Congrats Nialler9

On the day that sees George Galloway’s ‘The Mother of All Talk Shows’ have its last broadcast before the general election in Britain (what will I do with my Sunday mornings?) some good news has thankfully arrived here at barrygruff towers. My mate and blogging extraordinaire Nialler9 has won his well-earned and deserved fourth best music blog award in a row at the Irish Blog Awards in Galway last night.

To celebrate no champagne or  the like but here’s a tune from the memory banks of Ciarán Dwyer.

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Full list of winners here

Boe Weaver – Ghouls

‘Ghouls’ is taken from Boe Weaver‘s self titled debut which has been playing away here non-stop at barrygruff towers. They make strange, exotic and heavy instrumental music with lashings of fuzzy northern soul, psychedelic surf rock, Krautrock jams and sound hugely influenced by spaghetti western and horror b-movie soundtracks. The album itself is something you’re not likely to have heard before, I will give it the justice it deserves at a later date but for now feast your eyes and ears on ‘Ghouls’, the video of which is magnificent akin to a psychedelic cocktail of Trigger Happy TV and Super Extra Bonus Party.

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Review: The Sunshine Underground – Nobodys Coming To Save You

Second albums and their difficulties are well documented in the music world and they don’t come much more difficult than this. Four years ago The Sunshine Underground released the very promising  Raise The Alarm which was well received by critics and punters alike but just when it looked like they were destined for bigger and better things the disappeared. Much has changed in their absence in particular the New Rave scene which they were lazily pigeonholed into is effectively dead, so how does the album fair out?

Nobody’s Coming To Save You is spearheaded by their renowned fervor in a number of distinctive barnstormers full of synths, beats, swirling guitars and the familiar and opulent vocals of frontman Wellington with ‘Coming To Save You’ and ‘Spell It Out’. By the time the midway point is reached with ‘A Warning Sign’ it certainly feels like it has been worth the wait as the ferocity and intensity both musically and vocally appears to have no let up at all.

However as we enter into the final stages of the album things become less cohesive as suspicions that their heart and roots always lie in more traditional rock are confirmed with tracks  ‘The Messiah’, ‘Change Your Mind’ and ‘Any Minute Now’, all of which are heavy on the indie rock side of things. While they are delivered carefully and with all the confidence and attitude we have come to expect from the likes of Kasabian or Oasis something seems a little out-of-place as a result.

Nobody’s Coming To Save You has to be welcomed as it heralds the return of one of the most promising acts back into the fold. While it delivers a lot particularly vocally, it feels somewhat like an album that has been caught between two stools in an attempt to try and deliver some change, once that can be resolved they could potentially be firing on all cylinders. Roll on album number three, hopefully we won’t have to wait another four years.

Rating: 7/10

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Mystery Jets (Live) Dublin Academy April 17

Happy days! Amidst all the discussion surrounding the Electric Picnic line for 2010 which I will deal with at later date, I have just discovered Eel Pie’s finest, Mystery Jets are playing the Academy on Friday April 17. They have always stood out in what has been in recent times a largely bland indie ‘scene’ due to talent, eccentricity and peculiarity making them one of the best bands around. While their debut was ambitious it was a little lack lustre but the  follow-up Twenty One on the other hand was absolutely fantastic. I saw these guys way back in 2004 (for £4) supporting Bloc Party in a club in North Wales and they stole the show that night, but alas since then they have proved for one reason or another to be very elusive until now.

Tickets are on sale now and are €18.50

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Belfast Ahoy!

I’m Belfast bound today and it got me thinking about the rich cultural and musical heritage of the city. I’m not going to bore you with a long-winded article about cultural history or differences that exist in the city as I’m pretty sure we’re all aware of this and it sounds more like a module to be tackled on an undergraduate degree course. Both past and present there has been a steady stream of great bands and musicians to emerge from the city but for me  it will always be what it brought to the world of punk that makes it special.

In the late 70’s at the height of ‘The Troubles’ very few musicians would dare journey to Belfast or elsewhere in the North of Ireland with the exception of Rory Gallagher that is. This must have fed the musical despair and anger which led to one Belfast band in particular, Stiff Little Fingers setting the world alight with their debut album Inflammable Material. One of the key elements of their music is like all the great punk bands they looked at the socio-political environment they lived in and challenged it, in their case it was writing non-sectarian songs about the Troubles not just causes far away like the classic ‘Alternative Ulster’ and bloody curdling ‘Suspect Device’ to the brilliant much-needed and humourous ‘Barbed Wire Love’. The album became the first to be distributed by Rough Trade records and was the first independent album to chart in the UK when it reached number 14 in 1979.

Inflammable Material is still worthy of attention years later and their brash and angry punk is still as rousing today as it was then (I can imagine) especially if your lucky enough to get their material on vinyl. Lest we forget that Belfast is the city of Good Vibrations record label and store founded by Terri Hooley in the early 1970’s which is responsible for bringing Derry’s The Undertones to the world too.

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The photo is thanks to Zoe52