Anderson – ‘Patterns’

Having just called time on The Rags, Daniel Anderson hasn’t wasted much time in getting back on the saddle, returning with his debut solo musical venture under the moniker of Anderson.  

The first taste of his new solo project is ‘Patterns’, and my does it deliver. It’s breezy, poignant and slightly mournful yet chipper at the same time. A gentle strum and an infectious piano tickles, allowing for Anderson’s smooth, distinctive vocals to soar, placing his ponderous lyrics firmly at the fore. The video is really works nicely too. An exciting and intriguing new departure for one of Ireland’s truly very best songwriters. Hopefully there is plenty more to come.

‘Patterns’ will be released in October as a double A-side single, accompanied by ‘History’ and is available to pre-order as a 7″/CD & mp3 now.

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Sisters – ‘Shiny Things’

London based Sisters, featuring ex Vagabond Niall Burns, have teamed up with Strummerville to release their latest jam, ‘Shiny Things’.

Now a three-piece, ‘Shiny Things’ is anything but. It is a dark, down-beat, slow-burning, grungy number climaxing with a squall of screeching guitars. It is the perfect backdrop for the Irresistibly magnificent vocals to shine, consequently, the new addition to the mix is a fine one, which works very well indeed. 

Since introducing Sisters back in June, the band have been busy gigging around London town but it’s good to hear new material from them. Hopefully there’s an EP or an album in the pipeline, until then, there’s  ‘Shiny Things’ to enjoy. 

Album of the Week: Imploded View – Picnics With Pylons

Picnics With Pylons is the debut album from Longford based producer Imploded View (aka Jerome McCormick), whose forte till now has been atmospheric downtempo electronic music, and he’s sticking to the script with his debut record.

Picnics With Pylons rarely if ever, emerges from first gear, preferring to meander through a vast and cloudy world of extremely chilled ambient sounds. An air of calmness permeates the entire record from openers ‘Astral Airways’ and ‘Can Drift Would Drift’ right through to ‘Dark Is The Light’, the album moves at it’s own pace. McCormick is certainly comfortable in this skin, he seems at peace, a feeling transposed to the listener as the airy productions wash over you with an ease, slowly and subliminally seeping into the listener’s mind. It all allows time for delicate detail, added emotional depth and mood and thought provoking atmospherics.

It is very much an after-hours record and feels very nocturnal but it does slink in a brighter direction with title track ‘Picnics With Pylons’ and ‘We Ivy'; rare glimmers of sunshine and optimism in an otherwise foggy downbeat world. The focus here is on creating moods, sound textures and ambient instrumentals.

Picnics With Pylons is an assured and composed debut with genuinely well thought out moments of ambience that make for an enjoyable listen. Imploded View is not a name many will be overly familiar with but hopefully this record goes someway to changing that.

An Interview With Tu-Ki

The new issue of Lookleft has hit the shelves across Ireland this week. Here is an interview with Tu-Ki from the previous issue. Lookleft is available in every Easons north / south & other selected retailers.

Tu-Ki (aka Aidan Taggart) has a pretty formidable reputation as a DJ and his achievements as a turntablist speak for themselves. He’s a four time Irish DMC champion and winner of the 2007 Molvida World Mixing Championships. Taking time out from his busy schedule he spoke with Lookleft.

Although DJing for about 12 years, the Dublin of his youth was a different place to now. DJing, turntables and hip hop were not a major part of Irish teenage life. “I was always jealous of my American counterparts, who seemed to grow up with turntables all around them. Hip hop was something that existed across the water and on my Walkman. “

Tu-Ki began DJing at the age 19 or 20 which is quite old to begin learning a new musical instrument from scratch. In his own words he “sort of fell into it” after stumbling on hip-hop and falling in love with it, he immersed himself in the music. “I got a job when I was in 5th year and started buying records from Abbey Discs. I guess in the back of my mind I wanted to be more involved in this music I loved.”

