Bombay Bicycle Club – Pedalling the Same Synth-Pop Delights

Credit: Josh Shinner

London four-piece make convincing return with single ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)’.

It’s been five years since Bombay Bicycle Club released the Mercury Prize nominated number 1 album ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’, ten since their jangle-rock debut ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’. So when the four Londoners teased their return earlier this year after a long hiatus, the music world sat up and took notice.

Expectations were high, the bar had been set by the glorious synth-extravaganza that was ‘So Long’.

“Our new single, Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You), is now out. We’re so excited to be sharing new music after five years away. Recording it earlier this year reminded us all of the joy of working together on something we love.” 

Produced by John Congleton, ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You) is a star spangled joy-ride across buoyant waves of pop and through shallows of pulsating thrum. A compelling piece of indie pop fusion it lures the listener in with its rizzled guitar lines, minimalist sticks, and nuanced vocals, all held in check by some well scored lines of low-lying bass.

Commenting on their impending fifth album the band said “We’re going away next week to finish the rest of our record, so it’ll be out next year” 

Bombay Bicycle Club returned to the live music scene earlier this Summer playing several shows across Europe including one at the Cork Opera House at the beginning of August. The British quartet are set to play a series of sold out dates including London’s renowned Brixton Academy on 8th November. No ticket? Bring a stool.

‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)’ is available to stream and download now, and you can watch the official video for the track below,

*If a little of what you fancy appeals, and you’d like to have my #dailyinspo365 posts appearing in your inbox, I’d love to have you along for the joy, the bumps, and more importantly, the company. You can follow along by clicking the ‘Follow DervSwerve’ link on the right!

A Three-Part Drama : Motions – The Late Night Calls EP Review

Ahead of their first headline show in Whelans on 2nd March, Dublin based alt-rock band Motions have just released their debut EP, The Late Night Calls. Produced by Philip Magee (Kodaline, The Script), it’s a strong, three-track collection that reflects a new level of maturity in both their songwriting skills and arrangement techniques. A subtle blend of artfully crafted, insistent alt-rock and rich, dark electronic atmospherics, Motions’ sound has a polish rarely found amongst their ilk. In fact, it goes beyond ‘straight’ indie or alt-rock, crossing into the more sophisticated realms of blues and blue-eyed soul.

The Late Night Calls EP tracklist: Late Night Calls, Back & Forth, Interlude, Waiting To Tell You

The past twelve months have seen Dublin duo Tom Daly & Dave Nulty slowly evolving their atmospheric brand of bluesy alt-rock. This diligence has paid off, yielding a more sophisticated and tightly woven sound, and while their lyrics remain introspective and at times bleak, the duo has certainly taken their Motions methodology up a level.

Photo Courtesy Whelans Live

“Musical headlights that switch seamlessly from full beam to dip, Motions’ songs are a compelling weave of potent, grizzling guitars, vibrant drum rhythms and infectious, rasping vocals, finished with clever electronic interplay.” 

Creating gritty, yearning soundscapes underscored with defiance is grist to the Motion’s mill and nowhere is that more evident than on the EP title track. A plaintive, mid-tempo fusion of intense guitar grizzle, punchy drumming and rhythmic blues-rock basslines, this paean to loss and the resultant emotional roller-coaster that follows, is trademark Motions. Critical reflection brought to life by Tom Daly’s  powerful, nuanced vocals backdropped by propulsive, dynamic beats and driving Nulty guitars. Watch the Crooked Gentlemen Produced video for Late Night Calls here.

Where the desolate landscapes of Late Night Calls are populated by edgy riffage and potent rhythms, second track in Back & Forth is pure blues-pop condemnation. A more joyous melody line belies the withering wordage and quasi-vituperative tone. A track in which the Graham Gouldman style bass is pushed high in the mix, it’s laced with an infectious blend of percussive elements and gauzy clouds of vocal harmonies. Redolent of the Doobie Bros at their finest, Back & Forth is well-executed blues-rock with all the pre-requisite pop sensibilities intact.

Interlude is literally that; a twelve-second ‘stream’ into an altogether more relaxed state of consciousness. Waiting to Tell You is a song that reflects on the prevarication and missed opportunities at the root of a broken relationship, on which Daly’s hushed vocal delivery evokes regret and sadness without the usual par for the course bitter bite. Spiralling loops of chiming guitars, hazy harmonies, and brooding basslines, build slowly to a dramatic hard stop; and that’s it. Three minutes of sheer soft-rock lushness during which Nulty’s restrained use of his Fender Telecaster is a testament to his adeptness as a guitarist.

