The Mystery Plan – Zsa Zsa

photo by Daniel Coston

Presenting a host of vibrantly tempting and almost ridiculously infectious escapades, Zsa Zsa is the new album from US outfit, The Mystery Plan. It is a record which flirted with feet, teased ears, and courted the imagination; seducing all with sublime almost mischievous enterprise from start to finish.

The Charlotte, NC hailing band sees Jason Herring, Amy Herring, Jeff Chester, Otis Hughes and Patty McLaughlin once more give an escape from everyday dramas with its own captivating theatre of sound and invention. Zsa Zsa is their fifth album since emerging in 2010 and in many ways their most striking. It features numerous guests including producer John Fryer, Micah Gaugh (The Veldt / Apollo Heights), and Ian Masters, former bassist-vocalist of British shoegazers Pale Saints; all bringing fresh ingredients to a recipe of imagination which revitalised the soul in these spirit subduing times.

The bewitching Those Stars breaks the silence as the album takes its first breath, the track immediately seducing our attention as the simmer of cymbals align to the leisurely swing of the bass. Its alluring moodiness is soon sharing the air with the jazzy flames of an equally steady and evocative sax; it all combined with the tantalising words and wistful tone of swiftly enslaving vocals, a picturesque captivation.

It is a delicious start to the release which is immediately matched in craft and enslavement by the pair of We All Get Down and Al Gore Rhythms. The first simmers in to view through keys, a just as minimally touching guitar laying its gentle melody alongside as the harmonic grace of Amy and Patty’s vocals caress song and ears alike. A weave of dream and folk pop with much more in its texturing, the song has a touch of XTC to its beauty while its successor is a body manipulating, feet leading slice of trip hop flirtation. It too soon reveals plenty more to its design and a character with magnetically soulful vocals at its heart.

And the addictive persuasions continue as recent single, Ballad of JC Quinn, steps up next to get under the skin. The harmonic lure of the band’s ladies leads ears into the tantalising rhythmic shuffle of Otis and Jeff, their animated temptation echoed in the lively keys and melodies of Jason’s guitar while entangled in the steel guitar intimation of Peter McCranie. Mesmeric and dreamy yet with a rich physical tempting which feet and hips cannot deny, the song had us under its spell in no time before Lolaphone gave its own instructions to the willing sway of the body. Its electronic nurturing reminded of Paul Haig, eighties flavoured hue and catchiness working limbs as the innocence of a child’s creative voice toyed with thoughts. Though maybe not breeding the same lust as those before it, the song just as skilfully took the day away before passing it on to its following companion.

Bonny is another which instantly had feet and hips lending their participation; its indie wired, nova seeded stroll a fusion of moodiness and flirtation refusing to be ignored while Long Way To Heaven escalated the temptations of it and all before to steal the show for our ears. From the virulent charm of the vocals to its rhythmic saunter and through the arousing twang of guitar to the evocative mood of keys, the track seduced every aspect of our listening bodies.

Through the folkish charisma and indie rock revelry of Sweet Tart and the crepuscular dream pop of Electric Love, a track loaded with mystique and a touch of darker intimidation, band and release only reinforced their hold; both demanding a share of favourite song limelight with every listen.

We All Get Down returns within Zsa Zsa with the Rob Tavaglione mix of its provocative fascination before Distant Sirens brings the album to an imagination provoking close through piano, keys and flute; each fuel to suggestion within the instrumental evocation and its fusion of ethereal beauty and street dirty reality.

As the world continues to be held down by nature and our reaction to it, escape and release is a longing we all share and one which the gorgeous Zsa Zsa offers in its unique and enthralling way.

Zsa Zsa is out now via Ten Millimeter Omega Recordings; available @ https://themysteryplan.bandcamp.com/album/zsa-zsa

https://www.facebook.com/themysteryplannc/   https://twitter.com/mystery_plan

Pete RingMaster 23/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

The Spiritual Leaders – Albania Away

It may not be as obvious as Manchester, Liverpool, or Bristol for producing great bands but over recent years we have found that Cavan in Ireland has been doing just that, our ears captivated by the likes of The Radioactive Grandma, Juggling Wolves, Ape Rising and Fertile Reptile among many. Now we add The Spiritual Leaders to the list, an indie rock trio which as their new mini album shows offer a rich and varied palette of sound.

The Spiritual Leaders consists of vocalist/guitarist David Reilly, lead guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Fergus Brady and drummer Cathal Brady. The band released a self-titled debut album in the closing weeks of 2012, a record introducing a sound seeded in the inspirations of artists such as The Smiths, Radiohead, Joy Division, New Order, Whipping Boy, Pixies, Stone Roses, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jeff Buckley, and Van Morrison but as within latest offering Albania Away bears its own individuality.

Recorded and produced by Rob Newman (Therapy?, Pet Crow) in Snug Recording Studios, Derby, Albania Away quickly fascinated with opener Picture on the Wall. An electronic thread led to a lively rhythmic shuffle and subsequent melodic jangle with an eighties indie hue. As Reilly’s vocals join the temptation the swing of the track is in full command, the song catching the imagination with its Lloyd Cole tinged character and boisterous sound.

Fatten the Calf follows and it too embraces an eighties indie/new wave lining around its infectious swing led by the seriously magnetic bass. Though seemingly slim in its textures, the wonderfully unpredictable song is a thick weave of enterprise and post punk nurtured suggestion while next up You Know Me bristles with more muscular rock ‘n’ roll attitude and a matching physical touch yet also has tinges of that post punk breeding within discord spun enterprise akin to The Pixies.

Predominantly instrumental, the outstanding Bell Jar is a captivating slice of melodic intimation with XTC-esque radiance to its atmospheric stroll while Temporary, which features Barra McGuirk on lead guitar and synthetic strings, made for beguiling acoustic companion, its stringed serenade a haunting pleasure.

Underwater With You superbly completes the release, initially an electronic teasing which is soon bound in melodic guitar wires alongside subtle but equally fertile rhythms and voice. It too has an evocative quality, an atmospheric air coloured by the band’s craft and imagination.

With every listen Albania Away captivated and fascinated with increasing strength, ears increasingly seduced by each passing minute; The Spiritual Leaders giving more proof that though still a relative secret beyond its borders Cavan is a hot bed of unique sound and real pleasure.

Albania Away is out now; available @ https://thespiritualleaders.bandcamp.com/releases and https://open.spotify.com/album/0nwrKNcbi3xF03VMQYUjqF

https://www.facebook.com/thespiritualleadersrock/

Pete RingMaster 14/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

The Room in The Wood – We’re The Martians, Now

photo by Mark Sant Angelo

As for most music lovers, our list of all-time favourite singles is quite extensive but one riding high is Things Have Learnt to Walk That Ought to Crawl by UK new wave/post punk outfit The Room. A couple of years short of four decades later a track by former members of the band has joined that eager line-up; Charmed from The Room in The Wood recently released before the band’s new album, We’re The Martians, Now. Its success suggested a bigger release which had the potential to capture ears and imagination alike which we can now loudly declare it does with sublime ease.

Liverpool’s The Room in The Wood is at its heart vocalist Dave Jackson and guitarist Paul Cavanagh, the former a founding member of that predominately eighties band with the latter joining them the year after the release of their 1982 debut album. Uniting again as The Room in The Wood, the pair released a self-titled first album in 2018 to critical acclaim with later that year The Mars EP more than echoing its support and potency. With twelve tracks which fascinate as they seduce, of which numerous could equally demand an attention grabbing standalone release, We’re The Martians, Now is destined to command even greater praise and success, the album one of the most captivating encounters 2020 has embraced so far.

Featuring drummer Colin George Lamont (Mark Lanegan, Dave Gahan), flutist Simon James and the celestial backing vocals of Helena Jacks, The Room in The Wood immediately compelled thick attention with album opener Diamond Clouds. The band’s sound is a tapestry of flavours; new wave, post punk, dark pop, and folk nurtured hues among them and swiftly We’re The Martians, Now revels in the rich temptation it offers. The first song saunters in on a fuzz lined melody and a rhythmic skip, Jackson’s almost stoic tones quickly walking the song’s instinctive rock bred catchiness while the angelic harmonies of Jacks make for a siren like contrast to his earthier presence, both magnetic within the flames of Cavanagh’s guitar.

Never breaking its lively amble, the track is a richly rousing affair which the following Mars (Won’t Save Us) more than matches in contagion with its post punk lined virulence. Akin to a tonic made up from the essences of The Doors and Stan Ridgway, the track is part apocalyptic insight and part celebratory flirtation and one greed eagerly took to before Stowaway lured its own healthy portion of appetite with its surf washed, dark pop/rock stroll. Warm and seductive with a gorgeous crepuscular edge, the song swiftly got under the skin, its rhythmic swing gripping hips as vocals and melodies entangle the imagination.

From one majorly favourite moment to another in Blue, a similarly shadow lit seduction haunting air and  ears alike, again something of a Mr Ridgway styled hue adding additional colour to its dark kissed intimation and breath before the album sets its title track on an already lustful appetite for We’re The Martians, Now. Again Lamont’s rhythms are eager manipulation beneath the melodic caresses of guitar and Jackson’s descriptive presence, the track another which had the body swaying and attention inescapably hooked.

Across the glistening melodic radiance of Shimmer, a song with a surface which teases volatility, and the infection loaded nostalgic bounce of Fun of the Fair, The Room in The Wood just gripped the passions tighter, the second of the two especially viral in sound and effect and  living up to its title whilst provoking thoughts. Even so they still found themselves eclipsed by the aforementioned Charmed and its esurient beauty. With a great Monochrome Set spice to its melody woven intoxication and graceful harmonies, the track is splendour in a shadow drenched world, a spark and light to the darkest day.

