The Kingcrows – Funland


Kingcrows_RingMaster Review

For all the exceptional punk releases and bands igniting the rock scene over recent years, there is no still no substitute yet for the special tingle which only lifts its head with a ‘77 found roar. As we all know, it is a never diminishing inspirational period for punk rock and the never ending torrent of bands spawning their own identity with its antagonistic hues. Some breed a sound which is as close a cousin as you could wish for, amongst them The Kingcrows who are simply a rousing bridge between the late seventies and modern punk ‘n’ roll. Their previous releases have already made that declaration but new album Funland sets it in stone, the UK quartet involving the listener in something energetically aggressive, attitude driven, and most of all undiluted sleaze wrapped fun.

Hailing from Leeds, the quartet of vocalist Phil E Stine, guitarist Lee J., bassist Rocco, and drummer Ratbag have been a bruising and thrilling live presence across the north of England moving outwards. Emerging in 2005, The Kingcrows has torn up stages with their filthy rock ‘n’ roll ever since, playing alongside the likes of Spear Of Destiny, UK Subs, The Rezillos, TV Smith, Anti Nowhere League, Tokyo Dragons, Vice Squad, The Lurkers, 999, The Vibrators, Red Alert, The Outcasts, Peter & The Test Tube Babies and many more legendary and emerging bands over the years. They have also released a clutch of attention grabbing EPs, which made an even bigger impression when collected together and released in the shape of Corvus Maximus through STP Records in 2013. The album awoke a broader focus and awareness of the band’s unfussy and virulent sound, which Funland should now push into new spotlights and recognition.

The album erupts with Here We Go, the first riot initially blooming from a fairground organ and its warm invitation. Soon rhythms rumble with attitude and riffs stir up the air as the opener’s eager rock ‘n’ roll seizes ears and attention. The song is quickly into its virulent and persistent stride, cruising with jabbing beats spearing grouchy guitar and bass tenacity. The track is like a mix of Spunk Volcano and The Eruptions and The Adicts, similarity and nostalgia colluding with fresh attitude and revelry.

cover_RingMaster Review     A potent start to the album is further ignited by the following She’s My Rock ‘N’ Roll and its thrilling tempting. An alluring rhythmic enticing sparks a rockabilly bred grooving flirted with by spicy harmonica, they in turn kick-starting a heavy anthemic canter of contagious rhythms and incendiary sonic enterprise led by the ever magnetic tones of Stine. The track is glorious, punk rock at its tenacious and riotous best, and again as old school as it is imposingly new. The album’s first major pinnacle is backed, if not quite matched, by On The Road Again, a swiftly engaging and infectious stomp which has ears, feet, and appetite locked in within a handful of chords and resourceful seconds. There are no big surprises within song and arguably Funland in general, yet they only provide a nonstop and fully satisfying stomp to get eagerly involved in.

A southern whisper lines the lure and rampage of Rock ‘N’ Roll Rebel Songs, the track aflame with sultry guitar endeavour, inviting group vocals, and the breath and atmosphere of ’77. Lyrically it also sparks memories of times past, it all colluding in one easy going and gripping persuasion, though outshone by Forgotten Son straight after. Its opening riff comes with dark intent and imagination igniting attitude, its bait continuing to enthral as the song grows and breeds new sonic colour and lyrical drama around it. There is a touch of Angelic Upstarts to the encounter though that is but one flavour within the emotive shadows and provocative narrative on offer.

The album’s title track kicks up a storm of attitude and insatiable rock ‘n’ roll next, the track forcibly prowling with essences of bands like Suburban Studs and Crisis in its armoury before making way for the irresistible presence of Kick ‘Em Down. The album is truly at its loftiest height at this point, the tasty provocateur, and its predecessor, unleashing welcomingly bullying and virulently infectious rock ‘n’ roll with the second also unveiling another tonic of harmonica belligerence, before the brilliant Apocalypso steals the whole show. Opening on a delicious throaty bass riff with tendrils of guitar adding their spice before the drums create a brooding and catchy confrontation, the track evolves into one seriously magnetic shuffle. The beats of Ratbag continue to incite song and ears with their anthemic swings, whilst around them voice, riffs, and contagion ebb and flow like virulent waves soaked in inescapable temptation.