He had no lofty ambitions and on borrowing a friend’s decks he started messing around before buying his first set of Techniques but “initially there was no reference point for what I was doing until I got a DMC video. When I saw it, I was like, so this was it’s all about. It was much more visual to the house or techno DJs I saw in clubs and it appealed to me from the off.”

Sometime later he entered his first competition in London, “for the fun of it”, he ended up coming second. This was a big moment and he fondly recalls what it meant, “To go along and meet ten other people who were doing the same thing was a big deal, it showed me it did exist outside my bedroom. I started getting booked for shows after this. There was no grand plan; I guess I was lucky in some respects.”

Today the ‘DJ scene’, so to speak, appears to be a healthy one. While also teaching a one year DJ course in Bray he sees plenty of interest from people wishing to learn. When he started out “two turntables and a mixer was a standard”, even though things are a little different now, if “the young kids hear a guy plays vinyl they are definitely more interested”.

As with other areas of our lives digital technology and laptops are common place. The debate around whether it devalues the art form of DJing isn’t one he usually gets involved in. “I use some digital stuff like Serato but I guess it does. It’s a tricky one to draw a conclusion on. You are either a selector or a DJ. DJing relates to the art form, it’s about devolving a set, learning how to mix tracks, read the crowd. There is a technical aspect too, knowing how to mix beats, blend bass-lines and scratching.” Adding, “It is kind of two different worlds but you can go and see a great selector and have the best night of your life.”

The big difference for him is feeling the music, being in the mix rather than looking at it on a screen, “It’s much more pleasurable to be using tools, like playing a piano on a computer than actually playing with your hands. Vinyl just feels better to me.”

Recently Tu-Ki took the opportunity to release his own mixes, something he always wanted to do but had eluded him while doing clubs and DJ battles. Two years ago he released Pre: Seed, a labour of love, “I needed to put a stamp on the last 10 years of DJing and an ode to the mixtapes I grew up with”

His latest mix ‘Just A Ride’ is equally impressive. It is “what I’ve been doing since then, what I’ve been playing in clubs and spent ages in my gaf mixing. I think it’s a slightly unique mix because I kind of have my own style I guess.” It is a joy for him to be able to share music with people like this, adding “it’s not about ego; it’s a great thing to do, putting music together for people, giving them deadly music they might not have heard. It’s great to hear feedback from people saying they enjoyed it or they never heard this song or that song before. It gives complete license to play whatever you want, which you might not normally get to do at a festival or a club.”

You can download both Pre: Seed and Just A Ride below.

Introducing: The Crayon Set

The Crayon Set are an eight-piece Dublin-based collective who make music that is oh so irresistibly nice! 

It is inoffensive effervescent indie-folk-pop, with a joyous blend of catchy pop melodies and lush vocal harmonies. Behind this serenity, lyrically a darker character entirely lurks. The latest single ‘I Wanted You’ is a case in point, bright and breezy on the outside but with vocalist Labhaoise lamenting heart-aching loss. All in all, they cook up infectious, upbeat and smooth indie-folk-pop gems.

The Crayon Sets’ debut album is coming very soon and was co-produced by Nick Brine (Teenage Fanclub/ Super Furry Animals). Until then you can download ‘I Wanted You’ & personal favourite ‘Breakdown’ for free below.

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(Video) By The Sea – Eveline

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Some bands just have a knack for stealing your heart and By The Sea have definitely done that. Over the past year or so the Merseyside outfit have treated us to a series stellar singles, and they have returned with a new double a-side, Dream Waters/Eveline

Dream Waters’ has been with us for a while now, slowly it builds through the haze, transporting you on a melodious journey of breezy washed-out sounds. ‘Eveline’ follows a similarly delightful path through a haze of disorientating sounds, continuing the mystical wondrous feeling.

By The Sea’s debut LP, Dream Waters, is apparently ready for release  too, preferably sooner rather than later.

Introducing: Paul Davies

The term ‘singer-songwriter’ often conjures up all kinds of negative connotations, unfairly it must be said, because when it’s done right it is as rewarding as any musical style.

A case is point is London-based songwriter Paul Davies who’s wry storytelling and a gentle woozy strum is imbued genuine feeling and emotion. Fractured, vulnerable, gentle and hurt, his best qualities shine brightly as he plucks away at the heartstrings. Davies has brewed something subtle, graceful and charming, which will draw unequivocal comparisons with the slower more vulnerable moments from both Pete Doherty or Graham Coxon’s solo work. Certainly not bad company to be in.

Davies’ new EP If You Only Knew is out on October 1st via his own JAG label. 

BarryGruff Presents #9: The Statics, Keith Moss & Wayfarer :: Flanagan’s :: Newbridge :: Thursday Sept 27th

I’m very excited about this one, especially after the absolute blast at the last gig in Flanagan’s, I’m not sure the place has recovered yet.

Ready or not BarryGruff Presents #9 is here & returns to Flanagan’s Bar, Newbridge for a special Arthur’s Day show on Thursday, September 27th. There’s a great night of live music ahead with headline performances from The Statics & Keith Moss and support from Wayfarer. There’s more info below & the ‘Facebook Event’ is right here.

Fresh from a storming show at this year’s Castlepalooza, Dublin 4-piece The Statics, bring their jangly infectious indie-pop sound to Newbridge for the very first time. Echoing the likes of The La’s, John Power & The Coral, there’s is heart warming indie-goodness with twangy rhythmic guitars, rich distinctive vocals and sing-a-long choruses, played with energy, refreshing honesty and assured sense of style.

Similarly it’s a first Newbridge outing for Dublin-based Keith Moss, who has been garnering plaudits for his music since winning IMRO’s ‘Young Songwriter of the Year’. Something of a punk poet, Moss’s music is a curious work of rare beauty which positively drips with passion and emotion. A great time to catch him live before his debut album is released in October through Reekus Records. Meanwhile support comes from Newbridge’s very own Wayfarer, whose soft and gentle folk sound is something of beauty.

It’s FREE in as usual and the show kicks off at 8.30pm & as it is Arthurs’ Day expect some Guinness related drinks promotions too.

Welsh Wizards | Mixtape

This is a quite odd post even by my standards. This day ten years ago I upped sticks and moved to Wales, Wrexham to be precise, which explains all the Wrexham related tweets for anyone who follows me on Twitter.

Although I’m back in Ireland a few years now, it was one of my smarter moves & I retain a fondness for Wales as a country and the music it produces (although I don’t get over half as much as I’d like these days). Welsh music features quite prominently on the blog, something regular visitors are probably aware of. Apart from anything else it got me thinking and I decided to knock together a mixtape/compilation of some Welsh favourites from the past few years, with one or two older tracks thrown in for good measure.

So, without further waffling, here it is, some mighty fine weekend listening. Diolch. Mwynhewch.

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Damien Dempsey – ‘Almighty Love’

Damien Dempsey makes a welcome return after far too long an absence, it’s hard to believe it’s been five years since To Hell Or Barbados

Dempsey is one of those artist who the promise of new material will excite me, regardless of the fact I feel he has never matched the form shown on Seize The Day, which remains a masterpiece to this day and shines as a beacon of what he, and his talent, can achieve. Don’t get me wrong there have been plenty of good songs since then, just not an album of pristine perfection. 

‘Almighty Love’ is the lead track from the album of the same name, it’s a passionate, powerful and positive acoustic number which among others, name checks John Lennon, Rosa Parks and Tony Benn. It may be more of an album track but it certainly whets the appetite for the new record.

If there was ever a time for Damien Dempsey’s poetic and hard-hitting social commentary to come to the fore, it is now. Even though Ireland is falling apart at the seams very few artists have anything worthwhile to say on the matter. Let’s hope Damo has the bit between his teeth again and does what he does best, speaking honestly and profoundly from a street level. 

The new album Almighty Love will be released on 28th September and he’s announced a pile of live dates too.

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