Derv’s Voyage of Discovery – Newsletter (Vol 7)

Photo : Shin Katan

As we rapidly sink into deepest, darkest Winter there seems to be even less hours in one’s day. One can’t always listen to, never mind review each and every new music release, yet there are myriad artists out there waiting for us to cosy up to their sounds! In an effort to keep abreast with what’s dropping, trending, gonna be huge – from new releases to happening movers and shakers – we’ve introduced our ‘whenever we can’ Voyage of Discovery newsletter. VoD adopts an ever-shifting shape, but in the main will incorporate a few maxi-reviews along with snippets of news, videos, and a complementary Spotify playlist of available tracks (located at the bottom of the post).  If you missed VoD Vol 6, you can catch up on all the news, here.

Photo: Kevin Winter, Alberto e Rodriguez

DerVerdicts – THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE ER, ACTUALLY IT’S ALL GOOD!

In advance of the main course, which won’t be served until Christmas Day 2017, we’ve been presented with a delicious if minute amuse-bouche of  Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood‘s latest film score.

Having previously worked on the soundtracks for films such as There Will be Blood and The Master, Greenwood has once again reprised his collaborative role with director P.T. Anderson to compose the score for upcoming Phantom Thread, due for release on 25/12/17.

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis (who if we’re to follow the logic of a renowned Vogue fashion editor can be claimed as Irish because he has lived in Ireland for years!) in possibly his last acting role, the film also boasts the wonderful Lesley Manville, as well as Luxembourg-born Vicky Krieps in its cast.

In a neat tit-for-tat arrangement Anderson directed the accompanying videos for Radiohead’s Daydreaming, Present Tense and The Numbers, in addition to a brief documentary on Junun, an Asian music project with which Jonny has been involved (Junun supported Radiohead on part of their AMSP tour).

Getting back to Phantom Thread, Universal Pictures recently published a nanoscopic tidbit, highlighting key moments in the film backed by segments of Greenwood’s score. The ‘threads’ of the score woven into those clips contain moments of intense conflict, as piano chords challenge each other for dominance, juxtaposed with urgent strings perfectly simulating the frantic acceleration of a ticking clock. Exquisite musical designs which will no doubt complement the exquisite tailoring and performances of the film itself.

The soundtrack will presumably go on release in tandem with the film, so we should expect news from camp Greenwood closer to Christmas. DerVerdict – The superlative appetiser has whetted our appetite for more.

*Obviously the soundtrack or parts thereof have not as yet been uploaded to Spotify, so we’ve included a snippet from Greenwood’s score for There Will be Blood instead.

Belfast-based artist Sonja Sleator released her six-track Adams EP in October. Most recently she’s dropped a super-catchy single entitled Mia.

Sleator’s vibe recalls Cheryl Crow at the peak of All I Wanna Do era and like her country-rock predecessor, her voice proves capable of expressing an emotional rollercoaster, whether on the vulnerable Mistake on my Part, or Cambria Moon‘s downtempo, aspirational dreaming.

Mia is a dark narrative played to a backing track that’s the epitome of carefree insouciance. Upbeat pop melodies and a galloping tempo belie an underlying tone of caution in a song that perfectly captures Sonja’s carefully nuanced and pristine delivery.

Enjoyable, delightful, and fresh, Sonja Sleator’s turn of sound is yet another compelling reason for reader’s to cast their gaze northwards to N.Irish skies where they’ll fall upon a wealth of talent. You’ll find Mia on the usual digital platforms, ditto Adams which is also available to buy via the artist’s own website – https://sonjasleator.com/shop

DerVerdict – An absolute must. Sonja Sleator has all the hallmarks of an outstanding songwriter & performer.

Photo – Lottie Turner

Vocal harmony duo Ider have had a pretty special 2017. Having signed to GlassNote Records (Chvrches, Daughter, Aurora) their star has continued to rise, while their songs have blossomed into a confident maturity.

Following the wonderful vocal choreography of Learn to Let Go, the duo’s latest single is a similarly compelling creation. Set on a bed of looping chords and dynamic vocal interplay, Body Love is a masterclass in less is more, precision arrangement.

With a spaciousness that’s almost imperceptible, this subtle paeon to love and self-love is glass-half-full with pristine R&B vocals woven into gently tumbling piano chords. Haunting, enthralling, latterday quasi-classical elegance, Body Love reflects a dynamic shift in how Ider approach their songwriting and production, a bold and confident move that augurs well for 2018.

Body Love is out now on the GlassNote imprint.

DerVerdict – Sublime! Rnb styled modern classicism.

RAPID ROUND-UP

Because they’re completely bonkers, London-based duo Isaac Howlett and Adam Relf aka Empathy Test, have dropped not one but TWO debut albums. Nothing like going for broke, eh?

And because there aren’t enough hours in our day, we currently don’t have the bandwidth to digest that much musical material. Ipso facto, we’re sharing the news and taking a rain check on the views, until we can find a few quiet days in our hectic schedule to ramble around their crowd-funded Pledge Music productions. Consider your card marked!

Purveyors of lush futuristic electronica with a bent for retro analogue samples, Empathy Test have a knack for producing evocative, cinematic soundscapes that journey freely into faraway realms while still retaining those underlying 80s’ pop sensibilities that first served to inspire them as a band.

Entitled Safe from Harm and Losing Touch, both albums are available via the bands homegrown portal – https://www.empathytest.com/shop

We like the sumptuous dreaminess of Firelight which you can hear below, from the Safe from Harm album. To be continued!

Ary Live in Cologne – Uncredited

This week has seen the consummate electronic confluence as Norwegian artists Gundelach and ARY come together to create the perfect techno storm with their single Games. It’s a fast-paced duet in which myriad electro-effects accelerate through a forlorn synthscape; relief comes by way of the reverb washed, hazy vocals that seem to avoid being weighed down by the track’s thematic heaviness.

For a first foray into production, Gundelach has done a pretty slick job on Games which is available now on all digital platforms.

Still in Norway, favourite of the airwaves and corporate playlists, Sigrid, has dropped her fifth single of 2017. Entitled Strangers, it’s carved from the same propulsive electronica that fuelled the techpop scene of the mid 90’s. In fact, the whole thing is a bit passé and lame, with the exceptionally talented singer’s usually feisty vocal suffering from the staggered progress of the songs arrhythmic beat. Not her best, but super fans won’t care.

On the upside, the Norwegian popstrel’s management team have very cleverly managed to land their protege a slot on the Justice League soundtrack and tbh it’s an altogether more interesting affair. A cover of the Leonard Cohen track Everybody Knows, this brooding, atmospheric thriller – which comes over all Bond – sees Sigrid’s vocal rise to the occasion, producing a performance that’s much more worthy of her undisputed talent. The future is undoubtedly hers to lose.

Back on terra Irlanda, RTE has announced key dates for its annual Choice Music Prize. Winners of the 2016 accolades were Rusangano Family (album) and Picture This (song).

The shortlist for Irish Album of the Year 2017, in association with IMRO & IRMA, will be announced on Wednesday 10th January, 2018, while that for the Irish Song of The Year 2017 will be announced three weeks later on Wednesday 31st January, 2018.

The winning song & album will both be announced during a live RTÉ Choice Music Prize event on Thursday 8th March, 2018. The ceremony, which will held in Dublin’s Vicar Street, will be televised live by the national broadcaster in a special four hour extended programme.

The winner of the best album accolade will also receive a €10,000 prize, co-funded by IMRO and IRMA.

We’ve consulted our diary and are currently free that night!

One man guaranteed a place on this year’s shortlist is Corkman Talos, whose Wild Alee album had music critics foaming superlatives at the mouth.

GOOD NEWS STORY OF THE WEEK

Welsh firebrands Manic Street Preachers are set to release their thirteenth studio album on April 6th next year. Entitled Resistance Is Futile, it’s the group’s first full album in four years. Described as a return to classic Manics – ie “widescreen melancholia” – it is the first MSP album to be laid down in their new recording studio in Newport.

“The main themes of Resistance Is Futile are memory and loss; forgotten history; confused reality and art as a hiding place and inspiration. It’s obsessively melodic – in many ways referencing both the naive energy of ‘Generation Terrorists’ and the orchestral sweep of ‘Everything Must Go’, explain the Blackwood 3.

