Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Single: ELKIN - Green Eyes

ELKIN - Green Eyes
Photo: Zoë Holman

ELKIN's 2018 debut EP Bad Habits was a bright and optimistic folk-rock (with a dash of pop) affair. The openness to trying different styles was already evident however on single 'She Hated Love Songs II', the duo's 2017 collaboration with Tebi Rex. Ellen O'Mahony and Carla Ryan's first release of the year, single 'Green Eyes', appears to signal a very determined new direction though, very different to anything they have written so far. The hook lands instantly with the muted yet vibrant guitar opening which gives a grooving rhythm backdrop to their harmonies. 

What impresses most here and strikes you straight away is how self-assured the music and sound delivery is, in a nutshell it's a fabulous piece of rn'b-tinged contemporary pop, easily able to go toe to toe with more established Irish (and indeed international) acts who reside in this particular sonic space. Still retaining the positivity of their earlier music, but with a little polish of despondency, 'Green Eyes' is a bold step into new territory for ELKIN. The wonderful thing is, they can delve deeper into this new groove, but also marry it with the sound they gave us on their debut EP. Plenty of options, and plenty to keep us guessing as to which ELKIN might show up next.

'Green Eyes' is now streaming on all major platforms including Spotify;

Friday, 22 February 2019

Single: Molly Sterling - Feeble

Molly Sterling - Feeble
Photo: Alex Foster

In the notes that accompany the third single, 'Feeble', by Molly Sterling, the theme of the song is summarised as; "exploring the process of accepting your own weakness and wildness; and allowing both to exist together." I really like this idea, (well, it's more of a reality), the cross-over between the two, wildness can be mostly a good thing, but sometimes it comes with a price, another view would be that others may see our wild streak as a weakness, purely based on their own perceptions and worldview, when in fact, it's our greatest strength. 

Weakness on the other hand is a much vaguer human trait to identify, by ourselves and others. We all live in denial of our weaknesses, particularly if we fall short in ways which are upheld as markers of success and status. From a personal perspective, I acknowledge a lot of my own excesses are borne from weakness, rather than struggle endlessly internally, I have to share a space. As Sterling alludes to, you need to build a friendship between the two before you can step onto some back-alley to 'happiness'. 

The haunt of cello, an ancient pagan incantation, light-touch keys. Sterling's already traditional bare yet achingly beautiful sound unfurls. On very few occasions can you come across a piece of music that is so verbally bursting with great hope, but has sheer sadness and melancholy for company musically. On first listen I expected this method to continue to track's end, swinging gently between powerful vocal solos and soft instrumental drops. Half-way through though, a strident determination and defiance encompasses everything, a magnificent explosion of spine-tingling release is brewing. The precise moment of euphoria occurs on the half-second between 3:33 & 3:34, boom, bye bye hope, hello greatness. I'll never forget how Sterling's 2017 debut 'Plain Static' carved up the inside of my head for so long afterwards, 'Feeble' however, shoots this star far beyond that place. 

'Feeble' was released today and is now available to download and stream on all popular platforms. Molly Sterling's debut headline show in Whelan's on the 22nd of March is sold out.

Irish Playlist #050: Jake Regan, Active, PEACHFACE, Sick Love, Arthur Valentine & more

Jake Regan - Over It
Photo: Helton Nobrega

It's a tired old joke but I can't stop, there's been another big batch of quality Irish singles released over the last week (in particular today - 8 of the above in fact) so on REMY's latest independent Irish playlist we go to...11 *cringe*. One of my New Years resolutions was to move Irish playlists from weekly to fortnightly, it just hasn't been possible, and at the end of the day I'm pleased that this particular resolution has gone flying out the window. The opposite terrifies me.

1) Jake Regan - 'Over It'

At the very beginning of this blog malarky, one of my first loves was Dublin band Segrasso, incredible live and recorded, I was devo when they called it a day. That's why I was very excited to hear frontman Jake Regan has returned with solo material, and his first offering 'Over It' does not require rose-tinted glasses, it's a beaut. Moody, despondent slacker-rock intro which jams in a left-hook on the minute mark, little quiet breaks trickle down the crevices of fuzzy guitars and monotone, ponderous vox. The track could have ended a 3:30 and I'd have been more than happy, however a wonderful shift in tempo and tone pushes towards a bubbling indie-pop finale. There's noise in dem there hills.

2) Active - 'I Never Die'

Polish-born 18-year-old producer and rap act Active (Max Skiba) from Monaghan released his debut EP Youth earlier this year. 'I Never Die' was released as a single just yesterday and I'm fully down with the relentless cycle of traditional hip-hop beats, lyrical delivery and impressive production. Long time readers will know I am loathe to mention age when discussing music, but if this is what Active can serve up at this age it's virtually impossible to not envision a long and successful music career ahead of him.

3) PEACHFACE - 'Killing Kind of Love' 

PEACHFACE released their dreamp-pop debut single 'You Never Saw Me Dance' earlier this year, new single 'Killing Kind of Love' has a little bit of a grittier edge electronically, but also is refreshing in the sense that they aren't settling on a static sound. There's already a wide spectrum of potential avenues for them to explore, from 'back in the day' retro-synth to contemporary dream-pop. I can't recall if I mentioned it previously (I did, just checked), but again that little tingle of Belle & Sebastian tickles my ear despite being stylistically very different. One of the best acts to emerge so far this year and ones to keep an eye on. 

4) SICK LOVE - 'Soccer Mom'

Dual-layered electric guitars, pounding drums and Rebecca Geary's forceful vocals provide a combination that is arresting and leaves the listener reeling from the frenetic pace and vibrancy on SICK LOVE's new single 'Soccer Mom'. This is how I'd imagine Yeah Yeah Yeah's if they went for a full on punk approach to their music, it's difficult to resist the sheer momentum of the song, but why would you want to in reality.

5) Arthur Valentine - 'Selfish'

Although I like quite a spread of different pop styles, 'Selfish', the debut single from the pop project of Cork's Arthur Valentine brings more to the table than most. Jazzy guitar-picking, different vocal styles across the track (soul, rn'b, blues and pop), and an undeniable level of smooth, if you want / need to unplug yourself from the Matrix, this is the only track you'll need.

6) Rebekah Fitch - 'Poison'

Ahead of the April release of her sophomore EP, Northern Irish alt-pop act Rebekah Fitch shares new single 'Poison' today. Fitch swirls from grandiose Florence-esque moments, to the knowing sass of Lady GaGa in this call to action track which challenges the listener to withdraw themselves from the incessant demands of commercialism and the creation of false identities. It's uplifting, feverishly powerful pop with lots of lovely break-neck synth wobbles thrown in for good measure. 

Rebekah Fitch - Poison
Rebekah Fitch

7) The Wha - 'Innocents'

With three band members still in secondary school (I did the age thing again), Kilkenny-based act The Wha shared debut single 'Innocents' last week. Impressive lines such as; "You call it national pride, I call it genocide" combined with an uncanny awareness of well-structured punk song-writing (The Clash - 'Spanish Bombs') marks them out as a promising young act we will see more and more of over the next 1-2 years.

8) Tara Tine - 'The Night Was Cold' 

A menacing bass and drum-beat introduce Dundalk artist Tara Tine's new single 'The Night Was Cold' from forthcoming EP Battle Cry. An Americana folk-rock hue pervades, Tine does an excellent job of carving a tribal and ancient ceremonial atmosphere through sound to make the track truly stand out. The hidden First Aid Kit collab. with Bob Dylan on Oh Mercy ('What Was It You Wanted' - alternative version!).

9) David Boland - 'You Go'

A few 'mood octaves' up from Sufjan Stevens (not hard to be fair! Poor old SS), Wicklow singer-songwriter David Boland has done everything right in my book on his debut single 'You Go', 'a joyful summation of the pitfalls of 21st century romance' in his own words. I love the balance between happy / sad here, a tricky tightrope to traverse, the chorus is simple, but it's how it's lifted up from between the verses that impresses most as the track unfolds. In addition, the tone of Boland's voice is perfect for the feeling he looks to share with the listener.

10) Darce - 'Snapbacks'

Making big inroads in 2018, Cork act Darce opens up 2019 with his first single of the year in the shape of 'Snapbacks'. This is my "sunny L.A. cruising with the top down" jam (never been to L.A. and can't drive btw). To date one of the most appealing aspects of Darce's music is that he stays chill, avoids being musically brash and resists using too much Pledge on that production. It's also a world away from previous single 'Enlightened' which was more ethereal electro-pop vibe, no one trick ponies here. 

