Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Video: Femmepop - There Is A Place

Femmepop There Is A Place

Femmepop - There Is A Place

Info: Cork electronic artist Femmepop has released her latest video for track 'There Is A Place', from the Underground EP which was released at the beginning of this year. There are lots of electronic synth bands about these days, and indeed solo acts, and it's great, but Femmepop, real name Margaret O'Sullivan, really strikes a chord with me as an 80's child, the music videos I remember long before MTV and the film soundtracks from that decade. 

'There Is A Place' feels like a musical photo album for that era for me, it's an incredibly nostalgia-inducing track to a time that almost feels like another world or a dream from the perspective of 2016. There are multiple levels of vocal effects, synth progressions and a general bag of subtle sounds that combine effortlessly, it seems as though it was all simple enough, but how they work together in perfect time says otherwise. Without being too crass about an artists labour, Femmepop could easily be penning soundtracks for indie films and beyond, candy once again.

Timecop1983 & Femmepop - Our Time

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Single: Elephant - Stay With Me

Elephant Stay With Me

Elephant - Stay With Me

Info: Following the hugely successful release of last years debut album HyperGiant, Dundalk native Shane Clarke, aka Elephant, has admitted the mania in the run up to and afterwards, live performances, the extended lead up to the release etc. took their toll slightly leading to mixture of writing fatigue and creative anxiety.

Clarke himself explains; 'For the next two weeks I laboriously wrote and rejected words and riffs that I felt no connection too. I became superstitious. Suspicious of my new guitar, that it had "no songs in it". I turned to my old lyric journals, the new one too clean to house real feelings. I began to think I had exhausted whatever knack I had that made writing the first album so painless. In a last ditch effort I decided to treat myself to a new keyboard. Upon its arrival, I put down my hollow and vacant guitar and plugged in my new synth and all of a sudden…a song.

Almost immediately, I had made a proper connection to a simple chord progression. This led to a lyric that spawned an idea. What if a “muse” (or whatever you want to call it) is kept alive by only using it? Ignore it and it weakens and dies. 'Stay With Me' is a story about me in the months after the release of HyperGiant. I have destroyed my muse by resting too hard on my laurels. Now I desperately need her again. I expect things to be just like they were before but she has been fading away whilst I crowingly re-read reviews and interviews about what has already passed. I picture sitting by her death bed asking her not to go…purely selfish in my sincerity.'

Like one of the more dramatic and moving tracks on Bon Iver's second self-titled album, Elephant really does bare both vocals and heart on the opening verses of 'Stay With Me'. Vocalised effects and electronic sounds form a solid ring around his bread and butter metronome drum beat and guitar. Lyrically he has the metaphorical gift, with the background story, or without it, they will make sense to the listener in their own way. It's always been evident in Clarke's songs and music that his experiences resonate deeply through his music, vividly painting themselves on the pages of those notebooks mentioned above. It's never just a good song though, something always makes Elephant's tracks great songs, and here it's the Prince-reminiscent keyboard toward the very end, 'Woah! Where did that come from? And how come it worked so well?' I think we all know.

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Best of June: Bat For Lashes / DJ Shadow / The Julie Ruin / Blood Orange / Adam Fielding

Bat for Lashes The Bride

Info: This weeks scour of the new releases threw up some nice surprises, Bat For Lashes will be releasing her fourth album since 2006's Fur and Gold, with The Bride due to drop on the 1st of July. Early indicators are that this could be one of her most complete albums to date, there's always that tricky fifth album I suppose! She's already released 4 tracks online over the past five months, giving us a good idea of what to expect, I've included my favourite of those below in the latest single, 'Sunday Love'. 

Iconic Californian maestro DJ Shadow just released his latest album, The Mountain Will Fall, a few days ago, which surprisingly hasn't taken off in terms of online reaction, I'm loving it so far, one of those 'first few bars of the first track and I'm in' jobs, fans of his will be very pleased and immediately in familiar and not so familiar surroundings. On the 8th of July we'll see the second album from New York solo act The Julie Ruin with Hit Reset. Quite a discovery for me that I'm really pleased with, listening to her first album has also been a great experience, the music is the hard rock side of electronic indie and her vocals are a treat, check out 'I Decide' below, and if you like it the lyric video for 'Run Fast' on Youtube, it's punk ass.

