Thursday, 29 November 2018

Album: Trick Mist - Both Ends

Trick Mist - Both Ends

Info: Trick Mist (Gavin Murray) is a songwriter, electronic musician and multi instrumentalist based in Cork. His music positions the lyrical song within a wider experimental electronic context. An intriguing blend of lyrics, traditional music odes and field recordings form a sound which moves you inside and out.

Self produced in Ireland, on the road in India and South-East Asia, his debut album 'Both Ends' is a compelling, cohesive and original body of work. Sonically the album draws heavily from a unique library of sounds captured by Murray while travelling. Emotionally intense and deeply thoughtful, the album is a product both of Murray's internal monologue and his external environment cultivated over the last 2 years. 

In Murray's words - "The name 'Both Ends' is a sort of neutral assertion, a respect for both sides of the story. Opposition and contrasts have always interested me. Looking into all sorts of things from different points of view and asking myself  'where do I stand with this, where do I stand with that?' 'Both Ends' encapsulates this inquisitiveness and curiosity which has been at the heart of my work. The title resonates with the process of constant comparison between my experience of travelling India particularly and my experience of home. 'Both Ends' also outlines a more personal choice arrived at over the course of the albums production to continue to be so analytical or to just let things go." 

Like a torch lamp-lit tunnel leading to the underground of Dante's Inferno, Trick Mist pushes us in the back towards the first Circle, Limbo, with the opening incantation of 'Magic Dust' from debut album Both Ends, despite the darkness, the swiping and scathing sonic splurges coupled with Murray's vocal are extremely vivid and ritualistic. "We don't believe in god anymore, but we said a prayer for you last night..."

'Beyond Your Means' rakes at heart and lumps at throat, Trick Mist moulding a bleak character out of the mud of despair, a broken life, one filled with error and regret. This is a perfect example of how he merges traditional with modern, a sean-nós vocal from the fireside, with the plumes of smoke mirroring the delicately dropped electronic sounds that plod forlornly by the hearth. It's magical to me how sharp an image it draws.

On 'Heart' the music is the warm palm of a hand you can rest your cheek on for respite and comfort. The off-kilter drum-pad plays against the sound and keys, a small vibrato. The comfort gets slightly contorted as a more dark-wave mood overcomes us, but with a steady hand we are assured all is well and there is no need to be concerned.

Trick Mist - Two Doors Down

A beautiful 1 minute interlude takes you to the heart of India, but not the hustle and bustle of the sprawling chaotic cities, rather an oasis of calm, a scene from everyday life put in a capsule for eternity. Murray's baritone vocal has always enchanted and whisked me away to a variety of landscapes in my imagination, fantasy realms. On next track and previous single '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 in my head, nay, hear it despite its absence.

The first single to be released from Both Ends, almost exactly a year ago, was 'Fraction', the music itself sounds lost, looking for a way out of the room its creator gave life to it in, probing blindly at the walls. Trick Mist then morphs it into a pulsating sliver of downtempo chill, there's a very submissive drift to the sound, yet a very lightly buzzing energy as the track unfolds. The recent remix by Phare (included above) is also so legit.

Trick Mist - Abroad in The Yard

Latest single 'Abroad in The Yard' (above video) opens with a Nicolas Jaar worthy sequence, the deep and heavy drone going toe to toe with his baritone vocal. There's some serious slicing and erratic placement of the layers causing a disorientating effect, but submission is given without conditions by the listener as we get subsumed within the skirmish. It's so hypnotic that the first time I listened to the track and it drew to an end I guessed it was just under 3 and a half minutes, missing an additional 2 minutes somewhere. That warped voice that lured us in on opener 'Magic Dust' also returns, like a guide, or a deceptive entity to lead us astray.

Up until now Trick Mist has taken us to previously undiscovered corners of our mind, but now on 'There We Go Again' / 'Blue Sky' he takes us outside, and off-planet. One of the most intriguing aspects of this album for me, which recurs frequently, is how Murray can make his music sound so ancient, it's akin to a version of himself wandering across the then known world millennia ago and sending a message to present day Trick Mist. Sounds and secret knowledge that only he has the key to unlock. 

Similar to 'Beyond Your Means', Trick Mist the seanchaí returns, even if it was sung in a different language, one the listener didn't know, the emotional impact would not be diminished in any way. Dual happy / sad synth mixes optimism with a knowing dread of what is around the corner, fondness and sadness laying down beside each other on the same bed. 

