April 5th “Earth throws Winter’s robes away … Waiting for the Colour of Spring”

April 5 Sunflower 2

“Come gentle spring
Come at winter’s end
Gone is the pallour from a promise that’s nature’s gift”

It is no small coincidence that today we are playing “April 5th”, track 4 on Talk Talk’s beautifully crafted 3rd studio album, “The Colour of Spring”.

April 5th, 1956, was the birth date of one Felicity Mary Costello, the woman about whom Mark Hollis wrote this truly beautiful song, during the year in which they were married, 1985.  An ode to Spring and an ode to the woman he loved, it is an exceptionally luscious 5.51 minutes of timeless, muted, jazz-classical music. Full of wonder, awe and admiration, bursting with love and optimism, are the lyrics of this gorgeous poem (printed below), but before we delve any further, let’s have a listen …

“APRIL 5TH” (1986, from the album ” The Colour of Spring”)

Here she comes
Silent in her sound
Here she comes
Fresh upon the ground

Come gentle spring
Come at winter’s end
Gone is the pallour from a promise that’s nature’s gift

Waiting for the colour of spring

Let me breathe
Let me breathe the colour of spring

Here she comes
Laughter in her kiss
Here she comes
Shame upon her lips

Come wanton spring, come

For birth you live
Youth takes its bow before the summer the seasons bring

Waiting for the colour of spring

Let me, let me breathe

Let me breathe
Let me breathe
Let me breathe

Songwriters
HOLLIS, MARK DAVID / FRIESE-GREENE, TIMOTHY ALAN

April 5 Sunflower 1

 “Here she comes
Laughter in her kiss”

“April 5th” is a song written by a man very much in love with both a woman, whom he clearly adores, and nature, with which he seems to have a very strong affinity (this isn’t the only time Hollis refers to the Colour of Spring in his lyrics). Spring silently creeps up on Winter over which she gently lays down her veil, shamelessly kissing new life and hue, into a stark and barren world.

Where the first verse is reverent, the second is almost playful, with its sensual nuances.

“Come wanton spring, come”

In Hollis’ own words, on the diverseness of “TCOS” in general and on “April 5th” specifically:-

“There is indeed no such thing as a central theme (running through “TCOS”) …(it) is about religion and war, 1945 Government propaganda films, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, (and) the last song of the first side is about April as a season” … April 5th is “the day that my wife was born, a song about spring and season. Birth and rebirth. Actually, all those thing are on the record.”

Colour Spring Imagery

“Youth takes its bow before the summer, the seasons bring”

Interestingly, from a sonic perspective, “April 5th” is one of only two tracks on the album “TCOS” on which the other members of Talk Talk do not feature (the other is “Chameleon Day”).  The personnel who featured on this track were:-

Robbie McIntosh               Dobro

Tim Friese – Green            Variophon

Mark Hollis                         Vocal, Variophon, Piano, Organ

David Roach                       Soprano Saxophone

The instruments used in the recording of this musical ode are far removed from what we would expect of contemporary music creation – no standard electric guitars, no synths, no drums.

Instead we have a Dobro, an organ (not a usual mid 80’s staple), and a Variophon,

Dobro Variophon

A Dobro (now owned by Gibson) is a wood bodied resonator guitar, identified by its single inverted cone – see photo left, whilst a Variophon (pictured right), is an electronic wind instrument, originally invented in Germany in 1975, used to synthesize sound in the same way as brass instruments, “creating sounds based on the vibration of the player’s lips and breath and the resonance in a particular body”.  It is played using a “pipe-controller”, but the pitch is controlled by the addition of an external keyboard.

The hub of “April 5th” though, is the acoustic piano, around which everything else revolves.  The opening stark melancholic mood of the music, moves away from the warm sentiment of the lyric, but then, glides seamlessly, into the breathtakingly dreamlike.  At all times it has a deliciously rich, smooth but always subtle, textural style,

Intricately woven music and sensual lyricism convey the delicateness of feeling.

