Thursday, 30 August 2018

New Album Releases: September - Blood Orange, Beak>, Villagers, Christine & The Queens, Spiritualized & more

Blood Orange - Negro Swan - Album - Dev Hynes

Info: How do you top an album like Freetown Sound? The science says just make a better one, which is just what London's Dev Hynes, aka Blood Orange has done with Negro Swan which was released last weekend (yes, we yet again shoe-horn an LP release from the very end of the previous month into our post). I'm at that rather exciting phase where my first listen was overwhelming and I'm looking forward to the idea of discovering my favourite songs on the album. The album has 16 tracks that should just never end, and is going to become my favourite, most listened to release, since Panda Bear in 2015.

Bristol neo-psychedelic band Beak> will release their sixth album, >>>, on the 21st of September, and I'm loving the combo of Jeff Buckley 'Nightmares By the Sea' sounding guitars and underworld sinister vibe, also a bit of a Beck / Eels thing going on I can't quite put my finger on, a weird and wonderful mix. Vancouver's Tim Hecker drops his eleventh album, Konoyo, on the 28th of September, single 'This life' is straight from the James Wan OST playbook (Insidious, The Conjuring), welcome to Hades, don't forget to pay the ferryman for your passage.

French tour de force (sorry) Héloïse Letissier, better known perhaps as Christine & The Queens releases the much anticipated follow-up to 2014's Chaleur humain, in album Chris. She has, until now, shared four very strong singles from her sophomore album, which points toward her debut being no flash in the pan. My personal favourites are 'La marcheuse' and '5 Dollars', catchy AF 80's retro pop bliss. Villagers and Conor O'Brien show no let up in writing beautifully thought-provoking pieces of music with The Art of Pretending to Swim which directly pings me back in terms of impact to the first time I heard 'Becoming A Jackal' (both the single and album) 8 years ago.

New discoveries (to me!) I'm excited about come via Philadelphia's Mirah and her new album Understanding, and bodiesofwater by Canada's Rae Spoon. There are also new LP's from Spiritualized in And Nothing Hurt, and Suede with The Blue Hour, fans of both like myself will find themselves having a love-filled re-acquaintance with both bands based on the singles released thus far. Finally Kildare's Aphex Twin will be popping out a new EP, Collapse, on the 14th of September, and track 'T69 collapse' is a gratuitously enjoyable piece of knee-jerking IDM.

Release Dates:

Blood Orange - Negro Swan (out now)

7th September:

Mirah - Understanding

Spiritualized - And Nothing Hurt

Rae Spoon - bodiesofwater

14th September:

Aphex Twin - Collapse (EP)

21st September:

Beak> - >>>

Christine and The Queens - Chris

Villagers - The Art of Pretending to Swim

Suede - The Blue Hour

28th September:

Tim Hecker - Konoyo

Our previous 2018 New Album Releases:

Single: C F I T - All Hands Bury the Dead

CFIT - All Hands Bury the Dead

C F I T - All Hands Bury the Dead

Info: Today Dublin act C F I T releases his latest single 'All Hands Bury the Dead', which will feature on his forthcoming third album, C F I T vs. Gravity, and if you're heading to Electric Picnic this weekend, you'll get an additional sneak peak of some of the other tracks this Sunday.

An acutely short drum intro that would impress Jon Bonham kicks off proceedings, leading straight into a choral din of early Arcade Fire proportions. The track feels like a swell that has been building up inside C F I T over the past few years since the immense 2015 sophomore LP Throwaway Survival Machine, and has burst forth releasing a long-held tension. 'All Hands Bury the Dead' is a gloriously brash explosion of defiance, filled with life-affirming choruses and eruptions of blinding musical phosphorous. Yet again, I stand back and can only admire how he composes something so coherently joyful from absolute chaos, a 'how do you even begin to decide what goes where?' moment (and without over-cooking the venison, one of the Irish singles of the year).

C F I T - 'Salvo' from the album 'Throwaway Survival Machine'

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Single: Accidents in the Workplace - The One You Love

Accidents in the Workplace - The One You Love

Info: Dundalk's Accidents in the Workplace are back with another heaving jam-jar full of sticky soulful funk in the shape of new single 'The Only One You Love'. Conjuring up vivid images of blurry VHS disco-balls and slick good-time feels, the soulful troupe slather small dashes of multiple genre masters, from The Bee Gees (1967-70!), Chic, Joe Walsh, The Doobie Brothers and more in rollicking segments across the track. If this doesn't make you feel happy, check yourself, and then check your pulse.

