Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The Last Mixed Tape announces its 5th Anniversary Line-Up at The Sound House, 7th February

TLMT 5 - The Last Mixed Tape

One of Ireland's most valuable music critics, Stephen White, celebrates the 5th year of The Last Mixed Tape at The Sound House in Dublin on Thursday, 7th of February. As with previous years, TLMT has arranged a mouth-watering line-up comprised of Sorcha RichardsonJackie Beverly and Dowry. Like The Last Mixed Tape itself, these shows have become annual highlights for fans of independent Irish music. Previous acts who have performed at the yearly celebration include Swords, Paddy Hanna, Montauk Hotel, Bad Bones, September Girls, Beauty Sleep and other quality acts which have shaped the local music scene in their own unique way. 

TLMT has garnered a solid and reliable reputation amongst bands and music fans as a place where analyses of music is conducted in a most impartial manner, but more importantly, he backs up his written word with evidence. On a personal level, and this probably isn't the most appropriate place to state this (but a half-decade is a landmark achievement!), my respect for his views on music grows year on year since I started reading The Last Mixed Tape, not to mention his unwavering support for Irish artists. He'll hate me saying all this, but it is what it is, I don't want to inhabit an Irish music landscape where TLMT does not exist, so let's celebrate!

Taking place at the Sound House, Dublin on Thursday, February 7th TLMT 5 will feature live performances from acclaimed songwriter and TLMT favorite Sorcha Richardson, Sorcha’s recent single ‘Can’t We Pretend’ featured in TLMT’s Top 10 Songs Of 2018. 

Jackie Beverly will also appear as part of the line-up, Beverly's debut single 'Out of Reasons' featured in TLMT's Top 50 Songs of 2018. Dowry, will perform at TLMT 5 next month, the multi-instrumentalist, whose debut single was the breath-taking ‘In É’, recently made TLMT's 10 Emerging Artist for 2019. See below for music from all three artists.

Founded in 2014, the Last Mixed Tape is run my music critic Stephen White and has dedicated the last five years to covering all aspects of the Irish music scene and supporting acts coming out of the country. 

Tickets to TLMT 5: Sorcha Richardson / Jackie Beverly / Dowry live at the Sound House on February 7th are priced at €10 and are on sale now via eventbrite. Doors are at 8pm. 


Saturday, 12 January 2019

Irish Playlist #045: The Murder Capital, John Blek, SOAK, Talos, SYLK & more

The Murder Capital - Feeling Fades
The Murder Capital - Photo: Neelam Khan Vela

Info: REMY's first independent Irish playlist of 2019 is here, it goes without saying that the standard is high, and we carry on where we left off in 2018, with more sumptuous singles to get into our ears.

1) The Murder Capital - 'Feeling Fades

If there's one thing I can guarantee you over the course of the next 12 months, it's that you are going to be hearing more and more and more of Dublin five-piece The Murder Capital. A rattling sound that is post post-punk and a disillusioned anger, they join ranks with fellow Dublin act Fontaines D.C. in starting a new and much needed injection of arresting song-writing and performance against a backdrop of banal meaningless rock music which has hogged the airwaves for far too long.

2) PEACHFACE - 'You Never Saw Me Dance'

Self-described as a track "where lyrical loneliness and wistful arpeggios play off lush layered harmonies and shimmering synths", that's a damn fine description, I'm sold! The debut single from Dublin synth-pop trio PEACHFACE, 'You Never Saw Me Dance', recalls the breezy care-free harmonies of Belle & Sebastian and Kings of Convenience with really well delivered minimalist synth-pop fuzz, a really impressive opener which has me eager for more.

3) Ruth Mac -'Speed'

Currently based in Berlin, Galway artist Ruth Mac produces a wonderful debut single in 'Speed', interestingly I can hear the continental indie-pop vibe permeate the entire track, from instrumentation (Oh Boland's Niall Murphy fills in on guitar here) to her highly pleasant on the ear vocal. It's perfectly chill and the antidote to a chaotic day, week, year, with Ruth Mac coming across as an established act who has been doing this for years. A debut EP and Irish tour dates are coming down the line before long.

