123 Mixtape – ‘Cloud Into River’

123 Mixtape is both the pseudonym of Producer/Mixer/Engineer, Brett Shaw and conveniently, the name of the project.

Shaw is better known for his work with Foals and Florence and the Machine among others but being at a loose end with no one else to record during lockdown, Shaw set out on a simple mission; make some music he’d like to listen to and share with friends. The fruits of his labour is 123 Mixtape which is released on August 24 and preceded by sublime single ‘Cloud Into River’. All recorded on old funky tape machines at 123 studios, ‘Cloud Into River’ oozes with coolness as it swaggers along a super seductive and irresistible groove. The funky bassline plumbs the depths of soul as soft beats ripple beneath the rich swells of brass and grandiose strings sweep by with an orchestral air and touch of pure class.

Listen to ‘Cloud Into River’ below, it is quite simply stunning!

NANCY – ‘Orange Yellow Orange’

Based in the North East of England, NANCY have demonstrated an enigmatic talent with a propensity for audacious sonic adventures that are anything but conventional.

More accustomed to frenzied blasts of art-rock meets post-punk steeped-in-psychedelia, on this occasion NANCY affords us a glimpse at a softer side with synthy single ‘Orange Yellow Orange’. It is a woozy little jam that will lull you into a trance with its seductive melody and laidback tranquility. Basked in a hazy glow, lush synths and pillowy soft percussives provide the perfect environment for the soothing and transfixing whistle to whisk you away before hushed vocals flutter into view. ‘Orange Yellow Orange’ is hazy, gentle and swoons with a heart melting melody doused with a tinge of beautiful melancholy.

‘Orange Yellow Orange’ offers us a glimpse into forthcoming EP ‘Happy Oddities’, which is out on August 7.

Neurotic Fiction – ‘Happy Goth’

Neurotic Fiction are Bristol-based outfit with a penchant for fast-paced, frantic, jerky and melodic post-punk sounds.

The foursomes latest release, EP Romance, is something of a bittersweet moment. Yes, it is a wonderful blast of jerky, agitated guitar pop but it marks their final bow, as they go their separate ways. Across the four tracks the EP offers us a short but precise insight to the magical allure of Neurotic Fiction’s sound and if there is one track that encapsulates their harmonic balance between frenzied guitar heroics and resplendent, intricate pop craft and ear for melody and the catchiest of hooks, it is EP closer ‘Happy Goth’. Propelled by relentless driving bass and urgent drums, jerky riffs and reverb-drenched surfy guitars collide to provide a twitchy and agitated backdrop. In lesser hands, the juxtaposition of this with the sunnier, lush and dreamy vocals probably wouldn’t work but thankfully Neurotic Fiction nail it.

Listen to ‘Happy Goth’ below, a standout from a superb EP (which is here). It’s a shame to see them ride off into the sunset…..

Radio Europa – Something Beautiful [feat. Gwenllian Anthony of Adwaith] (Conformist Remix)

Conformist is the moniker of Cardiff producer Michael Simmons – taking inspiration from Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad and cut n’ paste pioneers Coldcut, Steinski and The Dust Brothers to name a few – renowned for his leftfield, meticulous, dense and layered productions.

Conformist has returned with a new remix of Radio Europa’s ‘Something Beautiful’ featuring vocals by Gwenllian Anthony of Adwaith – a teaser of more to come, with a third album expected from Conformist later in 2020. Conformist has given it a fresh new look, a makeover blending an intricate palette of synths, glitches and glistening strings, spliced vocal samples and spluttering beats to create something sophisticated, seductive and supremely inventive. In short, the outcome is stunning.

Listen to Conformist’s rework below:

Mofer – ‘Across the Border’

Mofer are a German post-punk trio with a penchant for rough, raw and immediate sounds rooted in 80s and 90s indie and post punk vein.

The trio’s latest single ‘Across the Border’ is a perfect encapsulation of their sound. A bit indie, a bit post-punk, a bit alt-rock and a bit rough around the edge it – this coarseness is not to be confused with lacking skill. The gritty raw materials of slant-edged rhythms, chugging riffs and distortion provide a perfect vehicle for the sullen yet reflective vocals. It is a compelling jam filled with menace, noise and melancholy, and also ear pleasing melodies.

Listen to ‘Across the Border’ below:

Bee Bee Sea – ‘Gonna Get Me’

Italian garage-psych trio Bee Bee Sea specialize in loud, propulsive and guitar-driven psych infused garage rock stompers – something patently clear from their latest single ‘Gonna Get Me’, taken from their upcoming new album ‘Day Ripper’ which is due on October 9 via Wild Honey Records.

Following along the same lines as previous single ‘Daily Jobs’, new one ‘Gonna Get Me’ is a wildly addictive blast of scuzzy, hyperactive and incredibly catchy garage rock. The Italian trio combine their trademark upbeat, frantic and frenzied tempo with sunny vibes, cheery melodies and huge hooks; all bathed in a haze of warm fuzz and distortion. This is, like ; ‘Daily Jobs’ before it, hugely addictive stuff – but the kind of addiction that leaves you better for it.

Tune in to ‘Gonna Get Me’ below:

Slim Tin Fox – ‘Feed Me’

We were introduced to Slim Tin Fox‘s energetic and no nonsense rock ‘n’ roll with ‘Molly’ toward the end of last year and the Dublin-based foursome are back with double a-side ‘Feed Me’ & ‘Hometown Blues’.

‘Feed Me’ continues in the same vein as before; it is a thrilling blend of indie, rock, blues, garage, post-punk and punk. Vocals snarl, delivered with a rasp while brash and muscular rhythm rumbles below a deluge of meaty riffs, guitars and feedback. It is powerful, all-action jam delivered with a swagger and an ear for a hooky tune. All this is just a long winded way of saying this foursome from Dublin have come up with yet another thrilling tune.

Listen to ‘Feed Me’ below now:

10 Years of BarryGruff: Gruffalo Soldiers Zine

10 years, eh? How did that happen? I don’t really know where to begin. It feels both like yesterday and an absolute age since I began this blog.

There was no great plan starting out. It was an opportunity to regularly write and share music I found interesting, and something to keep me sane in the unemployment ridden world of post-banking collapse Ireland.

While a lot has changed over the 10 years, I have tried to keep the focus on music that I like and find exciting. There is a special feeling when you find something new that knocks you for six, I’d get that feeling blog or no blog, but it is nice to be able to share with other people.

In the spirit of keeping the focus on the music, to mark the 10 year milestone I decided to put together a Zine with a focus on some of my favourite artists from the past decade. There are interviews with Cian Ciaran from Super Furry Animals, Jinx Lennon, Elsa Lester, Peaness, Seazoo, Anderson, Martha Ffion & Lauran Hibberd, along with superb articles from Joe Donnelly, Evan Lynch & Captain Moonlight.

It has taken a bit of time to pull it all together and not without its hiccups along the way so I’m delighted it came to fruition in the end. It is/was an attempt to re-create an old fashioned Zine, whether that has been achieved or not, I hope you enjoy reading it.

I’d like to thank Joe Donnelly, Evan Lynch & Captain Moonlight for their articles, Peter Lane for use of his photos and artwork, Johnny Feeney for his IT acumen and support, all the artists who kindly took the time to be interviewed. Thanks to Stevie and Caroline for their assistance in getting this over the line and lastly, thank you all for indulging me with your time – it is greatly appreciated.

Barry

Tebi Rex – ‘I Got My Whole’

Tebi Rex are a hip hop pairing – Max Zanga and Matt O – based in Maynooth, Co Kildare, who together craft slick and easy on the ear jams.

New single ‘I Got My Whole’ is a case in point; a lush, dreamy and sunny pop-infused track. It is a track of irresistible charm as the pair’s sweet, smooth and melodic vocals (delivering tongue in cheek lyrics) drift elegantly above a steady and seductive beat/groove al amid a plush and charming twinkling chime of shimmering synths and blanket of hazy electronic tones.It is a beautiful and delightfully addictive cut – one that will be stuck on your head for AGES.

Listen to  ‘I Got My Whole’ below.


Denise Chaila – ‘Chaila’

Limerick MC Denise Chaila has been on the up since the release of ‘Copper Bullet’ / ‘Duel Citizenship’ early last year but 2020 has been a big one.

In March Chaila appeared alongside other guests on God Know’s banger ‘Who’s Asking? South West Allstars Remix’ before a show stopping performance as part of Other Voices Courage 2020 series – and now, released a brilliant new single ‘Chaila’. A perfect blend of poise and poetry, it is slick, smooth and suave as it bobs along a ridiculously addicting groove and guitar riff – the latter is the hook that everything else is built on, providing an alluring platform for the syrupy smooth vocals to thrive as powerful and poignant lyrics. A superb track and one that’s been on constant rotation for the best part of the summer.

Listen to ‘Chaila’ below: