Saturday, 30 April 2016

Video: Ryan Dugre / Jesse Cafiero - Mute Swan

Ryan Dugre Jesse Cafiero Mute Swan

Ryan Dugre - Mute Swan

Info: Jesse Cafiero is a collage artist / animator from San Francisco who has recently collaborated with instrumental guitarist Ryan Dugre of Brooklyn for his single 'Mute Swan', from his newly released album Gardens

Entirely hand animated using vintage magazine materials from the 1950's through the 1970's, "Mute Swan" uses the imperfection of stop-motion to create a real, moving piece of art. Guitarist Ryan Dugre's meditative progressions flow throughout the video, giving plenty of room to the myriad of surreal landscapes that catch the viewers eye. Living in such a digital and edited world these days, "Mute Swan" is a breath of fresh air, a reminder of the simplicity that can occur when music and animation work as one.

A musician himself, Cafiero is also a member of San Francisco psych-folk band Split Screens, for whom she also created the stop-motion video for their single 'Stand Alone' (below). You can find more of his hugely impressive artwork work here and Ryan's music here

Split Screens - Stand Alone

Single: Why We Run - Where I'll Be Waiting

Why We Run Where I'll Be Waiting

Why We Run - Where I'll Be Waiting

Info: 'Where I'll Be Waiting', the latest single from Sydney's Why We Run, was written for a family member suffering mental illness and it follows our previous singles 'Comfortable Lie', 'Ignites' and 'A Moment to Return', which together were streamed over 400,000 times across Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Music & YouTube.

'Where I'll Be Waiting' was released on all major online outlets on April 22, and is taken from our forthcoming debut album 'Holograms' which is due out worldwide at the end of June.     

Mental health is a massive issue here in Ireland recently and thankfully awareness is increasing even if there is a long way to go, those of us who don't suffer from depression and other associated afflictions are hearing the stories of those who do and trying to understand without ever fully being able to match the experiences of those who live every day with the illness. 

Understandably the topic is not confined to Ireland and is a worldwide issue which Why We Run have admirably articulated on their latest single, 'Where I'll Be Waiting'. Lines such as 'I feel, there's no connection, breaking all of me, it doesn't make it right' and 'Your arms, if only they could hear, people living on, chemical tell me I don't know, I tell you you should go, where I'll be waiting for a miracle' are succinct and deliver the required message. The Sydney four-piece have also provided one of their best singles to date musically as the backdrop, tastefully proffering the soundtrack to a very important subject which affect us all one way or the other during the course of our lives, respect.

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Interview - Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets High Visceral Part 1

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets - High Visceral (Part 1) - Trailer

Info: Perth’s psych-grunge-rockers Psychedelic Porn Crumpets recently dropped their highly anticipated debut album High Visceral {Part 1}. It is a powerful, melody driven full-length album that takes you on a convoluted journey of clarity through the exploration of the modern universe and the ever-evolving ideologies of creation. High Visceral {Part 1} will sonically transport you to new dimensions. 

High Visceral {Part 1} was an album I could really get swept away with, from the storming guitar-driven opening of 'Cornflake' and its escapist psych tones, to the wild insanity of second track 'Cubensis Lenses' (below) and it's hard grunge-rock rapid riffage. Psychedelic Porn Crumpets perfectly dip their toes in the various waters of the psychedelic rock history timeline, from standard borderline garage of 60's bands like The Monks and The Count Five's 'Psychotic Reaction' through to modern sounds of tracks such as '...And The Addled Abstraction of Being' and 'Marmalade March'. 

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets - Cubensis Lenses

Other highlights include the well-timed chill zone of the album's title-track, the Dick Dale on speed 'Surf's Up' and the Pink Floyd-reaching 8 minute extravaganza that is 'Found God In a Tomato' as well as the mind-expanding voyage that is 'Entropy'. To be fair there is not a single track on the album that you'd be tempted to glide over, it's a delicious collection of contemporary psychedelic rock n' roll that tickles your inner sense of abandon plenty of times. I caught up with frontman Jack McEwan to discuss the album, what's happening music-wise in Australia and his impending trip to the solar system.

