered roars, each song getting under the skin in varying but forceful degrees to tap into the psyche and awaken a lusty appetite for the band’s stirring sound. The EP is beguiling and a thickly enticing introduction to the dark imagination of Alpha Shallows.

The Leeds/Wakefield hailing and early 2014 formed Alpha Shallows is the creation of vocalist Craig Walker, bassist Gary Hargreaves, guitarist Paul Joice, and drummer Ben Hewitt formerly of metallers Boneyard Babies. Their backgrounds bring an array of styles and influences into a sound which itself is a tapestry of textures and colours within melancholic beauty. Since emerging, the band has become a potent attraction on the Yorkshire live scene with tracks being supported by the likes of BBC Introducing in North and West Yorkshire. Set the Fires is the national wake-up call and one hard to imagine going unnoticed.

artwork_RingMaster Review   It opens up with the evocatively gorgeous and emotionally intensive Temper, a track epitomising that ability of the band’s sound to get right under the skin. A lone guitar caresses ears first, its tone immediately melancholy coloured as that tempting continues to beckon ears even as the air around it gets more turbulent. The voice of Walker is a just as swift and strong persuasion, his entrance stirring up a fiery and rousing air wearing the scent of Deftones, Life of Agony, and Damn Vandals to it. In full flow, the track flows through shadowed calm and emotional volatility with ease, the sounds matching the intensity of the song’s lyrical narrative and heart every step of the way. It is simply superb, a mighty start to the release and thrilling first touch of the band’s imagination and craft.

The EP’s title track steps up next to match the triumph of its predecessor, the song an immediately livelier affair showing eager beats and sultry guitar enterprise within its first few breaths. The bass of Hargreaves adds another thick lure as the track explores a Doors/Birthday Party spiced slice of indie rock, though there is much more to the contagion and tenacious swing of the rich incitement on ears and hips. Listener involvement is a quick success too, the chorus alone inescapable bait as the impressive start to the release continues.

Solace steps forward next providing a tantalising smoulder of a croon as gentle and seductive melodies entangle ears and appetite alongside the ever potent and emotively intensive vocals. There is something wonderfully familiar to the track and indeed the whole EP but as yet an essence we have yet to pin down whilst basking in its inviting hue within the equally magnetic invention of Alpha Shallows. The dark serenade continues to mesmerise and seduce, increasingly so with every listen, a success emulated in the closing tempest of Flatline, another merging of elegant almost maudlin tempting with rousing endeavour and energy to enjoyably consume body and emotions.

Whereas the first two songs explode in the imagination and appetite right away, growing more imposing with every listen, the final pair takes their time to induce the same greed for their bewitching majesty but certainly rising to the same heights over numerously rewarding listens. All four songs also reveal the rich craft and adventure of the band’s sound and songwriting whilst suggesting there is still much more to come.

It seems like the end of 2015 is unveiling some of its best introductions and biggest treats with Set the Fires right there on the frontline.

The Set the Fires EP is released December 11th via iTunes and most online stores.

Upcoming live dates:

16th January – Carpe Diem, Leeds

22nd January – The Library, Leeds

https://www.facebook.com/alphashallows

Pete RingMaster 10/12/2015

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Gazing into the fresh glow of The Cathode Ray with Jeremy Thoms

The Cathode Ray_RingMaster Review

Photo and copyright Peter Tainsh

2015 has provided many treats this year and definitely amongst them was the latest and second album Infinite Variety from Scottish indie band The Cathode Ray. It was an encounter embracing the nostalgia of the eighties through fresh and inventive escapades bred of the now. One of the band’s founders is Jeremy Thoms, he also the man behind the great indie label Stereogram Recordings, and someone who to describe as busy is a big understatement. Nevertheless, Jeremy kindly gave us a chunk of his time to talk about the album, The Cathode Ray itself from top to bottom and more, including an insight to his own musical loves…

Hi Jeremy and many thanks for giving us your time to talk with us.

Ever late to the party, we discovered The Cathode Ray through your new album Infinite Variety which came out a couple of months or so ago to, it is fair to say, swift acclaim. In a music world where it seems increasingly harder to actually get people to part with money or indeed offer full attention to things, did you have any particular expectations or hopes for its unveiling or is it more anything is a bonus for bands right now?

We didn’t have any expectations other than hoping that those who had liked the first album would stay with us for the second. We knew we’d made a good follow up album but, as you say, in an environment when it’s very hard to engage with people, nothing is guaranteed.

Photo by Hugh Womersley

Photo by Hugh Womersley

Originally the band was just you and Paul Haig, famed for Josef-K and his own solo career. The press release for the album suggests this was not originally intended to be a serious band project but a writing collaboration. Was that the case and what brought Paul’s involvement to an end?

Paul definitely just saw it as a writing collaboration – “a bit of fun” was one his quotes – with group recordings just being made to illustrate them. However, the reaction to them was so positive, one thing lead to another and I pushed for it to become a band and take it more seriously, which Paul wasn’t happy with so eventually he left. What confused matters in the press and public eye was that Neil, David and I were his backing band when he did a solo tour in 2008. However the emphasis then was completely on his solo work, and he had no intention of being a member of a band again after Josef K, which in the end we had to respect.

The double ‘A’ sided single What’s It All About? /Mind was released in 2006; I believe this was meant as a one off release?

Not initially but it ended up like that. Certainly with Paul participating. When we made the agreement with Pronoia Records in 2006, the album had been recorded with Paul’s full participation, but by the time we got around to discussing getting it released he had changed his mind. So he asked us to remove his lead vocals, which we did, although some of his guitar and backing vocals do remain on the first album.

At what point did that spark the appetite to push things further; as a full band and with more releases?

The point that changed everything was bumping into Steve Fraser at a TV21 album launch in 2009. I told him what had happened and he was keen to get involved. The minute we started talking music I knew he was the man. We didn’t even bother with an audition. I knew the songs were strong enough to survive without Paul’s involvement. That opened so many doors, being able to play live (which Paul would never have done as The Cathode Ray) and generally move things on after quite a difficult start.

Were some of you all already old friends and maybe previously worked together before uniting for The Cathode Ray we know today?

Neil Baldwin and I have known each other for 34 years (!) and have played in bands together intermittently since 1986. David Mack and I had been working together since 2000 so, yes, there was a certain chemistry. Steve was the “new boy” although we’d all known him on the Edinburgh scene previously.

I have to admit for once, and not intentionally, I read about the band and its background before hearing a note for a review, and to be honest once seeing a list of previous projects for members of The Cathode Ray2_RingMaster Reviewthe band which had been indelible pleasures in my personal soundtrack, subsequently luring a revisit to old favourites records after finishing the review too, there was an increased anticipation and eagerness to explore the band and album. Do you think having your musical histories has helped draw awareness to the band or not?

Well obviously there’s going to be a certain amount of that, but I do believe, hopefully without sounding conceited, that The Cathode Ray is more than the sum of its parts. But initially I guess it did help getting people interested through our various previous involvements.

There were whiffs of all some of your previous bands at times across the songs and often nostalgia blessed air of Infinite Variety, The Bluebells and Scars maybe most notably in our ears. You are a band unafraid to draw on previous adventures and spices to hone new and fresh exploits, as potently shown on the album?

The songs that I write aren’t consciously drawing on any of our past exploits, but I guess where you’ve come from does influence where you’re going. In any case, it’s probably coincidental, as Steve only toured with The Scars as a depping bassist so wasn’t involved in their creative process, while Neil only contributed to arrangements with The Bluebells. But inevitably, as we all come from that post-punk background, some of the sounds and styles of these bands are going to rub off.

How would you say The Cathode Ray has evolved over time and specifically between Infinite Variety and its predecessor, your self-titled debut album?

I would say the vague initial brief of merging post-punk Manchester with New York has simply broadened to the point where I regard ourselves now as a band that isn’t easy to pin down musically. Our original press release mentioned 60’s Garage, Soundtracks and Northern soul, to which one critic added Psychedelia, Glam-Rock, Euro-Disco, Krautrock and 90’s Alternative Pop when reviewing Infinite Variety. So it is definitely evolving. I’m currently demoing material for the next album and there’s even more interesting musical areas I’d like to explore. It’s good to surprise people.

TCR cover_RingMaster ReviewGive us some insight into the thoughts and intentions going into the writing and recording of Infinite Variety? Do you build a release on particular aims or ideas or predominantly let things organically evolve?

Things do tend to evolve organically. If you put too much pre-conceived thought into it, the music loses its spontaneity. Although I suppose one particular aim is not to repeat ourselves. Each album needs to be a significant progression from the previous one, so a certain degree of thought does go into that. Also, apart from melodies and lyrics, I’m always interested in rhythms and try to be as adventurous and varied as possible in that area too.

We described the album as a “kaleidoscope of fun, sound, and adventure”, a fair hint we think at the array of flavours and inventive spices fuelling and shaping the songs within Infinite Variety. In the hands of many bands it might be an incoherent mix, but you manage to seamlessly blend all spices and individual characters of songs perfectly. Where do you and the band start when composing songs?

