MFI Series Of London Events To Showcase Irish Acts To UK Music Industry

A series of London-based gigs to showcase up and coming Irish music acts has been announced by Music From Ireland.  The Irish music export office in conjunction with hosts London Irish Centre, will this  month bring the best of emerging Irish talent across the sea to the UK capital for a succession of gigs.  Kicking off on Thursday 29th June in the LIC’s Camden HQ, the series is expected to run until the end of 2017, if not beyond.

The platform was developed with the UK industry in mind, as it bids to bring contemporary Irish acts to the attention of a wealth of music professionals ranging from promoters to PRs to programmers.  The project is supported by Culture Ireland, the government subset of the Dept. of Arts, responsible for the promotion of Irish arts worldwide.  Speaking of the showcase series, Christine Sisk, Director of Culture Ireland explained:

“Culture Ireland puts showcasing at the centre of its strategy for international promotion of the arts as by reaching international promoters showcasing succeeds in generating further career opportunities for artists globally. The new quarterly ‘Music From Ireland’ showcase, run by the London Irish Centre in partnership with Music from Ireland offers a great platform for Irish musicians in London to reach promoters, agents and programmers and gain UK touring contracts.” 

The series opener on June 29th will feature three non-Dublin based acts: Cork native Talos, Northern Irish artist Naomi Hamilton who performs under the Jealous of the Birds moniker, and Limerick based Rusangano Family.

Three extremely diverse acts, they make for a broad and colourful representation of the modern Irish music scene in 2017.

Jealous of the Birds is an everything and then some singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who dabbles in myriad sounds so as to render her style impossible to nail into one single classification.  Travelling through the dark into light, her songs are a fine balance of hushed poignancy and electric vibrancy.

Having released her debut Capricorn EP in early 2015, this young songwriter has gone from strength to strength amassing a strong fanbase that includes media from both North and South of the border.  Her leisurely indie-folk meets hyperactive post-punk debut album Parma Violets, was released to broad critical acclaim in April, 2016.

Check out the video of the chanteuse’s live BBC N/Ireland performance Leonard Cohen’s sublime Famous Blue Raincoat; I challenge your spine not to tingle.

Breaking Tunes profile: http://www.breakingtunes.com/jealousofthebirds
• Web: https://www.jealousofthebirdsmusic.com
• Twitter: @jeliofthebirds
• Facebook: @jealousofthebirdsofficial

Cork native Eoin French is the man behind the Talos music project.  With a voice not unlike that of legendary Talk Talk frontman Mark Hollis (there, I’ve finally said it), like his mysterious predecessor, his voice flits through bars of insanely emotive instrumentation. Brimful of the Cork man’s vocal nuances and peppered with stark imagery and keenly felt lyrics, his debut album Wild Alee is a sure fire cert when it comes to best album 2017 nominations further down the road.

Check out the breathtaking visual accompaniment to Talos’s latest single Contra, a devastatingly and beautifully eerie song about loss and death crafted in a delicate shell of hope and light. Shot in the West of Ireland , the film was directed by the singer’s friend, renowned photographer Brendan Canty (of feelgoodlost)

• Breaking Tunes profile: http://www.breakingtunes.com/talos
• Web: http://www.talostalos.com
• Twitter: @talostalostalos
• Facebook: @TalosTalosTalos

Last but most certainly not least, Limerick based Rusangano Family is a triumvirate comprising two MCs and a DeeJay. Winners of the Choice Music Prize album of the Year 2016 for their self-released album, Let The Dead Bury The Dead, this hip hop/rap/Afro beats outfit are at the cutting edge of the contemporary Irish music scene. In fact, they are everything that is good about the rapidly changing, diverse Ireland in which we now find ourselves.

Check out their searingly on-point new single I Know You Know the lyrics for which you’ll find laid out underneath the video on YT and I strongly urge you to read them! Slick funk bass-lines and silky synths blunt somewhat the sharpest edges of the damning lyrics.  A song about depression, place and isolation within society (least that’s my interpretation), the striking visual accompaniment, below, makes compelling viewing.

That’s a ‘rap’.

• Breaking Tunes profile: http://www.breakingtunes.com/rusanganofamily
• Web: http://www.rusanganofamily.com
• Twitter: @RusanganoFamily
• Facebook: @RusanganoFamily

A limited number of ticket for the inaugural showcase gig on 29th June in Camden are open to the general public. Full details and tickets here.

If you don’t go, you are missing one heck of a line up and what promises to be one hugely memorable night.  In the meantime, you can feast your ears on more sounds from the three featured artists by streaming this 9-track playlist which I’ve pulled together from their various catalogues.  Enjoy.

DervSwerve.

 

Still ‘Early Days’ For Tim Chadwick

Dubliner Tim Chadwick released his first single Blindfolded just over a year ago in April 2016.  It was more than well received by Irish music media with comparisons with JV Mc Morrow and BF Leftwich tripping over themselves for page space.

Fast forward to May 2017 and the release of Chadwick’s debut EP entitled Early Days.  And while it still is, early days that is, the singer has already made more than an indelible mark on the contemporary Irish folk-pop scene. Although I include the term folk in its loosest interpretation, as the Dubliner’s sound leans more towards an alt-pop disposition rather than the more typical ‘nonny’ acoustic-guitar in a fair isle jumper folk-style.

I could reel off a list of ‘sounds likes’ and ‘in the mould of’ but that would be disingenuous to a singer-songwriter who has, all hyperbole parked on the hard shoulder, a crackingly good and exceedingly delicious voice. Thoughtfully curated nuances shadow this light as a feather vocal instrument, which despite its subtle mellowness has sufficient weight behind it to be utterly convincing.

Tim Chadwick’s contemplative and at times visceral lyrics, emotive instrumentation, and charmer of a voice all speak for themselves.  This is one of those rare occasions when I’m simply happy to let the songs do the talking …

Gig wise the only listing appears to be a late September date at The Sugar Club, details here.

For further information, you should check in regularly with Tim’s Facebook page as I would imagine that other lives are in the offing.

Early Days is out now via iTunes – hop out your wallet and shop here.

Before you do though, check out the wonderfully entertaining video accompaniment to Tim’s latest single, the infectiously up-tempo Never Wanted You, which stars dancer extraordinaire, Erik Cavanaugh.

You can follow Tim and DervSwerve on Twitter to keep up to speed with all the latest news.

DayFlower – Seeing Up : Pop Music Seen Slightly Askew

Leicester based indie band Dayflower shed their candy coated skin during the recording of their most recent offering, Double A-side Seeing Up/Neverfriend.   Well known for their honey-dipped melodies and mallow soft vocals their latest release marked something of a grungey departure for a band as notorious for their candy-festooned club nights as their Heart Shaped Tambourines.

Looking at the two songs in isolation, Neverfriend is an uptight, dirty, smear of a drone which pushes Alex Clemence’s ‘lost-boy’ vocal so far beneath its surface as to give it a subterranean feel. By contrast, Seeing Up rises steadily through an abstract siren-filled soundscape flavoured with Asian nuances and awash with multi-layered dream sequences, until finally arriving at a crescendo of 3D starburst proportions.

