Sunday, 20 May 2018

Irish Playlist #028: Laura Elizabeth Hughes, Oh Joy, The Felonies, Old Hannah, FIELDS and more

Laura Elizabeth Hughes - The Dark

Info: On our latest independent Irish playlist here on REMY we have quite the varied mix, as always there has been so many solid single releases in recent weeks which I've enjoyed and you might too. Without further ado....

1) Laura Elizabeth Hughes - 'The Dark'

Taken from her forthcoming EP which releases on the 8th of June, new single 'The Dark' from Laura Elizabeth Hughes opens bare, which immediately makes it feel personal to the listener. The unfolding of strings and piano are like a time-lapse of petals opening and closing again, and each time they re-open everything feels brighter. The most invigorating aspect though is Hughes' voice, a perfect (and quite rare) example of staying true to your own vocal and not trying to emulate anyone else, it's painfully and beautifully clear.

2) Oh Joy - 'Cab Sad'

The Joy, one of my favourite melancholic mood-meisters of the last 3 years, new single 'Cab Sad' kind of summarises everything about the see-saw of feelings and sound they gravitate around. For some reason every time I see this one performed live I get emotional, in a 'it's okay, you can still feel something' kind of way. It somehow sounds raw even though it's audibly not. I prefer my indie-rock despondent with only a glimmer of hope at the end of it, and Oh Joy give me all of that, there's a little bit of Manic Street Preachers in those harder rock moments too. 'Cab Sad' is taken of the Dublin trios forthcoming EP Good Grief which is released on the 8th of June.

Oh Joy - Cab Sad
Oh Joy

3) The Felonies - 'Berlin Blues'

I was most honoured to premiere 'Berlin Blues' upon release at the end of April and now that the band have gotten with the times and migrated the track to Spotify I wanted to include it here. Back then I noted the track was; "a blistering pipe-bomb of punk-rock anarchy, a race to the finish-line of noise between each of the band members from the very first second, vocals, guitar, bass and goddamn drums trying to smack each other out of the way toward that incendiary climax." It truly is, frenetic, frantic, and a vocal assault to the senses, I don't think I'll ever get sick of this one.

4) Great White Lies - 'Red'

I loved this track straight away from Donegal's Great White Lies, the opening is a dead ringer for Portishead's iconic album Dummy and Beth Gibbon's vocal. Written as a riposte to her experiences on the campaign trail for the current Referendum, Siobhan Shiels shares the experience which led to her writing the track; "This song was created in reaction to the current referendum going on in the south. I'm a repealer who was handing out leaflets, I approached who I envisioned to be a group of lovely older ladies, who turned to me and began shouting "murderer" at me. Their vitriol was a shock to me since my idea of older ladies would've been my gentle granny, yet these ladies weren't. Hence the song was created."


5) FIELDS - 'Some Kids'

It's always a good news day when the FIELDS quartet conjure up some new choonage. Last week they released latest single 'Some Kids', probably one of their most delicate tracks to date, they still manage to push those opening soft tones forcefully onward to a euphoric crescendo that never gets too far ahead of itself. I'm also really enjoying O'Brien's vocal here, he's pretty much reached the stage now where he can manipulate an understated delivery into a powerfully emotional release.

6) Old Hannah - 'Find You'

There's absolutely something very special about Sligo / Dublin four-piece Old Hannah, the music they've released to date from EP's Irish Boys and Iron Wood, and more recently single 'Follow' from forthcoming album Borealis, stand up ably against established US indie-folk artists. 'Find You' is desperately soothing, irons out the creases on your troubled soul and brings balm to heavy hearts. They're the type of band whose song-writing I really want to be fully alone with and absorb with no distractions. Very much looking forward to the debut album.

7) Elkin - 'Honey'

Dublin-based folk-pop group Elkin released their debut EP, Bad Habits, on the 12th of May last week with a launch night to follow this coming week on the 25th at The Cobblestone in Smithfield. Originally a duo of Carla Ryan and Ellen O'Mahony, Peter and Robert Kelly are now on board, and the breadth that allows is noticeable on the EP which is quite varied. Of the four tracks I've most enjoyed (for now) 'Honey', uplifting and brimming with feel good vibes, the harmonies and piano compliment each other in terms of balance very well. There's a bit of a Nicks / McVie / Buckingham thing going on too.

8) Electric Shore - 'Someone New'

Electric Shore's track 'P.S.' from their debut self-titled 2016 still remains one of the great hidden gems of the last two years in Irish music, Fine Young Cannibals beats, INXS bravado, a hint of post-punk and that guitar riff. New single 'Someone New' is in some ways a big leap in how they've honed that early sound, the improvement in production is noticeable, but they've retained that early grittiness. The persistence of the drums on this track are highly impressive, rollicking almost unaware of what is going on around them, the percussion is just delightful. Good, solid, indie-rock that's simply not just your run of the mill setup.

TabloidTV - Something New

9) TabloidTv - 'Something New'

An almost apologetic opening guitar progression leads into some steady bebop rhythms from indie-pop quintet TabloidTv on new single 'Something New' ahead of their sophomore EP release. This is what I imagine the very first bedroom jams of Glasgow's Belle and Sebastian might have sounded like, twee pop they were described as when they started out, sounds derogatory but it isn't. There's definitely a gap in the emerging Irish music scene for what TabloidTv are putting on the table, and 'Something New' grew very quickly on me, this is interesting.

10) TWOS - 'DJ Requiem'

Galway band TWOS' opening salvo, single 'Sad Fags', was a chaotic punk-infused melee, with rip-roaring riffs and a heavy approach, on latest single 'DJ Reqiuem' they've stepped back quite a bit. Their lyrics are observational and drawn from their immediate environment, with the current single inspired by late night performances behind closed doors at parties in their home city. What I like about this track is how rough and ready it is, there's a purity at this very moment and time, but also a peek through the curtains out the window to something potentially bigger.

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