Both Ends was coming, from his early single releases, to the 2015 EP Jars in Rows, Murray was assertively travelling towards the creativity that is lavishly spread across his debut album. For all of its calm exterior, few experimental pieces of music can simultaneously maintain a vice-like grip on your heart, and a soul you didn't believe you had anymore. There's a greatness at work here, the album is littered with examples, a perfectly formed expression in music of all that Trick Mist has absorbed in memory, environment, human experience. It begins.

Both Ends is released tomorrow, 30th of November on Pizza Pizza Records and will be available on 12" vinyl as well as across all major streaming platforms.

Trick Mist - Both Ends - Album Cover

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

News: THUMPER - Live at The Workman's Club, Friday 30th November

THUMPER - The Workman's Club - Down

Info: Dublin cult noise merchants THUMPER play The Workman's Club this Friday, 30th of November, with For Foresters providing an 'out there' DJ set afterwards. Tickets are priced at €12 and are available here via Tickemaster

A highlight on the night is sure to be found inthe form of latest single 'Down'. In our own words upon the single's release at the end of September; 

"THUMPER will always be a nailed on favourite for fans of anarchic pop-punk who enjoy a mouthful of dirt with their distortion. On latest single '(You're Bringing Me) Down' they stay true to their school, but also shed a small amount of the overt fuzz that covered previous releases, I liked how vocals were barely audible on some tracks in the past, but I'm enjoying the shift in style on this single very very much. Sound-wise I think of elements of the sadly forgotten mid-90's London rock act Symposium's One Day at a Time album, and also Placebo who I've been revisiting recently. For proper gratification listen to the extended version of the single, THUMPER at their most aurally blissful."

One of the biggest buzzes at Hard Working Class Heroes was THUMPER, a noise-pop quintet from Dublin, delivering bubblegum pop through a wall of sonic death.

With a reputation for raucous and frenzied live shows, and penchant for howling feedback and pounding rhythm, each show is an exercise in unpredictability.

2017 and 2018 have seen THUMPER top several Ones To Watch lists and tour relentlessly - headlining Hard Working Class Heroes & Whelans Ones To Watch Fest, as well as joining Fangclub on a national tour and playing festivals across Ireland all summer long.

Monday, 26 November 2018

EP: Jane Willow - Onward Still

Jane Willow - ONWARD STILL

Info: Jane Willow is a Dutch singer-songwriter who moved to Ireland at the age of 21 to pursue music. Her music is laced with Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake influences and her light vocals are often compared to the likes of Norah Jones and Lisa Hannigan.

In recent years Jane's played numerous gigs, performing at Vicar Street, Whelan's, The Grand Social and Electric Picnic. In August 2017 she opened for Glen Hansard in Vicar Street. Jane's been featured in The Irish Times, The Irish Times Women’s Podcast, RTE Radio 1, BBC Radio Ulster, Lyric FM and recently won of the Intercollective Competition 'Best Musician'.

On her debut EP 'Onward Still' she collaborates with musicians Dave Hingerty (drums: Kila, The Frames), Vyvienne Long (cello: Damien Rice).

Jane Willow's self-title opener for Onward Still immediately springs forth with the warmest of traits you would expect from classic late 60's and 70's folk music. At it's very beginning, Love's 'Alone Again Or' from Forever Changes throws its shade from her acoustic guitar, and in a previous review I had felt a strong connection to Joni Mitchell's Court & Spark. The cello and lightly brushed percussion adding additional layers of warmth in their own right. 

My first introduction to Willow's music came via single 'On My Mind' almost exactly this time last year. It's an open-ended ode to a person close to the protagonist, from the past, there's a morose, softly relayed pain that is handled so delicately by both vocals and musical accompaniment, I stand by my previous observation with even more conviction now that it has all of the hallmarks of a bone fide folk artist ready to make a mark.

From the invigorating crescendos of 'Nobody Knows' we find ourselves at fourth track 'Hannah'. One thing you can't escape as you traverse across Onward Still is Willow's ability to glean characteristics of many different sub-genres of folk, here there's a little hint of country-folk and more overt art-folk moments. Another thing that will strike the listener is how adept she is at striking right through the most vulnerable parts of the heart, no better exemplified than on the gorgeous and brutally real sound of 'If I Did Love You', my favourite track of the six, in no small part to it's folk-rock blow-out in the final minute.

Final number 'Comfort' finds Jane Willow possibly residing in a space from which all we've heard until now emanates from, the simplicity of the delivery shedding a light on the origins of the grander moments on the EP. It's unfortunately common for folk artists to act overly austere and moody, over-cooking an obvious-to-all mystique. Thankfully Willow avoids such pretences on Onward Still and is honest with us, it comes from a genuine place, this is about the music, and how we feel listening to it, and it takes a gifted song-writer to let their craft alone carry their message in such a wonderfully enjoyable way.

Onward Still is now on Spotify & Bandcamp, to stream and download.

Jane Willow launched her debut EP, Onward Still, at The Sound House in Dublin last Thursday night with support from Leila Jane. Some snaps of both artists below by Remy: 

Jane Willow - Onward Still - Remy Connolly - The Sound House

Leila Jane - Remy Connolly - The Sound House

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Album: Proper Micro NV - Dormant Boy

Proper Micro NV - Dormant Boy

Info: Whilst I am a fan of Rory Hall, aka Proper Micro NV's sound and releases to date, I have to admit I was taken by surprise at how accomplished his debut album Dormant Boy is. Described by the Limerick electronic artist as; " most personal record to date. It's a bit of everything really in terms of emotion. Happy, sad, dancey, calming and woozy all at once. It's a little bit idiosyncratic in a sense that it's a bit unusual and a little bit off kilter. I like to think that it digs in a little bit deeper and pushes a few electronic boundaries. I've thrown everything at it, I'm really proud of it and I hope people enjoy and support it." 

'Take Me All Around' is a particularly absorbing start to the album (in fact, possibly moreso than most Irish albums released this year). Having said that! I had to go back to the start of it numerous times and listen to it in full again, I usually don't get so caught up this early in an album. It's such a fine example of ambient electronic music, there's a soft yet bright glow to everything. From Hall's sleep-like state vocal to the energising trance beat it's a pretty gripping affair. Proof if ever it were needed that complexity can lead to a loss of verve, the simple things done well will always engage. 

The warped sounds of 'Always' come next, this is so nicely polished production-wise, here we take a slow-motion plunge into the deep, dark, blue sea with a soft white halo of light surrounding us. Suspended in the sound that Proper Micro NV has bent and twisted, we sink slowly to the incantation of his filtered vocal. Trippy as fuck.

Previous single 'Eyes' is also a delight, the mood is different from what we've heard so far, vocally it's reminiscent of two of my childhood 80's idols, Roland Gift of Fine Young Cannibals (think 'Johnny Come Home') and UB40's Ali Campbell. It really does have single written all over it, and was a perfect choice as such, mellow never sounded so mellow.

The latest single from Dormant Boy, 'Call Me What You Want' indulges our inner soul-pop n' electro desires without apology, and when that bouncy pad beat pops in at 1:17 it goes next level. If part of the artist's persona is to imbue a calmness in the listener, it is nailed to the mast here, to the point of welcome lethargy. After the haute-downtempo electronic drizzle that is 'Fused', comes a more upfront affair in 'That's True', the pop elements here are in extremis in a very good way, it's glitchy retro-electro clicks are quite smile-inducing, a close challenger to the Commodore 64 soundz of following track 'Salt'.

'Underscore' is a firm favourite, I admire the experimentation with thinly wrapped layers of electronic sound here, not for the first time Hall creates a seriously hypnotic drone sound and motion all at once. 'Dot Dot Dot' goes toe to toe with 'Eyes' for burnt out embers of chill, it feels so close that Proper Micro NV's hand may as well be on your shoulder while he delivers his drowsy monologue. Another dose of comatosis ripples through 'February', and in the final chapter of Dormant Boy, Proper Micro NV flips everything on its head with the Daft Punk leaning 'All the Time Proactively Searching', a proper microcosm within a microcosm.

Kitsch is a word I've never used once in a review of music because of its connotations, but there is no word in the English language that is close enough to suitable when it comes to certain aspects of Proper Micro NV's music, the best parts, and this is such a positive. Dormant Boy for me strikes the best balance between indulgence and admiration, regardless of whether you are a horrendous music snob, a happy go merry casual music listener, or that elusive Goldilocks in between, if you can't connect somewhere with this album, you may be dead inside.

