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,

Advertisements

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.

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

 

saintcava_foto_oliviarohde
saintcava_foto_oliviarohde

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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,

Introducing Swanlike : ‘Years’ EP

Swanlike
Swanlike

It’s been over a year since I first stumbled upon the impossibly talented Norwegian music artist Line Kasa.  After a long silence on her part, and much “patience” on mine, sorry couldn’t resist, Line is making a much welcome return in the company of her long-term collaborator and cousin Halvor Nordal Strand, with their Swanlike music project.  It’s quite the pleasure to bring you their new EP, ‘Years‘, a veritable sparkling treasure chest containing four diverse, thought-provoking and moving compositions.

Swanlike is the moniker for a project of moving parts, headed up by Halvor and Line.  Like shifting sands, the line up is made up of whoever is involved with the latest collaborative work; its current make up is Trym Gjermundbo, Øyvind Mathisen, and Sarah Nordal Strand.  Hailing from Notodden, in the southern Norwegian municipality of Telemark, this group of young, upcoming musicians have known each other for most of their lives.

years

While Halvor does most of the composing, lyrics and vocal arrangements are down to Line, with the remaining instrumental duties being picked up by the other three members.  The current line up has been playing and recording together for some time now and the ‘Years’ EP is a testament not just to their tightness as a unit, but to their relative ease with each other as a musical partnership.

While project founders Halvor and Line have long been admirers of each other’s music, their first love was for English supers, Radiohead.  Speaking about key musical influences Haldor explains: “Everyone in the band loves Radiohead. Line and I are both massive fans. Also, James Blake’s debut album was a turning point for me. I was, and am, so drawn to his approach to electronic music – with negative space, minimalistic instrumentation and gospel and r&b-influences in the London electronic sound. There are too many to mention but some of my other inspirations are, Frank Ocean, Burial, Jon Hopkins, Røyksopp, Arca, Bon Iver, and Cashmere Cat.

Drawn away from the strum of guitars to the pulsing world of electronica on first hearing Radiohead’s experimental opus Kid A, Halvor developed a fascination for “the sound shaping possibilities in working with synths and computers” and says moving to electronic music was a natural progression.

Inspiration for the the EP came out of a night of spinning Sia and Røyksopp tunes.  Their positive, party vibe triggered the opening note-sequence around which the song ‘June‘ was written. Swanlike craft their songs by using the well-worn ‘forwards-backwards’ system, as geographic location and availability aren’t always in sync and once the music to the single was laid down and Line had added the vocals, the song was finished off with Øyvind Mathisen on the mixing desk of his Oslo studio.

june

The opening track and possibly the strongest song on the EP ‘June‘, is a heart-melting, stirring track about holding onto a good but passionless relationship for all the wrong reasons.  With comfort and security comes guilt and frustration, feelings which Line Kasa’s exquisite vocal tenderly conveys with just the right amount of raw emotion.  While there may be few sparks in this impassive relationship, the instrumental is practically iridescent.  Windswept, radiant synths lines wrap around Line’s vocal in a landscape populated by the shadowy, dark spaces of disappointment and self-entrapment.

While most Norwegian electronica falls foul to the “icy”, “cold” and “frosted” labels, there is such a glow of warmth from Line Kasa’s clear vocal that when blended with such petillant synths, it melts whatever icy edges there are to be had on the instrumental accompaniment.

Delight follows delight as the EP moves onto the bewitching ‘Stones’, which has a slightly more rugged, edgy electronic vibe.  A slow electro-ballad it comes with the twist of a mad scientist instrumental.  A surprising side-order to its otherwise dreamy, hypnotic feel.  At 5.22 it comes in on the ‘extended side’ but it’s a well arranged, imaginative journey through a diverse electronic landscape that should be to the taste of most hard-core electro-fans. Unlike the more contemporary ‘June’, ‘Stones’ was recorded a while backin Trondheim, with the help of Erlend Elveseen.

Similarly, next up ‘New Years’, is an antecedent to the newer compositions on the EP being recorded some years back with Sjur Lyseid.  Speaking about ‘New Years’ Line explains:  “(It’s) a song about feeling empty and having a hard time coping with the stuff in life that is supposed to feel good.”  Spacious, stark, melancholic, there is an almost funereal quality to this track. An organ-like quality to the keys to which sombre bass-clarinet conjures a somewhat pious or reverent atmosphere while angelic harmonies counter the solemnity of the track’s musical foundation.

