National broadcaster RTÉ has pulled off quite a coup by nailing all ten nominated artists to play live on the night of its Choice Music Prize Live Event in Vicar Street, on 8th March.
The line up for this year’s RTÉ Choice Music Prize event, run association with IMRO & IRMA, was announced earlier this week on 2FM radio. All ten nominees for Best Album 2017 are set to perform in Vicar Street on the night. In case you weren’t already aware of the skinny, here it is:-
Come On Live Long –In The Still (self released)
Marlene Enright – Placemats and Second Cuts (self released)
Fangclub – Fangclub (Universal)
Lankum – Between the Earth and Sky (Rough Trade)
James Vincent McMorrow – True Care (Faction Records)
New Jackson – From Night to Night (All City)
Otherkin – OK (Rubyworks)
Fionn Regan – The Meetings of the Waters (Abbey Records)
Ships – Precession (Ships Music)
Talos – Wild Alee (Feel Good Lost)
Previous winners of Best Album have included Julie Feeney, Jape and Villagers. Last year’s nod went to Limerick hip hop/rap triumvirate Rusangano Family. Also presented on the night will be Best Song of 2017, with Soule, The Academic, Gavin James and Wyvern Lingo among the ten nominees; listen to a playlist of all ten nominated songs here.
Host on the night will be 2FM’s Eoghan Mc Dermott, and the event itself will be broadcast live from 7pm to 11pm on 2FM. A special highlights programme will be broadcast on RTE 2 on 18th March.
Some tickets for the Choice Music Prize Live Event are still available over at Ticketmaster Ireland priced €28.00 including booking fee.
In case you need any convincing as to which artist to vote for, here’s a playlist featuring selected tracks from the ten nominated albums. With one month to go, anything can happen. To get your votes in for both Best Song and Best Album – CLICK HERE.
The Biggest Weekend, BBC Music’s four-fold festival weekend is on its way back this May Bank Holiday (UK) weekend. Ahead of this bumper four-in-one festivale, we took a look at the who, the what and the when …
Date for the Diary
BBC Music’s ‘The Biggest Weekend’ takes place across four days, kicking off on 25th May and closing out on 28th. The where might take some negotiation, not to mind a Tardis, as the four x four festival relay takes in Belfast (N.Irl), Coventry (Eng), Perth (Scot) and Swansea (Wal).
Catering for BBC Music fans across the entire British Isles, the festival organisers have excelled themselves with their choice of venues:
Over 175,000 tickets will go on sale – but be warned, the bulk of these will be available only to residents in the immediate locale, with the balance being offered to the wider public. For details on how to get your CLICK HERE.
Who’s Doing What & Where?
Naturally, all the ‘talk talk’ is about Princess TayTay. Fan’s of lil’ Miss Swift will need to hit Swansea on Sunday 27th if they wish to get a sight of this bird! And if that wasn’t enough for one Welsh city, Taylor’s BAE Ed Sheeranwill be looping the loop on stage at Singleton Park the evening before, Saturday 26th.
“So excited to be part of The Biggest Weekend this summer! I’ve always loved performing at Big Weekend with Radio 1 and this year it’s going to be even bigger. Bring it on Swansea!” – Ed Sheeran
BBC Music’s The Biggest Weekend line up boasts some of the biggest names in music; from Beckand Noel Gallagherwith his flock of High Flying Birds, to Snow Patroland Courtney Barnett. At present, the big Welsh name playing the festival, The Manic Street Preachers, are pitching up at the Belfast docks rather than Swansea harbour. However, former uber-group of the 80s, Simple Minds, will be flying the home flag when they take to the stage in Perth.
It’s Not All Guitars!
Not all of the music acts playing across the four-day festival are from the world of rock & pop. Contemporary violinist Nigel Kennedywill pitch up for not just one but two festival slots, as he’s set to play an opening night performance with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on Friday 25th in Perth, followed up with date with the BBC Concert Orchestra on the closing night in Cov.
Speaking of the festival, the icon of new-wave classical commented: “I’m inspired by all kinds of music from across the world. I’m also inspired by people and by passion. Music should not be pigeon-holed and I have always believed that. So it’s great to be involved in an event which celebrates diversity across live musical genres with artists new and old. In Perth, I’ll be performing Bach and Gershwin with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and in Coventry, Highlights of the New Four Seasons and Hendrix with the BBC Concert Orchestra.”
And There’s More
There are more names still to be added to this ridiculously good line up, including a plethora of emerging artists from the ranks of BBC Introducing. Elsewhere, the BBC Big Four – BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3 and 6 Music will be on curation duties. They’ll be providing extensive coverage of the festival over the four day period. Further coverage will be provided by 1Xtra and Asian Network.
Ticket for BBC Music ‘The Big Weekend’ will go on sale Monday 12th February, 2018. The demand will be massive so make you get in on the action early doors. For those of us unlucky enough not to be in a position to attend any of the four days/locations, there will also be extensive TV coverage on BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four. The festival will be available to watch via BBC iPlayer, mobile and online.
Eclectic radio platform Worldwide FM host annual ‘leftfield’ Worldwide Awards together with 6 Music presenter Gilles Petersen and Brownswood Recordings. Three categories in Worldwide Awards 2018 are open to public vote which will close at 23:59 Monday 8th January.
