Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Video: Son of the Hound - IOU

Son of the Hound IOU

Son of the Hound - IOU

Info: 'McCullagh, from the Gaelic 'Mac Cu Ulaidh' meaning Son of The Hound of Ulster'.

Singer/songwriter Michael McCullagh is a rolling stone. Forever in motion, constantly evolving. He’s been spotted as a free-wheelin’ busker around European cities, fronting classic 60’s influenced rock bands in grubby underground bars in Belfast and playing stripped back trad sessions in the snugs of stout pubs in the west of Ireland. He’ll play with whoever is plugged in, whoever is looking a way out, or wherever there’s a listening ear.

The immensely talented and endlessly entertaining Omagh man, Michael McCullagh, Son of the Hound, released the video to go with his latest single, 'IOU', last week. A humorous portrayal of the struggles of modern man, that this individual can relate to unfortunately, they may be trivial First World problems to you, but they're a horrific daily experience for many of us! 

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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Video: The XX - On Hold

The XX On Hold

The XX - On Hold

Info: Directed by Alasdair McLellan, London's The XX release their first single with accompanying video, 'On Hold', in three years. The new track will feature on their forthcoming and eagerly awaited third album, I See You, which is due for release early in the New Year on the 13th of January, 2017. With a UK tour kicking off at the beginning of March with an opening night in Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena on the 4th, Irish fans will be hoping a trip over here won't be far behind. It's hard to believe it's been five years already since their last album, 2012's Coexist, which Obvs followed their hit self-titled debut from 2009.

You can download 'On Hold' at the following links, and pre-order I See You, at the ones below them.

The XX On Hold Cover

Listen to 'On Hold':
Apple Music:
Google Play:

Pre-order "I See You" - In Stores January 13, 2017:
Google Play:


Single: Sonnets & Sisters - Silence

Sonnets & Sisters Silence
Photo: Inga Kazokaite

Info: Sonnets and Sisters are a folk pop four piece band from Dundalk, Ireland. The band’s name, ‘Sonnets and Sisters’, reflects the dreamy lyrics present in their original compositions while also attempting to encapsulate the family type bond which exists between the members. Their music is hallmarked by haunting harmonies intertwined with powerful and catchy chorus lines which sweep the audience along in a sea of airy optimism.

When it grabs you it grabs you deep, when a beautiful piece of music somehow finds its way to you, seemingly out of nowhere, a magical element is attached to it. That's exactly how I felt 10 seconds into 'Silence', the latest single from Dundalk folk troupe Sonnets and Sisters. A notable contemporary North American folk influence marks the track, yet, for me at least, it took all of the best of bands such as Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver's debut, The Staves and countless others, and merged them into three and a half minutes of gorgeousness. 

From it's enchanting slow-burning opening, morose piano, and delicate but immensely forthright harmonies, 'Silence' brims with emotion, hope and above all, an everlasting impression. There are a lot of talented indie-folk bands who are very gifted out there, but for me Sonnets & Sisters have 'the magic' and nail the mood, I really need to hear an album of songs along this line yesterday.

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EP: Galants - Galants

Galants EP

Galants - Evergreen

Info: Galants is a noise-pop band from Dublin incorporating the jangled pop tones of Teenage Fanclub, the fuzzed-out assault of Dinosaur Jr and the reverberated bombast of My Bloody Valentine. In the summer of 2015 the band released a trilogy of singles recorded at Darklands Audio Studio, showcasing an aesthetic of cascading guitars, riotous drums and mellow yet melodious vocals.

Galants' debut EP was recorded with Stephen Dunne at Lamplight Studios and mastered by Fergal Davis. Lead single 'Evergreen' has already received praise from Hot Press ​who marked it out as "Track of the Fortnight" commenting "when it comes to heart-swelling garage rock, there’s aren’t many on the island who can do it quite like this Dublin-based bunch."

With their debut self-titled EP now out in the ether since Friday, it's time to take stock of what Galants have pieced together here. Latest single 'Evergreen' commences proceedings, and the intention is clear, upbeat indie rock covered in layer upon layer of noisy grunge, there's a neat yet subtle cap doff to Foo Fighters' The Colour and The Shape, with vocal melodies and incessant guitar distortion wrapping themselves around a thrashing percussion, ear-catching stuff indeed.

An echoing tremolo greets the beginning of second track 'Faultline', here Galants allow slightly more oxygen to breathe in their sound, and once the build begins you really are in the middle of a very capable ode to shoe-gaze rock from the early 90's. In addition, the Irish rock DNA of bands of yore such as Turn and Future Kings of Spain wisps in a ghostly form through the music and vocals, but the searing guitar solo snaps the nostalgia in half as soon as it has time to form. 

Galants EP cover

'Remnants' brings us further into Galants' sound, this is the epitome of the fuzzed-out rock cacophony which drives their sound, they, and we, have let go by now, in full swing. The pace and sheer energy are disorienting and pleasing in equal measure, merry bedfellows well executed. There is no let up, if the deceivingly titled 'Juan' made you think that we were being prepared for a soft-landing, the band are having none of it, and why would they, they are doing what they excel at, and it gets better and better as the EP progresses. At times they are restrained, but ultimately Galants pulverise you in the most enjoyable manner a rock fan could wish for with their brand of multi-genre rock. I almost hate myself for uttering the words, but, keep an eye on these guys in 2017, and see them live.

Galants will be launching their debut EP this Saturday, 3rd December, in Whelan's with support from the equally talented Junk Drawer from Belfast.
Galants and Junk Drawer
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Sunday, 27 November 2016

EP: MNNQNS - Capital

MNNQNS Capital Rouen

Info: Our favourite French outfit from Rouen, MNNQNS, released their latest EP, Capital, last month. It's a glorious trip through post-punk indie, painted by the finest 80's French sounds of the genre, an era of high interest around these parts. 

In a previous review of lead single, 'Come To Your Senses' I had observed; ''Come To Your Senses' (has) call to action vocals and guitars and drums that go from pop tones to the darker edges briefly towards the tracks final's instantly catchy and enjoyable and MNNQNS seem to be now embracing a more humorous side to their song-writing, c'est magnifique!'

Second track 'Straight To My Bones' nails that era's sound with aplomb, the French post-punk period is often overlooked, but it was a highly individualistic time, drawing very little from it's UK peers, I think of the excellent Guerre Froide, Charles De Goal and Complot Brunswick as prime examples.

'Next Time I Try' is a catchy hook-laden treat, trundling steadily to the percussion and trademark wobble of MNNQN's front-loaded bass-lines, it's an energising piece of fluid indie-rock, a real hip-shaker. The E.P.'s title-track veers strongly towards nonchalant noise-rock, spinning effortlessly through the motions with delightful echoed and watery guitar effects, it's a crunching and arresting moment on Capital.

One of the most important elements to this collection of songs is a sense of care-free fun, with a heavy dose of cool chic, final track 'Too Late' in many ways summarises the sound and vibe of the previous four tracks, it's upbeat, heavy bass keeps the rhythm solid, and it all feels smooth as a mountain stream despite the cacophony of noise. I could listen to this type of sound all day long.

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Single: Slow Riot - Absent Dreams

Slow Riot Absent Dreams

Slow Riot - Absent Dreams

- Review by James McGregor

Info: As with their previous single 'Trophy Wife', the Limerick three-piece open 'Absent Dreams' on full throttle. This song has more breadth than the prior, with a simple reverb-laden, droning guitar hook. There is always a palpable groove in Slow Riot’s songs and this is no exception. As singer, Niall opens with the words, "drag me down", so the guitar and ride-laden drums pull down, allowing the poignant lyrics to be delivered with his trademark apathy: the line "cos your life is meaningless", a highlight of this emotive yet detached juxtaposition. The band’s use of space within the confines of a strict 4/4 groove is one of the song's most important assets and it allows the chorus to bloom when it comes. Dynamically, this is the most aware I’ve heard the band.

The song is quite straight forward in general arrangement, but the details and intricacies the band use push it beyond the pale of where most bands attend to detail. The subtle guitar line in the second chorus is beautifully melodic and this is juxtaposed with the driving, distorted guitar that follows. Drummer Paul’s constant, yet never too obvious, development of the drums and confidence to return to a simple yet effective 4/4 rock beat when necessary also really adds to the efficacy of each section of the song. The ultimate beauty of this song, for me, is in the fact that it’s essentially a simple, catchy, guitar-based song: Yet beneath the surface there lies a delicate, crafted, poignant piece of art.

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Album: Games Violet - Tragic Milkshake

Games Violet Tragic Milkshake

Info: Games Violet (Alex Games and Emma Violet) is a duo of producer-performers from Ireland, currently based in Philadelphia. Both were accepted to the doctoral composition program at Princeton University where, after several years of writing avant-garde electronic music and contemporary chamber pieces, they shifted focus toward performing and producing their own tracks that they could perform live. They create music that warps many genres by drawing upon their skills in writing for orchestra, live electronics, sound installations, and sound design for theatre. 

When working on the album, we just tried to write as freely as possible, so the mood and aesthetic shifts pretty wildly from track to track, but there is an over-arching theme of dark comedy. What emerged are songs that deal with a wide range of topics including Brexit, iPhone/Apple fetishism, North Korea, NSA controversies, social media narcissism etc. Everything was created using synths, guitars, drums, and vocals in our home studio which is currently a basement in Philadelphia. 

Tragic Milkshake is a thoroughly enjoyable contemporary electronic journey courtesy of Games Violet, a feeling that is instantly tangible with the album's opening title-track. It's the kind of sound you'd imagine a young Gary Numan creating if he were in his early twenties in 2016, with the track doubling up as a wry look at the banality and acceptance of modern consumerism through the metaphorical medium of the much maligned (and rightly so!) continental breakfast. And in one track, Games Violet have set out their stall for the remainder of the album thematically. 

On tracks 'Tin Box' and 'NSA Strut' the duo embrace glitchy and out of time snappy beats and bending warped electronic sounds, with the latter track rolling intermittently between light-heartedness and sinister overtones. Incidentally, there's also an early Blur feel about both the sound and delivery of latest single, 'NSA Strut'. Whilst Tragic Milkshake has an overwhelmingly new feel to it, their late 70's and early 80's alternative electronic influences can be heard scattered across the album, on the wonderfully crafted groove vibes of '17th Century (v2)', for example, the pair invoke the spiritedness of David Byrne's Talking Heads, and it works so very well.

An enchanting darkness envelopes us with the grime sounds and vocals of Violet on one of the album's standout tracks, 'Blue in Blue', it's akin to a lo-fi fuzzed out version of a Crystal Castles number. ON 'Lotus Island', the first three quarters of the track fittingly fall under the song title, a chilled out sense of abandon, that is, until the opium trip kicks in, and Games Violet drop into electronic-dub territory, vocal effects melting like dripping tar. 

The album closes strongly with 'LYAD II', like Bon Iver and Thom Yorke dueling together through vocalizers, it's a truly gorgeous finale to draw the curtain down on a most rewarding experience for the listener. Kudos to Games Violet for a more than competent and very intriguing debut album.

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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Remy's Playlist: New Music - Issue #7

IMLÉ Criochfort Playlist

Info: The latest Playlist from Remy's Music & Film takes in tunes from Brooklyn, New York, four from London, and a very strong Celtic contingent from Ireland and Wales, probably the most geographically concentrated playlist to date!

Starting off with the excellent 'Amcanu' from Welsh psych-rock trio CaStLeS, who I discovered only yesterday on our partner site Music Blog Wales, I ended up hooked on their back catalogue over at their SoundCloud page, with 'Amcanu' being their latest release. Leading the Irish contingent is the wonderful IMLÉ, and their track 'Críochfort' (terminal), the hip-hop / rock four-piece are made up of the well-known MC Muipéad, Fergal Moloney (Wild Promises), Marcus Mac Conghail, and Cian Mac Cárthaigh. Beidh albam nua IMLÉ linn sar i bhfad agus táimid ag súil go mór leis, beir bua lads!

From London we have the dark electronic and bass-driven moods of Black Marble and their track 'Frisk' from their fabulous new album, It's Immaterial. Also from London we have 'Hanging Tree' courtesy of Adam & Elvis, an alt-pop wonder which mixes Grandaddy and Pixies sounds telling; 'The sorry tale of a young intellectual who, despite his rationalism, loses his mind over unrequited love, ‘Hanging Tree’ conforms to Adam & Elvis’s tragi-comic inclinations.'

Tomorrows Dublin Band

Taken from their debut album, Another Life, Dublin's Tomorrows treat us to the spacey retro pop sounds of 'Golden Lion', a floaty number which incorporates elements of 60's psychedelia and experimental rock. Originally from Bristol and Somerset and now residing in London, Jynx have released the single, 'Saffron City' from their debut EP of the same title, a weird and wonderful electronic track with interesting vocal effects and a mechanical beat.

Carcharorion are the electronic duo - Huw Cadwaladr and Gruff Pritchard, originally from North Wales, both now live in Cardiff. They released their first EP Hiraeth (Peski) at the end of 2014 and just dropped their eponymous 2nd extended play yesterday. The 80's synth track 'Y Carcharorion' features the soothing vox of Heledd Watkins from the band HMS Morris.

A track I've enjoyed very much over the last few weeks has been 'Tired of Love' from the excellent Rn'B and pop band Baby Queens from Cardiff who just released their self-titled album at the end of October which received high praise from The Guardian, The Sunday Times and CLASH magazine. Alternative rock outfit Uma & The Wandering Stars are a London-based fourtet who have released their debut EP only yesterday. The lead single, 'I Don't Know' was produced by ex-Shed Seven man Fraser Smith, and is an anthemic affair which reaches almost orchestral heights. Our playlist is wrapped up very nicely indeed with the bluesy and thoroughly enjoyable vocals of Bristol's Sam Brockington, who also just released his debut EP, Peace of Mind, only yesterday, already gaining plaudits from BBC's Introducing and Radio 1.

For previous Playlists head over to Remy's Music & Film's SoundCloud page;

Friday, 25 November 2016

Music of Wales: CaStLeS - Foresteering

CaStLeS Foresteering

CaStLeS - Foresteering

Info: Continuing our cultural music exchange (or Celtic Blog Exchange as Aled puts it, which sounds so much better!) between Ireland and Wales, here's a cracking single, 'Foresteering', via Snowdonia psych-rock act CaStLeS I really enjoyed from our partner site, Music Blog Wales. Review courtesy of Music Blog Wales;

CaStLeS announce long awaited debut album ‘Fforesteering’ out on the 18th of November 2016. 

North Walian trio CaStLeS craft music that swirls between the sounds of Os Mutantes, Ennio Morricone and the mountains of Snowdonia: theirs is a unique sonic brew delightful voodoo grooves laced with psych riffs and hypnotic reverb soaked melodies.

CaStLeS debut self produced album Fforesteering was recorded on a Zoom 16-track digital recorder inside a static caravan at guitarist and vocalist Cynyr’s home in Ceunant, high up in the hills of Snowdonia. Splicing together elements of surf guitar music, kraut-rock grooves, and hypnotic psych-tinged Cymru vocal harmonies, CaStLeS craft a unique sound and they might just be your favourite new Welsh guitar band.

Fforesteering is a continuation of the themes of 'PartDepart’ EP which was released at the tail end of 2015, inspired and possessed by by the North Walian landscape and the location of the caravan within which it was recorded, many songs brought to life simply by being out and about in the country. The band say of the recordings: “nature is a place of comfort and reflection, to retreat to and hide from it all at times, as a subject, it can be used as an analogy to human society and our own personal nature.”

Formed in Snowdonia, Wales back in 2008 by brothers Dion and Cynyr Hamer, after various musical manifestations as a duo, they were joined by  Derwyddon Dr Gonzo bassist Calvin Thomas. Early demo releases received radio plays on BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio Wales & Cymru as well as a TV appearance on S4C.

CaStLeS took a brief hiatus in 2011 whilst Cynyr and Dion were touring Europe and America with Welsh rock band We Are Animal. During this time CaStLeS were writing new material. In early 2015 the band released two Welsh language singles a week apart. Argau and Ar Agor were positively received and resulted in the band being asked to record a radio session for BBC Radio Cymru’s C2 show and a live performance on S4C TV’s Ochr 1.

These releases along with their debut EP 'PartDepart’ as well as a live reputation earned by travelling up and down the country. Earned CaStLeS their debut performance on the BBC Introducing stage in August 2016 at Reading & Leeds Festival.


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Video: D-Day - Misunderstood

D-Day Misunderstood

D-Day - Misunderstood

Info: D-Day are a 4-piece band from Galway. The band was formed by brothers Darragh (lead guitar, lead vocals) and Keith Whyte (drums & percussion) who joined forces with school friends Chris Breslin (bass, backing vocals) and Cathal Sweeney (rhythm guitar, backing vocals).

This year has been their most prolific to date, with a relentless summer tour which began in June when they supported UK act 'Tokyo Taboo' (Workman's Club). From there, 'D-Day' shared the stage with the 'The Riptide Movement' and 'The Strypes' (Rock the Docks) and opened for 'Delorentos' and 'The Frank and Walters' (Carrickmacross Arts Festival). Their hectic summer schedule was brought to a fitting end with their debut show at Whelan's and a performance for Philomena Lynott at 'The Bash for Philo'.

Funnily enough the opening and recurrent guitar riff for D-Day's 'Misunderstood' has a little harking back to Thin Lizzy's sound. Darragh Whyte's vocal trembles in a pleasingly controlled way through the song's chorus (Mick Jagger - Sticky Fingers anyone?), and the overall feel you take away from the track is a classic late 80's / early 90's rock song. There's a solid build up throughout the whole song from start to finish, and even though they Galway quartet already have an EP under their belt, the signs are good, they don't feel or sound like 'just another pop rock band'.

The video was released last Friday, 18th November, and was directed, shot and edited by Michael Boyle of Actium Films and features actors Hannah Wright and David Collins.

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Video: Elly D - Rise

Elly D Rise

Elly D - Rise

Info: Elly D is an established singer-songwriter hailing from West Dublin, Ireland. With a unique voice that has been likened to "Blondie's Debbie Harry meets Irish Songstress Gemma Hayes", the singer's wide vocal range and hooky melodies along with her uncompromising stage presence have made her stand out from the musical crowd. Her love of many musical genres, from the early rock 'n' roll sounds of Elvis to the deadpan lyrics of Courtney Barnett, have allowed her to create an infectious sound that to date has left many unable to ignore.

After years of recording demos in her home studio and touring Ireland and parts of Europe as the lead singer of the band Riot Tapes, Elly D finally decided to undertake a solo venture and released her first highly anticipated EP "Rise" earlier this year. 

The self-titled single, 'Rise', is the third to be released from the EP, following 'If It's Cool' and 'Say'. In our review of 'Rise' during the summer we wrote; 'Final track 'Rise' is the third string to Elly D's pop bow. Incorporating indie-rock, electronic pop and dance ably, it encapsulates her sound best for me, Goldfrapp, Florence and Bat for Lashes all drop by here, both vocally and musically. You sense that there is a lot of creativity and further experimentation waiting to show itself on future releases...'. Fingers crossed Elly D will treat us to a second EP in 2017, in the meantime, you can catch her live in The Vintage Room at The Workman's Club, this Friday, 25th November. Event info can be found here

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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Video: Ealadha - Hurricanes

Ealadha Hurricanes
Photo: PJ Rankin

Ealadha - Hurricanes

Info: Following the release of their brilliant EP, Limit of Our Sight, at the beginning of the summer, one of Cork's most interesting bands, Ealadha, have released a video to accompany lead single, 'Hurricanes', only yesterday. Of said EP, back in May we said; 'This is a collection of songs I've had to impatiently sit on for a while, eager to share, Ealadha from Cork have produced an intensely enjoyable post-rock and ambient EP in Limit of Our Sight. Opener 'Hurricanes' is such a good introduction to the trio, an amalgamation of moody instrumental and lightly distorted guitars coupled with unobtrusive thrashing drums and passion-driven vocals.'

The video for 'Hurricanes' is beautifully shot, flitting in and out of sequences of the band performing and the song's narrative. Directed & Filmed by Rob O' Halloran, he uses picturesque coastline scenes and slow motion to both match and contrast the pace of 'Hurricanes'. It's a fitting accompaniment to a great song from one of the year's best EP's.

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Album: Thanks Light - Psychonauts

Thanks Light Psychonauts

Thanks Light - Family Jewels

Info: Hailing from Austin, Texas, alternative and sometimes grunge-rock quartet Thanks Light released their new album, Psychonauts, last month. Thanks Light began tracking Psychonauts at Black Land Hall in the fall of 2015 with Ruttenberg’s longtime friend, producer and fellow musician, Will Patterson of the band Sleep Good. At the time, Patterson was using a massive historic building located in downtown Coupland, Texas, as a sound stage and recording studio to score movies and track bands. The record was initially live-tracked with the entire band playing simultaneously, using this massive tracking room (90 ft X 30 ft. X 25 ft. tall) to create the booming and spacious sounds heard within Psychonauts’ tracks. 

Thanks Light initially caught my attention with their smouldering track and single, 'VIP', a rapid high tempo song that trundles energetically from its opening guitar riff and locomotive percussion, fast becoming one of my favourite tracks of 2016. The album commences with the moody Black Keys' sound of 'Dueling Twins', it's like a strange and highly enjoyable mix of math rock and Creedence-esque guitar slinging, a peach with a dash of Metallica and glam rock to boot.

Another single, 'Bones', is a short and sweet plonky piano rock track, here Thanks Light hold back slightly, whilst vibrant it reduces the frenetic pace of the album's opening nicely before we reach 'In My Blood', which, incidentally, is another single. It has a War on Drugs feel to it, lethargic percussion, it's a solid choice as a single, and a definite stand out song on Psychonauts, the vocals are powerful yet calming, which also highlights the quality of Thanks Light's song-writing.

'Damn Dirty Trixxx' is a rambunctious affair, Wolfmother and fellow Southern Hemisphere neighbours from New Zealand, The Datsuns, spring to mind, it's a wonky contemporary rock tune, the glam is alive on this one for sure. After the psych sounds of 'Enjoy', Thanks Light close on a high via 'Conquertik', a reflective moment, like the chiming of a bell tower, the guitar rings out in an open space. Alongside 'VIP' this is easily one of my favourite tracks on the album, the pace is exquisite, lethargic in a good way, the band let the music slowly drip through the filter before it takes off into a fuzzed out finale. My kind of contemporary alternative rock band and then some.

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Playlist: Remy's Best of International Playlist - Issue #004

King Fantastic Troublemaker Bonfire Sessions
King Fantastic

Info: The latest Issue of Remy's Music & Film's round-up of the best independent music from Ireland and around the globe is here. We open with the soft rhythmic sounds of Copenhagen's Rainbrother and their latest track, 'Riverside'. Former The Migrant frontman Bjarke Bendtsen's new band will be releasing their debut album, Tales From The Drought in February, 2017. After that we have the hugely popular 'Bonfire Sessions' from L.A.'s King Fantastic, taken from their excellent first album, Finger Snaps & Gun Claps, the track get's an overhaul courtesy of a remix by Troublemaker.

The third track comes via Californian label Hit City USA which has an endlessly deep well of excellent acts on their roster, with an electro-pop 80's homage by Shy Girls in the shape of their ode to nihilism, 'Trivial Motion'. A track which particularly piqued my interest was the drone sounds of Sydney's CDAD and his tripped out electronic number, 'Cleaning The Elephant', top tune.

Rainbrother Riverside
Rainbrother - Photo: Jesper Helbo

Representing the Irish contingent are Dublin psychedelic band Tomorrows who just released their debut album, Another Life, and their Kinks meet contemporary indie-folk such as Grizzly Bear on featured track, 'Golden Lion', on other tracks they veer closer to dream-pop sounds á la Beach House, a nice mix indeed. We also have the latest single, 'Idle Man' from another Dublin folk act, Buffalo Sunn whose star is rising rapidly here on the domestic music scene, the five-piece, who I've been lucky enough to see live, go with a country-rock feel, some lovely slide guitar and a musing on the life of a solitary character.

The next track is an interesting one, Australian Daniel Rorke, who lectures in jazz here in Ireland, and his Norwegian bandmates, perform under the name of The Dark. The saxophonist brings us 'Milk Boy' from their self-titled album which is due for release shortly. Accompanied by Aksel Jensen on bass and Ole Mofjell on drums, the Trondheim jazz school 'Jazzlinja' alumni plan a tour of Ireland and the UK in early 2017.

Buffalo Sun Remy Connolly
Buffalo Sunn - Photo: Remy Connolly

Los Angeles psychedelic five-piece Send Medicine give us the truly delightful late-60's throwback of 'Translucent', if this song doesn't chill you out and give you the warm and fuzzy feels you might need to go and see your doctor, diagnosis, dead inside. Another L.A.-based act, who previously featured in one of our early Playlists, is the delightfully experimental and unique SWIMM, and their latest single, 'Groupie', a swirling piece of electronic pop, their track 'Man's Man' takes a wry look at some of the bizarre and normalised behaviours they observe in their current city. 

As always I like to finish my Playlist with a bang, and that comes out of my favourite English city, Liverpool. For fans of Wolf Alice and Alt-J comes the indie-rock wonder, 'Losing Your Love' from Paris Youth Foundation, an instantly enjoyable and energetic piece of music, it's also their debut double A-Side single which will officially be released on the 2nd of December, including on 7" wax, respect.

Friday, 18 November 2016

EP Premiere: Luke Clerkin - Ink Written Messages

Luke Clerkin Ink Written Messages

Luke Clerkin - Ink Written Messages EP

Info: Luke Clerkin is a singer songwriter from Dublin. Before releasing his debut single Stones in aid of Cycle Against Suicide in April, Luke played over 250 gigs all around Ireland in 2015, including sets at Electric Picnic and Body & Soul. Stones reached number 2 on the iTunes Singer Songwriter chart on the day of its release, which was then followed by a tour of Northern Ireland.

After finishing recording his debut E.P. entitled 'Ink Written Messages', Luke traveled to LA in September to showcase his music to industry professionals at Youbloom Music Summit & Festival. 'Ink Written Messages' is released everywhere today, 18th of November, and will be followed by a headline show in the Workman's Club main room on the 23rd of November.

Opening with the tender ode to Dublin, 'Home', sung beautifully by Orlagh Kenny, Luke Clerkin's Ink Written Messages lays out it's urban folk leanings from the very beginning. The string arrangements have a familiar early-Frames feel , whilst the tenderness of the track recalls, albeit different to, Mic Christopher's more stripped down and quieter moments. 

On the EP's title track, Clerkin's vocals exude a warm and glowing charm, a comforting familiarity, and visually recreate a distant and fond memory seen through the lens of a crackled and distorted old VHS home video.

With 'Second Starts' we're drawn to the vibrant yet restrained acoustic strum, again warmth abounds; 'you should be feeling happy, instead you're feeling harm, any time I'm honest, you're mistaking it for charm, and I wish that I could help you, I wish you'd let me in, but your pain it makes you sour, when it's lost within your skin'. Up front it may appear as an appeal to another, but the sense is that Clerkin is perhaps addressing himself.

'Console' encapsulates the strand of enchantment that runs the whole way through 'Ink Written Messages', it's just a man, his voice, and his guitar, isn't it? It's rare to be able to pull off a song with such minimalism, no bells or whistles, and make a discernible impact such as this. For me, Clerkin's debut EP is a celebration of everything that was good in the past in the sometimes maligned singer-songwriter genre, and everything that is bright as you look down the road at the future.

Luke Clerkin plays a headline show in The Workman's Club, Dublin on Wednesday, the 23rd of November. Event info is here

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Thursday, 17 November 2016




Info: By a country mile one of 2016's best albums has been IV from Toronto's BADBADNOTGOOD, which was released at the beginning of July. The jazz fusion group yesterday released a video for the album's fifth track, 'Lavender' feat. Haitian-born and currently Montréal-based R n' B artist KAYTRANADA

If you haven't heard the album yet, get on it!

Track: Dioscó na mBó - Nobody's Ghost feat. Vetra

Dioscó na mBó Nobody's Ghost Feat Vetra

Dioscó na mBó - Nobody's Ghost feat. Vetra

Info: Sligo electro-pop and experimental outfit Dioscó na mBó are back with a new track following their last release, the deliciously bemusing 'We Can Run', in September. 

The latest track 'Nobody's Ghost' feat. Vetra, a Lithuanian songstress, retains their day-glo vibes, but at the same time is a very different affair altogether. This time the trio of Steven Conway, Rory Selby-Smith and Jack Selby-Smith go for a more 90's disco-house sound, smooth and mellow, with a very appropriately chosen vocal accompaniment in Vetra. Think of Todd Terje waking up in 1992, with the same abilities he has today, but his memory erased from that year onwards, and you're left with 'Nobody's Ghost'. Top stuff once again from an act that have a huge fan in these here parts.

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Video: THUMPER - Dan The Man


THUMPER - Dan The Man

Info: THUMPER are a noise-pop quintet from Dublin, delivering bubblegumpop through a wall of sonic death. With a reputation for raucous and frenzied live shows, 2 EPs full 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.

This summer saw THUMPER release their second EP "magnum opuss" on Little L Records, and appear at several festivals including Electric Picnic (IE), Knockanstockan (IE), and TRUCK Festival (UK).

'Dan The Man' was certainly a complete standout track for me when I got to lovingly allow THUMPER's sophomore EP, Magnum Opuss, noisily swim around my head back in June. Following on from previous single 'Rent Is Due' on the release, I mused; "Second track 'Dan The Man' proves the lead single was no flash in the pan. There's a more Californian flavour on this one, and it somehow resides in the middle of Beck's Mellow Gold and Odelay, think 'Loser' morphing into 'Devil's Haircut'. Yet it's not just standalone fuzzed out lo-fi, acknowledgement must be firmly given to the glorious lead-guitar bends and riffs from 1:37 on." 

Listening to 'Dan The Man' again almost five months later it still reaches those highs in terms of enjoyment, to my great regret, 2016 is about to end without me seeing the band live, something that must be remedied as early as possible in the New Year. You can hear and download the rest of the magnificent Magnum here....!


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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Single: Dana and The Wolf - Close Enough

Dana and The Wolf Close Enough

Dana and The Wolf - Close Enough

Info: Dana Hobson and Daniel Wolf have set out to explore the boundaries of love in their relationship (sometimes getting themselves into trouble). They do the same with their music. Dana, a dynamic vocalist with range and power, loves that to which you can sing or dance. Meanwhile Daniel, a multi-instrumentalist and producer, prefers music that makes you "think". This near-polarization of tastes results in a unique approach to songwriting.

After jumping from writing rock to hip hop to classical guitar-influenced and jam band journey songs, the couple finally transformed into Dana And The Wolf, which one might describe as epic electro pop. The sound they've crafted is bold, cinematic, and provocative. In their continuous search for novelty and variety of experiences, this odd couple survives on making, loving and hating music.

'Close Enough', the debut single from Los Angeles duo Dana and The Wolf, is a searing and powerful piece of at times darkly-tinted alternative pop. Hobson's vocals are most impressive and tear through verse and chorus with an electrifying presence, accompanied ably by the blasts of energetic beats and bass-lines courtesy of Wolf, a really enjoyable first outing, and the type of slamming pop track you crave to hear on the radio airwaves.

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