Remy: There are a few subtle clues outside of the sound of the new album itself that you have all dabbled in 60’s psych-garage and rock, one being maybe the title of the excellent second track on ‘High Visceral (Part 1)’, ‘Cubensis
Lenses’. It immediately reminded me of San Francisco band Blue Cheer’s 1968 debut, Vincebus Eruptum! Is 60’s garage and psych rock a platform you’d say your sound sprang from?

Jack: Yeah It was definitely a big influence, there was such a huge shift in musical style through that 60’s period with new technologies and instruments to experiment with that it broke all pre-existing notions of composition and allowed musicians more creativity to evolve their sounds. After listening to endless styles I’m always drawn back to that crackling amp blasting out heavy riffs, there’s something about a crash cymbal ringing out over a monster jam that will never get old.

R: Like here in Ireland and indeed in the UK and US, Australia seems to be going through a music revival at present judging by the quality of music I’ve heard over the last few years from independent acts, but not only that, musicians are experimenting far more than ever, venturing wildly into other genres such as electronica and hip-hop, is that your experience also?

J: Yeah completely. There’s so much music software and hardware available now that it’s hard not to experiment. I’m always messing around with my launch pad and creating electronic gems and so are the rest of the band. If you have the resources available then use them, trial with everything and most of the time you get something completely unique pop out that you have no idea how to replicate live and then you’re faced with a whole bunch of other questions.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets Perth

R: A quick question regarding the name of the band, which I’m sure will drive a lot of traffic to various websites! Tongue-in-cheek or a name that has a deeper meaning to you???

J: Haha! I’d love to say yes and reel off on one but truthfully it’s just a strange name that when first hearing it makes people question what it is, they’re led on a confused thought process which floats around a bit until eventually they’re
intrigued enough to give it a listen. To me it suits the sound though, a little bit out there, kind of quirky and in your face.

R: You decided to release a limited run of 250 copies of ‘High Visceral (Part 1)’ on gatefold vinyl with the design courtesy of lead singer Jack McEwan, was it an expensive exercise to get it pressed in such a small quantity, and is it your preferred medium of listening to some choones?

J: We were lucky enough to have Rhubarb Records, a Perth based record store sign us to a 250 copy contract. We always wanted to press vinyl but none of us have any money and couldn’t afford the initial investment. For me vinyl is the end game, it’s not an album until it’s pressed on wax (word - Remy). It’s great there’s been a resurgence in recent times. I’m not 100% fussed about what medium you listen to music through, if you can click a button and music flies to your device then that's pretty magic, give it a couple of plays then if you’re liking the album then a record is personal, arguably the best sound platform you’re likely to hear it on as well.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets - Marmalade March

R: Australia has had some incredible exports over the decades from AC / DC, INXS, Crowded House, Stevie Wright, and more recently a few groups I personally loved at various points such as Powderfinger, Wolfmother, Tame Impala and The Drones (my No.1 still!). Do you find however, that you are at a slight disadvantage due to geography, in the sense that bands from the UK and Europe can easily travel to the US and elsewhere on tour, but for Australian bands, in particular independent ones such as yourselves, there’s a great cost attached?

J: Yeah we often joke about it, we’re in this secluded city miles from anywhere else and sadly can only play max 2 shows a month else it strains your fans to come watch. I’d love to have the freedom of the UK where you can travel the
country weekly creating a buzz, slamming back pints and building a solid group of fans across the nation. In Perth a national tour is the dream which we’re so lucky to be achieving, we probably won’t make any money from it but having
the chance to do what we love, continuously gig and get plastered for a few weeks is what I signed up for.

We’ve got a good run of shows around the country which we’re all pumped for.

FRI 13 MAY @The Metro, Adelaide
SAT 14 @Bar 303, Melbourne
SUN 15 @Brunswick Hotel, Melbourne
WED 18 MAY @Frankie’s Pizza, Sydney
THURS 19 MAY ‘No Refunds’ @ Bald Faced Stag, Sydney
FRI 20 MAY @Miami Shark Bar, Gold Cost QLD
SAT 21 MAY @Ric’s Bar, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane
SAT 28 MAY @Mojos Bar, Fremantle, Perth

R: I bumped into a lovely chap from Australia who was visiting friends in Dublin back in January and we got into a deep converastion about music. He kindly sent me a list of 20-odd albums by Australian acts to check out a while later which I’m still working my way through, any recommendations for Irish readers of who you think we should let into our ears?

Hideous Sun Demon (premiered here last year! - Remy) have been one of my favorite bands for a few years now, I’m just lucky they live in the same city,
incredible energy, amazing riffs and some clever lyrics and time signatures keep your ears tweaking, they’ve got a new album on the way which I’m really excited for, no release date as of yet though. Koi Child are another big band
doing great things musically and pushing the limits of experimentation. Foam, Dougals Casino, Red Engine CavesSpaceman Antics, Mugwump, The Love Junkies. There’s a hundred more I’ve forgotten but they’ll get you through the week.

R: Finally, from my own perspective, congratulations on a stellar debut which I really enjoyed a lot, is it too soon to ask where Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are headed next?

J: Alpha Centauri to gather utensils for Part 2 and get back into the studio as soon as possible.

R: Big thanks to Jack for the interview and the great music recommendations, you can get your hands on High Visceral, Part 1 at the links below.

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Single: GILLBANKS - Childhood


GILLBANKS - Childhood

Info: GILLBANKS, a Peckham based artist, formerly from Falmouth, debuted a self released EP last November, Lend Me Your Skin, a pretty hypnotic blend of woozy swells and downcast slacker-imbued pop.

'Childhood' however is a deliciously acerbic track that weaves together all the spit and fuzz of prime Stephen Malkmus, with the knowing assuredness of a fresh-faced Graham Coxon. It’s a hypnotic brew, and a killer second step by this fresh, dizzyingly raw talent.

GILLBANKS strikes a unique balance once again on 'Childhood', casting his net far back to early 90's indie and chamber pop. Whilst by no means overt, the soft swagger of his vocals and the music remind me of early Damon Albarn (think a sleepy version of 'There's No Other Way') with the baggy pop sounds of The Happy Mondays and the playfulness of Belle & Sebastian. It's also a track of two halves in some ways, as it settles into a rockier affair after the mid point, a punchy energy to the guitars which increase the tracks tempo before launching into an elastic spurt of distortion, before a sparse reflective conclusion nicely wraps up proceedings. Another strong single from a musician who is very happy pushing his boundaries in all sorts of directions.

Like this? Check out this;


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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Interview: Tim Muddiman (Gary Numan Guitarist) & The Strange

Tim Muddiman Gary Numan Tim Muddiman and The Strange

Info: Not so long ago I caught up with guitarist Tim Muddiman ahead of the release of his debut solo album, Paradise Runs Deeper, with his band, Tim Muddiman & The Strange. We chat about life on tour with Gary Numan and Pop Will Eat Itself, Tim's burgeoning acting career, the music videos for the single, the album itself, and the evolution of the music icon!

Tim Muddiman & The Strange - Rolling Stone

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

EP: Rollercoasterwater - Umami Sounding Fireball

Rollercoasterwater - Umami Sounding Fireball

- Review by Noël Duplaa

Info: California duo Rollercoasterwater caused quite a stir online with their previous Animal Collective referencing single, 'Avey Tare Said', reaching the heady heights of Consequence of Sound along with this very site. Singer / samplist Chuckie Behring and percussionist Robin Levy are already an album and 3 EPs deep into their recording career, and current EP, Umami Sounding Fireball sees them refine their sound, while managing to retain the love of playful psychedelic experimentalism that sets them apart.

Straight off the bat, the title of the album gives a real insight into its aspirations - blending taste, sound and vision across its three words, it highlights how the ideas, songwriting and production on this album are a considered attempt to evoke synesthesia, the overlapping of senses that allows some people to see sound, and so forth.  In fact, their previously championed Avey Tare is a famous synesthete along with a wide range of others from musicians like Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder and Aphex Twin, composers such as Leonard Bernstein and Franz Liszt, to geniuses such as Nikola Tesla and Friedrich Nietzsche.  And while you can’t discount their nous for a melodic lead line, Rollercoasterwater’s textural experimentation is at the centre of everything they do, marrying the sounds on display with a palpable feel that can push at the limits of the designated senses, seeming to spill over into the remaining four.