The countdown has begun to the cut-off for the public vote for this year’s Worldwide Awards. The awards which honour non-mainstream music and jazz artists, are hosted by eclectic arts and culture radio platform Worldwide FM, renowned left-field music advocate and BBC 6 music presenter Gilles Petersen and London based Brownswood Recordings. The vote, which was launched in mid-December, is open to the public in three categories of Worldwide Awards 2018: Track, Album and Jazz Album (released in 2017).
The annual awards which mark outstanding releases in the ‘musica obscura‘ of left-field underground were, according to Petersen, set up to “celebrate a side of the music scene that often gets ignored“.
This year’s Worldwide Awards ceremony will take place on Saturday 20th January, 2018, in London’s KOKO venue. Acts already confirmed to light up the night include IAMDDB, who will be fresh from her performance at #ESNS18, as well as off-mainstream Soweto six-piece BCUC, US/UK trio Khruangbin, producer, electronic artist James Holden, and Radio 1Xtra DJ Jamz Supernova.
The contenders for all three awards were drawn from those artists nominated in the multitude of categories the winners of which will also be announced on the night. Some of those nominated in the three categories open to the public vote are:-
Let Go, Connie Constance; Wires, Ossie; Shade, IAMDDB; Face, Brockhampton
Love what Survives, Mount Kimbie; Lilies, Melanie de Biasio; Migration, Bonobo; DAMN, Kendrick Lamar; Drunk, Thundercat
JAZZ ALBUM –
Juan Pablo: The Philospher, Ezra Collective; Yellow Ochre, Vels Trio; Arise, Zara Mc Farlane; Wildflower, Wildflower
To help you make up your mind, we’ve pulled together a playlist featuring a random selection of just some of the superb artists nominated for this year’s #worldwideawards. For full details of the nominees and to vote for the artists you think should win – CLICK HERE.
ESNS18 or Eurosonic Noorderslag 2018 is set to kick off in the Dutch city of Gronigen in just under two weeks. Bigger than its Norwegian counterpart by:Larm, and fast closing in on the UK’s TGE, we ask just what is this European Music Conference and Showcase Festival all about?
Eurosonic Noorderslagis a Dutch based annual music showcase festival and conference in the mould of by:Larm and The Great Escape, which runs over four days each January. The first three ‘Eurosonic’ days feature a lineup of artists from across the length and breadth of Europe, while the fourth and last ‘Noorderslag’day focusses solely on Dutch acts.
Inaugurated in 1986, the four-day festival is renowned for breaking new music acts onto the international scene. Previous ‘ones to watch’ who played the annual music-fest include Hozier, Royal Blood, Dua Lipa, Aurora, Mø and Vök.
This year’s ESNS will showcase acts from 30+ countries over its four day duration. Just over 120 European acts, from Finland down to Portugal, and from Iceland across to the Ukraine, will display their musical wares in over 15 music venues across the Dutch city of Groningen. The final Nooderslag ‘Dutch day’ is based in De Oosterpoort.
This year’s lineup includes some of the best of emerging artists from not just the UK and Ireland, but the Nordics, as well as central and eastern Europe. UK&I music fans will be familiar with a lot of the confirmed names including Soule, Broen, Sigrid, Pale Honey, and IDER.
To view the full music festival timetable – CLICK HERE.
A delegate conference runs simultaneously with the music festival. Its four-day programme includes the EPIC(European Production Innovation Conference), Buma Music Meets Techand the European Talent Exchange Program (ETEP), founded by and unique to ESNS.
While EPIC focuses on innovation at festivals and venues, Buma Music meets Tech is an innovation programme that aims to support and promote start-ups; this year the topic of Blockchain is taking centre stage. Elsewhere on the conference programme ETEP will host an Artist Exchange Meeting, A Festival Lounge and Marketing Meeting (*Please note that attendance at ETEP is by invitation only).
This year’s Eurosonic festival is celebrating music from Denmark. ESNS18 will showcase performances by Danish artists together with having the Danish music scene front and centre of its delegate conference.
A part of the Nordic music region oft overshadowed by its Norwegian and Swedish neighbours, the last few years have seen Denmark’s new music scene thrive with the emergence of artists such as Blaue Blume, Palace Winter, MØ, and Danish-Irish artist Lukas Graham.
This year’s Danish delegation includes the sublime August Rosenbaum, dreamy electro-popper Soleima and EBBA award-winning Copenhagen trio Off Bloom whose hook filled blend of electro-trip-pop is addictive.
We’ve pulled together a diverse Denmark Blooms playlist featuring sounds from all 22 Danish acts that will perform live in Groningen.
This year’s UK contingent is super exciting, not least because it includes several artists supported by BBC Introducing including the utterly captivating Fenne Lily, unique, life-poet Isaac Gracie, country-‘fluenced clear-voiced Jade Bird, turbo-voiced Sound of 2018′er Sam Fender, kickass Mancunian left-fielders Pale Waves, and Bristol-boy Keir, whose electrifying voice and brooding sounds have sent shivers down the spines of many a seasoned music pro. Special mention must go to BBC Introducing Devon‘s sublime Wildwood Kin – a DervSwerve fave!
