Sunday, 27 September 2015

Video: Department - You Just Don't Get It

Department You Just Don't Get It

Department - 'You Just Don't Get It'

Info: Department are a four-piece indie rock band from Dublin who have released their first track to the public, 'You Just Don't Get It' (above) ahead of their forthcoming debut E.P. in early 2016. They are currently working with producer Philip McGee (Kodaline, The Academic) and describe their influences as coming from the likes of The Police, Michael Jackson, The Arctic Monkeys and The Killers, an interesting mix if I may so say! Incidentally, they also put together the above video themselves which is nicely edited to go with the music.

I've long being saying that we are currently experiencing a period in Irish music where it is awash with talent and doesn't feel like we've approached anywhere near the apex. As someone who has been fortunate enough to have written about new acts and music for the best part of three years now, one of the most rewarding aspects has been re-assessing my own tastes and also familiarising myself with genres I would not have been exposed to as much as others. Every style of music is constantly evolving, taking its lead from what has gone before or morphing into new hybrids, sometimes the change is unnoticeable until later on, and at other times it has happened under your nose and surprises you when you are met with it. What am I rambling on about here? This is supposed to be a review of Department's new track. 

It's timing really, I've recently had a lot of music sent my way that you could loosely define as Indie / Alternative / Pop rock, necessary pigeon-holes to guide us in describing sound. The aforementioned upsurge in creativity on the Irish music scene has certainly made it's way into these sub-genres, ones that traditionally (some) people may dismissively call commercial or 'made for radio', and as a result of this preconception not give it a chance, I've been guilty of that before in the past until I was taught a very good lesson in reasoning by one band that I'm eternally grateful for!

To avoid this turning into an article, I'm going to talk about the music now, and 'You Just Don't Get It', basically the tipping point of me becoming convinced that indie / pop rock is in a very healthy and strong position for the first time in a long time in this country thanks to bands like Department, and I note we're only on their first serving here, but that makes it all the better. The band have described themselves as Michael Jackson fronting an indie band, bass-lines on the track certainly come across as an homage to the rich ones we had on Thriller ('Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'' springs to mind), Bad and Off The Wall

It's also refreshing to see a straight-forward stab at saturation in the media of celebrities, our complicity in this monstrosity and how it eventually grows so big that it consumes individuals and moves on to the next victim like a virus. Department have dealt with this theme nicely and thrown the pop 'everything but the kitchen sink' at us while they were at it, catchy chorus, dance inducing guitar hooks and punchy verses. Would I listen to this track more than a few times? Yes. Would I enjoy it repeatedly? Yes. Here's hoping no one unduly interferes with what bands like Department and the recently reviewed The Academic have started out with because it's working well and we need them to retake this mantle on our behalf.

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Saturday, 26 September 2015

Single: The Shruggs - The Ooh Song

The Shruggs The Ooh Song

The Shruggs, 'The Ooh Song'

Info: Hailing from Bandon in Co. Cork, come 'acoustic power duo' The Shruggs, who are James Downing and Kees Hendrickx, bringing with them a distinctive brand of Americana and country-folk. Together now for just over two years, the pair have been receiving plenty of play on the likes of Today FM, TG4 and Balcony TV as well as positive reviews. They have just released their latest single, 'The Ooh Song' (above) with a video starring the passive and friendly William the goat.

On top of being a humorous and amiable video for 'The Ooh Song' the song itself is most enjoyable. The sound they've created here on acoustic guitar and cajon is overwhelmingly uplifting and feel good, rhythmically it's also very pleasing, and the Fleet Foxes sounding harmonies are pitch-perfect. It also reminds me quite a lot of the roots rock sound of Rod Stewart's band Faces, in particular their single which shared one part of 'The Ooh Song's title! You're left with the impression that for Downing and Hendrickx, it is all about enjoying the music they play and write, and this feeling of brevity and ease is passed on to the listener successfully.

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Video: Penrose - Melody

Penrose Melody Dublin Band

Info: Dublin indie-rock band Penrose recently released their debut E.P. Live for the Dream in The Grand Social. Beginning as a duo founded by Darragh McGrane, the band's early days were spent growing a fan base at venues such as Sweeney's, The Mercantile, Sin É and TGS in Dublin's city centre. Due to open the main stage of the cancelled Killarney Festival this summer for Duran Duran, Texas and The Proclaimers, the band dusted off the disappointment by heading along to the INEC in the town to back up Damien Dempsey and Mundy. 

'Melody', the second track on Live for the Dream will be officially released on October 23rd with Penrose performing at The Academy2 for the launch. In the meantime they have completed the above video for the track, which nicely blends Boo Radleys sounds with older 1960's pop rock vibes, not to mention some fierce lovely shots of the black stuff! You can nab tickets for the launch night on Ticketmaster here.

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Single: Ivy Nations - The Mile Road

Ivy Nations The Mile Road

Ivy Nations, 'The Mile Road'

Info: Indie rock four-piece from Dublin, Ivy Nations, have just released their debut single, 'The Mile Road', an infectious and addictive piece of disco pop meets traditional guitars and drums setup. 

There's a hell of a lot to like on Ivy Nations' first release and it really took me by surprise I must admit. I was immediately able to park any silly subconscious prejudices I had at the opening 5 seconds of the song, I did wonder would it be another variation of standard radio-friendly fare, but I was wrong, check yourself! 

First off the disco dance beat of the drums and bass is complete ear candy and more importantly does make you want to bust some moves. Another aspect of the sound we're being introduced to here is how international it sounds, especially vocally, it looks outside of the boundaries of Irish and UK acts who would be in a similar genre, 'The Mile Road' could be equally well-received in the States and southern hemisphere as it no doubt will be at home. It's much much more than a decent and competent first outing from Ivy Nations, and I haven't even mentioned that guitar hook at 2:09, very nice.

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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Live: Venue change for Flowers of Hell 24th September, Bello Bar

Flowers of Hell

Info: ***Due to unforeseen circumstances, the venue for tomorrow's Flowers of Hell gig has been changed to Bello Bar (The Lower Deck, Portobello). Same date, same time. All tickets are valid for the new venue.***

Flowers of Hell, Aria 51, E.P.

Trans-Atlantic experimental space rock orchestra The Flowers of Hell, whose rotating personnel includes members of Spacemen 3, Spiritualized, Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Iggy Pop's band, Patti Smith Group, and Primal Scream, are bringing their elemental blend of classically tinged nu-gaze post-rock to Dublin on September 24th. Leader Greg Jarvis is a synesthete, (he literally sees sounds), and once had to persuade rebels in West Papua that he was not a spy by playing ukulele for his life. The Flowers' music has been championed by Lou Reed, Peter Kember and Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine. They are the preferred band of NASA mission control, who synchronized their piece Sympathy For Vengeance with fresh Discovery shuttle footage. As part of their European tour The Flowers will appear at The Bello Bar supported by local para-psych improvisers ¡NO! and dark noise artist Katie O' Neill.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Single: Robocobra Quartet - Iwazaru

Robocobra Quartet Iwazaru

Robocobra Quartet, 'Iwazaru'

Info: Belfast jazz-punk act Robocobra Quartet release their double-sided 7" vinyl lathe single 'Iwazaru', (with 'Mizaru' on the b-side) on the 16th of October (details below). The band describe their music as; 'the product of influence in equal parts from hardcore, jazz and hip-hop. Pleading vocals are cradled by an effect-heavy instrumental that morphs in sympathy to each word spoken, offering up saxophone stabs, latin drum patterns and distorted bass when and where appropriate.'

On their BOMBER E.P., released in April of this year, and my review of 'Mizaru' last month I went through the personally perceived influences ranging from classical jazz to modern experimental adaptations, most notably the amazing BADBADNOTGOOD from Toronto. What makes Robocobra Quartet stand out though is the pained story-telling / spoken-word aspect of their music which takes a central position within their compositions. Alongside some deft brass arrangements and percussion, on 'Iwarazu' they have created a frustrated and almost angst-ridden mood and delivery. As with all of their previous releases the magic lies in the chaotic and forceful amalgamation of all of the above which they bring down on you like a hammer before slowly releasing you from their grasp by the tracks conclusion. 

Robocobra Quartet play the following upcoming dates, with their penultimate show in The Bello Bar, Dublin, on Friday, 13th of November;

Fri 25 Sept - The Magic Garden, London, UK
Sat 26 Sept - Four Bars, Cardiff, UK
Sun 27 Sept - The Mothers' Ruin, Bristol, UK
Fri 30 Oct - Black Box, Belfast, UK
Sat 31 Oct - Smalltown America, Derry, UK
Fri 13 Nov - Bello Bar, Dublin, IRE

You can pre-order 'Iwazaru / Mizaru' here on vinyl or digitally here.

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Single: The Academic - Northern Boy

The Academic Northern Boy

The Academic - Northern Boy

Info: Four-piece indie rock act from Mullingar, The Academic, have just today released their new single, 'Northern Boy'. The band, comprising of Craig Fitzgerald (vox / rhythm guitar), Matt and Stephen Murtagh (lead and bass guitars) and Dean Gavin (drums), are already building up a head of steam with regards to their reputation. Still only in their teens, they've hit a bit of a hot streak in terms of song-writing output and have developed an infectious sound which they have been able to transpose to their live shows with ease.

'Northern Boy' begins gently with Fitzgerald creating a pensive mood with his vocals, but you can tell immediately that The Academic are merely building up to a rousing call to arms which has become their trademark modus operandi. It's a real foot-tapper with the band delivering an uplifting love-lorn ballad, the two are not mutually exclusive as is evident here, very nice production and the mix of intensely building crescendos with softer moments should ensure that 'Northern Boy' propels The Academic further into a spotlight you suspect they are entirely ready to fill.

For tour dates and news, see below.

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The Academic Band Dublin

Monday, 21 September 2015

New Release: Fun With Ropes - We Don't Remember & Written In Water

Fun With Ropes We Don't Remember

Fun With Ropes, 'We Don't Remember'

Info: Dublin duo Fun With Ropes (Adam Donnelly and Julija Melander) have returned from the studio with two new tracks for our pleasure, bringing to a close a year-long period since the release of their excellent debut track, 'Out of Sight' which featured here last October. Once again the over-riding sound on 'We Don't Remember' in particular is that of 80's synthpop with Melander's vocals proving as powerful as ever, a cross between Jane Wiedlin and Madonna on this one. Donnelly provides the fast-paced drive with rapid drum-beats and Erasure-esque synth pounding amid a mystical overall mood.

'Written in Water' is quite different which is always a good thing, it sounds quite gothic and Celtic, there's a small hint of fellow Irish singer Siobhan Fahey during her Shakespear's Sister days. It's a more anthemic and restrained track musically in comparison to 'We Don't Remember', across both we can conclude that Fun With Ropes are at the head of the pack domestically in writing solid electro-pop that nods to favourite 1980's classics, and for the time being at least, they're generously sharing their labour for free on the SoundCloud page (below).

Fun With Ropes, 'Written In Water'

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Video: Monster Monster - You're My Fix

Monster Monster You're My Fix

Monster Monster, 'You're My Fix'

Info: Dublin duo Monster Monster, Mick Stuart (guitar) and Ríona Sally Hartman (vocals), have just released their latest video for their track 'You're My Fix'. The track closely follows one of the bands favoured themes of dark, unrequited love / hate, Sally Hartman's vocals range from sultry to soaring against a backdrop of a slick guitar riff and military style snare drumming. There's a real mid-90's feel to this one, somewhere along Mazzy Star lines with a little added drama making the overall package one of their best to date in my eyes. Monster Monster launch their debut E.P. in Whelan's of Wexford Street on the 23rd of October, more info here.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

First Listen: Circuits of Heaven - Out of Air

Circuits of Heaven Out of Air

Circuits of Heaven, 'Out of Air'

Info: There's little to go by at the minute in terms of background on Cork band Circuits of Heaven other than that they are on small indie label Inner Chapters, but that's okay, plenty of time for all that jazz, right now their debut track 'Out of Air' is doing a lot of the talking. The lo-fi indie group will be releasing their debut E.P., In The Time of Decay, combined with a tour, later this year. Self-described as blending; '...angelic, stripped down acoustic and vocal harmonies with refined electronic accompaniment, fusing the synthetic and the organic' they've set the bar high for themselves.

'Out of Air' exudes a quiet confidence, a set of musicians who understand the basic principles of composition when it comes to creating a song and ambience within the genre they operate. You can't escape that this is lo-fi, but it's very competent lo-fi, delivering a chilled out, non-confrontational narrative of defiance summarised in the wonderful line; 'Tear it down boys, we don't care, we'll build a new one, out of air'. Circuits of Heaven are one to watch and I wouldn't be in the slightest surprised if their E.P. release generates a flurry of interest, quality stuff. 'Out of Air' is available for free or at a name your own price at the below Bandcamp link.

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Single: The Culture in Memoriam - Hey Ho

The Culture In Memoriam Hey Ho
Photo: Twitter: @wif3b3t3r

Info: And on the Seventh Day god gifted the nation of Sverige with an advantage over all other nations, he granted them the power of pop, it's right there in Genesis 2:2 as far as I recall. Malmö's The Culture in Memoriam imparts a 'hard-hitting honesty, relentless politics and a cynical lust for love. Although bursting with full-blown instrumentation and pompous arrangements TCIM never loses it's intimacy and naked nearness to its listener.' The Swedish act have recently released the above single 'Hey Ho' from latest album History's Dust, the footing on the YouTube video stating that behind every successful hipster there is a worker slaving in the emoji factory.

My first impression was a throwback to the idiosyncratic garage-pop on fellow Swedes, The Hives' compilation album, Your New Favourite Band back in 2002, it's a lot of fun, it sounds great, is there depth? Are they being ironic? Or is it simply an indulgence that is easily enjoyed? On TCIM's 'Hey Ho' I suspect the quotient escalates loosely in a 2:2:6 ratio. The tracks opening riff unashamedly mimics the garage punk sound, chugging guitars and stressed vocals make way to a nice breakdown at the 1:36 mark before taking off again and throwing everything but the kitchen sink into it's raucous finale, it's all in the DNA really.

TCIM Hey Ho Single The Culture In Memoriam

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Video: Elvett - Home

Elvett Home Switzerland Music

Elvett, 'Home'

Info: Swiss indie-pop duo Elvett formed in January of this year and have amassed a strong following in the underbelly of their native music scene as a result of their unique brand of sleek analog-based indie sounds. Together as a musical duo since 2003, vocalist Lyn and drummer Alain have primarily written music for film up until now, with the release of 'Home' they have decided to move into new territory creating music based on sensuous electronica mixed with acoustic instrumentation. 

Elvett's 'Home' opens with a tribal, restrained drum-beat which carries through the track creating a sinuous motion and mood, Lyn's vocals recall classic jazz and soul vocals with an indie twist, mixing Kelli Dalton of Sneaker Pimps' fame with Amy Winehouse, she has also rightly been compared to Shirley Bassey's Bond theme performances such as 'Diamonds Are Forever' and 'Goldfinger'. 'Home' provides us with a gently disarming combination of many styles and genres arranged carefully by the duo across the track, it's a sufficiently alluring opening proposition which is instantly appealing and should see them spark significant interest outside of their home country.

Elvett, 'Who Shot First?', Live

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Single: Lucy Peach - Be So Good

Lucy Peach Be So Good

Lucy Peach - Be So Good

Info: From Fremantle, Australia, comes pop chanteuse Lucy Peach who has just released her new single, 'Be So Good'. Peach is currently touring Ireland and played in Whelans, Dublin last Thursday, followed by dates in Kilkenny and Dingle. Tonight she plays the Clonakilty International Guitar Festival before hitting the Clifden Arts Festival on the 23rd September in support of fellow Fremantlian, Mama Kin. Since the release of her debut E.P. in 2011, Wax and Wane, Lucy Peach has received unanimous praise for both her music and vocals, touring extensively in her home country and also her father's native New Zealand. 

On first listen of 'Be So Good' I enjoyed it, it's a lyrically simple yet very nicely crafted pop song wrapped in a warm folk and roots tradition. Like all good pop songs, repeated listens increased this enjoyment exponentially, but maybe it's a bit too simplistic to describe it as solely pop. While the chorus undoubtedly fits the description, it primarily falls into the singer-songwriter mould, modern day artists such as First Aid Kit with a subtle Grizzly Bear (Veckatimest) infused musical backdrop on board, Peach's vocals are crystal clear and easy on the ear. It's also worth checking out her previous releases if you've enjoyed 'Be So Good', link below.

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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Single: Kisses - The Nile

Kisses The Nile Single

Kisses, 'The Nile'

Info: There's not long to go now before LA pair Kisses' debut album Rest in Paradise is released on the 9th of October, and as we approach they have released yet another great single in 'The Nile'. Having featured, and really enjoyed previous single 'A Groove' and 'Control' here, I think 'The Nile' is a definite favourite of the three, and the title is clinched at 3:56 when a bag of disco funk is unceremoniously spilled out onto the floor, it's as close as you'll get to near-perfection melding pop beats with those of lush 70's disco.

I also quite like singer Jesse Kivel's offering on the track; "If I had to use two words to describe the inspiration behind this song, they would be Rod Stewart.'" "I got deep into ‘Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?' and could not get over how much the production on that song mirrored some of my favorite more obscure disco favorites from the '70s...Both me and Zinzi are really interested in pop artists who 'went disco' — Paul McCartney, The Stones, Blondie, Rod Stewart, the list goes on. Putting these two worlds together was something we felt destined to do."

Kisses, 'A Groove'

E.P.: Segrasso - Too Late and No

Segrasso Too Late and No

Segrasso, 'Blue Rose'

Info: The first time I saw Dublin rock band Segrasso was at the beginning of the year at The Workman's Club in support of Naoise Roo's single launch for 'For You'. I hadn't heard their music or sound previously but a few recce's on the night got me interested to see what they would be bringing to the table. As is wont with a support slot their set was short enough between 4-5 songs, but it had sufficient impact that I was compelled to go and see them again in June at the same venue for what has thankfully become a brief hiatus rather than the originally billed farewell gig. I haven't come across another band just yet that sounds quite like them, somewhere firing between My Bloody Valentine's Loveless and Nirvana's Bleach, essentially just very good live rock performers who bring plenty of distortion and lovely breakdowns during songs to create a highly entertaining live experience.

After releasing their debut E.P. Headaches in February of 2014 the band are back with a new release called Too Late and No which will be officially launched at their alma mater on the 22nd of September. The E.P. opens with the excellent 'Blue Rose' which retains it's shoegaze feel live but with added powder-keg on stage. It's probably the closest point of MBV over the four tracks, but whereas the Northern Irish band had a tendency to maintain the same mood across entire tracks, Segrasso mix things up by pouring energy into sudden bursts of heavy bass and distorted guitar, the tracks main riff will also stay with you for some time, looping in your brain for days after.

Second track 'Seriously' best encapsulates what Segrasso's sound and personality is all about in my opinion, exemplifying their hard rock credentials, in a live setting it's explosive but also captured perfectly on the recording where it's impossible to avoid the wild beast that stalks between their guitars, drums and front-man Jake Dylan Regan's screeching vocals. 'Altimeter' is a throwback to tracks such as 'Cell' on their previous E.P., very much more in line with Oxford band Ride's debut Nowhere on the verses, it's a classic homage to a somewhat lost period of guitar music from the U.K. between the end of the 80's and before Britpop, and it's interesting to hear it coming through here, whether consciously or subconsciously, 'Altimeter' is a stand-out highlight on Too Late and No for me personally. 

The E.P. closes with 'One More Thing', a jangle-pop intro makes way for deliberately naive love-lorn lyrics, which, combined with the rhythmic guitar-playing, nod to the early days of rock and roll's popular radio-play tracks. Unsurprisingly Segrasso have produced another very strong recording with their second E.P., it's hard to shake the feeling that this all comes terribly naturally to them and they're just here to have a good time, whilst making great music of a of an almost forgotten recent vintage with their own stylistic twist. There are more reasons to get on down to the E.P. launch next Tuesday in The Workman's Club, but only one way to find out what they are....

Segrasso Dublin Band

Sunday, 13 September 2015

E.P.: VIDEO BLUE - Simmer

VIDEO BLUE Simmer Jim O'Donoghue Martin


Info: In March of this year Dundalk native residing in London, Jim O'Donoghue Martin released his debut E.P. as VIDEO BLUEMore Pop Troubles, a very first venture into releasing electronic music with indie undercurrents, having until that point, been mainly involved with four-piece alternative indie band Bold Things. The debut E.P. was an adventurous foray by O'Donoghue Martin, entirely recorded in his bedroom, it displayed an ease of movement into new surroundings across its five tracks. Having found his feet and cut his chops on the debut, new release Simmer shows that he may be finally arriving in a place where he feels most at home. There's a marked difference between both E.P.'s with those early tentative steps turning into a self-assured drive towards newer experimental horizons. 

Personally, I found the more prominent introduction of guitar on opening track 'Post Halcyon' most welcome, adding more depth to the music, in addition to bringing his vocals to the fore moreso than on MPT, the combination of which creates a haunting atmosphere. The brief 'Grief Goods' is strangely sad and beautiful, clocking in at just under 2 minutes, the trembling guitar effects and vocals are most easy on the ear. Final track 'Navvy' is a most interesting and unique proposition, further up the electronic scale, VIDEO BLUE creates an almost reggae / ska vibe with the bass and keys whilst employing off-beat drum machines to add to the chilled out groove he creates, really digging this one a lot. 

Simmer EP Cover. Photo: Aidan Stewart

Ultimately you can sense a great drive behind VIDEO BLUE's music in the interceding months between recordings, it's not easy traversing into new territory, but rather than be overwhelmed at the possibilities, he seems to be invigorated by them and grabbing them with both hands.

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Single: Stephen Young and The Union - Shadowman

stephen young and the union shadowman

Stephen Young & The Union, 'Shadowman'

Info: Americana and country folk band Stephen Young & The Union just released their new single and video for 'Shadowman' yesterday, which will feature on their second album, Eagle Fort Rumble, due out on 27th November. It's been four years since their debut, the critically acclaimed Wilderness Machine, put them to the forefront of the genre in Ireland, at a time when very few bands were dabbling in any kind of folk sound. 

In the words of Stephen Young himself; "Shadowman wasn’t thought of a single at all most of the time we were working on the album. It was only when the last mixes of it came back that we started talking about it as a single. The song is about alcoholism and drug abuse essentially. I had two friends in mind specifically when I wrote it. It went through a lot of different changes throughout recording and had four different guitar players track guitars for it. One was our former guitarist, who left the band during the recording process. His parts were replaced for the finished version."

The video itself was shot by film-maker Thomas Moyles, and has a very cool comic effect. 'Shadowman' certainly tackles its main theme head on lyrically with Young singing the pre-chorus line 'Every night there's a little less light in everyone's eyes'. There's a nice Western feel to 'Shadowman' which you'd come to expect from at least a couple of tracks on a SYTU album, interesting musical elements to the track were the Doors sounding keys throughout, the faded blues style guitar playing and a catchy chorus line. It will certainly be interesting to take in the development between debut and sophomore album upon release from Stephen Young & The Union. Info on live shows and releases are below.

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E.P.: That Snaake - Go Bricker! (At Swim One Stone)

That Snaake Go Bricker

That Snaake, 'Go Bricker!'

Info: Yum. More about that it in a little bit. That Snaake are a four-piece post-punk band from Dublin who have just released their debut three-track E.P. Go Bricker! Formed at the end of last year they began gigging just about everywhere and anywhere in the capital, bringing their own brand of dirty and sexually outrageous punk music to the masses. It is recommended to see these guys live, your ears will bleed and your heart will sing.

The E.P. pulls on varying degrees of 1970's New York and New Jersey punk bands New York Dolls, The Cramps and Misfits, like a Five Boroughs melting pot with modern sensibilities. Opener and title-track 'Go Bricker!' gets straight down to business, like a gun pressed against your forehead, bang. It's infectiously cool and the heavy bass, manic drumming and vocals create a slick and filthy mood. Second track 'Tea' provides respite for those of a delicate disposition, but importantly shows the band can drop down a notch as required and focus on creating a melodic, Californian-style sound which also features a Marquee Moon worthy guitar riff towards the end.

That Snaake, 'Tea'

Now that you've had your cup of tea, That Snaake get back to the bread and butter powerhouse punk on final track, 'So Solid Snaake', this pushes further to a more contemporary sound, a small brush with Nirvana vocally on the chorus and altogether quite explosive and unbridled in its delivery. On Go Bricker! That Snaake have mixed some forgotten punk basics with a fun and searing sound that works and is quite simply so easy to enjoy. See them live, punk asses.

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Single: Abandcalledboy - L.A. Dick (Keian Remix)

Abandcalledboy LA Dick Keian Remix

Abandcalledboy - L.A. Dick (Keian Remix)

Info: Well life will never be dull as long as Belfast's noisier and weirder version of Boyzone, Abandcalledboy, are putting out tunes for us. Earlier last week they released their latest thumping single 'L.A. Dick' (below) which has been worthily remixed by Irish / Iranian electronic producer Keian Roohipour. You don't feel the 5-plus minutes going by on this track and variants of the words whack and sick would be best used to describe its chilled out sounds and beats, a mere two listens and off you go, it also recently featured on 2FM's Dan Hegarty show as his 'Wednesday Twist', enjoy (both!).

