Monday, 13 May 2019

Irish Playlist #057: Nix Moon, Cinema, Nealo w. God Knows, Trick Mist, Patricia Lalor & more

Nix Moon - Ceremony
Nix Moon - Photo: Curtis Morris

I've been away from home the last three weekends in a row, this is when I usually have time to catch up on reviews, so the latest Irish playlist is a bit of a bumper affair featuring 21 tracks which were released over the last few weeks, plenty to dip your wee ears into, lots of wonderful variety and then some! I recommend shuffle play, because there is no hierarchy of talent on this playlist.

1) Nix Moon - 'Ceremony'

One of the finest acts to emerge from Dundalk over the last number of years, Nix Moon share their latest single 'Ceremony' which will feature on their debut LP which is due for release later this year. Drawing on the best elements of 60's psychedelic folk-rock, trippy kaleidoscopic vibes wash over everything like a golden summer stream, a gorgeous aural balm.

2) Cinema - 'Temptation'

Peter Fleming aka Cinema released new single 'Temptation' with an accompanying video on the 2nd of May which he shot himself. A huge success on streaming platform SoundCloud over the last four years, his individualistic brand of lush ambient electronic music has amassed tens of thousands of streams. 'Temptation' is, to my ears, absolute heaven, disarmingly chill and subtly upbeat, Fleming masterfully melds old-school trip-hop with a contemporary flourish.

3) Nealo feat. God Knows - 'Questions'

I'm a late-comer to the music of Nealo who I caught live for the first time a number of weeks ago at Molly Sterling's headline show in Whelan's. The jazzy backdrop glistens with retro 70's funk and keys, Nealo's vocal is smooth and the best kind of nonchalant and despondent, and when Rusangano Family's God Knows joins the fray he balances that mood with more assertive tones, it's a doozy of a track from the pair.

4) Trick Mist - 'Scribble'

Cork-based experimental electronic artist Trick Mist has been such a musical gift to me over the last number of years, few acts have progressed their sound with such rapid pace, I'm still getting my head around last year's debut LP Both Ends. 'Scribble' is another leap forward, Gavin Murray's imagination and desire to dig deeper into his creative well and push himself is admirable. The track is dark, textbook hypnotic, and powerfully pushes the listener to expand their own boundaries.

5) Patricia Lalor - 'Anymore'

It's astounding to me that Wexford indie-pop / jazz tinged act Patricia Lalor is a mere 13 years of age, her single 'Anymore' was released last month, and it's so easy on the ear, with its greatest strength emanating from her smooth and endearing vocal delivery. She has already received high-praise from Hozier for her cover of his track 'Cherry Wine' and amassed over 100k views of another cover of Mac DeMarco's 'My Kind of Woman'. This is a classic but rare case of a huge talent that can go anywhere over the next number of years is she is already writing songs of this quality.

Patricial Lalor - Anymore
Patricia Lalor

6) Adam Garrett - 'On / Off'

Kildare act (now Dublin-based) Adam Garrett's debut single 'On / Off' can be summed up in two words, disco chic. Sultry keys, bass and an amorous beat wrap their arms around this retro 70's zinger.

7) Caleb & Walshy - 'Terminal 27' 

South East London and Dublin hip-hop producers Caleb & Walshy shared latest single 'Terminal 27' a few weeks ago. The musical canvas reminds me of the jazzy movements of St. Germain's Tourist album, but with a heavy dollop of enjoyable retro disco glimmer.

8) BODIES - 'Roses'

David Anthony McGeown, aka BODIES released a compilation album of covers and new original material titled Glue a few weeks ago, and it's quite different to the wonderful debut album Drench he released last year. 'Roses' is far more upbeat and groove-laden to what we have become accustomed to from BODIES to date. Sleepy bass-lines and percussion set the scene on what is a very disarming and at times haunting piece of beauty that arches into bright and hopeful territories in its latter stages.

BODIES - Roses - Glue

9) VIDEO BLUE - 'Guts'

The third Dundalk act to feature on our playlist, U.K.-based Jim O'Donoghue Martin is another act who seems to be effortlessly able to blow apart boundaries in his song-writing. A master at connecting indie-pop with the most colourful and uplifting electronic palette, 'Guts' tempers its brevity with a calmly emotive and morose vocal by VIDEO BLUE.

10) The Vercettis - 'Cradula'

Cork-based The Vercettis have dropped their third single, 'Cradula' recently, from their forthcoming EP (due 17th May), based on the pov of vampire Cradula, and self-described as a sleazy alt-rock number with hip-hop influences, it has one of the most surprisingly and brilliant twists at its half-way point. A ska-heavy affair that bursts from it's lumbering tempo into an all-out blues-funk guitar jam, I am in love with every second of this track.

11) In Their Thousands - 'Water'

Donegal indie-rock outfit In Their Thousands are set to share their debut album Arcasia with a launch at The Grand Social this coming Friday. The most recent single 'Water' confirms their well-earned praise from the likes of Hot Press and The Last Mixed Tape. Their control of mood and emotion in their song-writing coupled with the broad atmospheric horizons they paint on this single indicate we could be sitting on an Irish album of the year.

