Monday, 18 June 2018

Video: Scally - Let's Fuck

Scally - Let's Fuck

Info: Mullingar rock supremo Scally has just brought out the video for his third release 'Let's Fuck'. The bombastic track packs a massive punch as it echoes shades of Rage Against The Machine. Scally states that the track is about "my friend who fancied this chick for ages and he just wouldn’t go over and chat to her, the verses is me telling him to grow a pair of balls and go over and talk to her and the chorus is all the things he wants to say to her but can’t."

Oh matron! Having seen Scally live for the first time towards the end of last year and highly enjoying last single and video for 'Get Ready For War', I have become a fan of both his no frills approach to delivery and the general bad ass sound of his band. Latest single 'Let's Fuck' straddles (yup) a few reference points for me, the Manc swagger of The Stone Roses in the intro and verses, whilst the chorus recalls the hard-rock garage sounds of New Zealand act The Datsuns' uncompromising 2002 self-titled debut. The final 40 seconds is a completely gratifying rock-riffin' blow out too. It might not be to everyone's taste, or land Scally a slot on The Late Late Show in front of clapping grannies, but I'm loving it and the anarchy-craved void it fills.

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Sunday, 17 June 2018

Irish Playlist #030: Dioscó na mbó, Any Anything, ROE, St. Bishop, Marc O'Reilly & more

St. Bishop - Good Intentions
St. Bishop - Photo: Niamh Dolphin

Info: It's not even been a week since our last independent Irish playlist here on REMY but the singles are coming thick and fast from our local acts. This particular selection of tracks is a bit of a standout one for 2018 so far for me, familiar faces releasing some of their best singles to date, and very importantly, a good slew of new acts (to my ears at least) producing high end goods including Galway's Any Anything and Cork's Matthew Corrigan, aka Ghostking is Dead. Enjoy!

1) Dioscó na mbó - 'We Got Love'

What will they do next? Who cares!? Funk, soul, disco, electro maestros Dioscó na mbó's latest single is an absolute banger, hued out of some parallel universe James Brown-fronted Isley Brothers troupe, the duo have shared 'We Got Love' in the run up to Dublin Pride this weekend and it is a shortened version of the track which will appear on their forthcoming EP. Dayum.

2) St. Bishop - 'Good Intentions'

One of the best solo live performers in the country at the moment, Stephen Bishop releases the much anticipated follow-up to previous single 'Porcelain'. On 'Good Intentions' his smooth vocal intro leads us towards some nice grimey beats and his trademark high-pitched and dexterous range, you can never get enough of the 'slam' in his singles.

3) ROE - 'Hey Thomas'

Derry native ROE builds on the success of single 'Wasted.Patient.Thinking' which clocked up 13k plays on Spotify within 24 hours of its release. 'Hey Thomas' is an assertive and defiant response to those who judge others for a variety of reasons, but is tempered by her bubbly electro-pop delivery which hooks you in straight away with finger-clicks and light-hearted guitar rhythm. 

4) Any Anything - 'First Time'

New Galway band Any Anything are comprised of musicians from former local acts such as an old favourite of ours Drown. Their debut release 'First Time' is hard to pin down, there's a small dash of retro sounds here and there but ultimately it's a great foray into a unique-sounding mixture of dream-pop and indie-rock. This could go anywhere on the next releases.

5) Marc O'Reilly - 'Solitary Ease'

Taken from O'Reilly's latest album, L'etre Politique, which opens with one of our Top 50 Irish singles from last year, the bone-crunching 'Enemy Of', new single 'Solitary Ease' sees the songwriter draw together a variety of sounds to create a whole. From ambient and wistful beginnings, the track blends into a pensive guitar-driven finale, showcasing O'Reilly's dual appreciation of both acoustic and electric guitar-playing which is a feature of the LP itself.

Ghostking Is Dead - Lucky Warrior
Ghostking Is Dead

6) Ghostking is Dead - 'Lucky Warrior'

I'm late to the Ghostking is Dead party, but better late single 'Lucky Warrior' featuring Molly Annelle on additional vocals follows the Sweet Boy EP which was released earlier this year to much praise, which is also on the back of a number of years of self-produced releases since 2015. The new single bellows between dark synths and Corrigan's deep baritone vocal interludes, leaving me (a) looking forward to visiting his previous releases and (b) curious as to what's up next from the Corkman.