11) Pretty Happy - 'Mr. Crabs'

Staying in Cork, we have a new single from indie / post-punk band Pretty Happy in the form of 'Mr. Crabs'. Unless it's buried in subtle lyrical metaphors, not based on what one might presume. The rollicking punk rhythm is strong in this one, shouted harmonies and sinister theatrical interludes all combine for a truly bone fide raw punk-rock personality to the music of Pretty Happy.

Pretty Happy - Mr. Crabs
Pretty Happy

News: Backroad Smokers Club Announce April Irish Tour

Backroad Smokers Club - Irish Tour 2019

Waterford funk / psychedelic / rock and whatever else you're havin' troupe Backroad Smokers Club have announced four back to back Irish dates for April. Starting in Pharmacia (Limerick) on the 4th, followed by (in order) Pot Duggan's (Clare), Wigwam (Dublin) and The Poor Relation (Cork). 

Tickets went on sale yesterday via - note their Dublin show at WigWam as free entry. To purchase tickets for the other 3 shows, further info is here

Backroad Smokers Club - Irish Tour 2019

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Single: Paj - Friends Confused

Paj Groenland - Friends Confused
Photo: Rosa Groenland

With an Electric Picnic performance, Billy Idol and M People supports under his belt, Paj releases his debut single. A 'blue-eyed soul' singer from Dublin - formerly guitarist with Loah, Fehdah, and currently Ensemble Eriu. Out of hundreds of entrants, he was chosen by RTÉ 2FM to perform on their Play the Picnic stage at 2018’s Electric Picnic. His debut track 'Friends Confused' is a lush, lyrical take on a the confusing line between romance and the ‘friend zone’ on top of a laid-back, hip-hop beat.

Your instant impression listening to 'Friends Confused' by Paj is 'WUT?!', the sound is right in front of your nose, and everything is big. Super chill intro, then lovely keys, off-kilter percussion, a velveteen voice, plus the dreamiest of backing harmonies. George Benson's 'Breezin'' and D'Angelo's 'Lady' whipped into the blender and you might get an idea of what kind of soulful grooves you can expect. One of the great things about 'Friends Confused' is that you're kept guessing as to what's coming next, and there are many corners to turn on Paj's debut single, even in its final seconds he throws in an African-style harmony. A seamless move from the back to the front of the stage, and not too soon.

Video: Ruth Mac - Speed

Ruth Mac - Speed
Photo: Naomi Phillips

Galway-native, Berlin-based Ruth Mac released the music video for debut single, 'Speed' which was released last month.

Animated and directed by Adam Valentine Carr, the video is a multi-layered compilation of footage from Mac’s recent artist residency in Lisbon and loop illustrations animated by Carr. 

'Speed' is an eminently listenable slacker-rock ode to the act of compromise. Mac's swerving vocals spill lazily onto an infectious undercurrent of strutting guitar lines (lead from Oh Boland's Niall Murphy) and sunset choruses. A stream of thought that teases out the recognition of difference between two people and the place of compromise in close relationships.

In our review of 'Speed' last month we wrote: "...Ruth Mac produces a wonderful debut single in 'Speed', interestingly I can hear the continental indie-pop vibe permeate the entire track, from instrumentation to her highly pleasant on the ear vocal. It's perfectly chill and the antidote to a chaotic day, week, year, with Ruth Mac coming across as an established act who has been doing this for years."

News: Beirut announce first Irish shows in 7 years at Vicar Street

Beirut - Vicar Street

Selective Memory present Beirut live in Dublin for their first Irish Shows in 7 years at Vicar Street on 26 and 27 August 2019 as part of their Gallipoli European Tour. 

Tickets from €37.50 (additional charges may apply) go on general sale this Friday 22 February at 9am from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide and  Be the first to secure tickets for Beirut with Selective Memory’s exclusive pre-sale. Register for access now and don’t miss out on tickets at Pre-Sale is live from 10am on Thursday 21 February.

Zach Condon, the mastermind behind Beirut, released his fifth studio album Gallipoli on February 1st 2019. To celebrate the release, Beirut are currently touring headline shows throughout North America and Europe and today have just announced 2 highly anticipated shows at Dublin's Vicar Street this August 2019.

