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Hot Water Music – Shake Up the Shadows EP

With Shake Up the Shadows, Hot Water Music design another effort of abrasive, forward-thinking punk

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Bruised and broken, disheartened and deep in the heartland of emotion, Hot Water Music design another effort of abrasive, forward-thinking punk. Beat up but sincere, the band never glorify the situations they find themselves in either. They tell mighty tales through their crushing music, tales of swept up glass and unforgettable nightmares. 

Lead singer Chuck Ragan utilises his voice like a speaker stuck to the heart of the world, spearheading morsel sized revolutions. They’ve always been punk rockers unlocking doors to dark rooms and then lighting them up like fireworks.

“By Any Means” starts the EP with Ragan’s gruff vocals interlinking with the instrumentals. He rips the rulebook here. He wishes to take on the world by shining light on it. “Denatured” begins swiftly, carrying chords like clouds carrying rain. The storm brews, the drumbeat excels. The vocals here are more subtle here rather than raucous. “Rebellion Story” is a stake into the heart of judgement. Ragan sings about carrying on, moving forward without looking back. The signified rage is apparent.

Throughout their history, they’ve fine-tuned a sound which may not dominate, but what it does do, is connect people. Their hearts are in it, are yours? 

This EP sticks in the mind and the lyrical content is some of the band’s best to date. Optimism isn’t on the agenda, a war cry doesn’t come to fruition, but what it has energy in abundance and age doesn’t slow this outfit down one bit. 

(Epitaph Records)

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Calvin Clone – Machines [single]

Meshed together with the cyber sounds of machines throughout, it’s a weird but working combination

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Calvin Clone Machines

The year is 2040. The war between human vs machine is at the forefront. Is it too late for humans to take back the world from Artificial Intelligence? Are we already outrun by machines? Have no fear, Calvin Clone is here. “Machines” is the first of three singles released by Melbourne artist Calvin Clone. This first track allows listeners to see into the future through song. Setting it simply, according to Calvin Clone, our world is taken over by machines, and I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound too crazy to me.

Founder and creator of Calvin Clone, Jack Alexandrovics, “combines dance, pop, industrial and rock to create a vision of cyberpunk.” This single shows a great connection music can have between modern and classic interpretation. There is a fantastic guitar riff throughout the song and really stands out when played. Meshed together with the cyber sounds of machines throughout, it’s a weird but working combination.

Alexandrovics’s theatrical voice adds yet another element to the song. He explains that his music is “closer to a theatre production than a conventional gig”. The vocal element in “Machines” exposes an ability to move up and down the scales flawlessly.

It is really exciting to see artists thinking outside of the conventional box. Calvin Clone explores modern and futuristic ideas yet keeps the integrity of a smashing guitar riff and untouched voice. There will be two more singles released by the end of the year which will all be part of his EP Kinetics. Calvin Clone is ambitious with visuals and sonics, and wants the live audience to be fully engaged in all aspects of his live performance. “Machines” has been stuck in my head for days. It’s catchy and engaging and I can’t wait to hear what else may be coming our way. This is only the beginning.

(self-released)

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The Ritualists – Painted People

The Ritualists play some determined, strong-willed music

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ritualists

After listening to Painted People by The Ritualists, I was very surprised to learn that this is their debut album. This band shows a maturity in their music that I would not expect from a first album and provides inspirational sounding tracks with ‘reach for the stars’ type of guitar riffs. I hear a modern version of U2 in The Ritualists, along with an influence of Radiohead. Their songs are full, wholehearted post-punk hooks with a lead singer that has a sizeable range.

“Rattles” opens the album, and it’s the type of song that shows their audience that they are here to stay. It has a great build-up of excitement and intensity. The band explains that this song is “A combination of dark, deep-pocketed verses juxtaposed with big, flashy choruses is a key element to tracks”.

Ice Flower” and “Worthiest One” welcomes an electronic wave to the album and showcases just how impressive lead singer Christian Dryden’s range is. His ability to hit those high notes with such conviction puts my falsetto abilities to shame. “Worthiest One” brings this sort of nostalgic feeling- it’s a rock ballad with a floaty guitar riff.

“She’s The Sun” is a great follow-on from “Worthiest One” as it transfers the mood upwards and directs the music into more of a hypnotic vision, which conveys “the band’s inner Sixties Love Child”. “I’m With The Painted People” has a really relatable background to the song. Dryden felt a larger than life inspiration from people like David Bowie and Simon Le Bon, these artists felt like soulmates, which can be lonely at times. It wasn’t until he ventured out into the clubs of the lower east side of New York which helped him feel comfortable to express his creative vision freely. The song is all about finding like-minded people.

There are hooks galore and catchy choruses in pretty much every song. “With this record, I’ve specifically tried to be anthemic,” admits Dryden. “I’ve always loved going to shows, where immediately after the performance, and even on the ensuing days after, you just can’t help but remember and sing the songs you’ve just heard. It’s almost like a higher form of communication.” The Ritualists play some determined, strong-willed music and Painted People shows hints of variations with different genres explored throughout. They sound motivated and in return have produced motivating music for their listeners.

(Out Of Line Music)

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