7) Level Heads - 'City Life'

The band that never stand still, Dublin's Level Heads cook up a rockabilly foot-stomper with 'City Life', just my own personal references in my head I'm getting Creedence, Joe Walsh and Clapton-era Yardbirds. From the psych-garage 60's opening rattle to the rock-pop chorus and the nailed on blues riffs, it's a whirlwind of classic rock sounds and helluva lot of fun.

8) Jafaris - 'Found My Feet'

'Found My Feet' is Jafaris' first single from his forthcoming album, and sounds entirely different to anything he has released to date. Starting with an in your face explosive start it shifts into a real smooth 70's soul sound, with the percussion rooted in traditional African instrumentation. It's a rock solid body-popping dance-inducing burst of energy, and for some reason reminds me of 90's dance act C&C Music Factory in its delivery.

A Winter Light - Changes

9) A Winter Light - 'Changes'

The next track is an interesting piece of work, part of a collaborative effort between artist Mark Garry and a collection of musicians, each of whom composed a song as a reflection of one of his pieces of art - turning the exhibition into a temporary recording studio. On the latest single from the album A Winter Light, the track 'Changes' is composed by well-known Irish actor Cillian Murphy who does vocals and performs instrumentation also. 

10) Amerik - 'One'

Traditionally a bass-player for a number of Northern Irish bands, Adam Booth has undertaken a solo project of ambient electronica under the moniker of Amerik, with his very first single, 'One', released earlier this month. A cinematic build greets us courtesy of piano and soft shimmering plumes of sound, which are so slow in their rise that by the time the track has closed back to isolated piano you never even noticed it happening.

To listen to REMY's previous Irish Playlist, #029, go here!

Album of the Month: Dott - Heart Swell

Dott - Heart Swell
Photo: Alison MW

Info: The word "swell" can be used to describe an injured body part, a feeling of fullness and pride, or it can refer to the ebbing and flowing of the ocean. 

In Heart Swell, the new album by Ireland's garage pop darlings, Dott, the band wear their heart on their sleeve, reflecting on pain, pride, acceptance and personal politics while considering a preoccupation with the ocean. The album sees the band showcase a more confident and powerful sound with walls of fuzzy guitars with layers of addictive melodies and sunshine harmonies. An amalgam of sounds in the vein of Bully meets Broadcast, meets The Breeders, where tenderness and brashness intertwine.

Irish bands continue to surprise me with their own unique renderings and takes on styles of music of yore that many of us have forgotten merely due to the passage of time. Galway band Dott hold up a sign that points to U.S. 90's alternative rock á la Throwing Muses or Veruca Salt on sophomore album Heart Swell, and then pull the sign down just as quick. 

'Bleached Blonde', the title of the opening track, paints a picture of a sun-kissed Venice beach, ripped jeans and baggy jumpers and a mixture of youthful brevity and apathy. In between swooning harmonies we're invited to grunge-out and slip under a rippling wave of rattling guitars riffs and percussion. Muted angst that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Next track 'Like a Girl' feat. Sadie Dupuis zones in more acutely on belly down in the dust slacker nonchalance, muted strumming giving a 3 second pause at 2:30 before they bring it on home on the protest song. The inevitable cranking-up comes on the bristling punk jam of 'Floating Arrows', the to date light and breezy mood slowly turning the screw towards a bubbling intent courtesy of classic punk bass-runs and frenetic riffs. 

The albums title-track sees the four-piece drop back into a lo-fi dream-pop soundscape that is very enjoyably mellow and allows the listener time to disconnect from their surroundings and thoughts. '18' is a key highlight for me on Heart Swell, it's bursting with nostalgia and somehow overrides any fear of tweeness by being emotionally authentic, it's not a happy look-back, it's one filled with compassion and a retrospective guiding-hand for a troubled younger self. 

From where I started with this album, it was a nice surprise to find my favourite track at the very end in 'Wedding Song'. It's rare to find an ode to a loved one nowadays that resonates with me, sometimes you feel like you've heard all of the angles at this stage. But this song takes a new slant with finely crafted lyrics that temper idealism with inevitable future tribulations, and the build is defiantly energising, from ballad to raucous punk blow-out in no time at all. I often mention new albums in the breath of ones that I would absolutely reach for when in certain moods because they encapsulate a genre so well, Heart Swell is one such LP. Dott have done a fine job of staying true to their school as the Beach Boys would say, without becoming repetitive over the 12 tracks, add to that that their 2013 album Swoon is equally impressive and I feel like I've got 2 for the price of 1.

