Monday, 22 April 2019

Single: Paj - Yemanja

Paj - Yemanja

"Yemanja is the Afro-Brazilian goddess of the sea, the mother Orisha. This song was written after her 3 day celebrations spent in North east Brazil, enjoying the carnival but at the same time trying to shed some personal baggage. It's the feeling of going out but your heart's not in it.. at first, here Yemanja calls you back to your true centre."

Dublin soul act Paj (aka Paddy Groenland) shares the follow-up single 'Yemanja' to debut 'Friends Confused' which was released in February. For an artist steeped in global sounds as a result of his passion for self-education beyond standard genres, the new single acts like a melting-pot of the best of soul and traditional world landscapes. 

The groove is over-flowing like a thick foam of sunshine beats and a slick rn'b vocal delivery filled with determination and passion. This throws me straight into classic OST's like Shaft and Superfly but with a massive dollop of super heavy funk. The tempo is aggressive in a manner that would recall George Clinton's Parliament, but the softness of a Shuggie Otis passage in those first 50 seconds. Interestingly it's in the percussion and loose rhythm that those earlier mentioned influences subtly lap in between the ravaging but fun-filled chaos. 

Paj plays his next show with full band and AV show on Saturday, April 27th in Whelan's.

'Yemanja' will also be live on Spotify and other major streaming platforms from the 9th of May.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Photos: MUNKY @ The Grand Social with The Family Dog & Skinner - 12th April

MUNKY - The Grand Social - Remy Connolly

Photos: Remy Connolly (click on 1st image to begin slideshow)

Last weekend on Friday, 12th of April, Dublin funk / blues / rock (take your pick) band MUNKY took to the main stage at The Grand Social to launch their excellent debut EP, Un, Deux, Trois, Cat. In front of a jam-packed house we were collectively blown away, with their live shows always different from the last, but always high-entertainment and a straight up boogie. Support on the night was equally impressive, Barnet psychedelic folk-funk four-piece The Family Dog were ablaze with energy, in no small part to 13-year-old frontman Isaac's ridiculously energetic performance. It was also my first time seeing post-punk act Skinner, and I was so impressed with his set, hearing single 'Headroom' live and subsequently playing it on loop since, and also what I recall may be the next single 'Slouch' brought much joy to my ears.

The Family Dog - The Grand Social - Remy Connolly

Skinner - The Grand Social - Remy Connolly

Saturday, 20 April 2019

EP: Hatchlings - Gay Hymns

Hatchlings - Gay Hymns

Few would argue that Maynooth originated band Hatchlings are to the fore-front of Irish contemporary-folk, a genre description that is so limited in terms of their spread, and doesn't even begin to describe them. Their previous output confirms this and personally seeing them live, I was wooed. But they have verbally and aurally moved themselves into new spaces with latest EP Gay Hymns.


Opener 'Conduit' is a serene piano-laden beginning to Hatchling's sophomore EP, the follow-up to 2017's Montessori, which was a more punchy but no less emotive affair. Here the vocal is painfully authentic and moves far beyond merely relaying a story, it demands transference of feeling to the listener, tenderness and a smidgen of melancholy, the peaks and troughs are so easily mounted and descended. This doesn't come as any surprise as Jamie Bishop, Conor Cunningham, Peter Kelly, Eamon Travers, and Darragh Brannigan are all fully accomplished musicians individually and match up seamlessly in delivering this holistic sound.

'Sin É' is a humorous jaunt which also addresses a life less lived and a reluctance to express ones true feelings; "I was watching Fair City and the girls were quite pretty, I saw my old love as an extra on the show, she bought a box of Carrolls from a shop called Farrells..." Here the theme bluntly lists the futility of holding grudges, meaningless exercises in escapism, a gradual linear progression which ultimately ends up six-feet underground, you had your chance, but now it's too late.

Whilst both are excellent, I find myself enjoying the live version (above video) of third track 'Until the Cows Come Home', this is Hatchlings in full jazz-mood and blue-eyed soul, Julie London-era old world style. You'll struggle to hear a warmer and more soothing vocal than Cunninghams, and the harmonies are so beautifully understated from Bishop and Kelly. This is a slip off the Earth into a self-induced coma that clears away all mental clutter it's that absorbing.

In a review of the first single from the EP 'Choir in the Belly' we wrote; "Vocally echoing Kings of Convenience, 'Choir in the Belly' from Hatchlings is a gorgeous serenade to the self. Undoubtedly masters of the harmony, the band seamlessly tie in classic folk with a contemporary polish, it's wonderfully sleepy and balances pensive happy / sad feelings effortlessly giving it a very timeless feel."

A strong finish to the five tracks arrives on 'Gay Hymn', lyrically intriguing, a personal recollection of a relationship that brought great happiness at one point. Like all recanting of stories about characters, you're left wanting for more insights, what went wrong, how does the story end? Hatchlings are probably eager that you fill those gaps yourself. A sweeping final minute sees all instrumentation, harmonies and energy converge in the most robustly glorious manner. As a collection of tracks, Gay Hymns really does feel like a short album in the sense of how broad it is (yes, yes, that's generally what an EP is) and it feels a lot longer than its combined 20 minutes when taken as a whole. There is pretty much no room for improvement here on the EP, and it must be marked out as one of the best collection of song-writing to emerge so far this year.

Hatchlings' 'Gay Hymns' Tour begins tonight at St. Mary's Church in Maynooth, tickets are available at the door.

Hatchlings - Gay Hymns Tour