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News: This Is Not Where I Belong Presents - ‎Percolator, Arthuritis & Unbelievable Lake @ Yamamori Tengu on Nov. 23rd

This Is Not Where I Belong - ‎Percolator Arthuritis Unbelievable Lake Yamamori Tengu

Info: Quarterly literary 'zine This Is Not Where We Belong release their latest issue, #23, at Yamamori Tengu located at the back of The Grand Social on Great Strand Street in Dublin 1, this coming Friday, 23rd of November. As always, the magazine launch will be accompanied by a live show, featuring Percolator, Arthuritis and Unbelievable Lake. Tickets are €10 and available via Eventbrite here, attendees will also receive a free copy of the latest print issue. 

Album: Lambert & Dekker - We Share Phenomena

Lambert & Dekker - We Share Phenomena

Info: Brooklyn Dekker, who is originally from Dublin, writes that "the songs are not about us per sé, rather snapshots of lives lived, wrestling with the known and unknowns of life and its phenomena; those things we all share". The duo fuse beautifully deft neo-classical piano, combined with close  miked vocals which create a certain immediacy.

The pair never set foot in the same studio but wrote 'We Share Phenomena' via iPhone messages. Berlin-based Lambert, a mask-wearing pianist at the fore of the neo-classical movement, and singer Brooklyn Dekker, one-half of acclaimed Anglo-American outfit Rue Royale, describe themselves as a 'ghost' duo who have developed something beyond the sum of their parts.

From the outset, you are struck by the mystical characteristics of Lambert & Dekker's We Share Phenomena, with opener 'The Tug' reflecting in part the same melancholic ambience of an album such as Sufjan Stevens' Carrie & Lowell. 'In an Oblique Way' ratchets that sense up a few notches almost instantly, a classical piano dirge that is like a bellow of dark, cosmic beauty, it's not often it happens, but I did think that this track could so easily work as purely instrumental as well as with vocals, I could actually listen to that piano progression endlessly.

Third track 'Another One' sees the duo switch tempo slightly with a grooving indie-pop overlay, but again delicacy is central, the simple electronic beat trundling whimsically in the background and creating a very care-free atmosphere. Following the gorgeousness of the orchestral 'Manifold' comes 'Tone', it's quite a unique number, tropical sounds accompany a rn'b-style vocal courtesy of Dekker, it's an unassumingly happy moment on the album, a reflection on the fleeting nature of life and acceptance of what has has happened in the past, which will never be ideal no matter what choices we made.

Though it would certainly be an odd fit on that album, I can't shake OK Computer vibes pinging out of 'Bluffing', as the song advances it grows in stature, the vocal carries a sense of hope most eloquently. 'Pliable' is absolutely one of my favourite tracks on the entire album, it unfolds with the most beautiful bloom, the strings are achingly delicate and it has the softest of landings as it draws to an end. 'With Your Own Kind of Swagger' could easily be the soundtrack to a silent animated short, and this is a sense that returns time and again on We Share Phenomena, each song is compatible as a backdrop to whatever story we want it to be. 

'Uncivil' is a wonderful end to the album, Keith Jarrett is in the house, by now we are obviously familiar with the course Lambert & Dekker have charted, as the curtain drops to the stage floor, you feel a calmness, you've been provided with more than adequate headspace to drift off inside the music which is wrought in an other-worldly hue. As an entire piece, Lambert and Dekker don't demand that we follow their path, they willingly give free reign for us to explore and feel whatever way we want to feel on We Share Phenomena, making each listen a separate and mystical journey. 

Lambert & Dekker perform live at The Bello Bar, Dublin, this Wednesday, 21st of November. Tickets are available via Eventbrite here.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Single: Runabay - Symmetry

Runabay - Symmetry

Info: An ever-evolving, innovative musical project, Runabay continue to push and form new musical and artistic boundaries. Following the success of previous single 'Blink of an Eye' which saw the band earn a stream of national radio plays and gain the accolade of 'Play Irish Artist of the Week' on Today FM, the band offer up something cinematic and poignant in 'Symmetry.'

"Symmetry was inspired through conducting a set of actions designed to restore correction to a situation. It's a story of redress and reconciliation whereby an intended transformation through a course of actions seek to put right a wrong."

'Symmetry' by Runabay is a fine example of contemporary chamber folk, with the band's restrained use of whirling atmospherics providing the most pleasant balance between pleasantry and rolling rhythms. The single flows with a great ease from start to finish, melancholic strings tempering the rambunctiousness of the percussion and frontman John McManus' smooth yet earnest vocal adding extra impetus to a highly enjoyable listening experience.

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News: Ailbhe Reddy & Basciville / Pursued by Dogs announce Live Shows

Ailbhe Reddy & Basciville - Whelan's

Fresh from a 16 date UK tour supporting Will Varley, Dublin's Ailbhe Reddy got together with the guys from Basciville to perform a beautiful cover of the Ryan Adams classic 'Come Pick Me Up' ahead of her gig at Whelan's on Friday 23rd November which will be opened by Basciville.

Tickets are available here:


Pursued by Dogs - Studio 10

On the Saturday before Christmas, the 22nd of December, Pursued by Dogs will close out their phenomenally successful year with a very special, intimate show.

Ticket-holders will see Pursued by Dogs perform in the unique location of Studio 10 on Dublin’s Wicklow Street; a building steeped in history where Mai 'Fifi' Geldof outfitted Maud Gonne, Constance Markiewicz and Lady Longford to name a few (more on that here).

Following a much-lauded debut album, a sold-out launch show at The Button Factory and a summer of festival appearances, Pursued by Dogs will play brand new, as yet unheard songs in raw, semi-acoustic form, before ramping up to their signature "hook-filled, ice cool bangers" (thanks to Hot Press Magazine for that apt description).

A BYOB affair, attendees are invited to bring their tipple of choice but are kindly asked not to opt for red wine due to the historic nature of the building.

Saturday, 22nd December 2018 | 8.30pm 'til late

Tickets €15 (+ €1.87 booking fee) from Eventbrite*

FB Event Page:

*First 10 ticket purchasers will receive a copy of Pursued by Dogs’ critically-acclaimed debut album on vinyl.

Photos: FIELDS @ Whelan's - 16th November

FIELDS - Whelan's - Remy Connolly

Photos: Remy Connolly

(To start slideshow, click on the first image on desktop / PC)

Info: Last night Dublin-based band FIELDS took to the main stage in Whelan's as headliners for the first time with support from Ivan Nicolas & Nimbu§. Unsurprisingly the joint was packed from front of stage all the way back to the sound-desk. Nimbu§, a collaborative music project led by songwriter Daithí Glas opened proceedings with a mellow yet upbeat set, joined on stage for songs by Waterford artist Tadhg Williams and FIELDS' Seán O'Brien. Ivan Nicolas and band were up next, I'd only previously seen Nicolas once before just over a year ago at Hard Working Class Heroes in The Tara Buildings, and last nights performance was just as good if not better. There's an aura about him, somewhere in between rock star and folk-rock balladeer, not that it's necessarily of much relevance in the grander scheme of things, but there's also a noted humility to Nicolas, no pointless braggadocio, yet a quiet confidence.

For FIELDS themselves, they probably couldn't have asked for a better night, a full house, audience members joining in more than a few times for sing-a-longs (always good when people know your lyrics!), and they themselves striking a perfect balance between rising energetic stompers and slowing down the set at points to create a pretty emotive atmosphere. FIELDS are the type of Irish band that deserve success, they can write the tunes for sure, and evidently have a fanbase that is growing, add to that a memorable live performance and all we can do now is watch and wait.

Ivan Nicolas - Whelan's - Remy Connolly

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Album: Conor Mason - On The Surface

Conor Mason - On The Surface

Info: Hailing from the historic walled city of Derry, music has been ever present in Mason’s life from a young age. With three albums under his belt, and a fourth primed for release, Mason has now found his space on the musical landscape, conjuring the wistful wonderment of Elliott Smith, Grandaddy, Villagers and Matthew Jay.

Flowing gently by, amid a sea of hushed lilting vocals, whispering lyrical poeticisms and subtle instrumentation, Mason reveals himself master of hook, harmony and heart. At times fragile, tender and touching, his songs are paradoxically permeated by an air of richness and comforting warmth, yet shrouded in melancholy, and draped in Mason’s intuitive song writing and storytelling abilities.

Like an optimistic yet troubled troubadour, Conor Mason sets the scene for his fourth album On The Surface with the twinkling lights of 'Falls to Ground', his vocal and plonking grand piano eschewing a gentle and welcome sigh into our ears. 'We Watched the Sky Rotate' meanders solemnly like a stream in the dense woods, the plodding light percussion acting like footsteps on the banks, maybe it's just the time of year, but already there's a very visual and autumnal feel to the album.

After the lighter air of 'Follow', a poignant and uncluttered moment arrives courtesy of 'Passing Colours', Mercury Rev vibes abound, and it's clear that Mason feels what he writes as the track begins to rise gradually towards its ornamental finale. A different kind of calm settles around us on the album's title-track, this feels more personal with less of an expanse surrounding it, as though we're indoors, and in a strange way, safe. The melodies and background vocals are especially mellow.

I love the rustic sound of acoustic guitar on 'Let It Bloom', one half Dylan, one half Sufjan Stevens, its earthiness is very real and charming, and like most of On The Surface, it places next to no demands on us. Proper 70's popular folk sounds spring forth from closing track 'The Time In Between', such a gentle trundle and Mason's voice is pristine in its smoothness. This is an album that will instantly draw the attention, but to fully appreciate it, it needs to be soaked up over time. Of all of its characteristics, perhaps generosity stands out the most, it's hard to escape the thought that Conor Mason wrote this album for us, for strangers, rather than himself, and this adds immeasurably to the glow the listener basks in from On The Surface.

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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Premiere: Krisdeberg - Lies

Krisdeberg - Lies

Krisdeberg - 'Lies'

Info: Krisdeberg formed after a chance meeting at a party in Moby’s house, still high on orange juice and vintage drum machine grooves. The newly bonded four-piece seized this moment of karmic kismet and resolved to make some music. 

Drawing on influences ranging from LCD Soundsystem all the way to James Murphy, Krisdeberg are a completely self-produced, self-recorded project. Locked away in their studio and armed with synthesisers, drums/machines and some noise; they began work on their first collection of songs.

Months of work have resulted in the release of their debut single 'Lies'. A snap-shot our all too common habit of deceiving ourselves set against a rhythmic, synth driven soundscape. 

REMY is delighted to premiere the debut video from Dublin's Krisdeberg for single 'Lies'.

There's so much to love about the debut single 'Lies' from Dublin electronic quartet Krisdeberg, a little too much! I jest. Aside from a wonderful name which bears similarity to an icon of Irish music...their sound is retro 80's synth, but this is a lazy synopsis and a boorish description, because it's more underground than popular in sound. This is what you might have heard at a club for youth who turned on, tuned in, and dropped out, to paraphrase the counter-culture motto. 

The synths are solidly analogue and skulk like a predator in the dark background, vocals are pop-tinged and soaring yet despondent, and in it's final third, the rising chorus kicks up a right fuss that makes it so easy to be an instant fan of Krisdeberg. Praise be.

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Monday, 12 November 2018

Irish Playlist #042: The Redneck Manifesto, Zapho, 1000 Beasts, Molly Sterling & more

The Redneck Manifesto - Djin Chin

Info: As we approach the end of 2019, the independent Irish releases don't appear to be stopping any time soon. REMY's latest selection of singles from the last two weeks provide a nice balance between mellow and high-energy electronic choons, enjoy!

1) The Redneck Manifesto - 'Djin Chin'

It's great to have new music from iconic Dublin outfit The Redneck Manifest, last time I saw them live their debut album Thirtysixstrings had just been released, in 2001. I'm all over new single 'Djin Chin', it has two strands, up-beat percussion and mellow guitars, both knitted together perfectly with an electro twist. This track, in parts at least, wouldn't be amiss on St. Germain's Tourist album, but there are so many enjoyable switches throughout to enjoy, The Redneck Manifesto oozing creativity like never before.

2) ZAPHO - 'Do Like I Do'

The first two times I listened to 'Do Like I Do', the debut single from Dublin's Ele Breslin, I liked it. Two listens later I'm hooked, ZAPHO is cool without trying, mellow and grooving without burning the cake and has dropped a really, really brilliant pop-infused debut. How about that brass too?

3) 1,000 Beasts feat. Marybeth - 'Trust Me'

This is what happens when you put one of Ireland's most care-free producers and multi-instrumentalists together with a rock-solid 90's soul vocal that's to die for. Cian Sweeney and Marybeth have concocted a very gratuitous electro-pop n' dance-floor filling banger. Sometimes as well the entire package reminds me of Lady Gaga (who, by the way, I am a huge fan of).

4) Molly Sterling - 'Stripped Down' (Live)

It just clicked with me with the release of Molly Sterling's live version of 'Stripped Down' that there are three different experiences to be had with this artist. The first is her studio releases, which you think are bare and become consumed by very easily. The second is the stage performance, it doesn't feel live because you are lost in it, and the third is her live releases, where you listen and think, so this is what was happening when I saw Sterling on stage. It's all magic either way, and 'Stripped Down' has never felt so much in pain.

5) Buí - 'I Think We Could Do Better Too'

Definitely one of the most interesting acts to cross my ears over the last year or so, I have a lot of time in my music head for Belfast's Buí. 'I Think We Could Do Better Too' comes from their forthcoming sophomore LP due out soon. The track rattles through 2 minutes and 23 seconds at a disorientating speed and has all of it's raw-rock ducks nicely in a row.

Buí - 'I Think We Can Do Better Too'

6) ELKAE - 'Sold'

Dublin act ELKAE has been quietly making ripples in the Irish scene in the run up to debut single 'Sold'. If you like, disco, funk, pop, soul and / or all of them mixed together, you should love ELKAE's sound. 'Sold' delivers the feel-good in spades, it's smooth, cheery and suave all at once. She could blow up in 2019.

7) Kid Trench - 'Fire Away'

One of the most mysterious acts since I started the blog, Belfast's Kid Trench is a bit of a ghost, so little known about him, less distraction from the music. 'Fire Away' is drastically different to his previous output which was ambient strong. Here we get an outrageous vocal, 4-ply 80's electro balm, and a sledgehammer of a pop chorus. I haven't felt like this since 'Alive & Kicking'.

8) ROCSTRONG - 'Ching Ching Ching'

I'll never forget the first time I heard ROCSTRONG's 'Go Head' on SoundCloud, Ho-l-y shit, have to see this guy live, then did. Then did again. After a brief hiatus he's back, and 'Ching Ching Ching' sounds like the lead track to a hit album. Rock drums, ultra soul-pop vocal, humming guitar, bass, electronics that harp back to the less manic moments of The Prodigy's Music for the Jilted Generation or Massive Attack's recent jams. The ROC is back, get ready.

ROCSTRONG - 'Ching Ching Ching'

9) Pale Lanterns - 'Driftwood'

Northern Irish songwriter Darragh Donnelly, aka Pale Lanterns, sounds very attuned to the fine balance between riding the wave of popular sounds within his genre (coarse touchpoints would be The War on Drugs and maybe a little Justin Vernon) and blitzing off on ones own path. Yet, 'Driftwood' veers off into an authentic mixture of downtempo Tycho-esque guitar spurts, and pretty expansive ambient instrumental passages. He's good at dropping little moments of glory into a pretty wide spread too.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Single: Classic Yellow - Mondays Don't Mean Anything / Paper Diamond

Classic Yellow - Mondays Don't Mean Anything - Paper Diamond
Photo: Yasmin Sodeau

Info: By far one of my favourite Irish bands of 2018, Dublin's Classic Yellow are expert at making classic (yes) 60's and 70's bop-rock sound like it should in the 21st century. Previous EP Ophelia and double A-Side 'His Master's Voice' / 'Cheese From Wisconsin' are both delicious and should be checked out if you haven't heard em yet.

New double A-side 'Mondays Don't Mean Anything' / 'Paper Diamond' is a simply delightful addition to their thus far small discography. Interestingly the vocal has a very Britpop hue, a little bit Jarvis Cocker, a little bit Damon Albarn early-Blur phase. However, musically, it's old school credentials are on both sleeves. Par example, the guitar riff at 2:02 on 'Mondays Don't Mean Anything' has a solid psych-rock character, as does the mini whammy that follows it, Electric Prunes and Strawberry Alarm Clock spring to mind, but emphasis is on the contemporary veneer the band have placed on their sound. 

'Paper Diamond' is slick AF, a dirty, caustic and delightfully sleazy chunk of garage-tinged blues-rock, the bass here is fucking amazing, and the guitar solo between 1:30 and 1:37 has Funkadelic's Maggot Brain written all over it, in particular track 'Super Stupid' from the 1971 LP. Classic Yellow then pop out the kaleidoscope and takes us through a whirl of prog-sounding escapism, and once again, the lead guitar provides such a pleasurable blues-rock jam. I think that despite my inherent bias towards their sound(s) which come from the same place as my bread and butter favourite musical era, that Classic Yellow are beyond an 'homage' band to old world sounds and could justifiably swallow up a large number of new fans should they get the publicity they deserve. 

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