The EP opens with 'Foam in My Midi Controller', as a seemingly simple two note guitar line distorts and delays, perfectly mirroring their love of subverting simplicity through experimental sounds.  Despite being quite deliberate and slowly paced, the song carries and builds an epic feel, like gradually driving towards the foot of a mountain, and watching it slowly fill out the windscreen.  The song eventually eats itself like an OK Computer track, delays surging off themselves. A ringing bell leads into the single, 'Avey Tare Said', which remains a sweet pop gem under layers of reverbed harmonies and textural shifts.

The undoubted centrepiece of the EP, 'Trying to Maze,', is a perfect vehicle to display percussionist Robin Levy’s skills, as his jazzy drumming manages to hold a direct centre line in the song, while adding just enough character and personality to never feel fully moored to it - and that’s before its EQ-ing makes the drums go for a quick walk outside the room.  The guitars and voice remain glimmering and stoned, as the drums grow more frantic - the synthetic and acoustic elements directly competing with each other, creating a thrilling standoff.  

The album’s closing track, ‘Strobe Froth,’ acts more as a deliberate wind down from the three challenging pop freak outs that have come before it. Indecipherably delayed vocals and a wandering bass-line play off the tense clicking of a spinning bicycle wheel (or not), muted drums and a floating synth. Behrin has mentioned that the EP was "an experiment with more organic sounds using acoustic elements and a more traditional recording process, clashing with synthetic textures…", and in this they have been utterly successful.  But the balance that they are beginning to achieve between this experimentalism and their own deeply ingrained sense of a well crafted pop song is where Rollercoasterwater have really started to gain ground, and where they look capable of creating a lasting impact.

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Single: Silences - Breathless

Silences Breathless

Silences - Breathless

- Review by Noël Duplaa

Info: Silences, the Armagh based five piece band centred around singer/songwriter Conchúr White, have released their new single 'Breathless'. Building on past releases, notably previous single 'There’s a Wolf', (which amassed over 50,000 Soundcloud streams, and received plays from Annie Mac, Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart), the new track acts as an excellent appetite-whetter for their current EP, Luna which is available for purchase through

There’s a horrible tension, both musically and lyrically at the core of this song - as frontman and main songwriter Conchúr White notes, “It’s about trying your best but wondering will it ever be enough.”  And this stress is palpable from the song’s first line, “I spilled my guts for nothing as much as a flake of denial.”  The ominous symbolism of the verses gives way to the aching, heartbleeding question in the chorus: “Am I ever gonna make you honest?/Am I ever gonna leave you breathless?”  Gently unfolding in XX style hushed minimalism, the five piece band mine this tension for all it’s worth.  Delicate piano and delayed guitars build on a skeletal electronic beat, as hushed harmonies ebb and flow until the bass finally begins to show the strain and leads the band off a cliff, with the song’s sudden dynamic descent into chaos releasing all the barely restrained turmoil like water rushing through a crack in a dam.

With their three released EPs, Silences have proved themselves as capable of finding power in the quietest fingerpicked guitar line as in the raging torrents of a fully unleashed five piece band, but their increasing mastery of the dynamic shifts between these two elements sees them staking their place as that rarest of things - a band as happy obsessing over the minutiae of production textures as the joy of loud guitars cutting loose; a headphones band with the muscle to slay a main stage.

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EP: Kate Dineen - Great Escape

Info: Tralee folk artist Kate Dineen released her debut EP, Great Escape, with a launch night in Dublin's Bello Bar yesterday. Intricate finger-style accompaniment and introspective lyrics combine as this singer songwriter lays her soul bare. Her debut EP covers escapism, dealings after dark and internal conflict. It also gives a nod to the American folk music which influences her style. 

Great Escape begins with it's title track, a soft and stripped back affair with all of the focus on Dineen's gentle vocal performance and guitars electric and acoustic. It's a classic folk song, leaving yourself exposed isn't easy and doesn't often work, especially as an introduction, but it's done perfectly here, ''s to clichés' Dineen sings, whilst avoiding them with ease.