Never Gonna Fall continues the album’s elevated and invigorating energy and enjoyment with ease, its thumping presence and gait luring many strains of rock into one bulging incitement whilst Sick Of Love Songs creates its own individual fusion of old school punk and new rock ‘n’ roll. The bass of Rocco breeds a bestial snarl to its tone whilst Lee J. once again leaves sonic vapours from his searing and ever to the point exploits. Led by the beckoning delivery of Stine, the track is another hitting the sweet spot whilst proving to be another proposition you only wish its two or so minutes was stretches longer.

Funland ends with Beer and Whiskey, arguably the weakest song on the album. In context though, with it holding ears and pleasure firmly in its rip-roaring escapade, it simply reinforces the might of the tracks which over shadow it. It is indeed a fine end to an excellent slab of rock ‘n’ roll, Funland rigorously feeding appetites for seventies punk and today’s punk ‘n’ roll from start to finish.

2015 has already been blessed with some mighty punk offerings which The Kingcrows now rival if not surpass with their new proposal, but few of those others will become as big a favourite as Funland is destined to be we suggest.

Funland will be released through STP Records at Rebellion on August 6th and then available @

RingMaster 31/07/2015

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The Terraces – Extra Time


Bringing forth the original breath of punk rock aligned to the voice of the people and their rebellious streets, The Terraces stand as one of the truest and undiluted bands snarling from within the genre. The Australia based quartet offers no diluted narratives and passions but the voice and energy of truth, the common man, and football grounds. Following their acclaimed and impressive self-titled debut album the band now unleash the Extra Time EP, consisting of six insatiable and belligerent slaps on the chops of society.

Hailing from the UK and the suburbs of Melbourne, the foursome of vocalist Gary Buckley (ex-One Way System founder member and bass player), guitarist/vocalist Dean Tsolondres, bassist Stephen King (ex-Rose Tattoo), and drummer Henry Hollingsworth are hitting the UK with their Punks of Mother England tour alongside Electric River as you read this which follows up a successful debut tour across the country last December including the band supporting Cock Sparrer and Rancid. With the album and now new EP giving more fuel to a greater anthemic fire for their live shows expectations that the band will elevate to the top favourites of UK punks and the worldwide echelons of the genre are hard to suppress.

The Blast Records released EP opens up with the industrial sound of the street which breeds an introduction for Britannia of jangling 945042_10151540814527794_709494224_npungent riffs and equally rich expressive vocals from Buckley. Soon into its stride with the guitar of Tsolondres lighting sonic flames across the muscular stance, the track takes no time to make its call on thoughts and voice, enlisting their assistance in the contagious chorus whilst feet dance to the tune of the contagious hooks and thumping rhythms. Carrying a UK Subs lilt to its sinews and Dropkick Murphys breath to its attitude the song is instantaneous addictive bait from band and release.

The following Who You Looking At stomps from its first second, the persistent groove carrying a whisper of the Sweet to its swagger, honestly, whilst the oi bred romp from its heart merges Sham 69 and Cock Sparrer whilst being honed into something distinctly The Terraces. It is an infection clad bruise which bounces with the passions in tow leading to a climax which instantly brings up spices of The Saints and The Outcasts to its snapping invention.

Billy opens with an undefined familiarity, its invitation recognisable but impossible to pin down whilst elevating the persuasive lure of the song to greater depths. Like The Living End meets Serious Drinking, the track shifts and twists its drive through to the emotions and thoughts, the guitar crafting a fiery web veined by punchy rhythms and stalked by the husky laced scowling vocals of Buckley who certainly here with the sounds offers a Mensi (Angelic Upstarts) feel. The song completes three brand new songs on the EP and is the best of the trio though all only confirm the rising stature of the band whilst heightening the appetite upon them.

