Photo : Shin Katan

As we rapidly sink into deepest, darkest Winter there seems to be even less hours in one’s day. One can’t always listen to, never mind review each and every new music release, yet there are myriad artists out there waiting for us to cosy up to their sounds! In an effort to keep abreast with what’s dropping, trending, gonna be huge – from new releases to happening movers and shakers – we’ve introduced our ‘whenever we can’ Voyage of Discovery newsletter. VoD adopts an ever-shifting shape, but in the main will incorporate a few maxi-reviews along with snippets of news, videos, and a complementary Spotify playlist of available tracks (located at the bottom of the post).  If you missed VoD Vol 6, you can catch up on all the news, here.

Photo: Kevin Winter, Alberto e Rodriguez

DerVerdicts – THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE ER, ACTUALLY IT’S ALL GOOD!

In advance of the main course, which won’t be served until Christmas Day 2017, we’ve been presented with a delicious if minute amuse-bouche of  Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood‘s latest film score.

Having previously worked on the soundtracks for films such as There Will be Blood and The Master, Greenwood has once again reprised his collaborative role with director P.T. Anderson to compose the score for upcoming Phantom Thread, due for release on 25/12/17.

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis (who if we’re to follow the logic of a renowned Vogue fashion editor can be claimed as Irish because he has lived in Ireland for years!) in possibly his last acting role, the film also boasts the wonderful Lesley Manville, as well as Luxembourg-born Vicky Krieps in its cast.

In a neat tit-for-tat arrangement Anderson directed the accompanying videos for Radiohead’s Daydreaming, Present Tense and The Numbers, in addition to a brief documentary on Junun, an Asian music project with which Jonny has been involved (Junun supported Radiohead on part of their AMSP tour).

Getting back to Phantom Thread, Universal Pictures recently published a nanoscopic tidbit, highlighting key moments in the film backed by segments of Greenwood’s score. The ‘threads’ of the score woven into those clips contain moments of intense conflict, as piano chords challenge each other for dominance, juxtaposed with urgent strings perfectly simulating the frantic acceleration of a ticking clock. Exquisite musical designs which will no doubt complement the exquisite tailoring and performances of the film itself.

The soundtrack will presumably go on release in tandem with the film, so we should expect news from camp Greenwood closer to Christmas. DerVerdict – The superlative appetiser has whetted our appetite for more.

*Obviously the soundtrack or parts thereof have not as yet been uploaded to Spotify, so we’ve included a snippet from Greenwood’s score for There Will be Blood instead.

Belfast-based artist Sonja Sleator released her six-track Adams EP in October. Most recently she’s dropped a super-catchy single entitled Mia.

Sleator’s vibe recalls Cheryl Crow at the peak of All I Wanna Do era and like her country-rock predecessor, her voice proves capable of expressing an emotional rollercoaster, whether on the vulnerable Mistake on my Part, or Cambria Moon‘s downtempo, aspirational dreaming.

Mia is a dark narrative played to a backing track that’s the epitome of carefree insouciance. Upbeat pop melodies and a galloping tempo belie an underlying tone of caution in a song that perfectly captures Sonja’s carefully nuanced and pristine delivery.

Enjoyable, delightful, and fresh, Sonja Sleator’s turn of sound is yet another compelling reason for reader’s to cast their gaze northwards to N.Irish skies where they’ll fall upon a wealth of talent. You’ll find Mia on the usual digital platforms, ditto Adams which is also available to buy via the artist’s own website – https://sonjasleator.com/shop

DerVerdict – An absolute must. Sonja Sleator has all the hallmarks of an outstanding songwriter & performer.

Photo – Lottie Turner

Vocal harmony duo Ider have had a pretty special 2017. Having signed to GlassNote Records (Chvrches, Daughter, Aurora) their star has continued to rise, while their songs have blossomed into a confident maturity.

Following the wonderful vocal choreography of Learn to Let Go, the duo’s latest single is a similarly compelling creation. Set on a bed of looping chords and dynamic vocal interplay, Body Love is a masterclass in less is more, precision arrangement.

With a spaciousness that’s almost imperceptible, this subtle paeon to love and self-love is glass-half-full with pristine R&B vocals woven into gently tumbling piano chords. Haunting, enthralling, latterday quasi-classical elegance, Body Love reflects a dynamic shift in how Ider approach their songwriting and production, a bold and confident move that augurs well for 2018.

Body Love is out now on the GlassNote imprint.

DerVerdict – Sublime! Rnb styled modern classicism.

RAPID ROUND-UP

Because they’re completely bonkers, London-based duo Isaac Howlett and Adam Relf aka Empathy Test, have dropped not one but TWO debut albums. Nothing like going for broke, eh?

And because there aren’t enough hours in our day, we currently don’t have the bandwidth to digest that much musical material. Ipso facto, we’re sharing the news and taking a rain check on the views, until we can find a few quiet days in our hectic schedule to ramble around their crowd-funded Pledge Music productions. Consider your card marked!