'Night Creatures' brims with self-awareness and emotion, its title suggesting the protagonist is addressing each of her little anxieties which come to visit her as a group late at night, but also unrequited love, musically and vocally echoing Gemma Hayes of days gone by. On 'Make Me Down A Pallet' we switch over to a really enjoyable piece of bluegrass / country music, Dineen again puts her ability to tell us a story in the window with these light-hearted and humourous lyrics. 

Guitars edge toward spaghetti Western bends on closing track, 'Storm', if Tarantino delves into the genre in the future once again he could do far worse than picking this one up for his OST. The sound is more fulsome on 'Storm' providing a nice balance to the EP, harmonies and a more prominent electric guitar adding to the tracks mysterious aura.

I really like Great Escape and can see myself coming back to it again and again, it felt at times like it was flirting with more pop-oriented sounds, like First Aid Kit without the bling, but it restrained itself. This is definitely an area Kate Dineen could comfortably reside in, but I think it was important that she created a collection of songs which strongly reflect who she is as a musician, and where she's come from, which she has managed to do successfully here.

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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Single: THUMPER - Rent Is Due

THUMPER Rent Is Due Single

THUMPER - Rent Is Due

Info: THUMPER are a noise-pop quintet from Dublin, delivering bubblegum pop through a wall of sonic death. With a reputation for raucous and frenzied live shows, a slew of lo-fi ear worms (think Sonic Youth vs Abba), and penchant for howling feedback and pounding double-drums, this is a band u'll love 2 love.

'Rent is Due' is the lead single from THUMPER's forthcoming EP, Magnum Opuss, and also features the truly excellent Bitch Falcon, as well as the truly righteous OTHERKIN, a holy trinity of Dublin rock bad asses. The track is claustrophobic, there's no space left anywhere for any outside sound or silence to breath, think the scene in Star Wars when Chewbacca, Han Solo, Leia and Luke are in the waste pit in the Death Star and the crusher is closing in from both sides, your head is waiting to pop.

The dizzying and unbridled chaos of distorted guitars and vocals coupled with commanding and manic drumming throw you into the best of Seattle grunge and fuzzed out lo-fi rock n' roll, the band's name, all in upper-case is entirely appropriate. This will come as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with the band's self-titled debut EP which mixed early Dandy Warhol's sounds with their trademark sonic ear-bleeding, quality stuff from an exhilarating act.

THUMPER - The Bathroom Floor

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EP: CARRON - Roots

Carron Roots EP

CARRON - Roots

Info: Dublin Celtic-influenced, folk-pop duo Méabh and Mella who perform under their surname CARRON, released their latest EP, Roots, at the start of this monthEach track in 'Roots' explores a distinct phase of sisters Méabh and Mella Carron's life together, from childhood ('Roots'), through adolescence ('She's Fire') and dealing with sickness ('Prison Robes'), to envisioning a future free from the mistakes of a generation past ('Marble Arch').

Opening with it's self-titled track, Roots lays out its Celtic influence immediately, conjuring images of pagan priestesses moving slowly through a mist-laden forest in ancient Hibernia. Faded harmonies from the sisters add to the mystique as strings and added vocals from band members raise the track to its penultimate crescendo. 

'She's Fire' is more folksy, and adds a nice change of mood, it's R n' B vox and acoustic guitar playing giving it some added funk before drifting in and out of the balladry of the chorus. A certain highlight for me which I really enjoyed is the swish 'Prison Robes' (below), here CARRON move strongly toward contemporary folk-pop. The beat is held really well by the chugging acoustic guitar strumming and plucking, and there's an ever so slight hint of anthemic 80's ballad power pop from the duo to give that extra bit of energy.

CARRON - Prison Robes

Finally we come to the sombre tones of 'Marble Arch', a reflective contemplation on the errors of the past as outlined by the pair, much like 'Roots', the influences stand out, harmonies once again hold strong and enter an ethereal space in the final quarter. CARRON have put together a collection of four tracks that provide plenty of variety and showcase both their talents and those of their band as musicians, and they're definitely on the right path with regard to reaching a wider audience based on this evidence.