There is a similar tinge of Bid and co to next up Dragonfly though there is as much a XTC like breath to the folk coloured song too yet as everywhere the moment of creative glamour is as distinctive to Jackson and Cavanagh as you could wish with the flute of James a romance of fluttering gossamer wings.

The final trio of the intimately earnest and acoustically bewitching Halloween Lies, the tense indie pop lined Under the Waterfall, and the sonically aflame and rhythmically bold exclamation, The Earth is Flat ensure the album never loosened its hold from start to finish. The second of the trio carries a Wonder Stuff-esque sigh to its captivation while the last of the three is a rousing almost belligerent post punk stomp reminding a touch of bands like 1919 and Gang of Four.

And that is We’re The Martians, Now, a collection of tracks which with consummate ease simply held attention and the imagination in a realm of magnificence.

We’re The Martians, Now is out May 15th via A Turntable Friend Records; available @ https://theroominthewood.bandcamp.com/ digitally, on CD, and Limited Edition Vinyl.

https://www.facebook.com/theroominthewood/   https://twitter.com/davejacksonroom

Pete RingMaster 16/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Jonny Polonsky – Kingdom of Sleep

photo by Jason Robinette

Earlier this year, NYC-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jonny Polonsky released a single in the magnetic shape of The Weeping Souls. Whilst capturing the imagination it hinted that his forthcoming new album would be a myriad of temptation and now here Kingdom of Sleep has more than lived up to the suggestion.

The album is the sixth from Polonsky within his 23 years as a solo artist. His first album, Hi My Name is Jonny was released in 1996 with the last, Fresh Flesh, coming out in 2018; both as his releases in between no strangers to attention and acclaim. That time has also seen Polonsky collaborate with the likes of Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, Maynard James Keenan, Tom Morello and Donovan, and form and play in the short-lived Big Nose with Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave). Kingdom of Sleep is the striking new adventure in his creative journey, a release self-produced by the artist and mixed and mastered by Mike Tholen (Chris Connelly, Revolting Cocks).

The album opens with Ghost Like Soul, a track featuring the spoken words of Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At the Drive-In/The Mars Volta fame. Immediately a crepuscular radiance envelops ears, keys and vocals a shadow wrapped seduction as an eighties synth pop essence spices the growing charm and touch of the track, Polonsky’s imagination and craft embracing a mist of various hues in the song’s haunting breath. From start to finish ears and imagination were transfixed, the song only increasing its evocative suggestion and presence by the minute.

cover by Jorge Castillo

The following Sign In the Window instantly reveals its indie pop instincts, the opening short choppy riffs of guitar quickly joined by Polonsky’s ever magnetic tones. In turn a melodic sparkle breaks as just as radiant keys brew their own magnetism within the increasingly infectious encounter. There is a bright Frank Black meets James Cook essence to the song which only adds to its catchiness before The Weeping Souls once more had ears and attention hooked. Again temptation is immediate, guitar and voice colluding in a rich lure draped in a seventies/eighties suggestion of indie pop offering up echoes of bands such as T-Rex, XTC and Love and Rockets.

Openly Polonsky’s songwriting is matched by his imagination and craft in strength and virulence, next up No Tears proving the suggestion with its individual mix of electronic and indie pop within an emotion soaked serenade. It too shares the instinctive catchiness which springs from every track within the album, its gentle sway and emotive intimacy no restraint to an inherent contagiousness as epitomised one again within the following Take Me Home. A darker climate hugs ears straight away; its breath almost claustrophobic but the evocative mist across a melodic crystal at the song’s heart springing psych nurtured sonic sighs. Fascination leaks from every note and syllable, keys and vocals the source of rich temptation within the track’s equally potent atmospheric haunting.

You Turn Me On simply charmed the senses next while the Aenerone broke upon ears like a dew blessed melodic sunrise; both tracks absorbing pieces of infection loaded emotive pop woven with originality and undisguised passion. As within most tracks within Kingdom of Sleep there is a mercurial essence adding a suggestion of contrasting emotions or intensity, a drama which only escalates their captivation.

The album ends with A Willing Eye, an acoustic hearted, electronically escalated seduction which maybe took longer to seduce than others before it but with its thick drama and web of irresistible sounds grew to enthral and set another firmly memorable moment within the similarly fascinating release.

Kingdom of Sleep is an album which had us hooked and absorbed from pretty much its first breath but inescapably so with every subsequent listen so we can only recommend you run the rewarding risk of ensnarement too.

