Matt Finucane – Vanishing Island

As uncertainty consumes an isle through Brexit confusion, Vanishing Island sees the troubadour of disharmony, Matt Finucane is back to confront, provoke, and captivate in his unique way. As all its predecessors, the new album is a release which comes soaked in physical and emotional discord whilst wrapped in melodic dissonance. It is another complete lure of fascination from the Brighton alternative singer songwriter and without doubt his most pop infested outing without losing any of the disharmony which gives his music its richness;  a proposition which without quite putting a finger on the actual ingredient it has added alongside a general blossoming, is easily his finest incitement yet.

The past couple of years or so has seen Finucane especially lure attention and acclaim through the likes of the Disquiet and Ugly Scene EPs, though neither success has exactly been a stranger since the release of previous album Glow In The Dark six years back. Through singles and EPs since, his sound and songwriting has thickly enticed as it has continuously grown but as suggested Vanishing Island has something extra which truly set it apart as it boisterously got under the skin.

The album carries the raw jangle of early Orange Juice, the pop disharmony of Josef K, and the sonic dissonance of Swell Maps whilst lyrically and vocally Finucane again embraces the inspirations of Mark E Smith and Lou Reed but all essences warped and mutated into its creator’s own imaginative and individual proposition. Vanishing Island opens up with War on Pain and immediately is baiting keen attention through a rhythmic pulsation swiftly joined by the inimitable tones of Finucane, his vocal delivery as maverick as his music. As the song expands with real catchiness to its swing infested hips, drone inspired melodies weave patterns in its sky colouring the route to the subsequent turbulence which from a simmer bubbles up and over.

It is a great magnetic start to the album but soon eclipsed by the following pair of Submissive Pose and Menace. The first similarly tempts with a potent rhythmic beckoning, its first lure continuing to steer the track as its pop roar and rock antics collude. Openly virulent, almost taunting ears like a blend of Television Personalities meets Marc Riley and The Creepers, the song is delicious pop cacophony and one of the albums major highlights but soon matched by its successor, The third track prowls the senses, crawling over the psyche with its singular sonic intimation but again there is an inherent catchiness in voice and character which easily seduced from within its devious drone.

Next up, Looking for a Genius is no lightweight in temptation either, its bass strolling alone enough to bait attention and more than ably assisted by the relatively calm but corrupted melodic clamour of the guitar and the general pop nurtured balladry at its heart while in turn Perilous Seat explores its own low key yet boisterous intimate clamour; both inescapable epidemics of sheer catchiness.

The dark, haunting summoning and provocative fingering of Offertory provides yet another shade to the crepuscular depths and adventures of Vanishing Island before Expensive Habits infests hips once more with its inherent pop sway; the latter carrying a hint of bands like The Only Ones and The Freshies in its eager breath.

Through the sonically suggestive, untamed croon of Yr Own Way and the seared rock ‘n’ roll of Safehouse Rules, the album expands its creative landscape further with the conclusion of the creative tour of Vanishing Island being cast by the siren sigh of Time Begins. A slow burner compared to many before, the song is an evocative shimmer on the ears and imagination, a sail into the sunset off of the album’s creative shores.

Matt Finucane is a one of a kind proposition and Vanishing Island an inimitable offering in his own creative adventure.

Vanishing Island is released May 3rd with pre-ordering available @ https://mattfinucane.bandcamp.com/album/vanishing-island

 https://mattfinucane.net/   https://www.facebook.com/Matt.x.Finucane/

Pete RingMaster 08/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Miss Chain and the Broken Heels – Uh Uh/Standing the Night

MC&TBH_RingMasterReview

Breeding some tasty Americana/country-esque flavouring in their garage pop sound, Italian outfit Miss Chain and the Broken Heels recently ended 2016 in fine style with latest double A-sided single Uh Uh/Standing the Night. It was a year seeing the band stepping out from a quiet time after the release of second album The Dawn and extensive touring in 2015 as members pursued solo careers, built a studio, and just simply took a breather. Now they are ready to go again and after some shows earlier this year set about getting body and spirit dancing with their new two-track offering.

br-88-front-cover-1_RingMasterReviewUh Uh instantly bounds in, its initial lively melody carrying an appealing tang as boisterous rhythms flirt and entice. That countrified scent swiftly lines the infectious proposal, its body stirring up an appetite for fifties rockabilly and sixties power pop while entangling it in modern imagination and boldness. Flirtatious and mischievous in energy and sound, the song is web like in its lure, vocalist Astrid Dante charm and enticement before the similarly infectious lure and imagination of her and Disaster Silva’s guitars.

Bringing a calmer, though no more reserved proposal, Standing the Night swings seductive prowess around ears from its first melodic breath. The welcoming rhythms of bassist Franz Barcella and drummer Miracle Johnny alone ensure feet and hips are involved while the beckoning tones of Dante and surrounding harmonies brag ears and imagination as freely. There is a Pauline Murray (Penetration, The Invisible Girls) air to Dante’s voice and with its country spicing the song reminds a little of Fool, The Only Ones track the English vocalist featured on.

Produced by Brown Barcella, Uh Uh/Standing the Night is an irresistible ‘return’ of Miss Chain and the Broken Heels and an enjoyable appetiser ahead of a third album currently in the works.

Uh Uh/Standing the Night is out now via Bachelor @ https://misschainandthebrokenheels.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/misschainandthebrokenheels

Pete RingMaster 17/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Pulsebeats – Fiction Non-Fiction

The Pulsebeats_RingMasterReview

Every two years or so we seem to get a new stomping encounter with The Pulsebeats; a regular occurrence, certainly over the past four years, providing so far highly memorable and rousing adventures. Nothing has changed with new album Fiction Non-Fiction either, a riotous ten track affair which has the body and spirit leaping with the band’s distinct fusion of garage and punk rock with power pop contagion.

Formed in 2010 by a quartet of musicians from Manchester and Santander in Spain, The Pulsebeats soon had an increasing flock of fans bouncing live and with their self-titled debut album of 2011. A raw but captivating romp, it awoke a new wave of attention and media interest which was further stirred up by the band’s three track 7” single Don’t Turn Your Fucking Back On Me two years later. That release immediately revealed a new imagination and diversity in the band’s songwriting and sound which has now been taken to yet another plateau with Fiction Non-Fiction. Released a couple of weeks ago by FOLC Records and Action Weekend Records, the recording of The Pulsebeats’ new roar of energetic fun saw the band return to Santander’s Drive Division Studio with Alex Pis handling production. What emerged was a collection of songs eager to reveal the band at its most musically adventurous and indeed creatively tenacious yet.

What Can I Do? is the first slice of engaging incitement on the album; a welcome instantly wrapping ears in jangly guitar and crisp beats. The distinctive British tones of Nathan are soon adding to the already potent lure of the song, his and fellow guitarist, Luis’ riffs and hooks surrounding his tones with matching zeal and expression The track is a tidy slice of power pop mixed with sixties spiced R&B, a warm an catchy start soon eclipsed by Dead School Marching Band. New wave like guitar insurgency rubs the senses first; their almost duelling bait soon accompanied by the swinging rhythms of drummer Ral and the almost haughty bassline of Alex. In no time, the outstanding song has feet and hips bound in its virulence whilst a Who/early Jam hue blossoms to ignite the imagination. It is also an inventively busy proposal, vocal growls and writhing harmonies colluding with spiky hooks and tangy grooves to add to its ear gripping devilry.

Cover_RingMasterReviewThe punk ‘n’ roll of Eyes On You leaps straight from the closing breath of its predecessor, the track a glorious old school incitement with a touch of early Buzzcocks meets The Freshies to it; indeed Nathan adding a Howard Devoto like toning to his raw vocal persuasion. Like the previous track, it quickly and easily has body and passions involved while showing more of the variety in sound shaping Fiction Non-Fiction.

The following All I Give also has some of that nostalgic spicing to certainly its acidic hooks and uncluttered body, bringing a lighter infection of pop ‘n’ roll for its magnetic chorus, while Carrie-Anne is a less forceful proposal creating a flirtatious smoulder with sultry surf like melodies within a power pop/new wave hug with just a touch of The Only Ones to it. Both songs easily command undiluted interest and an increasingly greedier appetite for the album, if without quite matching up to the major heights of those before them and the thumping garage rock ‘n’ roll of Baby Girl. The anthemic punches of beats alone have limbs involved, vocals and riffs taking care of the rest of quickly seduced attention.

The mischievous nature of the band in word and sound is never far from the surface of the album and especially dynamic and irresistible in The Man Without A Head. The stomping slice of rock ‘n’ roll is an epidemic of sonic contagion with a host of additional strands drawn from blues, vintage R&B, and pop punk. Many tracks have a claim for best track honours within Fiction Non-Fiction, this one of the most vocal though so too is its successor, the resourcefully infectious and melodically lusty September Calendar Girl.

To be honest most tracks create an unforgettable peak within the lofty stature of the album, the glorious Everybody Wants Some intoxicating punk rock revelry almost aflame with raw energy and attitude to match earlier heights. It offers an uncomplicated two and a half minutes of breath-taking and seriously addictive rock ‘n roll which just ignites body and soul.

Completed by the even briefer punk riot of The Ballad Of Medicine Stu, again a track impossible not to get fully involved in, Fiction Non-Fiction is the kind of release you turn to for pure fun, knowing it will not disappoint in sound, adventure, or attitude. As for The Pulsebeats, they just get better and better, which means so do their records which Fiction Non-Fiction can testify.

Fiction Non-Fiction is available now on CD and download through Folc Records/Action Weekend Records and @ https://thepulsebeats.bandcamp.com/album/fiction-non-fiction

https://www.facebook.com/The-Pulsebeats-378049614144

Pete Ringmaster 11/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Murder Shoes – Daydreaming

Photo Joshua Syx

Photo Joshua Syx

After three increasingly impressive and enthralling EPs, it is fair to say that the debut album from US rock/pop band Murder Shoes has been a highly anticipated proposition, and equally honest to say that now here, Daydreaming more than lives up to hopes and the potential fuelling previous encounters from the Minneapolis quintet. Once more, the band weaves tantalising songs from strands of indie, surf, and dark pop rock, evolving from them perpetually mesmeric and at times sinisterly ethereal yet tenaciously mischievous proposals. The result is an album based on sonic flirtation and rich imagination which lights ears and appetite with a sublime hand of adventure.

From the first meeting of guitarists Derek Van Gieson and Chris White, the seeds of Murder Shoes have quickly and potently blossomed into a creatively stirring proposition. Writing a thick body of songs together bred on and blending a broad array of inspirations, flavours, and styles, the pair recruited vocalist/keyboardist Tess Weinberg to their emerging project before completing its line-up with drummer Elliot Manthey and bassist Tim Heinlein. Within a year first EP Cash On Fire was unveiled, December 2014 its release with a self-titled successor arriving the May of 2015 and the Little Lost EP two months later, all through Land Ski Records who now bring us Daydreaming.

cover_RingMaster Review     Your Friend Kimmie starts the band’s new temptation off, opening on an instantly alluring bass coaxing soon embraced by surf lined caresses of guitar. The smouldering invitation is increased as the warm siren-esque harmonic tones of Weinberg gently lay upon the spreading strands of sonic enterprise and low key but pungent rhythmic bait. A sultry serenade fondling ears and imagination, the song makes a potent start for Daydreaming but is soon overshadowed by firstly the inescapable catchiness of So What May and in turn the haunting romance of Bad Reputation. The first of the pair saunters with a spicily melodic smile and infectious rhythms, its breath carrying a nineties scent which only adds to its easy pull on a keenly growing appetite for the release, whilst the second sways with a seduction of slim but quickly gripping hooks amidst a mesh of melodic tendrils cast by the guitars.

Recent single Nineteeneightyone strolls in with an energetic and creative virulence next, beats and vocals colluding to enslave ears as sonic endeavour paints the song’s canvas with evocative and fiery imagination. Both Van Gieson and White craft a fascinating picture with their invention, holding their tempting own against the ever beguiling delivery of Weinberg. Equally though, as shown further by Secrets, Heinlein and Manthey conjure an enticement of rhythms and darker shadows which simply and skilfully accentuates the melodic humidity and elegance around them. In Secrets the pair court the flames of warmth lining the surf fuzziness with a darkly provocative prowl, offering a jazzy contrast to the more fiery aspects shimmering boldly around them.

New single Girls Named Benji marks another step up in temptation and excitement within Daydreaming, its Throwing Muses meets The Only Ones like canter, an epidemic of inciting rhythms and sonic drama around a just as keenly delivered and tenacious vocal prowess and attitude. The track is as compelling as it comes and swiftly matched by the outstanding Little Lost. Once again instantly the rhythm section captivates and enslaves, and once more the guitars create a sonic and slightly scuzzy tapestry of rich enticement to seduce the firmer enticement. There is a feel of Belly and Breeders to the song but, as expected, it is twisted and woven into the rousing and here raucous ingenuity of Murder Shoes to addictive effect.

The surf fuelled beauty of Reefer And Pizza seduces ears next; it’s romancing sway like the sun on a lively sea but with a volatility that will have its thrilling say. Another major pinnacle that provokes a hint of Martha and the Muffins in thoughts, it makes ways for the album’s title track, a crystalline kiss of light with rolling beats and fields of sonic and melodic sultriness. Again there is that steely and dramatic underbelly at play, seeping along and into the textures of the song bringing a subdued and thrilling theatre of darkness with underlying intimidation.

Can You Sea Me brings its masterful stickiness of evocative enterprise and melodic intoxication next, the song maybe eclipsed by those just before but smothering the listener in celestial and earthy contrast for great pleasure before How Does It Feel closes the album with a similar weave within its own engrossing character of sound and imagination. It is a refreshing end to another excellent and thrilling offering from Murder Shoes. The album continues where the previous EPs left off but also shares new depth in sound and exploration along the way. Daydreaming is like a musical lover you will only lay back and think about for ages after tasting its creative kiss, that a success in anyone’s book.

Daydreaming is released November 6th via Land Ski Records and @ https://murdershoes.bandcamp.com/album/daydreaming

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Murder-Shoes/331873790352913  https://twitter.com/murdershoesband   http://www.murdershoesband.com/

Pete RingMaster 06/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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St. Aria – August 21 EP

St.Aria

Last year, like for a great many, attention was pricked by We claim this aria, the debut EP from Swedish band St. Aria. It was a potent and potential laden offering which at times strikingly sparkled and in other moments simply provided an enjoyable proposition without lighting fires. It did though ignite an appetite for the band’s inventive ideas and the next stage in its evolution. That next chapter has arrived with the release of the August 21 EP, an evocative and vivacious encounter building on the qualities of its predecessors and realising the previously untapped but hinted at qualities of the band’s sound. Consisting of five adventurous and lively propositions, the EP is the sunrise of a sound and band coming of age, but still with more to come and discover.

St. Aria is the creation of lyricist/composer/keyboardist Alexander Platon, a project formed in the late 2000s which after a hiatus when Platon joined The Borderline Saints, returned in 2012. Taking inspirations from the likes of Evanescence, Within Temptation and Nightwish and guided by the intent to create emotionally resounding rock ballads, the Platon linked up with vocalist Jimmy Ferhm, also of The Borderline Saints and producer Emanuel Svensson to resurrect St. Aria. Initially it was just to remake a couple of the band’s early songs but such the interest in its members and fans things evolved. We claim this aria was the debut release and saw the three enlist numerous session musicians for its creation and subsequent live appearances. The EP certainly awoke good interest but as suggested earlier everything has grown and leapt forward with August 21. Firstly St. Aria is a complete and stable quintet, Platon and Ferhm joined by Oliver Sandberg (drums), Erik Jönsson (bass, vocals), and Jacqueline Hansson (vocals), whilst musically the raw edges and arguably success tempering aspects of the previous release have been resolved and woven into songs simply revelling in melodic beauty.

St.Aria - August 21 (Cover art)   The EP opens with the spellbinding Black Rose, a song which instantly has ears and imagination involved through the evocative keys of Platon, and increasingly seduced by the siren-esque tones of Hansson emulated in potency by those of Ferhm. Rhythmically the song is reserved yet striking enough to support the expressive narrative of vocals and piano as they colour the song with feisty elegance. It is a catchy and welcoming start to the release matched by the contrasting shadow wrapped presence of Deception which follows. Led by the mellow yet angst lined tones of Ferhm, the song cradles ears and thoughts in a provocative embrace of emotional balladry. The drums of Sandberg create a brooding drama behind the core refection of voice and piano, an almost epic shadow aided by the equally haunted lure of Jönsson’s bass, whilst all combined leaves attention and pleasure easily entranced.

A great bass growl opens up Here With Me, its darker presence soon smothered by the radiant light of keys and the paired vocals of Hansson and Ferhm. The song has a much lighter smile to its tone and character than its predecessor, a hope fuelled romance flowing through the nimble fingers and invention of Platon and the increasingly enjoyable vocal union, though all attributes reach new heights in the outstanding Hopeless Case. Strings and voice align to a tantalising tinkle of keys to seduce the senses from the song’s first breath and immediately has the appetite licking lips. As it opens up its energetic embrace, a country spicing and folkish revelry joins the inescapable infectious persuasion on offer whilst the duet of voices spills melodic contagion. Thoughts are conjured up of The Only Ones single Fools which saw the band and vocalist Peter Perrett link up with Penetration’s Pauline Murray in a mouth-watering duet, and though musically different, the textures, charm, and catchy quality is similar and just as impressive on the EP’s best track.

August 21 closes New Dawn, itself on a par with the previous song through the ever reflective and impressive vocals where this time Hansson leads the temptation with her seductive delivery. Shadows are never too far from the surface in most St. Aria songs, and here bass and keys bring a complimenting emotive shade to the golden tones of melodies and harmonies, a blend emulated in the lyrical prowess of the track. It is an enthralling end to an excellent encounter in which St. Aria has breached a new plateau in songwriting and sound. The band has pushed itself and sound to fulfil early potential and more, but now with a suggestion that there is even more within them to come it is fair to say there are exciting times ahead for them and us.

The August 21 EP is available now digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/se/album/august-21-ep/id971640265?l=en

http://www.ariamusic.se/     https://www.facebook.com/ariaswe

RingMaster 09/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Son of Skooshny: Lovers Leap of Faith

If the name Son of Skooshny seems familiar that is from the fact the band is a kind of offshoot of seventies band Skooshny. A recording band only and consisting of founders Mark Breyer (vocals, guitar), Bruce Wagner (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and soon after its beginnings drummer David Winogrond, Skooshny released a four track EP in 1978 followed by a single the following year. Both received great acclaim but also low sales due to primarily the band never playing live shows. More releases followed but eventually the band broke up.  Then in 1991 the band was alerted to the fact their releases were collector items around Europe. Eventually with Bill Forsyth of newly formed Minus Zero Records further copies of those records plus a compilation of unreleased material came out to great acclaim and strong sales. The band reformed and produced a new EP Even My Eyes and album, Water, with a compilation of their psych-folk-pop called Zoloto following, its tracks covering the band from 1976 to 2003.

Step forward to 2010 and Son of Skooshny with Lovers Leap of Faith. The album is not a brand new release admittedly but as in fitting with the history of its seed band it has slipped by people too easily and that cannot be allowed. Son of Skooshny is the project of Mark Breyer thus the background to Skooshny above. Here he has teamed up with long time collaborator Jeff Peters plus producer-collaborators Steve Refling, Arthur Schlenger, and Andy Colquhoun, as well as assorted friends. Lovers Leap of Faith contains covers of a few Skooshny songs plus new material and is a vibrant and pleasing collection of guitar pop and sixties teased/seventies spiced melodic rock songs.

The album opens on immediate favourite Another Time, a hypnotic fresh electrified feast for the ear. Melodically mesmeric and energetically raw it has an anthemic quality that reminds of seventies UK band The Only Ones. The melodic punk vein that throbs throughout is also Buzzcocks like and brings an intelligent urgency and craft to the song, whilst the vocals of Breyer here and in other parts of the album a mix of Pete Shelley and Peter Perrett.

Candy Air follows with a more restrained energy but a no less melodically enchanting breath. With a slight southern lilt the song caresses the ear with a delicate but firm display of imagination and thought, and openly shows the varied sounds that lie within the album. This is easily confirmed by the dusty rock sounds of Bare Bones a song which grows in stature the more you hear it.

     Lovers Leap of Faith does not always hit the same heights in every song though it is more down to personal tastes than quality of sound or songwriting, but when the likes of The Right Idea and You Can’t Leave Me fail to ignite the biggest fires tracks such as the excellent Science Changes Everyone with its full heart and imagination, Kate’s Green Phone a darkened Bolanesque song of psyched shadows and infectious punk pop insanity, and the insatiably melodic Love’s Not Impossible, more than cover their backs. All songs leave one enthused and bristling for much more, the second of the three the best song on the album and the engineer of wishes one had come across the musicians long before now.

Lovers Leap of Faith is a fine album that shows melodic pop does not have to be obvious, unoriginal, or sterile. The album also shows how easy it is for great bands to be missed by the masses no matter their ability and creativity. The former guise of one of its members may have been one of those bands but hopefully that will not be the case with Son of Skooshny, now is the time to make sure.

RingMaster 21/05/2012

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