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:

Talos Takes Us On A Personal Odyssey Towards Acceptance & Change

talos

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

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

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

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

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

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

april-tour

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

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

Phonofile Nordic Music Prize Nominees Announced

Phonofile Nordic Music Prize
Phonofile Nordic Music Prize

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

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

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

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

Denmark – CTM, Bisse, Værket

Iceland – Jóhann Jóhannsson, Skúli Sverrisson

Finland – Oranssi Pazuzu, The Hearing, Mikko Joensuu

Norway – Jenny Hval, Nosizwe

Sweden – Kornél Kovács, Cherrie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 3 – Field Day Festival, UK

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

A Dozen Diamonds That Gave A Shine To An Otherwise Murky 2016

Julia Holter

Julia Holter

Well here we are, on the cusp of yet another new year.  Who’d have guessed that as we stumbled unsteadily in a post-Christmas toxic daze towards 2016 that it would prove to be one of the murkiest, most unsettling and quite frankly disturbing of years.  One can only hope, and there is always hope, that this coming year will bring gladder tidings and a lot more joy than its predecessor.

Musically, 2016 had many, many highs.  It also shared several heartbreaking lows not least amongst which were the untimely deaths of Prince, George Michael and David Bowie – three of the rather large cohort of celebrities and legends who passed away in this year of darkness.  While those legends who died were predominantly male, much of this year’s sparkle mainly came from the female stars of the music world.  Lady GaGa, Beyonce, Marissa Nadler, Taylor Swift, Julia Holter … just some of the big female names that featured in the 2016 musical calendar.

Not surprisingly, some of them feature in my Dozen Diamonds of 2016 – a playlist of songs by international artists, with a select contribution from our part-time contributor, Eddie Sweetman.  Interestingly, the two artists selected for inclusion by Sweets are both male, while mine are predominantly female. Those choices themselves would probably make for an interesting case-study!

So which songs, by which artists made it into our top twelve, and why?

12. Margaret Glaspy – Pins and Needles (USA)

Strong, feisty country tinged indie with an edge.  There’s a waft of punk attitude blowing through the gritty melody, and more than a hint of steely determination in the ballsy lyrics.  The right side of rock for my tastes; tastes which I seem to share with most of BBC Introducing, BBC6 Music and BBC 1 … not a bad benchmark. Classy, savvy, strong, energised sounds from a lady who’s going places.

11. Birdy – Wild Horses (UK)

Twilit voiced, inspired poet and musical prodigy, Jasmine Lucilla Elizabeth Jennifer van den Bogaerde aka Birdy, has seen her star rise, and rise, and explode.  World class productions are now the order of the day but Birdy still holds on to the spiritual and emotional qualities so inherent in her earlier more gauche works.  With a vocal range that can scale mountainous heights and scrummage fireplace ashes, this super-talented musician could craft a song from the nothingness of a silken spiderweb and make it a masterclass in songwriting and performance.

Her 2016 album, ‘Beautiful Lies’ was a gift to the world – a finer, more emotive, and splendid talent you will struggle to find, and with even greater things sure to come, the future is “global” for this little songbird.

10. The Last Shadow Puppets – Les Cactus (UK)

Like them or loathe them TLSP are nothing if not entertaining. Seeing them live in Oslo was akin to watching a human firework display crossed with the energiser bunny thrice spliced with Poitin.  A pair of musicians who have most certainly put the roll back into rock, Turner & Kane may take the music seriously, but the live performances are treated more like a fun ride on the amusements. Never ones to shy away from taking the piss out of themselves, the video for their cover of ‘Les Cactus’, is a classic example of TLSP ‘on form’. As a cover, it pales in comparison to the Jacques Dutronc original, but as a piece of entertainment, it doesn’t fall short.

9.  Ed Harcourt – Occupational Hazard (UK)

Intense, moody, brooding, cavernous, blazing, ferocious – just some of the words I would use to describe Ed Harcout’s 2016 scorcher of an album, ‘Furnaces’, every pun intended.  One of the standouts LP releases of the year, ‘Furnaces’ reached out to and drew into its fold, a broader, more diverse audience than any of the Englishman’s albums had hitherto succeeded in doing.  I was drawn hook, line and sinker to this track because of the wolverine intensity of the guitar sequences and brutal rawness of the lyrics, the combination of which is addictive.  Brutal ingenuity at its bloody finest.

8. Radiohead – Burn the Witch (UK)

The first of two entries from the worlds greatest band EVER, ‘Burn the Witch’ was one of a pair of picks by sometime contributor Eddie Sweetman.  In his words, “incisive, relevant an astonishing comeback and the highlight in my opinion of the album.”  Need we say more?

7.  Amber Arcades – Fading Lines (NL)

What can I say.  I fell in love with this song on first play.  Like a 21st century incarnation of The Cardigans,  Annelotte de Graaf has all the dreamy deliciousness of that Nina Persson vocal, along with plenty of her antecedents uber Nordic cool!  Sexy, edgy, inviting indie-pop with a swirl of darkness running across its shiny exterior.

6. David Bowie – I Can’t Give Everything Away (UK)

The second of Mr Sweets’ picks, and a poignant one at that.  ‘Blackstar’ was a huge favourite amongst the bloggerati and a fitting finale from a gifted man, musician, artist, performer & more, who was truly one of a kind.  On his selection of this particular track Eddie explains: “This was the last track Bowie ever released. Poignant and delicate. Even more so now that we know he was aware he was dying.”  A fitting tribute I think you’ll agree.

5. Marissa Nadler – The Best You Ever Had (USA)

Sadly sickness struck (again) when Marissa Nadler came to town … “out damn ‘germ’ out I say” said I, alas to no avail.  Laid low, my chance to see this bewitching enchantress weave her goth clothed spells was gone in the blink of 24 hours (the length of time it takes me to go from apparently healthy to woefully ill).  I had sped towards Nadler like a bee to honey on the recommendation of my ‘pen as sword’ icon, tQ scrivener John Doran, who had bade me not to miss her more than magical live performance.  Instead, I’ve had to make do with looping replays of her album, ‘Bury Your Name’ from which this is my stand out track. Delish!

4. Julia Jacklin – Coming of Age (Aus)

The new age Little Miss Firecracker of country-grunge hits Dublin at the end of February 2017 and nothing, I mean NOTHING will stop, hinder or hamper my path to Whelans! Elbows at the ready, that space up the front is mine. Part of that new wave of punky twang that includes fellow upcoming songstrel Margaret Glaspy, Julia Jacklin takes smartly honed real-life lyrics and sandwiches them between slices of heaving melodies chock full of punchy guitars layered over a tightly woven R/S.  The result is impossible to resist infectious country stained down and dirty pop. Only a fool would miss the chance to see this raw and rousing talent shine live!

3. Radiohead – Identikit (UK)

2016 saw the arrival of what was possibly the most awaited album for years.  ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ didn’t disappoint.  This piece of classic Radiohead was sheer musical perfection packed with all the innovative ingredients that have made this quintet the consummate musical giants that they are.  And while most blogs will have opted for either of the two singles, this off-kilter piece of jazz infused experimental alt transports me back to the halcyon days of ‘Kid A’.  With its lyrical nods to Murakami’s 1Q84 (there was a similar intertwine between ‘Kid A’ and Kafka on the Shore), haunting interludes from vocal ghosts, and natty, spacious percussion Identikit is the understated star in this a stellar compilation.

2. Julia Holter – Lucette Stranded on the Island (USA)

Yeah, yeah I know.  The album was released in 2015.  But for me 2016 was all about Julia Holter.  Having failed to make her Dublin concert earlier in the year, one of the main catalysts for my travelling to Oya in Oslo, was the chance to make up for that lost experience.  While thirty minutes was far too short to soak up the musical enchantment magicked by an artist of Holter’s calibre, as luck would have it, Julia returned to Dublin in November and gave, what was for me and the several hundred other spellbound concert-goers in Vicar Street, the live performance of the year.  Compelling, captivating, magical, powerful, innovative – Julia Holter ranks as one of the most outstanding of contemporary female artists. This ingenious track just goes to prove it.

1. Weyes Blood – Generation Why (USA)

Not since hearing Dusty Springfield sing ‘The Look of Love’ have I come across another female vocal that radiates such warmth and richness, with a darkness edged with light. A voice with a true and unfaltering power cloaked in a sheath of softness like an iron fist in a velvet glove.  Not until that is, I heard the voice of Natalie Mering, the enigmatic talent behind music project, Weyes Blood. ‘Generation Why’, from the album ‘Front Row Seat To Earth’, is lyrically inspired and musically fresh, and while it contains many of the default elements of a classic pop song, it is the shades of daring alien electronica and the edgy undertones to words sung with angelic clarity that take this song to altogether another level.

The inclusion of so many American artists reflects the shifting sands of my musical tastes during 2016.  For me personally, this has been quite a remarkable year in terms of the quality and diversity of the music that’s been released.  And while the likes of Bieber, Rihanna and A-Z of Hip Hop may dominate the charts, the greater wealth lies in those treasures which remain beloved of those worthier barometers of musical greatness – The Guardian Culture, DiS and my personal fave, The Quietus.

I’ll leave you with a Spotify list of the 12 tracks featured in this sparkling retrospective … and hope you enjoy them as much as both Eddie and I have done.  May 2017 bring more shimmering gems to brighten up our sometimes more than mundane lives!

Heavy Heart Take Stock On ‘The Way Home’

Photo - http://www.rossmcclure.co.uk/
Photo – http://www.rossmcclure.co.uk/

With echoes of Lush casting ‘gazey shadows on its sonic periphery, ‘The Way Home’ is an impassioned piece of stentorian grunge distilled through the psychedelic waters of indie-thrum.  The latest in a line of monthly releases from London-based Heavy Heart, it’s quite the damning retrospective on the ‘annus horribilis’ that was GB 2016, especially if like 16million others, you were in the #Remain camp.

I’m no genius but my default interpretation, based on the lyrics, is that this is an indictment of Brexit and the divisions it has caused, the EU’s response to the Immigration crisis, and the collapse of the “land of the free” courtesy of King Trump and his court of clowns & chassis.

“When the kindest word is hard to find Turning on ourselves and taking sides”

The sense of determination coming from the strident guitar playing  is finely counter-balanced by the dreamy delicacy of vocalist Anna’s nuanced interpretation. An interpretation that belies the thread of disaffection running through the song.

“When the kindest word is hard to find, Turning on ourselves and taking sides
In the end we’re only wasting time, On each other we rely, rely, rely”

There’s plenty of fuzzed up drone and adrenalin pumping verve here to keep both psych-rock and indie lovers happy, whilst the cleverly crafted socio-political poetry should provide sufficient brain food for those who like their music ‘meaningful’.  Topped off with a captivating layer of vocal gauze, the ingredients are blended effortlessly to create a powerful invitation to engage and a striking signal that there is more to explore.

Listen to ‘The Way Home’ here while you take a gander at Heavy Heart’s social diaires

Facebook OfficialTwitter Bandcamp DervSwerve

ToY Release Anthem Against The Great #Brexit ‘Divide’

Photo Credits : Julian
Photo: FretBuzz

On the morning of 24th June, 2016, 16 million Britons awoke to the news that their vote had failed to secure their country’s continued membership of the European Union and that butt of many jokes, #Brexit, was now a not so comic reality.

While shock and disbelief numbed the 48% who had voted #Remain, unapologetic jubilation was the prize of those Euro naysayers who, having only just secured the narrowest of victories, had voted Great Britain “OUTsch” (Bild) of the EU.  The resultant media frenzy spawned taglines ranging from the stiff-upper lipped Guardian “Over. And Out” to the more pedestrian Mirror’s “So What The Hell Happens Now?”.  One headline, and its hilariously unforgettable image, stood apart from the rest …

Liberation
Liberation”Good Luck”

Team GB was no more. The union stood divided.  Two countries had voted remain … two for #Brexit, but by sheer weight of its population, England carried the #Leave vote.  So, how did it feel to wake up a ‘Remainer’ in that fractured state?

Questioning, accusatory and aggrieved, the sardonic lyrics of Temples of Youth‘s new single, ‘Divide’ take aim at the bewildering and worrying situation that they, like so many others, have found themselves in since that fateful Summer day.

As musically sparse as it is lyrically bleak, the song which is part lament, part political protest, echoes the shift in the mood of the British public from that of bewilderment to inflamed censoriousness, referencing the widely held expert and public opinion that the #Brexit campaign had been based on deceit and a litany of lies,

Divide

‘Come With Me Across The Divide, I Can’t Say It Won’t Be Full Of Lies‘ sings a beleaguered Jo Carson, whose vocal interpretation of this trenchant critique is one of remarkable restraint: a paradox that serves to heighten the sense of disillusionment and detachment felt by those youthful Britons, whose dreams have been shattered by the referendum result.  Vocal disaffection overlooks a desolate and barren soundscape created by Gumma’s doleful and spaciously played guitar and reflected in Carson’s leadránach percussion.  There is no happy ending here.  Only the dawning of the unknown reality of ‘splendid isolation’.

BBC Introducing-supported Temples of Youth, have ratcheted up some serious traction with both online music press and national radio, with Beeb ‘big guns’, Steve Lamacq and Huw Stephens, both well known for their enthusiastic support of upcoming artists, giving the duo’s music airplay on their primetime shows.

‘Divide‘ is ToY’s fifth self-produced/released single and available from 1st December.

In tandem with their single release, Temples Of Youth have kicked off a GoFundMe page to help them raise some spondulicks to fund a visual accompaniment for ‘Divide’ (for which they’ve already hatched plans) and invest in the necessary evil that is PR along with some additional recording equipment.  All you need is – the link – and your debit card! Simples.

In related news … Jo’s mum will be chatting with Dermot O’Leary about the new single and more during his BBC Radio 2 Show on Saturday from 3pm, details here – Dermot O’Leary Show. ‘Divide’ will receive its radio premiere on BBC Introducing Solent later that evening, between 8-9pm, details here.

And if, like me, you’ll be otherwise preoccupied, then you can listen back on BBC iPlayer Radio for up to 28 days.

The Temples of Youth Live Date Diary sees them play Castle Road Xmas Festival, Southsea on 4th December, followed by the Icebreaker Festival, Portsmouth on 28th January and The Boileroom, Guildford 11th February. Full details on their website, http://www.templesofyouth.co.uk/

Listen to the 2016 anthem for #Brexit’s disenfranchised youths & like Temples of Youth, make your voice heard #DontGetMadGetActive

Therese Aune Records Enchanting Farao Cover For Kultmucke

therese-aune-photo sara-angelica-spilling
therese-aune-photo sara-angelica-spilling

“In the fear of being lonely I tried it all to get you back
There were things you never told me Like your heart was painted black”
So run the opening lines of Berlin based alt-pop cum indie artist Farao‘s 2013 single, ‘Tell A Lie‘, a cover version of which has just been released by her fellow Nord, Therese Aune as part of a series of exclusive covers featured by the German Kultmucke publication.

Farao’s original is an even-tempered electro-pop ballad – measured, simplex, bleak in aspect with funereal organ-like synths creating a dark underbelly penetrated by tight guitar loops, jagged handclaps and a refracting click track.  The Norwegian’s voice is as light as a feather and cool as a Winter’s dawn.  Yet, despite the regretful melancholic sentiment that lies at the heart of the song, Farao’s beguiling vocal interpretation remains clear, poised, at times almost detached from the track’s emotional resonance.

Step forward Therese Aune with a dazzling electronic arrangement that takes the tempo and spirit of the song to another level. So delightful is this interpretation that if one didn’t know the lyrics one’s reaction would be one of instant joy!  Aune’s expressive vocal dances around the words and pirouettes between light-hearted synth reps and electro-beats.  It’s as uplifting and energised as Farao’s version is coolly sophisticated.  Two sides of the one song, as diverse as they are impressive.

Covers are always difficult and emulating the original should be avoided at all costs.  With her version of ‘Tell A Lie’ Therese Aune has taken what was obviously a deeply personal song and made it very much her own.  By re-choreographing it she has put her own unique stamp on this gloriously uncomplicated complex song.  Bravo.

There’s No Going Back To The Beginning for Irish Duo Motions

motions

As I sat listening to the hoarse vocals crying through the sparse opening bars of ‘Back To Where I Begun, the debut single from Dublin duo, Motions, I couldn’t help but feel that I’d heard that rasping plaintiveness somewhere before.  It was on the tip of my tongue and brim of my brain but nah …

Fate stepped in, it was getting bored, and whilst humming the melody I turned my head sideways and lo, there it was, a CD jutting out from my stockpile that immediate caught my eye.  The album, ‘Violator’, the band Depeche Mode.  Wham! It hit me.  This cigarette stained and strained, guttural yet strong and commanding vocal was redolent of Mode frontman Dave Gahan on ‘Condemnation’, widely held by DM fans to be his finest vocal hour.

But this isn’t about Mode … this is about Motions, the upcoming Irish duo whose very single, in all its debut innocence, was voted by savvy music fans into the Top 10 Fresh Faves over on the BBC Introducing feeding ground, Fresh on the Net – click here to read the review!

Motions aka @MotionsMusic is the enigmatic and mysterious Tom Daly and Dave Nulty, and currently an unknown entity. ‘Faceless anonymii’ about town around which wafts an air of Celtic mystery.

There’s no mystery to their music though – it’s attention-grabbing, showstopping alt-rock.  Musical headlights with an option of dip function.  Full throttle anthemic built on a weave of potent, grizzling guitars, spacious spiralling synths, vibrant drum rhythms and that ‘oh so amazing’, infectious vocal.

‘Back To Where I Begun’ opens in a near empty soundscape of spacious ‘piano’ chords and a wistful vocal, that from the outset create a brooding and regretful atmosphere.  A steady, introspective build follows, as the song makes a gloriously dramatic ascent through chorus and verse to a clamorous climax.  The chassis of the clangour is redolent of the chaos of the lyrics.  Layers of looping sequences and thrashing percussion underpin Daly’s honest and memorable vocal and save for a momentary dip of the afore-mentioned headlights, bring the track to a dramatic close.

Instrumentally solid with a vocal powerhouse in Daly’s voice, Motions have effortlessly arrived at the perfect combination of musical strength and lyrical insightfulness.  In fact, this duo make songwriting seem easy.

With a cleverly choreographed, ‘”Leave Your Emotional Baggage Behind” before it’s too late’ themed video, ‘Back To Where I Begun‘ is as ready-to-market/radio a commercial package as I have come across.   [Although there are some scenes in the video that I wish I’d never seen, thanks, and someone give that guy a razor #beardrash]

The vocals are potent, the lyrics thought-provoking, the music anthemic and for a debut single, that’s something special.

In a word, ‘memorable’.

You can sneak up on the mysterious Motions via their socials – Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | YouTubeSpotify

Watch the Motions visual mini-drama whilst feeling your pulse soar here,