E.P. REVIEW: Entertainment by Isaac Grinsdale

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https://isaacgrinsdale.com/

Isaac Grinsdale is an acoustic/alternative rock singer and songwriter hailing from Leeds, England. Having been in numerous rock and hardcore bands, he gradually developed towards being an autonomous solo artist, including producing his own material.

His music combines the singer/songwriter style of an artist like Frank Turner, with musical elements taken from a wide range of alternative rock bands, from Jimmy Eat World to Radiohead. He has already supported artists such as Andy Mckee, Jon Gomm, Nick Harper and  Beth Orton, as we as having completed a 30-date tour of northern England.

This EP, Entertainment, contains four tracks and makes the perfect showcase for Isaac’s accessible yet idiosyncratic style. The first song, The Blind Leading The Blind, is an arresting opener. The lyrics address the parlous state of British politics in poetic style. Starting with brooding acoustic guitar and contrasted by melodic high end electric guitar lines, Isaac’s distinctive voice soon captures the attention.

He has a vocal style reminiscent of the lead singers in bands like Jimmy Eat World and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and the 7/4 time signature gives a gripping urgency to the music which fits with the words. Lyrically, he paints a bleak dystopian picture of political corruption and deception: “The suits fail to hide the facade and their words fail in their intended charm…and it all sounds so bizarre, like a lexicon based on Orwell’s Newspeak…”. A powerful and apposite song that will resonate with many.

Next comes the title track, and Entertainment is another sophisticated and accomplished piece of songwriting that juggles complex time signatures on the verses with a more straightforward and anthemic chorus section. Isaac shows what an excellent all-round musician he is, the drumming on this song particularly impressive. Lyrically, the song was inspired by a book called The Society of The Spectacle by Guy Debord, and Entertainment portrays a superficial world where everything is about appearance, inspiring the pithy line, “for a moment I understand misanthropy..“.

The third track Nullius in Verba (Latin for “not in any words”) is another cerebral and thought provoking song, this one about the importance of independent thought and having faith in science, rather than a blind religious faith. Having had a very religious upbringing, this is obviously a subject close to his heart.

Musically, it’s both highly intricate and hauntingly beautiful; cascading and interweaving guitar lines combine with Isaac’s understated but mesmeric vocal augmented by subtle backing harmonies.

The final song, Speed of Film, also has a certain emotional gravity and poignancy. It’s  about, in his own words, “how our memories make us into the people we are today”. The lyrics are highly personal and reflective, reminiscing on past experiences, both good and bad.

In terms of the expressive vocal melody, it brought to mind the lighter moments of Nick Drake’s canon and that similarity also applies to yet more of his superb, nuanced guitar work. The song is quietly epic, ending with the intriguing refrain, “I’m addicted...”.

Overall, this is an extremely accomplished EP by a highly gifted singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He’s managed to carve himself a unique musical niche by fusing elements of alternative rock with more a traditional singer/songwriter sound and approach. With an artist like Sam Fender bringing a little alternative into the mainstream, perhaps now the world is ready for the massive talent of Isaac Grinsdale.

 

 

VERDICT = 9.3 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

Visit his official website HERE

 

Listen here:

 

E.P. REVIEW: Can’t Go Home by Collin Stanley

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Collin Stanley is a musician, singer, songwriter and producer currently residing in New York City. He was raised in Detroit, Michigan and his earliest musical influences were blues, classic rock and garage rock. Bands and artists such as Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The White Stripes and Stevie Ray Vaughan were formative on the musical style he has today. He collaborates with bass player Chris Agar and drummer/pianist/producer Eric Hoegemeyer. This EP, Can’t Go Home, is the first fruits of their labours together

Opening track The Underground sets out their stall in emphatic fashion. Starting gently with just light guitar and Collin Stanley’s casually captivating vocals, the enigmatic opening lines draw you in: “I’ll take you down to the underground, everything is strange, so profound…it all goes down”.

After the brooding, restrained verse it bursts into a volcanic chorus of raw, razor-edged electric guitars duelling with primal and powerful White Stripes-style drumming. Atop of this Collin delivers a vaulting lead vocal, drenched in cavernous reverb. Musically, you can hear those formative influences but sublimated into a unique style that lies at the midpoint between classic, alternative and garage rock.

There’s a great understanding of quiet/loud dynamics with this song that brought to mind The Pixies and Nirvana, indeed, the arrangement brought to mind the latter’s Heart Shaped Box from In Utero. After the second chorus it enters an extended refrain section which delivers the knockout punch, where we find the EP title, Collin singing “I can’t go home anymore…” with resigned desperation. A superb song, put simply.

Second track Time Future is another song with an unusual but inspired arrangement that works perfectly. It begins with just a ghostly, distorted vocal and offbeat reggae style guitars, the haunting vocal melody bringing to mind Mercury Rev’s Deserter’s Songs.

About a minute in and the music explodes into a chugging Black Keys-esque stomp with shades of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. Again, it encapsulates an entertaining fusion of rock styles and the final section is joyously anthemic, which will be a lot of fun to hear live.

The last track I Came For You is brief at just over two minutes but packs a considerable punch. It’s a mid-paced blues rocker full of Led Zep-style riffs played in octaves and delivered with the laid back cool of Queens Of The Stone Age. It features another charismatic vocal performance from Collin Stanley, some excellent bass playing from Chris Agar and blistering energy behind the kit from Eric Hoegemayer.

Overall, this is an excellent trifecta of songs that fuses the genres of blues, classic and garage rock into a potent, hugely enjoyable amalgamation. Collin Stanley is a fine frontman, and, aided by talented musical cohorts, the result a memorable and vital sound that captures the spirit of rock ‘n roll with a healthy dose of modern day angst. Most importantly, with The Underground, they have their first classic song on their hands. I, for one, can’t wait to hear a full album in the future.

VERDICT = 9 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

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E.P. REVIEW: Lavender Galaxy

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Lavender Galaxy is the artistic moniker of a musical collective that consists of executive producer Eric Remington, engineer Nick Ortega and the vocalists Nekane, Marvin Fockens and Antonia Fountain. Their combined talents fuse to create a blend of RnB and melodic house that brings to mind artists like Pharell Williams, Rihanna, Major Lazer and Dua Lipa. This year has seen the release of their first EP containing  five tracks, which have quickly become very popular on streaming services.

The EP starts off with the sultry dancehall-infused RnB of Paradise, sung superbly by Antonia Fountain. Driven by decidedly funky slap bass, the breakdown chorus and build up is very effective, the EDM synths giving it a modern sounding edge. A very fine piece of songwriting, performance and production with plenty of commercial and dancefloor appeal.

Livin’ It Up is a fantastic follow up, an intoxicating blend of Get Happy-style RnB/disco with the slick, funky grooves and propulsive basslines of Jamiroquai. Featuring the charismatic and smooth lead vocals of Marvin Fockens, the track is laced with catchy hooks, including the pulsing Giorgio Moroder-esque synth arpeggios.

Every section of the song is memorable and addictively catchy, the anthemic chorus celebrating a carefree, hedonistic lifestyle. It sounds like the hit of the summer waiting to happen.

Third song, I’ll Follow You, is another potential hit, once again featuring the gorgeous voice of Antonia Fountain. Set at a stately, slinky tempo, Antonia delivers a sexy Rihanna-style vocal over a bedrock of chugging, rhythmic synths and a punchy beat. The chorus hook is mesmeric and irresistible (“We’re turning up the music and dancing till the sun rises…”).

Fourth track Lip Gloss is built around a sturdy 2/4 house beat and a revolving four chord synth progression. This one features the ethereal and enchanting vocals of Nekane, another gifted singer in the Lavender Galaxy collective. With its immediately addictive chorus hook and ‘easy on the ear’ sound, it has versatile potential as both a hit in the clubs and on radio.

The EP closes with another Antonia Fountain-sung track, Here You Are. This one is a potent fusion of dubstep and RnB, with a powerful vocal performance from Antonia. It’s perhaps the most cutting edge track in terms of production style and genre, and, as with the rest of the songs here, has a killer vocal hook that sticks in the mind from the first listen (“You turned me upside down….”). At the risk of repeating myself, this also has strong potential as a separate single release and it’s a fine way to finish.

