Sunday, 17 September 2017

Playlist: Hard Working Class Heroes 2017 Guide

Hard Working Class Heroes Timetable Line-Up 2017 HWCH

HWCH Playlist 1 - Friday, 29th September.

Info: With just over a week and a half to go until Hard Working Class Heroes 2017 kicks off, we've provided two playlists, one for each night of the festival, as well as a handy map for navigating your way around the venues. The headliners at each venue on the Friday night are sure to be big pulls for punters, with the likes of THUMPER, DAITHÍ, David Keenan, Jafaris and Jealous of the Birds all very well-renowned for their live performances, each bringing something very different to the table.

Other highlights will include Le Boom at The Grand Social who raised the roof at last year's HWCH after only a couple of months together, and haven't looked back since, pretty much playing every major festival in Ireland this summer as well as a U.K. festival bow in London. Paddy Hanna and Fontaines will be the ones to keep an eye out for at The Workman's Club, while new venues The Underground and Tramline host Katie Laffan and Hvmmingbyrd, and Elm and Loah respectively. Finally at The Tara Building right beside Tramline, aside from the immense Mr. Keenan we'll be looking to catch a rare Dublin performance by Belfast's Lilla Vargen.

Tramline Music Venue Dublin
New venue Tramline @ 5 Hawkins Street, Dublin 2

HWCH Playlist 2 - Saturday, 30th September.

Like Friday, Saturday has a dizzying array of talent on display, normally I would say there are tough decisions to be made, but ultimately no matter where you end up you will be unable to have any regrets about your choices afterwards. The headliners are extremely tasty on night 2 of the festival. Bitch Falcon, Sleep Thieves, BANTUM, SOULÉ and Rosa Nutty couldn't provide a more different mix if you tried, from hard rock to dreampop, electronic to Rn'B and contemporary folk, something for everyone. 

In The Workman's there is a very strong opening to the night with Orchid Collective, Molly Sterling and Dundalk alternative pop act AE Mak. Floor Staff and LAOISE will be eye-catchers at The Grand Social, and when putting together the playlist for the second night I really enjoyed ROE also. One of the places to be over the entire weekend however must be The Underground on Saturday night, what a line-up. The aforementioned BANTUM headlines and will be sharing the stage with some other incredible electronic artists, Sylk who are creating quite a stir right now, Cinema and Wastefellow, and again, whilst going through acts I was less familiar with, I'm loving the sounds from Kilnamana right now.

The Underground @ 64 Dame Street

For Tramline on the Saturday night I'd recommend catching Super Silly who open proceedings at 19:45pm and also the ever entertaining ROCSTRONG who takes the stage at 22:00pm just before SOULÉ. Finally, at The Tara Building there's a strong showing of contemporary folk-pop, Aislinn Logan has burst onto the scene recently with her debut single release, as has Ivan Nicolas, and someone whose live shows are not to be missed is Maria Kelly, one of the best-known and most well-loved Irish solo artists of the past 2 years.

These recommendations are mostly based on previous knowledge of the acts, but in many ways, the whole point of Hard Working Class Heroes is new discoveries, and that will be what excites me most across the weekend. It happened last year and it will happen again this year no doubt. The main differences between this year and HWCH 2016 will be the reduction in the number of nights (2 instead of 3), acts (almost halved) and the proximity of venues to each other. Last year it was a little bit stretched making your way to The Chocolate Factory which felt outside of the hub of the other venues. Whilst the venue was fantastic, it will be easier to catch more acts this year, with The Tara Building essentially replacing The Chocolate Factory in terms of venue type.

Ultimately it promises to be a most memorable weekend due to the sheer quality of the acts on the line-up and I wouldn't be surprised if it surpasses the success of last year.

Tickets for the weekend can be purchased here and range in price from €25-€55;

For information on the annual conference which takes place on the Thursday, head over here

The Tara Building
The Tara Building

Map of venues for HWCH 2017

Orange > The Underground
Green > The Workman's Club
Yellow > The Grand Social
Blue > The Tara Building
Black > Tramline

Video: Just Mustard - Tainted

Just Mustard Tainted

Just Mustard - Tainted

Info: Last week Dundalk five-piece Just Mustard released their latest single 'Tainted', and they have now shared an accompanying video for the track which lead vocalist Katie Ball and guitarist David Noonan produced themselves. It has a macabre and calmly unsettling feel to it which fits nicely alongside the track itself. 

In our earlier review of the track we wrote; "Opening with a haunting atmospheric vocal and gently hovering electric guitar sustain, on my first ever listen to the single when the drums kicked in and the guitar rose and fell subtly the hairs stood on end. Bringing that sharp percussion to the fore and right up front only to be consumed mercilessly by fuzzed out distortion is magical, the vocals remain unnervingly calm and assured in a maelstrom of distortion." 

Just Mustard's next live performance will be on Thursday, 28th of September in Sin É, Dublin, with support from Junior Brother, admission is free and event info is here

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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Listen: Leigh Michael and Chap Stallion - Box Money EP

Leigh Michael and Chap Stallion - Box Money

Info: Leigh Micheal has been rapping for 15 years and has 22 releases out to date. Over his career he has developed a technically sharp and metaphorically rich writing style.

Both Bray natives, Leigh Michael and Chap Stallion have collaborated on an EP of soul searching, conscious hip hop in Box Money. Chap Stallion's chilled out, atmospheric beats perfectly compliment Leigh Michael's philosophical and introspective lyricism. 

Drawn from the best of late-90's / early 00's hip hop and rap styles, Leigh Michael and Chap Stallion have created an engaging, mellow and chilled out collection of tracks on Box Money. The well-produced extended play features highlights such as opener 'Just a Chap', 'Mouskari' and closer 'Herbal', parts of which recalled the type of sound on Kno's excellent 2010 LP Death Is Silent.

Chap Stallion & Leigh Michael - Just a Chap

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Single: Tanjier - Hymn

Tanjier - Hymn

Tanjier - Hymn

Info: Tanjier are the sound of dark electro-pop lurking in the shadows; the sound of isolation in orange dimly lit city streets. 

They are a trio based in Dublin, Ireland. Electronic beats, growling synths, syncopated rhythms, catchy guitar hooks and haunting vocals, Tanjier are modern musical story-tellers. In their lyrics, they have explored ideas like prostitution, mental health, youth and nostalgia. They provide a soundtrack for people living through the ironies of the modern age; how people are becoming addicted to social media while forgetting about developing meaningful social relationships. Songs about how people become attached to their vices but detached from reality. 

Tanjier's rise on the Irish live scene has been a steady and assured affair up until very recently, with incessant shows in the capital and further afield in venues that compliment their sound, the trio have also been putting their music out there on the festival circuit in the second half of 2017 with the most recent coming at Electric Picnic.

I was lucky enough to catch them at CrowClub in Temple Bar a few weeks ago, a long overdue experience. Like an expansion of their individual tracks, getting to witness them in person was highly rewarding, their set unsuspectingly pulling you right into an strangely psychedelic and electronic wonderland from one of the most progressive electronic acts in the country right now.

Their latest single 'Hymn' was released just yesterday, opening with a subtle reverb-soaked guitar, soft vocals are joined in by a smooth beat and snapping clicks, there's a lot going on already, but it's a tender experience. We reach soulful and emotional heights without delay on the chorus and then the fireworks are set off, it's all happening at once and a skulking mood enters the fray as the track elevates to an ethereal plain. Just like previous single 'Yu', it's all about movement, both within the listener and the music itself, and a supremely executed sense of dwelling right in the middle of their sound and world.

Tanjier play Upstairs in Whelan's tonight for the official launch of 'Hymn' with support from Sylk and Dreaming of Jupiter.

Like 'Hymn'? Check out previous release 'Misfit Hour' below.

Tanjier - Misfit Hour

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Playlist: Remy's Irish Independent Top 10 feat. Soulé, Jon Dots, 1000 Beasts, KARMS & more

Soulé What Do You Know

Info: On our latest Irish independent playlist here on REMY we have a swirl of sounds from funky grooves, pop-infused Rn'B, downtempo electronica, indie rock and experimental 80's rock vibes from all corners of the island. 

Those funk-laden grooves come courtesy of our opening track, 'Favourite Thing' by producer and musician Jon Dots. Dots has released a slew of singles this year and an EP Impossibly which came out in July, the Alien She drummer displaying a broad creative vision with a sound that contrasts sharply from the dark post-punk of that band. On this latest single he effortlessly churns out uplifting disco and funk accentuated by his soft and charm-filled pop vocal. It's a cliché, but more people need to hear Dots' solo work without delay.

It took a very long time for us to catch Rn'B pop artist Soulé live, but we finally got the chance at Forbidden Fruit this year, and it was a memorable performance filled with energy and a determination to lift the crowd on board her soul train. 'What Do You Know' has all of the classic elements of a late 90's rn'b gem, and we're listening on repeat since it came out yesterday. Thick plonky synths and a fulsome humming beat circle themselves around Soulé's super-clean vocal, and then there's that lovely flute loop. 

Session Motts - Back In The Day

Two electronic acts we're giddy with excitement to see at Hard Working Class Heroes at the end of the month are Cork's 1000 Beasts and Limerick's Proper Micro NV, both of whom will be playing on a ridiculous line-up at The Grand Social on the 29th of September with Bad Bones, Le Boom and DAITHÍ. 1000 Beasts have just released a new single 'Got That Feeling' featuring vocalist Ryan O'Shaughnessy. Cian Sweeney and Eric McCarthy have revamped the track which originally featured on O'Shaughnessy's 2016 album Back to Square One as a collaboration between the trio. Lacing the single with electronic grooves and some smouldering soul and rn'b pop sounds, it's a highly addictive and laid-back affair and a new video is less than a week away.

Rory Hall, aka Proper Micro NV released what we feel is one of the best Irish EP's of the year in Colours back in June. From that collection of tracks he has just shared 'Opinion X'. Hall's power lies in his ability to place a slider between the energy and ambience of his soundscapes simultaneously, the latter compounded by his characteristically withdrawn vocal. Even though the music sounds like it's floating out into a dark expanse, there's also a closeness to the sound that you can almost touch.

We're off to Galway next to long-term favourites round these parts, the wonderful Bob Skeleton and their latest single 'See The Moon'. With three solid EP's already under their belt, the garage pop and indie swagger of the new track is found to be in full flow. Rolling drums and a rasping vocal exude a casual attitude, and something I never really picked up before, here the four-piece add a bit of 90's Britpop charm to their latest salvo, and that chorus line of 'Love I know it's only sunset, but in you I see the moon' just adds to that warm sense.

Better late than never Dublin Northern Soul and 80's tinged trio Session Motts enter our life with their new single 'Back in the Day'. The band have been receiving plaudits from the highest of places since releasing their debut single in January with likes of The Irish Times making them their New Artist of the Week, Dan Hegarty debuting it on 2FM and Tom Dunne naming it as one of his top three Irish releases. On the new single, Session Motts conjure a majestical amount of nostalgia for 80's synth dark-pop with a firm contemporary hand casting itself over the chorus.

KARMS The River

Dublin indie-rock bruisers KARMS released their debut EP The River early last week, and here we feature the title track. It's a rabble-rousing burst of no nonsense and unabashed indie guitar-pop with a hard edge. 'The River' is a jolting opening to the EP, incessant and mechanical with a thunderous tempo, what you might expect if Weezer and Jimmy Eat World decided to collaborate, ultimately a sound which should see KARMS in places they may not expect to be in in 2018.

We calm ourselves momentarily with the tenderly crafted instrumental sounds of Cork's The Grey Merchant, who, as we have seen in the past, can ratchet up the sound levels as required. Here on his latest single, 'Never Give Up, Anything is Possible' a slow sliding introduction makes way for the glorious percussion-driven energy we are starting to associate with his music. The single is the closing track from his debut LP, Avenue de Rennes which will be released at the end of this month.

Wicklow indie-rock trio Feuds released their latest single 'Anything I Wouldn't' a couple of weeks ago. The band have been on the go since 2015 when they released their debut EP Lost Again and will now be looking to gain a foothold in the Irish music scene with their new track. It's a punchy and light-hearted affair with a nice mix of jangle-pop and distorted guitars with the slightest hint of math-rock timings scattered throughout.

Finally we have Dublin singer-songwriter Ivan Nicolas and his new single 'Moving On', which swings from old school 80's pop rock to modern indie stylings you might expect from The War on Drugs and gets better and better with every listen. Nicolas, with a background as a blues drummer, switched to guitar and piano ahead of his debut single release in April of this year. He will also appear at The Tara Buildings as part of HWCH on the 30th of September and it will be an interesting opportunity to see how his recorded material transfers to the live stage.

Ivan Nicolas - Moving On

For our previous independent Irish playlist, head along here to listen to Issue #11

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The VidList (Irish): Red Empire, Pale Rivers, May Rosa, The Crayon Set & Ivy Nations

Red Empire - Land if Ire
Red Empire

Info: In our latest bumper Irish issue of The VidList here at REMY we cover five new singles and videos from Dublin acts Red Empire, The Crayon Set & Ivy Nations as well as Cork's Pale Rivers and Belfast's May Rosa

Red Empire - Land of Ire

Starting with 'Land of Ire', the first single by Red Empire since their debut album Inhale was released last year, the band reflect and confront both the carnage wrought on Irish society during the last century by the Catholic Church, and also the ripples and pain that are still felt today. Director Daragh Murphy has done a great job of incorporating all of the most pertinent moments of our recent past and further beyond in his editing. The timing of the release is significant also as we await another visit from Rome, this time in a drastically altered socio-political landscape. Musically Red Empire capture the anger and frustration without overstating it, whilst lyrically capturing the disillusionment and disbelief of the current generation.

"The song incorporates the voice of survivor Michael O'Brien," explains Red Empire's lead singer Craig Cahill, "We were particularly inspired by his words and decided to use his voice in the song to share his experience. We visited Michael in his home and played the song for him. It was a very humbling experience and we are very honoured that he has agreed to collaborate with us in this way."

Pale Rivers - West Point

Whilst it can feel at times that indie-pop bands are two-a-penny (not a bad thing, more choice for us), five-piece Pale Rivers released their third single 'West Point' this week, and it definitely stands out from the crowd. So what have they done to achieve that? Firstly their sound is mature, and not one of a band who are relatively new, and secondly, which I particularly enjoyed about the track, was the added angst, throw it on the fire and see what happens attitude. It's difficult to not see the Cork act growing their following very quickly if they maintain the standard they've set for themselves across their first three releases.

May Rosa - Dancing In The Debris

Currently London-based, Belfast alt-pop singer May Rosa released her debut single 'Dancing In The Debris' just over 2 weeks ago. As first salvos go this is more than pretty impressive. There's that haunted, 80's, dark art-pop á la Kate Bush vibe running right throughout, bit this is no homage, as Rosa fires some unexpected but well judged rn'b moments across the bow. One of those moments where you wish it was her third or fourth single so you could go back and listen to the early ones, we'll just have to wait I suppose!

The Crayon Set - I Can't Say No

Long-time favourites here at REMY, The Crayon Set, released their latest single 'I Can't Say No' last week, which will feature on their sophomore album, Lost Languages which is out on the 10th of October. The six-piece are as polished as ever here, sounding more and more like an Irish Belle & Sebastian, with their warm and jovial sound reverberating right across the track. The wonderful animated video also picks at the auld heart-strings in a happy-sad kind of way with a nice balance struck between hope and contemplation.

Ivy Nations - Live By Design

A band who have had a knack of knocking catchy hooks and addictive indie-pop numbers out of the park over the last few years are Ivy Nations. After a busy summer hitting the festival trail with appearances at The Sea Sessions, Indiependence and a main stage slot at Castlepalooza, the Dublin act made their live bow in London for their first ever headliner outside of Ireland recently. 

Their track 'Live By Design' (and video) which featured in Issue #005 of our regular Irish Playlist incorporates all of the elements which have made Ivy Nations garner well-earned early success, anthemic chorus, thick bass-lines and suave swagger all rolled into one.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Album: Indian Wells - Where The World Ends

Indian Wells - Where The World Ends
Photo: Leonardo Calvano

Info: Indian Wells, producer Pietro Iannuzzi from southern Italy, is set to release his third album ‘Where The World Ends’ via LA based Friends Of Friends on 8th September 2017. Across a range of artfully composed, emotive electronic music, ‘Where The World Ends’ channels feelings of geographical, social and political isolation formed from borders both ageless and imposed. From ‘Voices’ opening soundscape, the heavenly techno of ‘Cascades’, the melodic peaks of ‘The Alps’ and the soaring title track; ‘Where The World Ends’ is in turns ebullient and melancholic, compelling and hypnotic. Choirs of wordless vocals provide a universal element of communication throughout; breaking down barriers of language, creating connections, crossing borders.

Italian ambient electronic artist Indian Wells released his third studio album since 2012, Where The World Ends, yesterday. Opener 'Voices' sets the tone of what is to come, understated yet absorbing instrumental atmospherics glide along a darkened highway, widening their exploratory expanse as the track unfolds. Although Iannuzzi's album is themed around the world we inhabit, it could just as easily be off-planet and away in the deep cosmos.

Lead single 'Cascades' feels brighter and more hopeful, fast rippling electronic effects sound almost mono, techno clicks snap into gear shortly afterwards and then we are motoring at full speed ahead, once again Indian Wells evokes a the feeling of us journeying through a dimly lit passageway, both real and imagined, it's gorgeously euphoric. 

Indian Wells - Where The World Ends (Album Trailer)

'Forest Hills' has a chaotic carnival sound, like a stuttering interpretation of a 90's deep house track, its jerking motion eventually enveloped by swirl of sharp electro beats and samples. When the dark synth enters the fray at the 2 minute mark the vibe is almost complete, but there is still time for more layers as Wells stacks more and more sonic wonder on top of each other.

After the foreboding 'Some Stripes', which articulates the desolation Wells aims for so well, we encounter the retro-gaming glitch pound of 'Heart of Lights', another well-constructed segment on Where The World Ends, it acts as a defiant warning, determined not to submit to the chaos it perceives to be all-encompassing, a true highlight on the album. It's fitting that we have a track titled 'The Alps' on this LP, a stunning mountainous mass that traverses those boundaries and borders Wells alludes to in his album description, viewed from multiple nations, but never looking the same from any one of them. 

As we reach album's end, so we reach the title-track, a twinkling and vibrant experience, a quiet nod to the erratic synchronicity of the likes of Four Tet, on the one hand it conjures feelings of helplessness, and on the other it raises a powerful spectre of defiance, a fight that can and will be won. Closing with 'Parola', a word which can be interpreted in many ways, from the Latin parabola or parable in English, it also means truth, honour and in mathematical terms it is the conic intersection, a parallel plane, the latter of which probably fits the thematic nature of the album best.

Where The World Ends is everything you want from an ambient electronic album, escapist, with or without knowledge of the artists intentions, it has meaning, both provided and interpreted by the listener themselves, which is some feat when we are dealing almost entirely in instrumental music. None of this has much significance however unless the music itself has the capacity to move you and leave its mark, Indian Wells has achieved all of these things on his latest album.

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Single: Just Mustard - Tainted

Just Mustard Tainted

Just Mustard - Tainted

Info: Dundalk five-piece Just Mustard share their new single 'Tainted' today, which comes in between last year's glorious self-titled EP and their debut album which is expected in early 2018. There's is a sound that is difficult to pigeon-hole, of course you can here certain styles like dream-pop, lo-fi rock, noise rock and shoegaze to name but a few. It's how these are blended together like multiple paint colours that makes the sound stand out, you see them all at the start but then when they merge it becomes something entirely unique and indiscernible. 

An addiction to experimentation is what will never see them stand still and this is exemplified on 'Tainted' with aplomb. Opening with a haunting atmospheric vocal and gently hovering electric guitar sustain, on my first ever listen to the single when the drums kicked in and the guitar rose and fell subtly the hairs stood on end. Bringing that sharp percussion to the fore and right up front only to be consumed mercilessly by fuzzed out distortion is magical, the vocals remain unnervingly calm and assured in a maelstrom of distortion. 

There's a mastery in how everything is controlled and the power and tempo rise mechanically, almost orchestral in how tightly managed proceedings are executed. As you reach the final minute you are gone, gone, gone and have just experienced one of the best Irish experimental rock moments of the year. It is so good to have Just Mustard back with new material and we'll be ticking off the days on the calendar until the debut album comes out.

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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Video: Beck - Up All Night

BECK Up All Night

Beck - Up All Night

Info: In the last hour Beck has released the video for new single 'Up All Night' from his forthcoming 13th studio album Colors which will be officially released on the 13th of October and can be pre-ordered here

The new LP has been massively anticipated by fans following the tremendous majesty of 2014's New Morning, 'Up All Night' is the third release to tease us since 'WOW' seemingly came out of nowhere just under a year ago, as well as the lyric video for 'Dear Life' only last week. The hyper-intensive pop-funk of the latest single confirms that Colors will be a world away from the mellow vibes of his last album, it's arrestingly energetic and an absolute full frontal stomper of a track, roll on next month.

St. Vincent Announces New Album 'MASSEDUCTION' & Releases Single 'Los Ageless'

St. Vincent - Los Ageless

St. Vincent - 'Los Ageless'

Info: St. Vincent – aka Annie Clark - has announced her new album, 'MASSEDUCTION', to be released October 13 on Loma Vista Recordings. Themes of power and sex, imperiled relationships and death slice through the album, Clark’s first since her 2014 breakout 'St. Vincent'. The thirteen tracks on 'MASSEDUCTION' swirl with guitar and piano, synths and strings, and drum beats that punch with purpose. The album was co-produced by St. Vincent and Jack Antonoff at Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan, with additional recording at Rough Consumer Studio in Brooklyn, and Compound Fracture in Los Angeles.

"Every record I make has an archetype," says Clark. "‘Strange Mercy’ was Housewives on Pills. 'St. Vincent' was Near-Future Cult Leader. 'MASSEDUCTION' is different, it’s pretty first person. You can’t fact-check it, but if you want to know about my life, listen to this record."

'MASSEDUCTION' is the culmination of years of writing, with songs crafted from voice memos, text messages, and snippets of melodies that came to Clark while traveling the globe. Special guests on the album include Thomas Bartlett on piano, Kamasi Washington on saxophone, Jenny Lewis on vocals, and beat production from Sounwave. Greg Leisz and Rich Hinman add pedal steel, and Tuck and Patti Andress contribute guitar and vocals respectively on select tracks.

As previously announced, St. Vincent’s Fear The Future Tour sees her return to Dublin to play two shows at the Olympia Theatre on October 20th and 21st.

What's On: Nashville's Birdcloud, UK Hip-Hop act Jesht & Gigonometry September

Birdcloud Sin É Dublin

Birdcloud @ Sin É (11th September)

NASHVILLE, TN – Acclaimed (and panned) Nashville country duo Birdcloud make their first trip across the pond on their first Worldwide Fucking Tour. The trek will hit 35 cities in 40 days across Europe including a stop at Sin È in Dublin on September 11th. Nashville natives Jasmin Kaset and Makenzie Green are touring in support of their most recent release Singles Only - a collection of songs from previously released EPs on one vinyl.  

Banned from YouTube, booed at America's Got Talent, and lauded for their irreverence by a global cult following, Birdcloud's music has been referred to as the ravenous id of today’s commercial country sound. Jasmin and Makenzie have spent years touring dive bars, lavish theaters, and women's prisons across America.  Now they are coming for you! "Hell yeah Ireland, get ready for a show like y’all have never seen before, gonna rock y'all's potato eatin' socks off, country style," Birdcloud warns potential audiences adding, "Don’t wear clothes you care about! Bring a date! Get hammered and buy the band a round!"

Gigonometry @ The Workman's Club (14th September)

The September line-up is a stomper, featuring garage psych specialists The Revellions, Waterford's finest Anna-Liese, Dublin 4-piece rawkers Modesto, and the beautiful songs of ex-Travis Oaks frontman Mike Paterson kick-starting his solo career. 

Event page is here:

the revellions
The Revellions

Jehst: The Billy Green Show @ The Grand Social (16th September)

Probably the most influential rap artist to ever emerge from the UK; Jehst has been at the forefront of his home country’s Hip Hop scene since the early 2000’s. With an extensive discography reaching into triple figures, and a string of critically acclaimed albums under his belt, Jehst’s heartfelt lyricism and true school production sound has earned him a global reputation as a master in his chosen field. Collaborating with artists as far afield as America, Australia, Eastern Europe and even The United Arab Emirates, this truly iconic emcee/producer continues to captivate the worldwide underground with fresh rhymes and dope beats.

His new album 'Billy Green Is Dead' is savage. It's some of the best yet from this cult hero. Stay tuned boppers, stay tuned...

"An artist at the forefront of UK Hip Hop" - The Guardian

"Not only is Jehst the best British rapper of all time, he's also one of the greats on an international level." - NME

Support on the night comes courtesy of Irish / English duo Grim Pickinz and Cork City troupe Cuttin' Heads Collective and the event page can be found here

Jehst Grim Pickinz Cuttin Heads Collective The Grand Social

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Album of the Month: Hot Rod Hearse - One Time, Pappie!

Hot Rod Hearse - One Time, Pappie!

Info: Fusing together Swamp blues, Rockabilly, Folk and straightforward Rock into a sound they call Thrift Shop Rock, Wexford  duo Hot Rod Hearse have just released their debut album, titled 'One Time, Pappie!' which dropped on the 27th August 2017. 

Having played the Strawberry Roots Festival in Enniscorthy, the Free Fringe Festival in Leitrim and the Dublin Rock 'n Roll Festival, Hot Rod Hearse now be release their first full album. An Irish tour is in the pipeline, as well as thereafter taking their music to the UK, Europe and further afield. 

It's no secret that I love, love, love the blues, the dirtier and rockier the better, from Rory Gallagher to Johnny Winter, from Son House to Jeff Beck, and from Peter Green to Albert King, that's when I'm in musical nirvana. Whilst we don't have as many blues artists in Ireland as in some other genres, the ones we have are of a very high standard, quite possibly because not just anyone can pick up a guitar and / or sing the blues, either you have it or you don't.

With all that in mind I was excited to come to grips with Wexford duo Hot Rod Hearse's debut LP, One Time, Pappie!. Having enjoyed the singles to date, and felt the authenticity of what they were creating, I knew I'd be fond of this album, but it even went beyond standard pleasure for me. You're straight into it with 'Broken Bones Man', an up tempo and light-hearted tranche of chaotic bluegrass which slides you toward that very first piece of sweet blues guitar at the 1:30 mark all the while enveloped with the ghost of Johnny Cash. We get knee-deep down and dirty with second track '1973', with Hotrod Suzi slowly dragging us willingly over the coals of her powerful and soulful vocal, the mood is chill and it's a lovely homage to 70's folk-blues, with an altogether appropriate title.

That folk infusion continues with the visual 'There By The Road', like a baptist preacher who has lost his way, guitarist and vocalist Zeff Ryder takes you all the way back to the delta in the 40's / 50's before throwing some more delicious blues riffs from a few decades later into the mixer. 'Ballsbridge to Ballymun' is probably like what an early The Who would sound like with Joan Jett fronting them, it's a swinging 2 minutes that adds a another dimension to the album. After the Ziggy Stardust-inspired and theatrical 'Roberta (Sweet N' Low)', we get hit up by another strong highlight on the album in the form of 'The Ferryman', vocally residing in the middle-ground between Cat Stevens and Neil Young, it has a blissful mid-60's feel to it. 

After the punk and glam-rock stylings of Spanner Valley comes '100 Year Old Elvis Grease', bringing you to neon-lit mid-western bars off a desolate highway some time in the 1980's. One Time, Pappie! closes with a live recording of 'Road River Road', it's quite a fitting end, with its high-energy and a healthy lashing of blues-rock riffage and attitude, it's really what Hot Rod Hearse are all about, re-interpreting the music that influenced them and stamping their personality on it. I guess the big boon for me with One Time, Pappie! was the musicianship, a clear obsession with blues-rock shining through and the unexpected mix of genres all placed on top of that blues foundation throughout whilst making them workable. 

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Saturday, 26 August 2017

Single: Panoplea - Slow Dance

Panoplea Slow Dance

Panoplea - Slow Dance

Info: Irish duo Panoplea have unveiled their debut single 'Slow Dance'. The ambient ballad, laced with electronic intricacies, is a tonic to the instantaneous demands of the current music-market. 

Speaking about the track, Trîps said: "We have written and performed under different guises, and one thing a number of labels - both major and independent - seem to do is generalise and 'undersell' the listener. More than ever I hear how music has to be instantly gratifying. If an intro is longer than 5 seconds, the listener will supposedly skip. If the chorus fails to come before 50 seconds, 'it isn't for radio'. I feel this mentality hinders and stunts so many writers and creatives. For a number of them, they feel compelled to create within these confines, and yet the majority will fail to break into any mainstream. We didn't write this as an antidote to the music climate though, we wrote it because we enjoyed it. And we're releasing it because we want the listener to share in our search for something more - the best journeys are never straightforward, are they?"

Finding myself in total agreement with Panoplea's statement about their debut single 'Slow Dance', as a listener I am more than willing to submit to both the mood and pace of their first track together. There should be no rules, constructs or fear when it comes to creating art, when you place restrictions on creativity it withers and dies and everyone loses. With 'Slow Dance' you voyage slowly yet steadily through the atmospherics which are on display, star-gazing at sonic clouds which discreetly snake their way around your auditory canal and imagination. It is beautiful and moving, but places no demands on you.

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Playlist: Remy's Irish Independent Top 10, Issue #011

Jafaris - If You Love Me
Jafaris - Photo: Arman Jose Galang

Info: Once again REMY brings you a round-up of the best independent Irish releases from the last few weeks. To coincide with the release of his latest video, we open with the glorious track 'If You Love Me' from Dublin rap artist Jafaris. The video, directed by Nathan Barlow and Cian Hamilton, is a triumph of combining the raw power of the single with some top-drawer visuals and story-boarding and is easily one of the best produced Irish music videos of 2017 (watch below).

Jafaris - If You Love Me

Dublin's Autre Monde released new single 'Village of Loomers' during the week with a premier over on The Thin Air. The four-piece, made up of members of No Monster Club, Land Lovers, Ginels and Paddy Hanna cast our minds back to the wonderful heady days of late 90's / early 00's Irish indie-rock with a 2017 blanket thrown over it. Ahead of the release of her debut album Vestigial, indie-folk act Laura Ryder released her latest single 'Moon' on Thursday .Her animated and highly entertaining live performance style recaptured here on a recording that features bouncing piano progressions and an uptempo pop beat that is hard to ignore.

After sharing the video for his single 'Rolf' last week, we share the second part of the double A-Side release from THUMPER's Joey Gavin, 'Run'. It's another high-energy affair from Gavin, blending care-free indie-pop with fuzz-rock undertones and his uniquely versatile vocal. Belfast's And So I Watch You From Afar are back with a bang with new single 'A Slow Unfolding of Wings' which is taken from their forthcoming LP The Endless Shimmering, out 20th of October. Their first ever music video accompanies the album's lead single, musically it's what you would expect if Weezer's Brian Bell dropped into the studio to jam with Mogwai, rolling bass-lines and squealing guitar riffs echo across some heavy percussion, and it's perfect.

ASIWYFA - A Slow Unfolding of Wings

Indie-pop and electronic Limerick duo A Dream, The Night dropped their debut single and music video for 'Sick Day', like a metronome that has become self-aware, the track flickers between sharp electronic effects and Julianne Murray's chilled out vocal performance, the overall ambience of the song conjuring up some serious nostalgia for late 90's downtempo choonage. 

Cork contemporary folk solo act Cormac O'Caoimh shares the latest single from his fourth album shiny silvery things which was released at the start of the summer. As always we are surrounded by the warm glow of O'Caoimh's vocals on 'Silence and Sound', strings and rhyme provide a soft place for us to rest our heads and drift off; "Time is like a church / Its signs remind me / A choir of ghosts sing rhymes / A bell tower chimes / Statues stand still in lines / Silence and sound remind me." 

Tribal Dance - Flongo

Yeah, yeah, yeah! A while ago we featured a set of live recordings from Dublin math-rock outfit Tribal Dance, and now we finally have a studio recording of their debut single and video 'Flongo' (above). It's dizzying and all over the shop in the very best of ways, those snares take a right pounding and the bass and wobbling guitar effects pack an almighty punch, add to that some Beastie Boys-esque rhyme spitting and we have a serious first outing from the trio on our hands.

Dublin indie-rock four-piece Fruitz released their debut EP, the appropriately named 5 a Day, a few weeks ago, and we're digging the third track 'Alicia' especially. A dreamy opening guitar riff and vox make way at the half-way point to an invigorating crescendo of good ole rock n' roll lead guitar and thrashing drums. We wrap up with some 60's infused psych folk-rock courtesy of Music for Dead Birds and their track 'Swim With Me' from their recently released EP, Nail & Tooth. The Galway pair deliver some highly enjoyable lo-fi rhythmic vigour across the track, and indeed the EP itself.

For our previous independent Irish playlist, head along here to listen to Issue #10