deardarkhead – Strange Weather


Rousingly fascinating is probably the best way to describe Strange Weather, the new EP from New Jersey trio deardarkhead, that and gloriously suggestive. Across six tracks as cinematic as they are emotionally intimate upon the imagination, band and release immerses the listener in its and their own sculpted exploits. The release is an anthem to the conjuring of bold imaginative adventures and a tapestry of creative virulence for ears to bask in.

The beginnings of deardarkhead go way back to 1988 since when the band has released five recordings on their own Fertile Crescent Records label with a retrospective of their early work additionally released in 2012 by Captured Tracks. Their distinctive fusion of post punk, indie rock, shoe gaze, and dream pop has been greedily devoured by an increasing many whilst their live presence has seen the band play with the likes of Supergrass, The Psychedelic Furs, Everclear and The Lilys amongst numerous other. Despite numerous compilation appearances, and that 2011 retrospective  Oceanside: 1991-1993 since last album Unlock the Valves of Feeling was released in 1998, you might say that deardarkhead have been a ‘forgotten’ treat by many; if so that is set to inescapably change with the release of Strange Weather.

Always luring inquiring interest with each release, the band has probably ignited the strongest intrigue with the new EP as it is their first without long time singer/bassist Michael Amper who left the band in 2009. His departure only seemed to ignite a hunger to explore their instrumental side as remaining members, guitarist Kevin Harrington and drummer Robert Weiss proceeded to move in that direction and perform instrumental shows after linking up with bassist Kevin McCauley the following year. The suggestion is that the band is looking for the right vocalist to bring in but on the evidence of Strange Weather, and its empowering potency, you wonder if it will be any loss not finding the right man.

art_RingMasterReviewFrom its first track Strange Weather has ears and emotions enthralled, the imagination just as swiftly ignited as Falling Upward emerges from chilling winds within a dank atmosphere. It is pulled from the wasteland by a nagging guitar, its sonic lure soon colluding with the resonating bait of the bass and crispy textured beats. With them comes a tenacious catchy resourcefulness which infectiously lines the post punk hook and bass groove which subsequently entwine and enslave ears. All the tracks to the EP spark ideas and mental imagery, ones sure to differ person to person, but a cold war like landscape is ours adventure for the opener no doubt helped by having recently watched Deutschland 83. There feels a cinematic kinship between the band’s sound and those visuals with every leap into the sonic tapestry of the song pushing the story along.

With a touch of Leitmotiv to it, the track is a riveting start, leaving ears and pleasure lively and ready to embrace the warmer jangle of Sunshine Through The Rain which follows. There is a calmer air altogether to the song, a melodic radiance which wears the scent of eighties indie pop yet contrasts it with a steely proposal from bass and hypnotic beats. Again captivation is a given to its My Bloody Valentine aired persuasion though it is soon outshone by the thrills and dramas of both Juxta Mare and March Hares. The first of the pair unveils a sultry atmosphere around a delicious melodic hook and bassline which would not feel out of play of a sixties/seventies TV spy thriller. Its lean but thick lure is the spring for an evocative weave of sonic enterprise and suggestive melodies, all courted by the dark shadows of bass and the persistently jabbing swings of Weiss.

As outstanding as it is, it too gets eclipsed by its successor, March Hares stealing the whole show. From the pulsating rhythms of Weiss to the snarling tone of McCauley’s bass, the track has ears and an already lustful appetite enslaved. Their irresistible bait is then entangled in bewitching tendrils of sonic imagination from Harrington; the song subsequently swinging along in the web of their united craft and invention to entice body and spirit further. In full stride, the track has a great feel of The Monochrome Set to it, indeed Harrington’s stringed adventure carries a touch of the English band’s guitarist Lester Square to it as a House of Love shimmer and Birdland like rowdiness add to the slavery.

Ice Age immerses the listener into chillier post punk climes next; its nippy atmosphere and almost bleak ambience tempered by the sonic elegance seeping from the guitar within the anthemic tenacity of the drums. Again it is fair to say that the song lures physical and emotional involvement with ease before Thinking Back explores a maze of reflective melodies and evocative grooves within another addictive rhythmic frame. There is an essence of Echo & The Bunnymen and Bauhaus to the track as post punk and gothic lit shadows and depths spread through sound and thoughts.

The track is an imposingly mesmeric end to a spellbinding release. Strange Weather will have you breathless, excited, reflective, and going on a myriad of imagination bred adventures with its suggestive incitement. We are no experts on deardarkhead and their releases to date but the EP has to be up there as possibly their greatest moment yet.

The Strange Weather EP is released March 25th via Saint Marie Records on Ltd Edition vinyl (100 Black / 150 White with Red Blue and Black splatter) and as a download @ and

Pete RingMaster 23/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Death Valley Dreams – Self Titled EP

Death Valley Dreams_Photo_RingMaster Review by Stephanie Martino

Ready for something special? Then we suggest taking a good deep listen to the self-titled debut EP from Death Valley Dreams. The five track treat is a gloriously rousing and dramatic roar fusing eighties seeded new wave and post punk with the kind of psyche/indie rock only modern imagination can conjure, and subsequently one riveting exhilaration of sonic contagion.

Hailing from Pennsylvania, Death Valley Dreams consists of long-time friends and band-mates, vocalist/guitarist Nick Coyle (The Drama Club, Stardog Champion) and guitarist/keyboardist Jon Nova (The Drama Club, An Albatross) alongside similarly established friends in bassist Ryan Dougherty and drummer Matt Rutkoski. Formed in the fall of 2015, it is fair to say that the quartet hit the ground running in creativity and an instinctive union of their talents as proven by this first release. The EP is a seriously accomplished and skilfully sculpted blaze of bold imagination and open passion leaving ears blissful and an appetite for more greedier than flies on a desert lying carcass.

Death Valley Dreams CD_RingMaster ReviewWords Like Fire is the first pungent temptation of ears, the song from its first breath a swarthy flame of melodic suggestion aligned to a gentle caress. Just as quickly the instantly impressing vocals of Coyle bring a new bloom to the tempting, his alluring tones joining the potent lure into the arms of tenacious riffs and scything beats. Hitting a seriously catchy and forceful stroll blessed further by the pulsating moodiness of the bass and broader anthemic vocal calls through the band, the track simply bewitches ears as it incites bodily involvement. There is a touch of The Slow Readers Club and Original Mirrors to the encounter and China Crisis to its melodic suggestiveness but ultimately the song and in turn EP has a sound strikingly unique to Death Valley Dreams.

As equally dynamic and enticing is the following blaze of The Darker Years. The song is a flowing landscape of volatile and mellow exploits spun into another virulent hug with forceful cascades of fierce yet elegant infectiousness, vocal dexterity, and electronic revelry. As its predecessor, the track is in command of feet, hips, and emotions; its flirtatious enterprise forged in a muscular tempest of energy and vigorous resourcefulness before Turn Out Those Eyes offers its own inventive arousal of the imagination. With eighties keys gently swarming over its emerging frame, the song hits a stomping striding rhythm as vocals and guitars expressively flirt with ears, each courting a dark rumble spawned from bass, drums, and melancholy.

Fiery rock ‘n’ roll is tapped into with Take A Look At Yourself, that raw texture aligning with a lusty Futureheads meets The Psychedelic Furs carnival of anthemic celebration and contagion. The track, as so many, is simply irresistible, a puppeteer to full involvement from body and voice, and in turn the passions. The EP is one of those propositions which will not take no for an answer, and certainly had us whipped up into unbridled submission even before the closing charm lit Never Meant For Anyone adds another flavour to the Death Valley Dreams alchemy of persuasion. An emotive croon laying tender but shadow wrapped hands on ears and imagination, the track is a sombre yet warmly bright serenade with sultry sonic tendrils veining dark ambience. Emotion and drama only intensify as the song exposes more of its thick sentiment and discord, it emerging as potently rousing as the energetically incendiary exploits before it.

Simply superb, the EP is an early major highlight for 2016 from a band with the potential to turn the music scene on its head. The name Death Valley Dreams may have connotations of desolate and lonely times, and lyrically some songs seem to have a similar seeding, but the music is anything but bleak or cheerless. A must have proposition.

The Death Valley Dreams EP is available digitally from January 15th worldwide.

RingMaster 14/011/2016

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In Search Of Fire – Serotonin Storm

In a year of strong debuts UK rock band In Search Of Fire announce themselves to the world with another in the shape of the excellent Serotonin Storm EP. The six track release is an impressive introduction of fiery guitar driven songs and impassioned heart which captures the imagination and fires up the senses. The release is a tightly crafted and openly thoughtful collection of songs which either explode with adrenaline fuelled energy upon the ear or seduce with emotively charged sonic caresses, either way the band accomplished and impactful.

The promo for the release said for fans of Muse, Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, and Led Zeppelin, a list which did it no favours here to be honest. Some of those essences can be heard within Serotonin Storm as strong whispers, but for the main it offers something clearly different for a fresh invigorating new presence in UK rock.

Since forming, The Chatham quartet of vocalist and lead guitarist Andy Malet, rhythm guitarist Anthony Vandongen, bassist Connor O’Connell, and Rob Dowsett on drums have lit up stages across the southeast and breaking into London more than once or twice, with supports for The Wombats and Missing Andy under their belts. Recorded alongside Arthur Walwin, Serotonin Storm is their first big step to wider recognition and an attention receiving leap it will surely be.

Blood is pumping right from the off, opener Indie Rock n Roller storming through the ear with driving rhythms and a twisted groove to light the fires. Returning to comparisons one band did come to mind as the riot of a song blistered the air and grazed the senses wonderfully, Psychedelic Furs, well if they had evolved into a dirty punk n roll band. There is a similarity to the emotive breath created but again a whisper. The hook which permeates the song is as acute and delicious as any spawn by the Buzzcocks and the track itself is a bruising piece of punk rock brought with flair and invention. The slip into a piano touched respite is glorious and unexpected, just the first of many times the band impress similarly, before shifting back to the rampant charge of the song for its eager climax.

It is a brilliant start giving a tall order to follow for the following When In Rome and No Shit Sherlock. Though both arguably miss the target set it is by a mere hairs breath, the pair igniting further passions and enthusiasm for their creative and energy stoking sounds. The first explores the ear with caustic guitar flurries over rumbling drums from Dowsett, both Malet and Vandongen sending shards of flaming melodies and tight riffs across the ceiling of the song. It is an intensive piece of songwriting which has a stadium rock type energy, thus the Muse comparisons though it has to be said of any other band they are the ones which share the closest flavour at times. Ending with a slow reggae spiced climax which works well even if it feels like an added idea at the end, the track passes over to the fierce intent of No Shit Sherlock. Attitude soaks every word and note bringing spite to the song, further evidence of the inventive diversity within band and sound. As the track evolves you can only be in awe of the subtle way the band fit so much into their songs without disturbing their balance and natural flow, this song alone an evolving feast of imagination and melodic flare.

The potent Memory Loss lyrically and musically sends another charge of electrifying pleasure through the ear; its blues classic guitar sounds the spine for the bristling coarse kiss upon the ear whilst Dead Men’s Eyes just leaves one gasping within its scouring energy and burning might. The vocals of Malet, as everywhere just wring every passion and emotion out of the words to bring extra intensity to the tracks and none more so effectively as in the closing slow burner Moving On. A power ballad of sorts, the track initially did not find a connection, the opening razor like guitar jangles clashing with the vocals but given time the song spreads into another smart and well crafted piece of composing. It could not ignite the levels achieved elsewhere but it easily won over any doubts.

Serotonin Storm is an outstanding debut from a band which has all the credentials and talent to go a long way, watch this space.

RingMaster 10/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Since Monroe: Lost Generation

One year since their formation UK indie rock band Since Monroe mark the event with the release of their stunning debut EP Lost Generation. In the short time of being a band the Birmingham quartet has firmly grabbed attention and acclaim with their energetic punchy songs and live shows that leave a breathless crowd gasping for more. Lost Generation though will make those early months seem like a breeze upon their talents once it gets its four irresistible claws of sound into the ears of the masses and much larger waves of furore comes their way.

The EP rumbles, taunts and lights up the senses with irrepressible melodies, barbed hooks, and an infection which no cure can alleviate, though once it gets its eager sonic grip around the ear there is only welcome submission to the incredible sounds on offer. With a blend of indie rock, punk, and garage rock each and every one of the four songs the EP consists of takes the heart on a vibrant and tumultuous ride, battering and serenading to equal effect. Released on Younitee their own label, Lost Generation is a deep feast of constant pleasure.

The release opens with all systems blazing and intensity notched to full. DJ swaggers in with hefty dirty riffs and a broad powerful sound. The bass of Matt Tregortha growls from first note to last, a beast awakened whilst the guitars of Trig and Andy Clifford rile up the senses with sounds pulled from the hottest garage pit. It is delicious; the intense building wall of dark grumbling sounds veined with impressive melodic vocals and all caged by the firm rhythms of drummer James Bradley is like a caged prize-fighter, tight, lean, and muscular. It is a mighty and impressive beginning.

Jack Kahuna Laguna takes over with the same intent to consume and exhilarate which it does to great satisfaction. The blues tinged guitars make contact first before the return of the weighty formidable riffs the band offer with the ability of seasoned veterans. As with the opener and the remaining two songs, the track is welcomed like a heartfelt friend, it has a kind of familiarity which enables one to jump into and join in with the catchy choruses and vein bursting energy. The riffs hold one down firmly to allow the other elements of the song to manipulate and pleasure.

Another strongly agreeable bass riff veins the title track. Like an unrelenting siren the fingers of Tregortha prowl and pounce upon the ear as they bring a deep addictive to the senses, his strings confident and sure of total submission to their dark charms. Lost Generation mixes up the pace and intensity to great and well written effect, allowing the ears to take a swift breath before once more thrusting enthused punk fuelled rock through them. The song builds to and ends with a climax that a media image would have one smoking a cigarette after, if you get my drift.

Three amazing songs down with Satellites left to try and complete the impressive release. The song is a lighter though no less lustful a track. Whilst the first three songs brought a sound which one could compare to a mesh of bands like Foo Fighters, The Libertines, and the Buzzcocks plus also The Psychedelic Furs which for no obvious reason kept coming into the head as the songs swaggered over the ear, Satellites has a definite Weezer influenced sound. With a coarse pop tone and caustic melodies the song shows a different edge to the band, a variety which engages just as firmly. The song does not have quite the power and grip of the previous trio but it still sets the band ahead of the majority of other bands around, many who have been trying to sound this good for years.

Lost Generation is a thoroughly impressive EP, and the mighty introduction to the UK of possibly the most exciting band to emerge in at least the past year.  Since Monroe with the EP has opened their door to a world of deeply satisfying and invitingly dirty senses teasing pleasure. You just need to walk right on through with Lost Generation.

Ringmaster 19/03/2012 Registered & Protected


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