The 12-track Gallipoli started life in the winter of 2016, with Condon returning to his old Farfisa organ, the same one used to write the first two Beirut albums (2006’s Gulag Orkestar and the following year’s The Flying Club Cup). Following recording stints in New York and Berlin (where he now calls home), Condon settled in Sudestudio, a studio complex deep in rural Puglia, southern Italy. It was here that he rediscovered the old joys of music as a visceral experience which became the founding principle for Gallipoli.

Beirut - Vicar Street - Dublin Show

Premiere: Scally - Filthy Animal

Scally - Filthy Animal

REMY is delighted to premiere the latest single and music video from Mullingar rock n' roll aficionado Scally, 'Filthy Animal'. Directed by Karl O'Reilly of Bunsen Media, a scorned lover hunts our protagonist, taking him into the wilds, an appropriate location where the most primal and salacious desires are fulfilled unhindered, humorous and intense in equal measure. Musically Scally and band stick to the core basics of writing good rock music, heavy beat, over-arching electric guitar, catchy hooks, and punk-tinged vocals, residing somewhere in the middle-ground between a Deep Purple and Wolfmother rock blow-out.

'Filthy Animal' by Scally is officially released on the 28th of February - pre-save link below. Scally will also launch the single with a live headline show in his hometown at Smiddy's with support from Cork's The Slut Club on the 2nd of March.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

News: All Together Now Line-Up Update - Patti Smith, Father John Misty, Ólafur Arnalds, Hot Chip and more

ATN19 - Chapter Two - All Together Now 2019

All Together Now Festival have today announced a slew of acts which will perform at Curraghmore Estate in Waterford over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Irish acts include Lisa Hannigan & Stargaze, Little Green Cars, Fontaines D.C., The Murder Capital, Just Mustard, Pillow Queens and Junior Brother. Some seriously big hitters make up the international contingent, with The National previously announced as the headline act, we now have Patti Smith, Father John Misty, Hot Chip, Damon Albarn-fronted The Good, The Bad & The Queen as well as Ólafur Arnalds. More acts will be announced over the coming months to fill the 16 stages of the festival, but at this point already it's a really superb line-up from a festival that enjoyed huge success in its inaugural year only 6 months ago.

For festival info and tickets, visit the All Together Now website here

Note: Campervan tickets are now fully SOLD OUT and ATN is a strictly over 21's festival.

Photos: Just Mustard @ The Workman's Club - 16th February

JUst Mustard - Remy Connolly - The Workman's Club Dublin

Photos: Remy Connolly

(on desktop / laptop click on first photo above to start slideshow)

Last Saturday night Dundalk experimental noise-rock quintet Just Mustard played a sold out headline show in The Workman's Club with support from local Dublin act Tribal Dance. In a reverse of the classic Spinal Tap line; "The support were so bad the crowd were still booing when we came on", it was the first time in years that I have seen The Workman's Club packed before the support had even come on stage. Walking off Dame Street and down Parliament Street, coming up towards the venue I got a tingle I usually only get during or after a show. I've seen both bands live before, so in a relative sense knew what to expect. 

The difference for me tonight was a little voice piping up from my subconscious, no doubt influenced by Just Mustard's nomination for Irish Album of the Year at the Choice Prize for their debut LP Wednesday. Then there's the support slot at Malahide Castle, sharing a stage with The Cure, all coming together in the space of the last few months. Why does this matter going to a live show? To jump back to the voice in my head, it essentially said; "You do know what you are going into tonight don't you? You are going to see a band reaching the peak of their powers, these nights are rare, remember that". 

At times, which is human, you question why you do this music reviewing and gig attending lark apart from the obvious reasons, passion and enjoyment, sometimes your mind and heart desire more. Looking outward beyond your own personal viewpoint, it's important that the Irish music scene as a whole can consistently move to heights the music deserves. No more lamenting great Irish bands that didn't make a ripple overseas, no more woe is me, no more low expectations, contentment with circling the local bubble. There should be more and there has to be more. A big draw in catching emerging acts live is imagining them achieving these heights in the near future, willing it to happen, it doesn't happen often, but when it does there is a collective sense of the unrealistic suddenly becoming attainable. 

For me, Just Mustard summarise that scenario and feeling perfectly. As a massive fan of their music over the last number of years, I thought that their highly unique style and delivery would always have willing hearts and ears, but wondered was it too 'unpolished' for entry into the citadel of greatness, guarded by, for want of better terminology, the Music Establishment, oomph, very Orwellian! But Just Mustard didn't seem to give a shit about any of that, so why should the rest of us.

So anyway, I was going to a gig. Tribal Dance I had seen last year upstairs in Whelan's supporting Bicurious, the trio had a relatively short set due to time limitations, but made a big impact on me. The trio seem to perform like three separate acts on stage, each lost in their own world, yet simultaneously operating as a tight unit. It was great to catch a longer set this time around, but I wasn't expecting the action to be cranked up so considerably from my previous viewing. Front pair Stephen Dowling and Adam Smyth operate musically in tandem, but might as well have a screen dividing them on stage, little or no eye contact throughout their set, there's a job to be done, and it's going to be explosive. The pace was frenetic and they manically ran roughshod through each of their songs, half expecting a train to be overturned and hanging of the edge of the stage by the end of it. It was loud, measured and energised the audience perfectly for the arrival of the main act.

Tribal Dance - The Workman's Club - Remy Connolly
Adam Smyth of Tribal Dance

This was my sixth time seeing Just Mustard live, one thing guaranteed is gratification, everything else is on the table, but the distribution from the band is never the same. For a while now they have mastered transference from stage to audience, we pretty much know all of the music more or less at this point, the trick is co-opting those present, unbeknownst to themselves, into getting as close to the experience that Just Mustard want to create with their songs. It's a subliminal and almost cult-like enactment, each instrument a control mechanism, each band member pulling certain levers at exactly the right time. 

For most of the show movement is kept to a minimum, the less the audience are distracted by anything other than the music the quicker they will experience hypnosis. The mechanical drone and beat of the music repeats, like a swinging pocket watch, the audience swaying to the rhythm, suddenly out of nowhere the senses are violently jolted and the crowd are confronted with a nuclear amount of distortion, drum volleys and screamed vocals. Songs 'Curtains', 'Tainted' and 'Deaf' perhaps best reflecting same. In terms of senses it's alarming, like being woken from a deep sleep and immediately slapped in the face, sounds awful, but in fact, it's life-affirming, arriving to the venue dead inside, and leaving more than alive, a power that Just Mustard wield with ever greater majesty as time moves on.

Just Mustard - Remy Connolly

Monday, 18 February 2019

Single: Sara Ryan - Lost

Sara Ryan - Lost
Photo: Martin Blake

County Kildare and now Cork city resident, singer-songwriter Sara Ryan has today released a music video to accompany latest single 'Lost', taken from her debut 2018 EP, Glitter Skies. Ryan wrapped up 2018 with support slots for Mick Flannery and Jack L, and is currently working on her debut album release due this September.

In our previous review of Ryan's EP Glitter Skies, regarding new single 'Lost' we noted; Closing track 'Lost' has a magical and alluring twinkle in its eye, and now that it's clicked with my ear for possibly the third, brief time, it's worth mentioning there's a bit of TLC hovering ever so subtly in Ryan's vocal. As the song reaches its final third her vocal soars, and feels like it's in its most natural state...traversing between different vocal styles, jazz, soul, pop and rn'b is a credit to both Ryan's diversity and her dexterous intonation." 

EP: Lōwli - Feathers

Lōwli - Feathers
Photo: Olga Kuzmenko

Lōwli is Roisin Lowry, a musician and songwriter from Galway, Ireland. She creates a unique sound of ethereal vocal melodies, expressive lyrics & rich, orchestral textures.

Only two years into her solo project, she already has several notable shows under her belt, including performances at Sounds from a Safe Harbour and Whelan’s Ones to Watch. She has been listed as one to watch in 2018 by and Whelan’s and her music has received praise from various sources including The Irish Times.

Opening with its title-track, Feathers, the debut EP from Lōwli is a soothing collection of contemporary folk ballads for world-weary souls in need of balm. Retaining the contemplative demeanour of previous releases, 'Feathers' has an airy personality, a rhythmic melody that bounces us along with a controlled glee, like a flighty ball across its 3 minutes. 

'Fading' almost apologetically tugs at our sleeve, a twinkling old piano intro, Lowry channels a painful sense of melancholy through her gentle singing, it's a slow absorption which never fully clenches its grasp, letting go despondently by track's end, I'm glad that the easy choice of an optimistic crescendo is avoided. Closing track 'Colourless' finds Lōwli finally overcoming the weighty themes of Feathers, but only to a degree, it's a very enchanting dirge, deft strings and keys giving it a mythical old-world quality. 

The two defining qualities of Lōwli's song-writing for me are (a) the avoidance of clichéd song endings and (b) a genuine sense that she has written these songs to herself, not for herself, nor for others. Both leave a lasting impression of authenticity in how she delivers her craft, making Feathers an important first footprint on her musical journey.

Lōwli will launch debut EP Feathers at The Bello Bar this Saturday night, 23rd of February, with support from Laura Ryder Ampersand. Event info is here



Lowli - The Bello Bar

Premiere: JOOCE - Lazarus / Disarray

JOOCE - Lazarus - Disarray
Photo: Ellen Conn

REMY is delighted to premiere the double A-Side single 'Lazarus / Disarray' from Dublin duo JOOCE. With the band having gone through a significant line-up change and stripped down to two members in Sean Ryan (bass / vocals) and Edward O'Mahony (guitar / lead vox), the re-direction of their sound has been dramatic, unnoticeable from earlier releases.

The first notable characteristic of this new format is their inkling towards high-energy psychedelic rock, one foot firmly in the modern age, and the other (perhaps a toe) bound up in classic psych. It's an interesting mix, taking 'Lazarus' first, it has a very antipodean indie-rock sound, not to mention I can't shake Panda Bear when it comes to the vox on the tracks more trippy moments. As they drop tempo half-way through they are in grandiose David Gilmour guitar territory, loving the elongated guitar solo which grooves its way from the 2-minute mark onwards.

'Disarray' has the sweetest of alt-folk openings, if 'Lazarus' was solo Gilmour, 'Disarray' unashamedly brushes up against Floyd's Atom Heart Mother, think a less theatrical, but more vibrant take on 'Fat Old Sun'. These are mere touch points however, JOOCE making maximum use of their 6 minutes here, as the rhythm fully kicks in at 1:33 we set of on a mini psychedelic opus. Another shift at 3:38 and the pair suck you right down their kaleidoscopic rabbit hole, and it's these seamless changes of both sound and mood that make JOOCE v.2 a very exciting prospect. The musicianship is more than accomplished, and I would love a full LP of bizarre and unbridled psych-rock curios which disregard the rules, but flows as easy as these two tracks.

'Lazaraus / Disarray' by JOOCE is released today and will be available on all popular streaming platforms.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Irish Playlist #049: Royal Yellow, EHCO, Moylan, The Late David Turpin, RUNAH and more

Royal Yellow - Aruba
Photo: Niall O'Kelly Photography

Delicious. We have some absolutely gorgeous choons from a wide variety of genres and styles on REMY's latest independent Irish playlist, one I will be listening to a lot over the next while as a result.

1) Royal Yellow - 'Aruba'

The second single from Dublin-based multi-genre act and producer Royal Yellow, aka Mark O'Brien, 'Aruba' bursts into gloriously soul-jam flames instantly. Spreading his musical wings far wider than on previous single, the amazing 'Hazeldene', O'Brien masterfully sweeps us into the past. Soul-funk-pop-jazz o'rama, there's so much happening here. One minute I'm on the set of Gordon Parks Jnr.'s Super Fly, chillin' with Curtis in the sunshine, or is it Isaac Hayes' Shaft. Next I'm jungle boogeying with Kool & The Gang, and those orchestral waterfalls coupled by Royal Yellow's voice are an illegal level of blissful.

2) EHCO - 'Hunted'

With their fourth single, EHCO, led by Eoin Whitfield and fronted by Jessy Lord move firmly into the heat zone, they have truly found their groove now and taken it to another level. 'Hunted' has a life of its own, the movement of sound is so chill and all-encompassing that it takes control of your mind and switches every other sense off for its entire duration, incidentally, Lord has also become my favourite Irish vocalist in recent times. Not many acts are able to deliver such well executed escapism and such a spiritual drift in their music. That's 4 out of 4 for EHCO now.

EHCO - Hunted
Photo: Faye Bollard

3) Moylan - 'On the Right Side'

Dublin-based Waterford singer-songwriter Moylan released her second single 'On the Right Side' yesterday, the follow up to debut 'Naive'. Interestingly both tracks are markedly different, the former a more sombre and slightly country-folk affair, here Moylan opts for a more jazz-soul pop timbre. A lovely bass and brush on snare intro sets the floaty tone, as the song rises up Moylan's voice is used perfectly to relay her story in a restrained theatrical manner. A warm and highly enjoyable second offering ahead of her debut EP release in June.

4) The Late David Turpin - 'Concubine' feat. Elephant

Inspired by the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche, as well as the final lines of sci-fi classic Dune; "We who carry the name of concubine - history will call us wives.", the latest single from The Late David Turpin is taken from his soon to be released LP ROMANCES. It's hard to think of a more fitting word than ethereal when describing 'Concubine', the chorus of ghostly spectres flit in and out around Elephant's perfectly fitting vocal. The electro-jam is also rhythmically as sweet as they come.

5) BODIES - 'Slave'

Dublin's David Anthony McGeown (aka BODIES) shares the latest single from last year's excellent Drench album in 'Slave'. The track sees BODIES flip their characteristic slow build on its head and get straight down to business in an instantly gripping fashion. High tempo and tightly wound percussion charging through the track like a wild horse that won't be taken down. For all of the customary mood-based sounds, BODIES can slip into bombastic distortion and rock blow-outs at the drop of a hat as required. 

6) Hvmmingbyrd - 'Legacy'

Hvmmingbyrd deal with an interesting theme on their latest single 'Legacy', that part ego / part insecurity idea of leaving your imprint in a significant way before shuffling off your mortal coil. On the one hand you only get one shot, life after all, is not a dress rehearsal, the only show is happening right now! The duo allow the listener plenty of time to contemplate this concept, but also, if desired, slipping under a mesmeric rotation of sharp hypnotic electronic beats, shimmering synths and harmonies.

RUNAH - Ground
RUNAH - Photo: The Rose Mill

7) RUNAH - 'Ground'

One of the most unique artists to emerge last year, RUNAH released new single 'Ground' yesterday, a glimpse into her debut album Strange which is due on the 5th of May. Musically taking its cues from the baroque pop and blue-eyed soul of the likes of Dusty Springfield and Connie Francis, there is a sheer force of other-worldly power that emanates from RUNAH's voice, it's haunting, but not in an unsettling manner. When we enter her songs as guests, she leaves us in no doubt that she is the master of all before her, this is her kingdom, I look forward to exploring more of it when the album drops.

8) Sarah Buckley - 'You've Got Me'

With every listen I get more and more charmed by the debut single from Dublin-based singer-songwriter Sarah Buckley. The Cork musician has been active on the local live scene for some time and the long-awaited release of 'You've Got Me' has been well worth it. A verse that is all kinds of catchy, with bubbling melodies, suave electric guitar interludes, Buckley's inviting vocal performance, and a tongue-in-cheek look at the strange behaviours that can emerge with some romantic encounters make for a strong first outing.

9) Proper Micro NV - 'Salt'

From one of our favourite Irish albums of 2018, Dormant Boy, Limerick's Rory Hall, aka Proper Micro NV, shares the new music video for his single 'Salt'. The bass and pads are thick as a plank in the most energising way, Hall takes us into the deep house trance zone, a sound we previously described as reminiscent of heyday Commodore 64 glitches for the modern era. Tune in, and drop out.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

K-Fest Announce First Acts for 2019 June Bank Holiday Including Just Mustard, Pillow Queens, Molly Sterling, Wastefellow & more

K-Fest 2019 Festival - Just Mustard

Here is a sneak peak at K-FEST’s first round of music acts booked for this June Bank Holiday weekend. This multi-disciplined arts festival in Killorglin, Kerry is in its seventh year and as well as  thirty bands, singers and DJ’s in their town music venues, a DJ producer competition and classical music, there is also 100+ artists in pop-up galleries throughout the town, as well as spoken word, film, street and family events, rounded off by the much coveted Screaming Pope Prize for emerging artists.

This year you will see music from the likes of Just Mustard who are shortlisted for this years RTE Choice Music Prize, Irish indie/punk royalty Pillow Queens, new folk sensation Steo Wall and Dublin songstress Molly Sterling. As ever, K-FEST are putting emerging Irish music first and foremost on their schedule.

The acts announced are: Just Mustard, Pillow Queens, Josh Gray, Molly Sterling, Steo Wall, 1000 Beasts, Ardú, Josh Coakley, Bicurious, Ceschi, Cherym, Crook, Wastefellow, Deep Sky Objects, Kneecap, Post Punk Podge & The Technohippies, The Slut Club, Cooks But We’re Chefs and Mistrix.

Watch this space for further announcements and check out the festival on

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Single: Manyana - 1ofmy

Manyana - 1ofmy

Manyana is an art rock collaboration between Dublin duo Aran Sheehy and David O'Rourke, both of whom are currently in the process of putting the finishing touches to their debut album which is due for release later this year. 

Yesterday saw the release of the first single from the LP, track '1ofmy', lamenting piano keys drag their feet sluggishly across the floor, to scratching static the vocals come in, the pace is slow. A small increase in tempo hints that proceedings aren't going to follow this pattern indefinitely. In the final minute the piano becomes more alarmed and frenetic, an odd feel of panic strikes you, but the exit is as tender as the opening, electro-wobble warbling off into distant space. Without any sense (or need) of being catchy, '1ofmy' has a strange effect of sitting in your head for a good time afterwards, perhaps it's the consistent flow to the beat, the 'all is not well' vocal, who knows? A good opener that definitely sparks curiosity on what else they have under the hood.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Single: Constant Supply - The Misanthropic Phase

It doesn't happen regularly, maybe every 2-3 years, I hear a band for the first time, and low and behold, they've been writing music for quite some time, then I'm miffed that their music hasn't been more widespread. Anyway, Donegal band Constant Supply pose serious questions with their latest single, 'The Misanthropic Phase'. 

To dissect, it begins with a booming down-tempo drumbeat, the vox come in, are we in an unachievable melting pot of downtempo and baggy Manchester scene? Yes. This is actually happening. Orla Gircreest's looped vocal is a nailed on accompaniment to her saxophone playing in the final third. It's been a long time since I've come across a single, let alone a piece of music, that veers deliberately away from its core with such a shrug of the shoulders, the variety of movements between sounds here is beyond impressive.

'Capo' (2013)

Video: TOUCAN - Gold

TOUCAN - Gold - Video
Photo: Neil Dunne

Cork pop n' soul act TOUCAN shared the video for his (to date) magnus opum single 'Gold' this week, easily one of the best Irish singles of 2018; "Words like wildflowers, eyes like Casanova, you're a wildcard, no one truly knows ya..." Damn. This is absolutely a single that should be copied onto a 45, placed on a record player, held in hands. It's like a little drug this song, small addiction, permanently growing though, every time you listen it gets better, more powerful, and provokes submission in the listener. National Concert Hall shit right there, it will happen.

TOUCAN play Coughlan's in Cork on the 1st of March, The Islington, London on the 9th, and The Grand Social, Dublin, on the 23rd.

New Album Releases: February - International Teachers of Pop, Cass McCombs, Julia Jacklin, Tourist, Panda Bear & more

International Teachers of Pop
International Teachers of Pop

Momentum has certainly gathered pace as expected with new album releases for February vis-á-vis January's traditional quiet. A long-awaited sophomore solo album from Animal Collective's Panda Bear in Buoys, the follow up to my 2015 album of the year, Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper, came out on Friday. Syndey artist Julia Jacklin, who we had the pleasure of being introduced to by Australian radio DJ Mick Radojkovic back in 2016 when he shared a collection of rising Australian acts with us, will release her second LP, Crushing, on 22nd of February. Four of the ten acts on our playlist are brand new to my ears, Tourist, Girlpool, Methyl Ethel and International Teachers of Pop, the last of which I'm particularly smitten by instantly, not withstanding their wonderful play on Serge Gainsbourg's famous 1971 song title.

1st February:

Girpool - What Chaos Is Imaginary

Le Butcherettes - bi/MENTAL

Beirut - Gallipoli

8th February:

International Teachers of PopInternational Teachers of Pop

Cass McCombs - Tip Of The Sphere

Panda Bear - Buoys

15th February:

Ladytron - Ladytron

Methyl Ethel - Triage

Tourist - Everyday

22nd February:

Julia Jacklin - Crushing