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Track: Funeral Suits - Tree of Life

The Funeral Suits Tree of Life

Funeral Suits - Tree Of Life

Info: After reaching a whopping 13 million hits for their video 'All Those Friendly People' (bottom), Dublin alternative electronic four-piece Funeral Suits have once again teamed up with Rubyworks (Hozier, Rodrigo Y Gabriela) to release their brand new track 'Tree Of Life' and announce their forthcoming EP due out in late July. Having spent the last couple of years touring throughout Europe with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Ariel Pink, The Breeders, Passion Pit, amongst other super fantastic acts. While touring, the band tirelessly continued to stop in various parts of the world to track ideas and shape songs. Finally the band took these scribbles, sat down and recorded a complete EP with Ken and Jolyon Thomas who have been responsible for Sigur Ros and M83.

My initial reaction to 'Tree of Life' was one of being hugely impressed, but also a sense of deep isolation as I realised I was probably the last person to hear of this great band. The latest track from the quartet is like a bridge between Animal Collective's 2007 album Strawberry Jam and 2009's Merriweather Post Pavilion. The wavy tempo and very tight balance between electronics and guitar / drums drive the song from a low starting point to a powerful surge which continues through its 5 minute duration.

Lyrically it's a curious experiment, dark humour underlined by lines such as 'Last night I drank a bottle of the blood of Christ' and the wonderful evolutionary synopsis of; 'Got out of the sea, climbed into the trees, chopped down the forest to build our cities'. Perhaps the message is that in it's simplicity and beauty, nature is a great source of happiness and well-being, but we're destined to destroy that happiness and it's one true source, the tree of life. Either way 'Tree of Life' is a fantastic track from a hugely talented band who will continue to win over large swathes of fans internationally whilst they're writing numbers as good as this one.

Funeral Suits - All Those Friendly People

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Video: Penrose - See You Again

Penrose See You Again

Penrose - See You Again

Info: Dublin indie rock quintet Penrose have just released a new video for their track 'See You Again' from last years debut EP, Live For The Dream

The Penrose sound is distinctly along the dual lines of 60's and 70's pop-rock acts such as The Kinks, Beatles and ELO, but more noticeably influenced by the Britpop / indie era of the mid-90's, jangly guitars leading toward Oasis' 1998 compilation album The Masterplan. 'See You Again' is a lovely slice of summertime indie with sharp pop threads running through it, and it is damn catchy, belting choruses and a psychedelic hippy mood abounds on the rolling guitar riffs and anthemic strings. 

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Video: Sun.Set.Ships - Sinking Islands

Sun Set Ships Sinking Islands

Sun.Set.Ships - Sinking Islands

Info: Electro-indie outfit Sun.Set.Ships have their debut video with 'Sinking Islands', the lead track taken from their upcoming debut EP. Formed in 2014, the trio of Conor Bellew (vocals, keys), Ciaran Curley (vocals, lead guitar) and Ryan Mulligan (percussion, Ableton Live) have spent the best part of the last two years honing a sound combining atmospheric electronic-driven melodies with punchy, folk-enthused lyrics. The Monaghan-based act are now putting the final touches to their eagerly awaited debut record 'Man Must Explore' which is due to be released in summer 2016 with a series of live performances to mark the release also on the cards.

Sun.Set.Ships have presented us with a solid intro to what we may find on Man Must Explore later this year, whilst the trio count the likes of CHVRCHES, Hot Chip and James Vincent McMorrow as influences, you could add the likes of Peter, Bjorn & John and M83 to that list. Whilst many contemporaries in the field of electropop here in Ireland have shades of UK influences cast over their sound, Sun.Set.Ships seem to be closer to the Scandinavian style, to my ears at least. 

'Sinking Islands' is enjoyable from start to finish, the vocals are soothing and crisp and the minimalistic approach to beats and synths work well in tandem with the vox. Lyrically the track is straight-forward enough with a clear emphasis on a catchy chorus, the release of their debut record in the summer will give us a better picture of where the band are at, but they've got our attention now.

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Live: The New Social @ The Bello Bar, Wed. 27th April

The New Social Bello Bar Dublin

The New Social - With You

Info: Mayo five-piece rock band The New Social perform their first headline gig in Dublin next Wednesday, 27th of April, in The Bello Bar, Dublin 8. Support on the night comes from talented young Wexford folk-singer Niall Cash and Dublin-based Rosa Nutty who has been causing a big stir among critics over the last 12 months. Entry is a mere €5 with full details below plus some music from Niall and Rosa, the event has been organised by the team at Live Loud Music.

Niall Cash - Fire

Rosa Nutty - Fine Print

Friday, 22 April 2016

Single: Harbouring Oceans - Enso

Harbouring Oceans Enso

Harbouring Oceans - Enso

Info: Harbouring Oceans are an independent five-piece alt-pop / art rock band from Kilkenny who have just released their debut single 'Enso'. This song and accompanying video were recorded at Windmill Lane Studio 1, Dublin. Lyrically, the song examines the creative process and having the courage to persist through hardship.The track is reminiscent of early Maroon 5, Hozier, and Incubus.

As a music fan, 'Enso' by Harbouring Oceans was a song I was immediately able to enjoy with next to no effort. Here is a track that has all of the hallmarks of one of the best Irish pop-rock songs of 2016, impassioned soul-infused vocals and energetic music are accompanied and elevated by nailed on harmonies. There's also so much to be said for the guitar-playing which flits between subtle darts and euphoric bursts, presumably intended to remain in the background, but fittingly providing a core source of 'Enso''s greatness. Bands like Harbouring Oceans and contemporaries such as Ivy Nations, The Academic and OTHERKIN are wrestling popular music back to music fans and away from the mundanity of daytime radio, god speed.

Harbouring Oceans launch 'Enso' on the 28th of April @ The Button Factory

Harbouring Oceans Enso Launch Button Factory

EP: Niamh Crowther - Niamh Crowther

Niamh Crowther Niamh Crowther EP

Niamh Crowther - I'll Be

Info: Niamh Crowther came to prominence aged 16, when she beat over 15,000 other young people to claim the prestigious Youth Music Awards. The accompanying rave reviews and talk about town earned her "one to watch" accolades from the media. A succession of well received singles further enhanced her reputation. Supported by an extensive radio tour, the last single "Little by Little" was one of the most played independent Irish tracks on Irish radio last summer. That success continued into the autumn as the song made its way to the US and Europe, getting support countless stations including Janice Long on BBC Radio 2. A success made even more remarkable given Niamh is combining her burgeoning music career whilst studying full time in Dublin.

My introduction to Dublin singer-songwriter Niamh Crowther came at this years Ones To Watch festival in Whelans in January and her live impact on me and the rest of the audience was instantaneous. One of the biggest draws of Crowther's music is undoubtedly her voice, there's a power yet timidity to it, and she thankfully lets her vocals come across as naturally as possible. 

This is displayed perfectly on the opening track of her self-titled debut EP, 'I'll Be', a solo vocal start is swiftly accompanied by piano and guitar, the pitch see-saws through it's verses and is crystal clear, the power then releases itself assuredly as the chorus gains momentum. A hugely endearing surge with strings brings us up a notch in the final third and we're off to a great start, an obvious but worthy choice for a single as well which has unsurprisingly hit the radio airwaves with ease.

Niamh Crowther Whelans Ones To Watch
Photo: Remy Connolly

The EP's second single, 'Little By Little' oozes charm and energy, the upbeat folk-country melody supported by a high tempo banjo intro and locomotive drumming. "Little by little this will grow, this will grow and overthrow us, if we let it" she opens, a line that could easily be coming from the listener, and it doesn't take much for us to fall under her spell to be fair. 'Painkillers' brings us back down to earth, like a young Sandy Denny, Crowther embraces her folk leanings fully on this track and it certainly feels like a nice throwback to mid-60's American or British folk. 

Niamh Crowther - Origins

We sign-off with final track 'Origins', another strong showcase for her exceptional vocals, but also an added emotional edge to the music, the movement of the piano and strings are powerful to round off a very impressive debut release. I don't like making reference to age or any other circumstantial characteristics when reviewing music, but I do think that it's difficult not to observe that at such an early stage in her career, Niamh Crowther has opened the door to a very promising future in music, which will certainly see her win a lot of hearts along the way.

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