Festival-goers are in for a real treat, as this year’s Brit line-up is weighed down with some serious talent. UK Tipsters won’t be surprised to see the inclusion of ‘ones to watch’ supergroup, Superorganism, in the ESNS frey!
Denmark aside, the Nordics is fast gaining a solid rep for producing seriously unique, left-field and above all, memorable music artists. We’ve sampled a small selection of the Nordic wow-factor in our ESNS – Nordiculously Good playlist. Long-term fans of the blog will be more than familiar with some of the ‘includees’.
THE IRISH FACTOR
The Irish have a long history, dating back to the 90’s, of playing Eurosonic. To celebrate that fact, renowned Irish 2fm DJ and new music advocate Dan Hegarty, with the help of producer Ian Wilson, pulled together a radio documentary which you can listen to via the Soundcloud link below. The 60-minute radio retrospective features music from legends of the Irish scene like The Frames, The Golden Horde and Jacknife Lee, as well as sounds from current incumbents such as James Vincent Mc Morrow and Soak.
Several Irish acts are set to play ESNS 2018. This year’s green lineup includes emerging acts such as fiery grunge-rockers Bitch Falcon, uber-awesomeDerry electro-popper Roe and enthralling lyrical poet Dermot Kennedy. The 2018 Irish cohort is representative of the diverse pool of superb talent that make up the current emerging music scene in Ireland. Check out our ‘Full-Irish’ playlist below to hear sounds from the entire green team.
IMRO has announced it will host a Music for Screen Networking event in its Dublin HQ on Wednesday 24th January. The open invitation is extended to those working in the audio visual related sectors.
IMRO, the Irish Music Rights Organisation has announced that it is to host a networking event for composers, publishers and music professionals working in the audiovisual and media content production sectors such as animation, film and video games. The event which will be held in the organisation’s Dublin offices on Pembroke Row, will take place on the evening of Wednesday 24th January, 2018.
The workshop-style event will afford attendees the opportunity to discuss and debate the findings of the recently published report “An Examination of the Music for Film & TV Sector in Ireland” (Sarah Glennane // IMRO/MCPSI) a link to which you’ll find here https://www.imro.ie/about-imro/research/music-screen-ireland/
The aim of this inclusive event is to provide an opportunity for peer to peer networking and an open forum that will enable industry professionals to share their experiences, both positive and negative, and to table ideas and strategise for the future.
Some of the topics which they hope will be covered on the night include,
Defining and mapping the sector – who, what, how and for whom;
Current status and health of the Irish Music for Screen Sector – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the sector and those working in it;
Screen Composers Guild – Is one needed and how best could it be established? Looking at international experience and across other audiovisual sectors;
Demonstrating the significance of Music for Screen and the value and importance of a strong domestic sector;
International engagement – Establishing and promoting Ireland as a world class supplier of Music for Screen and ancillary services.
Whelan’s have extended an open invitation to emerging or releasing artists wishing to join the line up for their annual Ones to Watch festival. Now in its 8th year, the festival will showcase artists from across the full musical spectrum. It’s expect that in excess of 50 acts will play across three stages during the four-day event.
Whelan’s recently announced an Open Call for artists wishing to participate in their Ones to Watch 2018 festival. The showcase event, which is being hosted by Whelan’s in association with Hop House 13, and supported by IMRO and State.ie, will run from 18th to 21st January 2018.
Unsigned and emerging artists, as well as those intending to release in 2018 are invited to join the 50+ act line up during the mid-Winter showcase festival. As yet, there is no deadline for submissions. So, if you’re looking for a gig in one of the best venues in town, or wanting to help promo an upcoming release CLICK HEREfor Submissions. The event is open to artists from across the island of Ireland.
And, by way of encouragement to rally the support-troops, Whelan’s are offering a free pint of Hop House 13 with every ticket purchased. So pitch up and sup up – Day and Weekend tickets available to purchase here-below.
€5 per day or €10 for all 4 days – plus a pint of Hop House 13!
360 Record deals … what they are, how they work, the pros and cons.
As music artists continue to struggle to reap any financial reward from practising their art, record labels are turning more and more to 360 deals to establish some remunerative balance.
The What …
A 360 or ‘multiple rights’ deal is a record label contract through which the label receives an agreed percentage(s) of the artist’s overall earnings (music royalties, merch, live performance, appearances etc). The financial clauses in standard record label contracts are normally confined to record sales and related promotional activities.
Under multiple rights deals, record labels take a percentage of all revenues including those from activities normally outside their ‘remit’ such as:-
Tours, Gigs, Live Performances
TV, Radio and Film Appearances
Songwriting, Lyric Display & Publishing
The How …
In return for this bigger cut of revenue, artists can expect greater record label engagement with activities such as marketing, music promotion, publicity etc. for a guaranteed period of time. In other words, by engaging with the artist 360, rather than just involving itself with their record sales, the record label assumes a quasi-managerial role.
Similar to standard agreements, the 360 deal allows the record label to acquire the recording copyrights as well as options for multiple albums. In addition, it also includes traditional ‘deal agreements’ whereby producer royalties, net sales, foreign sales, packaging costs, special offers and new tech are deductible from the artist’s royalties.
