Punching Swans – Nesting

artwork_RingMaster Review

How to describe UK trio Punching Swans?

You could say they are a carnivorous groove machine, a sonically schizophrenic rumble, or a rabidly twisted siren; all applying to the creative psyche and adventure that breeds the band’s irresistible sound and now their new fiercely virulent album Nesting. Maybe the best way to describe Punching Swans is a twisted union between The Fall, McLusky, The Fire Engines, and Maths and the Moon. It is a band which despite a clutch of similarly distinct releases has remained in the shadows of the UK music scene like the black sheep of a family which gets locked away in the attic away from prying ears. Now though, the door is unlocked and the band is about to infest British rock ‘n’ roll with their tempestuously deranged math punk, courtesy of the inimitably thrilling Nesting.

Punching Swans is the ravenous creation of producer (Sunlight Studios) Greg Webster, formerly of Medway greats Houdini, the equally impressive Frau Pouch’s Joe Wise, and Pablo Paganotto from The Explorers Collective. Formed in 2011 or 2012, depending where you read, by Greg and Joe from a one-off band called Laura Palmer and the One-Eyed Jacks they got together for a Twin Peaks night, Punching Swans quickly sparked ears with a self-titled debut album in 2012, and even more so with its successor Mollusc two years later via Skingasm Records. Each has inspired potent attention and praise across fans, media, and radio shows but it is easy to feel it has all only been the taster to reactions about to be triggered by Nesting.

Telling the “story of one man’s journey from self-imposed isolation to the skies”, Nesting takes little time in gripping attention and appetite as its opener, Cuckoo Cuckold K-killed, dangles sonic bait in front of ears before the robustly contagious beats of Paganotto get to rebellious work. His swings tempt and seduce with a tenacious grin, coaxing bodily involvement as vocals walk the rhythmic web into the imagination as tangy guitar and devilish bass lures begin to stir and add to the increasingly enthralling and incendiary stroll. Unsurprisingly there is a touch of Houdini and Frau Pouch to the delicious incitement but equally thoughts of Swell Maps and inescapably The Fall also flavour the first treat.

Seriously dynamic and gripping, the album’s superb start continues with Man Nest, an even more psychotic and caustically enterprising proposition that needs mere seconds to seduce and inflame the senses too. Wise’s bass shows it has probably the grouchiest textures in British rock ‘n’ roll at its disposal whilst Webster’s guitar trespasses show no qualms about infesting the senses and psyche, acidic grooves and fiery tempting a perpetual forte.

Pigeon Street toys with more restrained energies and urgencies for its enthralling exploits next, though it is all relative to what came before as the song, with the scything beats of Paganotto an inescapable trigger to get physically involved, blossoming into an insatiable almost predatory shuffle of searing grooves, thumping rhythms, and zealous revelry. Even its calm climax has an element of off-kilter ingenuity before the infectious rock ‘n’ roll of Ovulations rumbles along with the fervent vocals of Wise and Webster holding the reins. Again hooks and grooves steal the passions as rhythms jab deeply, the song entwining post and garage punk texturing into its fearsomely alluring landscape.

That great bass tone is at its crabbiest again in the following Beak Throat and its peevish stalking of the senses within a net of guitar spun wiry hooks and sonic delights around vocal dexterity. It is hard to imagine anybody able to resist the choleric grooves of the song or possible to see the track alone avoid sending rapturous waves across post punk/noise rock pastures with its gloriously savaging and exhilarating tempest.

The brief but again irresistible invasive seduction of Ostrituals comes next to forcibly arouse the passions. If Public Image Ltd had been The Wonderstuff or Wire been McLusky, you wonder if they would have sounded like this mouth-watering predacious stomp whilst its clamorous successor Headless Chickens suggests The Dancing Did or Stomp doing salacious things with Pere Ubu or Marc Riley & The Creepers. The outcome of both and all songs though, despite suggested spices, is always something unique to Punching Swans as proven by Pecked to Death which cantankerously sits between them. Snarky in tone and unhinged in character, the track meanders and twists into unpredictable and manic detours but returning all the time to its rapacious and concussively catchy directness.

The bulging rhythms of Egg Rock is an immediate and successful infestation of the passions, its sonic tendrils and testy Mark E. Smith laced vocal strains only adding to another senses searing, lust inducing incitement before Flight brings the invasive alchemy of the album to an end. The clamant finale to Nesting is a raw soar into noise pop infectiousness and magnetic sonic caterwauling which just lights the touch paper to rapture before retiring to leave ringing in the ears and euphoria in the heart.

Nesting is the first essential album of the year and Punching Swans one of the bands set to step out of the shadows in 2016 and become seriously shouted about.

