Saint Agnes – The Good Fight EP

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There is a romantic smouldering to The Good Fight EP from London duo Saint Agnes which is just as seductive and fascinating as the sizzling tantalising sounds which it is seeded from. The four track release is a mesmeric treat which transports the listener into a sweltering world of spaghetti western ambience and passion soaked psychedelic temptation, a visual evocation as much as it is an aural one and quite delicious.

Saint Agnes consists of Jon Tufnell (guitars, vocals, bass, harmonica, drums) from The Lost Souls Club and Kitty Austen (guitars, vocals, organ, percussion, bass) of Lola Colt, their meeting occurring when their bands played a gig together and creative union emerging, according from the promo with the release, from ‘Having both grown a little weary of the self-conscious restraint they heard around them they sought to create something bold and cinematic.’ That they certainly have with The Good Fight. The wholly DIY project and release was recorded on a shoestring budget in Kitty’s bedroom, though feels as expansive and full as any studio recorded release whilst holding a rawness which adds to the rich imagery provoked by its sounds, and across its evocative length provides a presence which is inciting to thoughts and visual imagination as much as it is to ears and passions.

Opening track Old Bone Rattle provides a visual impact as its title suggests, the song a flight of hollow rhythmic tempting and rattlesnake percussion around a sweltering melodic persuasion, igniting a vision of cattle skulls around ageing prospectors and Mexican Pistoleros laying down tequila driven stomps. The initial rhythms make an appealing sinewy cage to which the melodies and guitars add flesh and the excellent dual vocal embrace heart and character. The rhythmic persuasion never lets up throughout the track, its muscular tempting a spine to the sonic blazes and emotive melodic enterprise whilst the excellent vocal blend and swarthy Doors like keys add the vivacious call bringing it all together for a sultry seducing of the passions.

It is a stunning start soon matched by the following The Tower Falls. Again the rhythms lead the way with compelling allure whilst the soon to enter guitar carves a Tarantino like picturesque narrative for Kitty to heat up and explore with her wonderful siren like vocal inducement. Like its predecessor imagery and thoughts colour between the lyrical and sonic lines presented to create a landscape and emotional expanse as vivid as the impressive song. The harmonica is a potent call within the reflecting sun in the song’s skies whilst again the keys bring an ambient wash which envelops and evokes from ear through to mind and heart.

Drown Me In The River once more enters on a tide of big and bold rhythms, something which instantly connects with the listener each and every varied time. Keys and guitar paint the scenic premise with a vibrant hue to their enterprise whilst the bass canters along with a throaty intrigue which only adds to the emerging romance of the tale and aural portrait being weaved. It is another outstanding enchantment, the best on the EP, and an irresistible bait to keep a close eye on the project as they hopefully evolve into even greater realms.

As mentioned there is a loud Doors whisper to the release which is admitted in many ways by the closing song, a cover of the band’s Roadhouse Blues, but to that there is also elements which remind of the Dennis Hopper Choppers and Helldorado, though Saint Agnes truly with their almost shoegaze like pop kisses standing unique. The final track is a simmering acoustic fire of guitar, harmonica, and that delicious vocal union, its hug around the shoulders a blues kissed piece of humid beauty. Once the keys add their voice towards the end of the bewitching charm its flames are burning just that little more intensely for the fullest suasion.

The Good Fight EP is a real gem, a sensational haze of fiery imagination and hallucinatory inspiring invention. Released as a Name Your Price release @ http://saintagnes.bandcamp.com/ this is a no questions asked deeply rewarding purchase…so go get your sensory provocateur.

https://www.facebook.com/wearesaintagnes

9/10

RingMaster 03/07/2013

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Kingsize: All These Machines

The multi flavoured debut album from LA rock band Kingsize is a mischievous and intriguing little creature. Consisting of ten vibrant and thoroughly engaging tunes, All These Machines made this review one of the longest written time wise. The lengthy time was taken up spending ages trying to work out what and whom parts of the diverse songs sounded like. Surely the same with 99% of the releases I hear you say and agreed but with Kingsize they do not really sound like anybody, their compositions and sounds unique and distinct but like a seductive perfumes on other beautiful women fragrances of other artists would impose themselves before swiftly passing in a breath. This admittedly added to a deeply enjoyable and satisfying date with a long awaited and thrilling album.

L.A. based Kingsize first came to notice with their 2008 EP’s The Good Fight and The Bad Night. Between them they brought twelve captivating tracks which instantly made one stand up and take notice with a smile on the inside. Before then the band almost did not come to be as guitarist Cary Beare was planning to leave town disillusioned with things in search of his musical dream. Right before he was to leave old friend drummer Jason Thomas Gordon called him up to see if he wanted to jam. Thankfully this led to the duo impressed with what they created, to talk about forming a band. Agreement was reached but only on the promise that Thomas Gordon provided the band with the lead vocals, Beare loving what the drummer brought to their music and knowing no one else would do. Eventual agreement was the beginning of Kingsize, an initial duo added to when they heard bassist Matt DelVecchio in another band and told them “We’re stealing your bass player.”

Since their two EP’s the band has evolved into an important force on the Southern California music scene, as well as having three songs in popular videogame Rockband 3, writing the theme song for the CBS sitcom Gary Unmarried, and having a trio of songs included on the soundtrack of Philip G. Flores’ award-winning film The Wheeler Boys, not to forget their track Sweetheart, I’m Only Stopping to Start being placed the new Robert DeNiro movie Freelancers co-starring Forest Whitaker and 50 Cent. Now with finally the release of their excellent debut album, 2012 looks like being the year Kingsize steps out boldly into the wider world.

All These Machines opens with the high tempo enthused rock of Switch, an invigorating follow up to earlier songs like Miss America and Elevator, all insatiable rock music fused with the energy and thrust of garage punk and dirty rock n roll. The band has always been strong songwriters with an instinctive grasp on how to captivate their audience but within the first song there is already an apparent maturity and tighter feel to their music something the remaining tracks more then back up. With guitars that seek and rile up the heart and rhythms from bass and drums to get the pulse racing the song is rock at its easy best.

Following track Dead Broke continues in the same vein with air punching riffs and eagerly stomping rhythms. The garage feel continues to permeate and the flitting thoughts of other bands are in full swing. Essences of the likes of MC5 and Eddie and The Hot Rods come though then tastes of The Cars and Television, eclectic and quickly dissipating the spices are all there.

The variety of the album spreads from this point, with the pop orientated hypnotic Overdone, the soulful grace of The Technocratic, as well as the emotive ballads of the title track and the closing We’re All alcohol with its wonderful choir parts, all leading one by the hand down bright and distinctly different avenues.

The opening duo of songs excites deeply but the highlight of the release is Heart Surgery a song that brings Tom Petty, Tom Verlaine and We Are Scientists into an infectious twisting of the senses. With guitar melodies that burst like sunspots and a murmuring bass behind the great emotive vocals of Thomas Gordon, the song is a gem and glows brighter still with the classic rock fuelled solo Beare unveils. It is given a run for its money though by the Bowiesque Ambien with its Jean Genie driven stomp through the ear to make a quartet of songs the album is a must have for alone.

All These Machines is a party for the senses brought with thoughtful and well crafted sounds and invention. Kingsize are here and waiting your attention, it would be rude to make them wait surely. http://thisiskingsize.com

RingMaster 30/03/2012

 Kingsize are also involved with the wonderful Music Gives to St. Jude Kids campaign, a project created by Jason Thomas Gordon with the sole purpose of raising money and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (which Jason’s grandfather Danny Thomas, founded in 1962) through music-based initiatives.

Music Gives to St. Jude Kids has already forged partnerships with artists like Sheryl Crow, Kings of Leon, and Stone Temple Pilots and has garnered the sponsorship of both Live Nation and Ticketmaster to name a few.

For more information on this great project go to stjude.org/musicgives, thank you.

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