Wednesday 31 August 2016

Track: Kid Trench - All I Want Is Here

Kid Trench All I Want Is Here

Kid Trench - All I Want Is Here

Info: It's almost two years since Belfast's Kid Trench tip-toed unexpectedly into our consciousness with his music, the release of two excellent tracks, 'Blue Skies' (below) and 'I'll Be Waiting' being the most pleasant of surprises. A gentleman who likes to let his music do the talking, the Northern Irish producer focuses on melding electronic pop beats with hovering r n'b chart sounds. It's an unusual mixture, with Kid Trench making both styles perfectly palatable to those who may be a little bit adverse to the latter in particular. As 'All I Want Is Here' reaches its finale all bets are off, you're in a chart heavy zone and he's calling the shots, falsetto peaks and to round things off an unforeseen 80's hair guitar riff shuts the door. I'm not sure quite what he's up to, but I like it, and I want more!

Kid Trench - Blue Skies

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Live: Finley Quaye - The Grand Social, Dublin, 3rd September

Finley Quaye The Grand Social Dublin Live

Finley Quaye - Even After All

Info: During his career, Finley Quaye has performed on the biggest stages all over the world including SOB's in NYC , The Roxy in LA, Slane castle, Glastonbury, WOMAD , V-Fest, T in the park, Vancouver folk fest, EXIT fest, Rockit fest, Rio free jazz fest, Kay fest, Glade fest and Africa Oye .

The late Amy Winehouse supported Finley in Sheperds Bush Empire in 2003 while Cath Coffey also supported on various UK tours and more recently Martha Tilson supported Finley at London's Jazz cafe .

Finley is no stranger to performing in Ireland having played an extensive acoustic tour in 2007 taking in shows in Dublin, Glaway, Cork, Limerick and Belfast aswell as shows in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glencoe, Inverness, Orkney and Ayr on the same tour .

During his illustrious career he has toured with the likes of Julian Marley , James Brown , Ken Booth , Lee scratch perry , Luciano , Paul Weller , Ian drury and The Blockheads, Stereo MC's, The Verve and Ben Harper. Finley has also recorded with the likes of Danny Sabre, Skip McDonald, Beth Orton, William Orbit, Iggy Pop, Tricky, Primal Scream and Massive Attack to name but a few .

Finley is currently on an extensive acoustic tour of Europe taking in shows in Bulgaria , Romania , Switzerland , Belgium , France , Austria and Italy . 

We look forward to and welcome him to Dublin in September 2016 for the only Irish date of the current tour, which takes place this Saturday, the 3rd of September at The Grand Social, Dublin, courtesy of lekmk Promotions.

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Tuesday 30 August 2016

Single: Pablo Vasquez - Teasero

Pablo Vasquez Teasero

Pablo Vasquez - Teasero

- Review by Noël Duplaa

Info: More than just a man, Pablo Vasquez is actually the nom de plume for New Zealand nylon-stringed guitar duo Jolyon Mulholland and Elroy Finn. 'Teasero' is their debut single and their first release with Welsh label Cae Gwyn Records, which seems like a pretty perfect fit.

Originally the result of a collaboration that occurred between the two back in 2011 when they lived together in Brooklyn, the track came perilously close to fading like a particularly vivid dream, heard only by the audiences at a handful of New York performances.  Thankfully, some New Zealand recording sessions in 2015 allowed them to finally commit the songs to tape.  And, judging by “Teasero,” we’re very lucky indeed. Humming with a warm 70’s production feel, there’s a delicate baroque sensibility to the track - think Grizzly Bear or Elliott Smith’s quieter, more classical moments - while managing to maintain its melancholic and melodic feel.

And this track is all about creating a delicately sustained ambiance, carefully constructed intertwining guitar lines feeling effortless and calm, like ripples on a lake. You could easily imagine it setting the scene for the introduction of a character played by Warren Beatty or Paul Newman in a 1970’s classic - the character would, of course, be relaxed and charismatic on the surface, with fiercely intelligent, internal clockwork whirring behind steely eyes. As for the title, 'Teasero', of course, is fake-Spanish for “teaser,” but, tellingly, also very close to actual-spanish for "treasure", and this beautifully written and performed little gem carries itself with an easy brilliance.

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Tuesday 23 August 2016

Single: Heroes in Hiding - Hospital

Heroes in Hiding Hospital
Photo: Omar O'Reilly

Heroes in Hiding - Hospital

Info: 'Hospital' is Heroes in Hiding's brand new single from their new LP "Curtains" which will be released on the 7th October.

'Hospital' will be available to buy and stream on the 26th August from all online distribution platforms world wide.

It's difficult to believe that this band have been knocking around for over two and a half years as their full-length debut release, Curtains, creeps up around the corner. Heroes in Hiding are the definition of the hard-working band with results to show for it. A constant stream of music releases and incessant gigging and festival appearances of every kind pretty much shows any band starting out the template you need to follow, and that it isn't going to be easy.

With 'Hospital' itself, Heroes in Hiding are reaching (but not peaking!) a period of song-writing that has now seemingly become effortless and almost casual, we know the truth is more complicated of course. It's an indie-rock blast, it's brief sampled voice-over intro like something you'd come across on a Public Service Broadcasting track. Vocals and harmonies are emotionally raw, the theme deals with the frustrated struggle of finding yourself in a situation that controls you, rather than the opposite, and feels like it will never end. One thing nobody wants to end is these guys making music, and I don't see that happening for a long while thankfully.

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Sunday 21 August 2016

EP: Daisy Victoria - Animal Lover

Daisy Victoria Animal Lover

Info: This weekend saw the release of the third EP, Animal Lover, from U.K. solo act Daisy VictoriaSince she released her first EP ‘Heart Full of Beef’ in 2014, Victoria’s music has been compared with artists such as P.J. Harvey, Kate Bush, Nick Cave and Patti Smith, winning her support from the likes of i-D, NME, CLASH, Line Of Best Fit, The 405 and Radio 1’s Huw Stephens. Lauren Laverne has called her a "rising star" and BBC 6 Music hailed her follow up 2015 EP 'Nobody Dies' as "majestic".

Opening with it's title-track, we're immediately swept up in the air by Victoria's soaring vocal range and crashing guitar riffs, while the theatricity of Kate Bush ripples through vox, I instantly thought of Blondie and the dramatic rock stylings of Anna Calvi's 'Suzanne & I', for example. It's rock-pop template is converted entirely to darkly humourous rock with second track 'Holy Peace', you are completely unprepared for this change in direction, chugging guitar and bass-lines leave you gasping for air as the swell of both push the massively enjoyable vocals higher and higher. 

The hard rock sound does not stop there however, and the EP's third and final track, 'Dark Water', opens with a wallop of bone-crunching guitars once again. The mood and timbre on this song are far more serious than its predecessors; ' love is nothing but a hungry shark, a black, an oily black...' the singer almost whispers in a deep tone. As with second track 'Holy Peace', 'Dark Water' spreads its wings rousingly towards its finale. I can only conclude that the plaudits Daisy Victoria has received to date are entirely justified, and there is no doubt that she could (and should) sit comfortably among her more established and popular peers.

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JAXN Explore


Info: Perched, colourfully, at the border between the worlds of guitar music and electronic, JAXN’s vibes are typical of a generation bred on a smorgasbord of sonic variety; some psych-rock here, some Hip Hop there. JAXN is no different. With hints of Jai Paul, The Neighbourhood and Prince lined up alongside splashes of moody plectrum, JAXN’s latest offering 'EXPLORE'(Released 12.07.2016) promises to do just that.

"Explore is a cross-over of genres. It wasn't my intention to write a pop song but the finished structure does adhere to that format, which is fine by me, but most of my inspiration comes from being brought up around diverse music. Open mindedness is the key, good music is good music no matter what. The song progression was natural, like most of my material, EXPLORE was written and recorded within a day. Writing songs is an expressional extension of myself, EXPLORE is just the tip of the ice berg - watch this space!"

One thing that Manchester's JAXN certainly brings by the bucketload is da funk on single 'EXPLORE'. Thick electro layers of synths, beats and vocaliser are loaded into the track's opening, a self-avowed Prince fanatic, vocally his higher pitched moments are certainly reminiscent of the Minneapolis icon. Coming in at just over three minutes, the catchy pop and r n'b stylings are very focused on a contemporary and modern sound in spite of this influence, with the final third nodding its head to acts like FKA Twigs and Grimes. Definitely an artist we are looking forward to hearing more from around these here parts.

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Singe: Twin Fires - Let Me Be Your Man

Twin Fires Let Me Be Your Man
Photo: Ian Laidlaw

Twin Fires - Let Me Be Your Man

- Review by James McGregor

Info: Twin Fires' 'Let Me Be Your Man' combines a dash of Blues with a splash of Rock N' Roll, a touch of American folk and a pinch of Motown to create a catchy and instantly recognisable pop song. There is an air of Kings of Leon on the lead singer's vocals and his coarse yet melodic tone works well with The Marvelettes style backing vocals. 

Blues inspired lead guitar, stabbing rhythm and bouncy bassline give the chorus a definite groove and underpin the vocal hook effectively. This is one of those songs that fools the listener into thinking that it must be a timeless classic from the 50's or 60's, despite the fact that it was released in 2016. 

Although Australian, the band have really developed an authentic sounding American vibe, and this will serve them well as they will certainly garner great reception from American audiences. 'Let Me Be Your Man' is a well put together, upbeat and thoroughly enjoyable piece of music which deserves any positive attention it receives.

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Wednesday 17 August 2016

Single: Niamh Regan - She

Niamh Regan She

Niamh Regan - She

Info: Magic. When something you really liked before, turns into something amazing not long after. This seems to be happening with increasing frequency with Irish acts in 2016, where I think 'Yes, this is a great song, these guys / individual could be at the start of something really great'. That's when I think that I'm looking at least a year maybe two down the road, but this year they're coming back only a few months later, and the rapid development is almost rendering their previous releases unrecognisable.

Toward the end of last year I reviewed Galway musician Niamh Regan's debut single, 'Sweetest Drop', and concluded that "Although this is only a brief introduction to Niamh Regan and her music, without getting carried away based on one song, it augurs very well for her future". Well, I'm ready to get carried away now and pin my flag to the mast. I had forgotten that I mentioned a warm connection between her sound and Nick Drake's guitar playing, and it's here again, but also vocally, and lyrically; "Like a drunkard on a boat, steering blindly toward the coast, you need to rest your head". 

'She' is a stunning single from Regan, and no complex analysis of the song is required, it is beautiful, the connection between pace, music, mood, vocals, lyrics and feeling are scarily perfect, there is no flaw in the track. If someone asked you what state Irish music was in, all you'd have to do is play 'She' for them, the song Niamh Regan should have written five years from now.

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Album: Tim Muddiman and The Strange - Paradise Runs Deeper

Tim Muddiman and the Strange Paradise Runs Deeper

Tim Muddiman and The Strange - Wildwood Stone

Info: Over the last 18 months Tim Muddiman has released, written and produced a vast amount of work. Tim and his band have regularly impressed publications in The UK, USA, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Mexico, Ireland and Belgium as well as having worldwide radio play and also support from BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6. Now, the Gary Numan and Pop Will Eat Itself guitarist is on the cusp of releasing his debut solo album, Paradise Runs Deeper, which is out on the 9th of September.

Paradise Runs Deeper is a deeply crafted album with songs of survival and healing. Big blues guitar riffs and sometimes dark modern grooves and modern production have brought this album to have its own unique sound and character.

You can read all you like about a musician online or in print, but nothing gives insight more than a conversation with them, which was something that struck me in an interview with Tim Muddiman at the start of this year, and that's what it felt like, a conversation. Muddiman is philosophical about music, it's more than something that you just create and share with people, it's an entity that must have meaning, even if only on the most superficial level, there has to be something tangible that you can grab with both hands, digest, and ponder. Tim spoke at length about where modern music came from, its origins, and where it may be headed, for better or worse. In a sense this line of thought runs through Paradise Runs Deeper, mostly on a musical level where delicate respect is given to the past, whilst boldly embracing not current, but future sounds. Sometimes it's difficult to see music revolving around the humble guitar as part of 'the future', in a world of clicks and beats and a (wonderfully) ever-expanding plateau of genres and sub-genres, but it's not going anywhere any time soon.

Tim Muddiman and the Strange Paradise Runs Deeper Gary Numan
Paradise Runs Deeper Album Cover

The opening 30 seconds of first track 'Bullet Stroke' ping from defiant rock guitar riff to electro sounds and back again, you already know what to expect, but it's not going to turn out as straight-forward as that. Without delay the blues-rock end of proceedings is cranked up on 'Rolling Stones', which has gradually become my own favourite track on the album. Thick bass and a dark hue which surrounds much of the album, and is also visually reflected in the track's video (below), the main riff is prodding, under your skin like a thin steel hook, this is not a complaint, but a reflection of impact.

Tim Muddiman and The Strange - Rolling Stones

This approach continues and is heightened on latest single, 'Glass Queen', which feels like the track on the album where Muddiman and band flung the kitchen sink full force against the wall. Deep, lush bass-lines and harmony effects surround shimmering guitar progressions and a lead guitar that wouldn't be out of place anywhere in between Metallica and The White Stripes. 'Damage Is Done' and the wonderful 'Hands & Claws' provide pause for thought from the album's blustering opening.

Previous single, 'Wildwood Stone' (top video) comes next, a stripped down presentation of Tim Muddiman & The Strange in some ways, an almost stoner-rock number which reaches up towards anthemic heights but pulls back just at the right time to stay true to the albums school. The trademark prominent and wholesome rock guitar, which is at the forefront for much of Paradise Runs Deeper, has one of its finest outings on 'Slide Away', rarely has a hard rock track sounded so whimsical and nonchalant.

Tim Muddiman and The Strange - Glass Queen

One of the atmospheric peaks comes via 'Your Drugs', reverberating guitar effects seem to form two walls rather than one around Muddiman's vocals, it strangely reminds me of the scene in horror flick Insidious when the father goes into the 'other' world of darkness, a modern Dante sketch, to find his child, we're lost in TM&TS's imagined state, but it's not too frightening, quite the opposite. The album finishes on an alternate version of 'Wildwood Stone' / 'Wildwood 'Blue' Stone', it's genuinely hard for me to decide which I prefer, the latter developing into something quite enchanting as it progresses.

To be perfectly honest I wasn't fully prepared for Paradise Runs Deeper with regard to all of the accumulated music I've heard since I first took an interest 20-odd years ago versus Muddiman's influences, but this didn't matter. What's obvious to me is how carefully crafted every chapter of this album is, Muddiman not only wanted people to enjoy these songs, but wanted to write songs that he could imagine himself enjoying too, otherwise, what's the point?

Paradise Runs Deeper is out on the 9th of September and available for pre-order here

Single: DONCAT - Western

DONCAT Western
Photo: Margaret Austin

DONCAT - Western

Info: DONCAT is Duncan Nielsen, a San Francisco based songwriter, performer and rock musician with a penchant for rock, soul and folk stylings – he draws from the deep history of California counter-culture music. His songs discuss both the hope and uncertainty of the American dream in kaleidoscopic cynicism. 'Western' is the second single off his second full-length LP, Easy Cowboy, slated for release on September 9th, 2016, via Creature.

After a quick listen to some of DONCAT's previous releases, and a good few listens to the two singles, 'Western' and 'Untrue' (below), it becomes clear that we have a contemporary music fans artist on our hands. What does that mean? Well, while all guitar-based music is invariably in some way influenced by the past, there's a small few who aren't so obvious about it and clearly are writing songs and music for the modern era.

Let's take 'Western' for example, there's a small layer of The Strokes' classic early sound rippling below those high guitar strings and percussion too, but other than that DONCAT has gone his own way. It's quite the infectious and cool and smooth track, zip up the leather jacket, pop on the shades and hit the streets on a gloriously sunny day type of cool. It trundles rhythmically, the beat is slick and solid and vocally it's very easy on the ear, ear balm!

DONCAT - Untrue

Previous single, 'Untrue', which was released last month, is a very different prospect altogether. The opening beat and bass-line grab you straight away, a small injection of funk into the arm to draw you in, before Nielsen croons soulfully into the mic. It's a big song, as well as the previously mentioned genre tips there's also restrained disco keys, and blues-rock guitar progressions, with DONCAT hitting those high notes for added good time feels. There are little pieces that I've loved of many solo acts from the last ten years looking up from underneath DONCAT's stamp, and I think that's why I'm so drawn to his music, it provides a really healthy amount of variety and it's simply so damn enjoyable.

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Video: Video: Sunddunes & MNNQNS - Live Sessions, Part Two

MNNQNS Sunddunes SE01E02

Sunddunes & MNNQNS - Live Sessions, Part Two

Info: The second rooftop session featuring two pop-rock and neo-punk / psychedelic Rouen bands, Sunddunes and MNNQNS has been released. Both bands contain a cross-over of members as they perform two new tracks, Sunddunes with 'Mark of the Witch' and MNNQNS with 'Tiger On A Leash'. The video is featuring over on French music video site CurbTV, and both acts new songs have a decidedly 60's psychedelic folk vibe, Sunddunes tipping around Arthur Lee's Love with MNNQN's channeling solo McCartney with The Jam, lovely stuff that I could listen to for hours.

Monday 15 August 2016

Video: Ape Rising - King of the Universe

Ape Rising King of the Universe

Ape Rising - King of the Universe

Info: Only a few days ago the 5-piece synth space-rock machine from Cavan, Athboy and Maynooth known as Ape Rising released their self-produced debut single 'King Of The Universe'. A song inspired by a daydream in which International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield witnesses the end of the world from space. The Cavan, Athboy & Maynooth act, formerly The Radioactive Grandma will release the single online for sale from the 26th of August to coincide with a launch gig at The Workmans Club in Dublin. Supporting them on the night will be Travis Oaks, Megacone and Griffo from New Secret Weapon.

An electronic drum beat and thick acoustic guitar intro lead straight into a powerful indie-rock & synth-fused sequence you might expect from early Wild Beasts or Maximo Park. The slow build up toward their heavier sound after the break just before the two-minute mark grabs the listener and packs a punch that is raucous and air-punching. The video itself is wonderfully unique and gave me a flood of memories of childhood dot matrix graphics on the auld Amstrad! The launch night on the 26th of August should be one to remember given the sound on offer here and the quality of the other acts on the roster.

Ape Rising The Workmans Club Travis Oaks Griffo New Secret Weapon

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Sunday 14 August 2016

Tracks: Aural Air - Edinburgh / The Heir of Indignation

Aural Air Edinburgh The Heir of Indignation

Aural Air - Edinburgh

Info: "Aural Air is a reverberating collection of sounds that started with a guitar lesson in primary school and a penchant for writing songs ever since. The layered lyrics and guitars lull the listener into an estranged state of disquiet joy. The music draws on a range of influences, from the melodic songwriting of Elliott Smith, to the psychedelic soundscapes of Warpaint, in order to create songs that are intimate and unafraid to wear thoughts and hearts on their sleeves."

When I first listened to the opening bars of 'Edinburgh' I had one of those, 'Ah...I can let a sigh of relief and enjoy this' moments, calming. From there however I was struck by how beautiful and delicate in some ways the track was, not too delicate mind, as the heartbeat of the bass-drum pulses away. Another boon for me was the absolutely gorgeous vocals, I've harped on on these here pages previously about singers allowing their own voice to come through and avoid impersonation, with Aural Air (Laura Rai) here, she has thankfully gone natural with the vox and it makes a huge difference.

Aural Air - The Heir of Indignation

The music is certainly further along the spectrum to rock music than the traditional folk / singer-songwriter tag. Second track 'The Heir of Indignation' leave us in no doubt about that, tinny solos and guitar riffs accompany another solid vocal, whilst the sound is different I musically think of St.Vincent or a stripped-back Jeff Buckley on Sketches. That is until the 2:30 mark and aw I'm in heaven, the guitar is deliciously simple and slick and sounds perfect, like Nirvana Unplugged in New York. Then there's the vivid imagery in the lyrics; "In the shadows, in the meadows, in the corners of your mind, when you suddenly felt sullenly and soon remember why, that they're watching and they're waiting in their vain hypocrisy....for the terrors that give birth to my stubborn apathy."

Thankfully an E.P. is almost on the horizon and will provide us with greater insight into what's jumping off Aural Air's palette, this pair of tracks confirm one thing already though, that we are dealing with a serious Irish talent and song-writer.


Video: Daisy Victoria - Animal Lover

Daisy Victoria Animal Lover

Daisy Victoria - Animal Lover

Info: Daisy Victoria recently shared her new video for "Animal Lover" via All Things Go. The visual piece was directed by Cherry Kino, an all-analogue artist filmmaker whose work was presented at Alchemy, Leeds, and Edinburgh Film Festival. The title-track opens Daisy's upcoming EP, and brings the listener on a surreal journey through the mythical landscape of her imagination. 'Animal Lover' will be released on August 19th.

Victoria is a socially anxious songwriter who lives in a Suffolk wood with her six chickens and OCD. She is named for her Great Grandmother - a chain-smoker, occultist and trombonist - who died a few days before Daisy was born.

Since she released her first EP ‘Heart Full of Beef’ in 2014, Victoria’s music has been compared with artists such as P.J. Harvey, Kate Bush, Nick Cave and Patti Smith, winning her support from the likes of i-D, NME, CLASH, Line Of Best Fit, The 405 and Radio 1’s Huw Stephens. Lauren Laverne has called her a "rising star" and BBC 6 Music hailed her follow up 2015 EP 'Nobody Dies' as "majestic".

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Album: Corbu - Crayon Soul

Corbu Crayon Soul

Corbu - Neon Hallway

Info: On the verge of heading off on tour with Bloc Party, New York duo Corbu released their debut album, Crayon Soul, on Big Picnic Records only last week. The Brooklyn based pair had the record produced by David Fridman (The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala) and being heavily influenced in art, also designed the artwork and illustrations for the album.

Crayon Soul's opening track, 'Sirens', slowly heralds the rest of the album in, an ambient and distorted wall of fuzz and tannoy announcements subconsciously beckon the listener forward and into their space, chaotic but calm all at once. MY own introduction to Corbu came via second track, 'Polygon Forest' (below), and it was a pretty nice 'wow!' moment, in my notes I had immediately written, 'M83 meets Fleetwood Mac....', it's a perfectly rhythmic electro psych-folk tune that is energising and upbeat.

Corbu - Polygon Forest

One of the more enduring aspects of the album after a couple of listens is how mood-driven it is, there's a laid-back focus on escapism and the voyage from being withdrawn from the world to being invigorated by the electro-beat energy, encapsulated perhaps best on 'Neon Hallway' (top video). The tripped out experience reaches new heights on fifth track 'Branches', over six minutes of analog candy, this is where Corbu entirely stand alone, this is their sound, no comparisons to others are necessary. 

On 'Better Better Off' the pair head off into indie slacker territory, like something from Primal Scream's 1994 Give Out But Don't Give Up album or The Verve's Urban Hymns, it's pretty delicious and as it progresses it straddles on the periphery of 80's pop. Just as easily as they can create complex soundscapes and ideas, Corbu can flick back to straight-forward electro-pop with ease, on 'Battles' they've given us a fulsome contemporary slice of dream pop, and a track that you feel is primed for a remix in worthy hands.

Another highlight comes on 'Watchmaker', the shuddering bass intro is arresting, there's a slightly dark and tribal feel courtesy of the percussion and vocal effects only add to that sense. This is a meticulously constructed track that at first glance seems simple, but up close the arrangements and timings become more and more diverse and off-kilter. 

Corbu - We Are Sound

Right up to the end Crayon Soul refuses to run out of steam or surprises, 'We Are Sound' (above) is a light piece of indie-pop which musically recalls Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, before heading suddenly off on a completely different tangent with a minute to go, and like everything we've heard so far, it works. To compliment the abrasive sound of its opener, the album closes with the soft 'Dark Wave', letting us down gently, and bringing me to reflect on a quote from Corbu about their music and ambition; 

"Dreams are really important to me. I think the world you experience when you’re dreaming is physically real, in some way. I don’t understand it at all, but I’ve had enough intense experiences to justify that belief. For me, it’s a sort of parallel reality to our normal, waking consciousness – one where time doesn’t exist and dead relatives can hang out with you. Whenever I’m making art or music, I feel like I’m trying to reach over into that place and bring some of it back into this one."
Corbu Crayon Soul

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EP: Cado - Take Me Back

Cado Take Me Back

Cado - Take Me Back EP

Info: Having been born half a century too late in 1990, Cado is a modern rock and roll artist with an obsession for music of the past! After stealing a Beatles album from a record shop aged 10, he was inspired to make music that will make people smile, dance and enjoy themselves!

Cado, who grew up in County Kildare, Ireland, was mesmerised at an early age by the sound of The Beatles and Chuck Berry and from then commenced a lifelong obsession with music! His father would perform Johnny B. Goode to him, and when he heard the hard hitting opening riff featured in back to the future at age 11, he did not hesitate to pick up a guitar and has rarely put it down since!

In terms of celebrating a time and genre, the roots of rock n' roll music, Cado has hit the nail on the head with his debut EP release, Take Me Back. The title-track opens proceedings and it's instantly recognisable the style the artist has gone for, it's good old school swing rock as Cado snarls through a mix between Little Richard and Buddy Holly & The Crickets. Things heat up impressively with 'Record Machine', it's a pleasure to hear a track that sounds so authentic in its production, no way would you suspect it was written and recorded in 2016, here's the Chuck Berry leanings of Cado coming through, lovely borderline surf-rock guitar solos and locomotive percussion and rhythm all tie together expertly.

After the sweet 'Oh Baby' we close with the barnstorming and classic sounding 'Would You Dance?', like a new take on The Contours' 'Do You Love Me?' ponderous verses lead towards a raucous chorus, bringing the EP full circle. Cado has done his best to squeeze all of his influences into four tracks and impressively covers a lot of ground, in some ways it feels like a whistle-stop tour of the birth of rock and roll music, and it's impossible not to enjoy the ride.

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Introducing: Hot Contents - Carlow Young Creatives

Hot Contents Insomnia Carlow Young Creatives

Hot Contents - Insomnia

Info: Carlow Young Creatives is a band development summer project presented by Music Generation Carlow and delivered by Wall2Wall Music. 30 teenagers from Carlow are on the current programme to form a band, write and record a song, film a music video, promote their band (on social media and all!) and play a big gig in the George Bernard Shaw Theatre, all in 2 weeks.

For my part I'm very proud to help out this great project even if it's only in a small way. The first video to feature is courtesy of alternative pop-punk six-piece Hot Contents and their track / video (above) 'Insomnia'. I instantly took a liking to 'Insomnia', its creeping thick bass-lines and clean distorted guitars are complimented nicely by the vocal exchanges, and to top it all off the addition of the flute to the song was a great idea, giving balance against the heavier side if the track. The video is cool too! It's clear the six musicians enjoyed putting it together and if there's no fun there's no point. Overall I'm very impressed with the musicianship and composition of this track and I've no doubt that Hot Contents' members will be seen again in the future.

Why not give the guys a follow on their social media platforms below and help them become stars.

Snapchat: hotcontents 
twitter: @hotcontents2000 
Instagram: hot_contents_band 

Saturday 13 August 2016

Video: Young Earth - Bloodlove

Photo: Con Chris

Young Earth - Bloodlove

Info: Dublin four-piece Young Earth have released their newest track, 'Bloodlove', with accompanying video. Their transition over the last 12 months has been fast-paced and consistently throws up surprises, from the breezy indie of 'Wanna Be Your Man' to the 50's / 60's based pop-rock of debut single 'Maggie', 'Bloodlove' sees them venture in to alternative folk territory. The track is a sweet listen, on the weekend that Bon Iver suddenly announced his new album release, it recalls tracks like 'Skinny Love' from his debut 2008 album For Emma, Forever Ago. Selfishly I feel this is where Young Earth's natural home may lie, and it's great to see them tentatively exploring this new space.

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Live: ROCSTRONG SOWYG EP Launch @ The Grand Social

Photo: Remy Connolly

ROCSTRONG - 'Go 'Head' @ The Grand Social

Info: Last night saw the launch of Dublin act ROCSTRONG's debut EP, SOWYG (Show Off What You Got) at The Grand Social, with support coming courtesy of singer-songwriter Ryan O'Shaugnessy and BARQ, both of whom got the crowd perfectly primed for the headline act.

André Bangala (Rocstrong) is a bit of an enigma on the Irish music scene at the moment, and that's no exaggeration, it's easy to give plaudits, but when they are backed up it's even easier. Although he may be slightly tired (but probably not) of the focus on his debut single 'Go 'Head' which was released roughly two years ago, it did send a tremor across the Irish music stratosphere, and beyond, featuring in the trailer for the Coen Brothers' 'Hail, Caesar!' starring Scarlett Johansson, George Clooney, Josh Brolin and a typically star-studded cast. It's hard not to imagine Clooney shuffling across his kitchen in a dressing gown and slippers getting down to the song.

ROCSTRONG The Grand Social Dublin
                                                                                            Photo: Remy Connolly

That's not what it's all about though, wonderful and all as it is. Rocstrong has previously cited the influence of his family and father in particular, a balance of discipline and encouragement, as well as growing up with a wide range of music from the 50's-70's, but focally 80's pop stars such as Michael Jackson, Madonna and Prince. To this I can relate, and see it translated as an undercurrent in his sound. While interaction with an audience is nice but not necessary, ROCSTRONG and co. did a stellar job last night, fully engaging the crowd before the set and inbetween songs, without over-cooking the pot. The Congelese born musician wittily enquired "Shout if you're from Africa, shout if you're from Ireland, shout if you're from neither" when the latter response was given he responded; "Welcome to Ireland!".

There was also pause for thought though as Bangala touchingly remembered his friend John Ojo (for whom he wrote 'Block Party - Kaiser') who tragically passed suddenly whilst playing football, 12 months after the premature death of his sister. The audience were told of how John, though naturally devastated by the loss of his sibling, was the most determined to pick himself up and carry on with life as a way of honouring her. Fittingly his life was celebrated and not mourned unduly in the African tradition, as opposed to the glum, dark dress code and despair of Irish custom.

ROCSTRONG The Grand Social
Photo: Remy Connolly

From there positivity and a damn good time were the order of the evening, with the EP's title track 'SOWYG' obviously going down well along with 'Hold Yah' and the rest of his repertoire. The band were excellent, with a particularly pleasing guitar solo (top video), additional brass section and percussion with electronic beats, bells and whistles courtesy of Keith O'Reilly.

The venue was busy right from the beginning of the night which is unusual, and was packed by the time ROCSTRONG took the stage, it was bloody hot in there, but it felt like a moment in time. I'm horribly romantic about music, and often have to reign myself in, suppress thoughts! but this guy is the real deal, I would say 'You better see him now before it's too....etc. etc.', but it might already be too late. For me it's not that ROCSTRONG has arrived, if that was the case there would be little room for grander things, greater songs. All he has to do now is ignore everyone apart from those close to him who have been on this journey from the start, having already successfully put himself in a unique position domestically, the next step should be to dive in with no parachute, that's how the creativity will flourish further.

ROCSTRONG The Grand Social
Photo: Remy Connolly