Book-ending the EP is a small slice of Norwegian delicacy, entitled ‘4’.  With existential themes at its heart and mourning in its soul, it ponders why, years after losing someone who was an integral part of our lives, certain inescapable questions still involuntarily float to the surface of the mind.  Of the song’s brevity Line comments: “I think one of the reasons why this song is so short is that the message is clear and there’s nothing more to say; these questions will never get an answer.”

Notwithstanding its doleful lyrical theme, the song’s pulsing instrumental and energetic percussive beat have a rather catchy rhythm that belie its inner melancholia.

The overriding sense of disappointment, despondency, and confusion that stems from the EPs lyrical content, is perfectly counter-balanced not just by the delightful tenderness and emotional honesty of Line Kasa’s poised vocal, but also by the imaginatively choreographed electronica that underpins it.  Kudos to Strand for pulling off a flawless blend of gloaming and dawn with his ingenious line in synth composition and arrangement.  The addition of drums and in particular the bass-clarinet, give texture and personality to what could so easily have been “ice-capped” electro-sounds, albeit sounds spun with some golden wizardry.

‘Years’ is a rather beautiful and stirring EP, skillfully orchestrated, and arranged with precision symmetry. A journey of dark and light, it is a confident, meticulous, intense and fascinating production that should provide Swanlike with a solid foundation from which to move forward and forge a full album.

You can follow Swanlike on Facebook.  They play Skien 20.11 and Notodden 22.11 and Oslo in early 2017 tbc.  A video for June is on the way, so keep your eyes peeled.  Stream ‘Years’ here – links for downloads below.

Dédé Davi Makes Her Debut & Alan Wilder Is Back A La Mode

Dede
Dede

Alan Wilder steps back in from the sidelines as performer-producer on debut single from upcoming Londoner, Dédé Davi.

Alan Wilder, man behind the Recoil music project, formerly one quarter of Depeche Mode, those pioneers of synth pop whose music captured the zeitgeist of ’80s experimental electronica, and general all-round enigma, has, after some years of silence which presumably he ‘enjoyed’, resurfaced in the form of performer/producer on an R&B piano-ballad by an upcoming English singer/songwriter.

calling-the-clock

‘Calling The Clock‘ is the debut single from Londoner Dédé Davi to whom Wilder was introduced by erstwhile Mode road-manager, Daryl Bamonte, now a successful label and artist manager in his own right. Dédé, who has gone from a Uni degree course, through being BBC play-listed, to working with the likes of Steve Hewitt (Paul Draper, Placebo), is currently in-studio working on her debut album.

Rehearsed and recorded in a negligible four hours, the song sees Wilder reprise his role as accompanying pianist, and music composer and arranger, one that recalls his indelible contributions to songs like ‘Somebody’ and ‘Pimpf’ and which will doubtless reawaken the memories of many a Mode fan.

Speaking of the collaboration with Dédé. Wilder said:

 I was struck not only by her beautifully soulful and sophisticated voice, but also the simplicity and directness of the words along with a melody which left plenty of room to come up with the arrangement … With limited hours in the studio, an immediate focus was required to get the right piano and vocal performances … The whole experience was refreshing and rewarding …”

alan-wilder
Alan Wilder

Similarly, the song itself – lyrics & melody – was written in a matter of hours, early ones at that, in a creative burst that saw the Croydon-born artist put body to a title that had been lying around for quite some time.  Explaining how the track came about, the singer confessed:

I knew I liked the sound of it; I just didn’t have a clue what it meant to me or what it could turn into. It came out of frustration, I kind of just stopped caring what it could be and at 1am on a Saturday I just wrote what came out and what I felt like.”

Listening to the lyrics one can easily understand how they flowed during the lonely darkness of the small hours.  The sense of frustration is palpable, the emotion raw, the uncertainty the territory of the still of the night.

Wilder’s musicianship is as meticulous as it is intuitive and his understated yet effectual performance provides the perfect balance for Davi’s heartfelt vocal. Her voice, which is pitch perfect and well controlled throughout, has a warmth and silkiness that lends itself well to this style of soulful balladry.  Mr Bamonte certainly had a eureka moment when he conceived of this perfect musical pairing!

‘Calling The Clock’ is a masterclass in subtlety and discernment.  A modern day soul song, emotionally stirring without being overindulgent, performed with accomplished restraint, by two musical perfectionists.

Dédé Davi  is as they say, ‘one to watch’ and so in a way, is Alan Wilder. Where or when he will next be seen or heard is anyone’s guess. We can only hope it won’t be another four years. In the meantime, you can download or stream ‘Calling The Clock’ (our on Smile Records) here : itunes | spotify and watch Dédé perform the song in the video here,

Sløtface Shine ‘Bright Lights’ On A Dark Subject

Lasse Lokøy
Lasse Lokøy

Earlier in the Autumn, when the evenings were still balmy enough for us to hit the streets without donning the plethora of woollens and multitude of layers with which we are currently swaddled, Norwegian four-piece Sløtface took to the nocturnal streets of Bergen to shoot the video accompaniment to their latest single ‘Bright Lights‘.

Lifted from the EP, Empire Records‘ itself just released on 18th November, the track is about escapism – escaping self and society. The song is written by frontwoman Haley Shea, who is to Norway what Grimes is to Canada and Ani DiFrancio is to the US. who gives an unusually restrained yet highly effective vocal performance with a much nuanced emphasis on the word “crushed” that hangs at the end of the chorus like a broken arm.  Musically, this is Sløtface at their most understated.  Intuitive guitars make a statement without being overpowering while the percussion takes on a more relaxed style.  This is less punky, rriot, more Blondie style pop with its native intelligence.

The self-made Lasse Lokøy directed visual however, focusses its lens on an altogether darker subject – female vulnerability & safety.  Just how safe the nocturnal streets of Bergen are is not known to me; what is known, and only too well, is how unsafe the streets of Dublin, city or urban, are for women at any time of the day or night.

Opening with scenes from a booze, music and fun filled gathering of friends, the mood of the film quickly shifts from relaxed gaiety to one of tense uncertainty, as the once crammed frame empties onto a deserted street, dark save for the street lights, desolate except for the lone female protagonist.  What follows in this perceptively scripted and directed storyline, is an experience with which most of us females will be all too familiar.

Lasse Lokøy
Lasse Lokøy

The nervousness that automatically creeps in when we find ourselves walking alone at night.  The sense of terror that screams inside when we suddenly find that we are not alone.  The panic that sets in when a dark, hooded figure walks into our immediate space.  The disgusted indignation and feeling of limp frustration at having to ignore midnight, booze-fuelled boors, spouting sexist claptrap dressed up as a neanderthal charm offensive, that rapidly turns into insults when their efforts go unheeded.

Walking with the phone on ‘dial-alert’.  Bracing oneself with keys jagged to the ready.  Taking to the middle of the street under some misguided impression that the midsection is safer than the side because “everyone can see me, right?”. Wrong.

We are not safe.  Not safe from louts. Not safe from thugs.  Not safe from bullies.  Not safe from misogynists.  Not safe from attackers, muggers, rapists, and murderers.  We are women .. vulnerable, open to every form of attack from mental through verbal to physical.  Welcome to our world.

Sløtface have been chugging out singles like JK Rowling spawns fantasies.  The ‘Empire Records’ mini-compendium is the latest in the ever accelerating run up to their debut album, due for release in early 2017.  In addition to their ever lengthening discography, the band have been speeding up and down the gig helter-skelter and not satisfied with having recently finished a whistle-stop tour of the UK, this hyper-energised bunch have just announced another week of UK dates running from 13th – 18th February.

feb-tour-dates

‘Bright Lights‘ is available to stream/download here https://slotface.lnk.to/BrightLights & you can watch the band’s ‘on point’ awareness film right here.

Introducing Picture This … ‘A Sight Worth Seeing’

Jimmy Rainsford (L) & Ryan Hennessy (R) make up Picture This
Jimmy Rainsford (L) & Ryan Hennessy (R) make up Picture This

With a sound that veers in the general direction of their fellow Irishmen and musical forerunners The Script and Kodaline, recently appointed chart-sensations, Picture This, have arrived more quickly than most at that point on the musical map that many of their peers will only ever view from a distance.

Formed a little more than a year ago, theirs has been an easy and rapid ascent up a most vertical trajectory.  Watching ‘themselves’ from the virtual side-lines, as they shot from ‘Home Studio, Jimmy’s House, Athy’ to the top slot in the Irish charts must surely have been as surreal an occurrence as an out of body experience.

Even more bizarre must have been the spine-tingling, stomach turning flurry of butterflies moment they surely experienced walking onto the stage to a capacity crowd in a packed-to-the-rafters Olympia theatre a couple of nights ago.  How many bands can put that on their CV just a little more than 12months from recording their first hook on their iPhoneX?

Picture This Olympia Dublin
Picture This Olympia Dublin

‘Picture This’ has drip fed slow, steady single releases to their ever-increasing fan-base. Starting with the beautiful ‘Take My Hand’ which they first sampled only in October 2015, the duo continued, throughout the long, dark Winter months, to unfurl their uplifting musical charms onto an unsuspecting Irish audience, who singularly and eagerly fell captive to their unassuming yet compelling and honest sound.

So much so that the band’s debut gig was in the Academy (cap. 850) – like who the hell debut’s to an 850 strong crowd?  A rolling tour across Ireland and the UK that included full house lives in both Manchester and London, has culminated in three sell-out dates at the music-lovers venue of choice, Dublin’s Olympia theatre.  All on back of one Aslan cover and a 5-track EP, ‘Picture’. Phew!!

On 12th August, Picture This released their debut EP – the tracks of which run in single release sequence – and six days later it had reached the number one spot in the Irish charts.

Needless to say, the critics ranted, in a good way natch, while the fans raved, and now after one helluva rollercoaster ride and rock-n-roller tour, Picture This are set to finish 2016 on a high when they hit the stage at Dublin’s 3Arena on 3rd December, for the 2FM Xmas Ball in aid of the ISPCC.

When the fall of ticker-tape subsides and the shutters come down on the year that was 2016, this pair of ‘unlikely lads’ (and I say that in the nicest possible sense) will probably clink a pair in Some Pub, Main Street, Athy, and raise them in salute to friendship, Aslan, YouTube, iPhones, Kildare and oh, I suspect Lady Luck and good musical genes may just also get a nod.

With an album on the way next year, 2017 should see more of the same if not bigger and better from the Athy pair whose star looks surely set to rise, and rise, and …

‘Picture’ is available to buy or download via iTunes, Spotify et al, details – https://wmgartists.com/lp1/7444/picture-this-picture-this

Picture This will play Dublin’s 3 Arena on 3rd December along with Kodaline, All Tvvins & more, as part of the ISPCC Charity Ball organised by 2FM – tickets available here – https://wmgartists.com/lp1/7444/picture-this-picture-this

‘The End’ Is Far From Nigh for Norwegian Newcomer ARY

Photo AKAM1k3
Photo AKAM1k3

At times there is something utterly otherworldly about the songs crafted by Norwegian rising star ‘du jour’, ARY.  An otherwordliness quickly negated on meeting this young artist in the flesh.  One is immediately struck by her ‘matter of factness’ while simultaneously warming to her self-deprecating sense of humour.

The normality and ‘realness’ that underpin Ariadne Loinsworth, belie the Himalayan imagination and scalable creative engine that frantically whir beneath.  For this creative ingenue is forever composing, writing, scribbling, tinkering, producing and plain old playing music.

Her musical output over the past twelve months has gone into overdrive as her switch from passenger to the production driving seat has put her firmly in control of her own destiny, as it were.

Having kept her fans waiting an incredibly long 12months+ for the follow up to her debut single ‘Higher‘, the Nordic chanteuse sprang a September surprise when she announced single deuxièmeThe Sea’, a cherry-picked soundtrack to NRK’s latest multi-million dollar blockbuster drama series, ‘Nobel’, the rights to which have been syndicated worldwide.

Put that in your pipe …

supervention-2

Now, in a volte face of her modus operandum, Ary has dropped single number three, less than two months later! Another film soundtrack, it’s entitled ‘The End‘ and it comes, literally at the end of the new sports doc, ‘Supervention 2‘.  A wickedly shot, fast paced, sheer vertical drop of a film about sports skiers and snowboarders, it is not for the faint hearted or folks who like me suffer from vertigo!  Watch the trailer, here.

A collaboration with Jonathan Sigworth, ‘The End’ sees ARY at her classic otherwordly finest.  Her bewitching breathy vocal soars, elevating the snow-cold electronica that shimmers and sparkles beneath its pristine state.  With a lofty elegance redolent of the ‘on the wing’ harmonies of ABBA’s ‘The Eagle‘, this track ascends and floats aloft a vast instrumental spaciousness.

Set in a constant state of elevation it recalls the sky-high altitude champion skiers reach before facing the sheer plumb drops down the sides of some of the world’s most majestic mountains.  An intoxicating vocal fused with an hypnotic synth ballet, if I could use but one word to describe this song, it would simply be, ‘beautiful’.

‘The End’ is out now via Petroleum records and can be streamed on Spotify.

In other news, ARY has been nominated for Best Newcomer over at GAFFA.no.  Details of all noms, here.  You can keep up to speed with her ARYness via Facebook & Twitter, where you’ll also find YT – @DervSwerve.  And so, we’ve come to, ‘The End’!