Wednesday 29 November 2017

Video: Sub Motion - Mr. President

Sub Motion - Mr. President
Photo: Simon Meagher

Sub Motion - Mr. President (Live in Sun Studios)

Info: Dublin rock supremos Sub Motion released a new video at the weekend fo their track 'Mr. President' which was recorded live at Sun Studios in Temple Bar. Needless to say it's another fast-paced tub-thumper from the four-piece with all of the crunch, loud static and attitude we've become so enamoured with. To wrap up a dizzying end to 2017 which included a record deal in October with Tremolo Publishing, Sub Motion will be throwing a headline Christmas bash at The Workman's Club on Friday, 8th of December with support from the might WOLFF and Scally. 

Sub Motion WOLFF Scally Workman's Club

Sunday 26 November 2017

The Irish VidList - Silences, KEY, Tuath, Good Strangers & Echoes From Mars

Silences L.A.
Silences - Photo: Steve Carson Photography

Silences - L.A

Info: Our latest round-up of the best Irish music videos from the last two weeks (and one from a little further back!) is here featuring more delightful visuals and inspiring concepts from Armagh's Silences, hard-hitting Brighton / Dublin trio KEY who have just released their debut extended play EP1. We also feature the new video from Donegal-based prog-rockers Tuath, our new favourites Good Strangers and some 80's inspired funk-rock from Dublin's Echoes From Mars. I hope you enjoy....

Silences' new single 'L.A' sees the act go for a more arresting and hard indie-rock energy in comparison to their more familiar ambient style, and it fits them very well. Easily one of the most consistent and progressive projects on the island over the last few years, they once again manage to keep everything sounding fresh on the latest release. Song-writer and singer Conchúr White provides insight into both the song and the dark video; "L.A was written after I spent a week writing and perform in Los Angeles last year. I liked the city but it elicited a sadness. In Hollywood especially there are all these young people the same age as me trying to “chase their dreams” and then there are these other people in positions of power willing to take advantage of that. Musically it's probably the most chaotic Silences has sounded and I think that blends well with the subject matter." 

KEY - Show Me

As I've mentioned previously over the last few months it is refreshing to see more local bands producing high quality rock-based sounds. Dublin trio KEY certainly slot into this new and gradually expanding category with new single 'Show Me'. Interestingly, to my ears at least, their sound echoes a more southern hemisphere garage-punk style rather than influences from across the Atlantic. Immediately New Zealand's The Datsuns spring to mind, as well as Australia's Wolfmother, great stuff with a blistering finale to boot.

Tuath - Cuz why!?

Experimental rock five-piece Tuath released their latest single and accompanying video for track 'Cuz why!?' two months ago but we were late to the show and wanted to give it an airing here because we are digging it so much. With a shoe-gaze intro and baritone backing vocals that call forth a Whipping Boy Heartworm memory, in the tracks final-third Tuath dip rapidly between sonic belts and sudden stops before encompassing your ears with a fizzing wall of trippiness. If you like what you hear you might also enjoy recently released tongue-in-cheek (but very true!) song 'Facebook Was Making Me Depressed and Neurotic So I Disabled My Account and Wrote This'.

Good Strangers - Throwing Knives In The Dark

We recently featured previous single and video 'Visions In The Dark' from Mullingar's Good Strangers, and the four-piece are back with another single in quick succession, 'Throwing Knives In The Dark'. It finds the group in more contemplative mood versus the overt disco-feels of the last outing, however it provides a different type of impact, emotive and escapist and that undercurrent of funkiness is still retained in the chorus, ones to keep an eye on moving into 2018.

Echoes From Mars - Explain Yourself

We wrap up with the debut single by Dublin act Echoes From Mars led by song-writer and vocalist Cat Dee, 'Explain Yourself'. Visually Annie Lennox feels abound on the video, whilst musically it comes across as an ambient-electro version of Texas with added guitar-rock strut. Echoes From Mars plan on releasing their next single in January 2018 and it will be interesting to see how it compares to this stirring introduction.

To view our last selection of Irish music videos on The VidList, head over here

Single: KANDCE - '78

KANDCE - '78
Photo: Josh Byrne

Info: KANDCE are an alternative disco-pop band from Dublin. Formed in BIMM, the band is bringing a fresh and energetic take on indie disco, fusing funkier elements into hook filled pop songs to create an arrangement of both atmospheric and hip-shaking tunes.

''78' by Dublin six-piece KANDCE is their second release since forming in late 2016, shortly afterwards they recorded debut single 'Sleepless' feat. Johnny Climax at Westland Studios. The new single certainly shows their has been some well-honed development in their sound this that first foray. ''78' captures the era the song-title suggests very well, from the effective retro-synth and beat and funk-laden bass. Vocally however the delivery is firmly set in contemporary territory, the pre-chorus build-up is where the groove sets in and injects a vibrant disco energy that is most enjoyable. KANDCE do the funk well, and if they build on the gratifying feeling of ''78' they can certainly carve out a solid niche for themselves on the Irish music scene.

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Saturday 25 November 2017

News: SESSION MOTTS & Alien She @ Sin É, 30th November

Photo: Sarah Ryan

SESSION MOTTS - Chip Shop Fights

Info: This coming Thursday 30th of November, in Sin É two of Dublin's most individual bands will take to the stage together, both currently creating a cutting edge sound in their own right. 80's inspired post-punk act SESSION MOTTS and much lauded hard-punk trio Alien She will be offering a must see line-up and admission on the night is free.

SESSION MOTTS' trademark 80s-Modern sound - a hybrid of Post-Punk, Northern Soul, Disco and Burt Bacharach - was first heard on their debut single 'Chip Shop Fights' (above video) which was released on January 22nd 2017.

Nialler9, Ireland's most influential music blogger, quickly named SESSION MOTTS 'New Artist of the Week' in The Irish Times and the group soon picked up similar accolades from and The song also gained regular airplay on RTE1, Newstalk, 98FM, Radio Nova, 8Radio and Dublin City FM. 

Following their first two live shows at the beginning of the summer Goldenplec stated that; "...even at this early phase, two gigs into their live career, Session Motts deserve to be gracing bigger and better stages." The MOTTS are currently recording their fourth studio single following the success of most recent release 'Back In The Day' as well as gearing up for a support slot for HamsandwicH on Whelans mainstage next month.

Alien She - Solitary

Alien She have just released their superb debut album Feeler on our ears via label Art For Blind Records with the launch night taking place yesterday upstairs at Stage 19. The band have caused a big stir in the lead up to the LP release (which will very thankfully be available on limited edition vinyl), earning glowing plaudits along the way from the likes of The Last Mixed Tape and The Thin Air. In addition they played their biggest show to date on Thursday supporting Russian punk anarchists Pussy Riot alongside Pillow Queens at The Button Factory.

The group comprises of artists and activists Katie O’Neill on guitar and vocals, Aoife Mairéad Nic Dhonncha on bass and vocals and Darragh McCabe on drums. Founding members Katie and Aoife came together at a feminist meeting, and like true practitioners of punk, with the help of final addition Darragh, their political voice has deepened and developed since the band’s formation.

The band’s sound is defined by their combined interest in punk, poetry and expressive music, and they describe how the inspiration for their songs comes from written prose and personal experience. The end result is a mixture of raw and relentless energy which manifests itself in a number of different manners; sometimes in the form of agitated punk, other times their sound is reminiscent of 80’s shoegaze, but their constant progression and experimentation prevent the group from reproducing same-sounding tracks, keeping their sound fresh.

Alien She

Friday 24 November 2017

Remy's Top 10 Irish: Paddy Hanna, Le Boom, Bitch Falcon, The Academic and more

Paddy Hanna - Mario Lanza
Photo: Stephen White (The Last Mixed Tape)

Info: It's been a very busy couple of weeks with Irish single releases and there are a lot more to come in the next week or two as well from some of our favourite acts. For now though we collect the most recent releases from the last week or so, some old faces we are delighted to see bringing out new tunes are Ealadha, Neon Atlas, Bear Worship and Stoat. Enjoy!

We kick off with the magical duo Le Boom and their brand new single 'Don't Need It Now' which was released today. Having witnessed two festival slots this year there is always a point in their set, usually early on, where you disappear down the Le Boom rabbit-hole and become totally subsumed. Descriptions such as hypnotic and dream-like states would get close to describing it. 'Don't Need It Now' catches that feeling perfectly in recording from one of the most exciting Irish electronic acts of the last 12 months.

The unwitting troubadour Paddy Hanna is next with new single 'Mario Lanza', an ode of sorts to the Italian tenor and movie star of the 40's & 50's. Lanza as you can guess was impartial to singing the Christmas hits, and Hanna paints a warming and kooky scene of hanging out with him during the festive season. As always Hanna imparts that shade of black comedy into his song-writing, it's a fun single with a stack of breezy swagger and big-band feels.

Although we reviewed it earlier this week and featured the gorgeous accompanying video, we really felt the need to share BODIES' haunting and beautiful single 'Numb' in case some people missed it. You can watch the video and read the review here

Carnage merchants Bitch Falcon also released their latest single 'Of Heart' today, the doom-laden track is full of dark and industrial atmospherics. Far more subdued than their earlier catalogue of singles, a newcomer to their music would still instantly recognise that there is a hard-rock beast lurking in the shadows of 'Of Heart'. That primal noise emerges from its cave in the final two minutes of the extended version of the track, which is the one to listen to by the way.

A sure way to blow apart those dark winter moods that are creeping in is to stick on the new single from Stoat, 'Don't Play No Game That I Can Win'. With its dance-hall days 'Rock The Casbah' groove the boogie is strong on this one, and yes there's plenty of cowbell, tonk tonk tonk! A new album is on the cards for early 2018 so don't put away the dancing shoes just yet.

Ealadha Bathe

We're huge fans of the sound and noise-scapes created by Cork ambient-rock trio Ealadha and new single 'Bathe' keeps the momentum of last years Limit of Your Sight EP in full rapturous flow. The band have gotten even better at driving their build up toward a searing finale, yes we've referenced it before, but they emulate the crescendo Mogwai used to create in their early days so well.

After a hugely successful 2017, Mullingar pop-rockers The Academic share another sliver of what's to come from debut LP Tales From The Backseat via new single 'Why Can't We Be Friends?'. For me pop-rock can be very hit and miss in terms of how it grabs me, I'd like to think I'm very open-minded when it comes to the genre, but I'm often struck by effortless blandness designed purely for radio-play. 

The Academic have definitely slipped into my favoured style, and whilst irrelevant for the purposes of review, they put on one hell of a live show. 'Why Can't We Be Friends?' is what you want to hear more of, and enjoy fully, they make it very easy. Also, while you're here, check out their live version of previous single 'Bear Claws' which has clocked up over 1.7m views on YouTube where the band have circumvented the delay on Facebook Live videos using loops.

Every Sun.Set.Ships single that comes out I think it's my favourite, better than the last, but I think current release 'Marydoyouwanna' will be hard to surpass. This where the Monaghan electro-indie act have been headed for some time, its their best single to date. From that Paul Simon vocal feel, the soft harmonies and sun-filled rippling electronic beats to the quick guitar picking it's as uplifting as you can get without blasting you out of it with extravagance, smiling.

Regular readers will be aware of the fondness we hold for the music of Dublin's Bear Worship, most recently as our Album of the Month with his debut WAS. From said album he has recently released the single 'Frequency' with flip A-Side 'Post Geographical Orientalism'. "We are just vibrations, tones and modulations, I can hear a cadence, out in the firmament" the lyrics open before being swarmed by a hive of sharp and tinny electro sounds, for a ghostly yet calming affair of wonder.

Back to Cork we go for the new single from Neon Atlas, 'Fever', the indie act invoke the jangle-pop guitar and swirling nostalgia of acts such as The Connells with an indie-rock hue similar to Damien Jurado or Cass McCoombs. It's a sweet rhythmic dirge that mixes a sense of feeling with subtle upbeat rock moments. Finally one we have really enjoyed for many reasons is 'On My Mind' by Dutch and Irish-based folk musician Jane Willow who evokes the bare sound of Joan Baez. Having moved to Ireland at the age of 21 purely to pursue a career in music, Willow has since opened for the likes of Glen Hansard. She is currently working on releasing a debut EP in the summer of 2018 and this single shows great promise which has all of the hallmarks of a bone fide authentic folk artist about to make a mark.

For our previous independent Irish playlist, head along here to listen to Issue #15 here

EP: Look To The Lady - Delirium

Look to the Lady - Delirium

Info: Hailing from county Wicklow, Look to the Lady are a hard-hitting alternative rock / indie band with powerful female vocals at the forefront of their guitar driven sound. Formed in 2012, the five-piece have graced many stages including the Button Factory, the Workmans Club and the Whelans' Ones to Watch festival. The band have achieved success with their 2014 EP 'Mechanical Lights' as well as with their two most recent singles 'My Name' and 'Distant Waves' hinting at the sounds of their new EP, 'Delirium', recorded on a week long escape to Portlaoise in 2016.

'Sixteen' sees Look to the Lady get straight down to business with a feisty punch of loaded guitar riffs and whalloping drums, Kelly Bolger positing an 80's pop-rock vocal. As the track passes the half-way point the opening frolics make way for a delightfully harder rock edge with some highly enjoyable solos and an outpouring of energy. Single 'My Name' which featured here back in June on one of our playlists noting; "There's so much to enjoy on this track, it's like an homage to 90's alternative indie rock, but without a band from the era to compare it to." That 90's rock vibe is to be heard from start to finish on Delirium and the band execute it very well in their song-writing, it's easy to appreciate the thought and nuances that have been put into the tracks.

Look To The Lady - My Name

The dizzying opening to the EP is somewhat tempered on third track 'Hello Halo', guitars glimmer softly in the middle ground, the lyrics indicating a reflection of a protagonist who is held in high regard by their peers but suffers from fragile and crippling self-doubt and insecurity. 'Fantasy' reverts back to that early rock-pounding and is probably the most ground-moving track on Delirium, there can be no mistake from this point as to what makes Look to the Lady tick. The group have old school hard-rock coursing through their veins, at times recalling Chris Cornell's Audioslave and at others dirty 80's rock riffs.

Closing with the lament of 'Take Me Somewhere' which is closer to Cornell's contemporary back in the day Eddie Vedder, there's an unplugged Pearl Jam feel to the mood and sound of the song, and as is their wont, we get one last dollop of anthemic lead-guitar. When you listen back to their 2014 debut EP Mechanical Lights the progression is clear, the raw and rough edges have been polished and Look to the Lady now know what their sound is and how to deliver on it. For fans of rock music who may feel side-lined by the styles of music which are popular among alternative Irish music lovers, this is where it's at.

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Monday 20 November 2017

Video: BODIES - Numb



Info: BODIES began as the solo project of singer/guitarist David Anthony McGeown, who spent the last year recording with contributions from members of acclaimed Irish bands such as Squarehead, Blooms, Roisin O and Overhead The Albatross. 

Starting out when he ͞had the idea of writing something that documents that mid-twenties period in a persons life where you go through things that teach you how to interact with the world. Not the coming of age high school/college period but the moments in your life where you – truly fall in love, understand friendship & deal with death/mental health for the first time as an adult."

It's difficult to describe 'Numb' as anything but a glorious piece of music which has fallen on our laps just as 2017 draws to an end. The combination of the almost apologetic guitar strum, McGeown's beyond the stratosphere vocals which impart a powerful amount of feeling, and the ghostly percussion are a piece of majesty unbound. Everything is executed with the aim of bringing the listener beyond the realm of the present, delivering them through the music to a point of self-acknowledgement. Pinch yourself.

'Numb' is taken from BODIES' debut EP 'SOAK' which will be launched in Whelan's on Saturday, 25th of November, event info is here.

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Album Premiere: Kingdom of Crows - Despondency

Kingdom of Crows - Despondency

Info: It's just over two years since Dublin's Kingdom of Crow's released debut album The Truth Is The Trip which blew our cotton socks right off, tomorrow, the four-piece's sophomore LP, Despondency, is set to be released and we are very proud to have an exclusive premiere of the album on REMY this evening.

The new album unfurls itself with the gentle, if slightly menacing, soft-rock instrumental of 'The Womb', from the medieval court-like acoustic picking of its intro, the track teeters back from what is to follow, subtle distortion interspersed with orchestral sounds, it's preparation. The third single to be released from the album 'Sycadia' comes next, and it is the wave and nod at The Truth Is The Trip before it turns its back toward their newer sound. Guitarist Stephen Kelly and vocalist and co-songwriter Lucy Earley showing why they were made to collaborate together. A new found exploration of electronic sounds pops and circles Earley's enchanting vocal.

As soon as 'Four Words' starts you are crying out for the drum beat, and you are not left waiting, that pagan and tribal mystique we loved so much on the previous album appears again in a new form. There's a rock steady and swaying rhythm and beat that drifts from sudden punch to caress with ease. 'The Walk' is an interesting proposition, and a pleasant surprise, it has all of the hallmarks of a 90's dance track, and by the midway point feels like a downtempo version of something you might find on The Prodigy's Music for the Jilted Generation, the emphasis on unexpected yet welcome must be stated here. 

Kingdom of Crows - Despondency

On the album's title-track that dance feel is retained and is something we noted upon its release also, that snapping feel to the rhythm and a straight-up killer bass-line. The first single from the album, 'Despondency' is immediately fetching and the roll of the guitar riff keeps the listener well within its grip for the entire duration, needless to say Earley's vox add immeasurably to creating a disorientating scene within the song. 

'Needle' sounds like an Eastern version of Fleetwood Mac after a psychedelic overdose, sounds and effects are warped with the vocals calling from a distant thickening fog that is fast-approaching, enchanting. On 'Sculptor's Run' we find Kingdom of Crows in full flow, this feels like the track on the album where all inhibitions are cast aside, and it rivals 'Despondency' as the best single release to date. It's 80's underground new-wave club, and the only colours are black and white.

And 80's are shining through again on 'Arublus', it's as though Simple Minds spent a year in a basement with The Cure and Depeche Mode and only one person survived clutching onto the page the song was written on as they emerge. 

Kingdom of Crows - The Drip

Despondency closes with 'The Drip', and it's a gorgeous finale to a unique collection of songs. Everything you've heard up until now is put in a box and lifted up into the clouds, the guitar playing has an understated traditional Irish tint to it, the focus is on serenity and drawing us away from the gloom of this world to a better one. 

Two albums in and I don't fully understand Kingdom of Crow's place in the world, they write wonderful singles, you can only guess at what is influencing both albums. Yet they seem so detached from everything that is going on around them musically, and in all of the best ways that somehow brings me a lot of relief. Despondency feels like a place you can hide in, written for the listener, undiscovered landscapes carved in between those singles, which themselves point in the opposite direction of a lot of contemporary Irish music. I can relate yet it's new, and I don't want it to go away.

'Despondency' is officially released tomorrow, 21st of November

Sunday 19 November 2017

Interview: Trick Mist

Trick Mist Fraction
Photo: Ste Murray

Trick Mist - Fraction

Info: With the release of his latest single 'Fraction' we caught up with Dundalk native (now Cork-based) and electronic artist Trick Mist to talk new sounds, new environments and a recent trip to India which was used to hue new inspirations for his song-writing. 

Of 'Fraction' itself and its accompanying video by Graham Patterson (below) Trick Mist reveals; "'Fraction' is about those times when you are living as a shadow of yourself. Those rough times when you're working towards something but it takes its toll on your personality. I was heading to India and sacrifices needed to be made in order for that to happen. We hope when we make sacrifices that we experience reward. It's frustrating but ultimately rewarding to come out the other side of it and feel like your full self again. What Graham has done with the visual is concealed the element of reward. It's a striking, exposed and heavy portrayal of sacrifice and we never know whether it's worth it or not." 

Remy: You spent a significant amount of time on your debut EP Jars in Rows which you released at the end of 2015, the promotion of which carried through to a good chunk of 2016, collaborating with visual artists to create a video for each track. Not long after that you were also touring with fellow Dundalk electronic artist and friend VIDEO BLUE to promote your split 7" A-side 'Crumbs Abound' / 'Disco Nap'. Whilst undoubtedly highly rewarding, did you feel at the end of this period that a break was required to recharge creatively which ultimately led to the trip to India?

Trick Mist: Yeah I needed to open the next door for myself I think. Promoting and gigging material that's released is very rewarding and necessary. But you always need you're next thing. I wasn’t sure what this was going to be so heading off was perfect. I had so much time to think and write when I was away, which was amazing. Head space really is a most precious commodity. When I left initially I did need a break but it lasted only about 2 weeks! Week 3, I went up to a tiny, isolated village at the top of a mountain to start working away on stuff in-between getting pointed at and laughed at! 

Remy: Your first releases as Trick Mist were mostly recorded while living in Manchester, where you spent a number of years before returning to Ireland and settling in Cork this year. It's been a few months now, do you feel like your new environment will influence your next material / music?

Trick Mist: Yes it most definitely will influence my music. I think where you are has a big impact on the music you make. That has always been the case with me anyway. Jars in Rows was totally observational, it was made directly after I relocated to Manchester and I owe it to the place. My music is often a forum or platform for my curiosity and things or topics that interest me. Place is crucial in determining these things. I feel like i’m in a very interesting position now being back in Ireland having spent so much time away, firstly in the UK and more recently further afield in India and the Far East. I'm viewing the place with fresh eyes. I feel like a curious foreigner and I hope that never changes. 

Remy: In the description of 'Fraction' you allude to a type of burn out and taking the brave decision to make sacrifices and essentially just 'leave it all behind' when you went to India. You recorded a lot of the sounds we can hear on the new single whilst over there, from nature to local traditional instrumentation, can you tell us how you went about this process in terms of capturing the sounds and ultimately try and describe what the trip itself meant to you from a creative and personal perspective?

Trick Mist: I brought a hand held zoom recorder with me. I knew I would encounter amazing sounds. I brought it everywhere with me. I captured a wealth of material. India is the loudest place! There is no such thing as silence anyway, but in India there REALLY is no such thing as silence. Often I would be recording some of my own vocal bits and a tuk tuk or a herd of buffaloes or whatever would just come crashing in to embellish my take! You leave those bits in. You have to surrender yourself to it. It's such a musical place. People go about their morning routines unashamedly blaring music from their houses at 6am. Religious songs punctuate the day. The bus driver pumps the tunes on the particular rough parts of journey to get everyone through it. People use music for different things. It was just amazing and humbling to observe and capture some of those uses. 

At times I found it hard being away from my own music in terms of output, momentum etc. I’d try to remind myself and my other half in her wisdom kept reminding me that I was filling up at the most amazing well so to speak. It was the most inspiring, personally fulfilling, thoughtful and interesting time I've ever had and It's hard to feel like you’re missing out when you gain those things. I'm a big believer in inspiration being redundant unless paired with a work ethic though, so I spent a lot of time working. Belting away on the sleeper trains, buses and hotels. Recording, getting ideas down as they came, planning and thinking. What I gained was precious. Both creatively and personally it was immense. 

Photo: Ste Murray

Remy: You have had vast experience of the music scene in Dundalk and the U.K. over the past decade or so, as well as the Irish festival scene having played Electric Picnic earlier this year among others, what are your early impressions of the same in Cork city? Does it already feel like home and somewhere you are excited to perform live in?

Trick Mist: Yeah it absolutely felt like home very quickly. The thing that struck me about Cork as a newcomer is the openness of the people. They are open to ideas and not closed off and cynical. This is a great thing. It's a known gripe that smaller venues seem to be a bit thin on the ground. But to me it's an overwhelmingly positive place to be a musician. People are interested. There’s a dedicated demographic and people make things happen. Plugd Records being back appears to be a catalyst and the screw is turning. There is loads happening. I'm looking forward to playing more here. I played my first show in an intimate candle-lit café called Alchemy and the audience were so unbelievably attentive. If that's anything to go by I'm in for many more a magic night here. 

Remy: Finally, with 'Fraction' now out there and released, what plans do you have going into 2018 as Trick Mist?

Trick Mist: I'll be getting about the place. Playing live and working away on my debut album. It will be out early 2018. All the work I did while I was travelling was going towards the album. So I started an album while I was away and I've to finish it now at home. I think that makes it an interesting proposition. 

Trick Mist plays a hometown gig at The Spirit Store in Dundalk on the 29th of December with VIDEO BLUE and admission is free, details here.

'Fraction' is now available for purchase on digital format and CD which includes a remix by Phare which was recently featured with much praise on Nialler9.

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Playlist: International #016 - Novelty Daughter, KWAYE, Teen Daze, General Crush, NEWMEN & more

Novelty Daughter - U Want What I Want
Novelty Daughter - Photo: Noah Emrich & Lydo Le

Info: Our latest International Independent Playlist is an even bounce between North America and Europe with acts coming in from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Holland and Germany at five-apiece as we scour cyberspace for the best new discoveries for you ears.

1. Novelty Daughter - 'U Want What I Want' from the album Inertia (Brooklyn, New York)

With a background in vocal jazz and piano, Faith Harding released her second album as Novelty Daughter, Inertia, this month. The off-beat dance-pop track 'U Want What I Want' was an instant favourite of ours due to its heavy yet muted beat and twinkling synths, starting out like an 80's hip-hop mix the track is pretty cutting edge in terms of contemporary electro-pop music.

2. Blurred Out - 'Meadows' (Oakland, California)

Reviewed hear earlier this week, we definitely felt 'Meadows' by San Francisco four-piece Blurred Out was worth another spin, just in case you missed it. "Reminiscent of so many bands I love, it recalls a mixture of early Smashing Pumpkins circa Siamese Dream, Sugar's Copper Blue and the slightest dash of Weezer's Pinkerton on the distorted guitar in particular."

3. General Crush - 'Honey Clouds' (Boston, MA)

A really nice mixture of dream-folk and downtempo electronica is to be found on the newest single from Ray Ward, aka General Crush, 'Honey Clouds'. Perhaps the appeal lay in the fact that it reminded me of one of my favourite Irish acts of the last while Le Boom, but ultimately it's how either of the aforementioned styles would be fine on their own, but put them together and it turns into something highly enjoyable.

Cpt. Smith - I Hate Nights Out
Cpt. Smith - Photo: Celf Calon Photography

4. Cpt. Smith - 'I Hate Nights Out' (Carmarthen, Wales)

Cranking it up now with some thrash-punk via Welsh quartet Cpt. Smith and their recent single 'I Hate Nights Out' which was released on the excellent indie label I KA CHING Records. The track is just over two and a half minutes long and sweeps you along like a reef break wave before spitting you out on the shoreline, good old punk chaos and then some.

5. Someone - 'Forget Forgive' (Amsterdam, Holland)

Dutch Art-Pop solo act Tessa Rose Jackson, aka Someone, released her third single, 'Forget Forgive' just this week, the thick bass intro leads to the most mellow and slightly intoxicating vocals and a truly dreamy chorus. Talking about the track she shares; '"Forget Forgive' is the most personal track I’ve written so far.  Playing the song to other people actually always feels a bit icky, like reading an excerpt from my diary out in public. It’s super naked. It’s a really intimate lyric about battling some pretty nasty demons and, in overcoming them, figuring out the kind of person you want to be. I wrote and recorded it all in one night (between the hours of 11PM and 4AM) in my home studio in Amsterdam. Some songs take ages to fine-tune and hone, but this one felt like I was just solidifying a strain of thought that had been flowing around inside my head for ages."

6. NEWMEN - 'Electric Eel' (Frankfurt, Germany)

The single 'Electric Eel' is part of a dual release with other A-Side 'Humanin' from new wave and indie rock German group NEWMEN. It certainly has that industrial Kraftwerkian feel to it from the very beginning and a luscious 80's synth strand runs through from start to finish. The band describe their modus operandi as follows; Link between what was and what’s to come remains the band’s motive: "From rediscovered treasures to recent wave adoptions, from psychedelic dreams to electronic rhythms, from drone walls to Italian holidays, from NYC muscle to Autobahn Düsseldorf. Take your pleasures seriously!"

NEWMEN - 'Electric Eel' / 'Humanin'

7. Oscar Jerome - 'Subdued' (London, U.K.)

Strafing 70's disco-soul á la Curtis Mayfield and Shuggie Otis and contemporary hip-hip and electronica, if Childish Gambino and SBTRKT combined on a funky duet perhaps, both the sincerity and feel good nature of Oscar Jerome's latest single 'Subdued' are captivating when combined, and stylistically very rare for this side of the Atlantic. His mini-opus is one groover that just keeps giving right up until the final cymbal crash.

8. Lavender Child - 'Happy Illusions' (Toronto, Canada)

The soft and gentle moroseness of single 'Happy Illusions' by Toronto's Lavender Child is a very alluring piece, cello and piano dance playfully in a regretful waltz, this sounds like a contradiction, but as the track progresses and the emotional energy build this is the sense the listener is left with. The track is taken from her forthcoming album Reflections which is due out in early 2018.

9. KWAYE - 'Lost In My Boots' (Zimbabwe / London)

London-based KWAYE delivers an absolute soul-pop zinger with his latest single 'Lost In My Boots', the vocal delivery and range are right out of the top drawer. With a gleeful mix of 80's pop and 90's dance music courtesy of the piano I'm feeling all kinds of nostalgia for Yazz and George Michael, whilst vocally very distinct, the musical space KWAYE is working in means he could be the U.K.'s answer to Blood Orange.

KWAYE - Lost In My Boots
KWAYE - Photo credit: Xavier Marshall

10. Teen Daze - 'Kilika' (British Columbia, Canada)

Prolific indie-pop and ambient electronic act Jamison Isaak aka Teen Daze released his latest LP, Themes For Dying Earth at the beginning of this year and the latest single to be taken from the album is 'Kilika'. From spacey dreamscapes to 80's movie OST guitars, Teen Daze provides great comfort and a twinkling sense of wellbeing with 'Kilika'.

Listen to Issue #015 of our best of independent International Playlist right here

Double A-Side: Romeo Moon - Feelin' / Twin Haus - Emperor Oppressor

Romeo Moon - Feelin' / Twin Haus - Emperor Oppressor

Info: 'Feelin'' / 'Emperor Oppressor' is a musical correspondence between Romeo Moon and Twin Haus, established upon both artistic consensus and the respect for creative difference. This process has been an invaluable experience for both bands, as well as a cherished one.

Twin Haus' last EP, Nothing Lavish, was our International EP of the Year here on REMY in 2016, 30 minutes of intensely mesmeric psychedelia and experimental rock across four magical tracks. On new single 'Emperor Oppressor' the Brisbane four-piece take a left-turn half-way down the rabbit hole. Sleepy double bass runs, percussion and guitar-picking rumble slowly and at times the melody and vocals recall Radiohead's Kid A. Throw in a dash of strings and brass and by the end of the song you've just imagined Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke doing a Blue Note session, and once again Twin Haus take you on a trip with an entirely unexpected destination.

That correspondence the acts mention is more than just a split release of two different styles, with Romeo Moon and Twin Haus reverse-interpreting each other's tracks. On 'Feelin'' Rome Moon adopt a higher tempo, again there's that jazzy vibe, with the vocals and guitar putting a decidedly bossa nova tint on proceedings, Ipanema how are you? The mechanical rhythm is more to the forefront and sonically it clouds your head in a more enveloping manner with their dash of psych casting itself further back to a classic mid-60's nugget era. It will be interesting to see what kind of mark, small or large, both bands have left on each other on future releases.

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Friday 17 November 2017

Premiere: Bullet Girl - Post Atomic Youth

Bullet Girl Post Atomic Youth Premiere Single

Bullet Girl - Post Atomic Youth

Info: REMY is very proud to premiere the debut single 'Post Atomic Youth' from Dublin post-punk noise rockers Bullet Girl, comprised of Mark Duffy (drums / backing vox), Glenn Moran (bass), Dylan Keenan (guitars / backing vox) and Aaron Doyle (guitar / vocals). Having toured the capital under a different name for over four years before deciding to rebrand as Bullet Girl in early 2017, the North Dublin act presented their new material with two dates in Whelan's, The Mezz and Fibbers over the summer in the run up to their debut single release.

The raucous four-piece deliver exactly what's on the tin, 'Post Atomic Youth' is an ear-bleeding and blistering debut which stays extremely loyal to the central tenets of punk music. It is short, anarchic, and rebellious, with the distortion and roughness of the track already over-flowing from the first 20 seconds. The song could be viewed as a goading two-fingered salute to an establishment which views the current generation as ungrateful and self-indulgent, whilst completely missing the irony. Bullet Girl have come out swinging in such a frenzy with their debut that they must be considered as worthy of notice alongside fellow Dublin peers THUMPER and OTHERKIN straight away.

'Post Atomic Youth' is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Deezer and other streaming platforms from today.

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Sunday 12 November 2017

Single: Blurred Out - Meadows

Blurred Out - Meadows

Info: San Francisco, California indie-rock with a dash of grunge four-piece Blurred Out released their debut single 'Meadows' on the 4th of November and it is a zinger. Reminiscent of so many bands I love, it recalls a mixture of early Smashing Pumpkins circa Siamese Dream, Sugar's Copper Blue and the slightest dash of Weezer's Pinkerton on the distorted guitar in particular. So, maybe a 90's alternative rock sound? I suppose so, but who cares really what it sounds like so long as it sounds immense, and this is one track I have on loop, drawing your attention in particular to the whammy guitar on the 1:21 mark, the vocals giver it a real slacker-rock feel and I'm in love. For a different and no less enjoyable delivery check out additional track 'Betrayed By The Wind' on their Bandcamp.

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Album of the Month: Columbia Mills - A Safe Distance To Watch

Columbia Mills - A Safe Distance To Watch

Info: Following on from a trio of critically acclaimed singles this year, 'Head Start', 'This City Doesn’t Feel Like Home To Me', and the radio hit 'Battles', Bray indietronica quintet Columbia Mills finally released their debut album, 'A Safe Distance To Watch', on Friday November 10th.

The overarching theme of the album is putting space between yourself and someone else or certain situations to avoid being influenced negatively or to avoid influencing someone else with your own negativity. Finding or providing peace by putting a distance between yourself and someone else despite the short term or long term pain it creates.

With a slow-drifting intro, Columbia Mills open their debut LP A Safe Distance To Watch via 'A Break In The Clouds, Head Start', the soft synth sounds winding their way towards the sun peeking through at the 1:30 mark. From here they kick into gear on their previous single 'Head Start', a rousing and rhythmic piece of electronic indie that nods to Interpol or White Lies. 

Another hit single follows quickly in the form of 'Battles', snapping drum pads and quick key progressions set the tone, the tribal and intent-filled beat appropriately matching the song-title. It is easy to see why this was a standout single release, the drops and rise between chorus and verse are quite invigorating and there's an inescapable anthemic quality to the track.

'This City Doesn't Feel Like Home To Me' adopts a more post-punk and new wave sound and it's quite gripping lyrically. From a personal perspective, when the single was released in July and I merely read the title, before even listening to the track, it had already begun to conjure themes in my head. A reflection of how the place you grew up in has become unrecognisable, not physically or aesthetically with the passage of time, but more to do with the ravages inflicted on the weakest, and in some ways all of us on a certain level, over the past decade. This sense is captured in the lines; "And every street 'round here has a story to tell / The poets painted on the wall look down on us in disgust"

Columbia Mills slow the pace and mood on the watery shimmering buzz of 'Alone', singer Fiachra Treacy giving us the old school crooner treatment accompanied by stark and bare guitar progressions. Following the dark electronic harbinger of 'Coldest Shoulder' we come to 'Same Shame'. It's a beautifully delivered ballad to a wrenching break-up that just won't dissipate, it's nice to have a common yet time-honoured theme have an original lyrical accompaniment attached to it, opening with the lines; "Underneath the debris / Of this silent sounding city / There’s a place where I left you / A place I dug a grave for my own heart".

One of the tracks that particularly caught my attention in the albums latter half was the graceful 'Octopus'. Again emotion abounds and the build from sombre to elation is executed very well, the electric guitar effects sound at their best right here, filling every single gap in the sound with the percussion lapping softly in the background.

A Safe Distance To Watch closes with 'We Decide', the fourth single to be taken from the album, retro-80's synths to the forefront, Columbia Mills grab all of the elements of the album thus far and pour them into one last push over the line. Searing and ice-cold guitar riffs vibrate in a frenzied manner and by the time we reach the final third of the track all 5 musicians are melding into one column of sound. 

Some elements of A Safe Distance To Watch will pop out at you straight away, others will require a few more listens, and therein lies the reward and evidence of a well-thought out collection of songs which click neatly together and musically flow from start to finish, something which seems to be a bit of a rarity nowadays on contemporary albums. As far as Columbia Mills are concerned, they can sit back with great satisfaction that patient building has produced such a highly enjoyable album for music lovers.

Columbia Mills play The Button Factory this Friday, 17th of November with support from Pursued By Dogs. Tickets are available via Eventbrite here.

A Safe Distance To Watch is also currently available on physical vinyl and CD formats at Tower Records Dublin and all good record stores.

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