Tommy And The Commies – Here Come

Entangling the addictive hooks of Buzzcocks, the pop contagion of The Undertones, and the punk irreverence of The Cortinas with the early mod punk instincts of The Jam sounds like one rather tasty aural recipe; a mix which the imagination does not have to merely ponder as it is at the heart of the irresistible sound of Canadian outfit Tommy And The Commies. Their debut release, Here Come, soon proves there is much more of an individual character and flavouring to the band’s sonic holler though, a sound which you just feel would have been as potent back in the late seventies as it will undoubtedly be now.

From Sudbury, Ontario, Tommy And The Commies is the united exploits of Jeff Houle (Strange Attractor), his brother Mitch, and frontman Tommy Commy. Together they create “hooliganistic mod-punk” as nostalgic as it is rigorously fresh and in raucous evidence within the Slovenly Records released Here Come. The album immediately erupts with opener Devices, vocals and guitar colluding in instant temptations as rhythms boisterously roll. Very quickly we found ourselves agreeing with the Howard Devoto spicing to Tommy’s vocals as suggested by the album’s press release, but as within the music individuality soon wins through. The track continues to romp and stomp with punk/power pop infectiousness inciting body and vocal chords from start to finish, success only matched and escalated across the remaining slices of viral boisterousness and tenacity.

The following Straight Jacket shares its own virulent catchiness; from its first breath getting under the skin with excited riffs and melodic enterprise. Slightly more restrained in urgency than its predecessor, the track is still an unbridled bundle of energy and creative uproar bounding along without inhibition before Permanent Fixture springs its Dickies scented revelry. Again riffs and hooks collude in its excitable endeavour as rhythms robustly stir and bite within a full fusion of the familiar and new.

Something akin to 999 meets The Vapors,  Hurtin’ Boys provides another major highlight in nothing but across the album; its jagged stroll swift and a constant incitement on body and spirit before new single Suckin’ In Your 20’s entangles raw seventies power pop with modern day indie dissonance to similarly manipulate hips and throat.

A definite hint of The Ramones teases within the wiry antics of Throwaway Love, the guitar laying a mesh of hooks and melodic niggling which just brought lust to the appetite as rhythms simultaneously worked away on a body just as much badgered and inspired by the infectious clamour of So Happy where a Pixies like hue adds to inescapable temptation.

The release closes up with Reggie Rocks, another irrepressible slice of mod infused pop punk which is all mischief and noisy attitude wrapped in instinctive enterprise and contagion; a track which throughout epitomises the fun and energy of the band let alone their creative animation.

For us the best releases leave you feeling alive and inspired; Here Come does that and more.

Here Come is out now via Slovenly Records; available @ https://slovenly.bandcamp.com/releases

 https://www.facebook.com/TOMMYSCOMMIES/

Pete RingMaster 06/10/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Smash Fashion – Rompous Pompous

With a mere but rather tasty single in between, it has been a long wait for the successor to their highly enjoyable and highly praised third album Big Cat Love but finally US rockers Smash Fashion have unleashed its successor in the shape of Rompous Pompous and a devilishly mischievous and captivating proposition it is.

Eagerly anticipated, the album lives up to its excellent title with eleven slices of multi-flavoured rock ‘n’ roll which romp and stomp in a way only the La quartet can. As ever the band feeds on rich rock essences from across the decades; everything from fifties rock ‘n’ roll, sixties mod and psychedelia through to seventies punk/new wave aligned to eighties glam and hard rock going to flavour a sound just as spiced by subsequent years and modern enterprise. As its predecessor, Rompous Pompous is an adventurous and lustily fun stomp with the band but with even keener diversity and a sharper definition to its writing, performance, and character.

It opens up with Can’t Take You Anywhere and straight away a potent hook with something more than familiar to it keenly entices. It is just a lure though into the song’s own invention with the vocals of guitarist and band founder Roger Deering swiftly to the fore. Its classic rock breeding is littered with new wave and seventies pop rock flirtation, the tenacious rhythms of bassist Scarlet Rowe and drummer Reijo “Repo” Kauppila driving its boisterous stroll as lead guitarist Lloyd Stuart Casson weaves real temptation within the just as magnetic tease of keys.

It is a potent start to the release ensuring attention is firmly on board and equally strong as the following Soft As A Rock (Helium Head) takes its place with an air of Cheap Trick meets The Motors to it. Its infectiousness is swift and eager as hooks join grooves in casting a net of catchy enterprise around Deering’s ever alluring presence while within the album’s following title track the band pulls the listener in with a fifties rock ‘n’ roll nurtured saunter with a delicious B52’s-esque lilt to its blossoming revelry. The track is superb also hinting at the respective glam/art and hard rock of bands like Sparks and The Tubes as it caught ears and imagination.

Wolves Of Wonderland brings a blues flavouring with its steady hard rock canter next with not for the first time just a sniff of Queens Of The Stone Age to the melodic graining while Teenage Demon is a punk ‘n’ roll courting holler with a garage rock lining which swiftly had feet and neck muscles rocking. Again there is no missing a seventies/eighties seeded nature to the excellent track; a regular ingredient in the increasingly individual Smash Fashion sound.

Another putting a firm hand on best track honours is the Bolan-esque Proper Way To Eat A Muffin, its flirtatious almost salacious swing aligned to classic rock ‘n’ roll equipped with power pop boisterousness and lyrical devilment. Quickly and unerringly hitting the spot it had the body eagerly swinging before Runs In The Family adds further diversity to the release with its pop, punk and melodic rock collusion with a great resemblance to The Vapors to it. It too is one of the major highlights within Rompous Pompous closely matched by the Bowie kissed Tender Was The Hook, a song also embracing a sixties tone with a Hollies like scent to it.

Through the likes of the blues rock sprung Ugly Thugly and Gentle Hand with its slightly dirty melodic radiance around one irresistible hook, the album continued to light up ears even if neither song quite lived up to the heights of those before them. Nevertheless each left thorough enjoyment in their wake leaving the emotive balladry of Smiles & Daggers to bring the album to a fine close. Beginning with drama carrying piano with big shadow clad rhythms in close company, an entrance reminding of a certain Boomtown Rats classic, the song is a magnetic example of the more mature and bolder songwriting within the album. As all songs, deeper into its body you go more the different flavours and twists emerge to please and fascinate.

And that applies to Rompous Pompous as a whole, a release which gets you going from the off and just gets more intoxicating and infamous by the listen, much like Smash Fashion themselves.

Rompus Pompous is out now via Electric Pudding Recordings across most online stores.

 http://www.smashfashionmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/smashfashion

Pete RingMaster 14/08/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Smash Fashion – Big Cat Love

s m pic

The wantonly enigmatic sound and presence of US rockers Smash Fashion has always made for a compelling and thrilling proposition since forming in 2004 and new album Big Cat Love provides no deviation in that potency. In fact it takes it to richer captivating levels with another collection of riotously varied and adventurous fusions of rock ‘n’ roll. The album sees the band again reaping the blooms of various decades and styles of raw and boisterous rock music, hard and glam rock as home within their invention as fifties rock ‘n’ roll and power pop. It makes for a tantalising proposition from the band’s third album, one which even with a couple of lulls in its persuasion is a stirring captivation from start to finish.

Hailing from Los Angeles, Smash Fashion consists of musicians drenched in experience and successes. The band is led by vocalist/guitarist Roger Deering alongside bassist Nigel Mogg (ex- London Quireboys), drummer Repo (ex-Smack), and guitarist Lloyd Stuart Casson (ex- Rock City Angels). Their previous full-lengths A Gentlemens Guide to Sophisticated Savagery and Don’t Pet The Sweaty Things in 2006 and 2009 respectively, set the band apart and into an eager spotlight for their expansive sound whilst last year’s single Blame It On The Brandy more than hinted at the promise of and raised anticipation for the new release. It was potential easily realised by the again Electricpudding Recordings released album, a confirmation of that clue and of the ever hungry invention and appetite of a band which has graced stages with the likes of Ian Hunter, Arthur Lee and Love, The Zombies, Cheap Trick, Psychedelic Furs, The Alarm, Missing Person, Orson, JET, and The 88 over the years.

A gong opens up attention and the entrance of first track Wicked Ways, a shock to ears which are soon filled with enticingly grooved big-cat-love-albumguitars and crisp probing rhythms. It is instant agreeable bait which only increases its lure with the vocals of Deering and an increasingly potent infectiousness which soaks the melodies and chorus of the song as well as the vocal delivery. You cannot say that the song is a startling protagonist for the imagination and emotions but it is a persistently persuasive stroll of finely sculpted hooks, fiery grooves, and sonic enterprise which achieves the same impact. Feeling like an old friend in new clothes in many ways, much like the album, the song is an impressive opener which is swiftly matched by Marionette. Bringing more punkish seeds than the first whilst still firmly involved with a hard rock canvas, the excellent track seduces like a mix of early days The Jam and The Vapors, easily igniting and passions. The fact that it is a reworking from an appearance on the last album makes no difference to its might and presence on the album, such its thrilling offering.

The following Strike My Fancy (Knickers Down) is as flamboyant and wonderfully sleazy as its title suggests though with a refined touch in restraint behind a melodic colour which flames around the senses as keys tease their submission. It is another excellent romp with more contagion than a strip club and just as sexy, especially with the incendiary guitar craft blazing across its body, a skill just as evident in Stay Off My La La and You Love to Suffer. The first of the pair shows its intent to rock from the first seconds, riffs and vocals a keen devilry within a sturdy frame of rhythms and dark roaming basslines. As all the songs there is something virulently catchy and anthemic to the track easily bringing feet, voice, and emotions into its grasp. Thoughts of bands like The Motors and Eddie and the Hot Rods are stirred occasionally through the song before it makes way for its successor, a smouldering ballad which from humble temptations emerges over time as a riveting enticement with dark sixties punk croon to its suasion.

The title track comes in next, starting with a mischievous almost tribal groan which sparks real intrigue but then as swiftly abandons the bait to twist into a glam/seventies pop rock which is more than decent but just does not excite like the previous songs. Like Darts meets The Quireboys it is a satisfying romp but not one to fire up any real passion in personal tastes, though the bass endeavour and climactic conclusion to the song are big pluses. The perfectly accomplished and varied Just a Kiss At the Starting Line is much the same in success though different in sound with its country rock twang and bold melodic rock stroll. The guitars and drums again ensure there is plenty to engage and run with, just not enough to spark any major ardour for.

Super Glam next builds a bold rock lure of country bred spice amidst a power pop lilt and darkly toned vocals. It is another song taking time to convince but succeeds eventually through its excellent pop swagger and hard rock veining of outstanding guitar craft and pumped rhythms. It is one of those devious songs which takes a deeper grip than first realised to be a lingering presence, though the following punk infused Aim for the Heart soon has total attention for itself, the song an outstanding fusion of the addictive hooks of Buzzcocks and rich drama of Psychedelic Furs all immersed in the kind of premise which only Smash fashion can conjure. The song is an infectious temptation with feisty intent, a mix equalled by Blame It On the Brandy right after. The song immediately has ears at attention as it opens with ridiculously addictive rhythms before settling into a brew of alluring hooks, stirring riffs, and healthily anthemic vocals. Bringing seventies glam flourishes into a tempest of blues kissed rock n roll, the excellent encounter is a mix of American rock and Thin Lizzy, and a complete joy.

The dusty climate and vocal shade to Live to Tell makes for another very satisfying if not explosive avenue to the album, its scenery a bloom of shapely guitar invention and flavoursome rhythmic wile, before Stairs to Nowhere brings Big Cat Love to a rousing close. A big boned mesh of seventies hard rock and garage punk with unsurprising but enjoyable animated energy and passion, the track makes for an eventful conclusion to a fascinating triumph. Boundaries are not worried and originality arguably left alone for the main by Smash Fashion on their album but they still present a proposition which incites pleasure and the rocker in us all and that is more than enough for us.

Big Cat Love is available via Electricpudding Recordings now!

http://www.smashfashionmusic.com

8/10

RingMaster 09/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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City Of Ashes – All We Left Behind

City Of Ashes Online Promo Shot

Alternative rock band City Of Ashes started off the year in fine style with their debut EP, a release rich in promise and accomplished craft to suggest the UK band as a bright emerging spark in British rock. Now the Sussex quartet are seeing out the other end of 2013 with an equally attention grabbing release in first album All We Left Behind. Consisting of twelve vibrantly emotive and melodically potent tracks, the release is a continuation of the introduction made through the Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness EP. It may be a small expansion of the impressive starter but makes a firm confirmation of the band’s strengths whilst providing an engaging presence.

Formed in 2009, the Eastbourne band took little time in honing their sound and taking it to stages across the South East and subsequently the country. Simultaneously their fanbase rose as the band shared stages with bands such as Skindred, Exit Ten, Polar, Shadows Chasing Ghosts, Fei Comodo, Hildamay, Young Guns and many more. The Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness EP brought Orion Powell (vocals), James Macdonald (guitar), Dan Frederick (bass), and Dan Russell (drums) into sharper focus within a brewing awareness of their expressively impacting sounds as paraded on the release and you can only suspect that the returning Matt O’Grady (Deaf Havana, You Me At Six, Don Broco) produced album will reinforce and push further that recognition.

It is fair to say that All We Left Behind has not made a major leap on from its impressive predecessor but certainly shows that City Of Ashes Cover Artworkthe band has a range of songwriting depths and songs which have a wide high quality base to spring from. From the short intro instrumental Initia, the album flows into the dramatic Ode To Innocence. Guitars coax the ears in sonic angst from the start whilst the compelling bass line seeds strong intrigue into the emotive narrative of the song musically and vocally. There is a Placebo edge to the sound and voice of Powell, as well as a feel of Mind Museum and Funeral For A Friend which adds spice to the strong voice and design of the song. It is a smouldering enticement with fiery bursts of passion which only accentuates its persuasion and makes a deeply satisfying start.

Next up Falling Star takes things up another level, the guitar coaxing which starts things off immediately riveting and soon given extra potency as persistent beats and the continually engaging vocals of Powell join the tempting. The first stretch of the song reminds of Waiting For The Weekend by The Vapors but soon finds its distinct character as the guitars expands their melodic arms and intensity unveils its weight and emotion. The song never explodes into dramatic action but offers a persistent almost nagging declaration which is very easy to devour and want more of.

Both Recovery and In Retrospect present a lingering enticement, the first a gently building slice of hard/alternative rock with a slight Manic Street Preachers essence to its evocative flavouring and the second a reserved stroll of provocative melodic textures and emotional bait. Neither matches the opening pair of songs but still continues the album’s weighty call upon thoughts and appetite whilst The Highest Point Of Living provides a tender ballad of fine vocals and chilled guitar suasion which from a decent start grows bigger and more impressive, especially through melancholic strings and the excellent tones of Powell, alongside band harmonies. It is a song which inspires tingles in its latter climactic parts and leaves the senses and emotions ignited in appreciation and pleasure. The song seeps into next up Brand New World where the band creates another healthy slice of alternative rock with a melodic pop glaze. It does not set fires in the passions but still adds to the flavoursome richness flowing through the release.

Across the likes of Decay and Dorian Gray, City Of Ashes keeps attention firmly locked in their direction even if the album has lost some of the potency found in its first half, the skill of the band and the craft of songs an attractive constant. Alongside those though the rhythmic tantalising of Masks and Waves, with its dark prowling shadows provided by the bass a conflicting yet complimenting union with the sonic breeze and melodic stream of invention, bring All We Left Behind to a formidable closure. The album leaves a strong taste for City Of Ashes and their inventive sound even if maybe it does not have that spark or ingredient yet to send the passions into full ardour. The feeling that this trigger is waiting within the band’s horizons is impossible to dismiss and something to add spice to the suspected rise of one very promising band.

www.facebook.com/cityofashesband

7/10

RingMaster 11/11/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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City Of Ashes: Then There Was A Hand In the Darkness EP

 City Of Ashes Promo Shot

       Slowly burning like a smouldering wick in the passions, the debut EP from UK alternative rock band City Of Ashes ensures its ultimate persuasion is a full and lingering declaration through a melodic breath and enterprise which will not be denied. Offering a breath to their sound which can ignite the senses with either a soft indie caress or a post hardcore quall, the quartet from Eastbourne, Sussex have taken their first bow with a record which ripples with strong promise and marks the band immediately as one to watch, and enjoy, very closely.

Formed in 2009, City Of Ashes delivers a sound which though not one to open new avenues for their area of rock music it certainly offers an imagination and accomplished skill alongside thoughtful songwriting which flames like a torch against many of the other emerging alternative rock toned bands. Comparisons to the likes of Thursday and Lostprophets have been cast upon the band with the former of the two references certainly an open influence one feels when emerged within the stirring tracks on the Then There Was A Hand In the Darkness EP. Since its beginnings the band has honed its sound and earned a deserved recognition for their hard working and impressive live performances and ethic as well as a formidable underground following. The past years have seen the band light up stages alongside bands such as Skindred, Yashin, Young Guns, Exit Ten, Polar, Fei Comodo, and Hildamay to name just a few whilst enduring line-up changes and other obstacles. Produced by Matt O’Grady (You Me At Six, Deaf Havana, Don Broco, Your Demise), Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness is the first nationwide statement from vocalist Orion Powell, guitarist James Macdonald, bassist Dan Frederick, and drummer Dan Russell and one which it is hard to imagine falling on deaf ears.

The release opens with the compelling Falling Star its initial guitar rub and vocal stroking from Powell an immediate lure to theCity Of Ashes Cover Artwork ear and attention. Soon the vocals hit full range with fine accompaniment from others in the band whilst the melodic gait of the song erupts into a passionate roar to match the great vocals. At times the song reminds of eighties band The Vapors when the Guilford quartet moved away from their oriental doodling, whilst throughout there is an earnest and expansive atmosphere and energy pulling the emotions to merge with those of the song. The rhythms are sinews which enthral without defusing the potency of the heart of the song and all in all, the track is impressive as an opener and stand-alone track from the band.

It is also quite infectious as is its successor Beggars & Thieves. It is a feistier track than its predecessor offering a view of the band with their post hardcore gait at play. The bass of Frederick is a riveting prowl alongside the again firm beats of Russell whilst Macdonald blazes with sonic enterprise behind his shards of melodic coaxing, both acidic and warming. Once more the vocals are an expressive highlight and at this point it is a given Powell will wring the heart of a song of all its passion and pass it over impressively to the listener. The track does not unveil obvious hooks to capture its recipient but uses subtler yet no less contagious weaves which feel familiar but new.

The Highest Point Of Living and Hourglass bring another  diversity to the release, the first an emotive ballad whispering which wraps tender but heavy hearted arms around the ear with great surety. The song is an impassioned fever exploring and showing off the immense tones of Powell supported by the warm gentle yet passional sounds of the band whilst the second of the pair is a tower of shifting intensity and power which is bristling with creative intriguing and inventive accomplishment.

The release saves the very best to last with the thumping A Calm Like Lethargy, a track which fully shows the adventure and depth of inventive opportunities within the band and their open creative intent. Again merging a muscular aggression with fine dazzling melodic ingenuity, the song is a magnetic and irresistible confrontation with intimidating riffs and mesmeric sonic brilliance scoring the eloquent and assertive vocals.

It is a mighty close to an EP in Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness, which ignites all the right thoughts and reactions inside. It might not top best of lists in the long term but easily sets City of Ashes as a band which deserves proper attention especially from fans of the likes of Thursday, Shadows Chasing Ghosts, 30 Seconds to Mars, and Fei Comodo.

www.facebook.com/cityofashesband

RingMaster 21/01/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright