Random Acts of Music #2 – A BBC 6 Music ‘Fluenced Playlist

Susanne Sundfør

In this second ed. of Random Acts of Music we’re taking our lead predominantly from serious music influencer and doyenne of experimental electronica and idiosyncrasy, the dulcet-toned MaryAnne Hobbs. To spice things up and keep it diverse, we’ve also lobbed in a few choice cuts from across the 6 Music Board.

Just in case you missed our first New Music Playlist #NMP, you can check it out later by clicking this link.

Today’s playlist is somewhat submerged in dense, dark soundscapes at points tinged with glistening moments of ethereal brightness. There’s an almost religious, definitely spiritual quality to some of the tracks; to counter the celestial and bring things back down to earth, we’ve included some extremely earthy and very meaty animalistic vibes.

Full Spotify playlist at the end of the post.

Photo : BBC 6 Music

Starting off the latest Recommends playlist is Aphex Twin with Umil 25-01, just one of a bunch of tracks the electronic Gandalf has uploaded out of the blue. Originally dropped as a bonus track to follow the release of ‘Orphaned Deejay Delek 2006-2008’, it’s a meandering snake of a tune peppered with sharp percussive hits. You’ll find this amongst others over on the Irish-born Englishman’s label home Warp.net. Check it out.

Walking a completely different sonic path is Berlin based musician Martyn Heyne whose magical guitar-work adorns expansive, visceral soundscapes.

Latest single Carry teases a new album due out later this year on the newly established 7k label. Speaking of his own personal interaction with music Martyn offers “For me the only way to discover something new in music is to listen without any preconceptions as to what it is. No expectations at all”. Sound advice.

August Rosenbaum is a Danish composer whose innovative compositions are currently taking music industry and media types, as well as fans by storm.  If music could be described as a luxuriously adorned celestially beauty, Credo is it. Or if you prefer your analogy a little more Italianate in a futuristic Renaissance kinda way – in the Dane’s own words – “Imagine an altar boy stepping forward to sing at an Italian church mass in 2050”.

Credo is Lifted from the August Rosenbaum album ‘Vista’ due out on November 24th on uber-hip, Danish independent record label Tambourhinoceros. If the two single releases provide a vista of what is yet to come on the full length, we can look forward to something pretty special! (Check out lead track Nebula – a ‘poignance’ of strings set afloat on a sea of all consuming darkness).

Another track that could easily have been recorded in the shadowy, nocturnal darkness of a marble-lined Gothic cathedral is Mountaineers, the Susanne Sundfør single featuring the illustrious John Grant. The Norwegian music artist recently signed to the Bella Union label for whom she’ll play an intimate album launch in London’s Courtyard Theatre on 22nd August (see poster for details).

Mountaineers is to music as Villette was to literature, and like the Bronte novella, there is something almost preternatural in its power.

It unfurls, largo, with Grant’s potent plain chant vocal lingering long on a brooding thrum, creating frissons of tension and mystery. Into Grant-created darkness comes the light of Sundfør’s magical vocal. Like a gentle hand soothing a troubled soul it adds an uplifting and bewitchingly ethereal texture as it majestically whips the melody up from Hades to Heaven.

Susanne Sundfør will be interviewed on Monday 14th August by Radcliffe and Maconie for 6 Music. Programme start time 1pm GMT. Her latest album Music for People in Trouble – from which Mountaineers is lifted – is due for release on 25th August. Susanne’s first on Bella Union, it is currently available to pre-order here

The MfPiT promotional tour kicks off in Helsinki on 12th September with a pitstop in London on 2nd October and one in Dublin five days later on 7th.

Speaking of heaven and higher highs, Midnight the new single from Jessie Ware, is a delicious R&B redemption from the Gothic froideur of its Playlist predecessor.

Earthy, sensual, seductive, its the perfect vehicle for Ware’s powerful honey-textured vocal. One minute it’s gliding recklessly over undulating synth lines, the next storming through a stomping piano riff, the temperature of Ware’s vocal matching the rising heat of the lyrics.

A taster of her as yet untitled upcoming album due later this year via PMR/Interscope, Midnight is an audacious ode to risqué love with a searingly hot, rhythmic pulse.

From hot blooded carnal pulses to ‘junglesque’, tribal ones. Listening to Pact Infernal‘s Purification is like crawling blindfold through a dark echo chamber surrounded by an invisible audience of strange sounds. The highly charged atmosphere is laced with intrigue, and shaded with a touch of terror reminiscent of ‘what danger’s lurking in the jungle?’ film-scenes.

Purification is the opening track on the duo’s debut ‘concept’ album Infernality which is on release via the Horo label and was “written to invoke a tribal ritual of the mind“. It’s deep … mineshaft deep.

Keeping the textures deep and immersive, we move onto Leaving the Park from Brookly-based Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never. Another tune from his score for the film GoodTime it’s due out on Warp on 11th August.

An intensity of frantic squiggles and streaks of noise rush through a booming darkness in a sound that strangely feels both expansive and claustrophobic.

It’s certainly immersive, drawing you into its spiralling galaxy. Innovative expression of chaotic emotion, Leaving the Park has a back to the future feel as it references Tangerine Dream in the most post-modern of ways.

American multi-instrumentalist wonder-woman Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has as fuller diary than most, with a prolonged stint of festival and island hopping pencilled in, starting with a slot at prestigious Øyafestivalen in Oslo on 11th August.

Finnish Flow Festival (try saying that with a mouthful of peanuts), plus dates in Sweden, France and Poland follow, as well as a mid-Winter gig in NYC that will see her showcase her upcoming album.

Kaitlyn played the Nils Frahm festival in London last year where per that flaxen mistress of the decks, she “enchanted the room“.  The inventive and far-seeing electro-experimenter continues to enchant with An Intention, the first taster of her new album entitled The Kid which is due out on 6th October.

There are similarities of sorts with Welshwoman Kelly Lee Owens – both artists push and stretch boundaries oft’ beyond their ‘comfort zone’; they both also favour a fusion of existential synths and breathy harmonies.

The apparent effortlessness of Smith’s art belies the perfectly arranged elements that furnish her imaginative electronic habitats.

Full details of her tour schedule and album release can be found on Smith’s website.

 

Four-piece Grizzly Bear who hail from Brooklyn, NYC, have just dropped single Neighbors taken from their upcoming album Painted Ruins which is due out on the Columbia label on 18th August.

When they finish live-love-bombing New York’s clubs, they’ll be hitting my home town, where they’ll pitch up at Vicar Street for a double date on 4th/5th October with Finn-Dane super-group Liima. UK and Euro dates follow – details on their FB page.

Photo Tom Hines

Possibly the most touchingly beautiful and warmly endearing song on this playlist, Neighbors is the fourth release from the bands first long player since their 2012 album Shields. It’s as mellow as the dawn glow with a caress more tender than a gentle breeze.

Blending swatches of folk, indie and electronic, the track flows across lines of heaving synth, warm-textured ‘horn’ samples and tight circular guitar riffs. The understated vocal complements the carefully produced union of organic and electronic.

You can watch the rather quirky but really entertaining visual accompaniment to Neighbors here.

For the next track, what we wanted to bring you and what we can bring you are unfortunately two different things. What we wanted to include here was the Andrea Belfi remix of the Dead Light track, Sleeper. However, as it’s currently unavailable in any format other than MP3, that isn’t a playlist runner.**

A huge favourite of Ms. Hobbs, drummer Belfi has re-imagined the short, soul-stirring Sleeper, weaving inspired rhythm patterns into its minimalist fabric.

Belfi’s percussive choreography is akin to expressionist or freeform dance. Vital, expressive, uninhibited and provocative – it enlivens and reshapes, bringing new textures to the surface of what already was an incredibly captivating composition. Bravissimo.

Sleeper (Andrea Belfi Remix) is one of four brand new mixes due out on 25th August on the Village Green label but can be pre-ordered here.

**On the playlist we’ve included Sleeper in its original format and an Andrea Belfi solo track, Lead (percussive shades of Sat in Your Lap).

The Spotify gods are not being kind to DervSwerve just now, as lo, we’ve been struck down with déja vu yet again, as the track we wanted to feature hasn’t been uploaded. No matter, we’ll pluck another from the heart of the Blondes catalogue.

Blondes are a two-piece based in NYC who are set to release Warmth their first album on the R&S label. The track we wanted to bring you was MRO* but the only track available to us just now is KDM, which at just under 6.50 is one helluva #tuunne.

Warmth Artwork

It’s the type of track where using the word trance would be apt as the groove is all rather heady and hypnotic. Pulsing rhythms beat into layer after layer of synth trance but it’s in the overall packaging that the genius lies.

There’s an underlying graininess and almost deliberately unpolished edgy rawness to their skilfully arranged, idiosyncratic production.

Warmth is due for release on 11th August but can be pre-ordered here.

*As of 11th August, MRO has been added onto the RAoM playlist

 

Our penultimate playlist entry is from an old hand under a new guise. Purl trading under the Illuvia moniker brings us the delicious Surrounded. To quote from his bandcamp page …

Music as a doorway to the Eternal – Welcome. My name is Ludvig Cimbrelius and I create music, endlessly … it is a language capable of expressing some of the vast depths of beauty that resides within us all.”

How absolutely wonderful is that?

Equally wonderful are the cool, clean lines of his self-released track Surrounded. Minimalist electronic breeze, piano notes in the form of Summer raindrops, and harmonies in the guise of spritely echoes.

It’s just all too gorgeous.

Illuvia is lifted from the album Eternell and you’ll find both over on bandcamp. Buy it and let your senses be beguiled!

..

Last but by now means least, easing us out is the fascinating Two Thousand and Seventeen from Four Tet.

On the wings of Kieran Hebdon this is an amuse bouche from his new album due out later this year on his own label Text Recordings.

It shimmers. It stuns. Precision fretwork of the most intoxicating kind is paired with laid back synth soundscapes to create something so unique that it defies categorisation. Which can only ever be a good thing.

Strings played in an elaborate Asian style are the gilt-edged bling to a paired-back electronic twilight, ornate decor melded with layers of grey.

With its exquisite guitar sequences, which are played with dexterity and flair, and backroom fodder synths, this is a track where melodrama is counterpointed by the most workaday of ‘backing tracks’. Simply perfect.

And a simply perfect ending to what’s been a pretty special playlist. To hear our regular Random & other playlists or to keep up with all the news and views follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or hop across to Spotify! DervSwerve

 

5 WEBSITE MISTAKES MUSICIANS NEED TO AVOID MAKING

As someone who has to trawl through seas of benign websites and whose inbox is chock full of links to less than user/reviewer/fan friendly websites, I feel it’s incumbent upon me to impart a few wise words on the topic of online plugging and the art of creating a snazzy website with on-point, well laid out, engaging content. In this part 1 of 2, I’ll outline the five most common mistakes musicians make with regard to their website.

Now some of you might point out that my own DervSwerve site isn’t exactly bells and whistles – but guys,  it doesn’t need to be. I am selling nothing but YOUR music. I’m not in this to earn a crust or flog any wares other than the musical ones submitted to me.

While many of you have built your own professional websites – some via home-DIY with the aid of YT videos, others with the help of web ninjas – having tech design tools, dev savvy and a relatively blank canvas are only the first step in creating a cracking website.

Design, lay-out, flow and content are key to building a website that will not just attract but win over potential fans, engage current fans, and impress industry gatekeepers.

Having had to cruise thousands of websites over the past two+ years, I’ve noticed the same issues time and time again. Here are some of the biggest web-related mistakes musicians make – mistakes that should be avoided at all costs.

NOT USING PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS

Cardinal sin number 1. When it comes to PR, online plugging and your website, we cannot over-emphasise the importance of using professional photos.

Professionally taken, clear, high-res images are your calling cards. They help create good first impressions on fans, as well as industry and media.

Badly cropped, low res, poorly lit or unfocussed images will hinder rather than help, creating negative rather than the desired positive brand awareness.

If you don’t believe us, just hop over to IG and see the difference in follows and likes on profiles that churn out high res, colour-pop, or imaginative high quality shots vs those that limply flick out uncentered, fuzzy, grainy shots, taken by the bessie on a S5 without any thought being put into them.

If you don’t take your image seriously, people won’t take your music seriously, fact.

Think we’re joking? When landing on any website for the first time, it’s the photos that are the headliners. Attention grabbers, images are what will give potential fans their first impression of you and your music.

Ensure your header and background images act the part and fit the bill. Always ensure your press pack or digital press kit if you prefer, contain variations of high-res images (at least one landscape image and nothing below 250 pixels or they won’t pull onto social media!).

NOT HAVING A MOBILE FRIENDLY SITE

Er? If not using professional photos is a cardinal sin, not having a site that’s mobile friendly is a mortal one. In today’s world of mobile and zing zing tech, musicians need a mobile-friendly website. It’s all about mobile digital media – if it don’t fit, the kids will swipe left!

Your mobile-centric site must:-

Load instantly, be easily navigated, and have clear content, accessible samples of your music and ‘buy now’ tools that are in perfect working order.

Fun Fact! Google-search punishes sites that aren’t mobile-friendly. So, if you want your band to achieve higher SEO search results than a similarly named brand of stain remover, get your mobile act together asap.

NOT KEEPING THE SITE REGULARLY UPDATED

If you go into a newsagents to score the latest editions of your favourite music mags only to find half-stocked shelves containing last month’s issues, there’s a strong chance you’ll leave, right?

Okay, so ditto when someone parachutes onto your site only to find a track released three years ago, a photo of the band aged 18 (you’re now 22) taken at a now defunct festival, and that the last ‘latest news’ is dated Jan 2016. What would you think? That the band has jacked it in? That they’re too lazy to be bothered to do some ‘social’ housekeeping?

The potential for negative impact here is greater when it comes to media and industry. It is a time-wasting pain in the ass for any reviewer, DJ or a.n.o industry professional to arrive at an artist’s website expecting to find bios, tour & ticket info, release dates etc, only to find dust-coated, stale news.

Always have your latest news clearly visible on the Homepage, via Blog, newsfeeds or otherwise.

Other features that should be updated regularly are events calendar, photos, videos, and your music, natch. Embedding social media feeds onto your website takes a lot of the pain out of site maintenance.

Even though other elements of the website may not be always totally up to date, at least people checking out your site will see that you’re still alive and kicking!

NOT ENOUGH MUSIC / NO DIRECT-TO-FAN PURCHASE OPTIONS

At the end of the day, the bottom line is that you are trying to sell your wares.

It’s all well and good having an “I want millions of people to hear my music” mission statement but bills have to be paid, the dog fed and guitar strings replaced. That takes money, so be practical.

The first place a discography of YOUR music should be found is on your OWN website. And a full one at that.

Fans should be able to land on your full music catalogue at the press of a tab. Offering up samples and then ushering them off to iTunes or Deezer is the commercial equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.

Have all your music available to stream. Offer ‘a free download when you sign up’ deal to bag email addresses that will help build your mailing list.

Vitally important for healthy coffers is the inclusion of direct-to-fan purchase options. These will ensure you retain most of the money (85% with Bandcamp), and again, allow you to gather valuable contact information that can be later used in marketing drives.

Once those elements are in place, you can then provide links to external online shopping options and streaming services.

Always bear in mind that despite the fact that they are selling your music, these 3rd party services will, for reasons of Data Protection, never share their customer details with you.

Invaluable opportunities to follow up directly with those fans about future albums, tours, or merch offerings will be lost at the click of a link.

NO MAILING LIST SIGN UP

Too often bands don’t have a mailing list sign up, or if they do, it’s lost in a jungle of content.

It’s imperative that your website has a sign up link (usually placed at the top right hand corner of the landing/homepage). Add in a short blurb or giveaway … “be sure to sign up for new of our upcoming tour/album etc” … “sign up now to get a free download link to our cover of XYZ” …

Why is it imperative?

Your mailing list is YOURS. It is your contact database, one you don’t have to share with anyone else.

Email marketing is 40 times more effective than the power of Facebook and Twitter combined (Mc Kinsey). So, if you want to sell your music, that merch, those gig tickets, you’ll reap more rewards with direct mail blasts than with endless repeat posts on social media.

“If email is not the biggest part of your social strategy, then you are giving the power of communication with your fans to companies who will gladly take them and whose advertisers will thank you to no end for providing them with eyeballs.”

In part two, we’ll bring you the Online Plugging Bible. Tune in next time! DervSwerve

Random Acts of Music – A BBC 6 Music ‘Fluenced Playlist

Starting today, we’re going to be bringing you a ‘playlist/new-music’ project that’s been on the bubble for some time.

As many of you would know, DervSwerve is involved with Tom Robinson’s Fresh on the Net new music support system and hub. This has led to relationships and inter-minglings with various BBC Introducing houses as well as the holy grail of the airwaves, 6 Music.

For some time now it has been our mission to operate in tandem with, as well as support those shows featuring new artists on both Intro and 6. We’ve already spun some Intro supported sounds here over the years, most recently in our Discover Brexit pieces. However, the time has now come to get into a proper Beeb groove and as of today, we’ll be bringing you playlists aligned to the Saturday night ‘Intro’ shows as well as 6 Music Recommends.

We’ll be taking our tips from the gurus over at BBC 6 Music as they pull together playlists sourced from all over the map geographically and sonically. Our Random Acts of Music will take in all the different flavours and tastes of 6 Music and BBC Intro DJs; music of every texture, colour and origin.

Everything in moderation being the DervSwerve motto, we’ve a little bit of everything in today’s #NMP, Random Acts of Music, which interestingly has quite the DIY bent to it as well as a more than mellow feel. Full Spotify playlist at the end of the post.

Kicking things off is Hollow Hand with their just released trippy-Kinksian single End to Everything. A quartet from Brighton, they released their debut album Ancestral Lands in 2015. Interestingly they like Wilson guitars and Liv Ullmann. Check out the groovy Medieval themed visual for their glorious, harmony-filled psych track here!

Californian Angelo de Augustine is up next with his DIY track Crazy Stoned & Gone lifted from his upcoming album Swim Inside The Moon which is due out on 18th August. The singer, who recently signed to the Sufjan Stevens label Asthmatic Kitty, recorded the album live in his house –  vocals and guitar were done in his bathroom, while the piano was recorded in the living room.

Speaking of the DIY recording de Augustine explained: The album was recorded live in the bath tub of my house using a 1970s four-track reel-to-reel tape machine, one SM57 microphone, and an old PA mixer. I positioned the microphone in such a way as to pick up the reverberations of my voice and guitar off of the walls of the tub. After the guitar and vocal performance was recorded, I would often in the same vein add piano, electric guitar, or synthesizer on top of the song.”

Swim Inside The Moon out 18th August is available to pre-order and music fans in the UK can expect to see AdeA take it live this November. One to watch much.

From Dyffryn Conwy in Snowdownia comes space popper supreme, George Amor t/a Omaloma. His new single Eniwe is taken from the album Aros O Gwmpas which is out on the Cae Gwyn label and comes on the back of his recent stint playing the BBC Intro stage at Latitude. It’s trippiness ‘sonified’, a gorgeous drifting prism of loveliness that’d be right at home soundtracking a Cadbury’s Flake ad.

Earlier this year Stirling native, Scott William Urquhart, released his album Lenten Dawn Chorus. Now he is re-releasing a track from his 2015 EP Rosie’s Smile. Instrumental Galaxies is four minutes of technically adept guitar playing with many as twists as turns, and comes highly recommended by both Gideon Coe and Lauren Laverne.