Aside from being purveyors of the finest wines made from the grapes of wooze, both Messrs Clemence and Dhonau are also highly regarded for their loquacity and wordsmithery. So, it makes the earthiest of common sense to look Dhonau-wards when seeking context to anything Dayflower.

Having recently released a visual accompaniment to Seeing Up, David very kindly took some very valuable time out, to give us some background to the song, how it was recorded and the aesthetic behind the film.

“The basic demo for Seeing Up predates Dayflower. It was one of the first things I showed to Alex (Clemence, vocals, guitar) soon after we met.  

I recall thinking that the range and tone of Alex’s voice would suit a reverb-drenched, early ’90s Creation sound perfectly. As we chatted, it was not long before our shared love of My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain et al became apparent. So his vocal melody came very naturally.  

We took the chance to absorb ourselves in the studio process and really experiment with sound. The recording features an assortment of drum machines of different vintages, analogue and digital synths, classical woodwind, guitars that sound like household appliances and . . . actual household appliances. 

I found a way of combining a few guitar effects pedals to create the noise climax at the end, which sounds like a choir of demonically possessed vacuum cleaners. One listener interpreted the swirl differently and remarked: ‘I feel like I’m spinning down a drain. In a good way’. 

While Chris (Merriman, Dayflower’s guitarist) was setting up his equipment up to record, his washing machine was spinning in the next room. I wandered off to check how loud it was it was and took a handheld recorder with me. It’s somewhere there in the finished mix. 

The song was first released in September 2016, along with Neverfriend, on EDILS Recordings. We officially called it a double a-side, but inevitably the lead track Neverfriend received more attention – all very welcome, including Fat-Cat uploading the track to their featured demos site. 

It would be fair to say that Seeing Up is less immediate, with none of the linear complexity of Neverfriend. The whole thing is built on just a handful of chords and becomes a kind of sonic mantra, growing vertically rather than horizontally, with textures layering themselves upon one the other, seemingly to breaking point. 

We thought making a video for the song would add depth to the experience of listening and might gain the song a slightly wider audience. The way the video begins establishes a fractured dream logic, in which the viewpoint drifts, disembodied. As with the music, the camera is in an almost constant state of motion be it horizontal, vertical or cyclical. 

Aesthetically it explores the abstraction of landscapes and people seen at unusual angles and distances. When point of view is altered the familiar can instantly become alien. 

In fact, that’s one way I could sum up our sound: pop music seen slightly askew. 

There are also cameras dipped in honey pots and stuck the inside of spinning tumble dryers.” – Words, David Dhonau.

Dayflower, aka a good natured argument between The Smiths and The Stone Roses (did it ever end, and if so, who won?) is Alex, David, Chris and Simon. Their next single, Sweet Georgia Gazes, is set for release in early June so keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook page.

The band’s next Candy Dust club night which includes Emperor X on the bill, will take place in The Cookie (Leicester), on 30th June, full details here.

You can download Seeing Up (along with Neverfriend) via the Edils Recordings Bandcamp page.

In the meantime, you can watch some stunning drone footage patched with images of neon-pop psychedelia and shots of a few familiar faces, in Dayflower’s lush video for Seeing Up, right here. DervSwerve 

Discover Ireland #2 : Reap Music From Life

Photography – Myles O Reilly

Welcome to the second in our new Discover Ireland series featuring the best contemporary music from both emerging and established stars of the Irish scene. In our inaugural instalment – Irish Music Under The Microscope – we ventured on a ten-track journey that took us from the folk-pop world of Hudson Taylor through the country-roads of Catherine Mc Grath to the Balbriggan ‘good life’ imagined by R&B diva-in-waiting Soulé.

This week, we deep dive into the world of yet another ten Irish artists whose music crosses every social, stylistic and musical walk of life, to give you a multi-flavoured megamix by more of the best of our indigenous talent.  As always, you’ll find a Discover Ireland #2 Spotify playlist at the end of our piece. In addition, over on Spotify, you’ll find a new all-inclusive Discover Ireland Top 20 to which we’ll keep adding new tracks week on week.

“bain ceol as an saol

Uncredited Press Photo

Who? Áine Cahill

The 22-year old Castletara native who has already stormed every TAM rated radio show across the UK&I not to mention wowing throngs of festival goers from Body & Soul, to EP, to the mother of all fests, Glasto. Fresh from a stint at Cruinniú na Cásca where she played alongside The Academic, Áine Cahill will embark on a nationwide tour on 20th April kicking off in Dublin’s Sugar Club – full details here. Her itinerary also sees her take in some UK festival dates including Glastonbury‘all hail!’.

With a sound that occupies the liminal space between baroque pop and jazz, the young Cavan woman has been likened to both Lana del Rey and Adele, although personally I can hear more of the former and less of the latter in the way her vocal confidently mines rich and pitch-dark, mysterious underground caverns. There’s a touch of James Bond suaveness to her latest single Plastic, redolent of Planets by The Clear.

A sassy yet classy two-fingers to unfeeling no-marks, it’s a slickly produced affair with as much style as it has substance.  Cahill effortlessly walks her smouldering vocal up and down the breadth of its range, while in the background guitars growl, sinister basslines lurk, strings sweep theatrically and there’s a profusion of jazz cum r&b style percussion that gives Plastic an infectious, palpitating heartbeat.

The youngster has just brought out an accompanying video which you can watch here.  With a chutzpah similar to peers like Bryde and PJ Harvey and a talent mature beyond her years, Áine Cahill is more blazing comet than rising star.  One to watch with binoculars …

Who? Otherkin

Love child of a fast and furious fling between Cockney Rebels The Clash and NYC’s brashest The Strokes, Otherkin is a Dublin based four-piece putting grit into grunge and punk into pop.

Producing adrenaline-charged rocket-fuel trading as ‘garage rock’ that refuses to go gently into any good night, Otherkin have rapidly become one of the success stories of the current Irish music scene.  Two EPs in, and their searing sound has gained them a fanbase which has grown exponentially since their 2014 inception.

While their style is unfussy and vibe beyond energetic, their songs swing off more hooks than Tarzan doing the rounds of a concrete jungle.  Their sound is ‘loud’ but without the ear-scraping screech-factor to which many of their peers fall foul. Ensuring a line in melodic pop sensibilities remains firmly embedded in their rad-leaning brand, has kept Otherkin within reach of commercial whilst at the same time keeping a respectful distance from mainstream pop.

Ahead of the release of their debut album, due out later this year on the Rubyworks label, the guys recently dropped the lead track Bad Advice.  The musical equivalent of stormtroopers crashing your local open mic, its a compelling sonic energiser replete with the strident guitars, punchy beats and confident vocals on which Otherkin have built their indisputable rep.  One, which will see them cosy up to Axl & co when the Not In This Lifetime Tour hits Slane on 27th May 2017 (see here for tickets).  Something tells me Ax will have his work cut out for him keeping up with these frenergetic rockers.

