There wasn’t many things to regret about HWCH this year but missing Squarehead certainly was one. Dublin 3 piece, Squarehead  are one of those groups on everyone’s lips recently and it seems I’m the last to discover things sometimes. After a quick listen it is easy to see why they have people’s tongues wagging.

Their jangly often meandering indie pop is exemplary, with touches of 60′s psychedelia, obvious Beach Boys overtones with an added dose of distortion making it not to dissimilar to much-lauded (on here) Thomas Sanders side-project, Tap Tap. They currently have a track out on the Popical Island compilation and a 7″ single and with live shows coming thick and fast it’s a top priority to rectify my mistake at HWCH.

They play the Workmans Club, Dublin on 19 November w/Sacred Animals & We Are Losers

Squarehead – Fake Blood

Squarehead – Cathy’s Clown (Everly Brothers Cover)

Windowlicker (Renaissance Man Bootcut)

How could I resist?

Aphex Twin‘s ‘Windowlicker’ is one of my favorite songs of all time, not to mention one of my favorite music videos too. It’s a brave man who would take on the challenge of reworking a such classic.

Cometh the hour, cometh the eh, Renaissance Man. His cleverly worked  ‘Bootcut’ version sees a more chilled and relaxed mood prevail with some gentle glitches of respect for the original. The elemental sampling on show is nothing short of staggering especially when you take into account the organized chaos and musically insanity of the original.

Aphex Twin – Windowlicker (Renaissance Man Bootcut)

You can grab the track from redthreat here

Introducing: Conor Mason

Derryman Conor Mason was one of the numerous shining lights from this years HWCH festival in Dublin, of course this was of no surprise to anyone heard his 2009 debut When It’s Over prior to the show.

His performance got across the sheer warmth his sweet soft music possesses, due in no small way to the touching melodic harmonies, distinctive vocal delivery and lyrical strength. There is something inherently familiar here while remaining fresh and extrinsic too – think of a blend of sensibilities from The Basement/Matthew Jay.

His musical journey has so far involved now defunct band Gentle Ben before deciding to go it alone, a three year stint in Glasgow where he won both the ‘XFM Unsigned’ competition and the monthly ’Your Sound’ showdown at King Tuts venue. This lead to a slot at the Hydro Connect Music Festival, playing alongside artists like Elbow, Sigur Ros, the Coral and Gomez.

Conor is currently putting the finishing touches to his new album which is penned for release before the end of the year.

Conor Mason – When Its Over

Conor Mason – Better Than Nothing

Syd Barrett – An Introduction

Syd Barrett was the principal visionary of Pink Floyd, writing most of their early material including 1967 debut album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn.

By 1968 however he had been forced out of the band due to ‘increasingly unpredictable’ behaviour partly induced by frequent experimentation with psychedelic drugs such as LSD which coupled with mental health issues forced him into obscurity and later reclusiveness. His short musical career also yielded two great solo albums The Madcap Laughs and Barrett which influenced a raft of artists, most notably Blur’s Graham Coxon.

A brand new collection of Syd’s material, An Introduction To Syd Barrett has been released bringing together tracks of Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett for the first time on one compilation. The album features a series of new remasters and remixes, overseen by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour who co-produced The Madcap Laughs and produced Barrett.

It all sounds very well and I’m delighted to get my hands on cleaner sounding versions of ‘Apples & Oranges’, ‘Here I Go’ and ‘Dominoes’ as well as the previously unreleased 20 minute instrumental ‘Rhamadan’.

An excellent introduction to one of music’s greatest lost talents, his life is still one of intrigue, sadness and a case of what could have been more.

Mp3: Syd Barrett – Dominoes

Syd Barrett – Baby Lemonade

Miles Kane – ‘Inhaler’

Miles Kane, former frontman of The Rascals, one fifth of The Little Flames and one half of the Last Shadow Puppets alongside Arctic Monkey Alex Turner has announced the release of his debut solo single ‘Inhaler’ on November 22nd.

Kane shows no signs of worry about stepping out on his own, ‘Inhaler’ is a fast, guitar-grinding and raw indie-rock tune (no real surpirse there), not a bad way to begin things. He’s also doing a number of solo shows around the UK between now and the end of the year with the album expected in early 2011.

Give it a whirl below and see what you reckon?

Miles Kane – Inhaler

Uffie – ‘Difficult’

Uffie is a young songstress/MC living in Paris via Miami and Hong Kong. She’s signed to Ed Banger Records, worked with Mr. Oizo, Sebastian, Feadz and Justice- all good so far?

While unconvinced by her debut album Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans, ‘Difficult’ is a simple yet bold, catchy as hell pop song, there’s a touch of M.I.A (of old) to this one.

‘Difficult’ is out 18 October 2010.

The delightful folks over at Track In The Box are giving the track away for FREE

Captain Moonlight – ‘The New Warsaw’

Ireland’s premier purveyor of hip-hip Captain Moonlight has announced the release a new single, ‘The New Warsaw’, with all proceeds going towards sending an aid ship from Ireland to Gaza.

The Irish Ship to Gaza Campaign is attempting to bring much-needed humanitarian aid to the impoverished Palestinian region of Gaza. For more details check out their website.

You can purchase the song on bandcamp or Txt ‘music 6558’ to 57501 to grab it from downloadmusic.ie

Losers – ‘Beautiful Losers’

The inaptly named Losers are the combined talents of XFM Remix stalwart Eddy Temple Morris and Tom Bellamy of Cooper Temple Clause fame. Their debut album Beautiful Losers is a boisterous blend of electro, trip hop, grime, house, and some laid back techno.

It may lack the subtly and savvy important ingredients with many of the current crop of electronic music stars, it may even be somewhat retrospective but it does exactly what it says on the tin. Their music is overwhelmingly geared towards clubs and live settings, with the album jammed packed with what one used to call ‘bangers’; from the heads-down electro of ‘No Man Is An Island’ to the slick, grime fused electro and pinpoint tit-for-tat rhyming of Riz MC & Envy on ‘Flush’.

It’s not going to change the world, nay, music but it’s sure to get people dancing or at least a few heads nodding, now what’s wrong with that?

Losers – Flush

Losers – Talk to the Hand

Gang of Four -‘Never Pay For The Farm’ + New Album

UK post punk legends Gang of Four will release a new studio album Concept on 25 January, their first new material in 16 years.  There will be a lot expected of the band which spawned Entertainment, one of the greatest albums of all time and majorly influencing a raft of bands over the past two decades or so.

The latest taster, ‘Never Pay for the Farm’ seems to suggest further evidence that they’re sticking to what they do best; stripped-to-the-wire, droning, funk-fueled permutation of punk rock. It follows ‘You Don’t Have To Be Mad’ a few months back, listen to it here

Gang of Four – Never Pay For The Farm