Eureka California – Versus

EC _RingMasterReview

With songs as sonically dysfunctional as the lives in their themes, flavours and attitude at times bordering on dissonant, Versus is one of those albums which nags and pesters until it has attention involved in its mischievous challenge. The release is the new and third album from US garage rock/pop duo Eureka California, a band from Athens, Georgia who over the past three years or so has increasingly stirred up eager fuss for their sonic psychosis around an intimate and self-referential lyrical devilry.

Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Jake Ward and drummer Marie A. Uhler, Eureka California made its first mark with the Modern Times EP in 2011, the band at that point a trio. The following year saw the release of debut album Big Cats Can Swim; its awareness stoking success then potently built on by firstly a 7” split with Good Grief in 2013 but more so by well-received second album Crunch a year later. The pair of encounters also saw the band as the duo now luring fresh spotlights with Versus, their first offering recorded in a studio.

It opens with Eureka California’s Night In, a pop jangle with thumping beats and a hungry horde of riffs around the expressive tones of Ward. There is a seventies power pop/punk feel to the track and a raucous feistiness which sets the theme and tone for the album. Like The Undertones/Only Ones meets The Hives whilst spaced out on toxic pizza, the song is a rousing start to the album swiftly backed up by the just as addictive Sign My Name With An X. It too has rebellion in its creative belly and belligerence in its touch as it engineers another slice of bracing garage punk pop. Imagining Melvins and The Replacements colluding with The Super Happy Fun Club gives a hint at the spirit raising, imagination inciting exploit. As all tracks bar two, the song is a swift, psyche infesting shot of creative adrenaline barely touching two let alone three minutes; just diving in, rushing out, and leaving greed loaded exhaustion in its wake.

The fuzzy pop ‘n’ roll of Another Song About TV strolls in next, its initial lure a scuzzy blaze which settles down for a hook stocked flirtation of guitar and voice. Uhler’s rhythms have a less imposing nature to their swings this time around but certainly have meat to their jabs and devilment in their invention across the brief and contagiously sweet incitement before it disappears in an instant to be replaced by the dirtier and more sonically irritable Sober Sister. The track soon has ears bristling in pleasure and thoughts grabbing the lyrical prowess and tenacity which swings through digs and humour at the turn of a syllable whilst spotlighting moments and experiences seemingly twisted from the listener’s own.

art _RingMasterReviewThrough the grouchy bounce of Ghosts, growling sounds and vibrant vocals uniting to seriously captivate, and the acoustic off-kilter charm of Fear and Loathing in the Classic City, band and album just tighten their grip on ears and appetite. The following Cobwebs on the Wind then sees them uncage more rapacious riffs and chords within a muggy and forcibly enticing invitation to body and spirit before Caffeine lays its raw balladry on ears with initially melancholic causticity which brews up into a raucous tempest of noise and emotion.

Surf rock meets post punk is one aspect of the compelling Realizing Your Actuality which steps up next, its early sultry coaxing over steely rhythms irresistible and only reinforced by the corrosive crescendos which erupt then fall before taking over the track’s thick and inescapable persuasion for extended periods. Weezer-esque in its calm, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club toned in its predacious exploits, the track adds another big peak to the successes of Versus.

Another acoustic incitement in the reflective shape of Everybody Had a Hard Year steers eager ears the way of album closer I Will Write Mine Over Potomac and its own melodic caress leading to ravenous sonic and rhythmic ferocity. A song about “loneliness and fraying nerves”; the track ebbs and flows in intensity with thoughtful calms and a raw agitation which almost grinds on the senses. Though finding it a slow burner compared to others within Versus, it is an enthralling proposal which just gets under the skin as deeply as the album succeeds as a whole.

It might be pushing it to say that Versus is going to be the most unique album you hear this year yet everything about it is fresh and seeps Eureka California distinctiveness. Plus it rocks like a bitch and that is more than good enough for us.

Versus is out now via HHBTM Records and @ https://eurekacalifornia.bandcamp.com/album/versus

http://eurekacaliforniaband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/eurekacalifornia   https://twitter.com/eurekacalifone

Pete RingMaster 06/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Shark Tape – Marathon

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Filtering the best essences of punk, pop, indie, hard rock and more into their own industrious rock ‘n’ roll revelry, US band Shark Tape is a band which has been creating a buzz of their side of the globe for the past couple of years or so. Now their energetically flavoursome sound is concentrating on stirring up British attention through the UK release of debut album Marathon. A collection of songs as united in contagious enterprise as they are individual in character and imagination, the release is a sure fire incitement to body swerves, broad smiles, and feeling good.

Hailing from Philadelphia, Shark Tape emerged in 2007. They went through various project names before settling on the name we are now embracing. The trio of vocalist/bassist Stephen Lorek, guitarist Niles Weiss, and drummer Dylan Mulcahy released a pair of EPs in 2012, a self-titled debut and Eyes On You which were both well-received with the latter especially earning potent radio play from East Coast radio stations. Late 2013, the band linked up with renowned engineer Jeff Ziegler (Kurt Vile, War On Drugs) to begin working on their first album, Marathon receiving its acclaimed US release last November and now looking at sparking the same enthusiasm in the UK. With a host of inventively crafted songs bound in imaginatively woven sounds, it is easy to assume it is already a done deal in making the strongest persuasion over here too.

Picture 8     The album gets off to a seriously rousing start with Bronco, vibrant riffs and attention causing hooks instantly inescapable bait matched in potency by the varied vocal tones. The guitars jangle and entice right away with flirtatious indie rock endeavour, leading the listener and an already greedy appetite into an addiction forging chorus which swiftly enlists the listener’s vocal help to join their body’s already keen involvement. Like a mix of Weezer and UK band Asylums, the song is unbridled contagion and matched all the way by Marathon’s title track. Unveiling its own unique hooks and melodic temptation, the track has a healthy hard/glam rock urge in its fiery invention amidst another uncontrollable infection for ears and imagination. Totally different in sound it maybe, but song and indeed album not for the last time, shows the same instinctive ability to create hook laden, uncomplicated but precisely woven punk pop as bands like The Undertones and Buzzcocks, and with more encounters like this the potential for a similar status for Shark Tape ahead might be on the cards.

River Runs Deep comes next, opening with an eighties electro rock like welcome, backing it up with harmonious vocals before adding tempering through vivacious shadows from the bass. Swinging beats and more exotic electronic hues bring new colour to the slimline but rich landscape of the song as it grows, and though it cannot quite emulate the previous pair in strength it keeps the flames of satisfaction burning nicely before the more agitated charms of Long Time Coming take over. Lorek’s bass has a delicious dark tone as it brings the song into view, riveting coaxing quickly wrapped in the indie sparkle of guitar and vocals. As its predecessor there is also an essence of eighties colouring, a new wave pop invention infused with a rawer nineties rock pop that works away to create another choice proposal within Marathon.

Slightly mellower but no less compelling, Smell of Sirens provides a vibrant croon of melodic suggestiveness next. There is a sturdy rhythmic frame and emotional nature to it keeping its spatial melodies and airy atmosphere grounded as vocally and lyrically the song unveils its heart. Revealing further depth and strength in the band’s songwriting the track drifts away to be replaced by the captivating Neverlast with its more sombre but relentlessly catchy stroll. It is one of those songs which works away on the listener almost without them realising, making a deeper, more potent impression than first thought to return at will with its hooks and stirring melodies. Both impress but are soon overshadowed by the outstanding roguish presence of Black Panther. Surely bred from a diet of The Ramones and The Clash, the track is mischievous punk pop with robust rhythms and heavy duty bass riffs led by rebellious vocals. Equipped with a searing guitar solo, barb loaded punk hooks, and bracing rock ‘n’ roll tenacity, the track is nonstop anthemic devilment.

   Through the more controlled Runway and straight after Top Rock Seller, band and album continue to ignite ears and thoughts. Though the first of the pair is more restrained than the last song, its resolve is permanently taunted by the predacious bass tones escorting it through ears, its devilish stroll trying to incite greater aggression in energy to match the aggressive imagination of hooks and ideation around it. The second of the two tracks offers a post punk meets shoegaze suggestion initially but soon moves towards a dusty rock presence sporting essences of grunge, melodic rock, and punk. It is a fascinating mix which has you searching for references to its flavours, Psychedelic Furs one hinting thought, but basically coming up with little by the time it is replaced by the excellent Silly Things. Its successor explores a similar tapestry of ideation but is a more sinister and heavily darker proposition; one pierced by shards of harmonic and melodic light amidst surf seeded sonic spicing.

The album is brought to a close by the acoustically sculpted Dying to Know, a song which from its minimal seeds blossoms into a fascinating web of rhythmic traps and sonic enterprise within an orchestra driven evocative breeze. The song is glorious, a final fanfare for the invention and craft of the band in writing and invention.

With highlights which reach classic song standards and lesser successes that most other albums would cry out for, Marathon is one of those treats all rock fans need in their lives. Remember how excited you got when you first heard bands like Weezer, The Smiths, and Wheatus, well you might just find yourself getting those self-same tingles again thanks to Shark Tape and their debut album.

Marathon is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/marathon/id937432092 or http://sharktape.bandcamp.com/album/marathon

https://www.facebook.com/SharkTape

RingMaster 15/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Warm crypts and sizzling corpses: an interview with Norm Elliot of Norm And The Nightmarez

Norm

Wickedly contagious and a diversely warped fusion or rockabilly and psychobilly at its most incendiary best, Psychobilly Infection the debut album from Norm & The Nightmarez is one of those standard forging releases which breeds inspiration and exhilaration. Thirteen tracks of intrigue lit and passion drenched rock ‘n’ roll, the album is a storm of rapacious creativity flourishing in decades of influences and twisting them in something new and template casting. The band is the creation of vocalist/guitarist Norm Elliot, already renown with Mickey & The Mutants and their impressive first release last year. Norm & The Nightmarez is a new kind of a riveting beast and we seized on the chance to find out more when Norm kindly spared his time to let us explore his history, the album, psychobilly and much more…

Hi Norm and many thanks for sharing your time with us.

Before we talk about Norm And The Nightmarez and debut album Psychobilly Infection, tell us about yourself and your musical history up to previous band Mickey And The Mutants.

Hi Pete … I was born in Northern Ireland, to escape the troubles we moved to Birmingham England when I was 4. I’ve been here ever since. I picked up a guitar when I was 13 and found I could play it quite easily, it was the 1st thing that actually made sense to me, school just went over my head and bored the shite outta me. I joined a R’n’R band after 2 weeks of playing, then developed into Rockabilly and then I discovered The Meteors and my life changed forever. I formed a psychobilly trio called the Phantom Zone, we were OK and supported all the new upcoming bands including The Guana Batz, The Stingrays, and The Vibes. I then travelled the world for years just playing my acoustic around bars developing my writing skills on the way.

Has rockabilly/psychobilly always been the main source of your strongest musical pleasure personally and creatively?

Simply: YES !!! It’s in my blood, when it’s there, it’s there for life.

You have seen and been involved in numerous decades of the psychobilly scene here in the UK, would you say it’s in one of its healthiest moments right now?

I was there very near the beginning, then as I say travelled the world, it’s amazing to see how big it’s become again. Its healthier than ever and an amazing scene to be involved in, full respect to those that kept playing, they saved the music I love and I thank each & every one of them for that. Also people like The Bedlam Crew and Little Jo, her MySpace was one of the 1st psycho related sites I came across and I’m sure that played a huge part of the returning scene.

We mentioned Mickey And The Mutants, how did the link up with ex-Meteors/ex-Guana Batz bassist Mick White and Sharks drummer Paul ‘Hodge’ Leigh come about?

I was in my own Crampish Garage band called The Bionic Krugerrands and Mick liked what we did, and my guitar style so asked me to join him. I said no many times but then my drummer left and as I was at a loose end I caved in, I’m glad I did. Then the drummer he had left and we found Hodge, simple as that really.

I may be wrong but I get the impression that you are happier and more fired up creating and driving your own bands than playing in other’s projects, though I hasten to say that your own penned songs and vocals on the MATM album Touch The Madness do not suggest that to be fair.

No, you’re correct, I love to create and have a deep passion for what I do and after 37 years of creating music in one form or another I know how it works so understand the process and what to do to get the best out of it. It was fine working normandthenightmarezpsychobillyinfectioncdwith Mick and he was kind enough to listen to my input, and you know what? We made one hell of an album Hodge, Mick ‘n’ Me and I’ll always be proud of it.

What are your strongest inspirations would you say in sound and your guitar style?

Guitarists: Cliff Gallup, Grady Martin, Paul Fenech, and Ivy Rorschach

Songwriters: Nigel Lewis, Paul Fenech , Johnny & Dorsey Burnette, and Leiber & Stoller.

Artists: Most of the Sun Rockabilly’s and various Rockabilly and Psychobilly over the years.

Norm And The Nightmarez has just released its first album, the undeniably brilliant Psychobilly Infection. There seems to have immediately spread a swift and lively buzz about the band and release. Would you say this has been the most dramatic impact a band or release you have been involved in has made?

HELL YES !!! But as soon as we heard the album mixed, myself and Alan Wilson knew we had created something special. That’s from a punters point of view not from an arrogant stance. I’m thrilled with the way it turned out!.

Did you have any expectations or hopes beyond simply having people like it once it had emerged in the studio?

Oh Yes, I want to play this devils music all over the world as much as possible, I’m never happier then when I’m onstage doing this material, it honestly sends me wild, sometimes I have to rein myself in a bit for fear of injury ! Whatever you see me do onstage is from the heart, nothing is staged or acted, any scream, any grimace any movement, it just gets into my bones and transports me to a place I love to be.

You seem to have found the perfect blend of rockabilly and psychobilly on the album, both teasing and seducing without overpowering the other. Has this been an instinctive and natural find or something you have cultivated over time?

Purely and Simple Instinct!!!

I get the impression that the band is very new as a presence; is that the reality and were the songs on the album bred after its emergence or do some have a longer history to them?

10443120_680915955319815_6023845040549483159_oI just sat down over a weekend and wrote the songs as I always do, on my own with my acoustic. A few were already in existence but most totally new. I think I’ve had Sex Kitten for about 30 years but never used it till now.

How did you meet drummer Frank Creamer and bassist Mark Bending and how easy was it to get them on board for the album?

Frank Creamer was briefly around in the late part of the early days so I kinda knew him a little from then and I got Mark Bending from an advert I placed.

I am right in believing the band has a different line-up for live shows now?

Yes you are, I have a very talented young buck called Jake Lyon on drums, he has a degree in music and filled in with the Mutants on a couple of gigs, I’ve honestly never worked with such a gifted live drummer. John Goodey is on double bass, he’s been in rockin’ bands for the past 30 years plus and is an awesome double bass player.

Tell us about the recording of Psychobilly Infection, was it all smooth sailing?

I honestly can’t remember much about it, it went by in a flash and as ever recording with Alan Wilson was really pressure free. I did the ground work and preparation before I went in and as a trio we practiced hard for it. We did have one hiccup as the bass player’s bass wasn’t up to it and Alan wanted to make it special so Steve Whitehouse put his underpants on over his jeans and saved the day by driving his own personal bass over for us to use in a super hero styleeee.

Any tales you can tell us from that time, any solicitous meetings or the occasional salacious summoning? 😉

Yeah, there were the 9 prostitutes, two if which were lady boys (I can’t tell you who had them ) and the mountain of coke night !!!. Nah, only kidding, all quite boring really we just concentrated on getting it bang on, capturing the threat and suspense we wanted to create. Early nights and Earl Grey!!!.

Is there a particular moment or aspect to the album which gives you the biggest chill and tingle of satisfaction and pleasure?

It all gives me a tingle I just honestly cannot believe how amazing it’s turned out, though if I’ve got to pick one moment it’s at the end of the 2nd lead break in the song Psychobilly Infection just before I start to sing, it’s like a Buddy Holly dum dad dum da dum, dum dum, it just moved me and I get a thrill now every time I do that bit live, its ace.

What is on the near horizon of Norm And The Nightmarez?10446663_680914721986605_2839446702070720291_n

The Beldam Breakout festival in September & a lot of gigs booked, to be honest amazing stuff is coming in daily but we’re up for anything and just wanna get out there both in the UK and around the world and play, play, play.

Thanks again for talking with us, any final thoughts to leave us pondering?

Norm & the Nightmarez are here to stay, come to a show and see for yourselves … come get the PSYCHOBILLY INFECTION !!!.

And finally tell us five of the most important or simply thrilling releases which have had a part in your evolution as a musician and songwriter.

In Heaven – The Meteors

Elvis Presley – Sun Sessions

Johnny Burnette Rock n Roll Trio

Stray Cats – Stray Cats (that’s the 1st album only )

Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps – 1st two albums.

Sneaky Bonus ::: Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks

Of course, there’s also Eddie Cochran, Billy Fury, Buddy Holly, The Ramones, The Undertones, The Clash, all the Rockabilly Sun Recordings etc. etc. 🙂

Hey thank you Pete, it’s been fun mate.

 

Read the review of Psychobilly Infection @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/norm-and-the-nightmarez-psychobilly-infection/

https://www.facebook.com/Normandthenightmarez

Pete Ringmaster

The Ringmaster Review 01/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mike Marlin – Grand Reveal

 Mike Marlin pic

     To be honest initially the new album Grand Reveal from Mike Marlin threw thoughts and expectations into mystified disarray, the artist instantly going against what was presumed for our first encounter with the man. It also did not take long to be deeply enamoured with his enterprise and inventive uniqueness. Marlin creates what can only be described as dark folk, though that also limits the impression of what is on offer across the striking album. The songs making up the release evoke and provoke thoughts and emotions but constantly within its startling and varied breath, there is an underlying virulent infectious lure. It is not always marked and at times no more than a whisper but at all times the barb hooked is available and potently contagious.

Born in London in the sixties, Marlin has had an eventful and dramatic life to simplify things. Losing an eye as a four year old while playing in the garden, the traumatic event and the subsequent cruelty of other children shaped he and his determined fire ahead. Something of an academic child prodigy he won a scholarship to Oxford to study Physics at seventeen. At this point he truly began his musical education constantly attending gigs and seeing the likes of Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Dr Feelgood, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Stranglers, and The Undertones to name just a small few. Playing bass in a band in Oxford came next before Marlin dropped out of education and started working in the small family broking business. The next twenty five years or so saw Marlin go through a family meltdown, start a series of technology based companies, and in 2008 decide to be a novelist Throughout he had also written songs with no intent to unveil them for public consumption but in 2009 he met musician and producer James Durrant and they recorded as a creative experiment the album Nearly Man, which Mike now describes as “the greatest hits of a man who never had any hits”. A recording by him of Staying Alive brought him to the awareness of agent Neil O’Brien and one year later from singing his first song to anyone Marlin found himself supporting The Stranglers at the Hammersmith Apollo on their 2011 UK tour. Later that year debut album Man On The Ground was recorded with producer Catherine Marks, as well as joining another Stranglers UK and European tour.

Entering the studio again last year with Marks for Grand Reveal, what has emerged is an album which reaps depths of emotions Mike Marlin - Grand Revealand striking ingenuity which one assumes have seeded from the journey Marlin needed to make in his life. The album starts with the first single taken from it, Skull Beneath The Skin. An ambient key shaped entrance evokes the imagination at first and though it does not light instant imagery there are shapeless ideas bred from its elegant presence. Soon a lone guitar is stroking the ear whilst Marlin brings his excellent part croon part growling vocals to bear on the lyrical narrative. Into its full stride there is certainly a Psychedelic Furs lilt to the eager stroll of the song and vocals, the refreshing sounds and passion offering a R&B swagger to the almost punkish attitude. It is an excellent start which entraps full focus before handing over to the title track, a song with a slow loping stance within an emerging sweltering air rich in emotive shadows and snarling ambience.

The impressive start continues with War To Begin and Amazing, the first a track with a repetitive persistence coring a fiery embrace which sizzles and burns upon the senses. Like many of the songs on the album its catchy temptation is irresistible with the vocals of Marlin are an appetizing graze within the melodic energy of the confrontation. The second of the pair is a dawdling tension of feeling and atmosphere with an agitated yet hypnotic pulse to add steel to the emotive charge. The beginning of the track is compelling enough but when it flares up with an electric abrasion from the guitar and heightened fire to the vocal attack, a major highlight is bred.

As it progresses The Grand Reveal increases its potent attraction with further pinnacles coming through the outstanding sinister dark folk triumph of The Murderer, the song easily the best on the album with its distorted innocence and sultry intrigue not to mention malevolence, the warm sixties tinged Forgive Me Yet with its vibrant brass shards of colourful sounds and Cajun banjo coaxing, and Doesn’t Care. The last of the three songs picks at the ear with glistening spots of sonic brilliance whilst the guitar picks its moment to precisely play the passions like a siren. It is a kaleidoscope of emotive craft and richly appetising enterprise, something which describes the whole album perfectly.

With every song offering a shadowed tale lyrically and musically to whip up imagination and pleasure with their diverse inventive aural fuels, Grand Reveal is a rare and rewarding feast which no one should pass upon.

http://www.marlinmarlin.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 08/04/2013

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The Trade: Fight Club

by Graeme McInnes

by Graeme McInnes

The past three years has seen UK alternative rock band The Trade earn a strong reputation and an eagerly growing fanbase through their impressive line performances which have seen the band shared stages with bands such as The Undertones, The Buzzcocks, The Twang, The Twilight Sad, The Xcerts, Chris Helm, Mark Morriss and The Underground Hero’s to name a few, and the release of their debut album Lie in the Dark in 2011. Since its well-received release the band has kept interest in them high with a series of singles of which Fight Club from the album is the latest. The enjoyable song is also another enterprising lure to strong anticipation ahead of the release of their second album later this year.

Consisting of vocalist Ross Milne, guitarists Stevie Morris and Liam Moir, bassist/backing vocalist Drew McLaren, and drummer Sean Hollowmind, the quintet from Angus in Scotland creates guitar driven music which with ease captures the imagination. The new single is a prime slice of their invention and a pleasing invitation into the band, a song which takes no time in engaging fully and bringing a vibrant stroll of fresh melodies and guitar lined craft to bear.

The track opens with firm but restrained riffs which niggle the air with a slightly agitated breath whilst the expressive vocals of Milne engage the ear with its fine gravelly texture. Soon a throaty bassline joins the affair paced by crisp drum beats and a brewing hunger to the song itself. Into its stride the track offers further sonic flames upon the solid and inviting hooks of the song as well as crescendos of energies which suggest the song is going to explode into more muscular purpose but instead remains in its boisterous stance to tease and equally disappoint and thrill.

Fight Club with its emotive lilt lyrically and to the vocals brings a certain hunger in the listener to check out the impending album from the band at the very least. The single is probably not the finest moment of the band to date but undoubtedly a perfect way to walk into their creative embrace.

www.the-trade.co.uk

www.facebook.com/thetradeoffical

7/10

RingMaster 19/03/2013

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