'Arcasia', the title-track from In Their Thousands' forthcoming debut album

12) THUMPER - 'In My Room'

My favourite noise-makers of the last number of years, THUMPER released latest single 'In My Room' last month, a delightful slice of thrashing guitar-pop with little strands of Weezer-esque be-bops and rhythm. Retaining their trademark caustic distortion, the group do shed just the slightest amount of the dizzying wall of sonic mayhem as they proffer a more pop-focused sound. Their best single in my opinion from the last 12 months.

13) Ghostking is Dead - 'Deflector'

The freshest sound-maker to emerge from Cork recently, Ghostking is Dead's sound is already becoming recognisable as his very own. 'Deflector' is a devilishly entertaining hybrid of electro-funk and dark-wave electronica, bubbling with a vibrancy that is notably different to his immense 2018 EP This is Doubt. It's a word I have used extremely sparsely over the years, but there's a definitive genius to the music Matt Corrigan is making right now.

14) A. Smyth - 'She Kicks'

Ahead of the release of his debut album later this year, alt-pop act A. Smyth shared latest single 'She Kicks' on the 1st of May. His metamorphosis from indie-rock band member at the beginning of his musical journey to solo act continues apace, an homage to the women who continue to break down barriers, the Bruce Springsteen-inspired track grows rapidly on you after only a few listens.

15) ELKAE - 'I Feel'

'I Feel' is only the second single from Dublin electro-pop artist ELKAE, but she is already making a big name for herself among her peers. Her debut single 'Sold' received airplay on all of the major Irish radio stations, and she was in the Top 10 of IMRO's 2018 Songwriting Competition, and now a slew of major Irish festival performances await. The track is a fusion of classic 80's synth with modern escapist downtempo dance notes littered throughout, this is a really nice and addictive little pop pill from Laura Keane.

ELKAE - I Feel

16) Ferals - 'TwentySevenOne'

Continuing the line of brash and hard-rock that Ulster has gratefully flown the flag of over the last few years in Ireland, Belfast post-rock outfit Ferals released latest single 'TwentySevenOne' at the end of April. A really fine homage to the golden 90's era of the genre (a little bit Idlewild 100 Broken Windows album) there is a very endearing bedroom-DIY rock feel to the crunching guitars, bad-ass bass and drums. Stop-start motion and rhythm abounds and a superb vocal from Shane acts like the anchor in the storm, this is by far their best single that they have shared to date.

17) Rêves - 'Short Dress'

Dublin indie-pop band Rêves (dreams) fucking kill it on new single 'Short Dress', this is like a synth version of an Old Hannah track, you can take it two ways, float away with the fun vibes, or slip underneath and let the deeply understated and almost unnoticeable melancholy of the vocal and lyrics grip you in another manner. An emotional dance-floor filler with great depth on a number of levels.

18) Shrug Life - '2009'

If I may blow my own trumpet a little here, one of my favourite song descriptors that I ever wrote was about Shrug Life's 2016 single 'Marvin Gaye' which went; "This is how I'd imagine Weezer and Morrissey combining after the The Smiths frontman finally found his bag of Xanax which he misplaced back in '83." '2009' drops Weezer but still has that Morrissey tint courtesy of lead singer Danny Carroll's personality-filled vocal. A joyous swarm of anarchic drums and guitar riffage, if you don't like this song, even if Dua Lipa or Michael Bublé are your normal bag, I think you are going to live a very unfulfilled life.

19) Paj - 'Yemanja'

Following debut single 'Friends Confused' shooting its way onto the 'Breath of Fresh Éire' Spotify playlist, Paj drops the outrageously funk-laden follow-up 'Yemanja' without delay. Dubliner Paddy Groenland is immersed in world music, which soaks into every pore of this track, an ode to the Afro-Brazilian sea goddess of the song's title. Loosely it reminds me of The Isley Brothers, The Meters and a lil bit of Sly & The Family Stone, but lathered with a culturally diverse veneer. One of the most heart-wrenching soul vocals in Ireland obviously adds infinitely to the supreme pleasure of his music.

20) Tanjier - 'Days'

Tanjier push themselves further into well-produced haute-pop commercial enclaves with latest track 'Days'. It's a bone-fide top-down sunshine state three-minutes plus road trip that hits our ears just in time for (the Irish) summer. Whilst my inner-hipster tells me "I preferred their earlier stuff, maaaaan" one of the hardest-working Dublin-based bands are so deserving of a wider audience and bigger stages.

21) Danny G & The Major 7ths - 'Believing'

Danny Groenland, yes, you guessed it! Brother of above soul-brother Paj (side note: I envy how handsome those two dudes are), was one of the first Irish acts I saw live when I started the blog, and I'm pretty sure the first musician to invite me to a live show back in October 2014 in The Grand Social. Anyway, the music, 'Believing' literally sings to me, if in an alternative universe I could only listen to three genres of music for the rest of my life they'd be rock, blues and soul. Danny G has an almost scientific ability to deliver the smoothest and most velvetine soul sound, this man knows his shit when it comes to honouring the genre in the most respectful and brilliant way. 

At 1:16 when the flute and singer Gráinne McCarthy enters proceedings the banger starts to bang bang bang. The track is an antidote to sadness, melancholy and dark personal times, music is a drug that remedies so many ailments, and you'll spend days, weeks and months trying to find a better prescription than 'Believing'.

Danny G & The Major 7ths - Believing
One night in 2014, Danny G & The Major 7ths @ The Grand Social.