The Expert – Neckbreakers Beat Tape

The Expert, the production half of Messiah J & The Expert, has produced seven track beat tape called Neckbreakers.

Over seven glorious cuts of jazzy instrumentals we are taken on a head nodding journey from start to finish. The Expert has been producing beats for over fifteen years mainly with his band MJEX and it shows. This may be his first foray into the world of beat tapes but it is a worthy addition to any record collection.

There’s some choice cuts below but it needs to be heard in it’s entirety to be fully appreciated. You can download Neckbreakers in full for free from bandcamp.

(Video) Sad Soul Circus – Colourful Lights

We have become well acqainted with the talents of Cork City based producer Sad Soul Circus (Finn Yowel) throughout 2012.

His latest release, ‘Colourful Lights’, displays his now almost signature love for down-tempo, chilled-out multi-textured electronic sounds. It is an absolutely beautiful track with a breezy air of tranquility. Check the video which is directed, filmed and edited by Finn. If you like it why not download it gratis from here.

Introducing: Gulp | New Music from Super Furry Animals’ Guto Pryce

Gulp is brand new project from Super Furry Animals’ bassist Guto Pryce which also features the bewitching vocals of Welsh songstress Lindsay Leven.

‘Game Love’ is one side of a 7″ out on the group’s own E.L.K. label. It is breezy psych-folk with Leven’s vocals floating over  a tide of electronic drones and squelches, and waltzing drums. It is a sweetly hypnotic song, tiptoeing the listener delicately into a relaxing trance.

Super Furry Animals haven’t released a record in a while but we are being treated to veritable feast of musical side/sol0-projects.  Pryce’s stands tall with the work of fellow Super Furries Gruff Rhys and Cian Ciaran, great stuff. Check it out below.

Gascan Ruckus – Pieces

It seems our friends in the North are blessed with an abundance of top notch rock music. Another band you can add to that list are Armagh 4-piece Alternative Rockers, Gascan Ruckus.

Having already toured the UK & Ireland and a nomination for a Northern Irish Music Award under their belt, Gascan Ruckus have unveiled their brand new single ‘Pieces’. The single is a ferocious piece of work,  loud, brash and filled with raw aggression, this is one hell of a song.

‘Pieces’ is the first track taken from their forthcoming and second EP, expected in August of this year. You catch them live w/ Axis Of & Ginola Upstairs in Whelan’s on June 27th.

Timothy J Fairplay – Sleighride/Blizzard (Andrew Weatherall rmx)

French label Astro Lab Recordings are releasing their very first compilation CD, Treasure Hunting, which showcases an ethos for embracing a broad spectrum of styles and genres.

While the compilation sounds pretty good in it’s entirety, Treasure Hunting, introduces one of the most tantalizing remixes of the year from legendary DJ & producer Andrew WeatherallWeatherall has reworked his colleague and studio engineer, Timothy J Fairplay‘s ‘Sleighride/Blizzard’. It is an awesome track, chugging along a murky mix of Krautrock and dub sounds, aided by delayed scratchy guitar, forming into a hypnotic druggy electronic beast.

Check it and Populette’s remix of another Timothy J Fairplay track, ‘Xylophone’, below. Treasure Hunting will be released on June 25th, 2012.

Two Wounded Birds – Two Wounded Birds

Album review of Two Wounded Birds’ self-titled debut album, published for on June 14th 2012.

Two Wounded Birds have made their name thus far with a slew of well-received singles and EPs, coveting an enthusiasm for snappy rock n roll riffs and heartbroken melodies, something their self-titled debut sets in stone. It’s an approach that has earned the Margate foursome comparisons to The Beach Boys and The Ramones but there is far more substance to them than merely plundering rock n’ rolls illustrious history. The band have taken the energy and attitude from those days of yore and placed them in a truly modern setting.

