Friday, January 1, 2010

On Racer's Desk - Featuring The Love X Nowhere and Ring of Truth

Sometimes very, very good CD's just seem to get lost in shuffle, buried under the mounds and piles of submissions slumped into the Ripple Office by our trusty postman, Sal.  And it's a shame.  As deadlines approach, it seems that some very deserving CD's keep getting missed.

No more!

In an effort to make sure no deserving music ever gets denied the full Ripple Treatment, we're going to start a new series of reviews to bring to light some more great Ripple bands that have waited far too long for some Ripple Love.

 

High Score BlackoutThe Love X Nowhere – High Score Blackout

Crafting a sumptuous delight of lush indy, alt-pop, Love X Nowhere have been making waves in the S.F. underground for some time now.  Alternating at times dreamy and delicious, other times pulsating and direct, Love X Nowhere serves up a seductive blend of dream-pop and shoegaving beauty.  This is an album the reveals itself slowly, offering intense rewards for repeated listens, as each layer gently peels back, one after another.  A richness of intent crawls out of every note, every delicate arpeggio, every pulse of the bass. 

In the first three songs alone, you can find a whole bagful of pop treats, each of varying warmth and texture.  “Tomorrow’s Retreat,” positively leaks out of the stereo, riding on the wave of heavenly melodies and rich production.   This sounds like what the Mamas and the Papas (minus the female vocals) would have created in the post-punk generation.  Huge, layered string sounds, trickling piano, and a melody to make John Phillips drool.  “Din,” changes the mood on a dime, bleeding in a direct, stampeding bass line reminiscent of the best of The Sound.  Listen underneath that captivating bass for signs of  "Tomorrow’s” richness.  Diaphanous guitar lines; swirling, atmospheric synths; and another melody to kill for.  Darker in intent, the song loses none of its richness.  Not only is this my favorite song on the disc, it’s so hypnotically captivating that it’s nearly imprisoned me. It’s nearly impossible to get out of my player.  Ever.

But get it out I must, or else I’d miss the unspeakably gorgeous fragility of “Northern Time,” and it’s early-morning awakening melody.  There’s no words to describe this one but gorgeous.  Simply gorgeous.

And that’s just the first three tracks.  Many more surprises of blossoming enchantment await deeper inside. Don't miss it.

Buy here: High Score Blackout

www.myspace.com/thelovexnowheresf

Everything's the Same But in a Different Place
Ring of Truth – Everything’s the Same But in a Different Place


Sometimes it’s great how an album can take you back and throw you forward all at the same time.  That’s the way it is with me and the Ring of Truth.  Being in radio back in the eighties, I hear so much in this crisp album that I grew up loving; the passion of New Model Army, the anthemic drive of the the very first Alarm record; the rhythmic intensity of early Midnight Oil.  Echoes of The Clash.  All  early favorites of mine, and all here.  But this is no pure retro band.  Ring of Truth infuse their impassioned tirade rock with enough modern indy rock and spirit to launch this baby right into the current day.

Still, the band’s hefty lineage is apparent from the very first cut, “There But for the Grace of God,”  with its ringing guitars, marching drum beat and anthemic lyrics.  “Trust in your intentions,” they sing in distinctly UK accents right to the fist-pumping, sing-along chorus.  This is early Alarm in full, raging glory.  “Why Should This Be,” keeps the righteous indignation fuming, a new punk intensity brimming in the vocals.  New Model Army fills the sound here, pumping and churning in ale flailing swagger.   Another pure, stark winner.  Then just as quickly, the lads change gears, dropping into a stunning Midnight Oil-esque alt punk-funk burner, “Never Compromise.”  With it’s rampaging funkified bass, crashes of slashing guitar, and mildly distorted Peter Garret-esque vocals, full of spit and sneer, this one’s gonna get lots of Ripple airplay. 

From there the album’s one consistent glittering jewel, shimmering with vim and vigor, all wrapped up in a dirty, tattered package.  If the names I mentioned do anything to get your heartbeat pumping, this disc is one to check out.  And even if you’ve never dug into those older bands catalog, there’s enough adrenaline in Ring of Truth’s music to jump start even the coldest heart.

--Racer

Buy here: Everything's the Same But in a Different Place


www.myspace.com/ringoftruth


The Love X Nowhere

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