Who? Lisa Hannigan

Lisa Hannigan is an icon of modern Irish indie-folk-pop – period.

A gifted multi-instrumentalist Hannigan has long been at the forefront of that wave of musicians who successfully managed to transform the genre of folk-pop, once seen as pop’s poor relation, into an accepted art form within modern musical society.

In addition to a plethora of film work, the multi-award winning Irish woman has released three highly acclaimed studio albums – Seesaw (2008), Passenger (2011) and most recently At Swim (2016) for which she was Choice Music Prize nominated.

The title, which is drawn from the watery metaphors that flow through At Swim’s lyrics, is similarly suggestive of the fluid sound of the album itself, which in many ways make it as intangible as it is transparent.  Described by The Telegraph as an album “to drown in”, At Swim is a truly emotionally immersive recording which serves to highlight not just Lisa Hannigan’s exceptional songwriting skills.  It also serves as a testament to her ability to craft intimate and feather-light music which she then gently offers up with the most delicately emotive of deliveries.

Lisa Hannigan is currently on an extended World tour with our next featured artist – Saint Sister. Full details of all remaining dates//tickets – here. She plays the Royal Hospital Kilmainham on 5th June.

Who? Saint Sister

Saint Sister, was formed in 2014 by Trinity alumni Morgan MacIntyre and Gemma Doherty. 

Drawing inspiration from traditional Irish and folk music on the one hand and electro-pop on the other, the duo have concocted their own unique brand of ‘atmosfolk‘.  Blending wistful, subtle synths with electro-acoustic harp, the pair have managed to take the best of both traditional and modern worlds, resulting in a finely balanced musical menagerie at the heart of which lies their perfectly synchronised, visceral vocal commix.

Clocked by media within a blink of their formation, Saint Sister have opened for Arcade Fire, been playlisted by the Beeb and RTE, and toured extensively selling out venues from Ireland to the Finland Station (that might be a bit of an exagg but you get the gist).  They’re currently high-bindering around Europe with the afore-mentioned Lisa Hannigan ahead of a stint around the UK&I.

With its minimally arranged, unfussy perfection, their sensational Madrid EP blew the socks off reviewers and music fans alike.  Most recently, the duo have released Double A Tin Man / Corpses (link here).  A finely textured weave of the warmest threads of electronica adorned with delicate gauzy folk, this is music with which one makes an immediate, subliminal connection.

Saint Sister take their instrumental finery and add a layer of perfectly chiming vocals to create immaculately delivered and sympathetically arranged songs that only the most gifted lyricists and naturally talented of musicians can aspire to.

Saint Sister play Dublin’s National Concert Hall on 7th June and Latitude (UK) on 15th July. Full details of their tour dates//tickets – here.  Click your heels and set ye off for Blind Date over the rainbow style with their wonderfully original video for Tin Man below.

Who? Imelda May

There’s very little left to say that hasn’t already been said about the ‘transformation’ of the artist fka the Queen of Rockabilly.

Sporting a new look while embracing a bewitching new sound filled with heartfelt soul and punchy blues, Imelda May has returned with a fifth album that has exceeded our wildest expectations by more than a country mile of the English heartland in which she now lives.

Life Love Flesh Blood is a T Bone Burnett produced masterpiece comprising strands of country, jazz, R&B, pop and more. An indefinable triumph which, like May herself, refuses to be boxed in by labels or genres, it has had both reviewers and May’s fans in thrall to its visceral power and raw to-the-bone honesty (mea culpa – you can read my review here). Editors of glossies and TV hosts alike, have been tripping over themselves to book the Dubliner for ‘chats’ (Image Mag, The Late Late Show, The One Show) – if anyone out there didn’t already know who Imelda May was, they must surely know now (mea maxima culpa, read my interview with Imelda here).

With her ten-strong team of musicians, Imelda May is due to hit the ‘circuit’, starting in Derry on 30th May.  The singer will play over 25 dates across the UK including St. David’s Hall in Cardiff and the exquisite London Palladium.  She will play four Irish dates – three sold out shows at the BGE Theatre in May and an extra date at Dublin’s 3 Arena on 22nd December.  The month of June will see Imelda take her new sound to music venues across North America where she will also hook up with the legendary Elvis Costello.  We wish her well.

Check out the new video, just released, for Imelda May’s latest single Should’ve Been You here.

Who? Bad Sea

Alan Farrell and Ciara Thompson aka CMAT, are Bad Sea – a trippy, country ‘fluenced duo who recently supported Australian hitmaker Julia Jacklin when she pitched up at Whelans for a night (and got clamped for her troubles).  They were, in the words of that great musical legend John Peel – ‘fucking amazing’.

With a confidence that belies her 21 years, Ciara has all the poise of June Carter Cash fused with the pop sensibilities of KD Lang whilst paralleling the idiosyncrasies of Lana del Rey.  Comparisons not easily made.  Farrell for his part is an intuitive guitarist with more than an ear for a seductive riff.

On stage, Thompson and Farrell are in complete symmetry with one another; a synchronicity more than apparent in their studio recordings, which sound more like the results of an afternoon of easy going musical indulgence rather than the meticulously rehearsed and precisely crafted soul crusted country-pop gems that they are.  It’s not easy to make such good music seem effortless!

Their latest single Tell Me (What I Mean) is a homage of sorts to love (and Tinder) in which Ciara’s glorious vocals twirl and whirl around and through Farrell’s resplendent throwback guitar playing.

The duo played So Far sounds last month, a live recording of which you can watch here.  They play a sold out Yala event 21st April, return to Whelan’s on 16th May to support Overcoats before hooking up with Rosa Nutty for her EP launch in The Workman’s on June 1st!  BE THERE!

Who? Katie Laffan

Dubliner Katie Laffan is another slice of that batch of Irish newbies taking the media world by storm.

Her new single Tastemaker scored massive acclaim for its journeying in a direction perpendicular to the well worn trend of most chart-poppers.  Dressing itself in the fluorescent PJs of ‘bedroom funk’, its a dynamic melee of funk, jazz and hip hop spliced with some reggae vibes all wrapped up in a layer of glistening disco-pop.

Produced and mastered by studio Yodas, Liam Caffery and John Flynn, it’s as slick a glitter-ball of a production as you’ll hear since the walls of NYC’s Studio 54 reverberated with Nile Rodger’s Chic.  In fact if you told me Rodgers himself was on guitar duties it wouldn’t surprise me.

There is something very carefree and wild about the vibe of this song, which is more sonic fizz-bag than commercial candyfloss.  That’s not to say it isn’t radio and market-friendly – it is in spades, but without the try-too-hard plasticity of the likes of Pixie Lott or triteness of Little Mix.  It’s disco-pop with the sassy abandon of Donna Summer that hints at the best of Roisin ‘Bring it Back’ Murphy (before she slid down the experimental rabbit hole).