Motions blend evocative lyrics and melodies, with powerful messages and mesmerising rhythms. Their innovative twist on alt-rock fundamentals, incorporating fine elements of blues and soul, makes them one of the more interesting and progressive bands of their generation. When you co-join well-honed, insightful lyricism with proficient musicianship, the resultant outputs are going to be of a sufficiently high quality to allow producers like Philip Magee to add their finesse.

The Late Night Calls, is a sleek, classy three-part drama, with a cleverly contrived narrative, set against an ever-changing backdrop painted from a palette of blues, rock and pop, conveyed with a distinct voice clearly identifiable as Motions. It sets an incredibly high benchmark against which any future albums will be compared.

The Late Night Calls EP is out now on all digital channels. Tickets for The Late Night Calls EP launch at WhelansLive on 2nd March, are priced Euro 10.00 – CLICK HERE.

Motions’ Socials:-     iTunes     Soundcloud      Spotify     Facebook     Instagram     Twitter

Liverpool’s Adopted Son Enjoys Some High Times

The master of acerbic vignettes returns with yet another tragi-comic take on everyday life, as he knows it!

Emilio Pinchi is no run-of-the-mill singer/songwriter. He is a master craftsman of highly polished, low-brow narratives set against a backdrop of smutty redbrick buildings and alleyways strewn with last night’s takeaway cartons. A master storyteller of tales of mundanity, profundity and jocundity, Pinchi is a sort of latterday Dickens if you will, except his ‘hard times’ are set against the comfiest of lo-fi post-rock/indie fusion.

A throwback to his Liverpool flavoured Stoke roots, the most telling thing about Pinchi’s lyricism is its witty honesty. It’s not for nothing that Liverpudlians (even adopted ones) are renowned for their razor sharp repartee and facetious one-liners.  In his songs, there is a strong sense of disassociation from the current jaded world view; not for him a glib acceptance of fake news syndrome or social isolationism.

Instead, Pinchi draws upon a keen eye and empathetic nature to sketch his brief vignettes of the streets, pubs, living rooms and bedrooms of Brexit Britain. With a talky vocal twist akin to that of his 90’s predecessor, Sheffield stalwart Jarvis Cocker, Emilio Pinchi’s conversational singing style gently draws in the listener, holding their attention for the few minutes it takes to recount his tale.

Most recently, Emilio has started playing with a full band, and the breadth of colour and warm textures they have brought to his music is palpable on his newly released single ‘High Times’. There’s a more expansive feel to the sound, a tighter hold on production. The idiosyncratic Pinchi hallmarks are still there – mellow acoustic strumming and infectious melodies, but with the added ‘umph’ of some lo-fi electric guitars and delightful marimba/glockenspiel/xylophone/keys xf (multiple choice instruments), all underpinned by some ‘chillaxed’ drumming.

With its happy go lucky vibe and chatty tone, ‘High Times’ has all the living room lax you’d expect from a slacker indie shuffle. Peppered with colourful ‘green’ conversation and spontaneous chuckling, this sharp focus snapshot of the bigger world picture is redolent of the on-point wordsmithery of Cocker, Turner, and dare I say it, Ian Broudie (excl his Three Lions blip!). Like Broudie, Emilio Pinchi cradles the world in a soft delivery whilst opening it up for discussion through ‘screengrabs’ of events and moments in time.

Emilio Pinchi has been mellowing out below the mainstream parapet for a few years now but one gets the feeling that like a periscope, his sights are set on a higher mark. He may not have made the Sound of 2018 shortlist, but this dark horse is certainly one to watch, and carefully.

Emilio Pinchi has live dates coming up shortly – keep a check on his Facebook page for details. His latest single, ‘High Times’ is available to stream or download now. Listen to it here,

DervSwerve

Wyvern Lingo Snow II : Soulful, Unnerving Intimacy

Photo: Ruth Medjber

2017 has been a fantastic year for Irish music artists, not least for trio Wyvern Lingo whose stream of percipient releases has reflected a striking, stylistic evolution that has seen their music move to a whole new level. To bring their stand-out year to a rather festive close, these adventurous pioneers of alt-r&b have unveiled soulful new single, Snow II. 

Snow II is a re-imagining of the song of the same title. A quasi-acoustic track coloured with subtle hints of synth and some mellow flute sequences, Snow originally featured on the 2014 EP, The Widow Knows. Underpinned by a rolling tumbleweed of acoustic guitar, the song’s expansive instrumental spaciousness allows the trio’s close-harmony singing to take a much-deserved centre-stage.

In the re-worked Snow II, Wyvern Lingo have retained much of the spaciousness of the original. The key change comes in the form of additional textures and atmospherics. While the same interwoven vocal harmonies preside, the instrumental takes on more prominence with the inclusion of pulsating synth beats – recalling the heart beating in the “womb” – and a more vocal electric guitar.

The track opens with repetitive solo beat and sparse synth chords that provide the perfect open soundscape for Caoimhe Barry’s intuitive vocal, one into which she pours just the right amount of expressive nuance. Textured layers and subtle strands are interwoven into the song’s melodic and harmonic progression as it evolves into sensual, bass-driven bluesy RnB. The overall effect is one of soulful, unnerving intimacy.

“It sifts from leaden sieves, It powders all the wood, … Then stills its artisans like ghosts, Denying they have been” – Emily Dickinson

Snow obscures familiar objects, rendering them strange and ghostly to us.

Snow II captures the spectral beauty of snow, as well as its unerring ability to eradicate our personal landscapes. The falling snow covers the world outside, creating a disconnect that causes us to retreat indoors, just as during the dog days of a dysfunctional relationship, we pull down shutters to cut ourselves off, creating an emotional no-man’s land that keeps us outside touching distance.

Snow II is the version of the original the band “always imagined it would sound like“. Inspired in part by the Simon & Garfunkel classic, I am a Rock, the song was written from the perspective of the person trying to reach an ex lover who is in that dark place, cutting themselves off from the world.” explains Caoimhe Barry. “It’s about wanting to comfort them, but you can’t speak to them or hold them like you might have when you were in a relationship, and how sad and confusing that is.

“Darkness falls, The sky is white, Street lights, Inside the candle burns … And I know my love grows, Like the silence of snow”

Snow II was mixed and produced by Berlin-based Cork musician and producer Wife and London-based Mix Engineer Neil Comber (Glass Animals, Florence & The Machine), who were drafted in to work their magic on the band’s new material.

This captivating track is yet another taste of what we can expect from Wyvern Lingo’s upcoming debut album, which they started recording in February 2017.

An album launch party is set to kick off a nationwide tour in February 2018, with UK/Euro dates coming down the tracks. The launch, which was originally planned for No.22 South Anne St. (tickets for which are still valid), has been moved to the larger Button Factory venue and is scheduled to take place on 23rd February, 2018, tickets from http://www.wyvernlingo.com

Wyvern Lingo is: Caoimhe Barry (vocals/drums), Karen Cowley (synth/ bass synth/vocals) and Saoirse Duane (guitar/vocals)

Snow II is out now on RubyworksWyvern Lingo play the Button Factory on Friday 23 February. Tickets €19.50 including booking fee are on sale now. Follow Wvyern Lingo on Facebook to keep savvy … you can give us a follow as well, DervSwerve x

IRAH’s ‘Worship the Sun’ is a Journey to Enlightenment

Photo Christina Amundsen

It is a widely held belief that Celtic druidic rites manifested themselves principally in Sun-worship. So, it comes as no surprise that the latest IRAH single, Worship the Sun, sings like an ancient pagan incantation invoking the Sun to illuminate a tenebrous world devoid of light, hope and humanity.

Worship the Sun is the first release by Danish duo Stine Grøn (vocals) and Adi Zukanović (keyboards) since their transcendent 2016 single, Fast Travelling. This time around, the percussive baton has been handed to Scotsman Seb Rochford renowned for his work with Babyshambles, David Byrne/Brian Eno and Herbie Hancock.

A tense and moodily atmospheric drone infused with Asian influences underpins the song throughout; its heavy weight bearing down on upward facing lyrics seeking to “activate the light“. It sounds like an army of subterranean Buddhist monks or Hindu sanyāsī murmuring Sanskrit as they pass underneath a highly charged dystopian landscape filled with brooding tension and fizzing electricity.

Percussive strikes, bells and a haze of white noise are slowly pushed to the foreground as the track builds. The bridge provides a brief sanctuary, an ephemeral moment of calm before the track explodes into a euphoric coda replete with virtuoso jazz drumming delivered at a serious lick.

“Let’s reveal the forces we forgot, activate the light within our heart, Let’s forget the things that we’ve been taught, activate the brain within our heart”

Throughout, Stine Grøn’s soothing voice is a constant of serenity, of meditative calm, of hope in humanity. Her voice is a light in the darkness that guides the nocturnal instrumental, transforming it into a vibrant firework that fills the sky with iridescent explosions like shooting stars.

Speaking of the song Stine explains,

“In this time and age where humanity seems to be on the verge of an abyss, we send out a wish to unite around the centre of life. Our sun, moon and earth. With the energy and intensity of the song we celebrate the force of these giants”

The music that IRAH compose is of a sound and style unlike anything produced by their peers, and it is important to them that they follow their own path. Speaking candidly about their sound the duo reveal,

“If we could create our very own genre, or compose and channel one galaxy’s music or sound that would be the ultimate. Something our world had never heard before. Something you can’t imagine. That is what we try to achieve. Try to move closer to. Try to do something we haven’t heard before, and put that into music. Its definitely a motivation to create our own musical language that we can compose from.”

If you imbued the essence of Goa into a Gothic novel and set it in Newgrange, you wouldn’t come up with a more mystical and ritualistic landscape than Worship the Sun.

IRAH tread softly on mystical dreams. Their music, steeped in both the metaphysical and spiritual, is a journey through beautiful imagery and soothing melody to an enlightenment, peace and transcendence to which more of us should aspire.

Worship the Sun is available to download now via Tambourhinoceros; you can follow IRAH on Facebook. The band start a mini-European tour on 23rd September at Reeperbahn – list of dates below. [They’re also playing Sorveiv in magical Kristiansand – enjoy!!]

DervSwerve x 

Oh, and before you go, DervSwerve has some good news to share. Our blog has been shortlisted for the Best Blog, Arts & Culture category, by Blog Awards Ireland 2017. Woo!

IRAH Live Dates

Sep 23, 2017 – Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg – DE

Sep 28, 2017 – Studenterhuset, Aalborg – DK (Tickets)

Sep 29, 2017 – Radar, Aarhus – DK (Tickets)

Sep 30, 2017 – Sønderborghus, Sønderborg – DK (Tickets)

Oct 05, 2017 – Harder’s, Svendborg – DK (Tickets)

Oct 06, 2017 – Studenterhus, Odense – DK (Tickets)

Oct 07, 2017 – Lille Vega, København – DK (Tickets)

Nov 10, 2017 – Sorveiv Festival, Stavanger – NO

Susanne Sundfør – Introspective Contemplation of the Beautiful

Susanne Sundfør’s sixth album ‘Music for People in Trouble’ represents a not unremarkable volte-face in stylistic approach; one that sees the Norwegian arrive where she started.

Sundfør’s return to the pared-back songwriting of her early career, is in stark contrast to the lush, at times almost hedonistic synthpop of her 2015 opus, Ten Love songs. Gone the dissolute vortex of Accelerate, in its place a return to the maudlin majesty of masterpieces such as her 2012 contemporary dirge White Foxes.

Notwithstanding that seismic shift in direction, Sundfør’s music remains flush with the same eclectic array of influences – American folksters Carly Simon, John Denver and Joni Mitchell, along with piano-man Elton John – that have been a constant since her formative years and Music for People in Trouble above her other albums is awash with traces of their sounds.

Given Norway’s rich heritage of jazz, (there are prestigious jazz academies dotted throughout the country), it comes as no surprise that the legendary Leonard Cohen is also cited as having influenced Susanne’s songwriting techniques. Cohen’s influence is most apparent on Good Luck, Bad Luck, where patch samples of smokey jazz cut through sparse acoustic minimalism, to add darkly moody textures to an otherwise intimate, unadorned soundscape.

Mirroring the lyrics’ intimate nature, Sundfør’s score is grounded in acoustic strings and piano, woodwind and the occasional use of bass and drums, creating a paradoxical sense of beauty and unease. 

“I’m as empty as the earth, an insignificant birth, Stardust in a universe, that is all that I am worth”

The wafer-light mournfulness of album opener Mantra recalls Ten Love Songs’ Kamikaze. It sees Susanne offer up the tenderest of vocals offset by softly picked guitar, but bolstered by the addition of some fine steel pedal and a coda filled with the joyous peal of church bells. This understated prelude sets the thematic mood of ‘beautiful emptiness’ in an ever-changing, troubled world; a world paradoxically ‘filled with voids’ caused by failing love affairs and human destruction.

“Beauty is a key word. That feeling of emptiness that I think people get sometimes and how it can be seen as something beautiful. Because it’s quite contradictory. How can nothing be beautiful? But it can.”  – Susanne Sundfør speaking to The Telegraph

Lead track Reincarnation is as akin to a Lee Hazlewood composition as it gets, recalling the American’s idiosyncratic nuanced bluegrass sound. Once again the steel pedal guitar triumphs on what is an enchanting journey from mother earth to heavenly realm as angelic choral harmonies glide over slide.

“And we were loveless, oh it was pure bliss something I’ve never felt before”

Opening with sounds of birdsong and babbling water, The Sound of War is an eight minute epic where cacophonous ‘buzzing drones’ pillage pastoral perfection. A sharp reminder that notwithstanding its reverential eloquence, Music for People in Trouble is a quietly unsparing, sequenced composition. Recorded during breaks between Sundfør’s extended world travels which took in North Korean, the Amazon and Himalayas, the album is replete with both her visual and aural observations of a world destined for irreparable social, political and environmental change.

“No-one knocked on the door, you reap what you sow, no-one knocked on the door”

Steering clear of self-absorbed wallowing, Sundfør pushes for hope in a record that diaries deep sadness, albeit one lined with beauty, with a world that continues to disappoint. By addressing raw emotions such as anxiety and despair, Susanne Sundfør has turned negative ‘real-world’ experiences into a precise and bold piece of art with both a social and environmental conscience.

The despairing No One Believes In Love Anymore, with its sublime Oriental coda, and heart-achingly touching single Undercover, with its feather-light piano and angelic chorale, both attest to that.

Speaking of Undercover, Susanne explains: “I was inspired by Dolly Parton when I wrote Undercover. She’s a genius songwriter, and I’ve listened to her throughout my whole life. I go on all these musical adventures but somehow always come back to the country and folk music. It’s close to my heart, maybe because I listened to it in my childhood”

Music for People in Trouble sees the Norwegian’s music turn full circle, arriving back at these very childhood folk and country roots, albeit with a matured demeanour that’s more eyes wide shut than ingenue.

Most of the album’s accompaniments are limited to a single instrument, pushing Susanne Sundfør’s pristine vocal to the fore where it shines before fading away to leave many of the songs to take a lyric-less second form, allowing emotions to flow through richly textured instrumental outros.

The emphatic counterpoint to that is album closer Moutaineers, a gothic bombast of a duet recorded with music giant, John Grant. At once unnerving and uplifting, it is a potent chant shrouded in introspection. Preternatural in its power, electrifying in its textures, it is as compelling a finale to a deftly woven soundscape as you’ll find.

With this album, Susanne Sundfør offers solace to the world-weary and beleaguered, her lightness of voice, serenity of sound and deftness of touch providing much needed relief.

A masterpiece of beautiful disquietude, Music for People in Trouble is an album that takes the listener to very intimate and unsettling places.

***

Music for People in Trouble is out now via Bella Union. Susanne Sundfør will embark on a Europe-wide promotional tour for the album on 12th September, dates below, after which the tour will move to the North Americas. Full details on http://www.susannesundfor.com/

‘Music For People In Trouble’ Tour:

September 12 – Helsinki, Finland – Savoy Theatre

September 14 – Paris, France – Les Trois Baudets  (SOLD OUT)

September 15 – Brussels, Belgium – Orangerie-Botanique

September 16 – Köln, Germany – Artheater

September 18 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Vondelkerk  (SOLD OUT)

September 20 – Berlin, Germany – Silent Green

September 21 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Studio 3  (SOLD OUT)

October 2 – London, England – Union Chapel (SOLD OUT)

October 3 – Glasgow, England – CCA

October 4 – Manchester, England – Deaf Institute  (SOLD OUT)

October 7 – Dublin, Ireland – Sugar Club

October 12 – Stockholm, Sweden – Soda Teatern  (SOLD OUT)

Talos Unveils Breathtaking ‘This Is Us Colliding’ Video Filmed In West Clare

Brendan Canty

Irish musician and songwriter Talos has unveiled a stunning visual accompaniment to his latest single This Is Us Colliding.

The video, shot on location in the Burren, was directed by the Corkman’s long time collaborator Brendan Canty of Feelgoodlost. The film centres around images of the musician and his band, performing the song atop a cliff, set against the remote and alluring landscapes of West Clare and the Wild Atlantic Way.

Frames of Talos are cleverly interspersed with flashing acid drop colours and film-burn effects, and together with the beautifully edited and stylised footage of the coastline, they pick up on elements of the song’s central theme.

This Is Us Colliding has at its heart a “recurring reference to the idea of the epic journey or exploration and conquering the unknown. (The song) looks at what lengths we go to for what we desire – be it another, or a dream, and if these things warrant those struggles. Will we be satisfied with what we end up with?”

The video is to breathtaking, as this song is to spine-tingling.

There is something about Talos’ voice when it’s left to drift in isolation, across hushed minimalist instrumentation, that harks of times past. There’s an almost medieval quality to its quiet chant.

It’s hard to balance those whispering tones with a powerful surge in delivery, but that is exactly what Talos does as he expertly sweeps the song from static beauty and ethereal spaciousness to majestic melodrama.

Very few other contemporary artists can orchestrate emotion-piercing instrumentation quite like this.

This Is Us Colliding due for release on 21st July, is lifted from Talos’ highly acclaimed debut album, Wild Alee, which you can buy or stream from the usual channels. Watch the spectacular video for this truly beautiful song here.

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,

Move Over Sweden, Norway Has Arrived #Sigrid

sigrid-raabe

Introducing Sigrid Raabe, the Norwegian challenger to the Larsson throne!

One year ago this month, I stood in Trondheim’s Dokkhuset watching headliner Tellef Raabe close the Trondheim Calling music festival.  Last week, in that very same city, I sat on a sofa in the Clarion Congress hotel with the head of another music festival.  We were discussing the Norwegian music artists we felt were going to go #gold in 2017.  Top of that list came the afore-mentioned Tellef’s baby sister, Sigrid.

Coming from a family who immersed themselves in music and culture, all of whom are musically talented, Sigrid Raabe who began her career as her brother’s backing singer, has finally stepped out of the shadow of her older siblings.  And with a GIANT step at that!

Recently signed to the Island Records division of Universal Music, Sigrid, who goes by her first name a la Kylie & Adele, has just released her debut single, ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe‘, and it’s 100% electrocket-pop.

With a big and bold voice scuffed by a grungy, gravelly texture that is the antithesis of the her ice-tipped Norwegian peers, Sigrid doesn’t just sing, she punches out a formidable yet mellifluous vocal with a plucky confidence and ease honed by years of on-stage experience, that belie her young age.

Opening with modulated vocals and sombre piano chords the song quickly perks up with the addition of rapid synth sequences, underground basslines, bombastic percussion and Sigrid’s feisty vocal. A vocal that picks up and rugby tackles the 2-fingered gutsy attitude of the track’s lyrics.

“You’re acting like you hurt me but I’m not even listening …

You think you’re so important to me don’t you, but I wanted you to know that you don’t belong here” 

alesund

‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ is a pop song in the mould of Zara Larsson, another Nordic singer who isn’t afraid to sound off about how she feels.  Similarly to the Swede’s street style, the track builds from the ground upwards on a foundation inlaid with the #hiphop beats that give it a refreshing newness and raw energy lacking in many of today’s ‘same old’ churn.

Swede Zara Larsson is to glam-meets-street pop as Norwegian Sigrid is to dance-pop with a feisty urban twist, and while Ms Zara has been one of the top Scandinavian exports of the past few years, the Queen of the Nordic territories just might be about to lose her golden crown to a formidable new challenger!!  Time will tell, but for my money, I don’t see why not!  Likewise, I can also see a world in which both Scandi sirens can ‘do’ dual world domination! #girlpower

Sigrid’s single, ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ is out now on Island Records with an accompanying video due to be released shortly.  Listen to her ‘packs a punch’ pop track here,

Sigrid is set to play by:Larm in March and TGE (UK) in May – if you’re anywhere near Oslo or Brighton on either occasion you know what to do!  Follow Sigrid on Facebook and Twitter – and you’ll find me likewise @ #DervSwerve

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

Pom Poko Urortfinalen 2017
Pom Poko Urortfinalen 2017

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

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

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

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

Illustration Erlend Peder
Illustration Erlend Peder

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

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

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

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