No stranger to these pages, US based Weyes Blood is an artist that is lyrically, musically and vocally at the top of her game. Her recently released album, Front Row Seat to Earth was as spectacular as it was critically acclaimed, as was borne out by its mesmerising promotional live shows.

Natalie Mering, the person behind the WB persona, is as pithy as they come – check out her latest pinned tweet “How many pity likes you give on twitter is one more magic bean in your sympathy sack in hell”. Burn!

Used to Be lifted from FRStE is according to 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne very Stevie Nicks (Silver Springs). It’s set for release on 4th August via Mexican Summer records. If you don’t already have the album, count this as a good first investment.

We’re back in Gideon Coe territory with Belgian singer-songwriter Melanie de Biasio. Her album Lilies, is due out in October via the coolly named Play it Again Sam records, with lead track Gold Junkies just released and what a teaser it is. There’s every genre and none in here – touch of art pop, hint of mid-60s, washes of dark Americana, and nightshades of moody electro-pop.

De Biasio’s sound is intense, her style unorthodox, the result intoxicating.

Turning night to very colourful day is Wesley Fuller‘s #1 Song, which is due out 4th August. The Aussie power popper who hails from Melbourne is set to release his debut album Inner City Dream this September. One for fans of Parquet Courts and Lemon Twigs, this rainbow riot is a current fave of Steve Lamacq.

Vibing the Leo Sayer look with a drummer that’s not a million miles from a late 60’s Ringo Starr, Fuller is fast making a name for himself outside of his native Australia with his sounds of summer, vivacious pop anthems.

Mancunian Aldous RH is Feelin’ Blue and he’s produced the cerulean video to prove it. However, the sound of Lauren Laverne playing his track on 6 Music Recommends should perk him up no end! Aldous used to be in the band Egyptian hip hop, going on to release his debut solo album Seductive Atmospheres in 2015. He says his music is neo-blue-eyed soul – I call it understated, infectious ear-worm.

Feelin’ Blue is out now on Handsome Dad records.

Iron & Wine‘s single Call It Dreaming is lifted from his first album of new material since 2013. Recently featured in the latest ed of Uncut Magazine, I&W aka Sam Beam, has his feet firmly planted in an American country landscape flavoured with pinches of indie-folk. His latest single is a lush and gorgeously textured, guitar-driven wonder the warmth of which perfectly offsets the poignancy of its lyrics.

Speaking of his upcoming album Beam says, “This collection speaks to the beauty and pain of growing up after you’ve already grown up. For me that experience has been more generous in its gifts and darker in its tragedies”.

The album Beast Epic is out on 25th August on Sub Pop records.

Moon Diagrams is the project of Deerhunter co-founder and drummer, Moses Archuleta and the single Nightmoves is lifted from the album Lifetime of Love which was written and recorded in NYC and Georgia over a ten year period. Moon Diagram’s is like a sort of re-imagining of Deerhunter – some of the same and then not – a different genre with threads of the Deerhunter aesthetic woven through its fabric.

Current single Nightmoves is a mellow psych-trancer with an hypnotic rhythm. Lifetime of Love out now on the Sonic Cathedral imprint.

Bill Baird aka Blond Bill, is an American multi-disciplinary artist, TV presenter, environmentalist, painter and creator of concept albums! IOW a man of many talents. Most recently Bill released two albums designed to be listened to at different times of the day.

Brighter of the two, Easy Machines is a child of the morning while Baby Blue Abyss is a record to dive into as the dark rises. Our featured track the delightfully mellow and uplifting acoustic Telephones very of the dawn – is due for release on 4th August, via Talk Show records.

Last but by no means least, a gem of a vintage country track from the late American singer-songwriter Steve Young entitled Seven Bridges Rd. First released in 1969, the song has been covered by music stalwarts such as The Eagles, Dolly Parton and Joan Baez.

Young, who passed away last year at the age of 73, was well know for his idiosyncratic brand of ‘outlaw country’ and in fact his sound and style of easy charm recall that other legend of fine country wine, Lee Hazlewood. Seven Bridges Rd is taken from the re-issued album Rock Salt & Nails out now on A&M records.

We’re going to finish as we started, wrapping things up with the latest single from Angelo de Augustine.  Haze is as warm and heartfelt a piece of acoustic intimacy as you’ll hear anywhere. A lo-fi melodic rarity that will gently wrap you in its arms, should you choose to let it.

To hear our regular Random & other playlists or to keep up with all the news and views follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or hop across to Spotify! DervSwerve

Fallen Lights – Another Midlands Music Success Story

There’s obviously something in the Midlands water supply that isn’t on tap for the rest of Ireland, as heartland hotspots such as Mullingar keep churning out new acts, one after the next. Each as good if not better than the previous.

Current ‘Gar torch bearers Fallen Lights are currently showering in a stream of successes, the most recent being their Philip Magee (Kodaline, The Script) produced single, Pricetag.

