Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Premiere: Krisdeberg - Again

It’s a pleasure to share the second single, 'Again', from Dublin electronic four-piece Krisdeberg here on REMY, the follow up to the previously premiered 'Lies' from November last year. Once again they have, in their own words, "recorded and produced everything ourselves in the studio amidst the synths, drum machines and wires (so many wires)." This is where magic really happens.

Drawing on diverse influences ranging from the polished dark synth-pop of Depeche Mode to the raw, self produced clamour created by LCD Soundsystem, Krisdeberg have created a sound all of their own.

Their second release 'Again' investigates the very human tendency of allowing our love to be used against us married to an initially tender ballad that makes way for a rhythmic, analog synth driven crescendo.

Where 'Lies' packed punch, drone-like synths, and an overlay of dark industrial chill, 'Again' hits more ponderous tones, is lavish in its 80's retro-synth moodiness, and embraces a dramatic vocal delivery. There’s a very sharp clarity and crispness to the vox which, rather than compliment the music as is wont on a lot of synth-led tracks, fully takes centre stage, with great results. The track will resonate with fans of Simple Minds, INXS, and Depeche Mode, all of whom placed assertive vocals right up to the front of their most popular songs. It might be a bit brash to describe Krisdeberg's music as 80’s synth-porn, but like a musical Icarus, they veer very close to that sense of fulfilment and gratification. Two out of two thus far.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Single: The Claque - Hush / Stray

The Claque - Hush - Stray
Photo: Aila Harryson-Lorrigan

The Claque are Dublin-based trio Alan Duggan, Kate Brady and Paddy Ormond, on the 7th of March they released their debut single 'Hush' with B-Side 'Stray', although all three are no strangers to the Irish music landscape repsectively. Forming in 2017, Duggan, Brady and Ormond sought to amalgamate their individual tastes and backgrounds, with the end goal of producing a sound that was both challenging and catchy.

The other night whilst doing the standard weekly chasing my tail I came upon The Claque, one click, into Spotify, and 'Hush' (then 'Stray'). Within 15 seconds the point blank mechanical trundle and sharpness of the drum beat and raking electronic sounds translated into a slow gasp of "O....K....", a rattling vibration I don't think I've felt since I first heard The Faint's abrasive and aurally intrusive Danse Macabre in 2001. Straining to hear the vocal lost underneath this cacophony, it surfaces briefly at 1:30; "Something new, gets you talking...". From that point the vocal absorbs into the ratcheting grate of nails on blackboard that fuzzes incessantly towards an ear-bleeding conclusion. This is all my Beth Orton's Portishead, Death in Vegas, Massive Attack and Sneaker Pimps' Kelli Ali rolled into one, not just vocally, but musically too, can't handle.

B-Side 'Stray' is like the next episode of your new favourite TV show served up straight away after a cliff-hanger ending. A minimal drop in sonic rust ensues, but the track is equally captivating and all-encompassing, the percussion again is sick as fuck, if you like it you love it, if you don't well...it's done now. Brady's vocal is the balm to the mania that shudders all around, it fills every square millimetre like an out of control fire ripping through a building. That thudding bass-drum that breaks the bpm record at 2:11 is also one of the wonderful subtleties that characterise these two tracks. Everything is great right now in Irish music, it has been for a while, but it needed The Claque, and here they are.

The Claque play The Iveagh Gardens on the 11th of July with IDLES and All Together Now in Wexford on the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Single of the Week: Leila Jane - Little Lady Blues

Leila Jane - Little Lady Blues

In August 2017 I dropped into the recording studio of Rohan Healy and his brother Al Quiff for an interview for Dublin City FM, after a great chat they told me there was an artist whose new EP they were working on that they felt I might like. Afterwards I'd hoped this intuition on their behalf stemmed from my musical bedrock of the blues, specifically blues-rock, my favourite of all genres. A segment of one of the songs blew me away, I think it was a Saturday morning so I was probably a little tired and emotional, which is a good place to be when it comes to listening to music I find. The track would feature on London / Donegal artist Leila Jane's Decision Maker EP which was released later that year, and made the No. 2 spot in my Top 20 Irish EP's for 2017.

The winner of the 2015 Imelda May Scholarship for song-writing saw her take up a place at BIMM. Steeped in classical blues, and citing listening to Robert Johnson for the first time as a seminal moment on this voyage, I first saw a brief set last year at The Grand Social as part of the Five Lamps Arts Festival, and more recently at The Sound House in Dublin in support of Jane Willow's EP launch, the latter of which left a lasting impression on me. When you hear the songs you know and love replicated almost identically in a live setting, but with heightened energy, it's hard to avoid those spinal chills.

Leila Jane
The Sound House, Dublin - 22nd November 2018. Photo: Remy

'Little Lady Blues' is the debut single release from Leila Jane, and its roots grow a few layers down into the blues-rock timeline. The 1970's saw a big revival in artists adapting and re-interpreting the blues of Son House, Howlin' Wolf, Slim Harpo et al, too many to mention, and re-imagining them in electric blues. There was John Mayall, Clapton, Robin Trower, Johnny Winter, Peter Green, and of course Rory Gallagher. One thing all of these artists had was a deep respect for the origins of the music plainly incorporated into their sound. 

Leila Jane continues this tradition, influenced by early blues, but also nodding strongly to the 1970's revival, with the intro to 'Little Lady Blues' bringing to mind Gallagher's 'Laundromat' as well as Mayall's 1969 live album The Turning Point. A heart-felt tremelo vocal lays out its acknowledgement in emotive terms, again thematically dealing with the human malaise of the individual, the blues after all, are about struggle and trying to find a way out. A rumbling percussion and rhythm section channel the sense of urgency and conundrum faced by the song's protagonist. The most rewarding aspects of her single however reside in it's raw power and the unfiltered self-awareness of the song-writing. It provides much relief for me that this musical tradition which I love so much is in such capable hands.

Leila Jane will be officially launching her debut single 'Little Lady Blues' in The Vintage Room at The Workman's Club on the 29th of March.