Abandcalledboy, L.A. Dick

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Single: The Shaker Hymn - Trophy Child

The Shaker Hymn Trophy Child

The Shaker Hymn, 'Trophy Child'

Info: Cork band The Shaker Hymn are on the verge of releasing their second album, Do You Think You're Clever? which is due for release in early 2016. In the lead up they release single 'Trophy Child' and its accompanying video which the band shot themselves; 'It is a soft passing comment on our fascination with distraction, a wry shot at themselves and all around them.' 'Trophy Child' sits in two places at once, there's the bands intended homage to what they describe as the grungier side of glam rock, I'm thinking Slayed meets T.Rex. There's also a striking resemblance to Supergrass' Gaz Coombes in the vocals and the lively chugging guitar and bass as well as drum rhythm, could easily have been found somewhere on one of my favourite 90's albums In It For The Money. 

Browsing through The Shaker Hymn's previous music from their debut album, 2014's Rascal's Antique, throws up more really nice tunes including a live performance of single 'Hunter & The Headman' below. The four-piece are playing upcoming shows at the iconic DeBarra's Folk Club in Clonakilty on the 9th of October, The Bernard Shaw in Dublin on the 29th of October and Mother Jones' Flea Market in Cork on the 31st. 

The Shaker Hymn, 'Hunter & The Headman'

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Album: Sam Brown - Yellow Cake

Sam Brown Yellow Cake Album

Sam Brown, Yellow Cake, Full Album

Info: Brooklyn based Sam Brown is a multi-instrumentalist song-writer who dabbles in a wide variety of genres spanning from rock to soul to experimental, electronica and beyond. Brown's debut album, Yellow Cake, which was released on Friday, sees him; "affirm his signature sound, bringing forth an astonishingly diverse record, encompassing everything from tripped out acid rock jams to piano-driven old timey jaunts to lush electronic soundscapes. The album's underlying concept revolving around war and human nature draws you in instantly and immerses you in the world it so elegantly creates."

Yellow Cake's opening song 'While You're Searching For Something (That's Not Even There)' runs like an elongated psychedelic intro, lightly sinister, Brown gently strokes your hair while pointing forward at what he has waiting for you. 
After enjoying the sleepy withdrawn sounds of 'Drop The Bomb' the album's first major moment of impact lands with 'Sparks Over Hanoi', the atmosphere is controlled between soft piano playing and heavier tones and it feels like you are progressively being brought to an uncertain destination later on in the album. 

Sam Brown Yellow Cake
Photo: Jason Wolonick

At the album's half-way point you will find 'Trouble' and it's a track I enjoyed a lot, it's hard not to, it's a strange working mix of electronic and bossa nova beats, a concoction I'm sure I've not heard before but it works so well to the point it's obvious, the song's bass and keyboard loops are the cherry on top. Another highlight on Yellow Cake is undoubtedly 'SYRIA', a monster of a track that bull-dozes through everything in its path. It's operatic in its reach at times, the Mid-Eastern strings, drum beats, instrumentation and darkly thick electronic sounds reminiscent of later Primal Scream's more industrial workings.

'War Is The Son of a Gun' keeps the thematic line going and couldn't be further from the preceding track just mentioned. It sounds like Bod Dylan jamming with The Beatles on an unwritten White Album track, performing duets with Lennon while he plays bar-room piano. The mood shifting can be dizzying on the album as you are constantly readjusting your position and where you're at in your head, but this is almost forgotten by the time you've reached albums end with the six and a half minute 'Resurrection-Love', the strongest evidence of the Frank Zappa comparisons which have been made by others. It provides a very strong finale to Yellow Cake and is clearly a style that comes naturally to Sam Brown, you get lost in the layers of this one and it's delightful, the incessant keys and lovely electric guitar and jazz improv lulling you perfectly toward closing track 'Get Up!'. 

'Get Up!' is a belter of a song, it has single written all over it, instantaneously catchy and funk-laden, with a plethora of instruments all painting a chaotic and fun vibe, and the guitar solo at the end is fucking delicious too, excusez-moi! Yellow Cake by Sam Brown could be compared to a hundred different artists and none and the same time, and there is one of the best parts about the album, everything feels familiar and new at the same time, a distinctly original album with the array of sounds and ideas demonstrating a particular talent at work and someone you mark down as 'what could he do next?'.

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