Hole In The Head – Primitive Love

HITH 2015 line-up

HITH 2015 line-up

It is always a negative when someone says they need something like a hole in the head, but when it applies to the Finnish rockabilly band of the same name the want is completely different, especially if talking about the band’s debut album Primitive Love. It is a ten track stomp bred in a rockabilly heart but involving spicy rhythm ‘n’ blues and broader rock ‘n’ roll adventure to create something not exactly unique but predominantly individual to Hole In The Head.

The Kuopio hailing band began in 1997, founded by vocalist/guitarist Sasse Savolainen. Two 7” EPs, Tornado Ride (2000) and Trouble Cruiser (2003) were well-received successes for a band also experiencing a few line-up changes. The summer of 2012 saw the quartet of Sasse, Brother Andy Liukko (guitar, harmonica, sax), Turkka (upright bass), and Laasanen (drums) begin recording Primitive Love with Tomi Leino at Suprovox Studio, Ikkala. In the wake of the recording though Laasanen left the band with Turkka subsequently leaving too. The remaining pair decided to carry on performing as the Sasse & Andy Duo and work towards releasing the album. New impetus to Hole in the Head after its near demise came with the recruitment of Tony Lehto (upright bass) and Joonas Hiltunen (drums), the band hitting the live scene again with force further backed by the 2015 release of Primitive Love.

A strong start to the album is made by Out of Hands, the opener coaxing ears with scuzzy guitar and the winy charm of Andy’s harmonica incitement. With punchy rhythms and inviting vocals, the enjoyable encounter is an easy to climb on board canter with swinging hips and excitable energy that has feet bouncing and attention aroused. Increasingly more virulent as it stomps into its dynamic climax, the track passes an already keen appetite over to the following Bad Luck Driver. Straight away a sultry and siren-esque psychobilly tang wraps ears as the bass of Turkka gets the instincts going with its delicious dark stroll. With beats just as enticing, the track only blossoms further as blues lined tempting escapes through a flirtatious sax as the potent tones of Sasse strike up further pleasure and satisfaction, each adding to the excellent Frantic Flintstones meets Ray Campi with a touch of Roy Hawkins like song.

picture By Ville Angervuori

picture By Ville Angervuori

From one big treat to another as the dark noir mystique of The Night Walk takes over, its blues/surf blend of temptation a smouldering seduction of spicy air and sound. The resonating elegance of the guitar comes with a great sinister swell to its tone whilst the rhythms perfectly temper that intoxication with understated but pungent repetition. Already song by song, Primitive Love gets thicker and bolder in adventurous invention, a trend continuing with the swiftly magnetic Let Me Be Your Heartbeat. Imagine The Stray Cats in collusion with Tiger Army without the haunting and you have the anthemic prowess of a gripping track only broadening in varied sound with each passing minute.

Vintage Kind of Fever leaps in with tenacious rhythms and an energetic swagger next, its fifties nurtured and robustly delivered rockabilly weave littered with flaming sax, scything guitar, and a rhythmic rumble to lose the body too. Addiction is inevitable as also through the bluesabilly romp of Rude Boy Blues, a mix of rousing enterprise and fiery flavouring at times reminding of The Shakin’ Pyramids. Both tracks are superb incitements to lose inhibitions to and quickly backed by the jazzy canter of Lonely Wolf, the song a Parisian touched harmonica wielding vagabond of a song which simply leads hips into an eager sway.

Rhythmic jabs and swinging hooks are the order of the day within Knock Out Boogie, bass and guitar hooks hypnotic bait as masterful vocals and bodacious sax lead the listener on a rebellious yet controlled dance before having to make way for the sixties R&B hued blues devilry of Wolf Girl. Bounding around with the scent of The Living End and Johnny Burnette to its insatiable energy and feverish character, the song just entices and incites like a frisky temptress.

The album is closed by Bondage Love, a track living up to hopes inspired by its title with its exotic melodic landscape and addictively nagging rhythms. Like a rapture driven shindig on the banks of the River Nile, further accentuated by the Madness like smooch of the sax, the track is pure manna for ears and rock ‘n’ roll passions; a claim easy to attach to the whole of Primitive Love.

It may have taken time to see the light of day, but Primitive Love hits the sweet spot with persistent ease whilst suggesting to the world that Finland has a rockabilly/R&B band which deserves real attention.

Primitive Love is out now @ http://hith.net/wordpress/shop/

http://hith.net/   https://www.facebook.com/holeintheheadfin

Pete RingMaster 12/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Old House Playground – 21st Century Glory

OHP_RingMaster Review

Having already seduced 2015 with their dark blues honed rock ‘n’ roll courtesy of The Great Escape EP, UK homed Old House Playground do it again with their new single 21st Century Glory. Continuing the compelling and fiercely alluring sound of their last release, the Manchester based trio take ears and imagination into another shadow built and gothic aired adventure, a creative escapade as seeded in “the songwriting culture of traditional Greek folk music” as it is the noir spawned recesses of modern blues rock. The result is a pair of songs which bewitch and inspire, and a single sure to add pressure on the richest spotlights to wake up to the impressive band.

Athens bred, Old House Playground relocated to Manchester in 2009, to “experiment with new musical paths and forms of expression.” Consisting then of vocalist/guitarist Tryfon Lazos, drummer Andreas Venetantes, and bassist Conor Loughran, the band drew on inspirations from the likes of Tom Waits, Django Reinhardt, Nick Cave as well as Greek artists Psarantonis and Marcos Vamvakaris as their sound’s character and voice evolved. After the departure of Loughran, the remaining pair recorded debut album God Damn That Gold with producer/musician Chris Evans, its release coming in 2013 through Evening Economies/Fat Bob Records. Well received and praised, the full-length led to a collaboration with Durutti Column, that leading to Lazos singing onstage alongside Vini Reilly. The addition of bassist Jago Furnas was made in 2014, with the threesome going on to record, and earlier this year release, The Great Escape.

21st Century Glory Artwork_RingMaster Review   Now it is the turn of 21st Century Glory to whip up ears and appetites, a success quickly in motion as the track opens with flames of brass upon strolling rhythms and fiery guitar coaxing. The distinctive tones of Lazos are soon adding to the temptation as the song itself entwines strands of blues and jazz into its emerging sultry swing within an imagination driven intent. As with their previous release, strong hints of artists like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and The Doors collude with the scent of others like Eighties B-Line Train Disaster and Bernaccia, yet what emerges is a mischievous proposal that stands alone as an Old House Playground incitement. The virulent nature of the song continues to enslave, even as the guitar at times creates a fuzzy sizzle of persuasion; that underlying catchiness perpetual and inescapable bait throughout.

The song is bewitching; a lively shuffle of gothic intrigue and tenacious sultriness, matched in kind by the accompanying Love And Other Demons. A slower rockabilly coloured saunter, the song courts ears and imagination with the guile of The Stray Cats and the tangy noir scent of Chris Isaak, whispers of Gene Vincent and Harry Connick, Jr. also lighting its presence as it swaggers along with poise and charm. As restrained as it is in comparison to its companion, there is zeal to its persuasion and presence which seems to know it is something special as it infests the psyche.

Like a great many, Old House Playground is proving to be a band we cannot get enough of, so if you have yet to be infected by their majestic dark alchemy, we suggest 21st Century Glory is the perfect way to be first bitten by them.

21st Century Glory is out now via Horus Music.

http://www.oldhouseplayground.net/   https://www.facebook.com/oldhouseplayground  https://twitter.com/oldhouseplay

Pete RingMaster 17/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Grifter: Self Titled

The end of last year saw many a fan and media source excited by the self titled debut from UK trio Grifter. The release slipped past us then but having finally been introduced to its enthused and energetic rock n roll we just had to share it here in case you too had escaped its initial emergence. Quite simply the release is unadulterated and straight forward rock music for the heart and aural bar room liquor to intoxicate the ear. The band do not offer up anything particularly new or groundbreaking but other than label stable mates at Ripple Music, Trucker Diablo, it is hard to bring to mind another band that does it with the same accomplished quality and passion with which this band does.

Grifter formed in 2003 as a quartet well for their debut gig anyway. The show saw the vocalist quit on stage and the band has remained a threesome of vocalist/guitarist Ollie, bassist Phil, and drummer Foz, ever since. From day one they have riled up and excited people with their honest heart borne rock sounds, big teasing riffs, and high octane rock n roll. As their music and reputation grew to draw in a wider and more eager fan base across the south west of the UK the band released their Elephantine demo in 2005. Favourable reviews rolled in and they found themselves the attention of Fury 76 Records with whom they recorded the High Unholy Mighty Rollin’ EP the following year, its actual release not coming until 2008 and again to very favourable reviews. The band were then approached to do a track for a compilation by Catacomb Records which led to their second EP The Simplicity of the Riff is Key in 2010 and again on the label. Last year saw them contribute to a split EP release with Stone Axe, Sun Gods In Exile and Mighty High on Ripple Music, a success that has seen them now release through Ripple again their first album.

Grifter the band and album encapsulate rock n roll, their sound and songs bringing the best from an obviously thick blanket of influences and turning them into their own irrepressible heart fuelled music. As the album plays you are reminded of the likes of Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Clutch, Stone Axe, Motorhead and ZZ Top as well as to a lesser but as important degree bands like Orange Goblin, and Kyuss. Classic rock, hard rock, stoner, blues and southern rock are all in the rich heady and thrilling concoction, a sound with no demands asked and no unrequited emotions taken, Grifter is full of rock music at its best given with heart, energy and fun, and made for people like themselves, rockers.

The tracks whistle by due to the way they pull one in straight away to party with the band, the likes of the southern tinged stirring opener Good Day For Bad News, Alabama Hot Pocket with its muscle flexing rhythms, and Young Blood, Old Veins with a stoner swagger and middle finger offering, leaving the pulse racing and breath looking for air to re-energise ready for more of the same insatiable, exhaustive and rampant sounds.

Every song on the album offers a bottle of double strength rock to become light headed from. It is full of sure and tight riffs leading one down to dirty deeds and rhythms that draw willing and impossible to resist contortions of limbs and energy. Some tracks do have more of the devil in them than others though like the wanton groove driven Strip Club, a song that seduces and teases with all the tricks of a bar pole dancer, the rockabilly toned Buck Tooth Woman where the band have a sure touch of The Stray Cats about them, and Bean with its classic UK hard rock flavouring. As mentioned all the tracks hit the spot perfectly and have the desired effect  of pulling one to their feet to participate to some degree even the closing bluesy acoustic lined ballad Gone Blues. Once in its stride the song has lighters, voices and bodies swaying in unity with its mesmeric groove.

Grifter is an excellent rock n roll album, no more and certainly no less. It does not have to be anything more as it and the band deliver eleven pieces of pure and delicious rock music, what could be better?

Ringmaster 20/04/2012

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