Under traditional deals, artists are paid a percentage royalty, usually single digit, by the record label. This usually inconsiderable share is normally further reduced when all relevant deductions have been made eg costs incurred in producing an album. Ipso facto, unless the record is a global commercial success a la Rihanna or Ed Sheeran, artist royalties will be few and far between. Instead, they must rely on proceeds from touring, merch, publishing etc. to generate an income.
The Cut …
Understandably, under the terms of a 360 deal, the lion’s share of an artist’s overall revenue will go to the record label. However, each deal is unique to the individual artist and knowing your worth is key in negotiating best terms. Everything is up for grabs and the devil is in the detail so before you enter into any discussions work out which revenue streams you’re agreeable to being included in the deal. If the label cannot bring value-add to any element of your career, keep it off the table.
The % …
Percentages or rates can be fixed, flat or tiered. Most labels work using a non-negotiable standard template but you might be lucky enough to espy some wriggle room. If you do, try to negotiate a tiered system. Whatever you do, don’t just blithely accept the first offer made – haggle.
The Law …
It shouldn’t even need to be said but before you sign anything, consult an independent solicitor.
The Resources …
Ensure the label commits to resources before you sign on the dotted line. Many labels are shedding staff – you don’t want to end up your ‘career’ being delegated to the marketing intern. Enthusiasm is no substitute for expertise and nous.
The Pros & Cons …
The pros pretty much speak for themselves. You’ll have the full might of the label machine behind you and your music. A small percentage of something is better than 100% of nothing and with their expansive black book of contacts, the label should be well placed to generate sufficient media interest to raise your profile and boost sales. Afterall, the better you do, the bigger their slice of the pie.
In addition, 360 deals allow labels to plan long-term strategy as opposed to seeking immediate RoI, because they’re no longer solely reliant on record sales to recoup costs and turnover a profit.
However, there are cons, and not insignificant ones. Firstly, 360 deals can be viewed as a rather cynical move by record labels, faced with dwindling physical sales and other traditional revenue streams, to cash in on terrain previously viewed as ‘artist only’.
From an artistic perspective, there’s a lot to be said in disagreement with ‘band branding’ – eg The Spice Girls, Little Mix, One Direction, The Pussycat Dolls – where the quality of the musical output often plays second fiddle to quantity, and image and branding are king.
Like ’em or Loathe ’em …
360 deals are becoming increasingly common in major label contracts.
If you found this post helpful let us know. Comment in the box below. If there are other topics you’d like to see covered on the blog post your suggestions and if we can cover them, we will. DervSwerve
For our 8th Voyage of Discovery newsletter, we’ve decided to mix it up a bit. Gone are the mini-reviews, news excerpts and gig alerts. Instead, we’ve gone for the musical jugular, biting deep, down into big, chunky recent releases from three industry big hitters.
Don’t be shy … let us know what you think! Disagree? State your case! Agree? Did anything in particular resonate? Pen your thoughts in the comment box below, or feel free to slug it out on our socials – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Either way, we hope you enjoy digesting the reviews, and even more importantly, that you listen to our featured releases. As usual, we’re including a Spotify playlist comprising a mash-up of tracks from the three records. DervSwerve x
PS. If you missed VoD Vol 7, you can catch up on all the news, here.
DerVerdicts – THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE ER
For the doubting Tommies out there amongst you, let I Wouldn’t Be, the title track from Kodaline‘s new EP, be proof positive (and final) that this Dublin four-piece have, along with Hozier and The Script, cemented their place as one of the strongest Irish musical exports this side of the millennium.
To bridge the gap until the 2018 release of their third album and ahead of their UK headline tour, the Irish outfit has just dropped a four-track EP, something that should assuage their ever-expanding horde of fans both at home and abroad.
The first of four strong and very different tracks, this quasi a cappella homage to motherhood and family is an earnest blend of wistful tranquility, and uplifting celebration. I Wouldn’t Becomprises four seamlessly interwoven vocals, its sole instrumental contribution arriving in the form of a sublime piece of Uillean pipe playing by Mike Mc Godrick.
Lead track Ready to Change has a touch of the Chris Martin’s on the soft vocal rise and fall, and charismatic, crowd-pulling chorus. With its tight, insistent guitars, high-energy drums and gotcha-hooks in all the right places, this dynamic energiser has hand-waving anthem stamped all over it. Laid back, Indie-pop fuelled The Riddle replicates the magnetic chorus-effect of Ready to Change and with its chillaxed melodies and slacker tempo, is bound to be another crowd-pleaser. Finally, down-tempo Blood and Bones provides a fitting close to this organic soother.
I Wouldn’t Becomes across as a spontaneous, uncontrived recording filled with thoughtful sentiments sans the emotional toxicity.
Kodalineis Stephen Garrigan (vocals/guitar)), Mark Prendergast (guitar), Vinny May Jr (drums), and Jason Boland (bass). They will play dates across Denmark, Germany and the UK in December supported by Aine Cahilland are booked for Neighbourhood Festival, Warrington next May – full details on their Facebookpage.
DerVerdict – I Wouldn’t Be did for us what Sam Smith’s The Thrill of It All failed to do – converted the nonbelievers. Kodaline – I Wouldn’t Be is available now via the B-Unique imprint.