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New Album Releases: June - Natalie Prass, Kamasi Washington, Gorillaz, Lykke Li & more

Natalie Prass - The Future & The Past Album
Natalie Prass - Photo: Shawn Brackbill

Info: REMY's monthly new album releases round-up returns for June, featuring singles already released from albums coming out over the next two weeks (and the fortnight just past) in the above playlist.

Building on the momentum of May which seemed to mark the pace picking up in terms of potential Albums of the Year, June sees heavy-hitters from Gorillaz, Florence & The Machine, Kamasi Washington and Lykke Li. There are also debut albums from U.K. act SOPHIE (now L.A.-based) with Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides, Baltimore's Snail Mail with her first LP Lush, and Lost & Found from U.K. rn'b artist Jorja Smith. A big new find for me which I'm really enjoying is Natalie Prass', The Future and the Past, the sophomore album from the Cleveland, Ohio chamber pop act.

Kamasi Washington - Fists of Fury (Preview)

Release Dates: 

1st June:

Natalie Prass - The Future and the Past

8th June:

Gruff Rhys - Babelsberg

Lykke Li - So Sad So Sexy


Kadhja Bonet - Childqueen

Snail Mail - Lush

Jorja Smith - Lost & Found

Natalie Prass - Short Court Style

15th June:

SOPHIE - Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides

22nd June:

Kamasi Washington - Heaven And Earth

Gang Gang Dance - Gang Gang Dance 

29th June:

Florence + the Machine - High As Hope 

Gorillaz - The Now Now

Follow REMY on Spotify here.

Our previous 2018 New Album Releases:

Saturday, 16 June 2018

EP: The Elephant Room - Music On The Bones

The Elephant Room - Music on the Bones

Info: Dublin-based lo-fi rock act The Elephant Room released their latest collection of tracks via 8 track EP Music On The Bones last month. You're eased in with the sleepy strum and wobble of the title-track, ah yes, I'm already happy, the effect is a mixture of an aural and mental morphine comatose state. 

That altered state feeling continues on previous single 'Naive Green', the watery guitar effect like a microcosm for the mood of the entire EP, this is bone fide lo-fi gratuity, with frontman Frank Shortle's warm vocal doubling down on that overwhelming sense of calm. 

But it's not all cruising on Music On The Bones as we hear on third track 'Victoria', a Weezer / early-Foo Fighters hybrid that pours more fuzz and grit over the guitars. Another single arrives in 'Connexion', a track we had the pleasure of premiering here in April noting; " and slightly wonky timing that recalls American acts such as The Lemonheads, Death Cab for Cutie and Pavement. You make your own sense of their lyrics, or none at all, either works, as the main objective is to not really think at all, and just submit, switch off your thoughts and let it lap at the edges of your ears and brain; "Blind eyes often find, inside an absent mind, that abstract thought soon gets old. Blood is streaked across the white teeth of an old piano. Your senses are uplifted like a bubble in the breeze."

The Elephant Room - Blue Horrors

Latest single 'Blue Horrors' (above video) puts between firm brackets everything I enjoy about The Elephant Room's sound, the mood, the little surprise changes mid-song (2:40) and that direct time-travelling connection I have to the genre and a lot of American bands I listened to in my early to mid 20's. 'Covered In Flies' is a nice pointer for new listeners to the type of experimentation you can discover from their earlier discography (of which there is plenty), a carnivalesque mix of blues and old school psychedelia, almost at odds with what we think we know about the band. This broadening of sound can also be witnessed a their live shows which pack a lot more punch that their recorded material may suggest.

Although the band have rightly managed to release 4 singles from this collection of 8 songs (including the excellent 'Brisco'), I think they probably have one more in the tank with closing track 'Well Wishers' which is a pretty ringing endorsement considering most bands might struggle to find 4 from an entire LP. That live show jack in the box I mentioned earlier rearing its head in the final minute of the song which goes from melodious jangles to skulking distorted whammy-bar outbursts. 

Music On The Bones is more a mini-album than an EP, and I think it's important that we weren't restricted to the standard four tracks as the full breadth of ideas and opportunity to sink sufficiently into The Elephant Room's world may have been lost. This is a companion piece to your summer and beyond.

EP: King Bones - My Best Friend

King Bones - My Best Friend

Info: King Bones are a 6-piece synth-punk group from Dublin who recently shared their newly released My Best Friend EP featuring 3 tracks (Right There, John Coltrane, Party Animals - Radio Edit). Produced by Ger McDonnell (U2, Kasabian, Manic Street Preachers), the EP was recorded in Beechpark, Rathcoole and The Mill, Swords.

'We've worked non-stop, day and night to get the particular sound we want… We reckon we’ve nailed it with this EP' explains Keith Hughes, lead singer and band songwriter.

My Best Friend makes your ears pop without delay as soon as opener 'Right There' fires out of the blocks, it's like you arrived bang in the middle of the song. Frontman Hughes' vocal style like a mish-mash between Talking Heads-era David Byrne or 'Money For Nothing'. The tone is set for the high-energy 'up in your grill' attitude that King Bones will slap you in the face with incessantly across all three tracks.

Any thoughts that next track 'John Coltrane' will see the band flip the switch and go off on a mini jazz opus are quashed early on. Sweeping all through the second track is an underground 80's synth and krautrock grind, the beats and keys chopping up the sound like the hammers on the inside of a grand piano. A really nice switch happens in the final third, where the track dips its toe in an understated way into early 90's dance-pop territory, the kind that had to co-exist alongside rave music as it entered into the popular charts of the era where there was often a cross-over between the two.

My Best Friend closes with single (and above video) 'Party Animals', definitely the most contemporaneous moment on the EP. Loyal to its digi-synth foundations, the six-piece also produce a track which veers more towards their guitar-based indie peers such as Columbia Mills or Pursued by Dogs. The most enjoyable aspect of this collection of tracks for me is that King Bones have revelled in the styles and genres that give them a buzz, whilst also keeping an eye on the road ahead with a view to experimenting further and not merely stopping in their comfort zone.

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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Irish Playlist #029: Orchid Collective, LARKS, Montauk Hotel, Sub Motion & more

Holiday - LARKS
LARKS - Photo: Nicky Claire Burns

Info: A slightly-delayed due to being abroad! independent Irish playlist lies within of new releases from over the last few weeks such as the latest Orchid Collective, Sub Motion and Galants singles. Also special mention goes to my favourite collaborators, Iceland-based composer Luke Duffy and Shell Dooley of Montauk Hotel for their long-running project of sheer soul-soothing beauty, Variant Sea.

1) Orchid Collective - 'Otherside'

Dublin-based indie-pop quartet Orchid Collective's rise continues apace in no small part to an incessant gigging schedule which took in 57 live appearances in 2017 alone. Radio play from BBC Radio 1 and a first U.K. festival slot as well as being placed on curated Spotify playlists have led to the band reaching an ever-growing audience. With 'Otherside' the band perfectly balance the authenticity of their song-writing with an appealing and easy-going pop hue. Where previous singles have seen them work their way around slow-rising build-ups, on their latest offering they get stuck straight into the high-tempo energy which they have mastered so well.

2) Sub Motion - 'Gun In Your Pocket'

I've yet to hear a single from Dublin punk quartet Sub Motion that hasn't awoken an inner suppressed desire to thrash something, anything, to pieces! 'Gun In Your Pocket' confirms their ability to invoke the most base angst in the listener, the rolling bass (0:27) and lead-singer Geary's vocal, which is probably at its most theatrical and entertaining to date, give us another bang on single with more punch than a prom night.

3) Variant Sea - 'Winter Dance'

It's a word I haven't used in a while here, but if one word could sum up Variant Sea's music it would be ethereal. I've always drawn much comfort from the delicate beauty of their sound, and I highly recommend dipping into their previous EP releases Season of Mists and Fable here. As cinematic and escapist as ever, 'Winter Dance' is both forlorn with a sense of loss, but invariably filled with hope and light at the same time. I love the idea as well that almost all of their material has been brought to life from separate places in Reykjavik and Dublin. I could listen to the classical masters, but Variant Sea are enough of a tonic on their own. 

Variant Sea Winter Dance
Variant Sea

4) Montauk Hotel - 'Hands' Beauty Sleep Remix

Yes please! Two of my favs Montauk Hotel's latest single 'Hands' gets the Beauty Sleep makeover by the Belfast trio, merging 80's mood-driven indie-pop with uncompromising retro-synths respectively. This could have featured on the soundtrack to any John Hughes film and been the lead track at that, a happy and heart-warming delivery filled with smile-inducing nostalgia.

5) BODIES - 'Everything Is Not Lost'

Following last year's jaw-dropping debut EP Soak, David Anthony McGeown, aka BODIES returns with a new equally impacting single in 'Everything Is Not Lost' featuring Louise Cunnane (BLOOMS / Lilac Glass), and it's quite simply gorgeous. It's interesting to compare the beginning of the track to the end in isolation, from a caressing opening to the disappearance of the vocals under a sea of sonic fizz, which recall the instrumental style of Wicklow's God Is An Astronaut.

6) Bob Skeleton - 'If You Want'

A very welcome return comes courtesy of Galway alternative band Bob Skeleton and their new single 'If You Want', the progression from their earliest releases (which were mighty in themselves) is very noticeable, as is the new emphasis the quartet have placed on production here. The track is about as dreamy as they come and I'm already thinking it's going to become my favourite single of theirs to date.

7) LARKS - 'Holiday'

The debut single from Belfast's Fiona O'Kane, aka LARKS, is right up my alley, 'Holiday' is a sweet piece of alternative pop with a tantalising throwback to 80's moods and dances in between the modern dream pop of Angel Olsen or indie-pop of Marika Hackman. For a first outing it comes across so self-assured and lays down a serious gauntlet for both O'Kane and her peers to follow.

8) Galants - 'In Vain'

I am really loving the shift-change from Dublin four-piece Galants on new single 'In Vain' which is the first release from their forthcoming sophomore EP. On this track at least they have shed the enjoyable noise and lo-fi rock sound of last year's debut EP. 'In Vain' glories in a newly moulded version of 80's jangle-pop that strikes at The Cure and to a lesser extent The La's, it's hazy and moving stuff, delighted as I am that they have a new EP on the way, I could absolutely consume an album worth of music like this.

9) Dreaming of Jupiter - 'Right Kind of Love'

Mid to late 70's disco grooves, soul and funk with an electro-twist? Yes to all. Dreaming of Jupiter have diligently honed their sound over the last two years and are approaching a special space which they are carving out for themselves on the Irish music scene. There's a very well executed and subtle dropping of expanding synth motifs smoking their way through 'Right Kind of Love', at times teetering on the edge of old school trip hop 90's such as Morcheeba or Moloko before bouncing back to the dance-floor grooves they do so well.

10) Neon Atlas - 'Shadows'

Cork-based indie rock outfit Neon Atlas return with new single 'Shadows' ahead of the release of their third album ear-marked for September of this year. Lead-singer Kieron Ring's vocals provide the perfect temperament to the grinding guitar riffs and percussion which always feels like it's revving up for take off, which it does in its final quarter. Feels of a fuzzed-out Weezer or Minneapolis alt-rock trio Sugar in the Copper Blue heyday. 

11) Nathan O'Regan - 'Moving Closer'

Cork pop act Nathan O'Regan recently released his second single 'Moving Closer', this one grows, and grows quickly, I'm immediately envisioning 70's Bruce walking the rusted train tracks and belting out one of his anthemic hits. The pop singer-songwriter space is exceptionally crowded at the best of times, but O'Regan's slightly gravelled, and more importantly, genuine-sounding passion reaches out from the song itself and infects the listener with a defiant energy.

To listen to REMY's previous Irish Playlist, #028, go here! 

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Forbidden Fruit Festival 2018 – Monday, 4th June

Forbidden Fruit 2018

All photos by: Sarah Ryan & Niall O’Kelly

Another great day at Forbidden Fruit 2018 was had, we were on hand to catch some amazing acts across all of the stages, featured below are Ailbhe Reddy, David Kitt, Rhye, Spoon, Superorganism, Thundercat, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The War on Drugs and Warpaint.

Photos: Forbidden Fruit Festival 2018 – Sunday, 3rd June

Forbidden Fruit 2018

All photos by: Niall O’Kelly & Sarah Ryan

Another great day at Forbidden Fruit 2018 was had, we were on hand to catch some amazing acts on the main stage, featured below are Vince Staples, Four Tet and Bonobo