4) Pascalwillnotsurvivethis - 'Hey Bud'

Former WASPS man Danny McClelland from Coleraine released his solo debut single 'Hey Bud' under the moniker of Pascalwillnotsurvivethis this week. This is the type of thrash lo-fi indie I adore. Stripping away everything you'd be tempted by, McClelland and band whirl their way through a cacophony of pinging peaks and troughs to produce a ball-busting piece of heaven.

All in Ur Head - SYLK
SYLK w. Daragh Locke

5) SYLK feat. Daragh Locke - 'All in Ur Head'

Live SYLK are an act that will make you happily numb to reality and pull you out of your body with their hypnotic and mesmeric sound-potion. This sense is less overt in their recorded work but no less potent, 'All in Ur Head' is so chock-a-block with ominous, in your face bulky beats and quick-fire vocals that the option of not being subsumed by the overall method is removed from the listener. Daragh Locke's input is complimentary, allowing the track switch from full industrial drone to a jolt from the slumber when he enters the fray. 

6) SOAK - 'Knock Me Off My Feet'

Derry's SOAK lays out a wonderful cocktail of ambient, acoustic and pop charm with new single 'Knock Me Off My Feet'. Initial listens have flicked mental switches upwards in my brain that I know will lead to being hooked on the track. A highly-charged rhythmic trundle flows without respite through its 3-plus minutes, a blunderbuss of glittery 80's retro-pop and Bridie Monds-Watson's endearing vocal push the song way beyond mere enjoyment.

7) Talos - 'The Light Upon Us'

Cork's Talos, aka Eoin French, has a reputation which precedes him via his critically acclaimed 2017 debut album Wild Alee which was shortlisted for the Choice Music Prize. With a second album, Far Out, on the near horizon, he shares latest single 'The Light Upon Us'. Orchestral, uplifting, and full of sparkling emotion, the single indicates that his creative well has not diminished whatsoever. 

Talos - The Light Upon Us by Niall O'Brien
Talos - Photo: Niall O'Brien

8) Crome Yellow - 'Wash Basket Earpiece'

Oh god, from the first 5 seconds of Crome Yellow's latest single 'Wash Basket Earpiece' I was away with the fairies in my head, seriously, what a delightful jam, and without showing my hand, a total killer of a single for 2019 at this very early, early stage. The funk is so cool, but so strong, the music is extremely laid-back to the point the Waterford four-piece are barely playing their instruments (but they are obviously). I want to disappear in this forever, also, lil' bit Republic of Loose, yurt.

9) Rêves - 'Depths & Between'

Dublin's Rêves released new single 'Depths & Between' yesterday, the piano intro reaches inside and you instantly submit to it. I've mentioned before how difficult it is to make a song stand out lyrically about complicated / problematic love and romance, a very common theme for obvious reasons! However, Rêves give additional meaning to the theme in a unique way on this track, and they've been able to do it because the music manages to spark life again into a much traversed subject.

10) John Blek - 'The Blackwater'

Cork's John Blek has two album's under his belt, both of which I listened to before listening to 'The Blackwater', 2016's Cut the Light and 2017's Catharsis, Vol.1, the beauty of both had me bewildered as to why he wasn't in a more prominent position on the Irish music spectrum. Echoing Dylan without being Dylan, here we have a serious song-writer in our midst. It's that rare moment where you have a song-writer who is almost writing music for no one, to never be heard, but if you come across it, gosh. This is the type of lyrical and musical craftsmanship that would be gobbled up in the U.S. without question if it were one of their own, a tour there and in the U.K. would surely deprive Blek of day-job cruelty.

John Blek - 'Salt in the Water' from Catharsis Vol I

Fiach Moriarty - 'Everything Will Rhyme'

Following a three year hiatus, Dubliner Fiach Moriarty returns with a beautifully mellow and 1920's-infused slice of crooning nostalgia via 'Everything Will Rhyme'. Having worked with big hitters Damien Dempsey, Duke Special, Mundy, and band members from Bell X-1, The Walls and The Dubliners, Moriarty drifts into his own with a dollop of honey on 'Everything Will Rhyme'. Outrageously jazzy brush on snare, and a wonderfully balmy vocal breeze give exactly the right amount of warmth for those dark January blues. 

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

New Album Releases: January - Eerie Wanda, Sharon Van Etten, Toro y Moi, Steve Gunn, Sneaks & more

Eerie Wanda - Pet Town
Photo: Raphaël Irié

New year, same old me, the first instalment of REMY's monthly round-up of new album releases is here, for January 2019, traditionally a quiet month, but thankfully there are some very strong and most interesting LP's coming out over the next couple of weeks.

I'm tickled pink by the singles I've heard thus far courtesy of Amsterdam indie-pop trio fronted by Marina Tadic, Eerie Wanda, from forthcoming sophomore album Pet Town. Single 'Sleepy Eyes' was / is my first internal music euphoria of the year, I can't wait to buy this album, fingers crossed they will conjure up an Irish date in 2019 (puhlease!).

New Jersey indie rock act Sharon Van Etten's sixth studio album, Remind Me Tomorrow releases on the 18th of this month, with a Dublin date fixed for the 29th of March in Vicar Street. My first introduction to Van Etten's music was 2012's Tramp, and I've had a keen interest in her music since, thus far she's released three singles from the album with 'Jupiter 4' grabbing me the most.

Another band from the turn of the decade I got into was South Carolina chillwave act Toro Y Moi, whose 2011 banger Underneath the Pine was brim full of gleeful psychedelic pop moments such as 'New Beat' and 'Good Hold'. He's back now with his 7th album, Outer Peace, and I'm digging single 'Innerpeace' bigly right now, especially the faux-vocalised stammer.

Washington's Eva Moolchan performs as Sneaks, loosely described as minimal synth, there are strong dub overtones to single 'Hong Kong to Amsterdam' from her third album Highway Hypnosis. The track is a most welcome bunch of knuckles in the jaw, and that (very) mini Talking Heads' plonk at 1:21 is magical.

If like me you draw great comfort and enjoyment from the spaced-out acoustic psychedelia of the 60's and early 70's, you'll love Brooklyn-based contemporary folk act Steve Gunn's new album The Unseen in Between, track 'New Moon' shimmers and wobbles with a glod warmth that echoes The Velvet Underground & Nico / Nick Drake. 

For me personally, few things touch the soul in a more powerful manner than solo piano with no vocals, Keith Jarrett and Haushcka spring to mind, their styles are very contrasting, and so too is that of Naples composer and multi-instrumentalist Bruno Bavota. I'm easily lost in his single 'The Night Of' from new album Re_Cordis, it's surprisingly short for a piano piece coming in at just over three minutes, but the duality of tenderness and impact are delivered with ease within this timeframe nonetheless. Molto, molto bene.

Two other albums that piqued my interest come courtesy of the Sufjan Stevens meets Justin Vernon LP Tomb from Angelo De Augustine, single 'Somewhere Far Away From Home' also channels snippets of Elton John's 'Tiny Dancer', atmospheric lo-fi indie from the L.A. act. There's a bit of a stir being caused by abstract hip-hop solo artist Malibu Ken ahead of the release of his debut self-titled album, here we feature single 'Acid King', thick morphing beats and twisting warped effects provide the bedrock to this hip-hop, well, trip!

18th January:

Bruno Bavota - Re_Cord

Malibu Ken - Malibu Ken

Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

Steve Gunn - The Unseen in Between

Toro Y Moi - Outer Peace

Angelo De Augustine - Tomb

25th January:

Eerie Wanda - Pet Town

Sneaks - Highway Hypnosis

Other artists of note with album releases in January include: Deerhunter, Maggie Rogers, The Dandy Warhols.