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Single: BODIES - Limbs

BODIES - Limbs

BODIES - Limbs

Info: Originally the solo project of multi-instrumentalist David Anthony McGeown, BODIES has now expanded to a four-piece, with the addition of Nathan Maher (guitar), Danilo Ward (bass) and Scott Johnson (drums). The band has been busy all summer earning a name for themselves as a raucous live band with energetic performances that juxtapose their starker, more restrained studio sound that has been referred to by some as mopecore reminiscent of Robert Smith, Radiohead and Manchester Orchestra. 

'Limbs' is the first single to be released off the new BODIES album, 'Drench', which will be released later year. One of the most anticipated studio albums from an Irish artist this year, 'Drench' features collaborations with members of some of Ireland’s most prominent bands such as Squarehead, Kid Karate, Blooms, Kodaline and Overhead the Albatross. 

"The lyrics of this song are very personal to me. I wrote it during a difficult time in my life when I was finding it hard to feel anything for anyone, or enjoy anything. It’s about going through the motions of life and hoping that things will change,” says David, speaking about 'Limbs'. "Fortunately for me, writing music and lyrics has always helped me arrange my thoughts and feelings. Spending time trying to define a feeling as poignantly as possible in a few lines has been really cathartic for me.  with 'Limbs', going through the writing process helped me remember that nothing stays the same; everything has an end. The song ends on a 'maybe' and it's there to remind me to always have hope."

There's an unusual and simultaneous sense of joviality, despondency and angst on the latest single 'Limbs' from Dublin band BODIES. The bouncing bass-line parallels a hopping percussion at the outset in a mechanically cartoonish kind of way. McGeown's forlorn and nasal vocal tempered immediately by a pursuant cheery backing vocal. Just before the one-minute mark, any sense of breeziness is scythed down, the choppy momentum of the track gathering pace and fuzz. The sinister hum finally landing on all fours at 2:35, culminating in a lavish industrial rock finale, that bass and beat from the beginning both reaching a peak before exhaustion, beaten to the finish line by a searing hard rock guitar riff. 'Limbs' is an admirable execution of deliberately stacking sound upon sound until you've squeezed all of the blood from the stone before collapsing in a heap on the dark cold floor.

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Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Irish Playlist #034: HAVVK, Jane Willow, SOULÉ, Fruitz & Dissolve

HAVVK - Glass

Info: It's been a month since the last independent Irish playlist here on REMY, longest gap ever I think, needless to say there have been some great single releases over the past few weeks which have been put together above.

1) HAVVK - 'Glass'

I'm a bit behind the curve in sharing the latest single from HAVVK (previously HAWK), 'Glass', which was released on the 10th of August. The new offering pulls itself back slightly from the 'on a plate' shoe-gaze sounds of their earlier releases and heads deep into more hauntingly atmospheric dreamscapes, this effect brought up many levels immeasurably by the wraith-like vocals of Julie Hough. I can't find a better word than enchanting to describe how the combination of vocal and guitar really make you disappear from reality - it's quite beautiful.

2) Jane Willow - 'Onward Still'

I'm a big fan of Dutch-born and Irish-based solo act Jane Willow ever since the release of her debut single 'On My Mind' last year. Yesterday she released her second single, 'Onward Still' with an accompanying video (below). Willow has a very loyal classical folk modus operandi, unlike her first single, here I feel a strong connection to Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark. It's incredibly easy on the ear and uplifting, and a picturesque place I would happily spend a lot of time in. She plays The Cobblestone in Dublin tomorrow night and releases her debut EP in November.

3) SOULÉ - 'Don't Hold Your Breath'

The Queen of Irish Rn'B SOULÉ returns triumphantly with a groove-snatcher courtesy of 'Don't Hold Your Breath'. There's a glorious swing to the beat and the house / trip-hop sound lends itself to a well balanced old school 90's style with contemporary flourishes, in particular the vocoder parts. Catchy and energetic, SOULÉ also delivers the more mellow and sombre moments of the track's theme perfectly. 

