Saturday, 14 April 2018

Irish Playlist #026: Arvo Party, Heroes in Hiding, Rosborough, Father! & more

Arvo Party - Liberté

Info: It's only a week since the last independent Irish Playlist here on REMY, but the singles continue to come thick and fast, and more importantly, are qualiteeee. There's a nice mixture of genres too from experimental electronic, indie pop, contemporary folk and some sweet old school blues rock.

So much great music, but sometimes, and in a way thankfully it's not too frequent cos that would kind of ruin it a little, something stunning comes along that pushes your insides beyond simply enjoying what you are hearing. Belfast's Arvo Party has that affect, last year's self-titled debut album was a masterpiece, and now new single 'Liberté', if you'll excuse my parlance, is an absolute fucking banger. There's a very tidy balance between chill and beat-tastic euphoria on his new single, this is all my guilty dance pleasures and proud electronic pleasures rolled into one, there's nothing better than when the first single after one of your favourite albums reaches far beyond your expectations.

A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away Dubliner Conor Thornton was the frontman of a sultry rock band named Voxx who I was a big fan of. After a brief hiatus Thornton returned as a solo act whose style is difficult to pinpoint with each passing single, the sands shift quickly here. New single 'Heat' sounds like it's sampling The Specials and vocally comes across like a whispering Michael Hutchence. A slow burning reggae groove slithers like a snake throughout, with the listener strapped to a chair in a dark room waiting for the ankle bite.

Father! - Thank You

A pretty big gulf has been crossed from my first listen of Father! not too long ago and his debut self-titled EP, I love raw fuzzed-out music but it took me a while to become accustomed to his faded vocals and the din, I still enjoyed it, in particular track 'Antigone' which we featured last month, but I'm more gratified sooner by new single 'Thank You'. I can really appreciate what Meath musician Sean Brunswick is creating here under his moniker, there is far more longevity in abandoning or caring about preconceptions of how to deliver your music. 'Thank You' is a lovely, lovely piece of lo-fi guitar-jangle that breezes effortlessly through the ears, I'm excited now, but probably should have been sooner.

I was starting to get a bit worried about these boys, it has been a while since Heroes in Hiding released their 2016 EP Curtains. The indie-rock band hold a special place in my heart because, aside from their great song-writing, they've been at the forefront of the Irish music scene pretty much since this current golden era commenced. After a bit of a gap between releases you'd expect something fresh, and I had to double-check I was playing the right track when 'I Live for You's intro kicked in, yep, it's HIH alright. Sticking to their bedrock formula, the Dubliners also cast the net wide here to expand and heighten the broad strokes of their sound. There's the dabbling in subtle electro-beats, bitta brass, and sampled interludes, and it's tub-thumping, good to have them back, and there's a debut album right around the corner now too.

Donegal alternative folk-rock act Alan Finan already has pedigree behind him, with a 2016 Other Voices performances, and new single 'Slumber' featuring as Hot Press' Track of the Day upon release. For me from both an observational and personal taste perspective he nails everything on 'Slumber', skilled acoustic playing, added instrumentation to lift the track beyond the pale, and an impressive vocal. I love the flitting atmosphere he creates, from that hollow palm-beat on the guitars body at the opening, he builds up to a delightfully addictive and rhythmic motion that gets lodged in your head. This a really great single from a thinking song-writer. 

Staying in the northern hemisphere of the island we have the latest single from Derry's Rosborough, 'Another Lesson'. Rosborough is currently one of the most exciting acts within is genre right now, gaining plaudits all across the board, he has taken the traditional alternative-pop mantle back to its audience and gained a strong following from those more disposed to the alternative rather than the pop. It's a blistering pop-rock single which exemplifies why his live shows have been held in such high regard over the last 12 months. 

An American-tinged early noughties alternative-rock and power pop number bursts out courtesy of Dublin trio Sandy Kim and their latest single 'Sympathy'. Things I'm really digging here are (a) the drums - it's frenetic and impressively paced, I could probably listen to them in isolation and be very happy (b) the jangle-pop and lo-fi guitar soundz and the Lemondheads / Evan Dando-esque vocals, everything works so well combined and it's most invigorating.

With brush on snare and soft acoustic strumming, a deep cut 'bow' of an opening bass-line introduces the Americana-rock twang of Mayo band The Kerbs' new single 'Creep'. There's a soft swagger about this song, meandering, standing back, and letting it all soak in. This is a traditional alt-rock and blues fan's type of song, a foot-tapper that is impossible to resist from The Kerbs.

'The Apple Truck' by Dublin band Gorilla Troubadour is the kind of song I imagine playing in the background if I found myself standing in the middle of a busy road in my dressing-gown wearing shades and having an auld fag as the traffic swerved around me. Wah-wah, blues-rock, funk, and soul vocals that recall not only early, but opening salvo Republic of Loose, have me fully on board. With any luck these guys will get famous too soon and end up throwing TV's (remember them!?) out of hotel windows, seriously though, stick to this template, expand on it, and this time 12 months (or less) they could have jaws dropping. 

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