London act Blood Orange will release what might become the Rn'B album of the year with Freetown Sound in a few weeks time. Currently based in New York, they've created a delicious cocktail of ambient electro-funk on track 'Augustine', just released Monday (below) to whet the appetite. And finally, I've thrown in Adam Fielding's The Broken Divide, his first full solo album, an escapist electronic and ambient experience which is available here at a 'Name Your Price' price. 

Bat For Lashes - 'Sunday Love'

DJ Shadow - 'Nobody Speak' feat. Run The Jewel

The Julie Ruin - 'I Decide'

Blood Orange - 'Augustine'

Adam Fielding - The Beginning & The End

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Video: Funeral Suits - The Way Back

The Funeral Suits The Way Back

Funeral Suits - The Way Back

Info: The brand new single from Funeral Suits entitled 'The Way Back', is the 2nd single off their forthcoming EP (due out Aug 5th).

Funeral Suits (whose name is inspired by a love of the first Arcade Fire album) released a clutch of handmade singles before they came into contact with legendary Britpop producer Stephen Street, best known for his work with The Smiths and Blur. 'The Way Back' is the follow up to the hugely successful first single, 'Tree of Life' and it's stunning video (below).

Once again we're served up with a cinematic video from Funeral Suits courtesy of director James Fitzgerald and a single in 'The Way Back' that is anthemic and hugely energetic in its reach. Again I'm feeling early Animal Collective and French electro-pop outfit M83, with the Dublin band fully embracing their deep electronic sound. The chorus is littered with sun bursts, spots and flares that whip up into a crashing discord and clamour, jolting and pushing you beyond the edges of their sonic precipice. It's unusual to come across an Irish band in particular, for whom their music and videos create equal anticipation, (amassing millions of views over the last 5 years), and here we have another fulfilling double-treat once again from an act that is currently on fire.

Funeral Suits - Tree of Life

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Video: Red Moon Bayonets - Bayonets

Red Moon Bayonets Bayonets

Red Moon Bayonets - Bayonets

Info: Red Moon Bayonets are a Dublin based 4-piece band started by Vinnie Flynn. Their style is a mix of alternative rock, blues and indie. The project  was started with the idea of creating something musically new and innovative.

Every track reveals a bristling sense of originality whilst hinting at the bands unmistakable Red Moon Bayonet’s feel. Band members James, Dan, Vinnie and Dave have all added their own stamps to this endeavour and their combined dedication and energetic musical input have resulted in something truly captivating.

'Bayonets' itself is served up with sultry blues rock atmospherics and moods, smouldering vocals and pernicious guitar and percussion call you into the darkness, like the grim reaper through the mist, this reminded me a bit of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club meets Blue Öyster Cult, and that's not just because of the aforementioned scythe carrying character. 

The use of thick bass-string on the chords and shaker add to the sinister yet slow pursuit as the music gives chase to your inner fears. Directed by the multi-talented Laura Sheeran, there is very effective use of imagery as the morphing between in and out of focus shots matches the swaying motion of the track. It's a low down and dirty foot-tapper from Red Moon Bayonets, filled with that looking over your shoulder type of pleasure, and ultimately a quality single that will appease massively to fans of alternative rock.

Red Moon Bayonets launch their new single in The Workmans Club on Saturday, August 6th.

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Single: Rosa Nutty - Sea Salt

Rosa Nutty Sea Salt

Rosa Nutty - Sea Salt

Info: June 29th will see Rosa Nutty’s second headline show of 2016. She plays The Grand Social along with her band, and they will be joined on the night by Ailbhe Reddy. The gig marks the official release of 'Sea Salt', Nutty’s first track-release since her debut EP Bunny in August 2015. 'Sea Salt' explores how early-life relationships dissolve as people begin to polarize with age. The video for the
song, directed by Sean Clarke, will also be premiered on the night.

'Sea Salt' is a song that wants to hold your worries and thoughts in its hands as you repose in the wind of Nutty's voice. Stylistically you could cast Rosa Nutty as an Irish Lily Allen on this particular track, the delivery of her message is nonchalant in tone but sung with emotional meaning. Everything encompasses you, from the slow swaying rhythm to her layered vocal arrangements, whilst the theme of the song is one of regret and disappointment, an overall feeling of calm falls over the listener. The track closes with the thoughtful line; 'It's getting harder to watch you think the way you do, while I'm detox, well, you're just toxic, such is life, we are different people.'

Nutty is an interesting proposition, different to her peers certainly, but also portraying natural talent on a number of fronts from song-writing to lyrics to vocals all at once. Her songs are already very good, but it's obvious she has only scratched the surface of her talents, and that's what's exciting, imagining the unwritten songs that are only subconscious saplings in her head at the moment, and wondering how big they may become.

Rosa Nutty plays The Grand Social, Dublin 1, tomorrow night, the 29th of June with support from the equally talented Ailbhe Reddy, info here.

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Single: Ivy Nations - Disintegrate

Disintegrate Ivy Nations

 Ivy Nations - Disintegrate

Info: Formed in 2015 in Dublin, Ivy Nations comprises longtime friends Darragh Faughey and Brian Sinnott (guitars), along with Joe Kiernan on vocals and Paul Donohoe on drums. Their debut track, the undeniable ear candy that is 'The Mile Road,' was released to universal plaudits and reached #3 on the HypeM Twitter chart. Second single, 'You Are the Centre of Me' premiered on BitCandy in December and received national airplay in Ireland, non-com radio in Aus and the US.

Now, the band is back with a darker, if no less catchy third single, "Disintegrate" (released Jun 20th). "If there is one song that demonstrates the lengths the band has reached to create a sound - it’s Disintegrate. The song was rewritten and recorded many times during attempts to get it right. The result, all of our energy and emotion captured on a track that is cathartic, driven by collapsing structures and farewells to the past."

The one thing about Ivy Nations that is unarguable, and yes, they may only be three singles into their catalogue, is that they never fail to please. It's one thing sticking to a winning formula, but it's another ensuring you don't become staid while you are at it. On 'Disintegrate' the band approach the song in the same way they did on their two previous and epic numbers, 'The Mile Road' and 'You Are The Centre of Me', focus is kept on ensuring the sum of its parts deliver another strong indie-pop hit. Not sitting on their laurels though, they've cranked up the disco beat feel and sound on this single, there's also a determination delivered via the vocals and guitars which gives greater thrust to the song than its predecessors. All of these elements combined have differentiated 'Disintegrate' sufficiently from Ivy Nations' last two singles to lead us to believe that the band are beginning something of a hot streak now, long may it continue.

Ivy Nations play Upstairs in Whelan's on Thursday the 7th of July, tickets on sale now via

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Monday, 27 June 2016

Live Review / Interview: Participant, Video Blue & Trick Mist

Video Blue Trick Mist Crumbs Abound Disco Nap Participant Whelans Dublin
Photo: Remy Connolly

Trick Mist / Video Blue Interview, Whelan's, Dublin. 25th of June.

Info: On Saturday I met up with Dundalk solo electronic acts Trick Mist (Gavin Murray) and Video Blue (Jim O'Donoghue Martin) in Whelan's of Wexford Street shortly before they went on stage with Dublin's Participant (Stephen Tiernan). We had a brief chat about how they found setting up in the U.K. after moving from Ireland a few years back, and also future plans. 

All three acts were excellent and it was a unique position to be in beforehand that I was looking forward to the entire roster having reviewed Participant's wonderful Content EP at the end of last year. His live performance was not what I expected, the electronic side was put aside for a beautifully tender set of gentle electric guitar and soft but exquisite vocals.

Participant Dublin Whelan's Music Live
Participant. Photo: Remy Connolly

Like Participant, Video Blue and Trick Mist put everything into their sets, and according to their differing styles, brought energy and calm respectively. VB shifting from guitar to electronic sounds and back again, positively enjoying himself as were the gathered crowd who had filled the room, highlights being the driving beat of 'Filmic', the warm glow of 'Mammies and Daddies' from his More Pop Troubles EP exemplifying his at times cheeky stage presence. Finally the latest single which featured on his shared split 7" double-A side with Trick Mist, 'Disco Nap', it's kinda happy-sad, but mostly happy, and a big step forward in the music he's creating.

Video Blue Dublin Whelan's Jim O'Donoghue Martin
Video BluePhoto: Remy Connolly

Last to take the stage was Trick Mist, initially bringing a sense of serenity and calm to proceedings, as Murray's set went on the verve increased and by the end of it the crowd were elated by his carefully crafted ambient and atmospheric rendering of his music. Chills were had when the incredible 'Tampering Happy' was performed, added strings only enhancing the feeling, and there was also the only time I'll hear a tin whistle and not want it to stop on 'Crackling Settlement', both from last years Jars in Rows EP. Without being too obvious about the two acts singles, I love them both, 'Crumbs Abound' was sinister and haunting to say the very least, its shuddering string effect almost Massive Attack-like, and a perfect vehicle for Trick Mist's vocal tone. 

Trick Mist Whelan's Dublin Live Music Gavin Murray
Trick Mist. Photo: Remy Connolly

Three very different acts, three memorable performances and each from individuals who take their music as seriously as they take their passion for it.

'Ya left the immersion on Jim'
'I did on me hole hey!'

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Single: This Side Up - Signs feat. Verb T & Moreone

This Side Up - Sings feat. Verb T & Moreone

This Side Up - Signs feat. Verb T & Moreone

Info: This Side Up are delighted to release the first single from their debut album 'Full Fat'. 'Signs' features Verb T & Moreone from 'In The Balance Records'.

The collaboration came about after a string of hyped live shows together in Ireland. 'Signs’ takes the form of a cypher, straight up beats and rap, with an edge and honesty that subverts the norm. Heavy head nod production, from This Side Up's Myster-E, lays the foundation. Styles upon Styles! Like minded voices from the West of Ireland and London.  

Although the Irish hip-hop scene in general is bursting at the seams with high quality acts right now, and probably at its healthiest point ever, This Side Up are one of the pioneers of this movement and right at the top of the ever-growing pile. Releasing their debut EP 3075 (a reference to, in their own words; '3,075 miles from the birthplace of Hip Hop some Sligo boys started making noise. "They’ve got notions" people uttered. "That’s the truth!" they said.) in 2015, they're currently working on their full debut album, Full Fat, which will be released shortly. 

Full Fat Album This Side Up

'Signs' itself is a cracking piece of hip-hop, melding old school early 90's sounds with a clear current spread across its 4 minutes, A Tribe Called Quest spring to mind stylistically when it comes to the vinyl scratching and Pharcyde on the other sounds, whilst beats and layers nod to contemporary act Cunninglynguists / Kno. In addition This Side Up have struck what comes across as an effortless balance between a very accessible track for casual hip-hop fans and quality that will appeal to hardcore fans of the genre. We're lucky to have these guys releasing music of this standard right now and I've no doubt based on this outing and their previous output that Full Fat is going to be dooooooooooope!

Take the opportunity to check out the equally wonderful 'True School' below.

This Side Up - True School

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Single: Video Blue - Disco Nap / Trick Mist - Crumbs Abound

Video Blue and Trick Mist Disco Nap Crumbs Abound

Info: Tonight Dundalk pair Video Blue and Trick Mist play Upstairs in Whelan's with Participant as they tour their joint split 7" single 'Disco Nap' / 'Crumbs Abound'. Kicking off with an opening night in Jim O'Donoghue Martin's (Video Blue) current home city of London, over the coming weeks they'll be hitting Gavin Murray's (Trick Mist) city of residence Manchester and then on to Liverpool the following day on the 16th of July. Sure if you're around Dublin city centre tonight why not drop by for some great music, event info here

Below are both singles with accompanying videos which I'm most pleased to share from two very talented solo acts.

Video Blue - Disco Nap

Trick Mist - Crumbs Abound

Single: Stevie Cliff - Maybe

Stevie Cliff Maybe

Stevie Cliff - Maybe

Info: Dublin synth-pop / indie solo act Stevie Cliff releases the second single from his forthcoming album (due 2017), 'Maybe', as the follow up to the delicious 'Burn Baby Burn' which came out earlier this year. 

Produced by Ciaran O'Shea (The Frank & the Walters, Toy Soldier) the track is a well crafted piece of existential pop that provokes the listener to question the illusory nature of 21st century existence.

When held in comparison with the Artist's uber-catchy debut single "Burn Baby Burn" "Maybe" demonstrates a shift in lyrical expression that is far deeper on a philosophical level than the somewhat bubblegum subject matter of his first release. 

The single officially drops on the 11th of July with an accompanying video.

'Maybe' contrast to Cliff's last single on a number of counts, firstly it's more low-key than it's funky predecessor, but there's also a notable increase in focus on his electronic sound. His vocals are undisputedly suited to the genre he operates in and here there's a bit of added soul to the vox, but kind of 70's disco-funk at the same time, an unusual but very pleasing cocktail. As long as he can stay this loose we should be in for a real treat when the album proper comes out next year, because Stevie Cliff's cool is contagious so far.

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Best of June: Beck / Deerhoof / William Tyler / Xenia Rubinos / Filastine

Beck Wow

Info: To selfishly (bully me!) keep up to speed with new releases each month, which I struggle to do at the best of times, I'm committing to doing a monthly round-up of the best tracks I come across that are released each month and sharing them here. 

This month features Beck's incredible single 'Wow', Deerhoof's 'The Devil and His Anarchic Surrealist Retinue' (Jaysis), from their new album The Magic. As well as Lambchop / Silver Jews member William Tyler's solo work, selected track is 'Gone Clear' from his album Modern Country which was released on the 3rd of June. There's also the beguiling Rn'B pop sounds of Xenia Rubinos' 'Lonely Lovers' from sophomore album Black Terry Cat and finally, last but by no way means least, the highly highly recommended Filastine, live on KEXP with their track 'Sixty Cycle Drum', prepare to be amazed by this one.

Beck - 'Wow'

Deerhoof - 'The Devil and His Anarchic Surrealist Retinue'

William Tyler - Gone Clear

Xenia Rubinos - Lonely Lover

Filastine - Sixty Cycle Drum

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Video: Myles Manley - Live @ The Co-Present - Pay Me What I'm Worth

Myles Manley Pay Me What I'm Worth

Myles Manley Live on The Co-Present

Info: As a side project to their 'Spotlight On' series The Co-Present and Paradoxical Recordings are proud to introduce our new 'In-Session' collaboration. We will be recording one track live videos for some of our favourite Irish artists filmed at various locations around Dublin. First up the incredible Myles Manley with a live rendition of the opening tracks to his spectacular 'More Songs' EP 'Pay Me What I'm Worth' Recorded on the rooftop garden of Odessa @ Dame Court Dublin 2. The original music video for this track was directed by renowned film maker Bob Gallagher who makes a special appearance as a backing vocalist for Myles. Check it out and stay tuned for more of The Co-Present In Session videos, coming soon.

I recall the one and only time I saw Sligo musician Myles Manley live at the Jack of Diamonds festival upstairs in Whelan's a few years ago, it was some line-up that night with Manley squeezed between Eliza Flume and Cork rockers The Vincent(s). All three went on from that night to domestic success, but I was particularly taken by Flume and Manley on the night, he was solo on acoustic guitar and his set was beyond intriguing, even he seemed slightly withdrawn from himself, he had a presence that wasn't really obvious but it was special nonetheless, at least as far as I was concerned. All this reminiscing is really a lead up to sharing another Myles Manley video below, my favourite track of his, because if you haven't come across him before, you should listen and enjoy, like a food you've never tasted before, either way, it'll be a new experience!

Myles Manley & The Little People - Easter Morning

Single: Calan Mai - Cup

Calan Mai Cup

Calan Mai - Cup

Info: Australian singer-songwriter Calan Mai has released 'Cup', the new single from his upcoming sophomore EP, ‘This Isn’t How You Get Home’. Recorded with richly-textured harmonies and a sublime fusion of droning folk guitars and expansive, electropop drum loops, ‘Cup’ sees Calan Mai subverting listener expectations and continuing his exploration of new and exciting modes of production. Calan Mai is the moniker of Jordan Lawrence who, early last year, relocated from Gold Coast, Australia to Manchester.

Speaking on the track, Lawrence explains, "'Cup' is about being alone. It’s about that last-ditch feeling of panic that sinks in when you lose a person – that sort of fight or flight instinct that says ‘don’t let them go, make them stay’. In a way Cup, like the other songs on the EP, focuses on the danger of turning people into homes, places into people. The song isn’t really personal – it’s universal. It made sense to bring friends into the recording process. I didn’t want to sing this song alone."

'Cup' is a that mix of sombre and hopeful all in one, like a lapping wave or a warm and soft summer breeze, the track reaches you and pulls away in an instant. The harmonies are all encompassing and the inclusion of complimentary electronic beats and keys add a nice contemporary slant to a traditional folk outing from Mai. 

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Video: Otherkin - Yeah I Know


OTHERKIN - Yeah I Know

Info: Fresh from rocking the Isle Of Wight festival earlier this month. Dublin’s Otherkin keep pushing on with the brand new video for 'Yeah I Know'. The video was directed by the freshest young lens-about-town Christian Tierney, and stars Róisín Lavelle as the girl on a bike with a baseball bat, and Ro Graham as the tattooed love boy.

Luke from Otherkin says:  'It was very important for us that the video reflected the urgent, menacing nature of Yeah I Know. We wanted the pacing of the video to match the tension that's built throughout the song and that's what we got. In the video, you never quite know what's coming next but there's a constant hum of anticipation. Something is always on the cusp of happening, and the song and video will let you know what it is at the exact same time.'

Irish fans can see them at Longitude (15th July) and Indiependence (31st July).

‘Yeah I Know’ is taken from Otherkin’s second EP 'The New Vice', which was released on Rubyworks on Friday 17th June.

Like Nirvana's 'Territorial Pissings' greets QOTSA and The Hives, 'Yeah, I Know' applies all the right pressure points from it's opening, bursting at the seams with crazed bass-lines and guitars, it soars higher and higher until you're let go of its grip. Another storming single from the boys which, alongside last years single 'Ay Ay' and the more recent 'I Was Born', is starting to make the art of grunge and rock pop song-writing seem like a cinch to this band.

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Monday, 20 June 2016

Live: VAMEEL - Sin É, Dublin, 25th June

VAMEEL Live Sin É Dublin

VAMEEL - Marrow (Live)

Info: Vameel are a live electronic act from Dublin. A climactic coalition of super species born out of apocalyptic wartide. A.K.A Róisín, Des, Dylan and Bogle, they are a relatively new conception of seasoned Irish live players, but have quickly created a chasm in the Dublin music circuit. Their live show is an enthralling experience that assaults the senses, comprising of filthy synth sounds and ethereal melodies, Vameel will leave you in a state of bewilderment, bottom line don't miss this much anticipated headline show at Sin É, Dublin, 25th of June!

Following a positive reception to debut live video 'Marrow', the​ band are currently touring and looking forward to sharing some new material in 2016. 
​   ​
The first  ​months​ of the year have so far seen this new band play some of Ireland's top venues, including Kilkenny's Set Theatre, Connolly's of Leap, Róisín Dubh, Whelan's and The Workmans Club. They are now set to inflict their immense sound on Sin É, 25th of June. We invite you to come and be a part of this once off show.

​An exciting aspect of the band has been their extracurricular projects - so far the band have curated 2 private shows in their rehearsal/recording studio, released music on lighters, and brewed their own (delicious) pale ale, Vamale!
Although new to the circuit, Vameel have quickly garnered positive attention from various Irish blogs, as well as some discussion and play on local, national & web radio.     

Touch points include Massive Attack, Bonobo, Nick Cave and Debussy.

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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Single: Forebear - Delroy Lindo

Forebear Delroy Lindo

Forebear - Delroy Lindo

- Review by Noël Duplaa

Info: The debut single from "cinematic dirt rock band" Forebear, 'Delroy Lindo' is the precursor to their debut album Good God, which will be released August 26.  The combination of four prolific musicians, who have worked with artists and bands of the calibre of Feist, Bastille and Kimbra, Forebear have joined forces with producer Eric Lilavois, to produce an ambitious and moving song about the dark side of the Californian dream.

The song immediately grabs your attention as Goldbaum’s voice commandingly swoops through octaves, only to be joined by a mournful viola, their flighpaths intertwining and playing off each other.  As the drums start to assert their feathery presence, the lyrics come to the fore - brief glimpses of a fraying, toxic relationship that neither party can bring themselves to fully end.  The titular Delroy Lindo seems refer to that actor’s breakthrough role in Spike Lee’s Clockers, where his “domineering speeches from the driver’s seat,” served as twisted life lessons about the addictive power of crack cocaine. The beautifully sketched characters in the song seem caught in a similarly destructive pattern.

Skilfully tiptoeing a very fine line, Delroy Lindo manages to remain evocatively sexy while constantly skirting over the tumult just below surface, just as the singer veers from “teasing your neck” to mournfully proclaiming “you’re the loneliest of nations I have ever served.”  More than just demonstrating musicianship or songwriting chops, Forebear have managed to create a languorous, yearning atmosphere that soothes and seethes in equal measure. All of which bodes exceedingly well for their forthcoming debut album.

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Album: Gary O'Neill - Around The Robin

Gary O'Neill Around The Robin

Info: Gary O'Neill is a Kilkenny singer-songwriter and folk artist who spent much of his musical career doing the live music circuit in Dublin, he has recently relocated to Chicago following the release earlier this month of his debut album, Around The Robin. Describing the album he says; 'Around The Robin is a collection of songs that surfaced in early 2016. I wanted to make a record where the songs could speak for themselves - an album where the sentiment of a song was perfectly captured. Accompanied by my brother, Stephen Lovatt - we found a beautiful wide open room in Elektra Studio's and live tracked the whole thing. The idea behind it was to give these bunch of songs some natural breathing space, and to put more focus on getting the 'right' take, rather than the 'perfect' take.'

The album opens with the sweet ballad 'Hopeless Vagabond', O'Neill bringing a sound that is markedly different to the lighter and more humour-filled leanings of last years Gracefully With Haste EP. The production is strong and puts additional flesh on his sound, the closing harmonies and effects create a truly uplifting atmosphere for the listener.

Third track 'Beggars' has nice bluegrass electric guitar to accompany the acoustic rhythm, the first single from the album, it's got Americana stamped all over it, building up to a frenetic finale courtesy of some excellent fiddle playing by Meg LaGrande. 'Blue Boy' arrives next, a beautifully melodic lament that suits O'Neill's crystal clear and calming vocals very well, and in keeping with the rest of the album, the lyrics act as a medium for his story-telling. 

'Lost Angelica' confirms just how much O'Neill has matured as a song-writer, it's bare opening fills up with more finely honed harmonies and mellow electric guitar progressions, with this artist you are always struck by the authenticity and earnestness put into both music and lyric, this track being a case in point. The albums second last track, 'Little Liberties', allows us to bask in its warm glow, like a lullaby that brings us gently downstream on a hazy summers day to the point where you end up completely lost in the music and vocals.

In trying to establish who O'Neill would remind me of it didn't really strike me until the albums closing track, 'Golden Rivers', he inhabits a space somewhere between Devendra Banhart and José González musically whilst vocals lightly touch on the likes of Damien Jurado or Ben Howard. Recorded in just one take, the song is heart-wrenching, a mood that is bound by LaGrande on strings once again. Ultimately Gary O'Neill has made an album full of heart and soul and a noticeable advance on his previous releases, a sweet collection of well thought out songs which he clearly took great care to get right.

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