Next comes an exceptional cover of The Clash classic Complete Control, and though it is fair to say the band do not muck around with it too much they deliver a thrilling and fresh take on the track without losing any of its toxic declaration. Injected with extra adrenaline and spite it is old school majesty thrust into the antagonistic selfishness of the now to emerge as a renovated anthem for today which despite the power and quality of the rest of the songs steals top honours.

The final pair of songs are two which have been revisited by the band, though neither Care About Nothing nor The Hustler leap out as having had a major overhaul from their album appearance. Both stomp and nudge the passions into another riot of energy and greedy union, the first a barracking prowl with blues flair to the guitar flames and predation to the rhythmic and vocal chest prodding and the closing song simply pure contagion, riffs and hooks taunting and dancing on the ear whilst the group vocals open up another virulently infectious reaping of limbs and voice from which resistance is futile. Reminding of Dirt Box Disco it is the perfect end to an exciting reminder of how good this band is.

If The Terraces have yet to feel your feet, attitude, and energy romping alongside them then Extra Time is the perfect turn-style into their honest punk rock arms.


RingMaster 15/08/2013

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Dead Retinas: Dead Retinas vs. The World EP

Sometimes a band comes along to ignite all the personal fires inside and leave one counting the days to the next musical adrenaline rush to come from their creativity. UK punks Dead Retinas is such a band and their Dead Retinas vs. The World EP, an invigorating burst of essential punk rock to fire up the engines of passion. The quartet create punk rock which is honest, aggressive, and vibrant: their sound steeped in the essentials of punk and fuelled by the energies of modern rock. The resulting experience unbridled pleasure.

The band consists of vocalist Sam Hendo, guitarist/vocalist Jack Thompson, bassist/vocalist CJ Smith who all knew each other since high school, and Lee O’Connor on drums. Originally called Hounds, until they found out about another band with the same name, the band took the Dead Retinas name from something actor Nick Frost said on the commentary track to the film Paul. To date the band has impressed with ease through the sharing of stages with the likes of Four Short Of A Miracle, Saving Syenna, The City Divided, ZsilentZ, and Falter to name a few.

Dead Retinas vs. The World is their debut release and a mighty powerful four track beast of an introduction it is too. It is punk rock at its best, confrontational, relentless, and heart driven. Their music recalls the best elements of bands such as Cancer Bats, NOFX, and Pinhead Gunpowder alongside the fire of Rage Against The Machine and Red Tape. It is all twisted into their own incendiary powder keg of bruising and explosive individuality as the band emerges as one of the best new entrants within punk for a long time.

The release ruptures the atmosphere from the start with Pure Gold, a track with heart splintering riffs and combative rhythms. The vocals hit every scorched and aggressive range perfectly to offer as much texture and rich diversity as the sounds around them. From the choppy greedy riffs, the uncompromising beats, to the growling guttural bass sound, the song corrupts and enthrals the senses for the deepest satisfaction. The band is also unafraid to bring extra treats in to the mix such as the burning guitar solo which simply flames away gloriously on top of already inspired raging inferno of addiction.

The following A 20 Note Ain’t For Coke finds a higher plateau to leap and explode upon with its infectious hypnotic hooked riffs and magnetic breath. It offers an old school flavour to bring thoughts of seventies UK bands The Lurkers, The Outcasts, and early Undertones to the fore whilst chewing away with a slight hardcore hunger. Brief and uncomplicated, the song is an immense blast of sheer instinctive satisfaction to leave one breathless and eager for much more.

    I’ve Got A Nerve brings a slight ska fusion to its muscular frame though it is mere spicery soon overwhelmed by the raw energy of the track. Arguably the less effective of the four, it is still a song to leave a benchmark for most other bands to aim for and ensure the appetite is still ravenous for more of the same.

The release closes with the excellent Hang The Bastards. It starts with just a delicious gnarly bass and thumping drums union, their predatory companionship alone boiling up an addiction like pleasure. Into its stride the song develops a scorched bluesy swagger which cores the punk aggression and vocal forcefulness, its groove hypnotic magnificence.  There is even a little tinge of stoner rock to the presence of the song, though its metallic intensity is, especially at its climax, RATM spawn.

Dead Retinas vs. The World EP is outstanding, one of the best debuts in a long time. If punk rock triggers the deepest rampages of joy within then Dead Retinas might just have you squealing with orgasmic delight.

RingMaster 12/09/2012

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Anti-Macassar – Empty

From the unmentioned depths of darker Devon there is something begin to stir and setting greedy eyes on the rest of the UK. This predatory beast of attitude, beer, and aggravation comes in the undiscovered shape of punk rock band Anti-Macassar. Their apparent secrecy is now though becoming under threat as more and more find out about their album Empty, a festering pleasure of rock, punk, and blues brought with an urgency and original punk heart.

Empty is a joy, and though slightly inconsistent and at times seemingly unsure which fuel to load individual songs up with, it is persistently compulsive and consistently very satisfying. Consisting of Mike Hill (vocals, rhythm guitar), Benny Joy (lead guitar, backing vocals), Garry Dewis (bass), and Andy Higgins (drums, backing vocals), the quartet create music which has no need for or desire to charm and comes with an insatiable appetite to rile up all and sundry in emotion and heart. It is honest fun music, a blend of punk, rock, and garage punk, with an occasional splash of psychedelic blues flavouring to spice things up. It is also perfectly nostalgic revisiting seventies punk and rock with an instinctive surety.

The album bulges with thirteen tracks all hungry to rile up the senses and cause maximum mischief with varying levels of spite. Coarse and caustic, the slices of rock badger and assault with no barrier to their purpose and lyrical intentions and each is primed to grab the fullest reaction it can instigate from its recipient. As mentioned the album has a small inconsistency across its length but with more peaks than dips, and these lesser moments still a riotous pleasure for the ear, it is hard to be too critical on a release treating one to a beer soaked and aggression veined party as good as Empty.

The title track opens things up and feels an odd choice to strike the first blow with. The song is a hypnotic prowling crawl through the ear with sharp melodic guitars and a blues tinged tone coating every note. It is seemingly nothing more than enjoyable but before one knows it the track has craftily captivated the senses, its psychedelic wash as mesmeric as a scorched sunset. It is slightly overlong but never loses its grip on the ear and by its end shows the band is not prone to the obvious and predictable in any aspect of their music.

     Anti-Macassar throw up a storm of addictive riffs and greedy hooks next with the angry punk driven Kill Ya. Vengeance driven and expressing the thoughts and heart of more than a few, the track is an infectious stomp with hungry riffs soaked in a southern drawl. It plays like UK Subs meets The Meteors and is an immediate pull with its infectious chorus and unbridled vehemence.

Tracks like the taunting nasty Man Friday offering a mix of Crisis and Art Attacks with a blistering rock solo piercing its heart and Come With Me, a Leyton Buzzards/The Outcasts slab of wanton dirty anthemic joy keeps things continually combative and energised. Further along songs such as Falling Down and Black Is Back keep the attack and punk call loud and forceful too. The first a bare and distressed scuzzed feast of simplistic power recalling Spizz Oil and Dangerous Girls whilst the second swaggers with a grooved garage rock surety complete with sing-a-long chorus and sharp guitars.

These mentioned tracks alone make the album much more than a release to smile at and move on from but with the addition of its two best tracks it easily becomes a must check out. Ignorance Is Bliss saunters in with alcohol swigging riffs and near frenzied energy. Complete with an addictive riff for the chorus which would not look out of place on a Dead Kennedys track the song leads the ear on a boisterous and ravenous crawl whilst fiery melodic guitars and solo spark rapture within the senses.

This impressive track is soon swept aside by the mighty presence of 6ft Locust. The track is proving to be the fan favourite and it is not hard to see why, it is perfect punk rock. With a provocative vocal delivery over teasing riffs and scarred melodies the song is as infectious as they come. Throughout it punches and coaxes the senses in equal measure and once it throws in a Buzzcocks proud melodic hook as contagious as they come the song elevates to classic. With elements of The Adicts and Angelic Upstarts to its blood the song makes the album worth a punt all on its own but backed by an array of other feisty treats Anti-Macassar shows that Empty is no hollow pleasure.

RingMaster 05/06/2012 Registered & Protected

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