Kingdom of Sleep is released May 11th via Ghostworks Recordings; available@ https://jonnypolonsky.bandcamp.com/

https://www.jonnypolonsky.com/   https://www.facebook.com/JonnyPolonskyMusicPage   https://twitter.com/jonnypolonsky

Pete RingMaster 09/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Medusa – In Bed with Medusa

 

Having found ourselves taken with sound and invention of UK trio Medusa with their 2011 released second album, Can’t Fucking Win, it quickly became apparent that there was nothing predictable about the band’s music but as confirmed by its successor Headcase’s Handbook three years later it has persistently proved a thickly compelling affair. Both albums were rich in the band’s punk fired rock sound and bold in their intrigue loaded magnetism, traits again just as fertile within the band’s new album, In Bed with Medusa.

The new release though is a whole new beast to be tempted by, one which still bears the inimitable breath and touch of the London based outfit but as its title suggests has an unwrapped intimacy which challenges as much as it fascinates. It is a far darker and rawer involvement with Medusa, one which startled from the off and has persistently caught us off guard with its almost feral emotions and untamed enterprise but fair to say with every listen has left us thickly hooked.

Emerging in 2006, Medusa is the creation of vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Julian Molinero, the band’s line-up on the new release completed by bassist Kotaro Suzuki and Towers of London drummer Snell, the latter recruited barely eight weeks before recording which took place with Steve Albini at his studio, Electrical Audio, in Chicago across the first four days of  December 2019. You can only imagine this intense recording time has added to the raw energy and heart of a release though equally such its resourceful drama and touch you can only feel it was always meant and going to be such a soul bearing proposition.

Oblivion opens up the album, a song which instantly unravels an instinctive infectiousness in voice and sound even before hitting its more aggressive and energetic punk ‘n’ roll stride. Molinero’s tones are as bare breathed and provocative as the melodic wiring escaping his guitar between punk bred chords, rhythms a potent anthemic incitement beneath it all.

*love not included seamlessly springs up from the closing straits of its predecessor, the track another with a persistent, indeed voracious catchiness to its punk ‘n’ roll incitement. Hooks and sonic wiring lured and gripped ears as boldly as rhythms and vocals, the track provoking and inviting keen involvement in its naked heart and touch before River Phoenix, inspired by a biography on the actor, lays a calm hand on ears before erupting in a tempestuous rock ‘n’ roll squall again embroiled in emotional turbulence.

There is an open richness to Medusa sound which is entangled in a host of rock flavours, alternative and hard rock textures among them involved within the melodically woven, deviously contagious reflection of The Girlfriend Experience while Lost in Dystopia shares more classic hues in its virulent canter; a grunge lining to both tracks as well as others within the album accentuating the wonderfully unvarnished feel of its presence and heart. Indeed Ride the Styx bears Nirvana-esque shading to its greedy nagging of the senses, the first of our favourite moment considerations within the album swiftly set.

The pair of No Such Thing and Inverse Paradise offer up quick challenges to that choice though, the first with something of an Everclear air around a classic metal wired holler another pinnacle of the release with the second eclipsing both through its almost XTC like setting bound in blues nurtured wiring as Molinero muses proving irresistible. The latter is also one of a pair of acoustic tracks which were recorded in a hotel room overlooking Bran Castle, known as Dracula’s Castle, in Transylvania.

Lenore provides a fiery enticement for ears, maybe one which lacks the sparks of its predecessors for us but still held eager attention before that final slice of acoustic enterprise in the shape of Distress Signal brought In Bed with Medusa to a fine close. Whether bred on intimate experiences of its creator or through observation, it is a potent engagement with ears and thoughts alike; one epitomising the stripped and exposed fertility of the album.

A release which grew in presence and enjoyment by the listen, In Bed with Medusa simply backs up its predecessors in suggesting Medusa is one of Britain’s brightest and unique propositions and with its own openly individual endeavour a band all should at least consider checking out.

In Bed with Medusa is out now and available @ https://medusaworld.bandcamp.com/

http://www.medusaworld.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/medusauk   https://twitter.com/medusaworld

Pete RingMaster 26/03/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Pia Fraus – Empty Parks

Photo by Joosep Volk

There are numerous traits which enthral attention within the new album from Estonian band Pia Fraus with with fascination leading the way. In its contrast lit body it offers an embrace of ears and imagination thick in melancholy yet is as life affirming and rich in hope and optimism as any heart could desire.  From its first to last shoegaze nurtured breath Empty Parks eagerly beguiled whilst presenting tracks just as keenly buoyant with contagious dreampop instincts.

Formed in 1998, Pia Fraus has crafted a potent sound and reputation across five studio albums and a host of similarly well and enthusiastically received EPs and singles not forgetting a wealth of shows and tours across Europe and further afield. Their new album, which the band declare their poppiest yet, sees the sextet of vocalist/synthist Eve Komp, vocalist/guitarist/synthist Rein Fuks, bassist Reijo Tagapere, synthist Kärt Ojavee, drummer Joosep Volk and backing vocalist Kristel Eplik linking up with producer John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, Stereolab, Broken Social Scene, Teenage Fanclub), himself a true musical inspiration to songwriter Fuks.

