Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Playlist: Remy's Irish Independent Top 10, Issue #006

The Fontaines Liberty Belle

Info: Another few weeks pass, and another heap of great releases come out from the cream of Irish independent artists, there's just no end to the tide of talent and creativity, long may it continue.

Opening our latest 2017 playlist is debut single 'Liberty Belle' via Dublin thrash-punk glam rockers Fontaines, perhaps named after the famous 'liberator' aircraft from World War II, or maybe the watering-hole on Francis Street (I'm going for the latter), it's a classic Irish punk track with a Strokesian twinge, whilst also echoing strongly the likes of late 70's Belfast group The Outcasts. Interestingly 'Liberty Belle' belies the youthful exuberance of the band's live shows, where you find yourself going, "Yeah, this is what's missing from stage performances". They could be huge...

Next up are the smooth and luscious r'n'b / grime grooves of Lakerama, the Dublin and Cork duo recently released their latest EP, Contactless, a five-track that is brimming with quality. 'Have Your Time' has all of the hallmarks of a classic 90's dance track, recalling the likes of Rozalla or Black Box's 'Ride On Time', Lakerama are definitely ones to watch for the second half of 2017 and beyond. 

The ever-intriguing and entirely unique Dublin funk-rock act Rabble Babble have just released new single, 'Joe's Bust'. Interspersing a combination of Pixies-esque spoken word led by Molly Callan Cassidy, and off-beat funk-rock rhythms, the four-piece continue to delight and surprise on their sophomore single, the follow up to the equally impressive 'You Know Joe, Gal and Fran'.

Pranks - Dinosaur

After releasing three critically acclaimed EP's, Armagh's Silences return with a brand new single in the shape of 'Red Dress'. The new track feels like a perfect amalgamation of their other releases over the past 2 years, matching the quiet calm of the immense 'The Sea' with the slow-building inferno of 'There's A Wolf'. 

Straddling the world between the underbelly and mainstream of quality modern Irish alternative-pop and hip-hop, the charismatic talent of Rocstrong is back with his new single 'Vibes'. It sways and loops rhythmically, with the very faintest hat tips to grime and dark electronic music, Rocstrong shows that there are plenty more strings waiting to be added to his bow on latest outing 'Vibes'.

A track which particularly grabbed me over the last few weeks has been 'Little London' by Longford / Leeds four-piece Cronin. With the glorious bravado and pomp of Scott Walker, and the dead cold stare of Nick Cave, Cronin deliver up an absolute gem of a single. From the orchestral magnificence to the wondrous drumming (listen in particular from 1:03-1:30) and an absolutely bone fide kitsch (compliment) 90's Britpop guitar and keys sound á la (incidentally) London act Rialto, this is a complete peach of a track which will appeal to fans of music from multiple decades.

I've been a huge fan of Dublin pair Pranks ever since they started kicking out the jams, with previous single 'Long Knives' still resonating strongly with me in terms of enjoyment and energy. With 'Dinosaur' (above video), the duo stick to their no nonsense approach to heavy alternative rock, quality riffage and thrashing percussion abound, but they also target a more moody borderline metal at times sound, another solid single to boot.

Elaine Mai Praise in the Cliché
Elaine Mai

Back towards the end of 2014, little-known Irish electronic artist Setline (real name Steve Cash), dropped a beauty of a home-produced electronic EP, These Thieving Streets. 'Speckled' was in our top 20 Irish tracks of that year, and one of my favourite Irish music bloggers Barry Gruff remarked at the time that the resulting output from the mix of acoustic and electronic instrumentation was 'simply gorgeous', and it was. It's been a while, but Cash has just released his sophomore EP, now London-based, he has stayed true to his DIY school on All Our Days of Promise. I've plumped for 'Only Just Found You' from the EP, there's a layer of simplicity floating above very adventurous soundscapes, we're in deep space, but the star in the distance is shining so brightly we're drawn towards it, sometimes minimal ambience is best ambience. 

The long-awaited third EP from Dubliner Elaine Mai, The Colour of the Night, finally arrived on the 19th of May, with single 'Praise in The Cliché' heralding its release a few weeks earlier. Featuring one of our most talented rap acts, MissElayneous, the track melds dub, house and rap and forms a direct transmission between the early 90's and the modern day with ease. 

Wolves of Youth - It's Not For You

Donegal pop-rock quartet Wolves of Youth seem to have stepped into the start of a bit of a streak of writing highly enjoyable and punchy singles with 'It's Not For You', the follow up to last years very successful 'Say Something'. With a balladeering start, the track develops in a way you'd want it to, anthemic vocals, raucous drumming and indulgent rock riffs. There has been a very measurable development in their sound since their earliest releases back in 2015, with each release completing another piece of the jigsaw.

Finally, we have Dublin five-piece VINCI to see us out on a high, from a tender pop-ballad opening, their latest single 'Liars' gives more than it demands. Cello and choruses swarm wildly around the guitars and percussion, and just as soon as they take off they draw back. It's a very interesting mix, on the one hand I hear Dublin peers Heroes in Hiding, a dash of Ed Sheeran, and a 90's throwback to something off Britpop act Embrace's The Good Will Out. 'Liars' is also very well-produced and sure to garner solid air-play, and who knows what might happen from there.  

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