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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Premiere: FIELDS - 'Get Worse' - Live in Hellfire Studio

FIELDS - Get Worse - Live at Hellfire Studio

Info: REMY is really delighted to share an exclusive first look at the live video from Dublin-based alternative rock quartet FIELDS performing their latest single 'Get Worse' during a time-out from recording at Hellfire Studio. It's a beautiful rendition of the single, serving up that solemn beauty we mentioned in a review of the track back in September upon its release. As an aside, a very poignant moment occurs towards the end around the 5:03 mark, with all four band members fully connected in harmonies, something wonderful to have captured on video, a snapshot of FIELDS totally immersed in their music and evidence of a strong bond as a group with musical fire in their collective bellies. 

You can catch FIELDS this coming Friday, 16th of November, on the main stage at Whelan's with support from Ivan Nicolas and Nimbu$, event info here

Single: Durty Mick - Beige Slave

Durty Mick - Beige Slave

Durty Mick - 'Beige Slave'

Info: Kildare DIY act Durty Mick (Owen Murphy) has shared a new track, 'Beige Slave', from the four walls of his bedroom, armed with an acoustic guitar, microphone and laptop. I'm quite impressed with how well-produced the track is under such confines, the right amount of home brewed sound without sounding too rough around the edges. The little hiss, reverb and slight mono sound to the keys are all essential ingredients to make the track stand out for me personally. There's a lot of from the ground up creativity going on too, and the chilled out rhythm and flow are pleasing. The biggest boon however is Murphy's tired and despondent vocal tone accompanied by really lovely lyrics, everyday observations delivered in the best kind of story-telling manner. There's a new album on the way soon and it will be interesting to hear how a full collection of songs coming from the same place as 'Beige Slave' come across as a whole. Thumbs up.

Also check out the excellent 'The Degenerate Manifesto' by Durty Mick

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Photos: Natalie Prass @ The Workman's Club, Dublin - 6th November

Natalie Prass - Remy Connolly - The Workman's Club - Dublin

All photos: Remy Connolly

(Click on first image to begin slideshow on desktop / PC)

Info: On Tuesday night Richmond, Virginia singer-songwriter Natalie Prass graced the main stage at The Workman's Club as part of her worldwide tour for sophomore album, The Future and The Past, which was released in June of this year. Support on the evening came courtesy of North Carolina folk-rock artist H.C. McEntire, for whom's full set you could hear a pin drop. 

Prass and her band's performance for the sold out show was insanely good, there was funk, synths, rock, electro-pop moments and intense, bare moments, in particular when the band left the stage for Prass to perform 'Far From You' solo on the keyboard. It was sheer magic, and a step deep into the past, the rare live music moment when your heart snaps in two, the vocal was outstanding in its humble power and beauty. 

There was no doubt in my mind we were in the presence of an artist who is set to become iconic, in the same way the likes of John Grant and Annie Clark have over the past 6-7 years. For 2018, it was easily the most mesmeric show I've been to, and when I left to go home I promised myself I would never miss any show Natalie Prass performed in Ireland in the future, it will be easy to keep.


H.C. McEntire