April 5th

What were the influences?  Back to the man himself,

“This year I’ve listened to a lot of impressionistic music … Delius…with ‘The First Cuckoo of Spring’ on it, and ‘In The Summer Garden’ … All I’ve listened to in the last year is that impressionist area of music. Back to composers such as Satie, Debussy, Milhaud and above all, Bartok. His string quartets … I’d never imagined something so beautiful existed. Something works irrevocably. As Renée on It’s My Life, was inspired by the Gil Evans arrangements for the Miles Davis album Sketches of Spain, so Bartok has an impact on the arrangements on The Colour of Spring.”

(Didn’t have this piece by Delius in the original blog, but as its short, and so, so, very lovely, decided to include so you have an idea of what Mark Hollis was listening to prior to the making of the album).

When I listen to “April 5th”, especially at this Easter-tide, it brings to mind the words of Gerard Manley-Hopkins, another lover of Spring and nature, another lyrical innovator whose use of imagery established him (albeit posthumously) as one of the greatest poets of his day, (something which can also be said of Hollis).

“Gather gladness from the skies;
Take a lesson from the ground;
Flowers do ope their heavenward eyes
And a Spring-time joy have found;
Earth throws Winter’s robes away,
Decks herself for Easter Day.

Taken from “Easter” Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ, Written in 1866.

We’ll leave you on this glorious April 5th, with a re-mastered edit of our featured song “April 5th”. We wish you and yours a Happy Easter, and we wish Felicity Hollis a very Happy Birthday.

This piece was originally published on 5th April, 2015. It is being republished on 5th April, 2019 to quietly acknowledge Mark Hollis’ recent passing. Our sincerest condolences to the Hollis family at this time.

All Talk Talk Artwork copyright of James Marsh

http://www.jamesmarsh.com/

22 Irish Acts Will Be Showcased At International Festivals Inc TGE & Primavera

Music From Ireland Announces Names of Irish Acts Being Showcased at Both TGE18 and Primavera Pro. 22 Irish Music Artists Will Line Out for Two of the Biggest Summer Festivals On The Euro Circuit

Music from Ireland has announced the names of those emerging Irish music artists selected to play two of this Summer’s biggest showcase festivals. Of the 22 up and coming acts, 19 have been lined up for Brighton-based The Great Escape while a further three will pitch up for Primavera Pro, the ‘pro-am’ leg of renowned Spanish summerfest, Primavera Sound. Two of the total acts, Le Boom and Fontaines DC will be showcased at both festivals.

TGE18, which will run from 17th to 19th May, will play host to nineteen Irish acts out of a staggering total line up of 450 emerging music artists set to light up the southern seaside town across the three days of the festival. The Irish team lining out for TGE18 is, in alpha order,

Æ MAK | ÁINE CAHILL |   JOSHUA BURNSIDE  | THE ESKIES | 

FONTAINES D.C.  |JEALOUS OF THE BIRDS |  DAVID KEENAN | DERMOT KENNEDY  |

LE BOOM  |  CATHERINE McGRATH | MONCRIEFF  | PILLOW QUEENS  |

REWS | RUTHANNE | TIM CHADWICK | TOUTS  |

LILLA VARGEN |WHENYOUNG  | WYVERN LINGO 

Roe Photo: Hotpress

Music from Ireland will host two Irish music showcase events at TGE on Thursday 17th May – details here:

10.30 – 11.30am Thursday, Networking Brunch (as part of Culture Ireland’s GB18 programme of events).

12.00 – 5.00pm Thursday, Series of Lives The Prince Albert venue, line up as follows:-

12.00 Tim Chadwick

13.00 Pillow Queens

14.00 Fontaines D.C.

15.00 RuthAnne

16.00 Æ Mak

In addition to the 19 artists giggin’ and rockin’ out at The Great Escape, two of those plus a further three are being given the chance to peddle their wares at the Primavera Pro spin-off of the illustrious Primavera Sound. The two lucky double dippers are Fontaines DC and Le Boom, who’ll be joined at PP by singer/songwriters Ailbhe Reddy, Roe and Paddy Hanna.

This is the first year that up and coming Irish music artists have been invited to showcase at the event which is a magnet for (Spanish & South American) industry insiders, tipsters and professionals. We have no doubt that all five acts will do themselves proud and then some. The Irish PP showcase is scheduled for Friday, 1st June at the Day Pro Stage.

All credit to Culture Ireland and Music from Ireland for working together to ensure the funding was put in place to support the promotion of Irish music through expansion into new global territories.

Listen to sounds by all 22 acts on out Music from Ireland – TGE & Primavera Playlist here.

Getting To Know Me … Hurling, Highlights & Handwriting

Ok so not my normal ‘thang’.  Usually this would be an hyperbolic wander through a shimmering, iridescent, heartachingly beautiful or mesmeric piece of sonic wonderment.  Instead, I treat you to, er, the facts behind the Nordic northwind that is DervSwerve.

A cohort of blogger-pals have been challenging each other to answer a series of random personal questions. Always one to rise to the bait challenge, I’ve answered the call of one Angela Stratta, she of Cappuccino and Brioche fame, found the postcard and answered the q’s.

So voila, here it is … a blog about, er, Derval me!

Share your profile picture

dagny

I would love to say it’s this …

but it’s this

derv

Who are you named after?

I was named after the daughter of the much revered Tom O’Higgins, former Irish Government Minister, Presidential candidate and Chief Justice of the Irish Supreme Court and European Court of Justice!

My parents were both living and working in London at the time and Mum, who was in a constant state of homesickness from the day she emigrated to the day she finally returned home for good, used, when she could, to buy a copy of the Irish Independent.  In one pre-natal edition, she saw a photograph of the then Minister O’Higgins accompanied by his daughter Derval, and thought it was such a lovely name that she bestowed it upon moi!  Which was lucky for me given that my Dad wanted to name me Brenda! Brenda? Do I look like a Brenda?

Do you like your handwriting? Do you?

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Both my mother and her sister have beautiful handwriting.  I obvs inherited the paternal gene – dab hand with a paintbrush but with a pen, not so good!

What’s your favorite lunch meat? Why only lunch I wonder?

We-ell, I guess it would have to be baked ham.  I’m not a huge lover or eater of meat having more of a predilection for game, poultry and fish, but ham is easy isn’t it.  And if freshly cooked onsite by a decent deli like Fallon & Byrne, it is usually super flavoursome, succulent and moreish.  Ham is also extremely versatile and complementary to many other foods! (Sounds like a line from a Food Board promo don’t it!).

Longest relationship? With myself, or possibly my mother, depending on where you stand on foetal status.

Do you still have your tonsils? I believe so.  Like I don’t go looking for them or anything, but every now and a misty cold day, they make their presence felt a la very sore golf balls.  Like Alice, I lived next door to severe tonsillitis every year for twenty four years. Then one Winter … pffzt zzzp … they just cut out and gave up the ghost.  Intermittent annoying golf-ballitis recurs, but not very often and it’s more bothersome than painful.

Would you bungee jump? You might as well ask me if I’d walk out in front of a car!  I hate heights, I hate flying, I don’t jump, the wind makes my hair flap into my face and the cold makes me wanna pee. So, no, no, no, no, no.

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? I don’t even untie them putting them on never mind taking them off! Life’s too short!

Favorite ice-cream? Don’t eat a lot of the stuff but I distinctly remember as a child, developing a long-distance, unrequited love affair with Pistachio ice-cream courtesy of a plethora of American TV shows.  When I did finally make it across the Atlantic at the tender age of 12, that was one of the first things I asked for … and oh boy! OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY! Long distance love became love at close quarters.

Maxi Twist
Maxi Twist

While it goes without saying that my mid-Summer go-to is everyone’s favourite, golden-oldie HB’s Maxi Twist, I have recently developed a penchant for some of the newbies like Nobó’s Salted Caramel or Chocolate & Toasted Almond.  However, my ice-cream heart will always belong to Pistachio!

What’s the first thing you notice about people? Call me superficial but their general appearance, the overall package.  After that it has to be their eyes and what they say to me or not, about the internal workings.

I’m not looking for labels or shoes with such a shine that one can see their reflection, but the way someone dresses, how they carry themselves, their gait, their handshake and whether or not and how they look me in the eye, will sway my initial judgement of them.

Football or baseball?   Er, neither.  I’m Irish so don’t know the first thing about baseball and much to the annoyance of most of ‘footie’ fans, I call it (looks furtively around) – SOCCER! Tbh the only reason I call it that is to differentiate it from Irish GAA football, which is of course, ten times more entertaining, especially as the players can ‘elbow’ each other, which invariably leads to a few on-field fracas!

My favourite sport is Hurling – the fastest field game in the world – which if you’ve never heard of it, never mind seen it, then feast your eyes on this esp from 44.10 to 44.37 … All Ireland Hurling Final 2014, Kilkenny v Tipperary

What color pants are you wearing? Cripes, a policemen wouldn’t ask me that.  If you’re talking in terms of ‘lingerie’, let’s just say that I’m more a Bridget Jones than Victoria’s Angel kinda gal.  If you’re just plain ole’ asking me if I’m wearing strides today and if so, what kind, then the answer is yes, and they’re dark blue fine cords of the vintage College professor type!

Last thing you ate? Lunch, consisting of one small tin of tuna in sunflower oil, served with half a tub of M&S cottage cheese w/pineapple and a Pink Lady apple, chopped. All washed down with two glasses of very cold filtered water.  On an eat healthy buzz!

If you were a crayon what color would you be? Purple.

Favorite smell? Ooh, now that’s a tough one.  I love the smell of grass – freshly cut, or late at night after dewfall, especially during the heart of the Summer. I also love the smell of incense, peonies, vanilla and cinnamon.  Foodwise, it’s got to be toast, coffee and oranges!

But, I think the smell I adore the most is that of the sea  … especially during the changing tide when everything from seabed to seaweed and salt is at its rawest and most intense.

im2

Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? A colleague with whom I’ve worked for many years but from whom I’ve been recently separated by reason of our being relocated into two different buildings.  She phoned me to compliment me on my recently published interview with Irish music star Imelda May for the UK online publication, The Monitors.

Hair color? Bit of an enigma my hair.  I had fair chestnut hair until I was around 18 at which point it crossed over to the dark side and I became what’s known as a ‘brunette’, the then  by-word for ‘boring’.  Not what you need when you’re already hormonal, insecure and bespectacled.  This led to several and often hilarious experiments with washes, tints, Glints, Henna and the like until at the ripe old age of 22 I discovered the world of ‘highlights’! (Cue, lots of woo-ing).

Since then I’ve gone from brown with copper highlights, to brown with an aurora of highlights to full on red, a phase which saw me dabble with every shade from Boleyn-esque strawberry blonde to Cluedo-esque Miss Scarlet.

Then around 2009, after several ‘lively debates’ with my then hairdresser (long story), I began the blonde experience.  The transformation took well over a year and an even greater financial investment, but to this day, despite the odd deep dive into a mad as a hatter variation on the theme, I remain a ‘having more fun’ Blonde.

Bet you’re sorry you asked!

Eye color? Also something of an enigma … Grey/green colour, which varies depending on mood & environment, with yellow flecks inherited from my grandfather.

Favorite food to eat? White fish – Hake, Turbot, Sea bass, John Dory; French Cheese – Comte, Reblochon and Pont l’Eveque; Stuffing, preferably home made.

Oh and jellies – of any description!

Scary movies or happy endings? Neither, don’t really do movies!. When I do, they tend to be quite idiotic like ‘Ice Age’ or ‘Despicable Me’. Do books though, if you’re interested? Any takers?

Last movie you watched? ‘Malificent’, ‘cos I’m a total child.

Favorite holiday? The most memorable place to which I’ve ever travelled was Vevey (home of Nestle chocolate) in Switzerland. That first nocturnal view of the Alps from a moonlit balcony combined with the feeling of shrinking like Alice, into inane insignificance, will stay with me forever.

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My overall favourite place though is Rosscarbery, West Cork; nothing will ever compare. It can’t.  When it comes to natural beauty, a treasure-chest of memories, and a complete feeling of being ‘at peace’, no other place on earth can compete with my spiritual and familial home.

Beer or wine? Wine if I must, Sancerre for preference or if the only way is red, then a Barolo or Rioja.  Gin is my go-to, the default being Bombay Sapphire with Schweppes Bitter Lemon or Fever-Tree Light Tonic and a slice of lime.  Lots of ice is a must – even in -7 Norway!

bomaby

Night owl or early bird? With the little sleep I get, night owl for sure.  Usually still trying to get to sleep when the early birds are scrabbling for worms.

Favorite day of the week? Never gave it much thought.  Definitely not Monday.  Probably Friday …

Three or (four) favorite bloggers you want to learn more about?

The admirable Tanya Tonks Mawer who has shown such resilience and strength of character by handling all life throws at her with a few pinches of salt and a bucket of humour.

Stephanie Gaunt, cos I believe there’s a lot more to her than being a Battleaxe!

Shelley Wilson, whose blogging is just inspirational.

& get her before she’s so famous that interview requests will be considered only via PR Catherine Curzon

Who were the last three people to follow your blog? No idea.  I still don’t know how to figure out the people behind the ‘handles’ and avatars.

Derv x

Talos Takes Us On A Personal Odyssey Towards Acceptance & Change

talos

There is something about Cork man Eoin French‘s voice that reminds me a little of the wonderful late Christy Hennessy, albeit in a more latterday incarnation.  French sings with the same animated falsetto and idiosyncratic preciseness that set his fellow Munster native apart from his peers.

But that’s not where the comparison ends.  Dyed in the wool songwriters, both men have produced meticulously crafted songs of a deeply personal nature; songs so perfectly in tune, intertwined even, with their close society and immediate surroundings that they will forever remain timeless.

French is chief architect and project manager of a solo project that started life in 2013 after the creative well of his former band Hush War Cry ran dry.  After a collaboration with Young Wonder‘s Ian Ring, he felt upskilled enough in the art of writing and production to go it alone and thus, Talos was born. Far from operating in splendid isolation, Eoin French enlisted the help of several musicians including Sam Mc Nicholl (percussion) and Alex Sampson (guitar) to fresh out Talos’ instrumental sound.

Born of sparse electronica, Talos’ atmospheric sound is architected using an holistic approach, with layers of airy, ambient Hollis-esque nodes, samples, and spaces joisted by perfectly nuanced guitar, percussion and synths of diverse tonality and dimensions. Since signing to the Feel Good Lost label, Talos has released two singles and two EPs, all of which have been more than enthusiastically received. Latest release, ‘Odyssey‘, is their third single and timely precursor to his debut album due out on 21st April 2017.

An ‘indietronica’ amuse bouche to the main course of ‘Wild Alee‘, this song is a beautifully proportioned quenelle replete with honest emotion and intimate, self-reflective lyrical poetry.

Opening with a gently gusting breeze of synths, the song then falters into a simplistic ambience imbued with a sense of hesitation brought about by French’s rather tremulous vocal.  It’s not long before the wind rises, and the submarinal fx are swept through rippling percussive tidal currents and a synth-rich maelstrom, up into a high-altitude instrumental airstream of disorder and uncertainty, edged with a flash of elation.

april-tour

Talos has announced a ‘Wild Alee’ tour kicking off in Connolly’s of Leap (of which I could regale you with vintage tales of laughter, but won’t!) moving onto Dublin through Galway and Belfast, before winding up in Dundalk on 22nd June. Given the April to June timeframe, don’t be surprised if more dates are added.  One week into the tour, on the same date Talos plays Dublin’s Button Factory, his debut album, ‘Wild Alee’ will have its release.

Talos can be found on Spotify, Twitter, and Instagram amongst other social sites.  Watch the lyric video for ‘Odyssey’ here,

Phonofile Nordic Music Prize Nominees Announced

Phonofile Nordic Music Prize
Phonofile Nordic Music Prize

The dozen nominees for the 2016 Phonofile Nordic Music Prize have been announced; they make for quite the eclectic list!

The nominees, whose music crosses the broadest of spectrums, hail from all five countries that make up the Nordic region, with each country getting equal weighting.  Established in 2010, the prize is awarded annually for that album which the judging panel deems best of year.  Previous winners include Mirel Wagner (FI), First Aid Kit (SE) and most recently Band of Gold (No).

The Nordic jury responsible for selecting the shortlist is made up of a cohort of industry heavyweights whilst the overall winner and commendations are chosen by an international panel including the BBC’s Stuart Maconie and Welsh journalist and Guardian music critic Jude Rodgers.

The artists nominated for the Phonofile Nordic Music Prize are:-

Denmark – CTM, Bisse, Værket

Iceland – Jóhann Jóhannsson, Skúli Sverrisson

Finland – Oranssi Pazuzu, The Hearing, Mikko Joensuu

Norway – Jenny Hval, Nosizwe

Sweden – Kornél Kovács, Cherrie

CTM Suite for a Young Girl
CTM Suite for a Young Girl

The shortlist is something of a spaghetti Bolognese the main ingredient of which appears to be diversity.  Encompassing shots of midnight metal and blasts of underground garage beats, the nominated albums run the gamut of musical taste.

From Jóhannsson’s cinematic widescreen soundscapes which could so easily have been recorded at the bottom of the coldest, darkest oceans, to Pazuzu’s compelling drone through Nosizwe’s idiosyncratic soul-style on the raw and unorthodox, ‘In Fragments’, to any newcomer to Nordic music, this multi-cultural medley is quite the Pandora’s box.  A box whose treasures once released, should be slowly savoured and enjoyed.

For this reviewer, my money is on either Iceland or Denmark to take this year’s prize – one isn’t prepared to take that any further; some impartiality is required.

And while one might have individual grievances about those Nordic albums not included, it must be said that all of the albums nominated are more than worthy of their place on this list.

An award ceremony to announce the winner of the Phonofile Nordic Music Prize, run in association with By:Larm, Music Norway and GramArtist Organisasjonen, will be held in Oslo on Thursday 2nd March, 2017, during the By:Larm festival.  You’ll find a full Spotify playlist featuring chosen tracks from the nominated albums below.

Pom Poko – Unleash New Single Ahead of Trondheim Calling & Cruise Into Urort Final!

Pom Poko Urortfinalen 2017
Pom Poko Urortfinalen 2017

Norwegian modernist collective Pom Poko have just released their third single ‘It’s a Trap’ accompanied by an impressive avant-garde ‘toon visual, the work of Olav Fangel Jamtveit, brother of the band’s vocalist, Ragnhild FJ.

A song about release and arrival, letting go to achieve self-awareness, ‘It’s a Trap’ is a quirky, punchy little sherbet that fizzes with pops of 90’s post-punk with more than a hint of glam psych.  Without doubt the track benefits from the experimental nous and masterly hand of Highasakite‘s Kristoffer Lo, a man who knows his way around more than a few instruments.  Adding his trademark guitar, brass and a.n.other sounds to the mix, Lo has taken Pom Poko’s sound in a more experimental and diverse direction, giving the original live jam the same depth and texture he brings to all his collaborations.

While the instrumental backdrop has some sharp edges, it is chasmed by sufficient wide spaces to counter-balance the intensity. As usual, vocal duties of the infinitely starlit variety are carried off with effortless ease by Ragnhild Fangel Jamtveit and if her previous live vocal performances are the benchmark to go by, Pom Poko’s two gigs at Trondheim Calling should be something else and then some more!  During TC the band will also perform a live sesh for P3’s Ruben.  Unfortunately for me it’s happening on the Wednesday, ahead of my arrival ‘on scene’.

In addition to their saffron shot nocturnal cartoon visual accompaniment, Pom Poko have adorned their single with the cutest, candy-coloured artwork by Norwegian illustrator Erlend Peder which you can see here!  The floral bedecked character is as yet to be identified!

Illustration Erlend Peder
Illustration Erlend Peder

In other news, Pom Poko have made it to the Urort Final 2017 (a Norwegian national award for promising emerging artists); if you like what you hear, you can vote for Pom Poko to win this prestigious award, here. #doit

It is a testament to their punky quirkiness that Pom Poko give their facebook page “unofficial status” – hook up with it here to touch base with the band and keep up to speed with their lives at Trondheim Calling and their Urort escapades!

The future is definitely as bright as the characters in their ‘It’s a Trap’ video for this effervescent four-piece – I hope you’ll join me in wishing them all the luck in the world – for Trondheim Calling, for Urort and we-ell, for the future.

‘It’s a Trap’ is available now via Phonofile – http://phonofile.link/its-a-trap  .  Watch the captivating fam-made visual here.

Blunt By Name & Blunt By Nature

james-blunt

James Blunt gives his detractors the 2-fingers in latest single, ‘Love Me Better’.

Lifted from his upcoming album ‘The Afterlove’ which is set for release on March 24th through Atlantic Records, ‘Love Me Better’ marks a new departure for the platinum selling artist.  Produced by American singer Ryan Tedder (One Republic), a respected songwriter in his own right (Madonna, U2, Adele) its interstitial arc curves through a spectrum of slick R&B before exploding into vibrant uptempo pop.

While reflective lyrics are raw and forthright, they are also both critical and self-critical.  Shaped in the humourous fold that is trademark Blunt, they take a side-swipe at the Blunt detractors whilst dabbling in some heartfelt emosh.  Fusing high-end R&B with uptown pop, the song, which hinges on catchy beats and gyrating synths, cruises seamlessly through stop-start tempo changes, giving it both a striking rhythm and refreshing vibe.

Coming ahead of his fifth album on which James worked with a diverse cohort including Ed Sheeran and MoZella, the track marks a progressive shift in both sound and style for the ‘You’re Beautiful’ star.

 

 

Later this year, November to be exact, will see James Blunt embark on an UK ‘The Afterlove Tour’.  A list of dates together with links to pre-order the upcoming album are detailed below.  For further information check out James Blunt’s Facebook page.

To listen to ‘Love me Better‘ in full, click onto Spotify here:-

‘The Afterlove UK Tour’ November 2017

17th Nottingham – Motorpoint Arena

18th Leeds – First Direct Arena

20th Glasgow – Clyde Auditorium

21st Birmingham – Barclaycard Arena

23rd London – Eventim Apollo

24th Brighton – Brighton Centre

25th Bournemouth – BIC Windsor Hall

‘The Afterlove’ Pre-Order Links:

Standard version – https://atlanti.cr/theafterlove

Extended version – https://atlanti.cr/theafterlove-ext

 

As Far As I’m Concerned, ESO Are Beyond Impressive

eso-nov-2016-by-christian-zervos
eso-nov-2016-by-christian-zervos

Sandvika natives, Einar Stray Orchestra are to indie music what the Divine Comedy are to alt-pop.  In fact, with his suave baritone and predilection for quirky, on-point lyrics and gregarious, orchestral manoeuvres, Einar Stray is for all intents and purposes, the Norwegian Neil Hannon.  Tbh, I can’t help fantasising about what spectacular sonic soap-operas the pairing of Stray with Hannon could magic-up … ah, one can dream.

Einar Stray’s five-piece ‘orchestra’, for orchestral they are, have just released ‘As Far As I’m Concerned‘ the second single from their upcoming album set for a 2017 release via Sinnbus & Toothfairy.  The follow-up to 2016’s ‘Penny For Your Thoughts’, it’s a lavish affair, awash with resplendent string sequences, bright vivacious melodies and smoothly manoeuvred time changes underpinned by dynamic contributions from the R/S.

Vocally, the sweet lightness of Ofelia Østrem Ossum’s soft mezzo is the perfect foil for the dark shade of Stray’s rich baritone, while lyrically, this cleverly worded opus centres on the theme of the fear of change. “The fear of turning into someone the old you despite. The fear of throwing your life away going in the wrong direction. Moving forward can be terrifying – yet it’s the only way.” 

ESO have announced an upcoming European tour kicking off in one of my favourite cities, Vienna, on 13th April. The tour will see them play countries such as Switzerland, Belgium and the UK amongst others but alas, no Irish dates seem to be on the cards! ESO are however lined-up to play Norway’s Trondheim Calling festival and for those of you who like me will be lucky enough to grace those snowy paths from 2nd to 4th February, full details of the artist schedule and conference programme are here.

2017 also sees the release of Einar Stray Orchestra’s third album, which, if the two superb singles are indicative of its overall quality, should be pretty much splendidly symphonic, colourfully creative and in two words, beyond impressive.

Full details of ESO’s tour and their upcoming album release can be found on their Facebook page.  Follow them there and on their Twitter page to keep up to speed with their musical escapades and a possible collaboration with our own Neil Hannon (well, stranger things have happened!).

To read about my own upcoming escapades over at Trondheim Calling, check into my blog, or hang out here on FB or Twitter.

Denmark’s ‘Saint Cava’ Share New Single ‘No One’s God’

 

saintcava_foto_oliviarohde
saintcava_foto_oliviarohde

There is something quite compelling about the fusion of left of centre R&B and early ’90s dance with a hint of trance! That’s exactly what you get on ‘No One’s God’ the latest single from Danish duo, Saint Cava.

Based in Copenhagen, Saint Cavan was formed in 2014 by Erika Casier & Andreas Waze – who per their FB page, identify as “gender neutral (It)” #Applause.

With just a smattering of tunes on their Soundcloud page which btw pays mention to an EP – ‘Bliss’ – it’s hard to nail down their backstory: one assumes it is filled with endless jamming, scribbling, crossing out, recording snatches, experimenting and trying to nail as many lives as is physically possible when you’re an unknown band starting out in a busy music hub such as København.

They played SPOT Fest 2016 and most recently have been releasing but as most of the info on them is in Danish, it’s a bit difficult to ascertain any more facts.

‘No One’s God’ is dystopian, disillusioned romance set to damning hypnotic electro-loops with a central line in insistent drum-claps.  But perhaps the most intoxicating ingredient in this provocative mix is the retro synth driven dance sounds that transform what is an inherently bleak atmosphere into an altogether more compelling one.  Add in a seriously seductive vocal and you’ve got the recipe for one of the best single releases of the new year.

The song is accompanied by a visual conceived of and designed by Danish 3D Graphic artist, Kristoffer Moth.  It’s concept is quite apt and reflects the starkness at the heart of the song.
There’s no information ref upcoming live dates etc but you can hook up with Saint Cava via their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter and Soundcloud to tune into their latest releases.  We’ll leave you with the video for ‘No One’s God’ – if you listen to nothing else today, listen to this!

 

Julia Jacklin Turns ‘Someday’ On Its Head With Strokes Live Cover

julia-jacklin-photo-shervin-iainez
julia-jacklin-photo-shervin-iainez

Australian rising star Julia Jacklin has just released the video for stunning cover of ‘Someday’ the smash hit by The Strokes.

Recorded live for an in-studio session with Australian radio station Triple J for their celebrated ‘Like a Version’ show, Jacklin performed the song, which won multiple Best International Song gongs worldwide, in her own inimitable idiosyncratic style.  Slowing the tempo right down and giving it her trademark country-grunge twist, Julia Jacklin took ‘Someday’ by the ankles and turned it upside down.

A fan of The Strokes chart topper which the singer first heard at the tender age of 12, Julia’s rendition whilst respectful, is as unique and off-rock as one could possibly get. Proving that imitation isn’t necessarily the sincerest form of flattery, Jacklin and her band take this legendary band’s #No1 song and take it to a different level.

Slow, drawling, warm, infectious, understated and as mellow as hell, this performance just lingers on the soul long after the final bars have faded into the lights.

Julia Jacklin came to prominence in 2016 when her debut album, ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’ was released to unanimous critical acclaim.  Receiving cross-station airplay in the UK, her single, ‘Coming of Age’ was a country-fused indie-rock blinder that won her an army of fans across the British Isles.

Having already toured successfully on the back of her 2016 releases, Jacklin returns to the road in 2017 with an extensive list of live dates including slots at some of the top music festivals from Primavera to Oslo’s Øyafestivalen.  She is also set to play a live at the city’s renowned annual music showcase By:Larm which runs from 2nd to 4th March.

For those interested in seeing this unique, vivacious and fascinating artist play her especial style of music live alongside her extremely cool band, here’s a list of UK&I dates inc her headline at Whelans, Dublin in late Feb.

Feb 22 – Green Store Door, Brighton, UK (SOLD OUT)
Feb 23 – Soup Kitchen, Manchester, UK (SOLD OUT)
Feb 24 – Bodega, Nottingham, UK
Feb 25 – Whelan’s, Dublin, Ireland *****
Feb 27 – King Tuts, Glasgow, UK
Feb 28 – Headrow Houes, Leeds, UK
March 1 – Louisiana, Bristol, UK (SOLD OUT)
March 2 – Scala, London, UK
March 3-4 – By:Larm Festival, Oslo, Norway

June 3 – Field Day Festival, UK

A full list of tour dates and up to date information can be found on Julia’s Facebook page.  If you haven’t already dipped your toe in to the Jacklin pool, you can find ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’ on iTunes and other online stores.  What you won’t find though, is this gem! Enjoy!