Nesting is released via Skingasm Records on 22nd January digitally and on CD with a hand numbered limited edition of 30 with a 16-page book featuring drawings and notes from the story behind the album @ http://punchingswans.bandcamp.com/

 

— Punching Swans Tour 2016 —

JAN 28 CANTERBURY w/Mass lines, Death Pedals, Negative Space

JAN 29 CHATHAM Poco Loco – MEDWAY ALBUM LAUNCH w/Girlpower & Bear vs Manero

FEB 11 CAMDEN Unicorn w/Mayors of Miyazaki + Screen wives

FEB 16 BRIGHTON TBC

FEB 21 OXFORD The Library Pub

FEB 24 BRISTOL Stag & Hounds

FEB 27 LIVERPOOL Maguire’s w/ Robocobra Quartet, Jazzhands and Cal Banda

 

http://punchingswans.tumblr.com   https://www.facebook.com/PunchingSwans   https://twitter.com/punchingswans

Pete RingMaster 20/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

The Tuesday Club – Boo Hoo EP

 

_RingMaster ReviewTTC

With the release of the Boo Hoo EP, The Tuesday Club has completed the release of their new album in fine style. The last in the quadrilogy combining to create the band’s 4 x EP Box Set second album, the ‘Heart’ section of the release presents three tracks as ever soaked in the UK band’s unique creative devilry. It is arguably the most diverse of the four EPs and in many ways the most low key yet it easily incites another greedy reaction in an ever keen appetite for the mischievous punk ‘n’ roll devilment of the Walmington-on-Sea hailing ‘concert party’.

With the trio of My Consciousness, Forbidden Kiss, and the freshly released Lady Gargar EPs having already stirred up attention and imagination for the fully body of the album, their releases backed by the band’s ever ravenous live presence around the country, the final piece of the captivating jigsaw gets the job done with its title track alone. Boo Hoo walks in with the recognisable Tuesday Club swagger and bullish mischief that has always fuelled their songs and releases since emerging back in 2011 wrapped in the echoes of the infamous home guard of their town and the in your face zeal of seventies punk. Over time the band’s sound has only evolved, taking on vaudevillian hues to go with its imagination as evidenced potently within that first song on the EP. Guitars and beats make the first temptation, bass a quick second, all leading to the distinct vocal tones of Andreas Vanderbraindrain whose entrance only inspires more revelry in hooks, riffs, and the warm mist of keys. As ever there is a whiff of bands like early Adam and The Ants and Albertos Y Los Paranoias to the romp, though to be honest body and soul are physically and quickly locked in to the swing and antics of the track to spend too much time contemplating comparisons.

BooHooEP4_RingMaster Review    The track is typical Tuesday Club, a glorious enticement to get bold with before Beat Oven takes over. Handclaps line the way for a subsequent sultry guitar which in turn wraps the vocals of Vanderbraindrain and presumably The Minx who sadly left the band recently but we are assuming was in the thick of the recording of the new EP first. With a catchy but subdued sway, the song strolls along sharing its infectious chorus and gait, a tempting again hard to resist getting involved in. There is also an initially undefined familiarity to the lure of the song, especially in its chorus, which is revealed somewhat when the band breaks into a sample of Tainted Love to wink at and tease the listener. It is an alluring encounter if without the spark of its predecessor.

The release is completed by the wonderfully dour but magnetic prowl of Greyer Shades, its melancholic air and melodic post punk like imagination at first captivating and over time simply compelling. It has a stark design reminiscent of Wire, a melodic sparkle and psych rock resonance similar to XTC, and a rhythmic and vocal seduction carrying the healthy scent of The Fall or Young Marble Giants to it and though it takes its time to fully convince, by the end of the first listen and definitely the second or third, Greyer Shades gets right under the skin to ultimately stealing the passions.

The album is done and all out there igniting and corrupting ears and hearts with relish; Boo Hoo completing and summing things up nicely. If The Tuesday Club is already your cup of earl grey then the new EP is another must have along with its counterparts but if new to the band’s notorious off-kilter punk ‘n’ roll temptation it is time to enlist with the Boo Hoo EP the call up card.

Boo Hoo, as all the other EP’s, is available now @ http://thetuesdayclub.tmstor.es/cart/product.php?id=27053

https://www.facebook.com/thisisthetuesdayclub    http://thisisthetuesdayclub.co.uk/

Pete RingMaster 16/12/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

Gazing into the fresh glow of The Cathode Ray with Jeremy Thoms

The Cathode Ray_RingMaster Review

Photo and copyright Peter Tainsh

2015 has provided many treats this year and definitely amongst them was the latest and second album Infinite Variety from Scottish indie band The Cathode Ray. It was an encounter embracing the nostalgia of the eighties through fresh and inventive escapades bred of the now. One of the band’s founders is Jeremy Thoms, he also the man behind the great indie label Stereogram Recordings, and someone who to describe as busy is a big understatement. Nevertheless, Jeremy kindly gave us a chunk of his time to talk about the album, The Cathode Ray itself from top to bottom and more, including an insight to his own musical loves…

Hi Jeremy and many thanks for giving us your time to talk with us.

Ever late to the party, we discovered The Cathode Ray through your new album Infinite Variety which came out a couple of months or so ago to, it is fair to say, swift acclaim. In a music world where it seems increasingly harder to actually get people to part with money or indeed offer full attention to things, did you have any particular expectations or hopes for its unveiling or is it more anything is a bonus for bands right now?

We didn’t have any expectations other than hoping that those who had liked the first album would stay with us for the second. We knew we’d made a good follow up album but, as you say, in an environment when it’s very hard to engage with people, nothing is guaranteed.

Photo by Hugh Womersley

Photo by Hugh Womersley

Originally the band was just you and Paul Haig, famed for Josef-K and his own solo career. The press release for the album suggests this was not originally intended to be a serious band project but a writing collaboration. Was that the case and what brought Paul’s involvement to an end?

Paul definitely just saw it as a writing collaboration – “a bit of fun” was one his quotes – with group recordings just being made to illustrate them. However, the reaction to them was so positive, one thing lead to another and I pushed for it to become a band and take it more seriously, which Paul wasn’t happy with so eventually he left. What confused matters in the press and public eye was that Neil, David and I were his backing band when he did a solo tour in 2008. However the emphasis then was completely on his solo work, and he had no intention of being a member of a band again after Josef K, which in the end we had to respect.

The double ‘A’ sided single What’s It All About? /Mind was released in 2006; I believe this was meant as a one off release?

Not initially but it ended up like that. Certainly with Paul participating. When we made the agreement with Pronoia Records in 2006, the album had been recorded with Paul’s full participation, but by the time we got around to discussing getting it released he had changed his mind. So he asked us to remove his lead vocals, which we did, although some of his guitar and backing vocals do remain on the first album.

At what point did that spark the appetite to push things further; as a full band and with more releases?

The point that changed everything was bumping into Steve Fraser at a TV21 album launch in 2009. I told him what had happened and he was keen to get involved. The minute we started talking music I knew he was the man. We didn’t even bother with an audition. I knew the songs were strong enough to survive without Paul’s involvement. That opened so many doors, being able to play live (which Paul would never have done as The Cathode Ray) and generally move things on after quite a difficult start.

Were some of you all already old friends and maybe previously worked together before uniting for The Cathode Ray we know today?

Neil Baldwin and I have known each other for 34 years (!) and have played in bands together intermittently since 1986. David Mack and I had been working together since 2000 so, yes, there was a certain chemistry. Steve was the “new boy” although we’d all known him on the Edinburgh scene previously.

I have to admit for once, and not intentionally, I read about the band and its background before hearing a note for a review, and to be honest once seeing a list of previous projects for members of The Cathode Ray2_RingMaster Reviewthe band which had been indelible pleasures in my personal soundtrack, subsequently luring a revisit to old favourites records after finishing the review too, there was an increased anticipation and eagerness to explore the band and album. Do you think having your musical histories has helped draw awareness to the band or not?

Well obviously there’s going to be a certain amount of that, but I do believe, hopefully without sounding conceited, that The Cathode Ray is more than the sum of its parts. But initially I guess it did help getting people interested through our various previous involvements.

There were whiffs of all some of your previous bands at times across the songs and often nostalgia blessed air of Infinite Variety, The Bluebells and Scars maybe most notably in our ears. You are a band unafraid to draw on previous adventures and spices to hone new and fresh exploits, as potently shown on the album?

The songs that I write aren’t consciously drawing on any of our past exploits, but I guess where you’ve come from does influence where you’re going. In any case, it’s probably coincidental, as Steve only toured with The Scars as a depping bassist so wasn’t involved in their creative process, while Neil only contributed to arrangements with The Bluebells. But inevitably, as we all come from that post-punk background, some of the sounds and styles of these bands are going to rub off.

How would you say The Cathode Ray has evolved over time and specifically between Infinite Variety and its predecessor, your self-titled debut album?

I would say the vague initial brief of merging post-punk Manchester with New York has simply broadened to the point where I regard ourselves now as a band that isn’t easy to pin down musically. Our original press release mentioned 60’s Garage, Soundtracks and Northern soul, to which one critic added Psychedelia, Glam-Rock, Euro-Disco, Krautrock and 90’s Alternative Pop when reviewing Infinite Variety. So it is definitely evolving. I’m currently demoing material for the next album and there’s even more interesting musical areas I’d like to explore. It’s good to surprise people.

TCR cover_RingMaster ReviewGive us some insight into the thoughts and intentions going into the writing and recording of Infinite Variety? Do you build a release on particular aims or ideas or predominantly let things organically evolve?

Things do tend to evolve organically. If you put too much pre-conceived thought into it, the music loses its spontaneity. Although I suppose one particular aim is not to repeat ourselves. Each album needs to be a significant progression from the previous one, so a certain degree of thought does go into that. Also, apart from melodies and lyrics, I’m always interested in rhythms and try to be as adventurous and varied as possible in that area too.

We described the album as a “kaleidoscope of fun, sound, and adventure”, a fair hint we think at the array of flavours and inventive spices fuelling and shaping the songs within Infinite Variety. In the hands of many bands it might be an incoherent mix, but you manage to seamlessly blend all spices and individual characters of songs perfectly. Where do you and the band start when composing songs?

Well I compose the songs and demo them first with the key riffs, chord progressions, lyrics etc. all in place. At that stage they often do sound fairly disparate. I then present them to the band in the rehearsal room and that’s when it starts to sound like The Cathode Ray. Steve, Neil and Dave all contribute parts and arrangements until we arrive at the finished article. Some songs like The Eyes Are The Window took a long time to come together and changed quite considerably from my original demo. Others end up fairly similar to the original template, but all manage to sound cohesive owing to the fact it’s the four of us playing them, I guess.

The album’s tracks manage to be rich and at times expansive in texture and flavour yet also ‘slim’, i.e. no excess baggage or indulgence. They manage to be an open evolution from your first album but also reveal a bolder leap in aural colour and character; how do you hear their relevance to older propositions as one of their creators?

Well obviously it’s difficult to be completely objective about something you’ve created yourself, but I see their place in relation to the first album as a natural progression. The leap in colour and texture which you describe is simply a way of moving the band forward, without cluttering things up unnecessarily. You use the word ‘slim’ and I suppose that comes in at the production stage – cutting off any excess fat!

How long in the making from first note to paper or thought through to last note laid down was the album?

The boundaries are always blurred as we always tend to have songs left over which were either written too late to make the cut or simply didn’t fit at the time. For example, This Force Of Nature had its origins as a completely different song dating way back to 2006. It had never sounded right so was left on the shelf. I went back to it in 2014 writing new lyrics and melodies and it quickly came together then. Eureka Moment and Buck the Trend were written in 2009 when Steve first joined. But the bulk of I.V. was written and recorded between 2012 and 2014 – around two and half years.

Our review stated spices of bands from around the eighties as rewarding aspects but over time sixties/seventies tones have emerged. I sense your own inspirations and musical loves go far back?

Oh yes – my musical tastes stretch way back! How long have you got? Songwriters have always been key to me. From Lennon & McCartney, Brian Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Jimmy Webb and Bacharach & David, through Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Scott Walker, Al Green, Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Robert Wyatt and Neil Young to Costello, Paddy MacAloon and Rufus Wainwright, the song is always key. Then there’s the bands I love – The Stones, The Velvets, The Doors, Faces, Roxy, Yes, Kraftwerk, Television, Talking Heads, Buzzcocks, Chic, Wire, Magazine, Pretenders, Joy Division, Dexys, Scritti Politti; Cocteaus, Talk Talk, Teenage Fanclub, High Llamas, Flaming Lips… the list goes on.

There is no mistaking that Scottish bands and rock ‘n’ roll of all styles and design bred there, has something unique to it, and we could go on a long list of examples. Can you define what it is in ‘the

Photo by Jez Curnow

Photo by Jez Curnow

water’ which helps breed such distinctive and so often inspirational bands from that part of the UK, as ones yourselves?

I think there’s an open-mindedness up here. Maybe Scottish bands tend to draw from a wider pool of influences than other parts of the UK. Or maybe it’s to do with being distanced from what’s happening down south – even in the age of the internet. It’s certainly true that scenes of their own do seem to crop up here around labels like Postcard, Fast, 53rd & 3rd, Creeping Bent and, possibly, our label Stereogram too, which has attracted similar kindred literate spirits. Either that or we all seem to be obsessed with the Velvet Underground!

What comes next for The Cathode Ray?

Firstly, we’ve got two more live shows coming up this year as part of The Stereogram Revue in Edinburgh and Glasgow, plus a new track called It Takes One To Know One on a compilation album. Then there’s a new video shot earlier this year at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh by Jez Curnow to go with Saving Grace, our other featured track on the comp. After that we’ll be knuckling down to working on the follow up to Infinite Variety. I’ve got five or six new songs written and demoed, plus a couple of leftovers, so we’ll be getting on with them. Expect some new directions.

Your releases come out on Stereogram Recordings, your own label which seems to have out grown and blossomed far more than its original intent I believe. Can you tell us a little about it and what is ahead for the label too?

It has indeed outgrown its original intent which was simply to facilitate a release for the first Cathode Ray album, plus any other projects (The Fabulous Artisans) or archive material I had kicking about. But over the last couple of years it has been growing steadily with first Roy Moller signing up, followed by James King & The Lonewolves, Milton Star, St. Christopher Medal, Lola in Slacks and, Band Of Holy Joy. The critical and public response has been great which is hugely encouraging. As previously mentioned, we’re rounding off the year with two Revue shows which will feature the entire roster in some form or other (minus Milton Star who don’t have a live set up at present). These gigs will be accompanied by The Sound of Stereogram, a budget compilation in the spirit of New Wave in ‘77 or Pillows and Prayers in ’82, featuring both new and old tracks from all eight acts on the label. Next year promises some new signings plus new material from the existing acts.

My big thanks to you again for chatting with us; have you anything you would like to add?

Nothing to add except thanks very much for your support over the last year.

Lastly and looking at band’s influences on your Facebook profile, a list of bands littering my own record collection I have to say, can you indulge me and give us a few of the bands/records which inspired you to get into music and then as a musician push yourself further?

Well I’ve already mentioned a whole bunch of artists who’ve inspired me, so here’s some records that have been key: “With The Beatles”; “Motown Chartbusters Vol.3”; “Pet Sounds”; “Piper at The Gates of Dawn”; “Forever Changes”; “Loaded”; “Scott 4”; “What’s Going On”; “Exile On Main Street”; “Never A Dull Moment”; “Close To The Edge”; “Aladdin Sane”; ”Houses Of The Holy”; “Quadrophenia”; “Rock Bottom”; “Country Life”; “Zuma”; “Songs In The Key Of Life”; “Trans Europe Express”; “Marquee Moon”; “My Aim Is True”; “Never Mind The Bollocks”; “Risque”; “All Mod Cons”; “Love Bites”; “Fear Of Music”; “Closer”; “The Correct Use Of Soap”; “You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever”; “Rattlesnakes”; “Steve McQueen”; “Don’t Stand Me Down”. Again the list goes on…

Read our review of Infinite Variety @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/the-cathode-ray-infinite-variety/

https://www.facebook.com/thecathoderay   http://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 23/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

KEN mode – Success

photo Brenna Faris

photo Brenna Faris

Predictability has never had a presence in the sounds and imagination of Canadian noise wreckers KEN mode, though that in itself is something to be expected. Their caustic and furious brews of post-rock, hardcore, metal, and noise, to mention just some of their flavours employed, have ignited ears and imaginations with a tempestuous almost petulant creativity ensuring the band’s propositions are some of the most persistently and highly anticipated treats. The Winnipeg trio’s new album Success is no exception but this time it has taken a detour which definitely takes assumptions by surprise.

The band has gone back to explore the sounds and invention which were fermenting and fuelling the late 80s/early 90s when KEN mode began to sow its own sonic explorations. The album’s press release lists the album as paying homage to “both their Canadian Prairie roots, and a time when they first started to care about making music; the burgeoning grunge; and Touch Go/Dischord scenes of, with bands like Nirvana, Big Black, Cop Shoot Cop, The Cows, Circus Lupus, and Drive Like Jehu warping their teenage minds.” Listening to Success though you can go back further and find the seeds in predominantly post and noise punk with the album persistently sounding like a primal version of Gang of 4 on steroids. It is the band as raw and aggressive as ever, probably even more so at times, and still lyrically stirring up thoughts and emotional involvement, but it shows a new character and new compelling designs from the band which might not quite work for all but here is being greedily devoured.

KMSuccessCover_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     Recorded with Steve Albini (Nirvana, the Jesus Lizard, PJ Harvey) and recorded as a fully live and analog session, KEN mode’s sixth album opens with Blessed, a track which from its initial sonic whistle turns into a heavy bestial prowl. Simultaneously a swagger emerges in the grizzly tones of Scott Hamilton’s bass as magnetic jabbing lines the beats of drummer Shane Matthewson. Intimidating restraint replaces their predacious aggression at this point, the vocals of guitarist Jesse Matthewson crawling syllable by syllable with open ire over the addiction igniting web now in place. The song’s volatile instincts soon return to take rein though, almost insidious discord and hostility invading whilst binding excited senses in inventive and mischievous rancor.

The outstanding start kicks up another notch with These Tight Jeans, a song which roars and excites like an illicit union of Nirvana, Black Flag, and Pretty Girls Make Graves. Of course that is a mere hint to something unique to KEN mode, the track a rumbling, grumbling contagion of wiry hooks, spicy grooves, and rhythmic badgering. As ever the song is driven by fury loaded vocals but this time assisted by the excellent punk lures of guest Jill Clapham who just adds richer colour to the slimline unbridled furnace on the senses.

The Owl… follows the brilliance of its predecessor with its own gripping dark beauty. A sinister noir lit intrigue escapes the growling bass groove, its drama escorted by the similarly potent landing of drum sticks as vocals dangle their raw tone and narrative over the imagination. An air of Bauhaus wraps the absorbing lure and agitated swing of the song as guitars and bass spring an inescapable menace of a flirtation which only gets darker and more imposing as the emotive intimacy of cello from Natanielle Felicitas returns after first gracing the opener. The solemn gentle passage hugging her enterprise is soon a brawl of noise and intensity again before regaining control in a mesmeric finale which leaves ears and emotions in lustful bliss

The grungy turmoil of I Just Liked Fire explodes next, it too a rebellious blaze for ears and appetite to get lustful over as twisted discord and carnal noise collude to abrase and infest the senses whilst its successor Management Control, with greater restraint crowds ears with a thick resonating bassline and a tangy vining of guitar endeavour. The beats of Shane once again provide disorientating yet anthemic bait aligned to the predatory and contagious groans of bass but sonically the song is more involved and less instant with its catchy hooks and grooves. This is not to say the track is any less virulent than the previous songs, just a more intensive exploration with layers of waiting rewards.

There is a feel of Psychic TV to the following A Passive Disaster as its carnivorous basslines and caustic bellow gets right under the skin and into the psyche whilst Failing At Fun Since 1981 straight after, is punk belligerence at its blisteringly sonic and primitively rhythmic best. Both songs are a jungle of menace and bracing invention, individual noise riots to thrill and linger though they get outshone a touch by A Catalog Of Small Disappointments and in turn closing song Dead Actors. The first of the final pair is an uncompromising persuasion, its stalking rhythms and vocal angst entwined in the rabid theatre of guitar and lyrics. The track enslaves body and emptions with ease, threatening and seducing with every snarl and raw fingering of the senses before its successor takes over with a psychotic and darkly elegant Gang of 4 meets Wire like meander of sound and distress lined emotional reflection. The song is spellbinding, a long term journey taking itself and the listener on a traumatic and turbulently fascinating adventure.

It is hard to say yet if Success is KEN mode’s finest hour such its big enough departure to previous encounters reveals something openly and strikingly different but the seriously thrilling encounter is definitely a contender.

Success is available via Season Of Mist now @ http://shop.season-of-mist.com/predefined-search?id_list=102, http://kenmode.bigcartel.com/, or https://kenmode.bandcamp.com/album/success

http://www.ken-mode.com/

Upcoming KEN mode dates with Fight Amp

June 16, 2015 – Toronto, ON @ The Shop (Parts & Labour) w/The Great Sabatini

June 17, 2015 – Montreal, QC @ Turbo Haus w/The Great Sabatini

June 18, 2015 – Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus w/Pyrrhon, Couch Slut

June 19, 2015 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

June 20, 2015 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups w/Lo-Pan

June 21, 2015 – Chicago, IL @ The Burlington w/GOBO’S CVIT

June 26, 2015 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Goodwill w/Pop Crimes, Teethmarks *no Fight Amp

RingMaster 16/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Falling Stacks – No Wives

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No Wives is one of those album’s you can imagine being described as anything from a glorious disorderly revelry to a cacophonous irritant, but for those with an appetite for psychotic rhythms, abrasing discord, and virulent noise it is easy to suggest that the Falling Stacks’ debut album is going to be one of the highlights of the sonic year. Like a highly agitated union between early Wire and eighties post punks The Diagram Brothers infused with healthy, or maybe unhealthy, essences of bands like The Fall and Fugazi, sound and album provide a raw and lingering magnetism. For sure No Wives is a proposition some may hate but be impossible to ignore but for those with experimentation in their genes, it is a mouth-watering dissonance to get fully involved in.

The UK trio formed in 2011, emerging in Bristol with an appetite for the likes of Sonic Youth, Fugazi, Pavement, and The Wedding Present. Falling Stacks’ music suggests there are many other likes and influences involved in the band’s own invention, whether intentionally or not, and it all makes for web like songs which catch ears and attention with a babel of sound and imagination. As the band soon revealed in a trio of EPs after their first steps, all sonic squalls and rhythmic trespasses, along with vocal incursions, come veined by an understated but potent order. In previous and enjoyable encounters it was swamped by the free hand given to riots of sound but with No Wives, the band has seized such structures and worked outwards resulting in their finest provocation yet.

The album opens with the quickly spicy and rowdy Pool Party, a sonic welcome the lead into a volatile shuffle of jabbing beats and throaty basslines courted by bracing vocals amidst a tangy guitar clamour. Once hitting its full and irregular stride, a contagion soaks ears and attention, the lure of disorder subsequently providing two minutes plus of inescapable virulence. It is a riveting start continued by the just as eagerly inventive sonic chatter of Dust Motes. Hooks and rhythms barely stand still long enough to cast a shadow within the song, the guitars dancing with almost autistic tendencies over rolling beats and a bassline which moves from moody to carnivorous and back again on a whim. The vocals across the release are a more straight forward proposition yet they too lyrically and in delivery are mischievously unpredictable and a thick hook here especially.

Sections And Sub-Sections restrains some of that turbulent energy next, an opening saunter of bass resonance posing as a riff and caustically delivered vocals the spark to similarly reserved but jabbing rhythms within guitar varied jangles. Overall the song does lack the spark of its predecessors but there are moments in its imagination which are almost sinful in their rousing invention and inimitable tempting.

Both No Stops and Los Ticos get ears and emotions over excited, the first with its persistently evolving landscape of time disruptions and seductive discord, Swell Maps coming to mind at times, whilst the second is a prowl with a devilish glint in its eye. It strolls with a deliciously compelling bassline and a mesh of guitar intrigue around gripping rhythmic bait which as every element, has a distrustful feel to its roll. The song is made up of confrontations sharing a tantalising collusion and fair to say the song is probably the only schism that is in truth the perfect union of discontent.

A darker more predacious place is explored on A Fly Would Slide, the track a hug of sonic tension and imposing ambience but coloured with further clashes of melodic and vocal discordance. Its intensity ebbs and flows as energies and emotions revolve with restraint and roars, but whilst the track takes longer to trip the switches than those before it, full persuasion is inevitable over time.

Seven Cuts is a far quicker success on ears and emotions, its caustic tapestry of snarling bass, punchy beats, and kaleidoscope of guitar endeavour, a swift fondling and thrilling of the imagination before its successor Silverware uncages a similar but individual psyche twisting dance on the senses. Rhythms and hooks have as many grasping teeth as a zip as the song shows itself to be a temptation of invigorating disunity aligning in one jungle of infectiously deranged harmony before taking its leave. It is replaced by the tinny beat loaded opening of Double Scull. Magnetism does not do the track’s start justice or the subsequent slim lead into the inevitable busily disharmonic heart of what is another slow but fiercely successful persuasion.

Closing with the physically and emotionally turbulent New Dog, the song like the shadow to the previous track in many ways, No Wives is an enthralling and exciting incitement for ears and thoughts. At times it does not go far enough with its adventure and clangor of sound, an exploration for the future, and some songs just miss the final ingredient of those providing the major peaks of the release, but Falling Stacks has given noise and rock one thoroughly fulfilling stirring.

No Wives is available from June 8th via Battle Worldwide Recordings through http://battleworldwiderecordings.com/battle/album/battle023/

https://www.facebook.com/fallingstacks/

RingMaster 08/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Fawn Spots – From Safer Place

Pic Ben Bentley

Pic Ben Bentley

Though it will not be the fiercest most hostile offering you will come up against this year, there is definitely a visceral rawness to the debut album from UK trio Fawn Spots which has the senses curling up like paint on a wall under extreme heat. From Safer Place is a furious yet creatively magnetic seduction which rages with a belligerent hardcore and punk voracity whilst smouldering with a noise rock and post punk invention. It is also a massive grower, from a strong and captivating first impression becoming one inescapable proposition drawing ears back again and again with growing eagerness.

Hailing from York, Fawn Spots emerged in 2011, originally as a duo with the intent to “push how much noise two people could make.” One or two line-up changes has led to vocalists/guitarist Jonathan Meager and Oliver Grabowski alongside newest member, drummer Paddy Carley, now standing before the world with From Safer Place in their creative hands. Written and recorded in sheds located in an abandoned Georgian garden and lyrically inspired by T. S. Eliot and Jean Paul Sartre amongst others, the album is a stirring foraging of the senses and sparking of the imagination. It retains the intensity which has already fuelled the band’s sounds and sonic assaults but explores even greater twists of invention and twisted enterprise, its songs barbarous but also ingeniously unpredictable.

New Sense stirs the blood first, its opening sonic yawn the prelude to a maelstrom of aggravated rhythms and caustic riffs raged over by bracing and instantly appealing vocals. Hooks are just as swift a lure too, almost taunting from within the smoggy air of the track. It has to be said that initially the closed in, claustrophobic air to songs took a while to acclimatise to. It did not defuse the success and weight of the persuasions but certainly distracted for the first couple of tracks before slipping into place and becoming part of the inventive furniture of From Safer Place.

The strong start is matched by I’m Not a Man; I Never Will Be, its more controlled entrance just a deceit as it too is soon a tempestuous storm of riff and rhythmic confrontation. Barely safer_place_layout_ideapassing a minute in length, the track throws in the irresistible hook or two also, successful bait courted by a great heavy bassline as the temperature and temptation of the album continues to rise through it and find new heights via the spicy causticity of A Certain Pleasure. The band has understandably been compared to the likes of Rites of Spring, Husker Du, and Mission of Burma, but the third track, and not alone in this, sparks thoughts of older bands like The Fire Engines and Wire, if lost in the blistering causticity of At the Drive In. The track sparks new greed in an already contented appetite for the album, its potency emulated and surpassed again by the outstanding Black Water. Sinister in its melodies and vocal harmonies, toxic in its sonic enterprise, the track is post punk at its most addictively inventive and predatory.

Natural Vision returns to the smoky and oppressive texture of the beginning for its persuasion but turns in on itself with minimalist hooks and melodies which vein the intensive rhythmic and abrasing examination of the senses. Though the track leaves a satisfied smile in its wake it lacks the striking spark of the songs around it, as emphasized by the album’s title track. There is a feel of Josef K in some ways to the next song, as well as a brawling punk ferocity which vocally and rhythmically pulls no punches. It is an exciting peach of a bruising on ears and psyche, and almost poppy in its infectiousness.

The heavy rhythmic entrance of Remains sets the scene for an agitated dance of psychotic beats and brawling vocals bound in a tapestry of toxic melodies and piercing hooks next. It is a glorious violation and imagination sparking incitement which has to bow a little to the superb In Front of the Chesnut Tree which follows. Its start is ripe with choppy dark bass pokes whilst the soon joining melodic winery is pure XTC, though it all evolves swiftly into an even more apparent Joy Division blossomed tempting. The instrumental is bewitching, seriously addictive, and given the clarity which the vocals are not across the album, becomes a lusty seduction on ears and the passions.

The album is completed by firstly the hellacious tempest of Recurring Face, a hardcore spawned furnace of vocal and sonic spite infused with cold post punk ingenuity. At its conclusion it is impossible not to draw a deep breath in recovery before the closing Basque Knife consumes ears with its psychotic and predacious, but controlled swamp of sound and enterprise. It is a fine end to a great release if not living up to the previous peaks on the album though to be fair the strength of all songs seems to grow with every single dive into their corrosive beauty, this no exception.

     From Safer Place is a treat of primal and instinctive noise delivered with a similar inbred passion and animosity. It tests, stretches, and excites in equal measure and makes for a very easy recommendation.

From Safer Place is available now via Critical Heights @  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/from-safer-place/id943965796

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RingMaster 10/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Black Black – Boogie Nights

BandPhoto-1-WalterWlodarczyk

There is no denying that the One Blunt Death Party / You’re A Danger 7” single from The Black Black towards the end of last year, scored a deep rooted place on the soundtrack of our and a great many other’s passions with its three tracks of psyche flirting post punk. The release was not only confirmation of an already impressing emergence from the Brooklyn band but a sign post of greater exploits being brewed. It is a recipe which has come to a scintillating and seriously compelling boil on the trio’s debut album Boogie Nights, a salaciously contagious and schizophrenically toned incitement of post punk devilry. Inspired by the 1997 movie of the same name, the album is dirtily seductive and sonically swarthy, though no fakery in colour or overblown additives can be found on the lean and creatively rapacious groove machine. If you thought The Black Black was already the tang to your ears and day, be prepared for melt down once the rhythmically voracious and sonically irresistible Boogie Nights takes hold.

Formed in the latter months of 2011, The Black Black were soon luring attention with the self- release of a pair of EPs in 2012 and a split 7” with fellow Brooklyn band Low Fat Getting High. The early weeks of 2013 saw the band entering the studio with drummer Stephen Chopek (The Everymen) to record the double-A single One Blunt Death Party / You’re A Danger, the first for Money Fire Records and released in the September of that year. It was the spark to a far broader awareness and attention upon the band, the acclaimed release also in the words of the band, the first which “truly captures the bass-driven, groove-heavy sound and energy of the band.” With drummer Tomo Ikuta joining the founding pair of guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Daily and bassist/vocalist Chris Schnaars also that year, the band has obviously continued to hone their sound and invention resulting in an album which stalks new plateaus of imagination igniting alchemy.

From the first stubby rhythmic swipes and acidic strikes of guitar, opener the plan is, there is no plan has thoughts and appetite on their feet and throwing moves. The angular spicy sparks and grooves of guitar are instant flirtation which the wonderfully throaty bassline and crispy rhythms match in imposing kind. Teasing with a bluesy scent to those grooves and its air, the song continues to rumble and shuffle vivaciously as expressive vocals behave as mischievous and predatory as the sounds around them whilst sudden dips into restraint and melodic seducing add extra bewitchment.

The tremendous starts is straight away emulated by black black snow, the second song again throwing out wiry and tasty grooves as its body swings beats and riffs like an Ian Curtis dance. AlbumCover-MichaelSincavageThoughts of Wire come to the fore quite swiftly, as too of The Gaa Gaas whilst the raw and rhythmically addictive side of the track is bred from the same primal instincts as The Fall. The track is a scuzzy turbulence of pure addictiveness and sonic sexiness, but it and its predecessor soon have to bow before the brilliance of until death do us party. The lead single from the album, it is a temptress from start to finish with a compelling acidic groove, coldly exotic hooks, and anthemic vocals as its biggest weapons out of many. Discord as ever is a vibrant colour to the band’s sound whilst a toxic melodic hue only excites the already vivacious adventure, but with grizzled bass tones and agitated rhythms courted by Mekons like sonic tenacity, the track breaches an ingenuity which is breath-taking.

The following what the world needs now strides purposefully in next with a beat carrying bulging biceps and a grizzly bass enticement which soon has the appetite licking its lips. A low tone to the vocals adds to the addictive drama before the song expels a caustic breath and garage rock ferocity. It slips through both elements again before twisting into a psychotic swing and vocal bedlam which again has body and thoughts dribbling in pleasure. The glorious tempting takes a different avenue with the darkly shadowed machine, who me?, cold almost sinister essences draping over the vocal agitation and Joy Division seeded revelry. As in all encounters though, numerous side steps and unpredictable turns bring greater fascination and ardour the way of the eventual Baddies flavoured evocation.

The previously exalted you’re a danger soon has ears and feet engaged with its slightly unruly but seriously infectious sonic emprise. Wrapped in richly spiced tendrils of melodic fire and intimidating bass menace, the song simultaneously smoulders and stomps on the way to hypnotising the senses with its unrelenting and feverish tapestry of alluring discord and searing guitar toxicity. The track as so many from the band, just seems to grow and worm deeper under the skin over time, a persistence which flows through the album and especially in songs like this drink’s familiar. Shimmering loudly with every shudder of guitar strings and grouchily tempting with every bass slap, the song slowly swarms over the senses, flirting with ears on the way through with bright flickering moves and raunchy beats.

Things get dirty and greedily energetic again with the silence is deafening, a grooved beast of riotous and infection fuelled escapades, and restrained with the sultrily tempting phillip gets divorced. The second of the pair is unafraid to occasionally fire up its bedlam though and bursts into occasional fierce blazes of sound and vocal fury, whilst both songs treat the imagination and passions to exhilarating doses of bracing and abrasing rock ‘n’ roll.

With the similarly irresistible creative psych-out of this land is not your land bringing the album to a close, Boogie Nights has little difficulty inflaming old passions and triggering new lustful responses. It is a certain challenge to all best of lists due to be offered around now and for newcomers to The Black Black an inescapable and thrilling doorway into post punk anarchy whilst for fans it is simply the best thing since…well the band’s last sonic plaything.

Boogie Nights is out now via on Money Fire Records digitally and on 12″ white vinyl @ http://moneyfirerecords.com/boogie-nights-by-the-black-black/ and http://theblackblack.bandcamp.com/album/boogie-nights

https://www.facebook.com/theblackblack.nyc

RingMaster 12/12/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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