Overall, this is a first rate modern RnB/house EP from Lavender Galaxy, featuring  five songs that stand up in their own right. There are very few EPs where every track has hit potential, but that’s exactly the case in this instance. Having a plethora of singers in their collective gives richness and variety to the sound, along with the mixture of genres and production styles. With further material of this quality, I’d say that Lavender Galaxy have a very bright future ahead of them.

 

VERDICT = 9.2 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

 

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ALBUM REVIEW: Radio Cowboy by Rob Georg

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Rob Georg is a country singer and songwriter originally hailing from Tuebingen in Germany. He became interested in music as a child, taking up the piano and then switching to guitar. He bought his first guitar at just 14 and this led to writing his own material. In 2018, he released his first official song Push That Horn and in December of that year came his first full band release, This Ain’t My First Rodeo.

That song made it into the US National Radio Hits AC Charts Top Ten. Since then he’s released several singles and this debut album, Radio Cowboy, contains songs that are nominated for the Fair Play Country Award in Europe, as well as for the New Music Award in the United States.

The album consists of fifteen songs in the country and country rock genres, beginning with the title track. It’s an autobiographical up-tempo song about how Rob swapped his life as a rancher for being a singer and songwriter, captured succinctly in the title hook on the uplifting chorus: “Cause ever since I kissed that saddle goodbye, I’ve been a radio cowboy….”.

His sincere love of music and sense of vocation is apparent in the opening lines of the second verse: “Once I picked up that six string nothing was the same, I know every highway out there, I know every DJ’s name….”. With his authentic, radio friendly voice backed up by a gifted band of top notch Nashville musicians, Radio Cowboy sets the bar high for the rest of the album.

Second song Carry The Wind is a different type of track that Rob does exceptionally well, the epic country ballad. This one is genuinely moving, about a beloved horse who has passed on and left him bereaved. The opening lines paint a poignant picture: “The last time I saw him alive was in the first rays of the morning light breathin’ in the February air….”.

Built around picked acoustic guitar, it builds to a powerful, anthemic chorus enriched by female backing harmonies. It resonates with the deep, genuine love for his horse and the longing to see him on the other side: “When I die will you wash my sins so I can ride him once again...”.

This Ain’t My First Rodeo is a return to the light-hearted country rock that opened the album, this one an entertaining yarn about an experienced rodeo rider passing on some well meaning advice to a newcomer: “Hey kid, I was once like you, full of spit with a lot to prove, but listen up lets talk it through, I can tell you’re new to this….”. With some fantastic guitar work throughout, this is one song that really cooks and you can understand its popularity.

Ghost is another fine example of Rob’s ability to write emotive, sensitive ballads.It’s  about feeling bereft after a loving relationship has ended and not being able to get over it: “I carved a headstone, here lies another sleepless night, I tried to bury the bones of all the memories you left behind….”. With its haunting melody, Ghost was understandably released as a single and you can read my full song review here.

This theme continues into This Old House, finding Rob reflecting on leaving the house that holds so many happy memories from the past: “There’s an empty house standing behind me, I’m trying not to look so I don’t cry, cause if I do, I know I’ll be reminded of all the memories we left inside….”.

The chorus is full of poignant imagery, the music perfectly reflecting the protagonist’s sense of sorrow: “Holes from where we hung the pictures of our wedding day, when we made vows we thought we’d never break, creaky wooden stairs leading down to Christmas mornings, a dirty fireplace that kept us warm when it was storming….”.

Harvest Moon Heart is the closest to a traditional country ballad on the album, a beautifully crafted song in waltz time with a lilting vocal melody augmented by steel guitar. After the emotional turmoil of the previous two songs, this touching track lightens the mood nicely and will be a popular one with country fans, both old and new.

My Family’s Got Fur is one of the more fun songs on the album, about the love he has for his dogs who help him on the ranch. It’s a sweet, mid-paced ballad that fellow canine lovers will especially appreciate. The second verse portrays the depth of his love and their importance in his life: “My dogs are braver than I’ll ever be, they run straight into danger and they’ll sacrifice their life for those in need. They’re the hardest workers on the ranch and I’m eternally grateful for the love they give to me….”.

Next comes one of my personal favourites on the album, the hard rockin’ Dust. It’s about the living daily reality of being a cowboy on a ranch, not the romanticized version we see on the silver screen: “The cowboys in the movies don’t tell you the whole story, I’m living proof we’re not it in for the glory….”. With its rich electric guitars and gritty vocal performance from Rob, it brought to mind the Jon Bon Jovi classic Blaze of Glory.

Sunsets At The Ranch is another fine ballad which portrays Rob’s love of nature, in particular the sun, inspiring some of his most poetic lyrics: “I’ve watched it sink behind the Tennessee mountains and soak into the ocean as I walked along the beach….”. With its universal qualities, again it made a suitable choice as a single, which I reviewed very favourably (read here).

Tenth track Push That Horn is one the most simple musically, with just vocals and acoustic guitar. It’s also one of the most emotionally affecting, with Rob paying tribute to a mentor who has now passed on: “I went to the States to be a cowboy, met a man who taught me how to cut. He said “Boy, you’re gonna win it all some day so I’m gonna work you night and day….”. A beautiful tribute song with some lovely Emmy Lou Harris-style female harmonies.

Time For Some Ink provides a complete contrast in mood, a playful rocker about the joys of getting a tattoo! Rob’s vocals on this are fantastic, showing he can rock out as well as perform the delicate ballads with equal ease. His cast of musicians sound great too, with crunchy electric guitar and meaty drums providing the bedrock for this entertaining anthem. You can read my full review for this one here.

This Gift Called Life is another fine ballad that deals with that most universal of themes, becoming a parent. The deeply emotional moment of becoming a father to a newborn is captured touchingly in the song’s opening lines: “She looks like you, the doctor said in the delivery room as I cradled your head. Your eyes were blue, just like the sky, reflecting over an ocean, so wide…..”.

It also shows the flip side, the pain of seeing your child suffering: “Left eye bruised from a fight at school, standing up for someone smaller than you…and as I held the pack of ice, couldn’t take away the pain but I knew I had to try….”.

Higher Ground is another song that shows his caring side, this one more upbeat with an insistent, toe tapping rhythm. It gradually builds into a real epic in strident 2/4, bringing to mind something like Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen. Halfway between a ballad and a rocker, it’s an easily overlooked gem on the album.

When I Make It Home For Christmas is one of the most beautiful songs musically, crystal-clear acoustic guitars mingling with subtle piano and drums. A close listen to the lyrics shows that its actually about a soldier fighting in a war and returning home for Christmas: “Every night on foreign ground as I lay my gun and helmet down, I can almost hear the sound of peace breaking through…”. This lends extra depth to a subject that might have been saccharine in lesser artistic hands.

The album finishes in the same uplifting fashion with which it began, this time via an ode to trucks: Beasts Made of Steel (read my full review here). As with Time For Some Ink, it’s another hugely catchy country-rock anthem that will appeal especially to automobile aficionados. It’s a fantastic, entertaining way to close out the album.

Overall, this a stellar set of songs from a country singer/songwriter as authentic as they come. Equally as skilful at writing and performing both up-tempo rockers and tender ballads, Rob Georg sings about the things that matter to us most. He’s also honest in showing the good and bad sides to the human condition. With this very strong album under his belt, there’s no limit to his potential and I hope it reaches many.

 

VERDICT= 9 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

 

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SINGLE REVIEW: Black Dog (The Photographer’s Tale) by David Arn

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David Arn is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in Virginia. His music is mostly acoustic and strongly lyric driven, allowing his words to be clearly delivered with an authentic, gravelly voice that sounds full of life experience.

You can hear the influences of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan as well as the sophisticated lyrical style of Van Dyke Parks and Randy Newman, though his style is very much his own. He has so far released two full length albums, Postmodern Days and Walking To Dreamland (which I reviewed very favourably in 2015).

This song, Black Dog (A Photographer’s Tale) is taken from his forthcoming album Traveler Tales, which is a concept album featuring fourteen first-person narratives from fourteen travelers on a common journey.

This is an idea based on Chaucer’s classic Canterbury Tales, and this particular narrative is about an older photographer reflecting on his favourite model through their past photo shoots together. This becomes the main theme of the excellent accompanying video, featuring the model and actress Kimberly Bowie and the photography work of Angela Holmyard and David Swift.

The song is a haunting country ballad with a poignant, intimate lead vocal from David Arn. As with his previous work, his lyrics have a strongly poetic quality akin to great songwriters like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.

The “black dog” referred to in the title is a reference to the phrase Winston Churchill used to describe his battles with depression. It begins in a gentle manner, with the delicate, finely crafted lead guitar work of Toby Wilson helping to set a melancholy tone.

The first verse finds the song’s character feeling neglected from his family (“My children fear I’m getting old, from my advice they seem estranged…”) and longing for happier times (“I want to wake in different sunlight, change the shadow of my past…”).

After the relatively sparse verse, it breaks into a powerful chorus featuring the female backing vocals of Tyra Juliette and Kerri Hardwick. The chorus lyrics succintly capture the essence of the song, trying to overcome depression: “Oh black dog, your head sleeping on my knee, the window is wide open, surely by now you’d fly free…”.

The second verse sees the song’s protagonist reflecting on his past relationship with his favourite model, captured in emotive and moving lines like, “I can still feel the warmth of her soft hands, the glances I wasn’t sure were mine.…”.

The third verse is subtly augmented with a pulsing synth which adds a little momentum to the music as well as a slightly modern edge to the sound. The final lines of this last verse capture the song’s contemplative essence: “All these years and I still can’t believe things I cannot touch or see….”.

Overall, this is another extremely well crafted country ballad from David Arn that packs an emotional punch owing to its themes of aging, depression and unrequited love. Arn writes about the timeless aspects of the human condition in a distinct way while also seeming to belong to a lineage of the classic troubadours. His authentic and intimate vocal style is perfect for the sensitive subject matter and the music is fully realized with the help of his talented cohorts. A gem for all discerning music lovers.

 

 

VERDICT = 9 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

Listen here:

 

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW: Moon Rituals by Sienna

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Sienna is an avant-garde EDM artist who is currently based in Norway but originally hails from Japan. Her music is an inventive meld of electronica, house, jazz and traditional-contemporary Japanese. She has performed extensively across Europe over a 10 year period as both a performer and DJ. She has collaborated with renowned artists like Nils Petter Molvaer, a psychedelic trumpeter from Norway, Mick Karn, an English bassist (now deceased) and famous group The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, whom she opened for in the UK on several occasions.

This latest album, Moon Rituals, is her eighth. To paraphrase her press release, it is unlike her former studio albums and “essentially consists throughout of chill-out songs – and all about the different phases of the moon in the Japanese cultural context.”

The album starts with the highly evocative Moonrise, which begins with a swirl of distant, ambient synths and haunting, echo-drenched piano. The exotic melody is juxtaposed with some unexpected, almost jazzy harmonic progressions and the low-end brooding synth adds to the meditative, mesmeric mood of the music.

Around the two minute mark the mood changes and we hear birdsong before a much lighter, more playful high-end melody emerges augmented by subtle percussion. This melody becomes the main theme of the piece and the percussive arrangement builds gradually into a captivating, intricate electronica beat as the melody is harmonized and modulated in unexpected ways. Moonrise is a very sophisticated and successful attempt at painting in sound.

After the epic, six minute opening track the more succinct but equally potent second track, A Hazy Moon, perfectly conjures in sound the imagery of the title. Opening with a scene-setting plethora of natural sounds, it is based around a complex, fast moving harmonic progression on synth.

This somehow has the ethereal effect of making the music appear to be floating in mid air, in combination with the hypnotic tempo, the result being a perfect evocation of a “hazy moon”. The brief bursts of the pipa, an exotic sounding Chinese musical instrument, adds to the magical, rich texture of the music.

Third track, Wesak on Mt. Kuruma, is about a festival that celebrates the birth, life and death of the Buddha, an event which takes place on the full-moon day of the lunar month Vesakha, which falls in April or May.

This mystical, other-worldly piece is set at a tranquil pace and consists of a simple but beautiful piano motif which is interwoven with blissful splashes of synth and a haunting female vocal (by Sienna) which gradually turns into harmonized vocals, creating a truly enchanting effect. Highly original and unique, both in terms of composition and performance/production.

This transcendent mood continues into the fourth track Moon on the Water which again uses delicate piano to paint the musical scene suggested by the title, and does so very effectively. The brooding mood, unpredictable chord changes and beatific melody brought to mind the work of French classical composer Erik Satie as well as other French impressionistic composers such as Debussy and Ravel. Ultimately, though, Sienna’s musical style in all her own and this is a real highlight of the album.

Tsukiyomi, the fifth track, is rather different. The title translates as Moon of the Underworld and Tsukiyomi is a moon god in Japanese mythology. This piece creates a tense and brooding soundscape through a sparse arrangement of percussion and brief interludes of exotic melody. It lends the music a stately grandeur with the space allowing every element to breathe. As it progresses across its five minute duration, it slowly builds in complexity and nuance, holding the attention gripped to the final bars.

This minimalistic style continues into The Harvest Moon-Viewing Banquet, with strident percussion set against swelling synth strings. It results in a powerfully atmospheric piece where a piano melody gradually emerges, only for the music to fall away. The final two minutes are a subtle crescendo of musical layers that captivates the ear.

Seventh track Snow, Moon, Flowers is one of the album’s epics at six and a half minutes long and is a return to the relatively more expansive and colourful sound world of the earlier tracks. With an unusual time signature that gives it a dreamy, ethereal feel it incorporates a pizzicato string melody with a deep bassline and glistening synths, as well as piano and flute.

A beautiful sung melody then floats serenely over the top before the pulsing kick drum develops into a full swing beat. The vocals on top help to make it the closest thing to a conventional song on the album, and it is my personal favourite.

Equally wonderful is the eighth track Crescent Moon, which is based around a recurring four note pipa melody. This piece truly showcases Sienna’s skills as a composer and arranger, gradually building up a richly woven tapestry of gorgeous counterpoint melodies and harmonies. On top of this she adds angelic vocals engulfed in reverb to create an irresistible musical melange. Perhaps the most instantly accessible piece on the album, and the most melodic.

Moon Rituals concludes with the extremely beautiful piece A Pale Morning Moon which feels like both a distillation and culmination of all the album’s lunar and musical themes. Driven initially by a moving low-end string motif and minimalist bass, the music gradually blossoms into a glorious extended climax of swirling synths and rapturous piano. It undoubtedly captures the mysterious and alluring power the moon has over us and completes the album in an inspired way.

Overall, this album is a truly captivating musical odyssey by a highly original and imaginative artist. She skilfully incorporates traditional musical styles with the modern ambient style to emerge with a sound that is quite unique .Sienna’s music has the remarkable effect of drawing the listener into intoxicating soundscapes that somehow seem to stand outside time and space. Every piece on the album takes you on a different sonic journey, yet it works as a seamless and unified concept album. Sienna has truly given us the whole of the moon.

 

VERDICT = 9.1 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

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BAND INTERVIEW: Lipstick & Cyanide

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Lipstick & Cyanide are an up and coming gothic and industrial band from Northern CA, USA. Their debut release is called ‘White As Death’ and is available at Bandcamp for free HERE

I got to ask them a few questions about their music and their views on the music industry:

Lipstick & Cyanide have a unique, original sound though I could hear various possible influences such as Joy Division, Depeche Mode and the industrial electronic rock of Nine Inch Nails. Would you say these bands were influences on your music and, if not, who would you say are some of your major musical inspirations?

“You more or less hit the nail on the head. L&C is very much influenced by all the music being turned out by the alternative culture of the 80s. Joy Division, Bauhaus, the whole nine yards. When I dove head first into the goth scene in the 90s I also discovered industrial music and fell in love with it as well. Hanging out at a club and getting influenced by bands like KMFDM and Skinny Puppy as well as Ministry.

It’s kind of funny that you mention Depeche Mode, because when I was in high school and in my ‘I’m too cool for (insert thing here)’ phase, I couldn’t stand Depeche Mode! Why? ”Cuz they are’nt a thrash band, maaaaaaan! *That* ain’t punk rock!’ I fell in love with them later on, of course….”.

How do you assess the current state of the music industry and do you feel the internet has had a positive or deleterious effect, or both? On the one hand, music is expected to be presented to the listener for free, yet there is the potential for a relatively unknown band like yourselves to reach many more people than an unknown band could have in the days of the traditional music industry. What are the pros and cons?

“It’s a double-edged sword, to be certain. Hell, I’m old enough to still remember how Metallica over-acted towards Napster back in the 90s. But I think it’s great to be able to, from the comfort of your own home, hear about some band and be able to hear them instantly.

Honestly, I see a lot more pros than cons about the situation. I mean, I remember back in the day when you REALLY had to struggle to get people to notice your band, and now it can all be done with the click of a button.

But there are drawbacks. The days of physical media are more-or-less done with except as a novelty. The kids growing up in this new age of instant music will always have their thing, but mine was being able to hold a copy of, say, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and really get a sense of history and a feeling of, ‘This record changed the world’. I have no idea what the digital equivalent of that would be.”

Is there a band or artist out there who would be ideal for your band to support on tour, whose audience would be the most receptive to your music?

“Anyone in the gothic or industrial category will work. But if we’re naming names for a dream tour? The first band that comes to mind is Blutengel. That audience would for sure like our sound and I think we’d compliment Blutengel nicely if we opened for them. And I certainly wouldn’t turn down an offer to play with Ramstein! Hell, just plain playing a show anywhere in Wave Gotik-Treffen would be a dream come true! There is also a German goth band I would’ve enjoyed supporting whom aren’t around anymore: Ghosting. If you’ve never heard of them before, they’re seriously worth checking out!”

Your lyrics have a distinctly poetic quality, who are your favourite lyricists or do you derive the most inspiration from non-musical sources like poetry and literature or even film?

“Thank you for the compliment! This is where a curveball gets thrown, because my cultural foundation is punk. No matter where I go or what I do, I’ll always consider myself part of that culture. Why do I mention this? Because the one lyricist who really inspired me and got me to think about how to make my writing better? Darby Crash from The Germs. If you ever get the chance, look up the lyrics to anything on The Germs first album. It’s absolute poetry against adrenaline pumping punk.”

What is coming up in 2020 for Lipstick & Cyanide in 2020 in terms of releases and performances? Where can people learn more about you and your music?

“Live shows are on the horizon for L&C in 2020, of course. And wow am I looking forward to that! Nothing like a good show at a smokey, dark goth/industrial club. We’re currently working on our first official full-length album to be released sometime later this year as well as looking around for a label. And stop on by the L&C Facebook page at fb.me/fleshrot. Don’t be shy! Come and say hi! One of the big reasons I started this was to meet new people and make friends while having a blast playing music!”

 

I’d love you to tell us a little about the four tracks on your White As Death E.P., what each song is about etc.

 

1. The Bridge

“There’s a railway bridge near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant where people gathered to watch the plant burn. What they all didn’t know was that they were also getting a massive dose of radiation that would kill them all within a week. Just like the people on the bridge that night, the listener has no idea what they’re really looking at….”.

 

2. Guinea Pigs

“That one is more-or-less a protest song. It was me venting about the frustration I feel any time I hear about someone’s human rights being violated for the ‘greater good’. Unwilling and/or unsuspecting human medical experimentation is something I consider beyond vile. And the scary part? It’s still going on right now. We just haven’t heard about it yet.”

 

3. Kill For Peace

“Y’know…when my friends read the lyrics to that song, they told me it sounded like a prayer. Maybe in a way, it is. Peace is something I want so much. Not just world peace and such, but peace in my mind and heart as well. I suffer from chronic depression and other things I take boatloads of medicine for. I’ve been seeing therapists/psychiatrists since I was 13. And let me tell you, sometime just wanting to get out of bed in the morning is an internal war. We all want peace, we all want strength, we all want love. This was just my way to verbalize it.”

 

4. Totentanz

“Hoo boy! Totentanz was something I just did for fun when I was in a real goofy mood one day. It’s just a morbid little nonsense song about someone on a goth/industrial dance floor getting possessed by who-knows-what and dancing themselves to death. We can all relate to being in a club and then the DJ will put something on that makes us go, ‘I love this song! Time to hit the dance floor!’. Well, picture an EXTREME case of that.”