Resistance Is Futile is available to pre-order (including a rather nifty limited ed signed Red Vinyl/CD/Cassette package which we’ve ordered) from manicstreetpreachers.com. Access to Pre-sale tickets for their 2018 lives – dates below – can be yours with purchases prior to midday 21st Nov, pre-sale itself runs from 9.30am 22/11 opening up to general sale 9.30am 24/11. Full details https://t.co/uxp9Yo7BDr

April
23 Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
25 Glasgow The SSE Hydro Arena
27 Birmingham Arena
28 Manchester Arena

May
Llandudno Venue Cymru Arena
Leeds First Direct Arena
London The SSE Arena Wembley
Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

GIGGERY POKERY

Bell X1

Dates for the diary include,

18th November – Bello Bar – Paddy Hanna

24th November – Whelan’s – Le Boom

24th November – The Workman’s, Dublin – Pumarosa

25th November – Whelans – Bitch Falcon

2nd December – Tivoli – Perfume Genius

9th December – Vicar St. – Lankum

18th – 21st December – The Grand Social – Little Green Cars

20th December – The Waterfront (Belfast) – Imelda May

21st – 23rd December – Vicar St., – Damien Dempsey

27th December – Whelans – Paddy Casey

28th December – Whelans – Sharon Shannon

12th February – Whelans – SYML

23rd February  – No. 22 – Wyvern Lingo

21st – 25th March – Vicar St. – Bell X1

6th – 13th April – Various (incl Whelans) – Delorentos

As always, we leave you with a Spotify playlist to take with you on your day-to-day travels. As per, there’s so much on right now, that we’ll be back before you know it, with VoD 8. Catch us on Facebook to keep up with our escapades and see you soon, DervSwerve x

Advertisements

Derv’s Voyage of Discovery – Newsletter (Vol 6)

With an abundance of clattering, catchy and compelling new music coming down the pre-Christmas tracks, it’s time to once again give you our DerVerdicts on the good, bad and possibly not so pretty currently on release across the globe.

In this vol 6 of our totally random newsletter, we’re checking out some of the latest sounds around, with a dash of news bites and tour dates thrown in for good measure. Our DerVerdicts are our genuine, honest thoughts on and reactions to our featured releases  – they’re neither meant to offend nor flatter. As usual, you’ll find a complementary Spotify playlist at the bottom of the post. Happy Dervscovering!

DerVerdicts …

SHORT, SHARP SHOCK OF SHRAPNEL CUTS TO THE BONE

THE BREEDERS – Wait in the Car (Single)

Up to about 5 minutes ago, we’d never heard of The Breeders – a fact about which we probably should feel deeply ashamed. We don’t. We live in a highly filtered bubble; one in which a rarefied atmosphere is rarely pervaded by Pixie-esque terse alt-rock. On the rare occurrence that we make an exception, it usually involves the female as opposed to the male strain of this somewhat clangorous sound – our ears can’t hack anything of harsh, Ork-like quality.

Two minutes of melodic, jagged junkyard metal softened somewhat by the unfaltering, mono-punk of Kim Deal’s blasé vocal, we can certainly do. Wait in the Car is the first in what’s hoped is a new line of cuts from the recently reformed 90s outfit. Snappy, sassy grunge-swagger – if this is what The Breeders are capable of after a serious run of downtime, then count us in.

In other Breeders related news, Deal’s identical twin Kelley was recently honoured with a Gibson Les Paul guitar award by magazine. Deal is one of a current slew of hard-working females being feted for their contribution to the music industry; others being Vick Bain, Lara Baker and Decca Records’ Rebecca Allen.

Wait in the Car is available now via the 4AD imprint.

A ROMANTIC FAIRYTALE SET IN A MESMERISING 21ST CENTURY FANTASIA

BJORK – The Gate (Single)

Where her 2015 album Vulnicura focussed on the heartbreaking dissolution of a long-term relationship, Bjork’s impending release Utopiais about a love that’s even greater. It’s about rediscovering love—but in a spiritual way, for lack of a better word.

The Gate is the first sample of what we can expect from the latest chapter in the diary of the Icelandic chameleon mistress of magical avant-garde that is Bjork. One of her most exquisite and dulcet of love songs, its directness is belied by its quietude.

With the theme of oneness at its core, the song, like the changing tide, ebbs and flows through dark, spacious silences. Except this time, the silence is one of contentment, not one caused by devastation. In the pastoral, classically-inspired opening, Bjork’s multi-tracked vocal harmonies become inextricably intertwined with strings and woodwinds. Barely decipherable electronic dots and dashes are subjugated by a gravitation towards natural and organic sounds; simulated whale-song, hushed noises redolent of rustling trees and rolling tumbleweed from the seafloor.

The video, which was directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, is a triumph of the fantastical. It places this barely audible celebration of love in a quasi-animated setting that blurs the lines between Greek mythology and Monsters Inc., before tipping it into a 21st digital dreamscape replete with wonderfully choreographed kaleidoscope of animated graphics that evoke the multi-coloured magic of Disney’s Fantasia.

The Gate is out now via One Little Indian. Utopia is due for release on 24th November. **Yes, yes we know. Murphy’s Law. No sooner had we this written than Bjork went and dropped Blissing Me. Review coming soon.

The pull of nature alluded to above, links us nicely into the next song, which soundtracked the prequel to David Attenborough’s awe-inspiring Blue Planet II series.

OPEN YOUR MOUTH (AND HEARTS) WIDE

RADIOHEAD WITH HANS ZIMMER – Ocean Bloom (BBC Soundtrack)

Much has already been said about Radiohead‘s re-imagined Bloom. Originally published on their 2011 album The King of Limbs, it was a jungle of freeform jazz, electronic curios and 60s beat basslines. Re-worked by Yorke, Greenwood and renowned film score composer Hans Zimmer, Bloom, or Ocean Bloom as it has been renamed, has been transformed into an orchestral overture of cinematic proportions.

The jazz-arrhythmia of the original has been stripped, exposing an unobtrusive piano melody now refreshed by a scintillating adagio of strings and classical percussion. Thom Yorke re-recorded his vocal part for this re-work, and the quality of both his reach and hold, prove that this master of falsetto has lost none of his youthful vocal dexterity. The end result is a wondrous, quasi-orchestral triumph of understatement and finesse.

Radiohead are currently pursuing solo projects. Ocean Bloom isn’t on Spotify so instead we’ve included the original version of Bloom plus the Zimmer theme to Blue Planet II on our playlist below.

We may have already alluded to Ocean Bloom in a previous post, but we feel so strongly about the devastation being caused to our planet (to which Blue Planet II filmmakers can attest) that we’ll grab any opportunity to promote awareness.

MORE SPILLS, SENDING A SEARCH PARTY FOR THE THRILLS

Ruven Afanador

SAM SMITH – The Thrill of it All (Album)

DervSwerve is all up for giving artists who we’ve previously ‘naysayed’ the benefit of the doubt; so it was with an only partially shuttered mind, eye and ear that we decided to give the new Sam Smith album a spin. It was all so far, so familiarly vanilla until we got to track four – Midnight Train – the pulse, riffs and general demeanour of which sent our normally LBP to dangerously high.

Too Good at Goodbyes is a lacklustre poppy ballad written with nothing but $$$ in mind – it has all the kerching of Smith’s previous chart hits – tear-jerking whiny vocal, nod to the gospel choir and a few finger clicks to give it a bit of bluesy cool. Say it First is more of the same moan and teenage groan – what age is Smith, 16? His falsetto is so beyond false it could easily be a sample of one of the cauldron hugging witches from a ridiculously bad production of MacBeth. Next up is One Last Song, more rent-a-gospel-choir blancmange with none of the gutsy sandpapered force that this blend of blue-eyed soul demands (think Paul Young and weep!).

So, we arrive at Midnight Train. If we get into the nitty grittys we’ll probably be had for libel. So I’ll our opinion of this track will take the form of the following video. And on that note, we’ll leave Sam Smith and his less than thrilling compendium of torch songs and move onto artists who are shall we say, come across as being a little more original …

NO SOLE MIO FESTIVE FUN WITH PADDY HANNA

PADDY HANNA – Mario Lanza (Single)

Former member of left-of-centre Grand Pocket Orchestra Paddy Hanna, has unveiled another single, Mario Lanza, from his forthcoming second solo album entitled Frankly I Mutate. Scheduled for release in 2018 via Strange Brew Records, the Daniel Fox (Girl Band) produced album, which the Dubliner recorded with a new band, features inputs from Cian Nugent and the Cosmos, Saint Sister and the Trinity Orchestra.

A tight interplay of myriad strings (electric, acoustic, banjo, violin) and some fantastic swing-style percussion form an uplifting, uptempo soundscape onto which Hanna throws down a quirky yet formidable vocal. Notwithstanding its lighthearded vibe, Mario Lanza has its roots in a more serious real-life episode, as the singer explained:-

My Father, not too long ago, went through a terrible illness which left him in a coma for two weeks”, “While struggling to deal with the strain I began listening through some rough demos I had, one of which was a minute-long ditty about Mario Lanza,”, “(I) realized very quickly I was channelling my pain through this particular track.”

Mario Lanza is out now on the Strange Brew imprint. Paddy is about to hit our EU funded roads, with dates scheduled across Cork, Dublin and Limerick.

PADDY HANNA TOUR DATES
Fri 17th Nov – Levi’s, Ballydehob
Sat 18th Nov – Bello Bar, Dublin
Fri 24th Nov – Connolly’s Of Leap
Sat 2nd Dec – Kasbah, Limerick

UNLAOISEING HER INNER MATERIAL GIRL

LAOISE – Rich (Video)

Turning her attention to visualising her musical concepts, Galwegian Laoise has once again turned to filmic collaborator Christian Tierney, to translate the lyrical storyline of her latest single Rich into a pictorial tale. Which he has done, with sophisticated, understated aplomb.

The ‘purple haze’ video sees the singer, who is trapped in a cocoon of material wealth, become more fixated with tangible luxuries the more they come into her possession. Speaking of video the singer explained: “The song is about a love that’s been compromised for possessions, and how easy it was for money to gain control over their mind. You can see this in the video where certain materials and surroundings can quickly alter personality and behaviour, and with every new material someone owns, the more superior they feel.”

Rich is taken from Laoise‘s upcoming EP due out in early 2018. We’re looking forward to it girl!

BOYS TO MEN

 

Photo – Southend Who?

THE TRUSTED – Boy (Single)

Following on from their stand-out Summer single Sunlight and fresh from a plethora of live dates (they’ve played 70 gigs this year alone), Southend four-piece The Trusted return with single Boy.

Switching gears and stylistic direction, Boy leaves behind the honeyed mellow hues of downtempo Sunlight for an altogether darker, grungier vibe. Filled with blues basslines, tense guitar riffs, punchy drumming and frontman Tom Cunnigham’s alluring vocal, this latest single is an exciting insight into The Trusted’s constant evolution. Their unceasing desire to explore, boldly lane-hopping from one genre to the next, trialling and excavating sounds, has seen their songwriting mature to a level where they should now be looking to cut their first EP.

Boy explores the centuries-old headwreck of transitioning from teenager to adulthood and all the internal struggles the ‘strung up boy’ goes through to mature.

Having picked up support from Hoxton Radio and BBC Introducing, London, The Trusted have seen their fanbase explode over the past 12 months, a fact borne out by the ever-increasing numbers at their live shows. They play the Dublin Castle, Camden on 25th November and with their reputation for blistering live performances, this is one pre-Christmas gig that Londoners should mark on the ‘to do list’ now.

There’s also a tour in offing, so keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook page, here. Boy is out now on all digital platforms.

 A MATCH MADE IN TROPICAL HEAVEN

THE UNION FEAT. LOVESPEAKE – Never Gonna Work (Single)

Norwegian band Lovespeake are particularly adept at coining Summer hot, dude cool tunes. Fronted by Alexander Pavelich, they released one of Norway’s best albums of 2016 – DNA – you can read The Monitors review of it, here. Most recently they’ve been touring Asia, but a return to colder climes has seen them once again cosy up with Swedish duo The Uniøn to produce electronic adventure Never Gonna Work.

An addictive tropical-house track in the mould of Kygo, Never Gonna Work opens into a spacious electroscape with nothing but Pav’s lush vocal tip toeing through micro beats before bursting into a full-on, juicy dance track. Infectious, dynamic, and irresistible, this galloping floor filler is one that’s sure to have party-people shaking their booty on this season’s festive club circuit.

Never Gonna Work is out now via the Toothfairy label.

TURN UP THE FREQUENCY, THIS IS NO ILLUSION

 

YOUNG EARTH – Frequency Illusion (EP)

Young Earth are a four-piece from Dublin formed at BIMM, who’ve taken 90’s style 60’s jams and twisted them into 21st century indie-rock songs with all the punchy instrumental weight of the Arctic Monkeys and flourish of the Beatles.

Since unveiling their debut single Maggie in 2016, the band have had four more releases culminating in their debut EP Frequency Illusion. A five track cut, it veers very much in a 90’s indie direction – sounds like SuperGrass, the LAs, Kula Shaker – but with the noughties savvy of successors like the Vaccines and Alex Turner et al.

The EP title track is a retro, guitar driven, stop-start energiser filled with tight licks, clattering percussion and inviting vocals. Second in, Worth it, will be remembered for it’s crowd pulling chorus and Shadows-esque guitar riffs. The more you journey into this EP the more you’ll notice slight similarities with both The Academic and The Strypes – two other up and coming Irish bands at different stages of their evolution but equally successful in their own right – which can only augur well for this emerging four-piece.

Got a Secret is one of the strongest tracks on the EP – brandishing some seriously cutting, clean guitar lines and dark melodies. That darkness is countered by the slick n’ sassy sway of Undercover onto which frontman Mark O’Keeffe pours some seriously honeyed vocals. The song, which also features a rather neat if short guitar solo, adds a provocative touch of the ‘lush’ to what has hitherto been a pretty blistering tracklist. EP closer Let Go flaunts some serious pop sensibilities under the cover of several layers of reverb. Wet, hazy and dreamy, this’ll possibly be the one to get the girl’s screaming during the lives.

A neatly packaged, well balanced debut from a band who know their stuff. For their age, Young Earth are a surprisingly well-oiled machine. Innovative well honed musicianship, confident vocals and an ear for good tunes with plenty of ‘je ne sais quoi’ should stand them in good stead for a pretty rock n roll 2018.

Frequency Illusion is out now on all digital platforms.

SIXTY SECOND NEWS

Classy Norwegian pocket-orchestra Einar Stray‘s highly acclaimed Dear Bigotry album has been nominated in the Best Norwegian Album cat of the annual Gaffa Awards – you can vote for this or any other category that tickles your fancy over at gaffa.no/prisen

Irish feist-rock band Bitch Falcon‘s latest single, live favourite Of Heart, which is due out 24th November is currently on pre-order here

Canadian mega-star Michael Bublé has just been announced for a Summer sesh at Croker. Pencilled in for Saturday 7th July, 2018, tickets for Bubbles will not doubt be gone before they begin so have the fam on standby, fingers on your buzzers – tickets from Ticketmaster 9am Friday 17th – he who dares wins (the bruises will heal eventually) – link here – all the very best!

Norwegian artist Susanne Sundfør has just announced that she is to bring her Music For People In Trouble audio visual show to London’s Barbican Centre on May 21st, 2018. Unfortunately, this has resulted in her having to cancel the previously advertised gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire (Refunds will be available at the point of purchase or exchanged on a first option basis for seats at the Barbican). General sale tickets available from November 24th. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!

We have way more news and views to share with you so stay tuned because VoD newsletter #7 will be with you before the end of the week! Busy times. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to stay in the loop, DervSwerve x

Discover Ireland #6 : October Odysseys, November Nights (P2)

The Academic

Following on from the first tranche of this two-parter Discover Ireland #6 post which you can read HERE, we’re diving straight back in with more of our top picks from the the current crop of Irish releases. Kicking off proceedings is the Irish music act that has owned 2017 …. Picture This.

PICTURE THIS – PICTURE THIS (DELUXE EDITION) (ALBUM)

The band who have without exception dominated the music headlines in 2017, Picture This, have announced the release of a Deluxe (don’t you just love that word) ed of their superfab eponymous debut album. Due out on 17th November, this bigger and bolder iteration of their first long-player will include two additional ‘new’ songs as well as the much loved festive number, This Christmas.

Picture This are currently nearing the end of what’s been one helluva of a chart-ripping, skyscraping rollercoaster ride. A journey that has seen them trip across the globe like a musical bullet-train leaving no fanbase unturned in their wake. Where 2018 is gonna take them no-one knows, but for a band with the gift of the lyrical gab and instrumental Midas touch, it would seem that the only way continues to be up #intothegreatwideopen .

AILIE BLUNNIE – WEST TO THE EVENING SUN (ALBUM)

Photo Leitrim Observer

Ailie Blunnie is a new name to this reviewer. Originally hailing from Carrick-on-Shannon, the young Leitrim woman is now based in Dublin, and it is around these two locations that her debut album circles.

West to the Evening Sun measures the distance in both emotional and psychological as well as ‘real’ terms, between the singer’s erstwhile home in the rural west, and her newly arrived at base in the nation’s ever-growing capital. Identity is a key thematic focus, so it comes as no surprise that much of the record’s lyrics are soaked in introspection and self-examination. Vulnerable, fragile and raw, Blunnie’s words bleed into a gentle soporific stream of ‘acousticism’ on an album that often recalls that great exponent of plain chant and airy pop rooted in Irish trad-folk – Enya.

There are some magical moments here, none moreso than on And So To Sleep, but the youthful freshness of West to the Evening Sun can at times come across as a bit too intent in its pursuit of honest delivery.

Heartfelt lyrics, beautifully performed and delightfully instrumented, West to the Evening Sun is a fine debut from a much-talented artist who if they build on this well-executed foundation, will have plenty to carry them into a successful future. West to the Evening Sun is out now via Happy Out Records.

WYVERN LINGO – OUT OF MY HANDS (SINGLE)

If you had Wyvern Lingo pegged as the 2017 Irish iteration of Bananarama then you’re in for pretty much a rude awakening. While they may share the same boundless unbridled energy and un-vogue, idiosyncratic sense of style as their 80’s predecessors, their lyrical incisiveness replete with keen socio-political engagement, and cool instrumental flair sees them cut an altogether more outspoken and colourful dash.

Their latest single Out of My Hands (for which we sincerely apologise for this utterly tardy mention) is an highly charged and no holds barred kick in the nuts to our indifference as a society towards matters social, political, and moral both within and without our inherently self-absorbed world.

Out of My Hands also happens to be a compelling listen: an infectious blend of bluesy (or should we say ballsy) RnB and dark, sultry pop which paints perfectly synced vocals across a lush mural of blues basslines, intense beats and rhythmic melodies. The impact is both immediate and powerful.

The lovely Lingo lassies will play their first Dublin show of 2018 on Friday 23rd February at Number Twenty Two on South Anne Street. Around since late 2016, No.22 is, according to its online blurb, an “unique and exclusive venue that combines a library and theatre club”. You have been told. Tickets for Wyvern Lingo are priced at Euro 19.50 and available for procurement via Ticketmaster … go to it!

SEAMUS FOGARTY – THE CURIOUS HAND (ALBUM)

Phil Collins super-fan Seamus Fogarty divides his time between Swinford (do you know the Mc Donnells?) and London. When he’s not dreaming about cake and the ageing Genesis drummer, he’s delivering trad-folk pop fusion belters such as Carlow Town, lifted from the recently released album, The Curious Hand.

Recently signed to Domino Records – home to Julia Holter, Franz Ferdinand & Villagers amongst others – Seamus Fogarty dabbles in the realm of alt-country, dynamic folk and twisted trad with a dollop of pop sensibilities on the side. His music, which is as spirited as it is poetic, struggles against being pigeonholed preferring rather to allow its roving, free spirit to wander where the inspiration takes it.

A menagerie of vintage styles produced and arranged using very latterday techniques, The Curious Hand contains some veritable gems. Dynamic Carlow Town is an intriguing autobiographical chapter inked with tumbling guitar chords and slam-beats, while the gorgeous title track with its finger-picked strings, gentle accordion and wistful spoken word sequence, opens up sufficient a chink to allow the listener to catch a brief glimpse of a very personal moment in time.

Definitely a rarity, possibly one of the best surprises of 2017, The Curious Hand is an album crafted with a mix of emigré fondness and the cold eye of an ex-pat whose memory is still fresh of the ‘stony grey soil’ of an Ireland he has chosen to leave behind.

Btw Seamus, I’d love to know where this Castle is, because on the several nights, many moons ago, that I ended up stranded in Carlow town, there was nothing between me and my maker except the local cop shop and a verdant overhang in Monacurragh.

The Curious Hand is out now on the Domino Records imprint.

YE VAGABONDS – YE VAGABONDS (ALBUM)

Speaking of Carlow … Carlovian bros Brían & Diarmuid Mac Gloinn, the duo behind Ye Vagabonds, have just self-released their debut self-titled album via their own record label.

The pair started recording elements of the album some two years ago, grabbing sample sounds o’er hills and dales, kitchens and sheds, before setting about forging them into a captivating compendium of acoustic trad-folk tunes. Their sound is somewhat redolent of that of the indigenous peoples of North and Western Canada into Alaska with harmony-led songs like Wake Up and Whistling Wind recalling myriad documentaries about these vast, untamed landscapes.

Honest, warm and earthy vocals, lightened by their soft, harmonious extension, tread a steady path across a colourful tapestry of various strings – guitar, cello, mandolin. Songs like Way Up On The Mountains will take the listener down the path of the Irish balladeer whereas instrumentals like For Bert or the delightful Half Blind take their cue from American folk. Whichever is your bent – folk, trad or a muddle of the two – there’s plenty to please the palate.

Coming from a town with a long-standing tradition of folk, trad and Celtic music it’s no wonder that Ye Vagabonds have chosen a cross-over of these genres as the basis for this oeuvre.

Ye Vagabonds’ album is out now via Inglenook Records. Several lives have been lined up including shenanigans in Cork, Galway, Dublin and Belfast starting on 24th November – full details on the bands Facebook page.

COLUMBIA MILLS – A SAFE DISTANCE TO WATCH (ALBUM)

Fresh from their much admired appearances at Electric Picnic and Indiependence, Joy Divison/New Order doppelgangers Columbia Mills returned earlier this Autumn with a new single We Decide, one of several amuses bouche to the maincourse that has become their debut album.

Columbia Mills weave real-life lyrical observations through the intensely taut and sombre landscapes of the immersive A Safe Distance to Watch. Theirs is a well-balanced layering of tight guitar sequences, brooding beats and dark textures, and while it may seem that their world is at the bottom of an endless inky-black shaft, there are moments when a chink of light is visible on its perimeters.

In truth, there’s something very gratifying about soaking up the rich intensity of tracks like Cold Shoulder and We Decide, or immersing oneself in the heady 80’s JD trip that is the smouldering This City Doesn’t Feel Like Home To Me (we dig its electro-nod to Enola Gay).

Recorded in Westland Studios in Dublin and produced and mixed by Rob Kirwan (U2/Depeche Mode) the album follows a thematic thread of voluntary disconnection from, and disassociation with people, places and situations using snatches from real-life stories as the bases for its songs.

A Safe Distance to Watch is out now on all digital platforms. Columbia Mills have announced a launch show for the album, at Dublin’s Button Factory on Friday November 17th. Should be a good ‘un.

IN OTHER NEWS!

Mother of all Irish Festivals Electric Picnic, has been nominated for Best Major Festival in this year’s European Festival Awards. They’re asking for your support oh lovers of all things Stradbally, so get yourselves over to eu.festivalawards.com to throw your weight behind #madeinIreland

Btw – on the same fest-awards site both Oyafestivalen, Oslo and Reeperbahn, Hamburg are nominated for best medium-sized festival while homegrown Castlepalooza and the Carrickmackross Arts Festival are awaiting your votes under the Best Small Festival cat. Other voting categories include best line-up, and best newcomer (Cigarettes After Sex, Sigrid, Idles & more).

Upcoming Irish band The Academic have announced their debut album. Entitled Tales from the Backseat, it’s set for release on 12th January, 2018. With sales of the Lauralynn charity record Joshua Tree New Roots extending their already widening fanbase and a stint supporting the Kooks taking them to even higher European heights, The Academic are set to pull off a chart-takeover when their first full-length finally hits the streets. Should shortly be available to pre-order – keep your eyes peeled on their Twitter.

You can hear The Academic’s latest Permanent Vacation single on our playlist below.

GIGGERY POKERY

In gig news, well it looks like dates in November/December are going to be as stuffed your Christmas turkey. Here are a few must-go-tos for your diary:-

Lana del Rey sounds-like Katie Kim has been announced for what must surely be one of the most hotly anticipated pre-Crimbo gigs. She’ll headline Dublin’s Workman’s Club (support tba) on Friday 22nd December. To see a show more than well worth its tenner ticket price, book your spot via Ticketmaster here. Watch the video for Katie’s sultry, and densely textured Ghosts below.

Elsewhere, veterans The Gloaming and Little Green Cars have both announced Irish dates in early 2018.

The Gloaming will play not one but four consecutive dates at home from home National Concert Hall (they’ve previously sold out 17 dates at the prestigious Dubin venue), where they will take up residence from 5th to the 8th of March – tickets will go on sale on the NCH website at 10am on 17th November – http://www.nch.ie  . These four shows will constitute their only lives of 2018 and are set to make for one truly remarkable homecoming.

Their compatriots Little Green Cars are set to kick off a Nationwide tour commencing 12th December in The Source Arts Centre, Thurles. Working their way through three nights in Cork and rounding off with a staggering six (yes 6) nights in Dublin, the boys from LGC look set to have a busy few weeks ahead of them. Tickets are now on sale for dates across both December and January. The band released their much lauded last album Ephemera back in 2016. Will 2018 see more ‘ephemeral’ goodness?

We’re ending with news that tickets for the annual 2FM Xmas Ball which this year is being headlined by homeboys The Script completely sold out within a few hours. As all proceeds will go support ISPCC/Childline, this is fantastic news indeed.

Why not add our Discover Ireland #6 playlist to your Spotify library so you can continue to revisit some if not all of our latest picks from top Irish acts. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news, views and reviews, DervSwerve x

Discover Ireland #6 : October Odysseys, November Nights (P1)

Runabay

As the Christmas season draws near, we herald another glorious harvest of new Irish music; sounds that have tickled our earbuds as cold grey takes over from the burnt ochre of a fading Autumnal landscape.

The contemporary Irish music scene is festooned with sonic riches right now; gems of every hue, shape and origin to appeal to the most eclectic of tastes. So, without further ado, let’s dig into the latest treasure trove to explore the musical magic within …

As per, you’ll find an accompanying Spotify playlist at the end of the newsletter.

TALOS – VOICES (VIDEO)

The creative partnership of music artist Talos and filmographer Brendan Canty of Feel Good Lost never ceases to amaze. On the recently released video accompaniment to Wild Alee closer Voices, they have, once again, effortlessly pulled the innovative rabbit out of the filmic hat – this time in collaboration with filmmaker and animator Kevin McGloughlin.

Taking images from the gasp-inducing This is Us Colliding visual, which was shot on location in West Clare/the Burren, Canty & co have upped the ante by mixing up scenes of sweeping Wild Atlantic Way landscapes with flashing, acid trip imagery. These visual muddles are interspersed with blacked out silhouettes and neon-bright squiggles and doodles that explode across the plaintive darkness like a chaos of frenzied fireworks.

Still : Brendan Canty

Talos’ videos make for compelling viewing and in the case of Voices, the film sucks the viewer into the existential depth of the song’s lyrical inspiration. Speaking of the track Talos has previously explained, “Voices’ for me is the most inclusive and celebratory track on the album. I saw it as a unifying moment, as something that just asked a question about existence and either choosing to exist now, as you should, or not…”

Talos has just closed out a brief UK tour but will soon be gearing up for an end of year Nationwide tour, kicking off with two sold out dates in St. Ann’s Church Dublin on 14/15th December (if unlike us you’ve been lucky enough to snag a ticket, enjoy!), rounding off in the home of West Cork homes of music, Connolly’s of Leap on 29th December. Full details on his official website – http://www.talostalos.com/

Watch the Voices video in all it’s colour-pop, psych-wash abstract glory, here.

AILBHE REDDY – THE TUBE (SINGLE)

However ‘perished’ Ailbhe Reddy might look in the above ‘sittin’ in football stand shade wishin’ I was by a nice fire‘ shot, one thing’s for sure; there is nothing cold or insensate about this young Dubliner’s voice on her latest knockout single, The Tube.

Reddy’s sound has evolved quite significantly from its acoustic beginnings. The Tube, which sees Ailbhe take her songwriting skills up to the next level, reflects a more mature and confident music artist. The sound is both dynamic and strong, and the vocal while still retaining it’s delicate finesse, is impressively self-assured.

Although I might be swayed by the allusion to the London Underground, I feel there are shades of Welsh singer Duffy in the bluesiness of this track that reflects on the breakdown in relational communications; an unfortunate feature of everyday life and romance.

Reddy has finely cut her live teeth this year, with appearances at most of the major festivals and an Autumnal nationwide tour. We’ll watch her progress through 2018 with great interest. The Tube is available to stream or download on all digital platforms.

NEW POPE – LOVE (VIDEO)

Galway-based, Roisin Dubh regular David Boland plies his finger picking quasi-folkpop under the New Pope moniker.

His latest foray is a retro visual trip through a 60’s ‘love parade’. A video accompaniment to the song Love which featured on his sophomore album of the same name, this faded visual comprises edited footage from the 1961 anti-drug educo-film, Seduction of the Innocent. The song itself is a mellow affair that wouldn’t sound astray on the soundtrack to the ‘Summer of Love’. No doubt then as now, many a youthful dream was dashed on the rocks of seduction, echoing the storyline of the home-made visual.

New Pope is set to drop his third album at the end of November so watch this space.

MONGOOSE – FOUR (EP)

Good-time, rag-time gals Mongoose have just launched their Four EP (bit of a wild one that – link!!). Doing what it says on the ‘tin’ the EP is a four-tracker to which each Mongooser has made their own idiosyncratic, compositional contribution. Guitarist and co-vocalist Ailbhe Dunne made an indelible mark with the jazz-burst that is Bullseye a frantic, up-tempoed, roaring 20’s jazz number that’s been given a bloody good modern shaking.

Mongoose are mid-tour nationwide. If you’re lucky, there’s still time to catch one of their ‘joie de vivre‘ themed shows! Their Four EP is available to download now via Bandcamp.

RUNABAY – TOO SOON (REVERIE) (SINGLE)

Six very fine musicians make up Northern Ireland’s Runabay, a band who have always defied being labelled. By crossing through genres in pursuit of their desire to continuously evolve their sound, they have pushed the boundaries of trad, folk, alt-pop and indie to create their own fine, unique blend of contemporary fusion.

They’ve just released their latest single, Too Soon (Reverie), ahead of some upcoming live dates (see their FB page for details).

A song which explores the “implications of indecision”, its a beautiful and beguiling affair that stirs the senses and warms the cockles. Earnest, prescient and emotional without the gush, Too Soon explores Runabay’s virtuoso musical capabilities, bringing them together to create an heartfelt, glorious soundtrack to everyday life. As always John Mc Manus’ vocal is as impassioned as it is controlled, his effortless delivery at the forefront of but not dominating an involute and exquisite arrangement, the emotive voice of which would bring tears to a stone.

Runabay’s music can be found on all the usual digital platforms including Bandcamp where Too Soon (Reverie) is available for download.

U2 – GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY (SINGLE)

Lifted from Songs of Experience the ‘sequel’ to their 2014 album Songs of Innocence, Get Out of Your Own Way is the second single to pave the way for the release of U2’s 14th studio album diaried for 1st December, 2017. The 13-track record will be released via Island Records in digital and CD formats, as a Standard, Deluxe, and double vinyl album.

Get Out of Your Own Way features spoken word by Kendrick Lamar on the outro; Lamar previously collaborated with U2 on his track XXX. With its skyscraping harmonies, tight guitar chords and pulsing heartbeat, the track sees a return to the bass-driven, undulating pop-rock of Beautiful Day (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000).

In socio-political news, U2 have just released a video on their home channel appealing to Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi to up her game in defence of those Rohingya Muslims currently suffering genocide on a mass-scale in remote territories of the former Burma. Read about their attempts to reach out to the Nobel prize winner here.

U2 have just announced a Northern American tour kicking off 2nd May, 2018 – details here. To pre order Songs of  Experience, visit www.U2.com  In the meantime you can satisfy your cravings somewhat by checking out this video.

Due to the fact that Discover Ireland #6 crosses over two months, we’ve split this current post in two to make for easier reading. Check into Part 2 here.

Why not add our Discover Ireland #6 playlist to your Spotify library so you can continue to revisit some if not all of our latest picks from top Irish acts. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news, views and reviews, DervSwerve x

Discover Ireland #4 : Autumnal Dawn

As we slowly slink into the Autumnal slipstream that is September, the shimmering haze of Summer (what Summer?) is being bellowed by a blaze of feelgood tunes, keeping our spirits up and the cardigans at bay for just another wee while.

Summer is the season for all things Pride and to their credit, Cork four-piece The Elation teamed up earlier in August with Cork Pride to produce a fantastic charity single, Feels Like A Good Reason To Get Started.  All proceeds made from the sale of the single go directly to the Cork Gay Project.

The track, which was produced by London-based Andy Whitmore (MN8), is the kind of indie-pop fusion The Elation has down to a fine art. Guitar driven Summery rock is given the pumping disco beats treatment to create a blue-skies radio-friendly, bright nights dance floor filler. With its rousing chorus and compelling beats, this blaze of indie glory channels just the right mix of pop sensibilities to make it appeal to music lovers of all shapes and shades.

The Cork Gay project is still ongoing so please, if you haven’t already dipped into your sticky pockets, you can still donate on a very Radiohead-esque ‘pay what you want’ basis over on the guys’ Bandcamp space. ‘Feels Like A Good Reason To Get Started’ is also available via the usual digital channels. Watch the accompanying video, shot on location in Cork city, here. DerVerdict – You know what you need to do!

The Elation is about to hit these Munster venues running so get in early to reserve your air space.

Unless you’ve been living on or under Fraggle Rock, you can’t have failed to notice much-media-ado about everything to do with a certain album launch.

Fka Ireland’s next big thing, Picture This are indeed now just that … the big ticket act that everyone wants to see, a point proven by the speed with which their upcoming lives at the 3 Arena sold out. Their eponymous debut album went straight in at #1 in the Irish album charts, no mean feat for a duo that set up shop via Facebook only two years ago.

The impressive rapidity with which Messrs Rainsford and Hennessy have become ‘a thing’ in contemporary Irish popular music culture is predominantly down to the relatability of their songs and normality of their personas.

Picture This are two normal lads who with nothing to lose, just bloody well went for it. And got there in a mind-bogglingly short space of time, propelled by the goodwill of an exponentially expanding fanbase who saw in the Kildare duo and their lyrics, reflections of their own lives.

At the core of their critical success are two things – their stirring, perfectly choreographed melodic arrangements and their incisive illustrations of youth-life in small town, post-recession Ireland.

The Picture This promotional tour will take them to the US in September before they return to these shores to play Belfast end of October followed by the two sold-out Dublin shows. The album Picture This is out now on all platforms. DerVerdict – 4.5/5 – A Must Buy!

Speaking of ‘big things’, Dublin trio The Script have just returned with their fifth album, Freedom Child.

Looking lean and mean at their recent secret gig in The Stadium (we share the same trainer but I obviously like my food more) the Dublin lads teased tracks from their new album to an uproarious crowd (we saw the ‘stories’ on IG!) which undoubtedly augured well for its release.

With more political leanings than its predecessors, Freedom Child is a bit of a musical mixed bag. While there are some artfully conceived pop flourishes and lush rhythmic beats with swatches of reggae-esque underlay, the heavy EDM elements at times feel a bit laboured.

Thematically, the boilerplate love/hate, when love breaks down, relationship schemas which are the stock in trade of The Script are all there, interwoven with musings on terrorism and bullying.

Rain is the kind of Latino-hip pop you might expect to find on an Enrique Iglesias compendium whereas notwithstanding its quirky lyrical content, Mad Love with its super cool beat, is classic Script. Stand out track of the album is undoubtedly Arms Open which sees frontman Danny Donoghue vocally reign supreme. A song in the mould of The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, this is The Script lyrical tendresse at its best. If you’re going to see them on their current tour, this is going to your arm waver, phone blazer of a track.

With more high points than low, overall this is a solid production by a band who like to experiment and more importantly have a bit of fun while doing so. While there’s enough vintage Script in here to keep the legions happy, there’s also plenty of fun flava to pick up newbies along the way. DerVerdict – Do It.

Irish brothers Cillian and Lorcan Byrne are the duo behind brand Basciville. Serving up RnB/Folk fusion, with a side of orchestral is their house speciality and judging by the reaction to their latest single, Diving Hour, it’s going down a treat with their ever-growing audiences.

Hailing from Wexford, the pair grew up in a rural idyll famous for its laid-back tranquility; a world that has become increasingly swept up in the fast-paced freneticism that is our modern, everyday multi-gadgeted and faceted life. By taking modern instrumental sounds, samples and styles and arranging them with careful precision into pastoral settings, Basciville orchestrates an enchanting transcendence, or musical time-lapse if you will.

Basciville has created a unique far-away utopia, and situated it right at the heart of our urban decay. Forget your stressballs, lavender pillows and mindfulness apps. Download their tumbling orchestral sequences and floating melodies to set your mind at zen o’clock.

Notwithstanding its silvan themed video, Diving Hour would make the perfect soundtrack for a maritime visual. Watch the accompanying film in all its verdant glory below.  Basciville are about to head out on a nationwide tour (full details on Facebook).

Nationwide Tour Dates – Tickets available at Ticketmaster & box offices.
Weds Sept 27th : Roisin Dubh (upstairs) – Galway
Thurs sept 28th: The Workmans Club – Dublin
Fri Sept 29th: The Roundry – Cork
Sat Sept 30th: Dolans (upstairs) – Limerick
Sun Oct 1st: DeBarra – Clonakilty

Wild Youth is Callum McAdam, Ed Porter, David Whelan, and Conor O’Donohoe, four Dublin lads at the start of what’s promising to be an adventurous journey.

Ahead of the release of their second single Lose Control, the band has dropped the accompanying video which features top Irish model Thalia Heffernan and her Dancing with the Stars boyfriend, Ryan Mc Shane. These two hot steppers sure let off some very sexy steam during their superbly choreographed flirtation around late night Dublin.

With it’s infectious vocal, lush, tantalising melodies and gyrating beats, this song is the perfect antidote to the cooler temperatures of late Summer/early Autumn. It shouts bright lights, late nights and lots of fun. Now who’d argue with that?

Lose Control is released Friday 8th September. Wild Youth will headline the Grand Social on Friday 22nd September. Tickets here.

IN OTHER AUTUMNAL NEWS …

Post her rave stint at EP, Beeb DJ Annic Mac is just one of the several on-trend dance acts that due to pitch up at Weston Airport later this Autumn for the new-look Samhain Festival. She’ll be joined in Hangar-land on Saturday 28th October by beatmasters Kelly Anne Byrne, Eats Everything and Belgium’s finest, 2ManyDJs. Sunday 29th will see The Strypes perform tracks from their new Spitting Image album before former Oasis front-man Liam ‘as you were’ Gallagher takes centre-stage. Tickets €49.50 from Ticketmaster.

Rumour has it that a batch of Irish newbies are shaping up to drop their debut albums in the not too distant months ahead. One such group is Otherkin who are set to release the not so cryptically entitled OK on 29th September. To promo its release, the band are heading out on tour, starting with a 7-night UK run as special guests of InHeaven which will  be swiftly followed by an expansive headline tour that will see the boys take in a raft of British and European dates. The tour will wrap on 15th December at Dublin’s Button Factory – now that’ll be some sesh!

Full details plus links to pre-order OK here. (Oh and hint hint – fans who pre-order will receive four instant grat tracks). Now there’s an incentive to buy-in if ever I saw one!

AND FINALLY, THE BIG ONE!

Here it is folks … the first single from the upcoming U2 album Songs of Experience.

You’re The Best Thing About Me follows the surprise drop of teaser track The Blackout and leads the way for the Irish rock legends’ 14th studio album, Songs of Experience the second of a two-part album series.

Following Songs of Innocence which documented U2’s childhood experiences through the late 1970s into the early 1980s, the new album takes the form of intimate letters written by Bono to people from within his inner sanctum like family and close friends as well as to those outside, including fans. Most interestingly it includes missives to himself.

Where The Blackout had direct sonic references to 90’s platinum selling Achtung Baby, You’re The Best Thing About Me is a tangible continuum of SoI in both look and feel, although traces of Edge’s riffs recall the haunting guitar playing of Bad (The Unforgettable Fire). There are no prizes for guessing the subject(s) of the song as it’s clearly yet another homage to his wife of over 35 years and their long-standing relationship.

Songs of Experience will be available on CD, vinyl and digital download, with the release date and pre-order details to be announced soon.

Check out the funky lyric video for the new single here!

As usual we’re signing off with an accompanying Spotify playlist. Unfortunately, as Wild Youth’s track isn’t on release for another few days, it’s not included. However, as soon as it is available, we’ll add it in. Cheers, DervSwerve x

Random Acts of Music #2 – A BBC 6 Music ‘Fluenced Playlist

Susanne Sundfør

In this second ed. of Random Acts of Music we’re taking our lead predominantly from serious music influencer and doyenne of experimental electronica and idiosyncrasy, the dulcet-toned MaryAnne Hobbs. To spice things up and keep it diverse, we’ve also lobbed in a few choice cuts from across the 6 Music Board.

Just in case you missed our first New Music Playlist #NMP, you can check it out later by clicking this link.

Today’s playlist is somewhat submerged in dense, dark soundscapes at points tinged with glistening moments of ethereal brightness. There’s an almost religious, definitely spiritual quality to some of the tracks; to counter the celestial and bring things back down to earth, we’ve included some extremely earthy and very meaty animalistic vibes.

Full Spotify playlist at the end of the post.

Photo : BBC 6 Music

Starting off the latest Recommends playlist is Aphex Twin with Umil 25-01, just one of a bunch of tracks the electronic Gandalf has uploaded out of the blue. Originally dropped as a bonus track to follow the release of ‘Orphaned Deejay Delek 2006-2008’, it’s a meandering snake of a tune peppered with sharp percussive hits. You’ll find this amongst others over on the Irish-born Englishman’s label home Warp.net. Check it out.

Walking a completely different sonic path is Berlin based musician Martyn Heyne whose magical guitar-work adorns expansive, visceral soundscapes.

Latest single Carry teases a new album due out later this year on the newly established 7k label. Speaking of his own personal interaction with music Martyn offers “For me the only way to discover something new in music is to listen without any preconceptions as to what it is. No expectations at all”. Sound advice.

August Rosenbaum is a Danish composer whose innovative compositions are currently taking music industry and media types, as well as fans by storm.  If music could be described as a luxuriously adorned celestially beauty, Credo is it. Or if you prefer your analogy a little more Italianate in a futuristic Renaissance kinda way – in the Dane’s own words – “Imagine an altar boy stepping forward to sing at an Italian church mass in 2050”.

Credo is Lifted from the August Rosenbaum album ‘Vista’ due out on November 24th on uber-hip, Danish independent record label Tambourhinoceros. If the two single releases provide a vista of what is yet to come on the full length, we can look forward to something pretty special! (Check out lead track Nebula – a ‘poignance’ of strings set afloat on a sea of all consuming darkness).

Another track that could easily have been recorded in the shadowy, nocturnal darkness of a marble-lined Gothic cathedral is Mountaineers, the Susanne Sundfør single featuring the illustrious John Grant. The Norwegian music artist recently signed to the Bella Union label for whom she’ll play an intimate album launch in London’s Courtyard Theatre on 22nd August (see poster for details).

Mountaineers is to music as Villette was to literature, and like the Bronte novella, there is something almost preternatural in its power.

It unfurls, largo, with Grant’s potent plain chant vocal lingering long on a brooding thrum, creating frissons of tension and mystery. Into Grant-created darkness comes the light of Sundfør’s magical vocal. Like a gentle hand soothing a troubled soul it adds an uplifting and bewitchingly ethereal texture as it majestically whips the melody up from Hades to Heaven.

Susanne Sundfør will be interviewed on Monday 14th August by Radcliffe and Maconie for 6 Music. Programme start time 1pm GMT. Her latest album Music for People in Trouble – from which Mountaineers is lifted – is due for release on 25th August. Susanne’s first on Bella Union, it is currently available to pre-order here

The MfPiT promotional tour kicks off in Helsinki on 12th September with a pitstop in London on 2nd October and one in Dublin five days later on 7th.

Speaking of heaven and higher highs, Midnight the new single from Jessie Ware, is a delicious R&B redemption from the Gothic froideur of its Playlist predecessor.

Earthy, sensual, seductive, its the perfect vehicle for Ware’s powerful honey-textured vocal. One minute it’s gliding recklessly over undulating synth lines, the next storming through a stomping piano riff, the temperature of Ware’s vocal matching the rising heat of the lyrics.

A taster of her as yet untitled upcoming album due later this year via PMR/Interscope, Midnight is an audacious ode to risqué love with a searingly hot, rhythmic pulse.

From hot blooded carnal pulses to ‘junglesque’, tribal ones. Listening to Pact Infernal‘s Purification is like crawling blindfold through a dark echo chamber surrounded by an invisible audience of strange sounds. The highly charged atmosphere is laced with intrigue, and shaded with a touch of terror reminiscent of ‘what danger’s lurking in the jungle?’ film-scenes.

Purification is the opening track on the duo’s debut ‘concept’ album Infernality which is on release via the Horo label and was “written to invoke a tribal ritual of the mind“. It’s deep … mineshaft deep.

Keeping the textures deep and immersive, we move onto Leaving the Park from Brookly-based Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never. Another tune from his score for the film GoodTime it’s due out on Warp on 11th August.

An intensity of frantic squiggles and streaks of noise rush through a booming darkness in a sound that strangely feels both expansive and claustrophobic.

It’s certainly immersive, drawing you into its spiralling galaxy. Innovative expression of chaotic emotion, Leaving the Park has a back to the future feel as it references Tangerine Dream in the most post-modern of ways.

American multi-instrumentalist wonder-woman Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has as fuller diary than most, with a prolonged stint of festival and island hopping pencilled in, starting with a slot at prestigious Øyafestivalen in Oslo on 11th August.

Finnish Flow Festival (try saying that with a mouthful of peanuts), plus dates in Sweden, France and Poland follow, as well as a mid-Winter gig in NYC that will see her showcase her upcoming album.

Kaitlyn played the Nils Frahm festival in London last year where per that flaxen mistress of the decks, she “enchanted the room“.  The inventive and far-seeing electro-experimenter continues to enchant with An Intention, the first taster of her new album entitled The Kid which is due out on 6th October.

There are similarities of sorts with Welshwoman Kelly Lee Owens – both artists push and stretch boundaries oft’ beyond their ‘comfort zone’; they both also favour a fusion of existential synths and breathy harmonies.

The apparent effortlessness of Smith’s art belies the perfectly arranged elements that furnish her imaginative electronic habitats.

Full details of her tour schedule and album release can be found on Smith’s website.

 

Four-piece Grizzly Bear who hail from Brooklyn, NYC, have just dropped single Neighbors taken from their upcoming album Painted Ruins which is due out on the Columbia label on 18th August.

When they finish live-love-bombing New York’s clubs, they’ll be hitting my home town, where they’ll pitch up at Vicar Street for a double date on 4th/5th October with Finn-Dane super-group Liima. UK and Euro dates follow – details on their FB page.

Photo Tom Hines

Possibly the most touchingly beautiful and warmly endearing song on this playlist, Neighbors is the fourth release from the bands first long player since their 2012 album Shields. It’s as mellow as the dawn glow with a caress more tender than a gentle breeze.

Blending swatches of folk, indie and electronic, the track flows across lines of heaving synth, warm-textured ‘horn’ samples and tight circular guitar riffs. The understated vocal complements the carefully produced union of organic and electronic.

You can watch the rather quirky but really entertaining visual accompaniment to Neighbors here.

For the next track, what we wanted to bring you and what we can bring you are unfortunately two different things. What we wanted to include here was the Andrea Belfi remix of the Dead Light track, Sleeper. However, as it’s currently unavailable in any format other than MP3, that isn’t a playlist runner.**

A huge favourite of Ms. Hobbs, drummer Belfi has re-imagined the short, soul-stirring Sleeper, weaving inspired rhythm patterns into its minimalist fabric.

Belfi’s percussive choreography is akin to expressionist or freeform dance. Vital, expressive, uninhibited and provocative – it enlivens and reshapes, bringing new textures to the surface of what already was an incredibly captivating composition. Bravissimo.

Sleeper (Andrea Belfi Remix) is one of four brand new mixes due out on 25th August on the Village Green label but can be pre-ordered here.

**On the playlist we’ve included Sleeper in its original format and an Andrea Belfi solo track, Lead (percussive shades of Sat in Your Lap).

The Spotify gods are not being kind to DervSwerve just now, as lo, we’ve been struck down with déja vu yet again, as the track we wanted to feature hasn’t been uploaded. No matter, we’ll pluck another from the heart of the Blondes catalogue.

Blondes are a two-piece based in NYC who are set to release Warmth their first album on the R&S label. The track we wanted to bring you was MRO* but the only track available to us just now is KDM, which at just under 6.50 is one helluva #tuunne.

Warmth Artwork

It’s the type of track where using the word trance would be apt as the groove is all rather heady and hypnotic. Pulsing rhythms beat into layer after layer of synth trance but it’s in the overall packaging that the genius lies.

There’s an underlying graininess and almost deliberately unpolished edgy rawness to their skilfully arranged, idiosyncratic production.

Warmth is due for release on 11th August but can be pre-ordered here.

*As of 11th August, MRO has been added onto the RAoM playlist

 

Our penultimate playlist entry is from an old hand under a new guise. Purl trading under the Illuvia moniker brings us the delicious Surrounded. To quote from his bandcamp page …

Music as a doorway to the Eternal – Welcome. My name is Ludvig Cimbrelius and I create music, endlessly … it is a language capable of expressing some of the vast depths of beauty that resides within us all.”

How absolutely wonderful is that?

Equally wonderful are the cool, clean lines of his self-released track Surrounded. Minimalist electronic breeze, piano notes in the form of Summer raindrops, and harmonies in the guise of spritely echoes.

It’s just all too gorgeous.

Illuvia is lifted from the album Eternell and you’ll find both over on bandcamp. Buy it and let your senses be beguiled!

..

Last but by now means least, easing us out is the fascinating Two Thousand and Seventeen from Four Tet.

On the wings of Kieran Hebdon this is an amuse bouche from his new album due out later this year on his own label Text Recordings.

It shimmers. It stuns. Precision fretwork of the most intoxicating kind is paired with laid back synth soundscapes to create something so unique that it defies categorisation. Which can only ever be a good thing.

Strings played in an elaborate Asian style are the gilt-edged bling to a paired-back electronic twilight, ornate decor melded with layers of grey.

With its exquisite guitar sequences, which are played with dexterity and flair, and backroom fodder synths, this is a track where melodrama is counterpointed by the most workaday of ‘backing tracks’. Simply perfect.

And a simply perfect ending to what’s been a pretty special playlist. To hear our regular Random & other playlists or to keep up with all the news and views follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or hop across to Spotify! DervSwerve

 

Random Acts of Music – A BBC 6 Music ‘Fluenced Playlist

Starting today, we’re going to be bringing you a ‘playlist/new-music’ project that’s been on the bubble for some time.

As many of you would know, DervSwerve is involved with Tom Robinson’s Fresh on the Net new music support system and hub. This has led to relationships and inter-minglings with various BBC Introducing houses as well as the holy grail of the airwaves, 6 Music.

For some time now it has been our mission to operate in tandem with, as well as support those shows featuring new artists on both Intro and 6. We’ve already spun some Intro supported sounds here over the years, most recently in our Discover Brexit pieces. However, the time has now come to get into a proper Beeb groove and as of today, we’ll be bringing you playlists aligned to the Saturday night ‘Intro’ shows as well as 6 Music Recommends.

We’ll be taking our tips from the gurus over at BBC 6 Music as they pull together playlists sourced from all over the map geographically and sonically. Our Random Acts of Music will take in all the different flavours and tastes of 6 Music and BBC Intro DJs; music of every texture, colour and origin.

Everything in moderation being the DervSwerve motto, we’ve a little bit of everything in today’s #NMP, Random Acts of Music, which interestingly has quite the DIY bent to it as well as a more than mellow feel. Full Spotify playlist at the end of the post.

Kicking things off is Hollow Hand with their just released trippy-Kinksian single End to Everything. A quartet from Brighton, they released their debut album Ancestral Lands in 2015. Interestingly they like Wilson guitars and Liv Ullmann. Check out the groovy Medieval themed visual for their glorious, harmony-filled psych track here!

Californian Angelo de Augustine is up next with his DIY track Crazy Stoned & Gone lifted from his upcoming album Swim Inside The Moon which is due out on 18th August. The singer, who recently signed to the Sufjan Stevens label Asthmatic Kitty, recorded the album live in his house –  vocals and guitar were done in his bathroom, while the piano was recorded in the living room.

Speaking of the DIY recording de Augustine explained: The album was recorded live in the bath tub of my house using a 1970s four-track reel-to-reel tape machine, one SM57 microphone, and an old PA mixer. I positioned the microphone in such a way as to pick up the reverberations of my voice and guitar off of the walls of the tub. After the guitar and vocal performance was recorded, I would often in the same vein add piano, electric guitar, or synthesizer on top of the song.”

Swim Inside The Moon out 18th August is available to pre-order and music fans in the UK can expect to see AdeA take it live this November. One to watch much.

From Dyffryn Conwy in Snowdownia comes space popper supreme, George Amor t/a Omaloma. His new single Eniwe is taken from the album Aros O Gwmpas which is out on the Cae Gwyn label and comes on the back of his recent stint playing the BBC Intro stage at Latitude. It’s trippiness ‘sonified’, a gorgeous drifting prism of loveliness that’d be right at home soundtracking a Cadbury’s Flake ad.

Earlier this year Stirling native, Scott William Urquhart, released his album Lenten Dawn Chorus. Now he is re-releasing a track from his 2015 EP Rosie’s Smile. Instrumental Galaxies is four minutes of technically adept guitar playing with many as twists as turns, and comes highly recommended by both Gideon Coe and Lauren Laverne.

No stranger to these pages, US based Weyes Blood is an artist that is lyrically, musically and vocally at the top of her game. Her recently released album, Front Row Seat to Earth was as spectacular as it was critically acclaimed, as was borne out by its mesmerising promotional live shows.

Natalie Mering, the person behind the WB persona, is as pithy as they come – check out her latest pinned tweet “How many pity likes you give on twitter is one more magic bean in your sympathy sack in hell”. Burn!

Used to Be lifted from FRStE is according to 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne very Stevie Nicks (Silver Springs). It’s set for release on 4th August via Mexican Summer records. If you don’t already have the album, count this as a good first investment.

We’re back in Gideon Coe territory with Belgian singer-songwriter Melanie de Biasio. Her album Lilies, is due out in October via the coolly named Play it Again Sam records, with lead track Gold Junkies just released and what a teaser it is. There’s every genre and none in here – touch of art pop, hint of mid-60s, washes of dark Americana, and nightshades of moody electro-pop.

De Biasio’s sound is intense, her style unorthodox, the result intoxicating.

Turning night to very colourful day is Wesley Fuller‘s #1 Song, which is due out 4th August. The Aussie power popper who hails from Melbourne is set to release his debut album Inner City Dream this September. One for fans of Parquet Courts and Lemon Twigs, this rainbow riot is a current fave of Steve Lamacq.

Vibing the Leo Sayer look with a drummer that’s not a million miles from a late 60’s Ringo Starr, Fuller is fast making a name for himself outside of his native Australia with his sounds of summer, vivacious pop anthems.

Mancunian Aldous RH is Feelin’ Blue and he’s produced the cerulean video to prove it. However, the sound of Lauren Laverne playing his track on 6 Music Recommends should perk him up no end! Aldous used to be in the band Egyptian hip hop, going on to release his debut solo album Seductive Atmospheres in 2015. He says his music is neo-blue-eyed soul – I call it understated, infectious ear-worm.

Feelin’ Blue is out now on Handsome Dad records.

Iron & Wine‘s single Call It Dreaming is lifted from his first album of new material since 2013. Recently featured in the latest ed of Uncut Magazine, I&W aka Sam Beam, has his feet firmly planted in an American country landscape flavoured with pinches of indie-folk. His latest single is a lush and gorgeously textured, guitar-driven wonder the warmth of which perfectly offsets the poignancy of its lyrics.

Speaking of his upcoming album Beam says, “This collection speaks to the beauty and pain of growing up after you’ve already grown up. For me that experience has been more generous in its gifts and darker in its tragedies”.

The album Beast Epic is out on 25th August on Sub Pop records.

Moon Diagrams is the project of Deerhunter co-founder and drummer, Moses Archuleta and the single Nightmoves is lifted from the album Lifetime of Love which was written and recorded in NYC and Georgia over a ten year period. Moon Diagram’s is like a sort of re-imagining of Deerhunter – some of the same and then not – a different genre with threads of the Deerhunter aesthetic woven through its fabric.

Current single Nightmoves is a mellow psych-trancer with an hypnotic rhythm. Lifetime of Love out now on the Sonic Cathedral imprint.

Bill Baird aka Blond Bill, is an American multi-disciplinary artist, TV presenter, environmentalist, painter and creator of concept albums! IOW a man of many talents. Most recently Bill released two albums designed to be listened to at different times of the day.

Brighter of the two, Easy Machines is a child of the morning while Baby Blue Abyss is a record to dive into as the dark rises. Our featured track the delightfully mellow and uplifting acoustic Telephones very of the dawn – is due for release on 4th August, via Talk Show records.

Last but by no means least, a gem of a vintage country track from the late American singer-songwriter Steve Young entitled Seven Bridges Rd. First released in 1969, the song has been covered by music stalwarts such as The Eagles, Dolly Parton and Joan Baez.

Young, who passed away last year at the age of 73, was well know for his idiosyncratic brand of ‘outlaw country’ and in fact his sound and style of easy charm recall that other legend of fine country wine, Lee Hazlewood. Seven Bridges Rd is taken from the re-issued album Rock Salt & Nails out now on A&M records.

We’re going to finish as we started, wrapping things up with the latest single from Angelo de Augustine.  Haze is as warm and heartfelt a piece of acoustic intimacy as you’ll hear anywhere. A lo-fi melodic rarity that will gently wrap you in its arms, should you choose to let it.

To hear our regular Random & other playlists or to keep up with all the news and views follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or hop across to Spotify! DervSwerve

Emilio Pinchi, Jarvis Cocker & The Never-ending Circle of Love

Emilio Pinchi

It’s a rare treat to plug into a new song only to find you’re on the receiving end of Jarvis Cocker mark 2. That is exactly what’s going on with Emilio Pinchi on his latest single, During Voided Hours.

The lead single from Liverpool-based Pinchi’s upcoming EP due out later this year, During Voided Hours is something of an inadvertent homage to the soft-tones of Sheffield’s whimsical Britpop son.

And it’s not just a Cocker vocal-doppelganger thing – the very blood of Pulp’s bassline beat is coursing through the heartland of this song.

The fact that Pulp was one of the most ingenious bands of the ’90s, and Cocker a songwriter significantly superior to many of his peers, shouldn’t go without mention when putting the comparisons into perspective.

Coming in at a very short but sweet two and half minutes, During Voided Hours is a flurry of nicely textured guitars hurtling through a Jools-like bluesy bass and piano combo that complement each other perfectly. As the dynamic piano is to the louche bass, the drawl of tight guitar twang is to the percussive smash in this hyperactive whirl.

Listening to this track is like being thrown into a spinning top that carries you at full pelt around the cyclical patterns, instrumental and lyrical, on which it’s built.

Notwithstanding the hushed tone of Pinchi’s underplayed vocal, the ‘real-life’ quality of his delivery, gives it a tangible, ‘warm to the touch’ quality. As ever, life keenly observed is given the short, sharp, shock treatment of razor lyrics.

Emilio Pinchi is master of both brevity and understatement, something which puts him somewhat at odds with the afore-mentioned master of melodrama.

Speaking about the song Emilio said: “The song’s about breaking-up with someone and end up like strangers. Then you go out and meet new people, but you’re such a tertiary character in their life’s movie-plot at that moment in time.  You realise there’s actually no difference between these new people and the person you were with – it’s just kind of a perspective thing.”  

He continued “I put a bunch of memories and experiences in the the second verse, but the idea is that you don’t know whether they’re old memories or completely new memories/about the old person or a new person. Underpinning the idea of everything being cyclical”.

***Spoiler alert – Keep an ear out for a little amuse bouche of a nod to a fellow homie!***

During Voided Hours is out now. You can follow Emilio on Spotify and Twitter.

DervSwerve.

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.

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