Purveyors of lush futuristic electronica with a bent for retro analogue samples, Empathy Test have a knack for producing evocative, cinematic soundscapes that journey freely into faraway realms while still retaining those underlying 80s’ pop sensibilities that first served to inspire them as a band.

Entitled Safe from Harm and Losing Touch, both albums are available via the bands homegrown portal – https://www.empathytest.com/shop

We like the sumptuous dreaminess of Firelight which you can hear below, from the Safe from Harm album. To be continued!

Ary Live in Cologne – Uncredited

This week has seen the consummate electronic confluence as Norwegian artists Gundelach and ARY come together to create the perfect techno storm with their single Games. It’s a fast-paced duet in which myriad electro-effects accelerate through a forlorn synthscape; relief comes by way of the reverb washed, hazy vocals that seem to avoid being weighed down by the track’s thematic heaviness.

For a first foray into production, Gundelach has done a pretty slick job on Games which is available now on all digital platforms.

Still in Norway, favourite of the airwaves and corporate playlists, Sigrid, has dropped her fifth single of 2017. Entitled Strangers, it’s carved from the same propulsive electronica that fuelled the techpop scene of the mid 90’s. In fact, the whole thing is a bit passé and lame, with the exceptionally talented singer’s usually feisty vocal suffering from the staggered progress of the songs arrhythmic beat. Not her best, but super fans won’t care.

On the upside, the Norwegian popstrel’s management team have very cleverly managed to land their protege a slot on the Justice League soundtrack and tbh it’s an altogether more interesting affair. A cover of the Leonard Cohen track Everybody Knows, this brooding, atmospheric thriller – which comes over all Bond – sees Sigrid’s vocal rise to the occasion, producing a performance that’s much more worthy of her undisputed talent. The future is undoubtedly hers to lose.

Back on terra Irlanda, RTE has announced key dates for its annual Choice Music Prize. Winners of the 2016 accolades were Rusangano Family (album) and Picture This (song).

The shortlist for Irish Album of the Year 2017, in association with IMRO & IRMA, will be announced on Wednesday 10th January, 2018, while that for the Irish Song of The Year 2017 will be announced three weeks later on Wednesday 31st January, 2018.

The winning song & album will both be announced during a live RTÉ Choice Music Prize event on Thursday 8th March, 2018. The ceremony, which will held in Dublin’s Vicar Street, will be televised live by the national broadcaster in a special four hour extended programme.

The winner of the best album accolade will also receive a €10,000 prize, co-funded by IMRO and IRMA.

We’ve consulted our diary and are currently free that night!

One man guaranteed a place on this year’s shortlist is Corkman Talos, whose Wild Alee album had music critics foaming superlatives at the mouth.

GOOD NEWS STORY OF THE WEEK

Welsh firebrands Manic Street Preachers are set to release their thirteenth studio album on April 6th next year. Entitled Resistance Is Futile, it’s the group’s first full album in four years. Described as a return to classic Manics – ie “widescreen melancholia” – it is the first MSP album to be laid down in their new recording studio in Newport.

“The main themes of Resistance Is Futile are memory and loss; forgotten history; confused reality and art as a hiding place and inspiration. It’s obsessively melodic – in many ways referencing both the naive energy of ‘Generation Terrorists’ and the orchestral sweep of ‘Everything Must Go’, explain the Blackwood 3.

Resistance Is Futile is available to pre-order (including a rather nifty limited ed signed Red Vinyl/CD/Cassette package which we’ve ordered) from manicstreetpreachers.com. Access to Pre-sale tickets for their 2018 lives – dates below – can be yours with purchases prior to midday 21st Nov, pre-sale itself runs from 9.30am 22/11 opening up to general sale 9.30am 24/11. Full details https://t.co/uxp9Yo7BDr

April
23 Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
25 Glasgow The SSE Hydro Arena
27 Birmingham Arena
28 Manchester Arena

May
Llandudno Venue Cymru Arena
Leeds First Direct Arena
London The SSE Arena Wembley
Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

GIGGERY POKERY

Bell X1

Dates for the diary include,

18th November – Bello Bar – Paddy Hanna

24th November – Whelan’s – Le Boom

24th November – The Workman’s, Dublin – Pumarosa

25th November – Whelans – Bitch Falcon

2nd December – Tivoli – Perfume Genius

9th December – Vicar St. – Lankum

18th – 21st December – The Grand Social – Little Green Cars

20th December – The Waterfront (Belfast) – Imelda May

21st – 23rd December – Vicar St., – Damien Dempsey

27th December – Whelans – Paddy Casey

28th December – Whelans – Sharon Shannon

12th February – Whelans – SYML

23rd February  – No. 22 – Wyvern Lingo

21st – 25th March – Vicar St. – Bell X1

6th – 13th April – Various (incl Whelans) – Delorentos

As always, we leave you with a Spotify playlist to take with you on your day-to-day travels. As per, there’s so much on right now, that we’ll be back before you know it, with VoD 8. Catch us on Facebook to keep up with our escapades and see you soon, DervSwerve x

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