Well I compose the songs and demo them first with the key riffs, chord progressions, lyrics etc. all in place. At that stage they often do sound fairly disparate. I then present them to the band in the rehearsal room and that’s when it starts to sound like The Cathode Ray. Steve, Neil and Dave all contribute parts and arrangements until we arrive at the finished article. Some songs like The Eyes Are The Window took a long time to come together and changed quite considerably from my original demo. Others end up fairly similar to the original template, but all manage to sound cohesive owing to the fact it’s the four of us playing them, I guess.

The album’s tracks manage to be rich and at times expansive in texture and flavour yet also ‘slim’, i.e. no excess baggage or indulgence. They manage to be an open evolution from your first album but also reveal a bolder leap in aural colour and character; how do you hear their relevance to older propositions as one of their creators?

Well obviously it’s difficult to be completely objective about something you’ve created yourself, but I see their place in relation to the first album as a natural progression. The leap in colour and texture which you describe is simply a way of moving the band forward, without cluttering things up unnecessarily. You use the word ‘slim’ and I suppose that comes in at the production stage – cutting off any excess fat!

How long in the making from first note to paper or thought through to last note laid down was the album?

The boundaries are always blurred as we always tend to have songs left over which were either written too late to make the cut or simply didn’t fit at the time. For example, This Force Of Nature had its origins as a completely different song dating way back to 2006. It had never sounded right so was left on the shelf. I went back to it in 2014 writing new lyrics and melodies and it quickly came together then. Eureka Moment and Buck the Trend were written in 2009 when Steve first joined. But the bulk of I.V. was written and recorded between 2012 and 2014 – around two and half years.

Our review stated spices of bands from around the eighties as rewarding aspects but over time sixties/seventies tones have emerged. I sense your own inspirations and musical loves go far back?

Oh yes – my musical tastes stretch way back! How long have you got? Songwriters have always been key to me. From Lennon & McCartney, Brian Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Jimmy Webb and Bacharach & David, through Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Scott Walker, Al Green, Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Robert Wyatt and Neil Young to Costello, Paddy MacAloon and Rufus Wainwright, the song is always key. Then there’s the bands I love – The Stones, The Velvets, The Doors, Faces, Roxy, Yes, Kraftwerk, Television, Talking Heads, Buzzcocks, Chic, Wire, Magazine, Pretenders, Joy Division, Dexys, Scritti Politti; Cocteaus, Talk Talk, Teenage Fanclub, High Llamas, Flaming Lips… the list goes on.

There is no mistaking that Scottish bands and rock ‘n’ roll of all styles and design bred there, has something unique to it, and we could go on a long list of examples. Can you define what it is in ‘the

Photo by Jez Curnow

Photo by Jez Curnow

water’ which helps breed such distinctive and so often inspirational bands from that part of the UK, as ones yourselves?

I think there’s an open-mindedness up here. Maybe Scottish bands tend to draw from a wider pool of influences than other parts of the UK. Or maybe it’s to do with being distanced from what’s happening down south – even in the age of the internet. It’s certainly true that scenes of their own do seem to crop up here around labels like Postcard, Fast, 53rd & 3rd, Creeping Bent and, possibly, our label Stereogram too, which has attracted similar kindred literate spirits. Either that or we all seem to be obsessed with the Velvet Underground!

What comes next for The Cathode Ray?

Firstly, we’ve got two more live shows coming up this year as part of The Stereogram Revue in Edinburgh and Glasgow, plus a new track called It Takes One To Know One on a compilation album. Then there’s a new video shot earlier this year at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh by Jez Curnow to go with Saving Grace, our other featured track on the comp. After that we’ll be knuckling down to working on the follow up to Infinite Variety. I’ve got five or six new songs written and demoed, plus a couple of leftovers, so we’ll be getting on with them. Expect some new directions.

Your releases come out on Stereogram Recordings, your own label which seems to have out grown and blossomed far more than its original intent I believe. Can you tell us a little about it and what is ahead for the label too?

It has indeed outgrown its original intent which was simply to facilitate a release for the first Cathode Ray album, plus any other projects (The Fabulous Artisans) or archive material I had kicking about. But over the last couple of years it has been growing steadily with first Roy Moller signing up, followed by James King & The Lonewolves, Milton Star, St. Christopher Medal, Lola in Slacks and, Band Of Holy Joy. The critical and public response has been great which is hugely encouraging. As previously mentioned, we’re rounding off the year with two Revue shows which will feature the entire roster in some form or other (minus Milton Star who don’t have a live set up at present). These gigs will be accompanied by The Sound of Stereogram, a budget compilation in the spirit of New Wave in ‘77 or Pillows and Prayers in ’82, featuring both new and old tracks from all eight acts on the label. Next year promises some new signings plus new material from the existing acts.

