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! 

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