4) Fruitz - 'Knotz'

I dunno if it's just coincidence, I've been listening to a lot of mid to late 90's indie the past month (stay tuned on that front!) and either that is making me pick up on stuff in songs, or there is an undercurrent beginning to swell with Irish bands re-crafting the era for the 21st century. Either way, 'Knotz', the new single from Dublin four-piece Fruitz is a deliciously nostalgic trip for fans of the era. Musically I'm totally drawn to the heavier guitar moments on The Verve's Northern Soul, whilst the vocals and general demeanour of the overall package bears comparisons to The Charlatans and Definitely Maybe. Sometimes I think that era hasn't dated well, but with bands like Fruitz resurrecting the harder rock elements of the genre, my preconceptions are quickly going out the window.

Fruitz - Photo: Max Cody

5) Dissolve - 'Optihkal'

Manchester-based Cork electronic artist Brian Lane shares the first phase of his new project under the moniker of Dissolve with 'Optihkal' via indie label Inner Chapter Records. The blend of humming cello and violin strings with thudding electronic beats and synths create an alien landscape, an overture to a parallel universe that resides in complete darkness yet is somehow giving birth to life. It's a more than competent opening salvo from Lane and pops him straight into the 'watch this space' category.

To listen to REMY's previous Irish Playlist, #033, go here!

Monday, 27 August 2018

Video: Larry - WAH

Larry - WAH - Live

Larry - 'WAH' (Live)

Info: Larry is a three piece band from Dundalk. A combination of lo-fi alt rock with raw emotive lyrics & pop sensibilities stems from the likes of Ryan Adams, Pixies and Wilco. They have been honing their live shows around the country in small venues and festivals since forming in late 2017.

Larry will record their debut album in Electrical Audio, Chicago with renowned recording engineer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, Shellac) this September. It will be released on 12" vinyl and streaming services through Pizza Pizza Records. Larry is Joey Edwards, Aoife Ward & David Noonan.

DAY-GLO. The new single from Dundalk's Larry 'WAH' is the best kind of woozy lo-fi gratification. No gimmicks, not even subtle ones, no pretences, just an invitation to zone out, and god forgive me, be happy as Larry? One of the loveliest things about 'WAH' is the symmetrical even keel of everything. Bass, percussion, vocals and guitar all share what feels like 25% of the space equally, leading to appreciation of all four combined without any strain of the ear, just mellow flow. And to slightly contradict myself! the bass is so sick and perfectly understated. This track is also one of the biggest teasers I've heard this year, and that's based on how much I love it, and the fact that they've shared there's an album in the pipeline, and I suppose Steve Albini's involvement doesn't hurt, but most of all I just can't wait to hear a collection of tracks that compliment 'WAH' and each other. Larry is my band.

The video for 'WAH' was directed by Just Mustard's KT Ball.

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Single: David King - Crazy Crow

David King - Crazy Crow

David King - 'Crazy Crow'

Info: Dublin blues artist David King has shared his brand new single, 'Crazy Crow', a track that will resonate with fans of old school blues guitar and melodies. The song can be roughly split into two halves, and two traditions, the first, that delta blues story-telling style, a lament, as is customary within the genre. The second, musically more akin to the country blues of R.L. Burnside but with a distinctly local vocal hue. On his debut 2015 album Ruirteach Blues King showed that he was very attuned to the technicalities and nuances of the blues, immersed in them you might say, with 'Crazy Crow' that cognisance has delved deeper with most pleasing results.

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Metropolis Festival 2018 Confirm Mac DeMarco, Blood Orange, Young Fathers, Villagers & more

Metropolis 2018 - Line-Up RDS Dublin

Blood Orange - 'Saint'

Info: Metropolis Festival returns for its 4th edition in the RDS following last year's triumphant sell-out Bank Holiday Weekend. Metropolis Festival is a multi-stage, indoor winter music festival & conference which launched 2015 in the RDS and was the first of its kind in Ireland. Taking place across the October Bank Holiday Weekend, the festival has created a whole new experience in the Irish festival landscape. Music flow's out of bespoke stages, housed in multiple warehouse spaces within the RDS, conversations take place with Red Bull Music Academy and installations that challenge the senses. One of the festival objectives is to create a unique and abstract identity each year to continuously captivate its audience. Over the last three years, this unique indoor has become a staple on the Irish festival calendar. 

Metropolis Festival

In a very tantalising first announcement from Metropolis Festival, the RDS will see the likes of Blood Orange (latest video for single 'Saint' from new album Negro Swan above), Mac Demarco, Róisín Murphy, Villagers and Young Fathers over the October Bank Holiday weekend. In addition, revellers will be able to catch Chicago house / disco act The Black Madonna, German piano / electronic pair Grandbrothers and Cardiff's Gwenno whose latest album Le Kov is a wonderful medley of trip-hop, ambient electronica and good time indie-pop. 

REMY will of course be on hand to keep you up to date as new acts are announced and there'll be a playlist for your perusal closer to the festival. In the meantime, enjoy a video apiece from the immense Mac DeMarco and Edinburgh's Young Fathers. Tickets are on sale now, info below.

MacDeMarco - 'Ode to Viceroy'

Young Fathers - 'In My View'

Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster and usual outlets. Note: Metropolis Festival now operates an over-21s age policy. More info can be found at
Metropolis Festival 2018 Tickets Ticketmaster

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Interview & Video: Trick Mist - Two Doors Down

Trick Mist - Two Doors Down
Photo Credit: Claire Byrne

Trick Mist - Two Doors Down

Info: Songwriter, electronic musician and multi instrumentalist Trick Mist (Gavin Murray) returns after his 2017 CD single 'Fraction' with accompanying remix by Phare. 'Two Doors Down', his brand new single, is taken from his forthcoming debut album 'Both Ends'. 

For the video director Claire Byrne (Video Blue, Sleep Thieves) creates a striking series of beautiful visual portraits of Murray's nearest and dearest centred around the theme of emigration.

In Murray's words; "'Two Doors Down' is a song about the concept of home viewed from a generational perspective. My Nan literally met her husband two doors down. That seems archaic but I did the same thing. I met my soul mate similarly close to where I grew up. It blows my mind that my life in any way resembles a life that is 95 years. Most aspects of my life are completely dissimilar to hers." 

Photo: Ste Murray

Murray's baritone vocal has always enchanted and whisked us away to a variety of landscapes in our imaginations and fantasy realms. With 'Two Doors Down' however it feels uncharacteristically real and in the present. A traditional expression of a very Irish method of story-telling, no instrumentation on this occasion, but strangely for me I could imagine the music that could be wrapped around that emotional timbre. Those feelings are captured in a very natural and relatable manner by film-maker Claire Byrne, who has visually bottled up Murray's story with great ease.

I had the pleasure of catching up with Trick Mist and discussing the birth of his new song and the accompanying video, and all that has happened over the past 12 months since his last single release.

REMY: Last time we chatted last year you had just released your single ‘Fraction’ which was subsequently remixed very nicely by Dublin-based producer Phare. It was your first publicly shared composition since returning to Ireland after a number of years out of the country, looking back at that time and the track itself, how do you feel about it in retrospect with regards to where you were in your own headspace?

Trick Mist: That time was a time of excitement for me. I was so eager to return to Ireland and put something out and play some shows. After being away for so long it was a lovely burst of energy. The remix and the collaborative spirit at its heart probably stemmed from this excitement of being back. Since then I have simmered down and retreated somewhat and have been eyes down for the most part completing my album. the track itself encapsulated a headspace that existed months previous to its release. so when I look back I just think about the time being back hitting the ground running and how rewarding it was to put something out. 

REMY: Obviously it's dependent on personal circumstances and might not work for everyone, but would you recommend a period outside of Ireland for musicians to develop their craft? And what aspects of that time away from home strike you as most influential.

Trick Mist: I'd recommend it from the point of view of depth of experience but I don't feel in a position to tell people what to do to develop their craft. we are all on our own paths. Travelling is unreal craic I can tell you that much! and it's a ridiculously rich experience and if your experience finds its way into your music then your music will benefit. Personally it has been an integral part to my craft and has enriched and informed what I do. Being away and setting up in new places comes with its downsides too though. Starting at square one in a new places and having to build up new contacts for example. I also struggled with artistic guilt when I was away travelling on a couple of occasions. I've yet to really master that. 

I found India the most influential place out of all the places I visited. I think maybe that is because it is so unlike the West. It's the most full and complicated place. That assault on the senses cliché is true. It's hard to pin down what sort of things specifically had an influence on me. The warmth of the people, the headspace, the colours, peoples unselfconsciousness, the music, the noise, the beauty, the list goes on. I think when you're away like that you relate your new experiences back to your own past experiences so there is this constant compare and contrast thing going on. That can blow you wide open and cause you to question things but I also found it can reaffirm things about yourself too. You move on certain things you stand your ground on others. It's not all rose tinted glasses though there are plenty of things that are terrible and they too are equally inspiring. 

Two Doors Down (Artwork)
'Two Doors Down' single artwork by Calvin Freeman

REMY: You're almost a year in Cork now, how has the adaptation been musically? Do you feel like the city has begun to weave itself into your song-writing, in obvious or subconscious ways yet? I know from previous releases you always put an emphasis on the inspiration derived from observing people in everyday situations.

Trick Mist: It has had an effect definitely. The city and my time here are sprinkled all over my album. My own personal experience here is what has influenced my music the most more so than observing other people like has been the case in previous work. Over the last year I have been doing less observing than I'd like to be doing to be fair. I've just been really busy working away on my album. For this reason the song writing I have done here has been more personal and more of a product of an internal monologue than on previous releases.  

REMY: Your new single, 'Two Doors Down' is a significant change for you in some ways, a solitary a capella, no instrumentation, and feels very much planted in the traditional Irish medium of story-telling. Quite a bridge to cross from experimental electronic music! What inspired the song and how you decided to deliver it?

Trick Mist: What inspired the song initially was observing my 95 year old nan chatting to her peers reminiscing about their pasts. They were recounting tales of travelling to the nearest town on a pony and trap! I found this mind boggling and I wondered what tales me and my mates would be recounting together if we were all sitting round reminiscing at that age. This got me thinking about what my generation and my Nan's generation share and differ on. Both myself and my Nan didn't have to travel great distances to find our soul mates. However, most aspects of our lives are dissimilar. I along with lots of people my age emigrated and have moved around a lot trying to find home. 

Our generation has a lot of choice and that is a great privilege but choice can be stifling particularly for indecisive folk like myself! 'Where will we live?' has been a constant question for me and, judging by the touching personal reactions I've received to the single, I'm not the only one. In terms of how the delivery came about, when I was away I was consciously trying to write and work on music. So this is how this song started. With the melody for the first line in my head then I'd work on the melody for the second line etc. It became this thing I'd take everywhere with me and work on and add to the whole time in my head. I used to sing it in all the echoey bathrooms and hotel rooms. I got used to how it sounded and over time I realised that it was done and it had to be a cappella. 

REMY: The video for the single has already been very well received online, clocking up almost 2,000 views in just a few days. Tell us a bit about how the visual concept was arrived at between yourself and film-maker Claire Byrne who has previously worked with fellow electronic acts Sleep Thieves and VIDEO BLUE.

Trick Mist: Claire is a dream to work with! She saw what the song was about and gave it a visual wings with great clarity, grace and effortlessness. I had some basic ideas about the video. I wanted to be in it singing and I wanted to include someone of an older generation. I really didn't want it to come across condescending, grim or fake. Claire had the amazing idea of using real people in their natural environments to naturally and comfortably do the talking so to speak. She went for a series of beautiful video portraits with my nearest and dearest to paint the picture. There was my nan, my other half Hil, my pal Aoife who was plotting a move to London and my pal Jim / Video Blue who moved to London years ago. It’s a really striking, heartwarming and thought provoking video and a welcome turn in a more personal and exposed direction for me.  

REMY: Finally, you’ve very much busied yourself on the live stage since moving back to the old sod! Aside from your appearance on the Body & Soul stage at Electric Picnic next month, what other plans does Trick Mist have in the near future? 

Trick Mist: My album will be coming out in November! It will be available on 12'' vinyl as well as digital. I'm proud of it as a body of work and I'm really excited to put it out. I'll be putting out another single from it in the meantime and I've got some great shows to look forward to in Electric Picnic, Carrickmacross Arts Festival and supporting Katie Kim in the Spirit Store.

'Two Doors Down' is available to buy and stream at the below links;



Single: Drivelight - Take Two

 Drivelight - Take Two

Drivelight - Take Two

Info: Dublin-based indie-rock growlers Drivelight have just released a brand new single in 'Take Two' which dropped this evening. The new track follows last year's debut EP Estates, and incidentally shows a big push from the band in adding to their sound and quality. Recorded at Darklands studio by Dan Doherty, 'Take Two' is a walloping affair, the rhythm of the percussion is incessant and conjures up all of the best elements of a brash indie-shuffler. Juicy hook-laden guitar riffs sway between the neo-psychedelia of Kula Shaker axe-wielder Crispian Mills, and a nice surprise is in store at the finale, where the sound switches back a few decades earlier to give us those Ram Jam 'Black Betty' hard-rockin' vibes. Noice!

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Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Single: qwasi - Care

qwasi - Care
Photo: Peggie McKeon

qwasi - 'Care'

Info: Dublin electronic artist qwasi (Eric Fitzgerald) recently released his second single 'Care' as part of his relatively new solo project. Clicks n' grooves, grooves n' click, galore, 'Care' has a shuddering and foreboding momentum that pulls you back and forth with its movement. The track has the sparseness of Four Tet's Rounds and the crawling intensity of Massive Attack's Mezzanine, with qwasi also filling the soundscape with celestial glitter all across its 3 minutes and 12 seconds. I liked this one the first time I heard it, now I love it.

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Single: Mob Wife - Warm Water

Mob Wife - Warm Water

Info: 'Warm Water' is the first release from newly-established punk trio Mob Wife. Comprising Chris Leckey (PigsAsPeople, Via: Barvikha), Mark McDaid (Gascan Ruckus) and Carl Small (Ghost Office), their first single is an immediate blistering introduction to the newly formed band. Warm Water is characteristic Leckey. Blackly comic in its nihilism, the song is a statement on that much-sought-after 9-5 office grind and its many delights - stale coffee & bright, vibrant, blinding computer screens – delivered via Belfast’s finest scream.

Cranking up the dynamic tension between melody and discordance, Mob Wife take the propulsive rhythmic interplay of classic post-hardcore outfits like Drive Like Jehu and At The Drive-In with the contrasting sensitivity & immediacy of modern outfits like Metz, Pile and Meat Wave.

'Warm Water' was recorded at Start Together Studios and produced by Chris Ryan. Artwork by Billy Woods.

Helluh yeah! Now his is a hard static mince I can get on board with. 'Warm Water' from Belfast's Mob Wife is like an orchestra of chaos, with the vocals acting like the conductor which directs the guitars and drums, demanding restraint and then anarchy and back again. "Send roses to your masters, send pictures to your lovers, get paid, go home, pass out." - a lovely summation of the robotic behaviour of the drone who denies themselves pleasure in order to slavishly offer it up to others, without ever asking themself, "Why?". 'Warm Water' is one of those wonderfully rare first times you hear a single, and you want the next one straight away.

Mob Wife make their live debut at the Hand Models Summer Party on the 30th of August at Limelight 2, with further Irish dates to be announced for the coming months.

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Monday, 20 August 2018

EP: Femmepop - CYM

Femmepop - CYM

Info: Femmepop is singer songwriter/producer Margaret O' Sullivan from Ireland. Based in London. She writes, records, performs, produces and mixes her work. Ms Femmepop's voice has been classically trained and she attended Cork city's renowned music college, Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa for two years in her teens. With her music making comparisons to Lovefoxx, Kavinsky, Bat For Lashes, Madonna, Cocteau Twins and The School of Seven Bells.

The CYM EP is Femmepop’s latest release and on August 17th the EP droppd on all digital platforms. The release was marked by Femmepop beginning her 'CYM Tour' in Berlin on the same date. Berlin being the home of electronic music and female artists ruling the scene there, it’s seems a very apt city for the release of 'CYM' which was recorded by Femmepop between the months of December 2017 and February 2018 in Cork, IrelandThis is Femmepop’s most instrumental / dance based futuristic sounding release and a new direction from previous work. 

O'Sullivan is an electronic artist I've had the humble pleasure of following for the past four years as Femmepop, indeed her debut album From A Girl Who Never Sleeps was one of the very first albums ever reviewed here (it's still amazing - check it out). The biggest attractions for me were always the vocal and sound-wise her penchant for revelling in retro-synth sounds so adroitly in the most ear-candy manner.

Femmepop has never stood still though, and on CYM a notable marker has been reached following years of perfecting, self-challenging and honing the early sound. With opening track 'Astra' this becomes immediately apparent, most obviously because it is entirely instrumental, then there's the fact that O'Sullivan has dialled down the overt retro style, yes it's still there, but it's a bit more distant rather than to the forefront of proceedings. The first 16 seconds of the track are very contemporary with a house-twist, and after a synth-led build I'm in love with the darkness of the hum and drum-pad between 2:20-2:36.

The EP's title-track goes even further forward into new territory, I wouldn't recognise either sound nor vocal as hers unless I was told in advance, and this is a big plus. A rippling and intent-filled bass-line bounces along a digital milky way of celestial vox and shuffling beats, it's colourfully mellow and a soundtrack for daydreamers. 

That tinge of dark and isolation in dimly-lit industrial buildings emerges again on 'Motion', so much atmosphere crafted out of a sensory-deprived surrounding. The kicker arrives at 2:47 and it's a very 1970's sci-fi moment, albeit brief, before we are treated to a highly indulgent synth and drum-pad bombast. CYM closes with 'Suck it Up', this reminds me more of continental punk new-wave from the mid 70's to mid 80's, like French coldwave four-piece Charles de Goal, or Lille's Guerre Froide, with a bit of Kraftwerk in your side-dish. It's a wonderful conclusion to an impressively diverse collection of electronic songs, over a long period of time Femmepop has been arriving at this point through graft, passion, and a desire to blow apart the boundaries of her own musical horizons. 

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Saturday, 18 August 2018

Photos: Elizabeth Moen @ Whelans - 16th August

Elizabeth Moen - Whelans - Remy Connolly

Photos: Remy Connolly (click first image to begin slideshow)

Info: On Thursday night Iowa singer-songwriter Elizabeth Moen took to the stage upstairs in Whelans on Wexford Street as she tours new album, A Million Miles Away. Her band on the night consisted of THUMPER's Alan Dooley (guitar), Oisín Furlong (bass) and Wyvern Lingo's Caoimhe Barry (drums & additional vox). Support on the night came courtesy of relative newcomer Dubh Lee (aka Niamh Dooley) and Joey Gavin.

One of the best parts about hitting up a local gig is when you go in blind for at least one of the acts, it makes the evening far more interesting in my book, and so I made sure I arrived on time to catch Dubh Lee (presumably with 'dubh' pronounced the Ulster Irish way phonetically sounding like the 'doo' of her surname, rather than 'dove' for the rest of the island - sorry, Gaeilge nerdiness interlude! - update! Dove is correct > Gaeilge Connemara!) Her sound was very disarming, a soothing vocal and in her own voice which is always so welcome.

Dubh Lee - Niamh Dooley - Remy Connolly

Next up was the ever affable gentleman Joey Gavin. Gavin lets his music do the talking, in the sense that the delivery is more important than his presence on the stage. Time-travelling is an inescapable consequence when seeing him perform, if you closed your eyes you could be back in the late 60's / early 70's listening to one of the great song-writers of the era. It's timeless stuff, with the tenderness of Cohen and the heart-felt delivery of James Taylor, without sounding like either, best captured perhaps on his debut EP Circles. Of course the incredible single 'Rolf Harris is a Paedophile' was kept until last, and it was a boisterous end to the set, the crowded room was now warmed up for the main act.

Joey Gavin - Remy Connolly

The week before the show I had a wee listen to Elizabeth Moen on the auld Spotify, 5 seconds into her last single 'Time Is a Shitty Friend' I was like, 'aw yeah'. Kind of like a grunged-out mix of First Aid Kit and Anna Calvi. Personal expectations and excitement were high, and met, it was a stunning set. Her vocal is immense and gripping, getting right down to the core of your insides, straight from hers. The country-tinged rock sound was prevalent and soulful, and when Barry joined in on harmonies it was all very heavenly if I'm to be honest, particularly noted when she performed 'Mars' from her 2nd album That's All I Wanted. Kudos has to be given also to Furlong and Dooley (what a guitarist) for playing so tightly through Moen's songs given they would have had to learn the set from scratch at the beginning of the Irish leg of her tour. 

I really felt like the night flew in, a positive as it highlights enjoyment, but in some ways I felt so engrossed in the performance that I still haven't fully absorbed and reflected on it almost 48 hours later. This is why I find it hard to review live music, I get lost in what's unfolding in front of me and don't pause enough to make mental markers! Some things I did note though, and that's that goodwill from an audience can't be bought, it was to come from a genuine place, and there was a hell of a lot of love for Moen in that room. Through her facial expressions and demeanour she portrayed a believable authenticity, no airs or graces, just an evident happiness to be on a stage performing for us. Moen's the real deal, and I'm very happy that I got to see her, it was a buzz and then some, still sinking in.

Moen and Joey Gavin performing a duet cover of The Beatles

'A Million Miles Away' by Elizabeth Moen is now available for pre-order from her website, alternatively you can bring a copy home from one of her live shows like me!

She plays The Harbour Bar in Bray tomorrow night, event page is here