Slow Riot – Trophy Wife

Photo by Steve Gullick Photography

Photo by Steve Gullick Photography

Earning thick acclaim and attention with their Cathedral EP, Irish trio Slow Riot are now poised to release their new single and a fresh inventive colour to their already magnetic sound. Their previous release and singles worn an open post punk inspiration drawing likenesses to bands such as Gang of Four, Television, and Wire, as well as a shoegaze scented melodic charm. Though Trophy Wife is still embracing such seeds, it swiftly shows a new adventure of swinging rhythms and imagination tantalising hooks with a vivacity to match that of the driving energy fuelling its body. The result is a compelling affair which still springs from an eighties spawned heart but with the tenacious urgency of the now.

art_RingMasterReviewFormed in 2013, Slow Riot consists of vocalist/bassist Niall Clancy, drummer Paul Cosgrave, and guitarist Aaron Duff. 2015 saw the band release their first pair of singles in City Of Culture and Demons, two intrigue sparking songs which made a bigger impact as part of the attention grabbing Cathedral EP last October. The time between its release and the new single has seen a new twist and exploration in the band’s sound which Trophy Wife is already showing as being a great fresh step.

As the last EP, the single was recorded with Kevin Vanbergen (The Pixies, The Maccabees, Dinosaur Pile-Up, The La’s, Biffy Clyro) at Brighton’s Park Studios and quickly gets to work persuading and exciting ears with its initial surge of beefy rhythms and sonic incitement. Guitars spring a melodic web from there as the bass invitingly prowls, the first cradling the warm tones of Clancy and his harmonic delivery. Almost straight away, that previous post punk spicing emerges as a more new wave hued character, nudging thoughts of bands like B-Movie and Modern English whilst the pounding drive of the song and its intensive undercurrent of virulence offers a Doves meets Editors like tempting.

The track is a vivacious captivation accompanied by B-side Awake For Days; a more laid back proposition revealing another shade in the new palette of enterprise used by Slow Riot in songwriting and sound. Though hopes are that the band do not entirely free themselves of the darker post punk hues found in their debut EP, there is no denying that Trophy Wife offers something just as exciting and easy to find a healthy appetite for.

Trophy Wife is out on April 15th via Straight Lines Are Fine @ http://www.thegenepool.co.uk/artists/SLOW+RIOT.htm

Upcoming live dates:

18/04 – Opium Rooms, Dublin w/ Mission Of Burma

23/04 – Kasbah Social Club, Limerick

25/04 – The Waiting Room, London (free show)

https://www.facebook.com/slowriot.theband   https://www.instagram.com/slowriot.theband/   https://twitter.com/Slow_Riot_Band

Pete RingMaster 14/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Slow Riot – Cathedral

 

artwork_RingMaster Review

Eighties inspired post punk is seemingly on a surge right now, its seeds being blossomed into varied but distinctive incitements of sound and imagination echoing the genre’s origins. One such band making one of the most compelling persuasions is Irish band Slow Riot, a trio from Limerick who recently released an irresistible dark beauty in the shape of the Cathedral EP. The four track release is an evocation of shadows and solemn emotions cast in a creative calling on the imagination, but one equally bred with epic overtones and an emotive intimacy reflective of something found within its title’s landscape.

Formed in 2013, the threesome of vocalist/bassist Niall Clancy, drummer Paul Cosgrave, and guitarist Aaron Duff recorded Cathedral with producer Kevin Vanbergen (The Pixies, The Maccabees, Dinosaur Pile-Up, The La’s, Biffy Clyro) at the Manic Street Preachers’ Faster studio in Cardiff; additional assistance coming from in-house engineer Loz Williams and the Manics’ James Dean Bradfield through the offering of use of equipment and instruments. From the off the release stirs the senses and imagination but equally the physical body is also gripped by the forcibly rousing prowess and thick insistence of sound.

SR_RingMaster Review   The EP opens with the band’s new single Demons, the lone beats of Cosgrave luring in attention and appetite with an anthemic coaxing. The melancholic charm of Duff’s guitar is soon involving an emotive melody too, it laying evocatively over the persistent arousal of rhythms now also equipped with the solemn resonance of Clancy’s bass. His dour yet alluring vocals are close behind as the song brews more of a Joy Division meets Interpol like croon for a formidable captivation only enhanced by a more fiery nature emerging in the guitar and a flowing crystalline elegance spread by keys. Each element evolves new hues to the slim but varied layers as the track continues, it all building up into a strongly potent beginning to Cathedral.

It is a start for personal tastes quickly eclipsed by the next pair of songs though, City Of Culture the first up. A great scuzzy mix of guitar and bass aligned to boisterous beats sets song and ears off in eager union, a sparkling melody soon adding to the enticement as Clancy’s vocals’ twist around on the riveting web spun by all the already contagious elements. There is a touch of The Sound to the song but more so bands like Scars and Crispy Ambulance with the discordant clang of The Fire Engines in there for good measure. Ultimately though, these are spices only bolstering a virulent tempting unique to Slow Riot.

Just as stunning is the following Adele, a transfixing slice of dark balladry becoming increasingly infectious and addictive as sonic seduction merges with repetitious mastery around the thick potency of the vocals. A revolving incitement set somewhere between My Bloody Valentine, The Slow Readers Club, and Artery, the glorious track reveals not only more of the craft in songwriting and delivery of the band but also the depth of their sound’s imagination and diversity.

Cooper’s Dream brews a character more similar to the Joy Division-esque embrace of Demons, but again outshines the excellent start to the EP with its individual weave of sonic expression, haunting lingering hooks, and a just as enjoyably galvanic rhythmic recruitment of eager involvement. As the EP, the track worms under the skin, infects the psych leaving ingrained lures and rapture in its wake to ensure a perpetual return to its nest of climatic builds and roaring crescendos bound in melancholy entwined restraints is always a lively intent.

The track provides a superb end to a superb release, a full introduction to Slow Riot sowing the seeds to thick anticipation of their next move and lusty enjoyment in their first.

The Cathedral EP is out now via Straight Lines Are Fine @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/cathedral-ep/id1007359990

https://www.facebook.com/slowriot.theband/       https://twitter.com/slow_riot_band

Pete RingMaster 25/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Paddy Clegg – Dancing Shoes

Picture 43

A song which can be best described as a melodic smile, Dancing Shoes the new single from UK singer songwriter Paddy Clegg reinforces why there has been a healthy buzz brewing up around the17 year old. Simple yet skilfully crafted, the single is a refreshing flirtation for feet, ears, and emotions with little more in its intent than to have and give fun.

From Huyton in Liverpool, Clegg at his tender age had already earned good experience from drumming in previous bands but deciding to take up another instrument in the guitar, he began writing and composing his own songs, recording them in his bedroom before stepping out in the Liverpool live scene and surrounding areas. Earlier this year he unveiled his debut single Back To The Start which was met with praise and focus, with his music drawing comparisons to the likes of The La’s, Newton Faulkner, Jake Bugg, and Mumford & Sons. Dancing Shoes now has its moment to push the reputation and presence of the young artist further and it is hard to expect anything other than another wave of potent attention for it.

Dancing Shoes does not make an overly striking or dramatic start, a gentle strum of guitar making a melodic caress which is soon joined by the potent tones of Clegg and punchy beats. It is a track though which seems to grow before and in ears, a dark bass line and a slightly more energetic intent to the drums helping broaden its weight and lure so that before you know it the song has seduced and recruited eager assistance from feet and vocal chords. A great blaze of brass adds to the increasing colour of the song whilst the vocals of Clegg similarly increase in potency and engaging hues. It is a smart and infectious slice of songwriting and musical invention with only the fact that at only two and a half minutes long, just as you are stretching muscles and limbs for an excited sortie on the dance floor, it stops.

Keep them wanting more is a wise old piece of advice and Clegg certainly does that with Dancing Shoes. It is another hint at the potential of Paddy Clegg and his music, an emerging proposition which so far has make a very show go of an obvious talent.

Dancing Shoes is available now via Twin City Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dancing-shoes-single/id915386236

https://www.facebook.com/paddy.clegg/

8/10

RingMaster 08/09/2104

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Interview with Roger Wells and Jason Applin of Union Starr

Falling Apart Together from UK rock band Union Starr has easily been one of   highlights to come out so far this year. The debut album from the band is a magnificent collection of melodic heartfelt songs that offer a fire and light to brighten everyday and to bring a sunshine to the heart through wonderfully crafted songs and lyrics to easily find a connection and understanding with. The album took ten years to finally have the opportunity to treat our ears, which it does so wonderfully.  This was one of the things we asked about when we had the great pleasure of having Roger Wells and Jason Applin of the band sit down and tell us more about themselves, Union Starr and the album.

Hello and a big welcome to The Ringmaster Review, many thanks for taking time out to talk with us. 

Firstly could you please introduce the members of Union Starr?

Roger Wells – Vox\Guitar, Jason Applin – Vox, Mark Lyons –bass, Simon Nash – Guitar, Neil Macurley – Keyboards,  Patch Hannon – drums and Steph Moorey – backing vox.

The seeds of the band began a decade ago I believe what was the inspiration that led to Union Starr?

Roger: I remember the original inspiration being a ‘Best Of Bread ‘album cover from the seventies. Four bearded men standing in a cornfield, sun setting behind them, cheese cloth shirts flapping. Classic stuff!

Jason: Rog and I have been listening to lots of things like Crosby, Stills and Nash and Steely Dan, sort of as a reaction to the indie we’d been living for the last 5 years. We both liked the idea of writing something so consciously timeless and high fidelity.

There was a musical past for you guys before the band too?

Roger: Yes, I was one of the founding members of Resque and played bass for Airhead for a couple of years.  I went on to form Pallet and after a Reading festival appearance alongside Jason’s band Bennett, we were inspired to work together and formed Union Starr.

Jason: Yes, Rog will no doubt tell you about his. Obviously Patch was int The Sundays, and I had been in a band called Bennett who had minor success largely to John Peel being a fan.

The promo sheet came accompanied our review copy of your wonderful new album made the time that led to the beginning of the band sound like a last chance saloon moment certainly emotionally for you musically if not deeper, was that the case?

Roger: No, not really, for me it was more the beginning. Having been mainly a bass player until then, I started playing guitar and song writing.  This wasn’t something I thought I could do so for me this is where it felt it all started for me.

Jason: I suppose there was a feeling of wanting to do something that was critically acclaimed rather than just indie kids liking it, but now 10 – 12 years on I feel completely the reverse, I don’t care who likes it, I just want people to enjoy it.

I have read somewhere that Union Starr almost ended before it started, that there was a falling out? Is that correct and if so what brought you back on course?

Jason: It wasn’t so much a falling out, more of drifting apart and then that kind of lack of communication ends up being a chasm in itself so I think we sort of filled that space with problems that weren’t really there. But, to my mind what happened when the album was finished, was that we fell out with the production company because they wanted our publishing as well as the record. So the whole thing basically caved in and Rog made it clear that he didn’t really want to work with me anymore. At the time that really pissed me off because I felt I was being made the scapegoat for everything going wrong. And it all sounds very melodramatic but conception and writing of the album itself took almost 2 years. And at the time I though Rog’s actions spoke volume about the true level of our friendship. I should say that I don’t think that anymore.

Roger: There was no falling out as such, between Jason and I, just a series of misunderstandings and things left unsaid.  It happens in most close relationships I imagine. I think because the actual process of writing together was such an easy and enjoyable place for both of us, we kind of carried on knowing that what we had was worth pursuing….

Does the album title Falling Apart Together reflect that period and the friendship between you two?

Roger: Very much so. It kind of says it all.

Jason: Yeah, the album title encapsulates 2 things, the first being that the majority of the lyrics I wrote were about the failing marriage I was in at the time. And the second is a nod towards that, for the best part of 11 years, the album destroyed a friendship.

Initially you were just a duo or there were other musicians helping out before you found the drumming skills of Patch Hannon (ex- The Sundays), to add permanently?

Jason: Simon Nash was always very key and involved right from the start. The others apart from Patch were pulled in to make up the band when we first attempted to record the album. At that time we had a drummer called Martin and it’s actually his drumming that remains on the song ‘Don’t Worry Baby’. We sacked him and as we knew Patch and had started working with Nick, using his brother just fell into place. Stephanie does not appear on the album but is a full time member of the current line up.

Roger: Simon Nash our guitarist featured heavily in the initial ideas for sound as it was his home studio that we spent time in. The three of us would sit and listen to loads of different stuff and draw inspiration from each others take on things ranging from sixties spy films to The Beta Band, Steely Dan, XTC…… Loved those nights…..

How and when did the link up with producer Nick Hannon happen?

Roger: We had known Nick for sometime before Union Starr as he used to play bass for Jim Jimenee and The Deep Season and had recorded demos with various bands that Jason and I had been in. So it was kind of a no brainer as far as we were concerned….

Jason: I knew Nick from the days in Bennett and we’d used his studio to record our first album. I think Rog might have known him too but I’m not sure. I can’t really remember but I think I might have played him some demos or something and he offered to work with us after that.

 Again the impression given from bio etc is that this all happened early on and it has taken ten years to reach the release of  your album Falling Apart Together can you put in perspective the time span and placing of things please?

Roger: The album was all ready to release in 2001 but the production company folded forcing us to shelve the album and with tensions running high and a feeling that all was lost I just kind of walk away from the project and my friendship with Jay.  We did talk, however in summer 2005 and began to discuss getting together with a view to at least gigging the album, but again it wasn’t happening…..

It was only when we met again at Mark Lyons (Bass) birthday party in 2010 that we decided to finally do something about Union Starr. And that is where we decided to put together the Woodenhouse Record Label, a label that would encompass Union Starr and projects that had been worked on during the bands lengthy hiatus.

Jason: Approximately 11 or 12 years ago we wrote and recorded the album. We then immediately split up, Rog and I didn’t really communicate too much for about 10 years. The last year we performed at Mark’s 40th birthday party, got talking about the album and decided to form Woodenhouse Records. That’s it.

Moving on to the album Falling Apart Together, so all the songs on it were written during the previous ten years or from a certain period?

Roger:  All the tracks on the album were written and recorded in Reading and Nashville between 1998 and 2000….

Jason: All the songs were written approx 11 or 12 years ago.

The album is a collection of beautifully crafted and inventively melodic songs but also heartfelt, is there a lot of you personally and emotionally in the compositions?

Jason: Yes.

Roger: For Jason definitely. As the lyricist it was bound to. For me melody is all, so I feel very much part of every song…

There are numerous spices that flavour your distinct songwriting and impressive sounds on the album, what influences have predominantly affected you musically and as people?

Jason: I think we always wanted to make something that was uplifting and it’s odd, but the only word I can think of is ‘summer’ I think there is a lot of countryside in that album.

Roger: To many influences to name, but on the whole, the Seventies, early and late, lay under the whole album.

There is a definitely eighties flavouring too, we got whiffs of the likes of The Bluebells, XTC and The Lightning Seeds, is that a period especially from the UK that has made a big impact on you?

Roger: I have more than a fondness for the bands mentioned and would also include The La’s, Wonderstuff, The Cure, Wire, Banshees, and many more. So, yeah, the 80’s made a huge impact on me….

Jason: I’ve always loved XTC; I don’t have interest in the Bluebells or Lighting Seeds. It’s odd, a few people have said that there is an 80’s vibe to it, that’s not conscious, I think if anything we were looking for a mid 70’s feel. But having listened to it recently I can see why people might say that and I’m totally comfortable with it.

How does the songwriting work within the band?

Roger: Generally I’ll come up with an idea or part formed song with a definite melody but with little or no lyrics and Jason and I will sit and arrange it. Then I’ll make the tea whilst Jay writes words…

Jason: The majority of the stuff Rog writes the basic song structure and often a sort of hummed melody line for the vocals. On the album I wrote all the lyrics and a couple of the songs I had more steer in. A Real Fool and I Kept Knocking for example, where I take the main vocals.

 So the songs start from the music aspect more often than from a thought or lyric to inspire them?

Jason: Often the music that Roger played me would evoke certain feelings or emotions that in turn would steer the lyrical content.

Sorry for going back to the promo sheet again haha but one line states ‘A year long process defined by fear and qualms, the end result was an album and a band that was completely unrecognisable to them but they still had great respect for.’ Could you explain and elaborate on that for us please?

Roger: I could try. But I’d rather not. Not my words……

Jason: I think that’s just a reference to the sacking of Martin, the fact that when we went into it we probably all had a little bit more of an equal say in things. I think we froze Simon out a little bit which these days I feel bad about, and Rog and I took control. Then I felt that Rog was very much courted by Nick, the producer, as the main talent and as such I felt a little bit side lined myself. But ultimately what we ended up with was the right album, so maybe those decisions were the right ones. I should caveat all that with the fact that this was 10 years ago, or more, so a lot of it is a bit foggy. 

Falling Apart Together includes the excellent singles ‘I Know About Art’ and current one ‘Photograph’ which preceded it at the beginning of the year, did the response and acclaim towards them fill you with confidence on how the album would be received?

Roger: Of course, it not only gave us confidence with regard to Falling… but also has given us immense hope for a follow up album we are in the process of demoing….

Jason: Honestly, I was hoping for more reaction to the album than we seem to be picking up at the moment, but it’s early days. All I know is that we’ve played only our second and third gig In 12 years recent and both Rog and I noticed that there were lots of smiling faces in the audience so we must be doing something good.

I am always intrigued about the line between the self belief within artists for their work and the leap into the unknown and the anxiety at how the outside will perceive their creations. Which aspect has been to the fore for you leading up to the album unveiling?

Roger: The only feelings I have had are of pride and a great sense of relief that this album has finally seen the light of day. I have never been endowed with much self belief to tell the truth.

Jason: I think it’s on such a small scale that we are doing this that it’s relatively easy not to be too anxious about it.

Our favourite track was I kept Knocking, a storming and vibrant yet steely track, could you give some background to it?

Jason: It was originally a song about a trip to Nashville that Rog and I took and a girl that we met there who could drink us under the table. But we got the basic track down and it just sounded shit. Nick and I had been joking around with the concept of country garage music (as in dance rather than 60’s punk) and so Nick started mucking about with sequencers over what we had done. And that gave us the basic track. The lyrics I can’t actually take credit for even though officially I do on the copyright etc, as it is a direct lift from a letter that was left outside the studio by a UPS delivery driver.

Roger: The song started life as an ode to a girl from Nashville but didn’t make the cut for the album. However, during a lull in recording Nick Hannon and Jason started mucking about with sequencers and various other sounds and created ‘I Kept Knocking’ from the drum track of the original song. The lyrics are taken directly from a note pinned to the studio door by a UPS delivery driver who could not make himself heard above the din of the recording of the track…..

Has there been a big feeling of relief now Falling Apart Together has finally come out and has the journey to this been a test of your patience more than people will imagine?

Jason: I don’t think its relief, there has been something niggling me for the last 10 or 11 years whenever I think about it. And I found it difficult to listen to. But now friendships have been mended, and the thing has seen the light of day. At least it means I can comfortably listen to it again.  Probably the nicest thing to come out of it would be hooking up with Roger again.

Is this a time to sit back and enjoy the inevitable acclaim or is Union Starr already looking ahead?

Roger: The new album is in full swing. Some of it has been written whilst sitting back, some of it whilst enjoying the acclaim.

Jason: No, we’re already writing new things and we plan to bring out an EP in August that will bridge a gap between the album and whatever comes next. At this stage I’m hopeful that it won’t be 11 years before the next album comes out.

Are there live shows promoting the release coming up?

Jason: Live shows for Union Starr are very difficult due to physical location of the band (I live in Reading, Roger lives in Devon etc) However, we are trying to do a few shows and have been invited to play a couple of small festivals over the Summer.

Roger: Jason and myself will be supporting Newton Faulkner as a duo at The O2 Academy in Oxford on the 10th May and Lemington Spa Assembly on the 13th May. We shall be playing with the full band at Reading Plug and Play on the 12th May and The Elderflower Field Festival in Lewes on the 26th May.

Other dates to follow…….

Do you think your next album will be an easier ride, not in creating it but just in the whole aspect of bringing it to life and into the world?

Roger: I would like to think so. It is so much easier for all of us now as we have our own record label.

Jason: Yes because we now can do it completely on our own without the need to involve anyone else. I think Rog and I are both conscious of the fact that we want the songs to be better than those on the first album. So that will take as long as it takes and therefore that could be a difficult ride.

Falling Apart Together is released on Woodenhouse Records, your own label as you mentioned earlier.  Has this been a decision from the start or one that you made to ensure a release of the album?

Roger: A bit of both really. It is nice to be in control of your own work.

Jason: Woodenhouse was initially formed specifically for this recent release. Originally I think we envisaged the record being licensed to a regular label.

I guess having your own label means the pressure to get the album out swiftly is removed haha.

Roger: Quite the opposite. We now feel a real need to make up for lost time! Our aim now is for Union Starr to release an album a year. Union Starr was never supposed to move at such a glacial speed. Let the great thaw begin…

Does the label have other artists to share?

Roger: We have Jason’s other project Damn Damn Patriots and Beartown Zodiac. Dates for releases can be found at woodenhouse.me.uk

Jason: Yes, we currently have a band called Damn, Damn Patriots (which happens to be my side project) which is musically as far removed from Union Starr as you could possibly get. We also have an artist called Beartown Zodiac on the label and we hope to bring his album out in the autumn. In my opinion, his album will blow anything else we have done out of the water.

 A kind of repeat question but what is next for Union Starr and you as musicians?

Roger: To remain the best of friends and keep doing what we’re good at…

Jason: Union Starr are currently writing and demo-ing songs for our next album and will be playing a few small festivals over the summer. Personally I’m also concentrating on the release of the Damn, Dam Patriots album scheduled for July.

Thank you so much for sharing your time with us and good luck with the album though we feel you will not need it.

Roger: Pleasure, Thanks.

Jason: I think we will! Thank you for your support, keep spreading the word.

Have you any last thoughts to share with us?

Jason: No

Roger: I’m off to the beach. We should all live in Devon!

And finally could you give us one song or release that has given you the biggest inspiration or incentive to do what you do so impressively?

Roger: Elbow’s entire back catalogue would be a good start…Great stuff.

Jason: This is a hard question because things that influenced me to do Union Starr all that time ago are not necessarily songs that I find inspirational today. But I would say that at the time ‘You don’t have to cry’ by Crosby, Stills and Nash was pretty much there in my mind all the time.

For more info on Union Starr go to http://woodenhouserecords.webnode.com/

Read the review of  Falling Apart Together  @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/union-starr-falling-apart-together/

The Ringmaster Review 13/10/2012

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