Tastemaker showcases Laffan’s coy but street-wise vocal, sparky and unbridled, blurry around the edges, softened by a hint of breathiness.  Musically, this ‘fabulousness’ is a riot of cowbells, funked out bass-lines and highly-strung, tight knit retro 70’s riffs.  More addictive than Haribos, if you don’t fall prey to Ms. Laffan’s bedroom charms, then you’re either tone deaf or dead.

The video, which you can watch below, features the singer’s 82 year old Grandad – go him!

Katie Laffan will support Maverick Sabre in Dublin’s Bowery on 27th April, followed by stints at Bare in the Woods and Grove Festivals – full details here.

Who? New Pope

Galway native David Boland has been performing under the New Pope moniker since 2014. Hugely popular, this immensely talented singer/songwriter has diligently distilled his own home-brew of dream-pop infused folk that while drawing from an indigenous traditional well, owes much in the way to the indie/jangle of mid-90s America.

New Pope has released two excellent and buy-worthy albums, Youth which was released in December 2015 and Love which came out on NYE one year later.

If you put a gun to my head and forced me to make comparisons, I would automatically lean towards Beck.  There’s more than a trace of the American’s sun-kissed Californian ease in the leadránach almost soporific quality of the Irish man’s gently hypnotic vocal.

Somewhat of a confessional songsmith, New Pope wears the varying shapes of his heart on his sleeve – humourous, romantic, nostalgic, observer of life, dreamer.  His song-crafting skills are exceptionally on point – thought and emotion provoking poetic essays on the world with which the Galway native surrounds himself.  Observations on the natural world, the changing face of Irish landscapes, soundscapes and culture, love won and lost, nostalgic odes to youth and its blushing romances.  They’re all in there like pages torn from a collection of diaries.

New Pope’s third album Home, is due out later this year.  An album firmly set in the ‘now’ of his life, it strolls down more folksier byways than its somewhat more ‘wistful’ and nostalgic predecessors.

Renowned for his wonderfully orchestrated and imaginatively arranged and thoughtful compositions, Home should prove at least equal to if not superior to the charming ingenuity of its two older siblings.  If his Instagram is anything to go buy, New Pope is a constant on the Galway live scene. Check in with his FB to stay in the loop.

Who? Motions

Favourites of Tom Robinson’s crew over at Fresh on the Net – see the groovy review their single Back To Where I Begun inspired back last November –  “the beauty of the song is the superb build right from the start with its occasional picking guitar through to its almost anthemic finish”

The trick of producing really good music is when you find a bloody good formula, stick to it like Elastoplast.  That’s what Dublin based duo Motions have done, nailing a slow build to gradual crescendo, culminating in an all out explosive finale full of musical theatrics festooned with fireworks.

Motions was formed in late 2015 by Tom Daly (vox) and Dave Nulty. They describe their sound as ranging “from shimmering soundscapes to anthemic rock”.  Yup, just about sums it up perfectly.  Bold and daring rock-god vocals are at the helm here – waspish, raspy, edgy, you can almost feel the veins bulging in the Daly’s throat.  Strong and confident vocal shots laced with Jameson and a few puffs of Woodbine.  Elsewhere, in the back seat, Nulty’s strident guitars are screaming to be unleashed so that they can drive unfettered through the anthemic storm that lies ahead.

Their latest single, All I’ve Ever Known is another killer track that will leave your nerves jangling.  The song which “centres around the traces left behind after losing someone close to you … is reflective of the chaotic elements we experience in the grief of loss”.  A continuous build of layer upon layer takes the track from soft melodic balladry to epic bombast, with Daly’s gritty vocal, a fine balance of angst and anger, sitting in the eye of the perfect storm of contorted, frenzied guitars underpinned by insistent, driving percussion.

Unfortch, there’s no video, so here’s a shiny new Motions Soundcloud link instead.

Who? Le Galaxie

Le Galaxie are a 21st century band who like Norwegian beatmasters Röyksopp imagine pulse-filled space-age electronica light years ahead of its time.

A four-piece who submerge their collective talents into the dark and mysterious void that is contemporary electronica, they produce pulsating disco swagger filled with an array of electronic textures, a cavalcade of 3D samples and synthtastic lane hopping.  Their latest single Pleasure is just that.

Like an irresistible and experienced seducer, it holds you firmly in its thrill-seeking clutches and mesmerises with its hypnotically propulsive beats.  New age techno rife with carnal desire it’s like les liaison dangereuse for the dancefloor. The track features the sensual vocals of Flight Like Apes’ front woman May Kay, whose dreamy, languorous delivery is seduction personified.

A powerfully compelling dance track with a more than ‘colourful’ personality and an addictive groove, Pleasure is a Le Galaxie masterclass in innovative experimentation. An accomplished production with an inter-galactic sheen.  Pleasure is released today … go get it on!

Le Galaxie are lined up to play several live dates including a Night in the Key of 8 (23rd April) and the Drogheda Arts Festival (29th April) – full line  up of events here.

Well, that’s a wrap. Thank God says you, is the bar still open?  I’m all worded out. Nothing left to say except, here’s your Spotify playlist. Enjoy.

DervSwerve

Discover Narnia – The Magical World of Nordic Music

📷 @bleirvik

Is there anything more magical than an expansive tract of land carpeted with thick pile, powdery snow, imbued with a sense of hush and serenity?  As one soaks up its daz-white emptiness offset by a stunning azure blue sky and high noon sun of the type more associated with the Mediterranean, the purest air seeps into ones lungs, invigorating, healing, giving one an unexpected head-rush of dizzying proportions.  This is mid-Norway in early February and despite its minus three temperatures, it has a clement, almost springlike feel to its late winter weather.

As if by way of silent solidarity, the weather replicates the colourful iridescence and paradoxical cold charm, that like a pair of oversized, ice-tipped wings, so much of the music from this region drapes itself in.

Norwegian music has for many years held me in its thrall, with its effortless scaling of Himalayan vocal heights, pristine tonal clarity and sheer unadulterated enthusiasm.  Time and again, it has drawn me to its Narnia-esque snowscapes, lured by its easy charm and communal spirit, each visit proving a little more enticing, each foray drawing me a little deeper into its ‘norsk kultur’.

Enough of the Danubian hyperbolic flow!  A recent trip to Norway brought about the opportunity for several interesting interviews, some of which were, it was agreed, to be published by a rather large online publication.  However and most regrettably, despite having received written agreement prior to the event, said publication has since reneged on its commitment and those long hunched over transcripts have gone unseen.

So, by way of small reparation to those artists who were promised a space in the much broader columns of that blog which shall remain nameless, I have decided to do a three-part Norwegian special to kick off my new Discover series featuring the best of Nordic music.  The two posts will be made up of a sprinkling of those artists who are doubtless feeling very much aggrieved (you’re not on your own!) and a smattering of others to whom my ears are oft’ inclined.  Enjoy, Derv x

WHO? KATRIN FRODER

Bergen born Katrin Frøder who goes by her surname, is one of many artists signed to the Toothfairy label, who are fast becoming ‘a thing’ in their native patch.  Best known for her unmistakable signature vocal that resides up there somewhere alongside the seraphims, Frøder crafts hypnotic electronic-based music saturated in more technological quirks than would challenge the best spark.

Having taken some time out to recalibrate, the Norwegian who is currently beavering away at penning new songs, says a revitalised return to form has inspired new music even stronger and more alive than that of her self-titled debut.

With several lives dates down and appearances at top festivals under her belt, the singer opted out of the chance to play at SXSW, choosing instead to stay closer to home to continue with her songwriting.  She has most recently been releasing collaborations with fellow label mate and renowned electronic producer Carl Louis, best known this side of the North Sea for his work with ARY.

Quirky, with an idiosyncratic style and a penchant for a bit of blue hue, Frøder is an artist who stands out from the crowd while her unorthodox creative style lends itself to weaving both spiralling sonic fascinators and beat-driven crowd pleasers.  Most recent releases see her featuring on Carl Louis’ Easy and this wistful wonder, Come With Me. Expect new solo music later this year.

WHO? LUDVIG MOON

Each time I go to write a review of LM’s music, I have to return to their FB page to count up just how many of them there are in this sprawling indie horde (there are 7).  Ludvig Moon, signed to Norwegian indie label Riot Factory, are a band who I would classify as ‘still maturing’, a group within touching distance of nailing their sound.

Their debut album Kin had all the ingredients for a runaway success but alas, as seems to be the norm with much indigenous Norwegian ‘pop’ music, it didn’t really figure in their music charts scheme of things.  Highly acclaimed and critically well received, it was, is, give or take the odd hiccup, an extremely well produced compendium of thrillers and seducers.

Ludvig Moon aren’t just another indie band – they are the sum of extremely talented instrumental parts, complete with a duet of vocals that are a synchronised match made in harmony heaven.  While they may look a little top heavy on the instrumental side, and are usually found spilling over the side of any industry standard stage, when you strip back to component level the wealth of the individual threads doesn’t just validate it compounds the splendour of the overall weave.

Ludvig Moon say they’re in a happier place and it shows. What’s also evident is an abundance of freshly charged high voltage energy.

Blankets their latest from the forthcoming All Our Friends EP, due out on 26th April,  (there doesn’t appear to be a pre-order so keep your eyes peeled) is a collaboration with The Little Hands of Asphalt and Team Me, possibly the only band to be able to lay claim to having c.99% of Norway’s musician population pass through its line-up since its inception.

There’s a touch of the poppier side of alt-rockers MSP to this track which drifts nicely back to a mid-90s landscape of Britpop when boys could be girls and girls could be whoever the damn hell they wanted to be.  A video montage of ‘home “let’s get shit-faced” movies’ and archive film footage shows humour, personality and too much tongue.  New music due date, 26/4/2017.

WHO? LOVESPEAKE

Ooh, one sip of this seductive sweetness and you’ll be intoxicated for hours.  An anaesthetic for a bad day, heartbreak or general pain in the ass-iness, Novocaine is our new musical drug of choice as produced by the colourpop hit factory that is Lovespeake.

Every picture tells a story, and this track’s artwork alone, should give music fans a good indication as to the optimistic mindset and rainbow of creativity behind this Norwegian ensemble.  Headed up by Alexander ‘Pav’ Pavelich, who I had the pleasure of running into recently at an Einar Stray gig, Lovespeake and their album DNA were one of the runaway musical successes of 2016.  Their precisely conjured cocktails of sun-kissed melodies, Caribbean beats and retro-disco are the product of the most fertile of musical imaginations combined with a rush of vital dynamism.

Lovespeake cosy up to singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Max Frost, who seems to have a lyrical thing for pills of a certain persuasion #Adderall, on their latest piece of colourful wizardry, with the Texan adding a deep south raspy drawl to counter Pav’s spotless polar falsetto. Two things strike you when you first hear this track – Frost’s deliberately spacious vocal and the song’s ’70s disco groove.

This audacious combination produces something to the effect of a mash-up of a slowed down Someday by The Strokes and A Night To Remember, the 1978 smash by the most classy of all funksters Shalamar.

Like the most delicious dessert laced with bourbon, this is toxic saccharin; a moment on the lips, a myriad soporific trips.

WHO? SIGRID

Uncredited

Following the lead of Adele, Aurora and er, A-Rihanna, newcomer Sigrid goes by forename alone.

The baby sister of singer/songwriter Tellef Raabe, she was singing backing vocals to his headliner at the Norwegian Trondheim Calling festival in February 2016. What a difference a year makes!

Despite the fact that her first single Sun, which she released in 2013 at the tender age of 16, was a smash hit, it wasn’t until she signed to Island Records that the wheels began to seriously turn for this youngster.  With the full force of the Island wind-machine behind her, Don’t Kill My Vibe didn’t just land, it torpedoed its way into our musical space.

Frighteningly perfect pop, it’s like an angry feline with an itch and the odd human to scratch. “You think you’re so important to me, don’t you” she swipes at some envious no-mark, her pitch-perfect vocal sung with that confidence only the young can muster, bouncing off echoey drum-claps and negotiating the melody’s high altitudes with the sort of conviction most of her peers will never achieve.

One of the latterday signs that you have ‘arrived’ is when you acquire your own Wikipedia page … Sigrid, but in case we need to reaffirm just how good this girl is, here’s the acoustic version of her global (yes global!) hit, Kill My Vibe. Watch, listen, shiver.

WHO? JENNY HVAL

Writer, musical architect, experimenter, songsmith and latterday Norwegian icon, Jenny Hval is revered the same way in Norway as Bjork is in Iceland.

A protagonist at the fore of the current zeitgeist of female avant-gardists taking the oft maligned genre of art-pop to the masses, she is as lauded for her outspoken social commentary as she is for her creative brilliance.  If music could be an ‘installation’ in the same way art is, Hval’s work would be first in the door of the Tate Modern swiftly followed by a stint in the Astrup Fearnley.

Her last record Blood Bitch was a highly acclaimed concept album influenced by all things hematic. It was rapturously received by critics who universally heaped it critical acclaim.  Cited by every influential publication in their ‘best of’ lists for 2016, it was the overall winner of the annual Phonofile Nordic Music Prize for best Nordic album, the award being presented to Hval during the renowned By:Larm international music festival.

Most recently Hval has been in the news with her bonafide collaboration with Welsh producer Kelly Lee Owens, who famously reworked her track Kingsize back in 2015.  Recalling Owen’s “personal affinity for water” Anxi slips and slides its techno persona through the musica obscura that lies between ambient and pop. Pulsing through a myriad metamorphoses, it maintains a mood of dark foreboding as Hval intersperses the electronic narrative with bizarre spoken word vocals – a monologue which moves at a pace that is quirkily out of sync with the pull of Owen’s beat.

The song swoops up out of the darkness into a brighter soundscape at the heart of which is a steady techno pulse, until apropos of nothing, it swerves right back down again, into an otherworldly void. Art that manifests a host of unorthodox ideas, music which reaches far beyond its natural boundaries; that is probably how Hval’s work is best described.

Jenny Hval will perform in Dublin’s NCH on 6th October as part of their Perspectives series. Tickets http://www.nch.ie

Nordic music, Norwegian in particular, has evolved and grown so spectacularly over the past decade that it is now hard to remember a time when it wasn’t part of our natural musical make-up.  If you haven’t previously come across any of the five featured artists hopefully this first chapter in a new Nordic themed series will have sufficiently opened your minds to excavate further down into this magical, musical mine.  If not, please do come back, there’s plenty more coming down the tracks.

As usual, no music series worth its salt would come without a complementary playlist.  Here’s our ‘starter for five’, which we will add to week on week with each new blog-post.

DervSwerve

 

Elk’s Specimen EP Is A Journey Beyond Post Rock

There is music which by default tumbles into that categorical looseness known as post-rock, a term so vague that even the most knowing of oracles would be hard pressed to define it.

I like to think of it as a musical free spirit; music without a map or specific direction, meandering aimlessly through a myriad uncharted territories.  Chameleon like changes of sound and texture, vacillating between tempos, swimming seas of varying emotions.  I cannot define post-rock in the same way that I cannot confine the music of Elk to one single genre. The Shropshire four-piece are about so much more than a single-instance of style.  

Elk are Dom Main (vox/electronics), Jamie Wesley (guitar), Will Soutter (drums/electronics) and James Kerr (bass).  They met whilst at Durham Uni where they allegedly studied things medical and scientific, and having a formed a bond over tea, music and er, Elks obviously, they turned friendship into a band and are playing together even since. 

Today marks the release of their debut EP ‘Specimen‘, three tracks of truly phenomenal musicianship and exceptional vocals that radiate transcendence and epitomise originality and diversity.  Despite being recorded in the hermetic confines of an attic the resultant three songs are anything but dark or claustrophobic.  

That Elk take their influences from a wealth of artists – Japan, Radiohead, ’80s electronica – is reflected in the eclectic nature of their music, something which is very evident when you listen to their new EP.  Opener ‘Continuously’ like the ebb and flow of a tide, veers in the direction of Kid A and then away again, falling on your ears like a shower of otherworldly dreams.  Experimental ambient in nature, it comes replete with stick click percussion and slickly executed tempo changes.  After a careful build, the song rises to a deftly woven compelling climax that features a rather adeptly performed insistent guitar solo.

Possibly the most captivating and definitely the most poignant song on the EP is the title track.  I was lucky enough to be on Fresh on the Net reviewing duty when it featured in their Fresh Faves back in February – click here to read the review. ‘Specimen’s gentle rise and fall leads us through a pastoral landscape on its journey to some faraway, meditative nirvana.  Lead singer Dom Main’s angelic falsetto is set in a transcendental ambience the peace of which is broken only by intermittent shards of sonorous guitar.  If you could only use one word, it would be ‘bliss’.

Final track (and best of the three) ‘Iceberg’ makes yet another stylistic volte-face, one which elevates Elk’s post-rock sound to Radiohead levels (lying somewhere between Kid A and Hail to the Thief).  A fusion of electronic wizardry and earthy jazz-pop it is a vivid exploration of texture, a confluence of wildly disparate yet complementary styles.  Its brilliance is in its idiosyncratic weirdness; its divergent elements, perfectly teased and executed, are brought together in a carefully conceived of arrangement and precision production.

‘Specimen’ doesn’t define Elk but rather sets out their stall in terms of skilful musicianship and unbounded innovation.  By taking this unorthodox adventure into unmapped soundscapes, Elk have shown they are willing risk-takers and fearless experimentalists who put originality ahead of populism.

The ‘Specimen’ EP was mastered by Cem Oral (Gwen Stefani, NIN) at Jammin Masters studios, Berlin,  and comes complete with contemporary artwork by the award winning Matthieu Leger.  To celebrate its launch, Elk will join FOTN alumni Sykoya amongst others in the line up for HOTVOX, Camden Assembly, 29th April, details here.  Other gigs to follow, details will be posted on their Facebook page. ‘Specimen’ is out now and available for download from Amazon.

Jess Glynne & Tom Jones Lead Line-Up For Punchestown 2017

With a stellar line up of stars from every walk of music life, cast across several generations, this year’s Punchestown Music Festival looks set to prove an even more popular draw than its 2016 predecessor.

Running over 29th and 30th July, the two day festival will feature in its line up stars from the ‘60s through to today including Tom Jones, Deacon Blue, All Saints, Lightning Seeds and Jess Glynne.

HRH Tom Jones is a legend in his own musical lifetime. Purveyor of swoon-inducing hits such as ‘Delilah‘ and the Prince cover ‘Kiss’, the Welsh vocal powerhouse is also one of the stars of UK TV hit show ‘The Voice’. Jones has sat in the judging hot-seat since the show’s 2012 inception, except for the 2016 series when he took time out after the death of his beloved wife Melinda.

Scots clan, Deacon Blue, were best of indie breed back in the mid-80s, spinning hit after Caledonian hit with songs like ‘Real Gone Kid’, ‘Wages Day’ and ‘Your Town’. Recently reforming as a four-piece for a much welcomed comeback tour, the pop-rock band have gone on to perform at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony, with 2016 seeing the release of a new album entitled ‘Believers’.

For those willing to take a walk on the wild, whacky or vintage sides, there’s a multitude from which to choose.  Boney Daddy Cool’ M (don’t tell your mother), Smokie of (WTFis) ‘Alice’ fame, ‘a little bit more’ with Dr Hook, and for anyone of a certain age who was swinging around venues like Dublin’s Olympia in the early ‘90s, there’s super ABBA tribute group, Bjorn Again. 

Catering to the younger gen in the crowds will be R&B soul-pop performer Jess Glynne, who coincidentally turned down an offer to join Sir Tom on the Voice judging panel.  The singer has a string of #1s to her name while her track Take Me Home, which you can stream below, was the official Children In Need charity single 2016.

Lastly, for those with a predilection for making random hand signals whilst disco dancing dressed up as a traffic light, there’s the Village People, who may or may not have upgraded to a condo from their 1970’s base in NYC’s ‘YMCA’.

Tickets for MCD’s Punchestown Music Festival will go on sale through various Ticketmaster outlets at 9am on Friday 31st March 2017, www.ticketmaster.ie

Day tickets will cost €69.50 inclusive of booking fee, while Two Day tickets will set you back €129.00.

 

Discover Ireland – Irish Music Under The Microscope

Talos – Photo : Olga Kuzmenko

At a time when worldwide music sales continue to decline notwithstanding the ‘great’ vinyl revival and continuous rise of more online music platforms than behoves the industry, the resounding success of the current wave of artists making up the Irish scene is quite the quirk in the global musical landscape.  It’s almost as if many of our current crop of artists are creating music both in and for a parallel universe, such is the remarkable quality, unorthodox nature, and uncharted ingenuity of their idiosyncratic outputs.

But just who makes up this ever-growing Celtic tribe whose unquenchable creativity knows no populist constraints? Who are the Irish artists currently gifting us with a wealth of musical treasure; unpolished, untarnished, glistening in its rawness?

In the first of a new ‘Discover Ireland’ series we look at some of the Irish artists who are not just sealing their credentials on the local landscape, but whose sound is in such stark contrast to that of the current flock of vanilla chart-toppers that they are making international industry veterans sit up and take notice.

Photo of Catherine Mc Grath Uncredited

In part one of the Discover Ireland series, we put ten artists with varying degrees of success under the microscope, finishing off the piece with a tailored Spotify playlist which you can follow or from which you can select a pick n mix to add to your own homespun choices.

Who? HUDSON TAYLOR, Unsigned folk duo from Dublin made up of brothers Harry and Alfie HT. Already have a huge online following as well as a couple of releases under their belt.  Around since 2011, they’ve been steadily building a solid fanbase for their ‘bro-brand’ of acoustic folk, although pegging them into the ‘folk’ hole makes them sound more twee than their pop sensibilities would allow.  Currently gigging whilst working on material for their sophomore album.  2017 should see them considerably up their musical game including stints at several of the big Summer festivals including Wilderness.

Who? THE ELATION, A Cork four-piece who share a love of “Music, Travelling, Writing, Recording, Performing” in any order you care to throw at them.  While they name-check both Kodaline and Hozier in addition to forerunners of the ’80s alternative zeitgeist Talking Heads, it is probably Brit Award Winners The 1975, also referenced, to whom their sound bears the most resemblance.

Debut release ‘Xo‘ is like a mashup between the Mancunians (think 2016 hit ‘The Sound’) and a combo of Haircut 100 and Aztec Camera flying the ’80s funk meets new wave flag. All funky foundations and groove bass floodlit by iridescent synths and fuelled by a healthy dose of blood pumpin’ beats.  They’re only at the start of their voyage and already the future looks XoX.

Who? TALOS, Experimental music project of another Cork native, Eoin French. Like the trademark slow builds in his songs, French has been gathering followers along the winding, visionary roads of his continuous musical travels since Talos’ inception back in 2013. And, like the fantastical zeniths of some of his more audacious compositions, 2017 looks set to bring its own dramatic highs when the multi-instrumentalist releases his debut album, ‘Wild Alee’, through Feel Good Lost on 21st April, the same day as his upcoming Irish tour kicks off in Dublin’s Button Factory. Full details on his FB page. Check out the official video for his current single ‘Odyssey’ here,

Who? CATHERINE MC GRATH, Co. Down born London based 19 year old hailed as the new Taylor Swift. There’s plenty of Taytay pastoral-pop ‘fluences going on but Catherine’s sound isn’t without a touch of LeAnn Rimes and Trisha Yearwood.  Leaning towards Nashville for its stylistic direction Mc Grath’s vibe isn’t without its pop sensibilities.  Plenty of finger-picking to keep the double denimers happy yet enough soft-pop to steer her into the mainstream flow.  New single ‘Starting From Now’ was released on 10th March and judging by the Spotify count (66k+ in its first week) is gonna seal her fate as one of the Taylor-type stars of the not so distant future.

Who? BURNT OUT, punk cum rap cum ‘wherever the sound needs to be apropos the moodscape’ kinda band from North Dublin.  Two songs in and already the media big cheeses are drooling.  Their latest, ‘Joyrider‘ is full on Roddy Doyle without the laughs.  Don’t be put off by the heavy-set Dublin vocals, this is more ‘mission statement’ than song.  Tackling Dublin ‘street’ culture with its inherent notion that violence, intimidation and general ‘gittery’ define current day inner-city masculinity, the song seeks to highlight the destructive influences this lads mentality has had and continues to have on young Irish males.  Social commentary doesn’t get more unequivocal than this.

Who? TOOFOOLS, “the brainchild of multi-instrumentalists Steven McCann & Lorcán O’Dwyer”. These Dublin based BIMM alumni are the cog around which many collaborative projections are formed.  While the pair are the project’s masterminds and its only permanent members, they onboard a cohort of fellow musicians to flesh out their live performances.  There’s a lot going on here and like many of their peers, TooFools aren’t foolish enough to box themselves off by sticking to a readily labelled style or sound.

There are some similarities with Norway’s chillwave, feelgood pop scene (yes, it is a thing) where the likes of Lovespeake reign supreme and like their Norwegian counterparts, TooFools muddle gold standard ingredients – funk, retro soul and Tropical pop accessorised with an infectious falsetto – to create a year round Summer sound full of rhythm and sway.  The only single released thus far, ‘Touch’ is a bloody good example of golden sounds with an expert touch on production. TooFools have hopefully, started as they mean to go on. Top Notch.

TooFools @Button Factory Photo: Claudia Verdecchia

Who? SOULÉ, Balbriggan native whose urban with a touch of class sounds are fast gaining her industry-wide recognition. Astonishingly, this part time musician cum student had her first single, ‘Love No More’, nominated for a Choice Music Prize. Soulé is one of a growing number of artists utilising the Dublin based collaborative hub Diffusion Lab and when not studying, can be found there working on new compositions, songwriting being a way of life since her childhood days.

This upcoming talent cites a plethora of influences from Macy Grey to Nineka but one can’t help recalling greats like Aaliyah, Caron Wheeler and Paris Grey as you listen to the Dubliner’s latest single, ‘Good Life‘ (even the title is redolent of what many consider to be the Inner City frontwoman’s finest hour). Creating sounds that cross over from classic soul and R&B to beat driven electronic pop,  Soulé has nailed a fresh take on tried and tested formulae.  Possibly one of the most exciting talents on the scene, get to know her before she goes global.

Who? EDEN aka Jonathan Lei Ming or the next Hozier.  The 20 year old Dublin multi-instrumentalist and vocalist extraordinaire has repeated the impossible already achieved by the Bray man by going from zero to hero without even breaking into a sweat.  In a minute period of time, he has garnered 135k followers on Spotify alone.  How the hell? Whelans bedamned, this genius of EDM dance-pop sold out prime venues from NYC to LA to Berlin and more taking in 43-dates last year alone, and as if that wasn’t wow enough, has signed up to team SB – Scooter Braun – manager to Bieber, Usher, Ariana Grande & various other elite members of the gilded world of music US stylee.

Suffice it say, we can safely assume that Eden has ‘arrived’.  His seven track mini-album, I Think You Think Too Much Of Me’ from which ‘Sex‘ is the opening track, received nothing but five star reviews for its lo-fi perfect blend of wilful electronica and smooth R&B. Move over Andrew, the new kid on the block is moving into your star-filled stratosphere.

Who? BONZAI, another 20 something about to set the world on fire.  Originally hails from Wicklow now living in London, this newbie cut her teeth with Guernsey born electronic producer Mura Masa, something which not only stood her in good stead but got her name very much in the frame.

Another crossover artist who seems to have allowed a myriad influences seep under her musical skin without the prerequiste labels, Bonzai’s style incorporates everything from grime through Brit-soul to sophisti-pop. There are, for example, some interesting nuances of Simply Red (Fairground) on the intro to the track ‘Stepping‘ from her ‘Sleep Hungry‘ EP.  Gigs and festival slots are stacking up nicely including a stint at Dublin’s District 8 weekend 25th March as well as sets at Parklife and Blissfields.

Snatched up by Colombia records, this Irish innovator is yet another firework set to explode onto the international scene.

Bonzai Uncredited

Who? LYRA Last but by no means least, this London based Cork native (yes, another one!) recently scored perfect tens all round when she delivered a blistering, high-octane performance on the Irish version of Dancing With the Stars – watch it below. Whilst comparisons with Enya and Marina Lambrini Diamandis (of The Diamonds fame) are not unfounded, for me there is more of an affinity with the wilful instrumental theatrics and free spirit Baroque pop of Florence Welch.

Her four-track debut EP, ‘W.I.L.D’, released in 2016, includes current single, ‘Emerald‘. The song, which is about remaining true to oneself, is a compelling fusion of intangible other-worldliness and widescreen warrior style instrumentals that could have led the charge of Queen Medb into Ulster, in which Lyra’s demi-operatic vocal delivery in the mould of Kate Bush, is an octave sweeping triumph. Currently riding high in the iTunes Top 10, Lyra is currently notching up some super cool dates for her Summer calendar including the biggest UK emerging artist showcase, TGE – The Great Escape.  Doubtless great things await for this unique and exceptionally talented songstress.

From melodramatic High Queens to the stark black and white realism of on point social commentary, crossing hip hop, soul, EDM and folk, this is Irish music in Ireland 2017.  Check out the first cut of my Discover Ireland playlist here … follow if you like.  You’ll find me on Facebook and Twitter @DervSwerve.  While you’re listening to the playlist you might check out Ireland.ie, the new Creative Ireland cultural website and portal to Ireland.

The Discover Ireland series will continue showcasing Irish music fortnightly.

Come On Live Long Break Bread Along With Some Bones

Photo Rich Gilligan

“It is a truth universally acknowledged” that some of the best musical relationships are those that come about purely by chance. Personally speaking, I pride myself on the number of happy accidents (Lina Kasa remains #1) that have befallen me during the 18+months since I started, as in Tom Robinson seriously started, writing about music.

My latest accidental discovery is upcoming Irish band, Come On Live Long (there’s a story there surely … unlike Killer Kid Mozart who swear there isn’t!), a four-piece who dabble in a myriad genres from dirty electronica through soul-lite to dramatic pop with flecks of folk and urban in between.

Their FB states that their hometown is Dublin though judging by some of the accents I would imagine that denotes place of residence as opposed to ‘natives of’.  How do I know this?  Because these clever dudes have only gone and uploaded a backstory to their latest single, ‘Bones to Break‘, in the form of an ‘here’s how we did it guys’ audio, onto their Soundcloud page.

This short audio tracks the construction of the song from the programming of the initial beat to the complex building of layer upon vocal layer until the production was a perfect ten. It’s a fascinating listen, not just for self-confessed studio-dummies like myself, but also for any would be, will be musicians out there, scrambling around the ‘IoT’ for scraps of wisdom thrown down from the tables of those who have themselves cut their teeth and worn the tee-shirt.

It’s 10-minutes of well thought out, unfussy home-truths about composition and recording. Stream it here…

Now, listen to the finished product!

‘es to Break’ is the lead single from the band’s upcoming sophomore album, ‘In The Still’, due for release in May 2017.  While that excited storm is brewing, one of the gigs that the band will be busying themselves with is a new Irish music meets craft beer initiative.  ‘Future Proof‘, a new live music series showcasing the best of emerging Irish talent will kick off in Bello Bar on 22nd March – tickets are available online or at the door (if they’re not already sold out!), details here.

I’ll leave you with a track from Come On Live Long’s debut album ‘Everything Fall‘.  The song is called ‘For The Birds‘ and it was its title which caught my eye on Soundcloud.  Given my current state of mind, it resonated!

With its reverbed echoey vocal and intergalactic sound fx it leans towards dreamy electro-pop but blues-hued guitar licks and sexy lounge percussion drag it back down and anchor it to a very gritty earth.  That is, until the whole thing explodes sky-high. A gloriously unexpected firework, this dramatic flourish of guitar drone and spectacular synth flares and dazzles, bringing the track to a spectacular close fading out with one last breathy note.

Check out ‘For The Birds’ and the rest of Come On Live Long’s published music on Souncloud, MySpace and Bandcamp.  You can check in with their FB and Twitter pages to keep up to speed with album and tour-date (yes, there will be a promotional tour) developments.  Derval.

Blood or Love? Heavy Heart’s Cochineal Keepsake

heavy-heart-keepsake-artwork-med
ingAt the beginning of 2016, London based Heavy Heart set out on a mission to release a song a month for the year; you can read my review of their socio-political statement, ‘The Way Home’ here.
Mission accomplished and to kick off 2017, the English alt-indie five-piece are releasing a limited-edition red vinyl 12-track LP comprising their 2016 musical diary as it were.  The album aptly entitled ‘Keepsake‘ will be limited to 300 pieces, each of which will be hand-numbered, and for clever collectors out there, the first 100 eds will also include a set of custom designed postcards featuring lyrics and artwork from each of the dozen songs. The album will be released on 31st March via indie label, I Can & I Will.
To add a frisson of temptation to your tastebuds the band have just released an audio video replete with quirky cut-out nostalgic ’60s photographic images for one of the 2016 ‘monthlies’, ‘High Dive‘, itself released as a single in June of last year.
heavy-heart-as
‘High Dive’ is like staring into a funhouse mirror whilst riding an undulating slow-mo roller-coaster.  While the song somnambulates through a rise and fall of haze, drone and morphia, one can’t shake off the feeling of ‘drunken’ unsteadiness, as if one were standing on their own personal earth tremor.
The atmosphere laden with a feeling of edgy uncertainty is lifted somewhat by the beguiling, illusory vocal of Anna Vincent. Although the song falls loosely into the alt-indie bracket, it reflects Heavy Heart’s ability to explore that genre’s many and varied dimensions.
Heavy Heart have some upcoming London gigs to tempt you away from mid-week footie & Gogglebox:
  • Tuesday 14th March @ Old Blue Last w/ Average Sex + Missing Mäce
  • Tuesday 11th April @ The Victoria
The limited vinyl ed of their album ‘Keepsake‘ can be pre-ordered here or, if you’re not one of the lucky 300, you can download it here.  Social links to Heavy Heart are beneath their new ‘audio-visual’ which you can peruse here,

                                                      Website:      Facebook:      Twitter:      Bandcamp: