Wyvern Lingo Snow II : Soulful, Unnerving Intimacy

Photo: Ruth Medjber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Christina Amundsen

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking of the song Stine explains,

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

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

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

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

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

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

DervSwerve x 

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

IRAH Live Dates

Sep 23, 2017 – Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg – DE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 10, 2017 – Sorveiv Festival, Stavanger – NO

Fallen Lights – Another Midlands Music Success Story

There’s obviously something in the Midlands water supply that isn’t on tap for the rest of Ireland, as heartland hotspots such as Mullingar keep churning out new acts, one after the next. Each as good if not better than the previous.

Current ‘Gar torch bearers Fallen Lights are currently showering in a stream of successes, the most recent being their Philip Magee (Kodaline, The Script) produced single, Pricetag.

The lead track from their upcoming 5-track EP due later this Autumn, Pricetag is a soaring youth anthem set around the theme of young love and the inherent problems that come with it. It’s an indie-rock guitar breezer with catchy melodies and just the right amount of pop sensibilities to appeal to both rockers and poppers alike.

The just released black & white visual, which was shot on location around Dublin’s coastline, was directed by Craig Moore of cleverly named Moore for Less Productions. The storyline follows the theme of the song; young, broke, and broken-hearted finds new love when least expecting it – new love without a pricetag.

The Fallen Lighters have had a pretty busy 2017, scoring 32 live performances in 32 counties in as many days for their ‘Mind Your Mind’ tour. But the aptly named tour was not just a promotional vehicle. It also had the purpose of creating awareness of mental health issues, and some €2,000 of the proceeds from the tour were donated to Irish mental health charity, Inspire.

In other news, the lads’ fun-filled take on the legendary Father Ted, My Lovely Horse, complete with its very own Dougal, went viral, notching up 3.5 million views on social media.

Fallen Lights just played to a sold out Whelans on Saturday night. With radio and chart success, sell out shows, support slots with The Academic, Paddy Casey and their own Bressie with The Blizzards, as well as a second EP in the mix, the future looks brighter than rosy for the four Midlanders.

Check out Fallen Lights over on FB – you can watch the video for Pricetag here. DervSwerve

Fallen Lights is Graham Dowling – Vox/Rhythm guitar,  Andrew Cody – Vox/Bass,  Jay Wiley – Lead guitar/ BV’s,  & Joey Murray – Drums

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.

Sweet Georgia Gazes Heralds A More Mature Dayflower Sound

On the 31st October 1988, Liverboys The La’s released an infectious jangle that was so simplistic and uncluttered it made for a welcome antidote to the alt-psych-dance fusion that was the Madchester sound. With a melody that wrapped itself around your memory like an endearing cobra, There She Goes, became one of the greatest and most memorable Indie anthems of all time.

Five years earlier, a quartet of pioneering genii dropped the S-bomb onto the ToTP studio and the world of music was irrevocably changed as Hand in Glove provided our first meet and greet with the legend that is Johnny Marr.

Why am I starting a post on a Dayflower single with a meander about The La’s and Marr? Well might you ask! And the answer is thus. Because that’s what I hear when I play this Sweet Georgia Gazes – Marr riffing with The La’s – and it’s like sweet manna from heaven on the day before payday.

A brief opening of backwards wonk leads into a charge of propulsive drumming, which akin to that of a certain Spellbound Budgie, hurtles its way through an intricate writhe of guitar blaze and billows of angelic vocals provided by artist/photographer Leonie DuBarry-Gurr, whose voice by the way is simply delightful. Ever the master of subtlety, bassist Dhonau downplays his contribution which acts as an anchoring counter to Alex Clemence’s trademark dreamy vocal.

Parking the hyperbole, suffice it to say, this is a song somewhat akin to the older self looking back on its younger ‘heart-shaped’ self.

With its nod to the Marr-eseque guitar style and side-step away from the more syrupy sound we’ve come to know, Sweet Georgia Gazes is proof positive that Alex Clemence’s songwriting and the band’s capacity for quirky yet innovative arrangement, have developed and matured to such an extent as to take Dayflower’s sound up to the next level.

With a video in the offing you can expect more gazing from Sweet Georgia … for now though, you’ll have to settle for the more than retro lush audio of Dayflower’s hazy days gaze.

Dayflower is: Alex Clemence: vox/guitar, David Dhonau: bass/vocals/tambourine, Chris Merriman: electric guitar/vocals and Simon Bland: drums/vocals.  The band will play their next Candy Dust gig on 30th June as per in The Cookie, Leicester, full details here.

Follow Dayflower on Facebook and Twitter, and DervSwerve likewise!

Move Over Sweden, Norway Has Arrived #Sigrid

sigrid-raabe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

alesund

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

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

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

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

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

Pom Poko Urortfinalen 2017
Pom Poko Urortfinalen 2017

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

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

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

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

Illustration Erlend Peder
Illustration Erlend Peder

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

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

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

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

Blunt By Name & Blunt By Nature

james-blunt

James Blunt gives his detractors the 2-fingers in latest single, ‘Love Me Better’.

Lifted from his upcoming album ‘The Afterlove’ which is set for release on March 24th through Atlantic Records, ‘Love Me Better’ marks a new departure for the platinum selling artist.  Produced by American singer Ryan Tedder (One Republic), a respected songwriter in his own right (Madonna, U2, Adele) its interstitial arc curves through a spectrum of slick R&B before exploding into vibrant uptempo pop.

While reflective lyrics are raw and forthright, they are also both critical and self-critical.  Shaped in the humourous fold that is trademark Blunt, they take a side-swipe at the Blunt detractors whilst dabbling in some heartfelt emosh.  Fusing high-end R&B with uptown pop, the song, which hinges on catchy beats and gyrating synths, cruises seamlessly through stop-start tempo changes, giving it both a striking rhythm and refreshing vibe.

Coming ahead of his fifth album on which James worked with a diverse cohort including Ed Sheeran and MoZella, the track marks a progressive shift in both sound and style for the ‘You’re Beautiful’ star.

 

 

Later this year, November to be exact, will see James Blunt embark on an UK ‘The Afterlove Tour’.  A list of dates together with links to pre-order the upcoming album are detailed below.  For further information check out James Blunt’s Facebook page.

To listen to ‘Love me Better‘ in full, click onto Spotify here:-

‘The Afterlove UK Tour’ November 2017

17th Nottingham – Motorpoint Arena

18th Leeds – First Direct Arena

20th Glasgow – Clyde Auditorium

21st Birmingham – Barclaycard Arena

23rd London – Eventim Apollo

24th Brighton – Brighton Centre

25th Bournemouth – BIC Windsor Hall

‘The Afterlove’ Pre-Order Links:

Standard version – https://atlanti.cr/theafterlove

Extended version – https://atlanti.cr/theafterlove-ext

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heavy Heart Take Stock On ‘The Way Home’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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