Thursday, 28 September 2017


Photo: Gregory Nolan


Info: 2017 has already been a tornado of touring for OTHERKIN, having completed three UK adventures, one headline, one with The Amazons and a third with punk legends the Dead Kennedys. Furthermore, the band opened for Guns ‘N’ Roses at the legendary Slane Castle, made their Download debut at Castle Donington and kept the Otherkin flame burning in Holland and France. Just recently, they were championed by Metallica’s Lars Ulrich on his Beats1 radio show.

Their debut album 'OK' which releases this Friday, 29th of September, was recorded in Ireland with David Prendergast, Jason Boland and the band at the controls. The tracks were mixed in London by Jolyon Thomas, best known for his work with Slaves and Royal Blood. Showing real commitment to their art, singer Luke and drummer Rob both had fresh 'OK' tattoos committed to flesh for the album artwork.

There have been few albums more eagerly awaited by Irish music fans (and indeed now those further afield) this year than OTHERKIN's debut LP OK. Those with the Dublin band from the very start, particularly the last two years, will feel like they've been on this journey with them, finally this Friday, we arrive at our destination. 

Opener 'Treat Me So Bad' gives the album an interesting and somewhat surprising start, it feels like OTHERKIN are warming us up with their own personal homage to old school 60's rock n' roll. It's like what you'd expect The Beatles to throw up if they'd had a welly load of distortion at their disposal on With The Beatles, well, I did say it was a surprise. In the final third however, the band hint at what is to come as they crank proceedings up.

On 'Come On, Hello' the quartet fast-forward to the modern day, a sweeping groover of an indie rock track replete with cheeky 'woo-hoo' calls in the not so distant background. The lead guitars and percussion are merely winding up here for something far more outrageous as the album unfolds. 'Ay Ay' was the band's first single, an explosive introduction from 2015 which firmly holds its ground today, the pulsating vocal to and fro and distorted carnage are gripping, a rock fans single.

OTHERKIN - Yeah, I Know

With a walloping snare intro, funky bass-line and chugging muted guitar 'Feel It' grasps the nettle with both hands, it's an intoxicating cocktail of chaos and fun wrapped in barbed wire, and another early example of why you'd yearn to see them live without delay. Following the theatrical drama of the KISS-esque ''89' comes the scorched earth of 'Yeah, I Know', hard to escape a vision of Mad Max Rockatansky driving some grotesque post-apocalyptic vehicle over your granny's flower beds with a bottle of whiskey in one hand and the other on the wheel whilst laughing in a deranged manner. 

'Enabler' is an important moment on OK, it sees the band hone directly in on a non-conventional rock sound, with grunge and punk saddling either side, this feels completely care-free and thoughtful and indicative of the band being just as focused on experimental creativity as producing crowd-pleasers. It has just the right amount of seriousness without collapsing in on itself. After the glam and speed-rock of the tasty 'Razorhead' we drop bang into the middle of another hit single from a few months ago 'Bad Advice'. It has the band's personality stamped all over it, nonchalant swagger, happy abandon and an alluring confidence which leaves you slightly in awe of how at ease they appear to be in what they are doing.


A track I've always had a soft spot for is 'I Was Born', it somehow links the hopeful naivety of youth with the despondency of later adult years. With it's Guns 'N' Roses opening drum and guitar crush, the track spirals helplessly away from its core with pieces flailing off in every direction, in an almost therapeutic release from some subconscious burden, it's devilishly magnificent.

At track 11 of 12 there's zero let up in the energy of the album courtesy of 'REACT', OTHERKIN determined to pound themselves and us right over the finish line until we collapse with exhaustion, solid lead guitar solos and satirical vocal rasps give one last dart in the arm to kick in before the grand finale. 

What a finale it is, 'So So' is an epic end to the album, with a Bondian guitar riff loading the intro, that outside the box experimentation comes through once again as the four-piece wander through the darkness, seemingly aimlessly, going wherever their intuition takes them. It's a rare and wonderful thing for me personally, but the final track on OK is my favourite of the entire album, the build is perfect, the energy is bottled up, and the world implodes at 3 minutes and 50 seconds, it's slightly at odds with the rest of the album in some ways, and that's what is exciting.

OTHERKIN sign off OK with a dystopian rock vision of their future, they could easily repeat a slight variation of the album and get away with it next time round, but you're left in no doubt that that is not going to happen. There is so much to enjoy on this album and in a way it's an album Irish music fans need. Whilst it's not why we love independent Irish music, every now and again we need the bands that we see playing small venues we love around the country to go a step further, we've all wished it, many a time. OTHERKIN are filling those boots admirably right now, and they're in them on merit with OK.

OK is available to buy on vinyl, CD and digital across multiple platforms here

For info on OTHERKIN's upcoming Irish, U.K. and European tour dates go here


Saturday, 23 September 2017

Single: The Wood Burning Savages - Living Hell

The Wood Burning Savages - Living Hell

The Wood Burning Savages - Living Hell

Info: Formed in Derry City, Northern Ireland, The Wood Burning Savages are a fast paced punk rock band who proudly wear the rebel spirit of their hometown on their sleeves.

The band have just wrapped up working with producer Rocky O'Reilly (Start Together Studios) and breakneck single 'Living Hell' is the first track to be taken from those sessions. A fierce riot of relentless guitars and pounding drums, 'Living Hell' is the band's most intense single to date.

The Wood Burning Savages have never shied away from rattling our bones and speeding up the onset of early arthritis with their fire-brand and anarchic take on punk-rock. But behind the rollicking and boisterous sounds of previous singles such as 'We Love You' has been a long-brewing discontent which has fully manifested itself on the name that tells the tale 'Living Hell'.

When punk was born in the 1970's in its rawest form it acted as a mirror to the most unpalatable truisms that the establishment were both aware of and benefited from, but did not want anyone else to know about. The horror was that the people would become self-aware, and it was petrifying. Maybe, in some way, that movement made a sufficient number of people aware and change was very slowly initiated on the mainland in the U.K., obviously we think of The Sex Pistols here.

What TWBS are driving at with 'Living Hell' is the inertia in Northern Ireland, a power-sharing government which very rarely shares power, clashing over irrelevant policy issues, grand-standing on both sides, pay cheque in the bank account, while the populace grinds through an ever-lasting Groundhog's Day scenario. 

The bizarre parallel is that here in the South we have an elected government that sits in Dáil Éireann, but we're not really much better off, our public services are beyond stagnation, health, education, transport to name but a few. It may seem churlish and basic, but again a disconnected collective of less than 160 TD's squabble over nonsense on a daily basis when they bother to turn up for work. 

Without straying too much, the point is that for such a small island, with one of the lowest populations, yet highest taxes, in Europe, Ireland is a fucking mess in terms of how it's run, both in the North and South. The Wood Burning Savages have articulated the frustration of a generation which sees simple solutions to non-complex problems. As a hard-rock fan 'Living Hell' ticks all of the right boxes, it is primal in nature and transposes its anger with ease to the listener, I would certainly like to see more bands in Ireland taking a look at the issues that affect us all and articulating them through their music, for the moment TWBS lead the way, and lead it very well.

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Album of the Month: Edel Meade - Blue Fantasia

Edel Meade - Blue Fantasia

Info: Acclaimed Irish vocalist and composer, Edel Meade, celebrates the release of 'Blue Fantasia', her debut album brimming with sophisticated, romantic and beautifully unpredictable music. Her songs are almost episodic in structure, meandering through vivid ensemble instrumentation, bursts of funk, and intimate balladry, all led by her soulful and vulnerable voice. 

Following on from the video release of 'Blue Fantasia', an enthralling experimental piece earlier this year, and Sideways, a gorgeous, evocative lullaby of sorts, with it’s lush vocal harmonies and intimate lyrics, Edel says; "I’ve always been drawn to artists who speak from the heart, the ones who are honest and fearless in their approach. Certainly I’ve been inspired by Joni Mitchell and singers like Billie Holiday and Nina Simone who share a piece of their soul with you when they sing."

Soul-jazz is a rare bird in the Irish music aviary, and one that had never been spotted up until the last decade or two, like all sub-genres in Ireland, whilst there are few residing in it, the ones we have are to be cherished. Edel Meade is one such artist, her earliest song-writing successes casting all the way back to 2008, her debut album Blue Fantasia, which was released just yesterday, being the fruitful culmination of a long, and you sense, most enjoyable journey.

Opening with the warm balm of 'Sideways', the album as a whole is like a perfect cocktail of classic sounds from the past which left their mark on Meade over the years, and modern creations incorporating jazz, soul and a little bit of blues. It's a deeply intoxicating start to the LP, with multi-layered vocals drawing you into an old-world trance. The 70's cabaret ball-room energy of 'Cheek To Cheek' has a firm bossa nova styling, musically akin to a cross-over between Stan Getz and the hard-bop twists and turns of Kenny Dorham, it's uplifting and then some.

The unassuming 'Love Lost' is most definitely a key highlight on Blue Fantasia, with its painfully tender pace and mood, Meade's vocals shine through, again she brings us right into the middle of an oasis of jazz-induced calm. The bass-runs are expertly delivered and accompanied very well by keys, it's hard not to be filled with a strange sense of hope despite its lovelorn theme. 

We then reach the funky punch grooves of 'Round Midnight', isn't that the time that music such as this is at its best? Gorgeous blues guitar and be-bop percussion take centre stage for a good minute and a half before we collapse into a stream of other-worldly subconsciousness to the most escapist part of the album. We veer further into soul funk territory on 'Blind Eye', I don't quite know why, but, without the ensuing catastrophe of the film, the delivery hear reminds me of The Commitments very first live performance in Roddy Doyle's 1991 classic. 

The album's title-track arrives, and it's one that should firmly be in the jazz-standard mould. It's the epitome of Meade mixing past and present on Blue Fantasia, moody, upright bass humming in the background, and a shroud of darkness to finish it off, all under-pinned by her spoken-word style. Covers within the same genre can be so much fun, but when you remove them from there and place them in an entirely different environment they can become almost unrecognisable, without losing their magic. Michael Jackson's 'Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough' gets an admirable reworking here, slowed right down, alluring and warm, it is done great justice, yellow, mellow.

'Iris' has an enchanting charm, it is quintessentially how I understand modern Irish soul jazz to sound like, and although my exposure has been limited in a live sense, it echoes a similar feeling within me to that which Meade's contemporary Ríona Sally Hartman displays. That sincere gravitas in delivery, and a sense of life-embracing freedom and heartfelt yet nonchalant feeling in the soaring vocal. 

We close with the appropriately titled 'Beyond the Coda', although the album has until now been a mix of funky brevity and tender moments, this is certainly a piece which begs quiet reflection. You wonder is Edel Meade asking herself, "What is next?" as the curtain draws down, and that artistic vulnerability can be quite inspiring, being on edge gives birth to greater things, but for now she should afford herself some well-earned satisfaction for a very special album.

Edel Meade will officially launch Blue Fantasia at The Bello Bar in Dublin 8 on Thursday, 28th of September with a 7-piece band, doors are at 8pm and tickets are available via

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The Irish VidList: Sleep Thieves, Brass Phantoms, 5th Element, 1000 Beasts & Jiggy

Sleep Thieves - Is This Ready
Sleep Thieves - Photo: Mark Duggan

Info: The latest issue of The VidList here on REMY once again brings you the best new independent Irish music videos, and this weekend we have a particularly bumper package of quality tracks and visuals crossing multiple genres, with all five videos coming from artists who distinctly reside in their own musical spheres.

We cheat a little with our first video from Dublin dark-pop trio Sleep Thieves and their single 'Is This Ready?', which actually came out at the end of July, but are set to play Hard Working Class Heroes next weekend followed by two dates in New York. Visually it is a stunning piece which is directed by Spiceburger, an up close witnessing of the exorcism of art from the individual, musically it enters unsettling realms you wish your favourite dream-pop band had entered but never did.

Brass Phantoms - Indigo

Another Dublin band who will be off on their musical jollies to New York next month are Brass Phantoms, who just released their video for latest single 'Indigo' yesterday. Over the last few years they haven't put a foot wrong, writing singles which simply get better with each release, embracing each live show like it might be their last, and being most discerning in how they are portrayed visually, a long-working relationship with the excellent photographer Olga Kuzmenko being a prime example. One of their most electric live songs 'Indigo' finally gets the video treatment here and again it's great to see such burgeoning talent behind the camera courtesy of Alan McCarthy.

5th Element & DoubleScreen Ft. Trom - Veins

Dublin rap and hip-hop triumvirate 5th Element & DoubleScreen team up with pop solo artist Trom for new single and video 'Veins'. DoubleScreen is at his masterful best behind the control panel, opening the track with pinging beats that bounce vibrantly. Trom is an intriguing prospect, his vocal has always been something you are drawn toward, that rough and pained gravel tone echoing the best of 90's pop-rock vox, and one you won't forget in a hurry. With 'Veins' you get the sense that 5th Element's Ryan Lincoln and Ger Kellett may be right on the cusp of crossing over into a wider audience, and not before time.

1000 Beasts ft. Ryan O'Shaughnessy - Got This Feeling

One of the most inventive and exciting acts to come out of Cork recently, ambient electronic act 1000 Beasts released his single 'Got This Feeling' last week which featured on our last Irish playlist. The track features pop solo act Ryan O'Shaughnessy, and the two styles are blended together sublimely, on first listen you will enjoy the song, and with every listen after that you'll find yourself more and more reaching for it. The chorus is both musically and vocally invigorating, with everything in the lead up a proper tease toward heightened enjoyment. 

Jiggy - Silent Place

Finally, and with great deference, we come to experimental traditional and world ensemble Jiggy who released their debut album Translate at the end of July which we reviewed here. Jiggy unleashed the video for their track 'Silent Place' (above) last week and it is currently at a phenomenal 14 million views on Facebook. Their album is one that is not easily describable, it is simply magic, you could hear just one Jiggy song and it would throw you so off in terms of the rest of the album you wouldn't know if you're coming or going. With that in mind, merely leaving 'Silent Place' here in isolation seems wrong, so there's another beautifully shot video by Mia Mullarkey of Ishka Films below of a live session at The Harbour Bar in Bray for your perusal. I would say go see them before it's too late, but that ship has long sailed if you'll excuse the pun.

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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