My big thanks to you again for chatting with us; have you anything you would like to add?

Nothing to add except thanks very much for your support over the last year.

Lastly and looking at band’s influences on your Facebook profile, a list of bands littering my own record collection I have to say, can you indulge me and give us a few of the bands/records which inspired you to get into music and then as a musician push yourself further?

Well I’ve already mentioned a whole bunch of artists who’ve inspired me, so here’s some records that have been key: “With The Beatles”; “Motown Chartbusters Vol.3”; “Pet Sounds”; “Piper at The Gates of Dawn”; “Forever Changes”; “Loaded”; “Scott 4”; “What’s Going On”; “Exile On Main Street”; “Never A Dull Moment”; “Close To The Edge”; “Aladdin Sane”; ”Houses Of The Holy”; “Quadrophenia”; “Rock Bottom”; “Country Life”; “Zuma”; “Songs In The Key Of Life”; “Trans Europe Express”; “Marquee Moon”; “My Aim Is True”; “Never Mind The Bollocks”; “Risque”; “All Mod Cons”; “Love Bites”; “Fear Of Music”; “Closer”; “The Correct Use Of Soap”; “You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever”; “Rattlesnakes”; “Steve McQueen”; “Don’t Stand Me Down”. Again the list goes on…

Read our review of Infinite Variety @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/the-cathode-ray-infinite-variety/

https://www.facebook.com/thecathoderay   http://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 23/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Old House Playground – 21st Century Glory

OHP_RingMaster Review

Having already seduced 2015 with their dark blues honed rock ‘n’ roll courtesy of The Great Escape EP, UK homed Old House Playground do it again with their new single 21st Century Glory. Continuing the compelling and fiercely alluring sound of their last release, the Manchester based trio take ears and imagination into another shadow built and gothic aired adventure, a creative escapade as seeded in “the songwriting culture of traditional Greek folk music” as it is the noir spawned recesses of modern blues rock. The result is a pair of songs which bewitch and inspire, and a single sure to add pressure on the richest spotlights to wake up to the impressive band.

Athens bred, Old House Playground relocated to Manchester in 2009, to “experiment with new musical paths and forms of expression.” Consisting then of vocalist/guitarist Tryfon Lazos, drummer Andreas Venetantes, and bassist Conor Loughran, the band drew on inspirations from the likes of Tom Waits, Django Reinhardt, Nick Cave as well as Greek artists Psarantonis and Marcos Vamvakaris as their sound’s character and voice evolved. After the departure of Loughran, the remaining pair recorded debut album God Damn That Gold with producer/musician Chris Evans, its release coming in 2013 through Evening Economies/Fat Bob Records. Well received and praised, the full-length led to a collaboration with Durutti Column, that leading to Lazos singing onstage alongside Vini Reilly. The addition of bassist Jago Furnas was made in 2014, with the threesome going on to record, and earlier this year release, The Great Escape.

21st Century Glory Artwork_RingMaster Review   Now it is the turn of 21st Century Glory to whip up ears and appetites, a success quickly in motion as the track opens with flames of brass upon strolling rhythms and fiery guitar coaxing. The distinctive tones of Lazos are soon adding to the temptation as the song itself entwines strands of blues and jazz into its emerging sultry swing within an imagination driven intent. As with their previous release, strong hints of artists like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and The Doors collude with the scent of others like Eighties B-Line Train Disaster and Bernaccia, yet what emerges is a mischievous proposal that stands alone as an Old House Playground incitement. The virulent nature of the song continues to enslave, even as the guitar at times creates a fuzzy sizzle of persuasion; that underlying catchiness perpetual and inescapable bait throughout.

The song is bewitching; a lively shuffle of gothic intrigue and tenacious sultriness, matched in kind by the accompanying Love And Other Demons. A slower rockabilly coloured saunter, the song courts ears and imagination with the guile of The Stray Cats and the tangy noir scent of Chris Isaak, whispers of Gene Vincent and Harry Connick, Jr. also lighting its presence as it swaggers along with poise and charm. As restrained as it is in comparison to its companion, there is zeal to its persuasion and presence which seems to know it is something special as it infests the psyche.

Like a great many, Old House Playground is proving to be a band we cannot get enough of, so if you have yet to be infected by their majestic dark alchemy, we suggest 21st Century Glory is the perfect way to be first bitten by them.

21st Century Glory is out now via Horus Music.

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Pete RingMaster 17/11/2015

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