Guest Post: Johnny Feeney Picks 3 Albums – [St Vincent, Real Estate & Eagulls]

St. Vincent Press Shot - Throne.jpg

The ever knowledgeable (and the guy largely responsible for the relocated and revamped site) Johnny Feeney frequently pops up on the blog to share some albums which are catching his eye. So here are three albums have caught his attention, thanks as ever to Johnny and with that I leave you in his very capable hands.

St Vincent – ‘St Vincent’

Now on her fourth solo studio album, Annie Clark, aka St Vincent, returns with a collection of tight, muscular, finely wrought art-rock/pop songs brimming with intent. Clark has never seemingly been short of musical ideas but her songwriting here seems to have gone up a level or two since her previous solo album, 2011’s Strange Mercy. Perhaps her collaboration with David Byrne on 2012’s Love This Giant has given her renewed confidence to dare to be bolder. Whatever it was, it has certainly worked.

‘Huey Newton’ explodes from a slightly plodding mid-tempo number into a stomping rocker with Clark’s riotous, squelching guitars and snarling vocals. ‘Digital Witness’ is the album centrepiece – a blast of skronking horns, funk guitars and an incredibly catchy chorus. There is also some great electro-rock in the form of the menacing ‘Bring Me Your Loves’ and the dreamy ‘Psychopath’. Another gem from the consistently excellent Clark.

Real Estate – ‘Atlas’

New Jersey indie rockers Real Estate returned earlier this year with their third album ‘Atlas’, not veering too far from the style of their earlier work. Their trademark breezy, multi-layered guitars and woozy lyrics are prevalent throughout with meandering guitar solos making for seriously easy listening. The instrumental ‘April’s Song’ is spellbinding while the jangling ‘Crime’ is an album highlight.

Lyrically it’s a little bit darker in places than normal, but even the melancholic nostalgia of ‘Past Lives’ (“I can not come back to this neighbourhood, Without feeling my own age”) or ‘Crime’ (“Toss and turn all night, don’t know how to make it right, crippling anxiety”) is accompanied by such gorgeous, weaving guitars it’s hard to feel glum. Real Estate have always been a summertime band and this is truly a summertime album – a perfect backdrop to barbecue and a beer in the sunshine, but a great album in its own right.

Eagulls – ‘Eagulls’

Eagulls, the five-piece post-punk band from Leeds, certainly know how to make a racket. On their self-titled debut album the songs are loaded with anger as vocalist George Mitchell rages and Tom Kelly’s bass pulsates relentlessly. Thankfully, amid all the clatter, it’s quickly discernible that they also have an ear for a quality tune. It’s a welcome change of pace from the middle of the road indie rock bands that are getting all the radio play. They may be from the same town, but Kaiser Chiefs these are not.

It might take a few listens to untangle the layers of guitar, bass and vocals but it’s certainly worth the effort. The effervescent ‘Yellow Eyes’ gallops along breathlessly. ‘Tough Luck’ sizzles with its mazy guitars and infectious hooks. There are also elements of shoegaze and psychedelic rock on here – ‘Possessed’ channels My Bloody Valentine, while ‘Soulless Youth’ wouldn’t sound out of place played by Primary Colours-era the Horrors. Refreshingly exhilarating.

Imploded View – ‘Withering Lights’

Imploded View 2014

Since his emergence on the scene in 2011, Imploded View (AKA Jerome McCormick) has proven to be a reliable resource of exciting, experimental and interesting electronic music.

McCormick too, has been one of Ireland’s most prolific producers, if somewhat overlooked or under-appreciated (call it what you will), with two albums, Picnics with Pylons (2012) & Anomaly Domine (2013) , a couple of EPs and a scattering of singles. All that said, his new single ‘Withering Lights’ is one of his finest moments to date. It’s a tad different to what he’s done before, yet still quite similar too, especially McCormick’s preference for analogue synths and tape machines. ’Withering Lights’ is gentle, elegant and immersive. It sprightly pops and bubbles through a world lacking cares or worries, arrived at along a light and airy, hypnotic groove. One of his most outstanding works so far. Marvelous.

Anyone off to Phase One Festival in Carrick-on-Shannon this weekend? You catch Imploded View on Sunday Saturday. Check out ‘Withering Lights’ below & you can pick it up from here.

BarryGruff Unplugged #4: Jinx Lennon + Appo :: Thursday, April 24th :: The Liffey Studio, Newbridge

Jinx Lennon Newbridge 2014 Liffey Studio

So, we’re back with part four of the series on Thursday, April 24th, and we welcome the legendary Jinx Lennon and Appo to the intimate surroundings of The Liffey Studio, Newbridge.

To say we’re excited by this one would be putting it mildly. At the beginning, before we’d organised a gig, Stevie & I sat down to ponder what we could do, during this pipe dream exercise there were maybe three acts we agreed ‘had’ to play. Jinx Lennon was one of them and why not? Jinx is an absolute genius, a national treasure and rightly described by Christy Moore as the most important Irish singer/songwriter in the past 10 years.

Jinx Lennon is the epitome of a modern folk singer influenced by post punk and hip hop. Awkward and real, raw and righteous in his mode, he comes out of the northeast lost province of Oriel armed with songs to blow apart the chains in your heads. Songs about kicking against the bullshit of life .Whether it’s played on a one string guitar or sampled disco beat and raw garage noise and blues – Jinx’s music is sure to make the atoms on your skin surface vibrate externally for eternity. Jinx is currently in his HQ working on songs for next album working title ‘Keep Sane In The World of Eager Smiling Pricks’.

Support comes from Newbridge’s very own diamond in the rough, Appo, a one man bluesy-folk explosion. The gravelly voiced troubadour has also been busy in the studio working on a new album.

BarryGruff Unplugged #4: Jinx Lennon + Appo | Thursday, April 24th, The Liffey Studio, 1 Main Street, Newbridge, Co. Kildare (Above Johnson’s Pub) - Doors 7:30 | Admission: €8/€10.

Metronomy – ‘Love Letters’ (Soulwax Remix)

metronomy-love-letters-music-video-00

If there is one name that garners intrigue and excitement when it comes to remixes, it’s Soulwax. And of course, this isn’t without merit, Soulwax never disappoint.

For the guts of 10 years or so their’s is a name which has become synonymous with top notch reworks, so it comes as no surprise that their remix of Metronomy’s new single ‘Love Letters’ is nothing short of brilliant. Their rework retains the best bits of the original, the elegance and smooth soul-infused allure, only to be transformed into disco-funk dancefloor filler with a a heavy hypnotic bassline. From the mild opening with frantic tapping of typewriters to the jazzy horn solo toward the conclusion, this is pure and divine disco hypnosis.

Check Soulwax’s rework below and Listen to Metronomy’s Love Letters on Spotify.

(Video) The Horrors – ‘So Now You Know’

The Horrors 2014 New Album Single

So, you might have heard, The Horrors will release their forthcoming fourth album Luminous on May 5th through XL.

Even a whisper of new material is greeted with a flurry of excitement around these parts – all justified too of course – seen as their previous two, LPs Primary Colours (2009) & Skying (2011), are astonishingly good records and two firm favourites. So with all that in mind, their new record, Luminous was always going to be one of the most anticipated releases of the year. The Horrors have shared ‘So Now You Know’, the second song and lead single from their new LP and it continues their usual sophisticated and colourful sound, touch of post-punk and Faris Badwan brooding croon. Although, the darkness which marks much of their previous work seems to have abated, replaced by a new wavey trickle of euphoria, mellow synth sounds and a bouncy backbeat. Tune in, drift away in this bliss of colourful groove.

Luminous is out on May 5th through XL and you can get an earful and video(full) of ‘So Now You Know’ below.

The Altered Hours – ‘Dig Early’

The Altered Hours 2014  - Photo by Izabela Szczutkowska

It is good times indeed, when psychedelic music is enjoying such resurgence in popularity, as it is these days. And happy days too, to see some psychedelic action emanating from our green and pleasant shores.

Flying the flag for Ireland are Cork psychedelic rockers The Altered Hours, who have kicked off their 2014 with a brilliant new single, ‘Dig Early’. It’s a driving force of winding, freewheeling psychedelic action, loaded with coiled up frenetic energy that resonates with the hard chugging, stabbed guitars, relentless beats and delirious distortion. ‘Dig Early’ ticks all the boxes and manages to be hard hitting and driven yet airy all simultaneously, and importantly offers an exciting glimpse of what mind-melting stuff Altered Hours are capable of.

‘Dig Early’ is out on 7″ with the Cork-based label Art For Blind from April 21st, which coincides nicely with their ‘The Certain Three’ tour next week w/ Myles Manley and Patterns – all the dates are here. For now, check out ‘Dig Early’ and it’s visual partner (filmed/produced by Mary Kelleher, Izabella Szczutkowska and Elaine Howley).

Cian Ciaran – ’1/7/69′

Cian-Ciarán

Cian Ciaran‘s album They Are Nothing Without Us was one of last year’s finest records, without a shadow of a doubt.

Spiky, angry but with shades of sweetness and a sparkling ability for a pop song sewn in. This combined with a dash of idiosyncratic sparkle, from the man best known as the keyboard player and production wizard with Super Furry Animals, making the whole thing even more palatable as he took aim at the elite, the bankers, politicians and big corporations. This’protest album’ of sorts is continuing to prove a rather fruitful one, with Ciaran returning with another single from TANWU in ’1/7/69′. The ensuing three-and-a-half-minutes of ’1/7/69′ are a thoughtfully worked out, luxurious blend psychedelic jangle and overlapping backing vocals, with an irresistible drifting quality.

’1/7/69′, the latest track to be plucked from TANWU, is accompanied by a brand new video from Mark James/Bait Studios. You would be well checking them both out.

Stream: CIAN CIARAN ‘They Are Nothing Without Uson Spotify.

 

Applescal – ‘The Veil’

Dutch producer Applescal has launched a new digital single series through his own Atomnation imprint, and the first offering is ‘The Veil’, and it essentially continues where he left off on last year’s album, Dreaming in Key (which is not a bad scenario at all).

‘The Veil’ is a pulsating and somber experience, built around a dark rhythmic core and majestic progression that paves a long and winding path through a chilling but familiar hinterland between electronica & techno. The murky origins of this dark and bubbling slow-burner are expanded upon by hazy chants, swirling synth and subtle melodic embellishments, chugging relentlessly toward a well of deep, haunting and mysterious well of rich sounds. Top quality stuff once more from Applescal who’s single series is supposed to continue in weeks to come over on Atomnation’s Bandcamp page.

For now though there is ‘The Veil’ in all it’s murky but beautiful glory. You can ‘name you price’ and download ‘The Veil’ from here.

Pharoahe Monch – ‘Bad Motherfucker’

pharoahe-monch2

There is no doubting Pharoahe Monch is master of his craft. His ability as an MC is without question and he never fails to deliver incredibly when he picks up a microphone. To keep it simple – he’s one of the best in the business.

Today sees the release of Monch’s new album, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It’s the successor to the brilliant W.A.R (We Are Renegades), a personal favourite from recent years, yet news of the new record remained elusive till this week (How? Who the fuck knows?). The new record sees Pharoahe Monch re-emerge with a new concept project, with him speaking as a weary independent warrior against the industry machine and dealing with the struggle of the black male experience in America. Going by ‘Bad Motherfucker’ he’s re-entered the fray with his familiar top-notch storytelling, cavernous vocabulary, thought-provoking rhymes, precise delivery and thought-provoking metaphors too. These attributes appear undiminished as he ferociously delivers rhymes to position himself clearly at odds with the current state of Hip Hop.

A gentle reminder in case like me, this news has managed to slip you by. Check out ‘Bad Motherfucker’ below and PTSD is out now.

Ships – ‘Space Inside’

Ships 2014

Dublin duo Ships, consisting of producer Simon Cullen and singer Sorca McGrath, have been pretty quiet over the past 12 months or so. The duo returned late last month with a new 7″, ‘Space Inside’ and their brilliance has been anything but diminished during this period of relative quiet.

‘Space Inside’ and b-side counterpart ‘None of it Real’ are irresistibly brilliant and uber-cool, staggeringly smooth and funky disco-jams. Although ‘None of it Real’ ain’t to be sniffed at, the pick of the pair is ‘Space Inside’. A funky floor filling party tune, interspersed with cowbells, handclaps and resplendent, pulsating and relentless electronics. It’s just so, so good. “There’s no resistance, there’s nothing left to find,” Cullen words, perhaps singularly proclaim the duo’s rationale. Undeniably addictive and impossible to resist, given the chance, both will impose their will on you. Ships’ pair of new tunes have been on constant rotation here for weeks now and that pattern shows no sign of letting up.

Ships’ ‘Space Inside/None if it Real’ is out now on Stratosfear Recordings. Try ‘em below & but ‘em here.