Saturday, 20 April 2019

Irish Playlist #056: Lux Alma, Daniel John Paxton, Sprints, In Their Thousands, RUNAH & more

Lux Alma - The Visit

Above and below are a selection of Irish singles which were released in the last week or so that I have taken much enjoyment from. Familiar faces, debut singles, blasts from the past! I hope you enjoy too.

1) Lux Alma - 'The Visit'

Alma Kelliher, aka Lux Alma continues to experiment with varying soundscapes, with previous singles such as 'The Tomb' incorporating a deep electronic sound, now on 'The Visit' the focus is more on the ambient and mystical. Like an ancient Irish pagan incantation spoken in the dark forest, it's a celestial experience, culminating in the sky above opening to reveal the secrets of the universe.

2) Daniel John Paxton - 'Meadows'

I've been surprised at how quickly Daniel John Paxton has found his own groove since going solo, with 'Meadows' only the second release, it feels like he's settled in with great ease. The track is a very bright sliver of indietronica, the pensive beat and soaring sound effects accompanying his emotive vocal make for a most enjoyable and wholesome listening experience.

3) Sprints - 'Pathetic'

YAWSS!! I was real excited to hear that Sprints were emerging from the ashes of  Kevyn, and their debut single 'Pathetic' is a no holes barred scything rock blow out. Savage guitar riffage which harks back to the golden age of the 70's and assertive vox / lyrics are the perfect launch-pad back into the Irish music consciousness. Fans of Bitch Falcon will enjoy this very much. Their single launch party is tonight in The Sound House on Eden Quay.

Sprints - Pathetic
4) In Their Thousands - 'Sit and Breathe'

It's nice not to have to show personal bias towards a band from Donegal, In Their Thousands' new single 'Sit and Breathe' is a powerful statement of intent ahead of the release of their debut album ACRASIA which is released next month. A trundling indie-pop tunnel of muted guitars, slick percussion and wonderfully energising and impassioned vocals, with the briefest soft passages. Though stylistically very different, I would predict that their debut album will sit very favourably with music critics in the same was as We Cut Corners' Impostors LP did in 2018.  

5) RUNAH - 'Strange'

The final single to be released before the release of her album of the same name next month, 'Strange' is RUNAH's best to date. From that skulking soft bass intro to RUNAH's as always crisp vocal, the track breaks into a funky groover with buzzing electronic effects. I love how her vocal controls and directs the rhythm and motion of the song, there's a lot going on, throw in the bongo effect and lethargic pace and you have a track that mixes chilled-out passages with wonderful confidence.

RUNAH - Strange
RUNAH - Photo: The Rose Mill

6) Lady Landscape - 'Kitsilano'

Meath-based indie-pop quintet Lady Landscape released their debut single 'Kitsilano' (a neighbourhood in Vancouver, Canada where one of their founding members resided for some time). First off this tickles much of my indie-inklings from over the last 15 years, a warm indie glow shrouds everything that is accentuated by the inconsolable vocals. I love music that casually expresses an apathy with its subject matter (in this case an aversion to dating!), and here Lady Landscape nail that mood. The happy tempo of the music clashes with the vocal, and this conjures up pictures of a broken character lost in a crowded street who just wants everything to go way. 

7) The Late David Turpin - 'Unsolved Mystery'

Rest my weary head, and take away all my troubles. The music of The Late David Turpin thankfully came into my life recently with his last single 'Concubine' feat. Elephant. 'Unsolved Mystery' doesn't ask you to be, or feel any way, but without choice you experience beauty in its sheerest form, an embrace of the ears that is simply stunning, few people can write music and compositions such as this, and the vocal of jazz-singer Jaime Nanci wandering in the background just pushes it over into genius territory, an artist that must be cherished.

Unsolved Mystery - The Late David Turpin
The Late David Turpin - Photo: Ruth Medjber

8) A Scene From Jaws - 'Keep Calm and Carry On'

Cork natives and now Berlin-based, film graduate Declan Hyland and Kay Finan released third single 'Keep Calm and Carry On' this weekend. Lots of interesting things happening here, firstly their vocals strangely sound like a cross-over between choir and contemporary folk, secondly the gear shifts between twinkling tender music and (not too much) in your face bursts of energy are a tight and invigorating experience. I talk a lot about builds and crescendos in songs, but, here you go, this is the thing!

9) Skins F.C. - 'Flash Photography'

Over the last few years all the talk from Louth has been about Dundalk acts, you know who they are! But Drogheda, whilst not pumping out the volume of music just yet, can be overlooked. Local act Skins F.C. released their debut single 'Flash Photography' on the 5th of April and at just under two minutes in length, it achieves its objective of screaming for the attention of your ears. Rapid guitar riffs, chunky bass-lines, rapid-percussion, these are all fine, but need to be combined coherently, which Skins F.C. manage. It's punky, rollicking, angry and fluid, it's early doors, but it seems like they're getting their ducks in a row in the right way.

Skins FC - Flash Photography

10) Sarah Buckley - 'Wedding Bells'

Cork singer-songwriter, now Dublin-based, Sarah Buckley has taken the road less travelled of Robert Frost's poem. Starting out a number of years ago, life took hold as it often (always) does with independent artists, career stymies time to create art. Lately she has re-emerged, and is writing music that matches the desire to pursue it full-time. 'Wedding Bells' is emotion-heavy, filled with optimism and regret, and deeply personal. Hopes and dreams shattered in the most cruel manner, her vocal calmly tells the story without trying to influence the listener. It's a beautiful dirge steeped in the traditional folk story-telling of generations past, and her vocal at track's end is a haunting moment.