Shallows on Diving into the Deep End

Shallows
Shallows

Let me introduce you to Shallows, an exciting new electronic music project who recently dived into the musical deep end when they published their debut track, Enso, on Soundcloud.

“I always fall in sequence not as one,

I think I always fall where I know it can be undone…”

Hailing from Winchester, Shallows are guitarist Paul, keyboardist and drummer Matt, and vocalist Jo.  Only recently formed, they were drawn together by a shared love of all things artistic – poetry, film, art installations, and well, music obviously – together with a strongly held desire, to create a unique sound, through adopting a more exploratory, and collective cross-arts approach, to the creative process.

I asked Shallows to give us some background, including influences:

Jo: “I started writing when I was 15; poems, journals, anything that came into my head.  As I got older, I found singing to be quite cathartic, a positive way of vocalising and being “loud”.  It wasn’t until recently that I actually realised that being creative was less about doing something different, and more about being an outlet for exploring the mind”. 

Matt: “I started playing with bands at 15, getting to drum with the likes of  The 45s and Aqualung.  I get inspired by collaborating in the creative process.  I’m really into film soundtracks by iconic composers like Philip Glass and Ennio Morricone as well music by more contemporary performers like Laura Mvula.”

“Dawn of the killing sun, life has come undone”

What about approach?

Matt:Shallows as a project, is very different in approach, to what I’ve experienced before.  It has a disparate style of music, which has it’s challenges, but is equally as exciting.”

Paul: “Yeah. The plan for Shallows was to collaborate with like-minded people and develop a coherent body of music, with varying themes and imagery, that would draw on our collective skills. The tracks we’re working on form a lose narrative that links them together, but the project as a whole is quite free-flowing, and, if an idea is good, we throw it in.”

Who does what?  Well, this co-operative trio share creative responsibilities as well as song-writing and production duties.

Jo: “We all bring different elements to the project.  There is a real openness, we discuss everything.  We all get an equal chance to show our skills and participate in the production process and I’ve found that working so closely with the guys, has helped open up my mind to other ways of writing, which compliment my voice.”

Matt: “Paul is a great songwriter with a fantastically precise eye/ear for detail.  As well as having a naturally effortless vocal, Jo writes great lyrics and melodies.”

Jo: “I feel Paul is almost like a director.  In the short time we have been working together, he has learned how to get the best out of my voice.  We have a lot of confidence in his opinions.  Likewise with Matt.  He just seems to know what both Paul and I are talking about, and, he has the technical skill to turn a noise into a legitimate usable sound.”

Shallows Smaller

So what next?  Well, Shallows are currently putting together new material for a live set, with a view to ultimately releasing an album.

Paul: “There are plans to play our music live at some point in the near future.  That will be interesting!  There’s such a natural progression to the way we are putting things together that I find it creatively satisfying and am very excited to see what comes next.”

Matt:  “Short Term we are looking at writing an album of around nine songs, including instrumentals, which we’ll hopefully bring to life, when we perform in a live setting”

Songs!

Shallows debut track Enso, was recently featured on the Fresh on the Net Listening Post.  Written by Paul, it was inspired by a trip to Japan.  The lyric is wrapped around the theme of destruction and rebirth – of facing obliteration, looking it in the eye, kicking it in the teeth and rising to the challenge of “renaissance”. Enso is a piece of trenchant electronica, interspersed with some 90s Bryan Adams jangly guitar and a rich vocal that is so evocatively deep it could have been mined from the ends of the earth.

Listen to it here on Soundcloud.

“Shallows, incredible voice! Great tune, haunting!” Zahra

Following on from Enso, Shallows have just released AM, which I premiered last via the Fresh on the Net website.  An impressive electro-indie ballad written by Jo, she cites “relationships, the body and sense of self” as her inspiration. “It’s about losing control, throwing yourself into situations and being open to new experiences. It’s also about having different identities and exploring gender.”  We won’t give away too much, we don’t want to ruin the surprise: think Sade but with less sax and more sex, swimming through white spaces between pirouetting piano chords, fanned by orgasmic jungle drums.  Get the picture?

https://soundcloud.com/shallowsband/am-1

Keep up to date with all things newsy about Shallows via their Facebook and Twitter pages.

This piece was originally published on August 26th via the Fresh on the Net website

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Mixing it up with Gris-de-Lin

GrisdeLin Pic, HEART

We recently wrote an introductory feature on rising star multi-instrumentalist, Gris-de-Lin, by way of guest spot on the Fresh on the Net blog-site, a copy of which is transcribed below, together with social media links and the video for ‘Birthday’, one of the two songs that make up her Double A sided debut single, which was unleashed upon the #musicverse at the beginning of this month.

I am now delighted to update you on Gris’ musical progress, with the news of her inclusion on the BBC6 Mix Tape of 7 Sep 2015, as featured on the Fresh on the Net site.  This edition of the Mix Tape, sees Gris in the company of an eclectic bunch, ranging from psych-funk outfit, The Pocket Gods, to the avant-garde surreal songstress Starling.

A free downloadable podcast, the mix tape is a weekly 60 minute radio show broadcast on BBC6 Music during the wee hours of Sunday/Monday morning and you can access the above Mix Tape 7.9.15, featuring Gris-de-Lin’s second A side song – ‘Your Ghost’ – here.

‘Your Ghost’ is intense.  It starts with a repetitive whispering chant, of ghostly childlike qualities, that could have been lifted straight out of ‘The Others’.  This is overlaid with a soft, hushed vocal, sung practically a cappella against a bare musical backdrop.  A faint percussive heartbeat then starts to develop a living pulse, which gathers strength over time, but it’s not until 1.40 in, that the music proper actually kicks in.  Bitter synth is shot through with some pretty sombre, sepulchral bass-lines, throughout which the percussive hook maintains the ceremonial pace of a funeral march.

“I won’t be at the mercy of your ghost, of your ghost,

Cold hand knocking at my windowpane, I want to be dancing with my friends.”

‘Your Ghost’ is a song about laying waste to the negative, and moving forward with the positive, and Gris-de-Lin can indeed look forward to a positively bright and rewarding future!

Gris-de-Lin’s debut single is available on limited ed vinyl and in digital format, via Noisy Bird Records.  She is currently putting the finishing touches to her forthcoming album, due out Mid Spring 2016, as well as rehearing for her upcoming promotional tour of live dates.  The video for “Your Ghost” is available to view via YT here …

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The following feature was first published on the Fresh on the Net website, on 27th August, 2015.  Special thanks to Tom Robinson for the offer of the guest spot! 🙂

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Gris-de-Lin recently featured on the Fresh on the Net #FreshFaves and, you can read the rapturous review our very own #SnippetCuts, Johnno Casson, of Warm & Toasty Club fame, gave her by clicking on the hyperlink.

Hailing from Bridport, Dorset, Gris (as we shall fondly call her from now on) is an exceptionally talented, songwriter, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and, visionary.  “Visionary?” I hear you cry (yes, I do!).  Yes – Visionary.  Gris is an artist with a clearly thought out, well defined, unique vision of the music she wants to create, an, of how that music should be produced, presented and hopefully, perceived.  Too much to ask for?  Not in my book!

Reach for the highest, shiniest star, hitch yourself to it, and let it take you to the moon, sail you along the satellite seas of the milky way, and shoot you … er, oh yeah, sorry, ahem, got a bit carried away there, straightens skirt, pats down hair.  Well, you can never aim too high can you, especially when you’re about to launch your “spooky otherworldliness” onto the unsuspecting masses, which Gris is on the cusp of doing!

The Gris-de-Lin debut Double A side single, ‘Your Ghost’ / ‘Birthday’ will have it’s launch party tomorrow near Bridport (where else!) and from there will go on nationwide release on September 1st.  We had a cheeky chat with her recently, via Satellite (aka vintage landline telephone), and here’s what she had to say!

yellow disc

The Name

“The inspiration for the name Gris-de-Lin or Grey Linen, came from the materials warehouse next door to where I live.  I was inspired by the materials, and I also really liked the French sound.  It’s perfect.”

Baby Gris

Coming from a musical family who encouraged her to immerse herself in a diverse cultural ocean, Gris developed a deep love of music at an early age, taking lessons in both Piano and (wait for it…) the Saxophone (the only instrument this writer has ever heard described as “sexually intellectual”).  Gris soon took matters into her own hands, literally, by teaching herself to play both Guitar and Drums. Developing an eclectic taste she cites universal influences from Afro-beat to American post hard-core (Shellac).

We can safely say then that Gris is an all-round musician, with an all encompassing love of the musical globe.

Change of tune

“Up to recently I was playing in a band, but it got to the point where I just wanted control, wanted it to be personal, wanted to prove myself.   I wanted to experiment, and, for the music to reflect that experimentation.  I wanted it to feel organic, to flow freely.  I realised I had a bigger dream, and wanted to do this for myself, to prove myself.

As I said, I wanted everything to be experimental – from how I write the songs, through the recording process, to the musical sound.  I write all the songs myself, in a natural free-flowing way.  For one of the songs, I literally took a newspaper article about rugby , grabbed words from it, and used them as the basis from which to build the lyric.  I like to be inventive in how I create, and I like my music to spontaneously unfold in the same way.”

With whom?

“Rob Ellis, PJHarvey/Anna Calvi collaborator, was responsible for percussive interpretation/drum playing on several tracks.

Chris Hamilton,  of Torres fame, bass guitar and production.

I play most of the instruments on the tracks – Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Synth, Sax & some drums.  Rob played most of the drum parts, and Chris played bass-guitar.

How, where, why?

“In a way, it was all quite spontaneous .  I met Cee at a friend’s gig at Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston .  We quickly realised, over a malt whiskey, that we had lots of the same music taste and found ourselves recording the initial stages of Your Ghost the following week. That’s why it seemed apt to do the London single launch back at Servant Jazz Quarters.

The meeting with Rob was similar. We met in a quirky Bridport cocktail bar and quickly hit it off talking about music and recording. He’s always been one of my favourite drummers, so I was thrilled when he was up for playing on my record.”

Making noise – approach and MO

“I hired a Nursery School, which was a really nice space in which to work.  I didn’t want to be hidden away, in a dark, falsely lit, enclosed space.  The process was quite short, we had everything wrapped up in 12 days.  First I worked on the demos.  Then went into the ‘nursery’ with a friend, Matt, and we just mucked about.  There was a lot of laughing, a lot of humour, and I think that came across into the sound.  When Cee arrived, he built on to what we had done, gradually layering up the sound.  He is very honest in his approach – very straight up about what works and what doesn’t. 

Creating organic soundscapes is very important to me.   I think we’ve succeeded in giving the songs an hand-made feeling, achieved something that has a very natural sound, albeit with an avant-garde influence.”

Filmic!

“The videos for both songs were shot by Dorset filmmaker, Thomas Hughes.  We filmed them in Bridport, using local scenery, local people.  Whoever turns up gets cast.  A spontaneous film flash-mob.”

Arts n crafts

Kaz Land was responsible for the cover sleeve artwork.  We asked about the concept and if the image was tied into the ghost-mask imagery from the Your Ghost video.

“I really wanted the films, photos and artwork to all link together. I’d been admiring Kaz’s artwork for quite a while so commissioned him to do the artwork for the single. I sent him the first Your Ghost film and told him about the dog concept for the next – so that his artwork could bring in both themes. He also did the Gris-de-Lin logo and scrawled on the photos for me. 

He’ll be involved in the artwork for the next releases too as I love what he’s done!”

Party Hearty

Gris has Birthday cake cocktail on the launch party menu (we have asked for one to be couriered over – we await confirmation – #slurp!)

So who came up with the recipe??  “This takes me back to the Bridport cocktail place – The Venner Bar.  Lloyd the barman there makes some of the best cocktails I’ve ever had, so I’ve asked him to create a cocktail to personify each song from the single – Your Ghost and Birthday.”

A Real Live Wire

Gris is hoping to do a small tour in 2016.  For now, she’ll be kicking of live gigging with the launch parties.

“There’ll be strings, some drums, some bass and I’ll run samples on an analogue loop.  The aim would be to gig with a band.  Something more pared back, more acoustic. Something completely different.  I don’t want to give too much away.  I have a lot of ideas for the live performances, but more than anything I’d like to feel local and natural.”

And then?
The ten tracks that will make up the forthcoming album have to be mastered. Once that’s done, Gris will set about organising the art and film work, aiming for an album release date in mid Spring 2016.
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In the meantime, if you see a shooting star sparkling through the sky….

Gris-de-Lin’s debut Single launch party is on Friday 28th August, 2015 at Moens Farmhouse, Uploders, Nr Bridport

The London party will be held on Wednesday 2nd September in Servant Jazz Quarters, Dalston

Tickets for both nights, £6.00, details on the website – www.grisdelin.com

The single itself will be available from 1st September, 2015, via Noisy Little Birds.  A Double A Side, containing the songs,  ‘Your Ghost’ & ‘Birthday’, it will be available in Digital Format, as well as in a Limited Edition vinyl format ( 7″ Yellow vinyl with hand screen printed artwork by Kaz Land )

You can follow Gris-de-Lin on Facebook and Twitter

Sykoya are “HERE” and they want to get ‘CLOSER’ to you!

sykoya-projection-photography

“I see you in my nightmare, walking by like you don’t know me,

Missed my chances to go softly away with you.

Away with you …”

Sykoya are a newly formed indie/electronic four-piece made up of American singer/songwriter/producer, Anna Marcella;  two Latinos – Alejandro Bonatto, Synth/Keyboards & Eduardo Leal, Bass; with Yorkshire man Curtis ElVidge taking up the helm on Electronic/Acoustic Drums.  Sykoya take their influences from alt electronica’s past & present – The Cure, Beth Gibbons/Portishead, Massive Attack & Daughter – and the soulful sentiment, swathed in catchy melodies, so oft found running through their predecessors’ back catalogue, is also hugely evident in their own debut EP, ‘Here’.

As a precursor to the EP, Sykoya recently released their first single ‘Closer’, a dark electronic dreamscape of unrequited love trying to find reciprocity through escapism.

“Darkness fades, there is nowhere to hide”

It opens with a slow death march drum beat, setting a solemn pace and stark backdrop, against which Anna Marcella can cast her breathy vocal.  The plaintive softness of her voice heightens the sense of reverie and longing.  The addition of the male vocal and souping up of the electronic engine, add to the underlying sense of menace, lurking in the synth shades produced by Bonatto.  A final layer of ElVidge’s equable electronic drums, and Leal’s suitably sombre bass, is applied to reinforce the barbed texture and, enrich the inky resonance of this illusory lament.

“Waiting for the earth to move”

The second song on the EP is the energetic title track ‘Here’, and, whilst it’s a much more up-tempo affair, with a pulsating electronic dance-groove, it continues the mournful theme of loss and despair.

The emotive lyric conveys both a sense of the unfamiliar with a feeling of utter loneliness, exacerbated by a retrospective harking back to happier days. Though thematically in the same vein, the vocal on this track however, is stronger, more defined, and it’s almost a contradiction in musical terms, that the melody too should be sharper, the percussion thrumming, and, that a luminous piano-synth sequence should be included, thereby adding a juicy dollop of honey to an otherwise sharp tasting musical memoir.

“ … I’m where my story ends, lost without a friend”

Written after her move to London from a stiflingly indifferent Paris, ‘Here’ tells Anna’s personal story of experiencing that heightened sense of alienation, one can only feel, when one realises that they are truly alone in a crowd.

After having found her very own private place of inspiration, a quiet patch in the shade of two sequoia trees (hence the derivation, “Sykoya”), Anna set about unfurling the creative tendrils that had become entangled during her years in not so gay Paris.

“I came out of a huge writers block with these songs. I had a lonely time living in Paris, but couldn’t seem to get the words out while I was there. They started flowing when I left and had the space to reflect outside the experience. I took those feelings and anthropomorphised the city in my head.”

Marcella and the rest of the Sykoya project have used those experiences as the catalyst to create this atmospheric EP, turning a negative Parisian residence into a deliciously melodious confection.

sykoya

Responding to a question about the working relationship and internal chemistry within Sykoya, Anna says:

“The guys are really talented and we have a super dynamic that really works to push us into writing stronger and better songs.” That there is a fluid synchronicity within the group is undoubtedly true, evidenced by their solid performance across the EP. This fusion is particularly discernible in the third and most commercially keen creation, “Shiver”.

“It unravels me, it unravels you, open wide to let inside the pieces falling too”

It opens with a percussive sound that permeates for the duration; one that wouldn’t have gone amiss on ‘Some Great Reward’. For my money, the rhythm section own this one!!  Their brawny basslines and imaginative, intuitive percussion, are the protagonists, linking all the elements together, whilst holding aloft an hypnotic, double layered vocal. The steady 4-time beat engages the listener, whilst the melody is peppered with shards of synth as airy as they are sharp.  “Shiver” is without doubt the most sonically sensuous of the four-tracks of the EP.

“Blinded by the smiling faces, while I’m on my own”

Chagrined detachment is pervasive throughout this EP but nowhere is the sense of terrible isolation more vividly captured, than in the strikingly poignant ‘Breathe’.  The song exhales melancholia.

“‘Breathe’ came from feelings of being new in Paris; about people looking through me, like I didn’t exist, and, my feeling very alone.”

If the instrumental spotlight shone on the R/S during ‘Shiver’, here it is Bonatto’s exceptional keyboard skills that are vividly on display.  His playing is delicately piangevole, and, his imaginatively precise interpretation enhances what can only be described as an exquisite vocal by Marcella.  The subtle nuances in this elegant vocal, which floats up and down displaying Anna’s broad reach, add to the sense of missed opportunity, of chances lost.  Kudos too, to ElVidge for the percussive arrangement which has a clever hint of soft jazz.  ‘Breathe’ is a song resplendent in it’s musical and vocal interpretation and mastery.

“Here” is the result of a songwriter having experienced “the glorious pain of love unreturned” but Sykoya have cleverly turned that pain on it’s head by crafting a pretty stunning debut release, setting their own bar high for future productions.  A taste of things to come, it now has me for one, waiting very impatiently for a full album’s worth of more musical marvels. **

The debut EP “HERE” by Sykoya is out now and available to buy via their official website –  http://sykoya.com/

You can follow Sykoya on FB – https://www.facebook.com/sykoyamusic?fref=ts

And on Twitter – @sykoyamusic

Photographic credits to Hannah Couzens – http://www.hcphotography.co.uk/

** Tanya Sweeney, Irish Times, “Unrequited love: there’s only one side to this story” 1/5/15

Getting up close and personal with SYKOYA

SykoyaEPHere

A taste of things to come…

A quick look at the first single “Closer” before the full review of their forthcoming EP, “Here” due out on 13th August, 2015.

As a precursor to the EP, Sykoya recently released their first single “Closer”, a dark electronic dreamscape of unrequited love trying to find reciprocity through escapism.  It opens with Curtis ElVidge’s slow death march drum beat, setting a solemn pace and stark backdrop, against which Anna Marcella can cast her breathy vocal.  The plaintive softness of her voice heightens the sense of reverie and longing.  The addition of the male vocal and souping up of the electronic engine, add to the underlying sense of menace, lurking in the synth shades produced by Alejandro Bonatto.  A final layer of Nico Warschauer’s equable electronic drums, and Eduardo Leal’s suitably sombre bass, is applied to reinforce the barbed texture and enrich the inky resonance, of this illusory lament.

The full review of Sykoya’s debut EP “HERE” will be published here on Thursday 13th August, 2015, in conjunction with the release.

https://soundcloud.com/sykoya/sykoya-closer

Three years on, there’s “Still Life” in We Came as Strangers

WE CAME AS STRANGERS – Still Life

We came as strangers  Still Life

“We came as strangers” is not just a band-name, it is also the backstory to how this foursome came to be. In late 2012, four strangers came together to record music, and, in less than three years, have managed to release three albums, (all written and recorded within two-week timeframes) of “deep rooted grooves, … and whimsical melodies”.

Works for me AND very obviously works for them!

The opening sounds of “Still Life” remind me of the chimes of a grandfather clock, and, this rhythmic chime intermittently loops in and out, weaving together both halves of the song.

There are some utterly gorgeous, intriguing guitar sequences set alongside dreamy synth sounds. And ooh that schleppy scratching shoe scraping* percussive sound is just infectious. (*I’m sure there is a technical term for it – open to being educated).

This is a track on which the musicianship is truly highly skilled.

Vocalist Ellem has great reach, and a lovely, clear quality to her voice, similar to a young Andrea Corr back in the “Runaway” heyday of 90s. She takes a relaxed approach to her “Still Life” vocal, keeping it gorgeously chilled, whilst having the nous to modulate the inflection, thereby adding more emotional umpah during the sonically powerful chorus.

“We came as strangers” obviously became friends, and, are now a firmly established collaborative co-op. Theirs is a fine blend of genius creativity, fantastic imagination, and skilful craftsmanship. Their new album “Eyedom” is out on 31st August.

You can find out more about We Came As Strangers on their website – http://wecameasstrangers.com

Follow them on Twitter  – https://twitter.com/WeCameAsStrangehttps

Subscribe to their YouTube account – https://www.youtube.com/user/wecameasstrangers

‘Heaven is a place on earth’ called Norway. Line Kasa discovered

Line Kasa

Today was just another day in the life, when a propos of nothing, and, completely unexpectedly, a young Norwegian musician sent me a FB friend request .  So far, so run of the mill says you.  Well yeah, except it’s not every day someone living in Dublin receives a friend request from someone in Oslo, who, they neither know nor have met!  To explain would be to digress, that’ll do another day.

Having accepted the request, a list of people FB thought would interest me, dropped down to eye level.  The name Line Kasa came into view.  Curiosity being my middle name, I felt compelled to have a ferret and what I uncovered blew my mind.

Line Kasa is a young Norwegian singer/musician in the vein of Susanne Sundfor, and like her crystal voiced compatriot, she has been blessed with an angelic vocal of a quality both pure and strong. Her genre is alternative-electronic-pop again similar to Sundfor and a line in music at which the Norwegians seem to excel.

Per the iTunes blurb, Kasa released her debut album , “Patterns”, in November 2013, from which four singles were released (I suspect the singles/album were released in 2012 in Norway, but my Norwegian isn’t what it used to be!).

Of the four singles tracks, it’s the song “Patience” that set my pulse racing and my soul soaring, and when you listen to it, you will understand why.  This hushed, dark lullaby floats languidly along, until the reverie is fleetingly slashed by a harsh knife-rip of electronica, after which it is lulled back into it’s sleep-walking state. This quietude is then spliced by a climactic frenzy of noise, before the song mellows out, slowly, serenely, into soundlessness. It is like a musical short story – the lead in, the hook, the climax, the ending – short, sharp, shock.  Vocal perfection, hauntingly beautiful music.

The accompanying stark, and very well conceived video, directed by Jonas Grimeland, was recently picked up by the Atlanta Film Festival and Palm Beach Festival – congratulations!

Line Kasa has a voice I could listen to for hours, and, a sonic style that I find as intriguing as it is satisfying.  She is now on my radar.  I am hungry for more.

You can listen to more of Line Kasa’s music via Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/linekasa

The Album “Patterns” along with singles and top songs are available to buy via iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/patterns/id730997288

Tugging at your Heart Strings, Dragging you into a “Beautiful Abyss”

THE HEART STRINGS – “Beautiful Abyss”

The Heart Strings

 Ooh…Prepare to be thrown into the “Beautiful Abyss” rather than just listening to it. This is 2.5 minutes of the most wondrous musical dream sequences lifted straight out of the 60s, re-energised, and given an uber modern spin.

The sound vibes The Kinks – “Tired of Waiting”, with a dash of Beck, whilst the lead singer’s voice is redolent of Ray Davies.

His super smooth vocal, reverbed and harmonised to within an inch of its life, flows seamlessly over the intermittent clap-clapping, nifty guitar sequences, and wickedly cheeky military style drumming. All of this is piled on top of slick keyboard sounds to which during the mix they added analogue keys, run through a tape delay “for extra sonic scrummyness”! Scrummy it is, and then some!

This is psychedelia 21st century style.

“Beautiful Abyss” is currently streaming on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/theheartstrings

Watch the zany video here. Black and white beach bikini footage juxtaposed with acid house cartoons and grainy archive run backwards – brilliant.

The Heart Strings is the alternative pop project of London based producer and songwriter Todd Roache. They will release “Beautiful Abyss” as a single on 7th August, via Granpa Stan Record.

Find out more about The Heart Strings via their website – http://theheartstrings.com/

You can follow them on FB and Twitter here –

https://www.facebook.com/TheHeartStrings

“The Roses flower in June” & this new EP from Runabay is certainly a beautiful bouquet

Runabay

“If you decide, don’t even hesitate, leave and I will follow”

Runabay are a sextet from Northern Ireland & England made up of members: John McManus – Vocals/Guitar, Gary Graham – Guitar/Vocals,  Gerard McHugh – Vocals/Percussion, Declan McCartan – Cello/Vocals,  George Sloan – Drums/Vocals, and, Dean Walker – Bass/Vocals.

Their style is indie flirting with folk, their sound pretty reminiscent of the Waterboys.  They cite their influences as coming from an eclectic range of genres, from contemporary pop through to classical, and this diversity is reflected in the spectrum of sound they have produced across the five tracks on their new EP entitled “June”.

The guys describe their music as being “catchy, uplifting and joyous”, to which I’d like to add; dreamlike, soothing, harmonious and mellifluous.  Their instrument playing is highly accomplished – there are some seriously wonderful string sequences in the eponymous song, and, the vocals are not only confident, they are also extremely pleasing on the ear.

Runabay have already released two singles “Sequences” and “Moon Turns Blue”, both of which have been very well received, critically and publically, both in the UK and Ireland. In fact, they have been nominated for Irish Single of the Year by Pure Magazine for their song “Moon Turns Blue”, and, whilst they face stiff competition from the likes of Jape (Richie Egan), Best Boy Grip, Soak and Duke Special, they nonetheless find themselves in very good company.

These guys only got together as a group in 2014, but have already made quite an impact with several radio & television appearances, including BBC N.Ireland, notched up on their musical belts.  Their new EP is guaranteed to bring them even further success and we wish them all the best with this and their Pure Mag nomination.

We bid you adieu with two samples of their sonic delights: the title track from their new EP, “June”, and the Single of the Year nominee, “Moon Turns Blue”.

You can find out more about Runabay via their official site –  http://runabay.com/

Hook up with them on Facebook – http://runabay.com/

& Twitter – https://twitter.com/runabayband

A Lorra Lorra “Fun” with some Lively Liver-Lads

Shrinking Minds

SHRINKING MINDS – Fun

‘Shrinking Minds’ they may be, but these three Liver-Lads certainly ain’t shrinking violets.

Energetic, frenetic and full of enthusiasm, these boys are about to hit the road, and methinks those gigs are gonna be some “craic” (see FB for details). In the words of the Kaiser Chiefs – “I predict a riot”.

“Fun” does what it says on the tin. The lads say that they had a lot of fun making this track and boy does it come through. One minute it’s cocky, the next it’s emitting ennui, but mainly it’s a lot in-yer-face. “Fun” is quite deceptively constructed, starting with some low volume scratchy guitar; then 12 seconds in…boom…guitar and drum fuelled rocket launcher.

As the noise-fest recedes, we are lulled into the false security of a very mellow verse – cue bored voice – then wham, the shouty punkesque chorus kicks us up the ass. The harsher vocal is very Johnny Rotten, but not as screamy and, more in tune. There is just the right mix of sound in here to make this a little bit more than just another #garage song.

Some might say it’s a lot of #Clangour but, I think it’s a very deliberate experimentation with sound, performed by dynamic young bucks, having fun finding their place in the musical universe.

Something tells me there’s a lot more #FUN to come!

Check in with the Shrinking Minds guys on Facebook  – https://www.facebook.com/shrinkingminds?_rdr=p

and Twitter – http://twitter.com/shrinkingminds

“Sunny Day, Sweepin’ the Clouds Away”… even for the Tortured Soul

Owen Duff

OWEN DUFF – Nobody Loves A Tortured Soul

It took a few reps of the intro for my brain to go #bing.  One of the things it reminded me of was a tune from an old musical jewellery box, with it’s vintage, almost “scratchy needle on vinyl” quality.

“and I bought me a round in the Crown and Bells

Held court like a king, was dethroned and thrown out and threw up there”

 … and that my friends, sums up a leaving do, birthday bash, general Saturday night out on the tiles, that we’ve all experienced at least once.   The sentiment of this laid back track by Londoner Owen Duff is totally on the mark, the music, pure fantasia shakes hands with a brass section. This is the stuff musical dreams are made of.

The track incorporates so much, but is so tightly produced, that you never feel aurally crowded. It is perfectly balanced symphonic electronica, alongside some superb trumpet playing. And there’s even a key change, woo!

“Nobody Loves A Tortured Soul” is musically first class, with perfectly sung, well penned lyrics.

Owen Duff – job well done.  Very well done indeed.

Just one thing.  Why do I keep thinking of “Sesame Street”? #SunnyDay

You can find out more about Owen Duff and his music via his website http://www.owenduff.co.uk/

Hook up with him on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/owen.duff

and Twitter – https://twitter.com/owenduffmusic