The lead track from their upcoming 5-track EP due later this Autumn, Pricetag is a soaring youth anthem set around the theme of young love and the inherent problems that come with it. It’s an indie-rock guitar breezer with catchy melodies and just the right amount of pop sensibilities to appeal to both rockers and poppers alike.

The just released black & white visual, which was shot on location around Dublin’s coastline, was directed by Craig Moore of cleverly named Moore for Less Productions. The storyline follows the theme of the song; young, broke, and broken-hearted finds new love when least expecting it – new love without a pricetag.

The Fallen Lighters have had a pretty busy 2017, scoring 32 live performances in 32 counties in as many days for their ‘Mind Your Mind’ tour. But the aptly named tour was not just a promotional vehicle. It also had the purpose of creating awareness of mental health issues, and some €2,000 of the proceeds from the tour were donated to Irish mental health charity, Inspire.

In other news, the lads’ fun-filled take on the legendary Father Ted, My Lovely Horse, complete with its very own Dougal, went viral, notching up 3.5 million views on social media.

Fallen Lights just played to a sold out Whelans on Saturday night. With radio and chart success, sell out shows, support slots with The Academic, Paddy Casey and their own Bressie with The Blizzards, as well as a second EP in the mix, the future looks brighter than rosy for the four Midlanders.

Check out Fallen Lights over on FB – you can watch the video for Pricetag here. DervSwerve

Fallen Lights is Graham Dowling – Vox/Rhythm guitar,  Andrew Cody – Vox/Bass,  Jay Wiley – Lead guitar/ BV’s,  & Joey Murray – Drums

Huw Stephens & May Kay Set To Present Most Disparate Other Voices @ EP Line Up Yet

Stalwart Electric Picnic-ers will be delighted to learn that firm fan fave, the Other Voices stage returns to the Stradbally woods with an eclectic line up as disparate as it is exciting.

A blend of Irish and international artists will perform in EP’s most intimate setting, and judging by the breadth of talent due to take to the OV stage, festival-goers can expect all kinds of everything and then some.

Details have just been released of the latest additions to the Other Voices roll call with the extended line up being made up of a balanced mix of both established and emerging artists. Here’s a flavour of some of the artists that’ll be showcasing their wares in this most special of silvan settings:-

Making his Irish debut will be Berlin-based, Oxford native singer-composer Tom Adams who recently performed as part of the Other Voices Berlin Irish music showcase. His 8-track mini album Silence, which was released earlier this year, is simply breathtaking.

The much anticipated set of rising star Eoin French’s Talos project, which only recently released the stupendously gorgeous Brendan Canty visual for his single This Is Us Colliding, should see the Cork man focus on tracks from his highly acclaimed debut album Wild Alee.

Fresh from successful slots at TGE and Body & Soul, Fresh on the Net and Tom Robinson Fresh Fave Ailbhe Reddy makes her EP debut. Her dynamic vocal ability and insightful lyricism are guaranteed to captivate.

Booka Brass, who do exactly as it says on the tin, make a welcome return with their sometimes sexy, always sassy, innovative take on infectious contemporary jazz sounds.

Music vet David Kitt is set to introduce his New Jackson electro-project. He also togged out for OV in Berlin and you can expect more of the same, with a Night to Night fuelled set for his ‘woodland’ slot.

Livening things up a little should be alt-rock outfit Bitch Falcon who hopefully won’t be too Castlepalooza’d out of it to provide some ‘feist’ to the pastoral with their grungy gargantuaness.

If you like your R&B dope, then Hudis, Grvz, SolBas, and Glory aka funk-trap outfit Super Silly are the go-to act for you.

And when the cobwebs, and hopefully not the clouds, are beginning to gather, all girl four-piece Pillow Queens will help shake things up with their fresh brand of ballsy neo-new wave. Think grrr with a touch of purr.

Other acts set to mix it up and shake it down are dreamy voiced British electro-popper Pixx, poet Stephen James Smith, Portadown native Jealous of the Birds (the North’s top tip for the big time!), and post-punk quartet Slow Riot. They’ll join the likes of Katie Laffan, Jafaris, Saint Sister, Laoise, Soulé and more .

Other Voices at EP will be presented by the Beeb’s Huw Stephens along with May Kay of Le Galaxie and Fight Like Apes fame. Full details of Other Voice @ Electric Picnic can be found here.

To whet your appetite, which of course can only be fully sated by devouring the full Electric Picnic menu, we’re signing off with an Other Voices playlist – think of it as an amuse bouche to the table d’hote.

Wyvern Lingo – That Love For Sadie Just Keeps A’Growin’

Such has been the success of their latest single, I Love You Sadie, that gawjus gals Wyvern Lingo have now released their mucho bueno acoustic version, and it’s available now via Rubywax Records on all digital platforms!

The stand-out track, which the trio performed on RTE’s Saturday Night with Miriam has been a runaway favourite with radio-heads, journos and fans alike, with everyone raving about its exciting fresh folk-take on R&B as well as it’s colourful, uplifting verve.

The girls describe the track as being about “loving the feminine qualities of a man, and encouraging him not to worry about fitting into the male stereotype and just to be himself”. There you go now Paddy, find your inner Patricia and let her rip!

Fresh from their much raved-about performance at Longitude Fest, Wyvern Lingo have announced a Party and then a post-party-party after the original launch party! Confused much? Pay attention grasshopper.

WL will host a Launch Party for their new single I LOVE YOU, SADIE – the lead track from their forthcoming debut album, due early 2018 – at Dublin’s Grand Social on 25th August.

This will be followed by (dramatic pause), an after party in a SECRET LOCATION 😱 .

What can you expect on the night?  DJ sets from the Lingo ladies, as well as RTÉ 2fm presenter Tara Stewart – and FREE BEER TASTING from Bray’s O Brother Brewing on arrival at the after party.

Full details on FB events here with limited tickets still available via Ticketmaster.

PARTEEE!!! DervSwerve

Wicklovians Wyvern Lingo are Caoimhe Barry, Karen Cowley and Saoirse Duane 

Will Gregory To Moog The Night Away At NCH

News has just filtered through that the Will Gregory Moog Ensemble are to play a unique concert at Dublin’s NCH on Sunday 1st October ’17.

The show, which is a Science Gallery (TCD) Dublin collaboration, will see Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, and Adrian Utley of Portishead fame, bring their unique synthesiser-showcase to the NCH stage.

Will Gregory is an innovative creator and re-imaginer who together with Utley, pushes the boundaries of composition using Moog synths. The duo together with their ensemble, add their own flavour to music from pop culture and films, whilst also showcasing new works side by side with fresh interpretations of classical compositions.

To mark the tenth anniversary of synth-innovator Robert Moog’s death, Will Gregory will premiere a new piece of music. The composition features a new clocking device that enables the syncing of all ten synths, resulting in a new, idiosyncratic soundscape.

This unique event should make for the perfect confluence of old and new, and a truly inspirational as well as well as hugely entertaining evening.

Portmanteau fans can chew over the Portisfrapp and Goldhead options during the interval!

Will Gregory (Goldfrapp), Adrian Utley (Portishead) and ensemble. NCH, Dublin, Sunday 1st October 2017

Room: Main Stage 
Prices: €30, €25

Tickets from NCH Box Office Tel: 01 417 00 00 or Nch.ie

 

Gash Collective : Moving the Needle to Equalise Music

Ellen King Courtesy of Irish Times

When the line-ups for the three biggest Irish festivals were announced earlier this year, there was universal outrage across social media at the gross lack of female representation. The stark reality is that female artists constituted a mere 27% of the total 2017 line up across the top 3 Irish festivals. We wrote about it on the blog, have a read here.

Ironically this comes at a time when Irish DJ Jenny Greene has never been so popular, with the rise and then some of her uber-super Ibiza Proms-like showcase of trance-classical in collab with the RTE Symphony Orchestra; a show which has sold-out every single performance since its inception for last year’s Electric Picnic.

Tackling disproportionate representation along with other gender imbalances within the music industry, is what Irish based Gash Collective is about. So, in response to club and festival gender bias, whether intentional or nay, this Irish collective, run by women for women (and those identifying as female), has been running a series of curated workshops aimed at encouraging females to get involved in the world of electronic music.

Sponsored by Smirnoff, the workshops provide an opportunity for women over the age of 18 “to get stuck in, in a completely non-judgemental atmosphere”. The sessions focus on DJ and production skills, enabling women to learn how to use Ableton software, equipment such as turntables and CDJs (digital music players for DJing, the most common of which are produced by Pioneer) and how to mix them some musical magic.

Discussing the workshops with the Irish Times, Cork based DJ Ellen King explained, “The main thing is that no experience is necessary. The big thing, especially with CDJs and decks, is they’re very expensive equipment and a lot of people don’t have access to them, unless they know someone who owns a bar etc”.

All equipment – laptops, decks etc – is provided, with training led by female Irish producers and DJs. All the participants have to do is pitch up and immerse themselves in the vibe. It’s all about getting yourself out there with like-minded gals, having a go, enjoying a few laughs, and making a few mistakes along the way.

All of the workshops are now full, but you can still register to receive info-mails about future events. So sign up and go along at nearest opportunity! Remember – She who dares wins!

ABOUT GASH COLLECTIVE: Gash Collective Irish based collective focused on supporting women in the field of electronic music; a platform to encourage women to create, share and collaborate together in the field of electronic music in Ireland. Through safe space initiatives, carefully curated parties and events, as well as production and DJ workshops, GASH intends to shine a light on female identifying producers and DJs in Ireland. 

GASH was inspired by Female:Pressure’s VISIBILITY project and collectives like SIREN London and DISCWOMAN NYC. 

Gash are on Twitter and Facebook. Do show your support and give them a follow! DervSwerve.

 

“If It Ain’t Broken!” – ‘Hug of Thunder’ Review

Seven years since their last record together, Canadian collective Broken Social Scene, return with an all-embracing and engaging sixth album.

Bearing a title described by founding member Kevin Drew as “that embrace amongst the chaos”, Hug of Thunder contains some of the most exuberant and immediately appealing music BSS have ever recorded. A dozen songs that stem from an extensive but brilliant collective; one it would seem with a shared vision.

There is something cosy and comfy about Broken Social Scene, the now expansive outfit initially formed as a duo in late ’90s Toronto by Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew.

Since then, it has grown exponentially into a ‘raggle-taggle’ gaggle of friends, neighbours, countrymen, and even exes, some of whom have dipped in and out depending on the demands of their non-BSS commitments. In the case of vocalist Leslie Feist and guitarist Jason Collett it was to pursue their own successful solo careers, while for others it was the call of bands like Do Make Say Think and Stars.

With its current official count at 17 members, this is a band that has seen more migrancy than most. Existing in a constant state of flux has seen them thrive rather than strive, as their ‘friends forever’ attitude forged a unified friendship that is still much in evidence on their latest compendium of charming excesses.

Hug of Thunder is a benevolent embrace. An immersive record that tangles you up in a wild jungle of fanfares, unfettered vocals, ambient pauses, jangly guitars and euphoric anthems.

One in from the tantalising ‘instro’ Sol Luna, instant anthem Halfway Home, is a vivid explosion of major chords and frenzied guitar fuzz. A soaring sprawl with shades of Kings of Leon and fellow Canadians Arcade Fire. Skyline too is an equally gripping if foreboding masterpiece of propulsive, anthemic indie-rock with its lush layering of guitars, synths and multi-vox.

This latest exercise in camaraderie showcases this diverse but tightly knit cohort’s exceptional ability to produce warm, interactive musical dramas. Productions whose clamorous climaxes, uplifting chimes and blazes of guitar glory make for such an inclusive performance so as to make the listener feel they’re sitting smack bang in the middle of it all – the BSS definition of ‘surround sound’.

Stay Happy which features the cloud-caressing angelic vocals of Ariel Engle, is an infectious match made in Broen heaven. From a sparse, minimalist intro it ramps up into something of a brass-fuelled melodrama, all epic guitars and sweeping melodies.  Likewise, there’s more potent brass to be found on Vanity Pall Kids which kicks off with an intro that sounds as if a plethora of guitars are being dragged kicking and screaming backwards through an indignant amp.

Crowd clangour, hyperactive sticks, sassy brass and heavenly harmonies – slaves to the pounding rhythm all.

Compelling Gonna Get Better is a colourful idiosyncrasy, while the somewhat languid title track which has Feist on lead vocal duties, is suggestive of the deeper, more reflective side to, and kaleidoscopic nature of Broken Social Scene. Shades of Fleetwood Mac glaze what is one of the dreamiest soundscapes of the album as it creates one of several ‘spine-tinglingly’ good moments throughout this ingenious Bohemian rhapsody.

Broken Social Scene is the perfect example of ‘If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’. An harmonious, ad-hoc mehill* that comes together when there’s a job to be done, then dissipates as soon as it has been completed. The fact that they can create and re-create avant-garde rarities with such seemingly effortless ease is a testament to their unanimity and solidarity.

Broken Social Scene – ‘Hug of Thunder’ 8/10. Stand Out Track – ‘Halfway Home’

Hug of Thunder is on release now via City Slang. Broken Social Scene will be embarking on a North American tour commencing 23rd July – for details go to their website – http://brokensocialscene.ca/

*mehill – an Irish Gaelic term for ‘gathering’ or ‘group of helpers’

Julia Holter Covers Depeche Mode In Honour Of Late Artist Friend

American artist Julia Holter has released a new 7″ double-A set of covers of the legendary Mode track, Condemnation, adjudged by many to be one of the British band’s finest compositions.

A collaboration with Ramona Gonzalez, Cole M.G.N and Nedelle Torrisi, the charity single is being released in honour of their late close-friend, artist and music video director Travis Peterson, who tragically died at the end of 2016. Depeche Mode were one of Peterson’s favourite bands.

The double-A which is released via Holter’s home label Domino Records, features two covers – one live and one synth version of the ’93 single that saw Mode frontman Dave Gahan deliver one of his best vocal performances.

“Aside from being an authentic and talent artist and collaborator, Travis was a great friend and beloved by many in Los Angeles and around the world,” Holter, Gonzalez, M.G.N., and Torrisi said in a joint-statement. “Known for his infectious laugh, sense of mischief, and passion for art, music, and architecture, Travis was simply a pleasure to be around.”

While the live version is an heavenly chorus of harmonies that floats slowly over a solemn tide of accordion, the second cover is a masterclass in synth understatement that stays true to the aesthetic of early ’90s Mode.

The deeply touching live-acoustic version of the song is accompanied by a sublime Jennifer Juniper Stratford video, which you can watch below.

All proceeds will be donated to  Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a Los Angeles-based non-profit dedicated to providing mental health and substance abuse services in underserved communities.

The limited edition Condemnation vinyl can be pre-ordered here.