Their debut cruises between two nuances. The energetic surf-inspired indie-pop with all the punch of early rock n roll (‘Together Forever’ ‘Daddy’s Junk’ and ‘Two Be Young’) and tales of heartbreak and loss (‘My Lonesome’, ‘Night Patrol’ and ‘The Outer World’). The latter are told through an atmospheric haze of spectral reverb, of an almost shoe-gaze aesthetic. The album is bound by a love of – and an ability to produce – timeless and infectious pop songs, with a fair share of “oohs” and “ahhs” thrown in for good measure. It works well until the close, where by the album dips and dithers slightly with ‘Growing’ and ‘No Goodbyes’, as they stray into more conventional ‘indie-rock’ territory.

While it may be lacking that something extra and becomes a little tiresome toward the end, Two Wounded Birds is a solid and enjoyable debut with more than enough punch to propel them into the public sphere, something they and this album undoubtedly deserve. They’ll need more of the spark of their influences second time around though.

BarryGruff’s albums of 2012 so far

We have just passed midway point of the year so what better time to take a look at my favourite albums of the year so far? So, yeah, here are my ten albums from the first half of 2012 and as always, feel free to give a shout out to some of your own favourites in the comments section.

10. Session Victim – The Haunted House of House

The Haunted House of House sees the German deep house duo of Hauke Freer and Matthias Reiling explore their love of sampling, soul and disco along a rolling groove. Although it rarely breaks from a mid-tempo it is slick, classy and wrapped in a nice neat deep house package. A highly assured, accomplished and undeniable dance-able debut LP.

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09. Ghost Estates – Ghost Estates

Named after the thousands of abandoned housing estates following the collapse of the Celtic tiger building boom, Ghost Estates have already carved out their place on Ireland’s musical landscape. With three songwriters in the band, stylistically it’s diverse, taking in a mix of new wavey sounds, reach for the sky guitar anthems and straight up indie rock. This amalgam has seen them arrive at their own distinct sound of hazy electronica edged indie which send a shiver down the spine. It is said two heads are better than one, well, judging by Ghost Estates’ debut, three are certainly better than two. This is the best Irish indie album in a long, long time!

Ghost Estates – Never Forget

08. Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory

Attack On Memory is a heavyweight and rather muscular record. A short, sharp shock to the system, a proverbial kick in the bollocks if you like, taking in post-rock, indie, post-punk and pure unadulterated noise. Interspersed with bursts of scuzzy powerful indie we are exposed to a barreling barrage of loud, pounding drums, raw guitars and a Dylan Baldi sounding like a young Jake Burns. It is an absolute revelation, a terrific album and a must-listen to record of 2012.

Download: Cloud Nothings – No Sentiment

07. Gaz Coombes Presents – Here Come the Bombs

Gaz Coombes’ debut solo album, Here Come the Bombs, is more of an evolution of sound than a violent revolution against an approach which served him so well in his Supergrass days. The record is much more sombre, reflective and dark, some might even say mature but Coombes has retained the all to familiar oddball pop sensibility, playful energy. His gift for writing songs with hooks and catchy melodies remains a corner stone of his work too, even though as the record progresses the distortion is cranked up and interspersed with a glut of electronics and beats, samples and loops. Coombes’ debut is certainly more than alright.

Gaz Coombes Presents – Hot Fruit via The Soundfull

06. Miaoux Miaoux – Light of the North

Light of the North is the debut record proper from 26-year-old Glasgow based producer, Miaoux Miaoux. Fluid and uplifting, these sounds evoke moods a million miles from dreary rain soaked city of its birth as he hops from genre to genre. It is a stunning record which delicately pieces together beats, electronics, synths and acoustic guitars, with his pristine vocals gliding through a heavenly mist of lush harmonies, melodies, beats and electronics. One for fans of Caribou, Hot Chip and Jape. I have no doubt this would have featured much higher up the list had I not only got it less than a week ago.

 Miaoux Miaoux – Cloud Computer

05. Tennis – Young & Old

Young & Old is Denver-based husband-and-wife duo, Tennis’, second LP. The album is swathed in soothing ’60s sounds, syrupy melodies and smart, soulful pop songs with captivating, richly melodic purr of singer Alaina Moore’s stunning voice at the fore. There is a very real retro vibe, yet not at one time does it feel old, stale or tired. It is bright, breezy, charming and uncomplicated, most importantly, it is damn fine record.

Tennis – Travelling 

04. Mystery Jets – Radlands

Radlands sees Mystery Jets rediscover their sparkle following the mediocre Serotonin. Decamping to Texas to record the album, it sees them embrace a whole series of sweet Americana sounds. They haven’t lost sight of what made them such a great band in the first place; a blitz of wonderful indie, quirky eccentricity and a supreme ability to produce perfect pop songs. A thoroughly enjoyable and likeable record.

Mystery Jets – Greatest Hits

03. Conor Mason – Standstill

Standstill continues where 2009’s When It’s Over left off. It flows gently by, amid a sea of soft lilting vocals, whispering lyrical poeticisms and subtle instrumentation. It is permeated by an air of richness, comforting tranquillity and shrouded in melancholy. Standstill is a slow burner and requires patience, understanding and repeated listens to be fully appreciated. Standstill is a beautiful, simplistic and assured album and sometimes that is quite enough.

Download: Conor Mason – Misunderstood

02. The 2 Bears – Be Strong

The 2 Bears debut LP, Be Strong is a scatter shot across the entire scope of electronic music which feels like foraging through a fine record collection. It is a cheery, cheeky and joyous amalgam of sounds and a massive injection of positivity amidst a time of dreariness and uncertainty. It is a worthy ode to the past two decades of dance music, a fine soundtrack to any weekend and most importantly, a bloody excellent dance record.

 The Two Bears – Work

01. Django Django – Django Django

While Django Django’s debut album contains undeniable similarities with The Beta Band, they have far from copied or imitated. Part of the appeal is an ability to seamlessly blend genres and sounds from a melting pot of influences into a striking blend of understated indie, with an electro groove at its heart. Anchored by alluring harmonies and an undeniable groove which permeates the very core of this record, this is indie music to dance to. An inspired and wholly irresistible debut.

Django Django – Hail Bop

Introducing: Horsemen Pass By

Horsemen Pass By are Ross Gillanders and Daniel Valle, a Scot and a Spaniard now based in Cork.

Taking their inspiration from cult films, Spaghetti Westerns, Sci-Fi and Horror movies, Horsemen Pass By, make instrumental music which sounds like futuristic movie scores. The duo’s first release is a 4-track EP called Giallo. Demonstrating their ethos, it is full of reverb-heavy guitars, electronic beats and synths, to muster a gripping sense of urgency and eerily unnerving atmospherics.

Giallo is an EP full of ideas, imagination and thought provoking ambiance. The EP is out now and you can ‘name your price’ and download it from bandcamp.

Max Tannone – Mic Check 1234! (Hip-Hop/Punk Mash-up)

Mash-ups have become increasingly popular over the past decade or so, however, sifting through the volumes of mediocrity and downright awful mash-ups can be an arduous task to say the least.

One man you can consistently bank on to deliver something of real class and quality is Max Tannone. The NYC producer is the man behind GhostfunkMos DubDub Kweli and Jaydiohead, and his brand new remix project Mic Check 1234! is yet another supremely brilliant piece of work. This time he’s decided to pit some of his favorite emcees’ most socio-political material with some of the best punk bands ever. And why not? Afterall, great hip-hop and punk have a lot in common; both want to affect change, to rebel against the status quo, or to simply just get up and move.

Yet another stunning album from Max Tannone and like the old adage says, some times the best things in life are free. You can spin some choice cuts below or check here for more info or download the whole thing for free.

Mmoths – ‘Folding’

Mmoths is kicking off a US tour today, where he’ll be playing shows with Beat Connection, White Arrows and Hundred In The Hands.

To mark the occasion, he’s unveiled a brand new track, ‘Folding’, which has a bit more tempo, drive and intensity to it, while retaining his trademark airy blissfulness. I for one can’t get enough of ‘Folding’, it has been on constant repeat throughout the day, helping dispel the blues of yet another rain filled Irish summers’ day.

You listen to ‘Folding’ and Mmoths’ remix of Vacationer below and make your own mind up, or head over to his website for the download

 Mmoths – ‘Folding’

Download: Vacationer – Trip (MMOTHS Remix)