Dark Stares – Darker Days Are Here To Stay

With a clutch of praise wearing EP’s already under their belt UK outfit Dark Stares have now raised the ante with their debut album. Continuing the open evolution of their sound across those previous encounters, Darker Days Are Here To Stay is a release which maybe smoulders more than roars but like the band’s previous releases, just captivates but with an even greater depth of adventure and seduction.

The St Albans band’s individual alternative rock tempts like a fusion of Muse and Queens Of The Stone Age but equally has drawn references to the likes of Wolfmother, Royal Blood, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles. Formed in 2011, the quartet released their first EP, Tell Your Friends, the following year. Its well-received introduction to the band has been built upon in sound and success across the likes of Octopon and Soul Contract as well as a host an eagerly supported singles. Self-produced, Darker Days Are Here To Stay continues the band’s DIY intent with a raw magnetism and organic radiance which just commands attention.

The album opens up with Liquid Reign and a sonic limbo from which a swagger gaited groove, firm beats, and the tantalising voice of Miles Kristian Howell emerge. The track settles into an infectious swing entwined in heated sonic vines as that initial groove continues to wind around ears and appetite. Crystaline in its melody, crisp in its rhythms, the song is a warm yet invasive seduction as catchy as it is hauntingly provocative.

The following Sweet Rider 5 is also the band’s new single, a track similarly woven to the first but with a fiery lining to its golden glaze and a whiff of latter day Depeche Mode to its air. The guitar of Harry Collins casts another alluring web of sound and heat; tendrils of enterprise which tease rather than entangle the imagination but have it alive all the same as the dark tone of Brett Harland Howell’s bass and the urge of Taylor Howell’s beats tempt the body.  So absorbing it feels much shorter than it really is, the track still ends too quickly but Pedal Pusher soon has all focus on its fuzzy, enticing saunter. An electronic grumble adds inventive shadow to the mesmeric charms of guitar and harmonies and equally a raw edge courting intrigue and dark melancholy to contrast the radiance on offer.

Darker Days is next, its electronic scuzz even deeper and dirtier than in its predecessor to accentuate the candescent sounds wrapping broad and intimate shadows. Richly captivating with its own individually bold sway, the song wears the scent of post punk and neo-psychedelia in its creative sigh; a The Jesus and Mary Chain meets The House of Love kind of wash adding to its rich pull before Animal floats in on a sonic breeze. Its climate is soon a sweltering embrace easily luring ears and imagination to its exotic heart and bluesy drama. It is a track which epitomises the album, making a strong and potent first impression but only glowing brighter with every listen.

Across the likes of the more volatile rock ‘n’ roll of Ordinary Way with its scuzzy touch and unpredictable air and the irresistible Hips Don’t Shake the album just drew us deeper into its grasp. The first of the two did not connect as thickly as other tracks but its successor more than compensated with its addictive twists and infectious almost mischievous character. There is a constant Josh Homme like hue to songs if mostly a mere dash of colour but makes for a compelling ingredient in the album’s best moment.

Cruise Control equally dips into that spicing for its raw harmonic roar, Muse-esque spatial hues fusing with the song’s sonic fuzziness while So Good serenades from within its cavernous heart. The second is a tapestry of imagination, every move unexpected yet instantly embraceable as the lucent croon of the song envelops ears and a by now greedy appetite.

The pair of Their Game and Feels (So Sad) bring the album to a beguiling close with their respective indie rock and hypnotic glow of melancholic yet lustrous beauty. They complete a release which just captivates but with moments that had us drooling. Even so we still have the feeling that Dark Stares has not come close to finding the boundaries of their sound and that makes the anticipation for their next release as strong as the enjoyment found with Darker Days Are Here To Stay.

Darker Days Are Here To Stay is out now through iTunes and other stores.

https://www.darkstares.com/   https://www.facebook.com/DarkStares/   https://twitter.com/dark_stares

Pete RingMaster 22/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Ellipsis – Elsewhere

Continuing to earn potent praise and attention at every turn, British outfit The Ellipsis recently released their new video/single Elsewhere. Following on from their rousing previous single Cold Cactus, the new track sees the band’s creativity becoming even bigger and bolder, an attribute which seems to escalate with every release without losing the instinctive catchiness of The Ellipsis sound.

Emerging in 2013, the Coventry hailing band has become a keenly followed live proposition across the UK and an eagerly welcomed source of rousing rock ‘n’ roll through a host of singles around their attention grabbing debut EP Mind In The Sky of 2016. That live presence has seen the band The Ellipsis headline Coventry OxJam in front of 30,000 at the Ricoh Arena and play last year’s Godiva Festival in their home town. Now it is Elsewhere pushing things again, the Darren Lawson (White Lies, The Enemy, Bloc Party, Wolfmother, Placebo) mixed song and its energetically tenacious and imaginatively lit video reminding of the potential and creative imagination within the band.

The song leaps into view on a rally of beats from Alex Bonsor, the guitars of John Connearn and lead vocalist Henry Bristow colluding in a feisty tide of riffs before the latter’s distinctive and ever enjoyable tones court ears with a “boy meets girl” story. There is an air of shadowy intrigue to the song sparked by the brooding basslines of Harry Green, just one hue in the kaleidoscope of essences making up the captivation swiftly working on body and thoughts.

Easily the track is the band’s most eclectic and adventurously layered yet, every listen revealing a new twist and lining in a proposition much busier in craft and invention than it maybe seems upon the first couple of listens. In many ways, The Ellipsis sound and songwriting has come of age with Elsewhere though there is the feeling there is more adventure to come for which anticipation is already ripe.

Elsewhere is available now and you can check out its video on our video selector @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/video-selector/

http://theellipsis.co.uk/    https://www.facebook.com/theellipsisuk     https://twitter.com/TheEllipsisUK

Pete RingMaster 10/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

ELECTRIC WOODLAND to unleash new album ‘Potrero’, out 9th December‏

 Electric Woodland Cover Artwork


High Flying Norwegian Rock outfit ‘Electric Woodland’ fuse an encyclopaedic knowledge of The Doors’ and Deep Purple’s back catalogues with the modern rock suss of The Black Keys and QOTSA; the result is highly engaging. Electric Woodland unleash their explosive debut album ‘Potrero’ through Snaxville Recordings and all digital stores on Monday 9th December 2013.
Formed in 2009, it didn’t take long for Electric Woodland to get itchy feet in their countryside home of Skogbygda. So the quartet decided to rebuild a henhouse into a rehearsal room, and then construct a wooden stage at a local farm, thus spawning a festival. Needless to say, Electric Woodland have a strong work ethos and an industrious attitude to their craft. Despatching a sound that supremely pitches raw, psychedelic texturings with cleverly woven guitar lines and vocal hooks, Electric Woodland are unquestionably innovative, dextrous and poignant. Continually moving forward and breaking boundaries with a willingness to evolve and progress, Electric Woodland produce music that offers an inventive twist on bands such as Wolfmother, Them Crooked Vultures and The Doors.
Following on from the successful release of their debut EP in 2011, the band went into the barn studio of Norwegian Grammy winners Amund and Henrik Maarud to record their debut album ‘Potrero’, where the foursome laid their organic sound down to analogue tape. Now loaded with ten tracks that truly shine and showcase the band’s vast array of talents, from the twisted alluring groove of their opener ‘Heavy Eyes’, to the up-tempo blues swagger of ‘Have You Seen My Baby’ and to the timeless anthemic sway of their new single ‘Old Airplane’, Electric Woodland have crafted a record that has all the ingredients to be a bona fide modern classic.

The Hot Soul Psychos – Everfunk Junior EP


The Everfunk Junior EP is one of those releases which yes you have probably heard it all before but coming with such energy and passionate appetite to draw the funk out of its listeners it is one you cannot help liking, and liking a lot. The release comes from Irish funk rock band The Hot Soul Psychos, and consists of three tracks which stomp through and romp around the ear as well as the senses. It is not without flaws but overrides them with an infectiousness which is hard to dismiss or turn down.

Hailing from Newbridge , Co Kildare, the trio of vocalist/guitarist Dan O’Shaughnessy, bassist Ciaran Goulding, and drummer Domhnall Hurley have lit up their local scene and further afield with their energetic and sweat spraying live performances since forming just over a year ago. Their reputation continues to increase and with festival appearances at the likes of Fleadh Beag, The Galway Fringe Festival, Ballinamore Fringe Festival, Biker Rallys, and the Prosperous Music Festival filling the weeks ahead they are building up an intensive presence. Recorded with bass player Tom Cosgrave of Irish rock n roll trio The Minutes and mastered by Aidan Foley (U2, The Coronas, and Sinead O’Connor), Everfunk Junior EP is equally primed to take the band’s name and sound further afield.

Opening track Keep It That Way teases the ear with guitar caresses and rising percussive enticements, soon joined by the lurkingcover throaty menace of the bass, all restrained in their stride but eager in their temptation. Taking a breath’s pause the song then bursts into a strolling swagger of blues funk endeavour and vocal mischief, the clean vocals filled with party borne expression. The bass of Goulding snarls and carves a slightly carnivorous voice to its inventive provocation whilst the guitar paints a sonic narrative which is captivating. Admittedly the drop into an almost indulgent pass of instrumentation does not quite work but once into its swift footed stomp of again blues lit rock the track is a richly pleasing and contagious lure.

The following Connie instantly lays a web of growling guitar and bass calls upon the ear, their funk dance soon aided by a jumping rhythmic enticement and the again keen vocals. With equally a feisty rock core to its leaping invention the song gives open evidence to the band’s inspirations which include the likes of The Black Keys , Wolfmother , CCR , Rory Gallagher , Kings of Leon , and Jack White. Many will argue it is too close to some of these influences and it would be hard to argue but for a debut from a band obviously finding its feet still and the enjoyment it offers, laying the lack of true originality as a reason not to investigate Everfunk Junior would be a mistake.

From the again potent second song the EP is closed by One Es Dancer, another track which leaves its irresistible mark. Its start is outstanding, the guitars raising a fifties rockabilly like temptation which explores its imagination to create another flaming mix of blues, classic rock, and sixties inspired enterprise, whilst not forgetting its funk rock intent. It is a bouncing  and invigorating tease which leads feet and passions into its appealing aural escapade with ease and stands as the best track on the release.

There is a rawness to the release which at times brings the songs live to the senses but at other moments stifles the vibrancy of elements, as in the approaching climax of the final song but it never depletes the satisfaction gained, just suggests the band has things to work on as they evolve their sound one suspects into a more distinct and unique proposition. Available as a free download at www.thehotsoulpsychos.bandcamp.com/album/everfunk-junior the EP is well worth more than a minute of your time.



RingMaster 02/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Dead City Ruins: Midnight Killer

Offering something insatiably energetic and imaginative as well as eagerly teasing the debut album from Dead City Ruins is one unexpected and impressive pleasure. It jumps all over the ear with a diversity and adventure which is refreshing and leaves one grinning ear to ear with satisfaction. Midnight Killer does not kick down any doors leading to new corridors of invention for rock n roll but it is certainly an album which is as enjoyable and invigorating as any other rock release this year and easily more impressive than most.

Formed in London in 2007, the now Melbourne based band infuse in to their core rock sound flourishing veins of classic metal, punk, and blues brought with a stoner and grunge breath. It is a brew which welcomingly leaves its eager mark long after departure to inflame an enthusiasm to constantly return. Sine their beginning the band took no time in drawing a respectful and consistently growing attention through live shows and their first EP Lost In London. 2010 though saw the band feel the need to search for a fresh and new direction which led them to move to Australia. Soon the line-up of vocalist Jake Wiffen, guitarists Tommy Teabag and Sean Blanchard, bassist Mick Quee, and Drewsy on drums came together and cylinders were firing on full high octane as the quintet ignited the likes of Australia, Dubai, England with their greedy rock n roll. Fifty plus gigs across eleven different countries saw Dead City Ruins share stages with the likes of Veins Of Jenna, Faster Pussycat, and Wraith to increasing acclaim which Midnight Killer and upcoming shows with Wolfmother, Gojira, and Mastodon can only accelerate as the band enslaves many more hearts.

Released 23rd July, the album did not initially ignite the fullest enthusiasm due to artwork which does not do justice to the quality within and an opening song which whilst strong and pleasing did not really unveil the full power and inventive engagement of the band. Opener Where You Gonna Run is fairly formulaic as a rock song but presented with an undeniable skill and energy which does only grabs attention. The track is an eager mix of Buckcherry and Wasted Sinners forged to a classic rock body and whilst it did not exactly light any fires it gives enough to keep one keen especially with some fine guitar work to dazzle the ear.

The following Damn My Eyes raises the temperature with its infectious and driving energy skewered with strong vocals from Tommy and the growling bass of Mick, whose play is the greatest lure from a multitude of irresistible beckonings across the album. With its bluesy air handing onto the scuzzy energy of My Lai Massacre the release is already a notable array of well crafted and blended flavours. Off of a pulsating and tingling electrified presence from guitar and bass the third song on the release is an exploratory handling of catchy invigorating riffs and rhythms punctuated with continually agreeable vocals and air blistering guitar imagination. The track has a smooth organic feel through all the manipulations and conjuring before the ear whilst the lyrics not exactly cutting offer a direct and open view.

The moment the heart was truly captured came as the title track takes its place before the ear, though it will be individual to all. From its opening incendiary guitar exploits the song steps into a hypnotic shadowed side street of glorious prowling basslines and wickedly tinted vocals. The beats keep the pace urgent and eager as the song storms with wonderful rages of stirring riffs and melodic hooks so impressively that even the continual thoughts of Rebel Yell cannot deflate the thrill of the song. The track is the point the band show their willingness to play with and venture into unexpected pastures and spicery to create something unique to them which they successfully do, yes there is probably nothing openly new but no one has combined and twisted it the way Dead City Ruins does so magnificently across the album.

The song is the beginning of a trio of outstanding highlights on the album. The obviously tinted Blues follows with a magnetic slow swagger and mesmeric breath to simply spark the strongest addiction. It is one of those songs which crawls mischievously through every pore to envelope one in a consuming warmth lined with aural entrapment so before you realise you are hooked for life. This glorious piece of songwriting is followed by another gem in Go To War. The song is less involved than the previous two but simply sparks up the senses with raging riffs and explosive guitar ventures. It is just unbridled rock n roll to feast upon with the added bonus of an excellent punk ending vocally Mr Lydon would be proud of.

Completed by the stomping and easy going Highway Girl and the excellent Fallen with the bass leaving us with one more gnarly orgasm of sound, Midnight Killer is just one of the most pleasurable rock albums to excite the ear this year. It is a release which lights up the senses whilst marking Dead City Ruins as possibly being one of the most important bands to emerge for the future of hard rock.


RingMaster 09/07/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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