“You know me well … I’d do anything for you … ?” Ok Moz, you could start by turning down the foghorn on your stomp-ridden, melodramatic album opener! Riotous My Love, I’d Do Anything For You evokes classic Morrissey’s mid-80’s lyrica obscura but without the swirling genius of Marr and whirling Dervish of the diva that was to tame its shrew. It does however, have enough of a fine line in big band banter and scorching hot brasses to take the edge of Moz’s moth-eaten disaffection with life, love, the media, grass-fed beef and William.
Having said all that, by invoking the glam-rock of Your Arsenal, this robust opener to Low in High Schoolgets your backside moving towards the chair’s edge in anticipation of what might come next.
“Stop watching the news”,”Teach your kids to recognise and despise all the propaganda/Filtered down by the dead echelon’s mainstream media.”
What does come next is a sequence of Un-PC ideologies shrouded in the most blithe of melodies and instrumental potency, delivered with all the mature-pathos befitting of artists of a certain vintage. Becoming more bellicose with age, Morrissey brings the usual fare of contentious lyrical themes to the table – fake news, ‘evil media’, and the omnipresent, ubiquitous sex. In addition, there’s an astonishing pro-Israeli stance much at odds with the current ‘leftie’ world view which for once, posits the gnarly Mancunian somewhat in the same camp as Thom Yorke. Cue rabid debate.
And rabid debate is indeed something which glam-master Moz has never shied away from. But, if we separate the artist from the activist, we expose a polished, and thoughtfully conceived of creation. Lustful In Your Lap is a beauteous confection of intense piano chords and desirous sound effects; Home is a Question Mark a sensational skew-ways torch song given the full classic-Morrissey-vocal treatment; but it’s All the Young People Must Fall in Loveand Spent the Day in Bed on which this 80’s enigma excels. Melodic potentates, their idiosyncratic, and for once infectious upbeat qualities, flaunt the musical flair of this erratic genius.
If 80’s Smiths’ Morrissey invented philosophical indie, his mid-life solo self has honed it; sharpened its lyrical edges by driving it through a hail of condescension and wilful animosity. Morrissey has a natural gift for melody, and it is through this which he redeems himself. An album of atmospheric balladry, baroque pop and egomaniacal rock, Low in High Schoolis as unorthodox as one has come to expect from one of the leading exponents of contentious composition. It is also a finely balanced menagerie of orchestral theatrics and melodic finesse.
DerVerdict – Accomplished musicianship, big on drama – Low in High School is an A-Z of testosterone-fuelled ballads and poison-pen letters; supers and fans of Your Arsenalwill swipe right, all others probably left. Morrissey – Low in High School – is out now via étienne/BMG.
Notwithstanding its description as a “social observation” and “political” record on the face of it, Paloma Faith‘s fourth album is not an obvious socio-political commentary.
Despite being her fourth album, The Architectrepresents the artist’s first foray into these previously uncharted waters and in doing so, Faith joins that legion of artists of a certain age/status/’phase’ who have nonchalantly discarded those [lovelorn, wistful, broken-hearted] [wide-eyed, optimistic, all-our-lives-ahead-of-us] dreamers of yore that inspired their early catalogue. Instead, they present their ‘serious-artist’ selves as earth-parent, activist and ‘insert as appropriate’ rights campaigner, whose new found love of political discourse and social warriorship drives them forth on a mission to share their brightly burning ideologies.
Opening with a Samuel L Jackson monologue, the album’s palpable subversive tendencies quickly dissipate with the onset of the rather cryptic The Architect. A song about the much misunderstood and oft overlooked world of domestic violence, it’s a big-voiced ballad whose salient message suffers at the hands of obfuscation. Elsewhere, Labour luvvie and very Marmite Owen Jones throws his rousing lot behind Faith’s efforts by jumping on his portable soap-box to wax lyrical about “the politics of hope“.
Album lowlights, limp pop track Kings and Queens and the unworthy John Legend duet I’ll be Gentle pale in comparison with theMotown melodrama of Guilty which sees the erstwhile Brexiteer shine a la Winehouse. Where Paloma Faith never fails to impress is when her faultless vocal reaches its true ‘powerhouse’ soul-singer potential.
It does so unfailingly on tracks like retro belter Crybaby which recalls late 70s R&B funk, while the slightly melancholic Surrenderbenefits from having a glorious gospel chorus and shimmering bridge to augment Faith’s pole-vaulting vocal. Sia penned Warrior falls short of its potential; a track about the refugee crisis, like the lead track, its debatable how much its lyrical vagueness will resonate with fans of the diminutive colour-pop chameleon.
This slick production strikes a fine balance between soulful schmalz and skyscraping New York-like belters. There are plenty of resplendent brass-fuelled orchestral moments on The Architect to take it beyond average, and while its political aspirations may fall somewhat short, Paloma Faith’s resolute chutzpah and formidable vocal dexterity, combined with some glorious technicolour tail-fanning, should see this album achieve both the commercial and critical acknowledgement it deserves.
DerVerdict – Never one to follow fashion, Paloma Faith must be lauded for marching to the beat of her own drum. But not everyone moves to the same rhythm! Paloma Faith – The Architect – is out now on the Sony label.
With an abundance of clattering, catchy and compelling new music coming down the pre-Christmas tracks, it’s time to once again give you our DerVerdicts on the good, bad and possibly not so pretty currently on release across the globe.
In this vol 6 of our totally random newsletter, we’re checking out some of the latest sounds around, with a dash of news bites and tour dates thrown in for good measure. Our DerVerdicts are our genuine, honest thoughts on and reactions to our featured releases – they’re neither meant to offend nor flatter. As usual, you’ll find a complementary Spotify playlist at the bottom of the post. Happy Dervscovering!
SHORT, SHARP SHOCK OF SHRAPNEL CUTS TO THE BONE
THE BREEDERS – Wait in the Car (Single)
Up to about 5 minutes ago, we’d never heard of The Breeders – a fact about which we probably should feel deeply ashamed. We don’t. We live in a highly filtered bubble; one in which a rarefied atmosphere is rarely pervaded by Pixie-esque terse alt-rock. On the rare occurrence that we make an exception, it usually involves the female as opposed to the male strain of this somewhat clangorous sound – our ears can’t hack anything of harsh, Ork-like quality.
Two minutes of melodic, jagged junkyard metal softened somewhat by the unfaltering, mono-punk of Kim Deal’s blasé vocal, we can certainly do. Wait in the Caris the first in what’s hoped is a new line of cuts from the recently reformed 90s outfit. Snappy, sassy grunge-swagger – if this is what The Breeders are capable of after a serious run of downtime, then count us in.
In other Breeders related news, Deal’s identical twin Kelley was recently honoured with a Gibson Les Paul guitar award by Q magazine. Deal is one of a current slew of hard-working females being feted for their contribution to the music industry; others being Vick Bain, Lara Baker and Decca Records’ Rebecca Allen.
Wait in the Caris available now via the 4AD imprint.
A ROMANTIC FAIRYTALE SET IN A MESMERISING 21ST CENTURY FANTASIA
BJORK – The Gate (Single)
Where her 2015 album Vulnicura focussed on the heartbreaking dissolution of a long-term relationship, Bjork’s impending release Utopia “is about a love that’s even greater. It’s about rediscovering love—but in a spiritual way, for lack of a better word.”
The Gate is the first sample of what we can expect from the latest chapter in the diary of the Icelandic chameleon mistress of magical avant-garde that is Bjork. One of her most exquisite and dulcet of love songs, its directness is belied by its quietude.
With the theme of oneness at its core, the song, like the changing tide, ebbs and flows through dark, spacious silences. Except this time, the silence is one of contentment, not one caused by devastation. In the pastoral, classically-inspired opening, Bjork’s multi-tracked vocal harmonies become inextricably intertwined with strings and woodwinds. Barely decipherable electronic dots and dashes are subjugated by a gravitation towards natural and organic sounds; simulated whale-song, hushed noises redolent of rustling trees and rolling tumbleweed from the seafloor.
The video, which was directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, is a triumph of the fantastical. It places this barely audible celebration of love in a quasi-animated setting that blurs the lines between Greek mythology and Monsters Inc., before tipping it into a 21st digital dreamscape replete with wonderfully choreographed kaleidoscope of animated graphics that evoke the multi-coloured magic of Disney’s Fantasia.
The Gateis out now via One Little Indian. Utopia is due for release on 24th November. **Yes, yes we know. Murphy’s Law. No sooner had we this written than Bjork went and dropped Blissing Me. Review coming soon.
The pull of nature alluded to above, links us nicely into the next song, which soundtracked the prequel to David Attenborough’s awe-inspiring Blue Planet IIseries.
OPEN YOUR MOUTH (AND HEARTS) WIDE
RADIOHEAD WITH HANS ZIMMER – Ocean Bloom (BBC Soundtrack)
Much has already been said about Radiohead‘s re-imagined Bloom. Originally published on their 2011 album The King of Limbs, it was a jungle of freeform jazz, electronic curios and 60s beat basslines. Re-worked by Yorke, Greenwood and renowned film score composer Hans Zimmer, Bloom, or Ocean Bloomas it has been renamed, has been transformed into an orchestral overture of cinematic proportions.
The jazz-arrhythmia of the original has been stripped, exposing an unobtrusive piano melody now refreshed by a scintillating adagio of strings and classical percussion. Thom Yorke re-recorded his vocal part for this re-work, and the quality of both his reach and hold, prove that this master of falsetto has lost none of his youthful vocal dexterity. The end result is a wondrous, quasi-orchestral triumph of understatement and finesse.
Radiohead are currently pursuing solo projects. Ocean Bloom isn’t on Spotify so instead we’ve included the original version of Bloom plus the Zimmer theme to Blue Planet II on our playlist below.
We may have already alluded to Ocean Bloom in a previous post, but we feel so strongly about the devastation being caused to our planet (to which Blue Planet II filmmakers can attest) that we’ll grab any opportunity to promote awareness.
MORE SPILLS, SENDING A SEARCH PARTY FOR THE THRILLS
SAM SMITH – The Thrill of it All (Album)
DervSwerve is all up for giving artists who we’ve previously ‘naysayed’ the benefit of the doubt; so it was with an only partially shuttered mind, eye and ear that we decided to give the new Sam Smith album a spin. It was all so far, so familiarly vanilla until we got to track four – Midnight Train – the pulse, riffs and general demeanour of which sent our normally LBP to dangerously high.
Too Good at Goodbyesis a lacklustre poppy ballad written with nothing but $$$ in mind – it has all the kerching of Smith’s previous chart hits – tear-jerking whiny vocal, nod to the gospel choir and a few finger clicks to give it a bit of bluesy cool. Say it Firstis more of the same moan and teenage groan – what age is Smith, 16? His falsetto is so beyond false it could easily be a sample of one of the cauldron hugging witches from a ridiculously bad production of MacBeth. Next up is One Last Song, more rent-a-gospel-choir blancmange with none of the gutsy sandpapered force that this blend of blue-eyed soul demands (think Paul Young and weep!).
So, we arrive at Midnight Train. If we get into the nitty grittys we’ll probably be had for libel. So I’ll our opinion of this track will take the form of the following video. And on that note, we’ll leave Sam Smith and his less than thrilling compendium of torch songs and move onto artists who are shall we say, come across as being a little more original …
NO SOLE MIO FESTIVE FUN WITH PADDY HANNA
PADDY HANNA – Mario Lanza (Single)
Former member of left-of-centre Grand Pocket Orchestra Paddy Hanna, has unveiled another single, Mario Lanza, from his forthcoming second solo album entitled Frankly I Mutate. Scheduled for release in 2018 via Strange Brew Records, the Daniel Fox (Girl Band) produced album, which the Dubliner recorded with a new band, features inputs from Cian Nugent and the Cosmos, Saint Sister and the Trinity Orchestra.
A tight interplay of myriad strings (electric, acoustic, banjo, violin) and some fantastic swing-style percussion form an uplifting, uptempo soundscape onto which Hanna throws down a quirky yet formidable vocal. Notwithstanding its lighthearded vibe, Mario Lanza has its roots in a more serious real-life episode, as the singer explained:-
“My Father, not too long ago, went through a terrible illness which left him in a coma for two weeks”, “While struggling to deal with the strain I began listening through some rough demos I had, one of which was a minute-long ditty about Mario Lanza,”, “(I) realized very quickly I was channelling my pain through this particular track.”
Mario Lanzais out now on the Strange Brew imprint. Paddy is about to hit our EU funded roads, with dates scheduled across Cork, Dublin and Limerick.
PADDY HANNA TOUR DATES
Fri 17th Nov – Levi’s, Ballydehob
Sat 18th Nov – Bello Bar, Dublin
Fri 24th Nov – Connolly’s Of Leap
Sat 2nd Dec – Kasbah, Limerick
UNLAOISEING HER INNER MATERIAL GIRL
LAOISE – Rich (Video)
Turning her attention to visualising her musical concepts, Galwegian Laoise has once again turned to filmic collaborator Christian Tierney, to translate the lyrical storyline of her latest single Richinto a pictorial tale. Which he has done, with sophisticated, understated aplomb.
The ‘purple haze’ video sees the singer, who is trapped in a cocoon of material wealth, become more fixated with tangible luxuries the more they come into her possession. Speaking of video the singer explained: “The song is about a love that’s been compromised for possessions, and how easy it was for money to gain control over their mind. You can see this in the video where certain materials and surroundings can quickly alter personality and behaviour, and with every new material someone owns, the more superior they feel.”
Richis taken from Laoise‘s upcoming EP due out in early 2018. We’re looking forward to it girl!
BOYS TO MEN
Photo – Southend Who?
THE TRUSTED – Boy (Single)
Following on from their stand-out Summer single Sunlightand fresh from a plethora of live dates (they’ve played 70 gigs this year alone), Southend four-piece The Trusted return with single Boy.
Switching gears and stylistic direction, Boy leaves behind the honeyed mellow hues of downtempo Sunlight for an altogether darker, grungier vibe. Filled with blues basslines, tense guitar riffs, punchy drumming and frontman Tom Cunnigham’s alluring vocal, this latest single is an exciting insight into The Trusted’s constant evolution. Their unceasing desire to explore, boldly lane-hopping from one genre to the next, trialling and excavating sounds, has seen their songwriting mature to a level where they should now be looking to cut their first EP.
Boy explores the centuries-old headwreck of transitioning from teenager to adulthood and all the internal struggles the ‘strung up boy’ goes through to mature.
Having picked up support from Hoxton Radio and BBC Introducing, London, The Trusted have seen their fanbase explode over the past 12 months, a fact borne out by the ever-increasing numbers at their live shows. They play the Dublin Castle, Camden on 25th November and with their reputation for blistering live performances, this is one pre-Christmas gig that Londoners should mark on the ‘to do list’ now.
There’s also a tour in offing, so keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook page, here. Boy is out now on all digital platforms.
A MATCH MADE IN TROPICAL HEAVEN
THE UNION FEAT. LOVESPEAKE – Never Gonna Work (Single)
Norwegian band Lovespeakeare particularly adept at coining Summer hot, dude cool tunes. Fronted by Alexander Pavelich, they released one of Norway’s best albums of 2016 – DNA – you can read The Monitors review of it, here. Most recently they’ve been touring Asia, but a return to colder climes has seen them once again cosy up with Swedish duo The Uniøn to produce electronic adventure Never Gonna Work.
An addictive tropical-house track in the mould of Kygo, Never Gonna Work opens into a spacious electroscape with nothing but Pav’s lush vocal tip toeing through micro beats before bursting into a full-on, juicy dance track. Infectious, dynamic, and irresistible, this galloping floor filler is one that’s sure to have party-people shaking their booty on this season’s festive club circuit.
Never Gonna Work is out now via the Toothfairy label.
TURN UP THE FREQUENCY, THIS IS NO ILLUSION
YOUNG EARTH – Frequency Illusion (EP)
Young Earthare a four-piece from Dublin formed at BIMM, who’ve taken 90’s style 60’s jams and twisted them into 21st century indie-rock songs with all the punchy instrumental weight of the Arctic Monkeys and flourish of the Beatles.
Since unveiling their debut single Maggie in 2016, the band have had four more releases culminating in their debut EP Frequency Illusion. A five track cut, it veers very much in a 90’s indie direction – sounds like SuperGrass, the LAs, Kula Shaker – but with the noughties savvy of successors like the Vaccines and Alex Turner et al.
The EP title track is a retro, guitar driven, stop-start energiser filled with tight licks, clattering percussion and inviting vocals. Second in, Worth it, will be remembered for it’s crowd pulling chorus and Shadows-esque guitar riffs. The more you journey into this EP the more you’ll notice slight similarities with both The Academic and The Strypes – two other up and coming Irish bands at different stages of their evolution but equally successful in their own right – which can only augur well for this emerging four-piece.
Got a Secret is one of the strongest tracks on the EP – brandishing some seriously cutting, clean guitar lines and dark melodies. That darkness is countered by the slick n’ sassy sway of Undercoveronto which frontman Mark O’Keeffe pours some seriously honeyed vocals. The song, which also features a rather neat if short guitar solo, adds a provocative touch of the ‘lush’ to what has hitherto been a pretty blistering tracklist. EP closer Let Go flaunts some serious pop sensibilities under the cover of several layers of reverb. Wet, hazy and dreamy, this’ll possibly be the one to get the girl’s screaming during the lives.
A neatly packaged, well balanced debut from a band who know their stuff. For their age,Young Earth are a surprisingly well-oiled machine. Innovative well honed musicianship, confident vocals and an ear for good tunes with plenty of ‘je ne sais quoi’ should stand them in good stead for a pretty rock n roll 2018.
Frequency Illusionis out now on all digital platforms.
SIXTY SECOND NEWS
Classy Norwegian pocket-orchestra Einar Stray‘s highly acclaimed Dear Bigotry album has been nominated in the Best Norwegian Album cat of the annual Gaffa Awards – you can vote for this or any other category that tickles your fancy over at gaffa.no/prisen
Irish feist-rock band Bitch Falcon‘s latest single, live favourite Of Heart, which is due out 24th November is currently on pre-order here
Canadian mega-star Michael Bublé has just been announced for a Summer sesh at Croker. Pencilled in for Saturday 7th July, 2018, tickets for Bubbles will not doubt be gone before they begin so have the fam on standby, fingers on your buzzers – tickets from Ticketmaster 9am Friday 17th – he who dares wins (the bruises will heal eventually) – link here – all the very best!
Norwegian artist Susanne Sundfør has just announced that she is to bring her Music For People In Trouble audio visual show to London’s Barbican Centre on May 21st, 2018. Unfortunately, this has resulted in her having to cancel the previously advertised gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire (Refunds will be available at the point of purchase or exchanged on a first option basis for seats at the Barbican). General sale tickets available from November 24th. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!
We have way more news and views to share with you so stay tuned because VoD newsletter #7 will be with you before the end of the week! Busy times. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to stay in the loop, DervSwerve x
The 2FM Xmas Ball, which is jointly hosted by RTE 2FM and MCD productions, is set to return to Dublin’s 3 Arena on 19th December, 2017. The annual musical jolly in aid of the I.S.P.C.C and Childline, has already lined up a host of top Irish music stars to take part in its Christmas themed extravaganza.
Headliners are Dublin boys, The Script, with The Coronas and Gavin James the other big names so far announced to play the charity ball. Hudson Taylor and Hermitage Green have also booked slots on the line up, along with newbies Wild Youth and Little Hours. More acts and special guests are yet to be announced.
Presenters on the night will be made up from the 2FM radio family including Nicky Byrne & Jenny Greene, Eoghan McDermott, Bernard O’Shea, Jennifer Zamparelli, Keith Walsh, Tracy Clifford and more.
Last year’s event raised over €460,000 and organisers hope that the 2017 follow-on will generate even more badly needed funds for the two Irish children’s charities. Just in case you were under the misapprehension that I.S.P.C.C and Childline are state funded, let us be very clear – they are not!
ISPCC/Childline had to close its centre in the past week due to a shortage of funds, depriving vulnerable children of its much needed listening service. The funds generated by the 2FM Xmas ball will raise just under 10% of the funding required by ISPCC/Childline for an entire years operations.
Help these charities support child victims of bullying, discrimination, neglect, poverty etc by dipping into your pocket and buying a ticket for what’s set to be one of the entertainment highlights of the festive season.
Tickets priced Euro 39.50 will go on sale at 9am Friday 10th November via Ticketmaster – link here – http://www.ticketmaster.ie/2fm-Xmas-Ball-tickets/artist/2292502