Empty Parks has emerged as one spellbinding encounter, a dreamy soulful whisper of pop magnetism sure to provide a warm knowing hug around any dark day whilst recognising the shadows such times bring. From the moment album opener Hidden Parks spread its pensive seduction Empty Parks was charming ears and senses. A soothing touch of keys is swiftly entangled in intoxicating strands spun by the guitar, rhythms a darker hue in the contemplation but just as encouraging with their catchy stroll. With the familiar and always beguiling mix of Komp and Fuk’s vocals, the song effortlessly slipped under the skin, the band’s expected but never dulled blend of female and male vocals rapture in its own right.

 An even paced enticement, the track makes for a transfixing start though the following Love Sports had body and attention quickly bouncing with greater urgency straight after; its pop virulence and melody thick mesmerism pure captivation. As with all tracks there is a delicious claustrophobic effect to the song’s temptation, an easy and whole immersion in its creative enchantment which never warrants a wish to escape in this song or the album as a whole.

Slow Boat Fades Out is next up, a track which shares the radiance and bearing of nineties bred shoegaze with the band’s distinctive character of touch and sound which is further lit up by that sublime vocal union while successor Mr. Land Freezer bounds in on a spirited canter drenched in a thick electronic mist. Both tracks share imagination stirring hooks and melodies which caress like lustful lovers and each with increasing dexterity had the body swinging as they slithered under the skin.

Across the wonderful Young Marble Giants meets The Pastels like graceful beauty of Sweet Sunday Snow and the similar tantalising of The New Water with something of an XTC air to its riveting pop enterprise, the album only tightened their hold on ears and pleasure with Paper Flower Projects adding its own substantial enticement. In comparison to its predecessors, it is almost rowdy in its energy and muggy in its breath but another provider of melodic and harmonic radiance around a rhythmic inducement which makes you want to dance within a web of guitar and bass fertility which grips ears and accentuates the pleasure.

If not quite inciting the passions as those before it, You’re Not in Love held attention firmly in its dextrous hands before Nice and Clever and Late Summer Night soon after shared their respective melancholy bound and increasingly tempestuous serenade and balmy yet similarly suggestively mercurial and intense proposal on ears, the latter with a captivating drone like quality.

Australian Boots brings Empty Parks to a close, the song a final absorbing caress which harbours its own emotive disturbance, one which openly and eagerly simmers but never quite erupts. The track is a joy of intrigue and intimation within an equally thrilling embrace and a fine end to a release which simply kept the real world at bay for forty five odd minutes.

Empty Parks is out now via Seksound / Vinyl Junkie; available @ https://piafraus.bandcamp.com/album/empty-parks

https://www.facebook.com/piafrausband   https://twitter.com/piafrausband

Pete RingMaster 05/03/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Fertile Reptile – EP

Life’s trials and tribulations can be said to be character building and certainly it is easy to feel that about the Fertile Reptile sound. An acoustic parade of craft, passion, and energy, it is a rousing affair with a definite emotive edge as eagerly shown by the trio’s new EP, cryptically named, EP.

The band is based in Co Cavan Ireland, a place already tattooed on our eager senses through another threesome, The Radioactive Grandma. Large in space, small in populace, the county has a music heart which cannot be ignored, for us that band and now Fertile Reptile stand right at the centre. Both bands have an acoustic rock bred sound and there is no escaping thinking of the sadly demised Radioactive Grandma when listening to the Fertile Reptile EP, that band’s Johno Leader indeed mixed and mastered the quartet of tracks, but it swiftly and firmly proved the latter has its own distinct sound. It is a proposition which also teased with essences sparking thoughts of The Wonderstuff and The Woodentops in varying degrees which equally only added to its rich captivation.

As mentioned the band’s journey to date has not been plain sailing. Formed early 2009, the trio of vocalist/guitarist Peter Denton, bassist Jamie Byrne, and drummer Dwayne Kiernan leapt into the local live scene taking punk, metal, and ska influences into their intimately themed songs. “Due to mental and physical health difficulties” though the outfit disbanded towards the close of the following year but their friendship endured and saw them coming together to jam from time to time and work on other projects. In 2015, Kiernan underwent surgery for a rare spinal disorder but complications left him with brain injury and mobility issues leading him to have to give up playing drums. Music will have its day though and he turned to the bodhrán and in 2018 the three came together with a couple of acoustic tracks in Denton’s pocket and emerged as Fertile Reptile; his electric guitar swapped for an acoustic incitement to join the electric enticement of bass and that, as within their first EP, quickly addictive intimately manipulative bodhrán.

To be honest everything about the band’s EP got under the skin and quickly, its first track, Can’t Feel Anything, invading with a swing no hip or foot could ignore. Denton’s guitar is a smiling enticement, the darker hues of Byrne’s bass the perfect companion as Kiernan’s rhythm on goatskin, or whatever his bodhrán wears, dances. Denton’s vocals equally had ears and thoughts keenly involved as the song eagerly strolled all the time inviting and receiving enthused participation.

Virulently infectious it is a tremendous start to the release and quickly matched in catchiness and enterprise by Forget About It. It was with this magnet of a song that The wonder Stuff spicing more firmly revealed itself and similarly there is a tint of XTC to its gleeful canter. Like a spirited embrace of summer around reflective words, enlivened even more by the violin of Christophe Capewell, the track had body and appetite bouncing before making way for the equally irresistible Abusement Park. The rawer rock heart of the band’s sound fuels and shapes the character and imagination of the song, its emotive dispute and physical boisterousness together rather than at odds in its galvanic shuffle; Kiernan’s zestful backing vocals another alluring texture in the contagion.

There is a calmer pose to closing track, Tubby Lad, though there is no avoiding its instinctive catchiness and inherent spirit. Again lyrics tap into intimate thoughts as melody and harmonies caressed an already greedy appetite for the band’s sound, the song a powerhouse of incitement and vibrancy even in its reposeful gait.

We have had the pleasure to check out some truly enjoyable and thrilling treats this past year and the Fertile Reptile EP stands tall among them.

The EP is out now; available @ https://fertilereptile.bandcamp.com/album/ep

 

https://www.facebook.com/fertilereptile/    https://twitter.com/ReptileFertile    https://www.instagram.com/fertilereptile/

Pete RingMaster 07/11/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Stoor – Fleam

Though addictions are triggered early on they seem to put on truly inescapable nagging shackles over time but there is one for us which was immediate, thickly gripping and has just squeezed the life out of free will ever since and that is the new album from Scottish outfit Stoor. Admittedly the seeds had been sown and blossomed already for the Dundee quartet’s unique sound through their 2015 uncaged self-titled debut album but a craving Fleam has now escalated to all devouring heights. Like the last and first thought around sleep will be of a true if maybe unattainable love, right now our every musical urge starts and ends with Stoor.

It is hard to believe that Stoor is still not a band eagerly on the lips of thick waves of indie, rock, and post punk fans after their striking first full-length but surely a puzzle going to be solved through the aberrantly extraordinary Fleam. Again bred in a sound which has echoes and inspirations of seventies/eighties post punk and rawer new wave antics, Fleam has discovered a whole new level of virulence in the hooks, melodies, and imagination which made up its predecessor. It is a mischievously multi-flavoured experience though which leaves predictability and expectations barren on the kerbside of its compelling adventure.

Released through Stereogram Recordings who are ever reliable to bring fascinating proposals to the ears, Fleam opens with the appetite securing instrumental simply called Stoor Theme. As the album’s title represents, the band’s fresh sound strikes at the heart and cuts through the thick, wasteful but deceptive excesses which fatten the success and manipulate the common ear into providing undeserved attention and through the simple but incisive groove ‘n’ roll of its initial offering makes the first hook loaded score.

It is an imagination sparking, body twisting coaxing quickly matched in craft and temptation by successor, Pain. Instantly there is an air of sonic vexation from which a bold and boisterous stroll swings forth wrapped in the wiry enterprise of guitarists Ross Matheson and Davie Young whilst driven by the tenacious rhythms of drummer Scott McKinlay and bassist Stef Murray. The track was soon scooping up lusty attention and even more so as it twisted through a great and devilish pop infested post punk escapades within its undiluted rock ‘n’ roll. With Murray’s lead vocals just as magnetic and persuasive to participation, the track easily stole the passions.

It is a success soon shared across Fleam starting with the pair of Lovebombing and Dig. The first comes equipped with danger and threat as well as another dose of pure musical contagion that infests ears and instincts. Nurtured in punk ‘n’ roll ferocity and armed with a lyrical prowess which grips as effortlessly as the feral sounds surrounding it, the track simply enslaved before the second of the two sauntered in and exploded in a flame of melodic discord and eccentric invention. With a breath akin to The Nightingales in league with Television Personalities to it, the track burrowed under the skin laying bait and temptation which for just over two minutes feasted on any possible resistance to its esurient endeavour.

Ark follows, its opening lure loaded croon posted in a dusty mono background before eventually leaping through ears with Murray’s tones riding its undisturbed stride. Within, the primal edge to his bass is just as appetising but equally so are the strands of sonic thread igniting the senses courtesy of the rapaciously enterprising guitars; it all seemingly imposing greater temptation as the track’s volatility ignites and erupts in a predatory trespass.

Dancing around as the world crumbles, new single Atrocities is next and immediately has the body bouncing and imagination flirting with its XTC/ Orange Juice-esque celebration bred in a Fire Engines tuned jangle cast amidst the howl of windy discordance and apocalyptic corruptions. Haunting and rousing from its first sonic rattle, its uninhibited dust finally settles as the adventurous exploits of Agags Groove steps forth. As ever the persistently captivating and manipulative beats of McKinlay steer an inescapable quest for band and listener, the instrumental simply a web of intimation and temptation spanning past decades of flavouring woven into its own unique espionage.

McKinlay is even more a puppeteer within Founding Father, straight away directing body movement with provocative craft which soon invites guitars and bass to add their own similarly devious ideation and touch. Celestial melodies subsequently escape to expand the fascination and draw of another sublimely delicious moment within Fleam, the track as seductive as it is a cauldron of disquiet and dark suggestion before the following Unlike Them brings a declaration of defiance, anarchy and musical insurrection to bear on an apathetic landscape.

The album concludes with the incendiary magnificence of Chivers; a tapestry of rhythmic stalking, carnivorous basslines, and melodic friction united in irresistible incitement further loaded by thought grabbing vocals. Lure and challenge, a term which can be applied to the whole of the release, the song is unapologetic slavery and a glorious close to the album, its mercurial but always agitational and rousing body pure inspirational pleasure.

If Stoor had been there helping drive the Scottish post punk/postcard scene way back they would be cited as an inspiration for so many just as Orange Juice, The Fire Engines, and Josef K but do not confuse that suggestion with thoughts that the band is not one of music’s most fresh and exciting propositions right now and with releases like Fleam you can be sure they will be inspiring the creativity in numerous propositions to come.

Fleam is released on white and black vinyl, CD, and download via Stereogram Recordings March 30th across numerous online stores including https://stoor1.bandcamp.com/ with a special album launch show at Dundee’s Beat Generator Live! the release night.

https://www.facebook.com/stoormusic/   https://twitter.com/STOOR44   http://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk/artists/stoor/

Pete RingMaster 26/03/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Upanishad – Crossroad

Its press release calls Crossroad, the debut album from Italian outfit Upanishad, “…a trip, an adventure, physical and dreamlike.” It has also been a journey for the band to reach the point of its release and a collection of ups and downs with experiences which have undoubtedly gone into one fascinating, captivating, and refreshingly imaginative encounter.

Hailing from Florence, Upanishad began in 2000 and quickly began breeding their own unique sound from a blend of rock, punk and indie flavours. The following decade saw a first EP which sparked attention and opportunities, departures and additions to the band’s line-up, and live success leading to greater moments and chances. The departure of members in 2010 as the band prepared work on a first album saw Upanishad go on hiatus for a couple of years before two of its founders in vocalist/guitarist Vanni Raul Bagaladi and drummer Lapo Zini resurrected the project; bringing in bassist Mirko Bazzocchi to complete the band’s line-up. Quickly writing new songs, the band found, whilst still embracing those earlier hues that their sound was quickly embracing a new and richer as well as broader flavoured character with bold imagination aligned to technical adventure. It is a mix now making their debut full-length one truly fascinating proposal and one which just seems to grow in ears and appetite by the play.

Crossroad opens up with Look At You and instantly had attention on board as the bass of Bazzocchi alone lays down enough intrigue carrying bait to hook any appetite. A sonic swirl gathers in the background as it beckons, eventually sparking a further melodic enticement through the guitar of Bagaladi whose vocals I turn make swift company to the already magnetic incitement. Though slim in body it is a union thick in spicing and tempting which revels in the web of hues making up increasingly and creatively agitated not forgetting irresistible rock ‘n’ roll.

This Room follows and instantly hits its own alluring stroll with unpredictability oozing from every pore, a proposal gaining momentum by the second as the song grows, twists and reveals its mischievous invention. Like a fusion of T-Rex, Pere Ubu, and Mucho Tapioca as psychedelic and progressive imagination collude in rock ambition, the track is a voracious cosmopolitan sounding adventure exploring fresh skies and earths simultaneously.

Quickly establishing itself as one of the album’s truly tantalising moments it is quickly matched by the daring rock ‘n’ roll of Feelings. The band’s latest single, the track launches through ears on gnarly riffs entwined in Red Hot Chili Peppers like funk infused devilry, grooves and hooks spared lusty tenacity across its virulent swing and flirtatious stroll. Again there is a mercurial bent to its boldness, every breath and mania gaining turn soaked in unpredictability and resulting pleasure before Side Effects leads the listener into sultry surf washed climate of sound and atmospheric intimation. The throaty tone of bass ensures a great earthy connection to the loftier exploration as essences reminding of bands such as System Of A Down and 6:33 add to the acceleration of wit, vision and pleasure.

The thought tantalising instrumental Spikes Trap brings its own shadows and mystery to bear next, the technical dexterity of the trio quickly establishing a mental picture for the imagination to conjure with before Connected envelops the senses in its fuzzy sonic smog and melodically fired threads. Though not a track which inflamed as fully as its predecessors, it made for a potent addition to the album’s persuasion which its title track emulated in its sepia coloured storm embraced acoustic serenade.

Across the seductive ears smooching inducement of Parasite and the haunting almost sinister atmospherics of Clouds enthralment with Crossroad was only further cemented; the first of the two alone a lively croon of inventive virulence and emotive attraction impossible to say no to and another peak to the album.

Through the contagion lined canter of The River, a track with a great whisper of XTC to its melodic breath and inventive suggestiveness, album and band unveiled yet another aspect to their sound and quest before leaving No Way Out to close things up. Its opening tease is eighties post punk nurtured, subsequent melodic and harmonic dissonance post rock toned with both flavours embroiled in greater adventure as the song swells with creative initiative and impassioned intensity.

It is a riveting end to an equally engrossing release; a true slab of originality and audacity. Whether Crossroad will take Upanishad to the attention of the biggest and numerous spotlights it deserves to tempt it is impossible to predict but it is easy to say that it is an album which will leave a lasting imprint and joy in those taking the plunge.

Crossroad is available now via Red Cat Records across most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/Upanishadproject

Pete RingMaster 21/03/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Threatmantics – Shadow On Your Heart

As we have suggested before, originality can be found in numerously various places within music but uniqueness is more of a holy grail as each decade passes. One band which radiates the latter is Welsh outfit Threatmantics; well certainly their third album, Shadow On Your Heart deserves that declaration and as frustratingly it is our own introduction to the Cardiff quartet we will eagerly generally tag them with it too.

Like mischievous troubadours, Threatmantics weave tales and musical adventures with a fusion of art and folk rock; though that alone only hints at the essences which make up their deviously tantalising sound. It is a proposition which embraces the hues of bands such as The Cardiacs, XTC, This Heat, Mr Bungle and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci in various ways and places throughout Shadow On Your Heart but essences only spicing the band’s hard to pin down music and imagination.

Recorded with French producer Anne-Sophie Ouvrier, Shadow On Your Heart opens up the theatre within with it’s title track; initially tempting with snarly riffs before breaking into a smiling melodic saunter. Those few seconds alone had ears fully intrigued and attentive, the viola of Heddwyn Davies a summery lead alongside the earthier moves of Gareth Middleton’s bass and the crystal touch of Andrew Rhys Lewis’ guitar. Davies’ vocals are just as magnetic with their bard-esque character, a swing to their lilt matching that of the outstanding start to the album.

First Things is next up and just as much a tease of musical lures from its first breath; viola and rhythms colluding in instinctive temptation before vocals bring their own invitation to the immediately infectious brew. With a controlled but rousing burst of chorus and unpredictability in every move and twist in its drama, the song is aural devilment led by the equally catchy swinging beats of Huw Alun Davies. Echoes of Zanti Misfitz and The Cardiacs shimmer within the riveting encounter before Now You Are Gone reveals its own individual magnificence. Middleton’s bass is a delicious grumble, the guitar of Lewis sonic nectar while the vocals of Davies just recruit participation in the virulent saunter.

Who Is Afraid Of Patrick Wolf? is folk encrusted rock ‘n’ roll so easy to be enslaved by; a Horslips like scenting adding to its indie natured entangling of ears and appetite while Cold Warts darkly serenades with a Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci flavoured breath. Both tracks were as irresistible as those before, the second of the two adding Cardiacs meets post punk ingenuity to its kaleidoscope of multi-decade sourced antics.

The band’s new single follows, Dangos Dy Ddannedd a darkly lit seducing with volatility in its belly and melodic bedlam in its instincts. Increasingly intensifying in fever and pandemonium, it makes way for the McLusky natured mayhem of Krystal Pystol. A rousing ruckus of punk infused noise it in turn breaks from the speakers to allow the calmer breath and charm of Under The Sun to caress the senses. A rugged stomp emerges from its slightly disturbed tranquillity to manipulate and escalate an already in place satisfaction with the song’s exploits.

The album closes with the impish folk ‘n roll of Mother Folker From Hell, a song alone showing the array of flavours employed in the Threatmantics imagination and lastly the sludge thick chunter and feral crawl of Little Johnny. Imagine the mutant offspring of 12 Stone Toddler and Melvins and you get a sense of the sublime end to one glorious album.

Like us for us there may be many to whom Threatmantics is an undiscovered thrill so we suggest making Shadow On Your Heart the moment the rapture begins.

Shadow On Your Heart is out now through Ffatbyrg Records @ https://threatmantics.bandcamp.com/releases digitally and on 12” vinyl, with a limited edition, numbered run of hand printed covers by acclaimed Welsh artist John Abell.

https://www.facebook.com/Threatmantics/   https://twitter.com/threatmantics

Pete RingMaster 05/03/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright