Jezz At Home – ‘Mad’

Jezz at Home

Jezz At Home are a French duo (from Lyon, I think) who’s musical passions arise from two separate schools, Techno on one side and hip-hop on the other. The result of this union is one where styles are mixed and influences insidiously blend together.

Having worked together for some time, the union has borne a child, well an EP actually. Title track ‘Mad’ reflects the plurality of the duo’s background as jazzy hip hop and snappy beats are met with a dash of dub reggae. It is a downright infectious near eight minutes of slick feelgood sounds.

Jezz At Home’s Mad EP is out now through Swarm Prod. You can stream ‘Mad’ and ‘Armless Guitar’ below, and you’ll get the idea.

(Video) Only Real – ‘Backseat Kissers’

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode

Only Real (20-year-old Niall Galvin) has proven to quite the man for a tune, to say the least. Be it the über infectious ‘Cadillac Girl’ from earlier this year or his latest single ‘Backseat Kissers’.

‘Backseat Kissers’ is a woozy, dreamy cut, filled with all echoey vocals, lounging guitars with a real head nodding groove. If you have ever wondered what a love in between Jamie T and King Krule might sound like, probably not but this is it. The young man from West London has nailed it again but surely it’s not always sunny in west London as his new video suggests?

‘Backseat Kissers’ is out January 28th 2013 through ASL & if you’re in London this weekend, he makes his live debut at this.

BarryGruff’s Albums of the Year 2012

bg122

So, yeah, this is pretty self-explanatory. It’s end of year list time and every website, blog and magazine are busy compiling them. So not to be left out, here are my favourite 25 albums from 2012. Feel free to leave your few cents worth in the comments section, if you  feel the need that is.

25. Dark Horses – ‘Black Music’

24. The Egg – Something To Do’

23. Attaque – ‘When Light Falls’

22. Stealing Sheep – ‘Into The Diamond Sun’

21. Gaz Coombes Presents – ‘Here Come The Bombs’

20. Session Victim – ‘The Haunted House of House’

19. Ghost Estates – ‘Ghost Estates’

18. Cian Ciaran – ‘Outside In’

17. Graham Coxon – ‘A+E’

16. The Futureheads – ‘Rant’

15. Mystery Jets – ‘Radlands’

Radlands saw 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.

14. Eugene McGuinness – ‘Invitation To The Voyage’

Eugene McGuinness‘ second album Invitation To The Voyage was one of the more enjoyable of 2012. Nothing startling or groundbreaking but an enjoyable blend of quirky, left-of-centre indie with a glossy pop sheen. With bursts of brass, surf/’60s pop guitar, clever lyrical wordplay and a confident swagger; McGuinness found a perfect balance between catchy pop and exhilarating indie.

13. 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 in no way subtle, a terrific album nonetheless.

12. Nathan Conway & The River Valley Band – Nathan Conway & The River Valley Band

Nathan Conway & The River Valley Band certainly borrow from the past to create a timeless soulful country sound, and have found their niche. The tone is soulful country, set to overarching themes of demise and redemption, draped in Conway’s intuitive storytelling which paints vivid pictures with his words. Mostly you feel they are working together, from the swinging uptempo tracks to the less blustery, slower numbers. They have a rapport with one another; brass, percussion strings and Conway’s deep bellowed croon, all work in perfect tandem. Sonny Boy requires a degree of patience, but it is worth it. A beautiful, timeless and assured album.

11. Tennis – ‘Young and 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.

10. By The Sea – ‘By The Sea’

The banks of the Mersey has given rise to many great bands over the years, the latest to emerge from the production line are  By The Sea. Their self-titled debut album, produced by Bill Ryder Jones, hints at this Scouse heritage but this six-piece are very much their own band, with their own sound. The song titles like ‘Dream Waters’, ‘A Sail Floats and ‘Waltz Away’ set the tone, the album offers an elegant blend of dreamy, psychedelic and pastoral jams, this is music to get lost in. Liam Power’s voice, which has an uncanny resemblance to Shack’s Mick Head proves soothing and stirring as they waft across a hazy canvas of breezy, washed-out sounds.

09.The Heavy – ‘The Glorious Dead’

Wandering a retro path in the modern world can be tricky, there is little room for error. ‘Soul Rock’ is a minefield in itself. The Heavy have proven with two previous albums, while they do wear their influences on their sleeves, they make damn fine records. The Glorious Dead continues this trend. Meshing a clutch of hip hop breakbeats, slices of ’60s R&B, horns, riffs, zombie movie snippets, and soulful vocals into quality soulful, funk rock, of the highest order. What makes it so good? The wonderful execution, and it is oh so much fun, sometimes that really is quite enough.

08. Melody’s Echo Chamber – ‘Melody’s Echo Chamber’

Melody’s Echo Chamber is Parisian mullti-instrumentalist Melody Prochet. Teaming up with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker on production, her self-titled debut pushes her flair for dreamy pop into more experimental, spaced-out zones of hazy psych-pop. The album has Parker’s stamp all over it. Prochet’s light, inviting vocals are cast into a shifting series of settings, with beguiling results. At times everything is covered with a heavy blanket of reverb and fuzz, while others are a gentle whirlpool of shimmering psychedelic dream-pop. It is the combination of Parker’s inspired production and Prochet’s evocative voice which strike a perfect balance between pop and the psychedelic. A rather inspired and stunning debut.

07. Conor Mason – ‘Standstill’

Standstill continues where 2009’s When It’s Over left off, flowing 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.

06. Richard Hawley – ‘Standing at the Sky’s Edge’

The seventh studio album from Richard Hawley saw an interesting change of direction toward hazy psychedelia, something Hawley proves masterful at it. With only one track clocking in under five minutes, the songs are suffused with snarling, meandering guitars solos and Hawley’s distinctive vocals. The title track is a masterpiece telling tales of a man who kills his wife and kids, a hard-up prostitute who ends up in jail and a young man involved in inner city violence respectively. It’s the rockier material here that really stands out, like the excellent ‘Before’ and ‘Down in the Woods’. The latter is a real rocker with a venomous Hawley sounding not unlike Mark Lanegan. There are moments of real beauty here too, one wonders where Hawley will go next but it will certainly be interesting to find out. (Words edited from Johnny Feeney | Because I’m lazy)

05. 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. An irresistible debut record, a bright future lies ahead.

04. 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.

03. Sam Willis – ‘Winterval’

Winterval is the debut solo album from Sam Willis, one half of London-based Walls. Taking a host of house, techno, minimal and Balearic influences, Willis assimilates these familiar traits into otherworldly electronic music that gracefully hovers in an ambiguous hinterland, between subtly euphoric and vaguely ambient. Chiming notes resonate through every track and the beats are delivered with pin point accuracy. Willis has mixed the warm sounds with a crisp frosty elegance, creating a hypnotic, comforting sound collage. It is no way an exaggeration to say Winterval is one of the most aesthetically complete electronic albums for quite some time.

02. Tame Impala – ‘Lonerism’

Where to begin with this one? Lonerism is a simply brilliant album. Their 2010 debut Innerspeaker set the standard for warped retro, yet futurist psychedelia. The follow-up is leaner, more confident as it sprawls into further exploratory psychedelic territories. It kind of goes everywhere while remaining fluid and cohesive throughout. From the rocking stomp of ‘Elephant’, to dazzling epics of ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ or Lennon/McCartney-esque ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’, Lonerism remains cohesive. It is an album which increasingly fascinates with every listen. Give it the time it deserves, it’s guaranteed not to disappoint. Truly stunning!

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, and my album of 2012. Thank you!

Best of 2012: w/ Gary Mackey of The North Sea

The North Sea

It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling end of year lists. This time around, I thought I’d shift the focus to the bands and artist’s who’ve played a ‘BarryGruff Presents’ show this year and ask them for their ‘favourite album of 2012′, ‘favourite song of 2012′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’.

Without further waffle from me, here’s Gary Mackey of The North Sea and his picks from the year that was 2012.

Favourite Album of 2012: Ghost Estates – ‘Ghost Estates’

My favourite album of the year is Ghost Estates self-titled debut. Expertly crafted songs that perfectly marry electronic sounds with more traditional ones. They’re also an amazing live band that will make you dance. Guaranteed!

Favourite song of 2012: Tame Impala – ‘Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control’

‘Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control’ by Tame Impala also has a pleasant effect on me. It sounds a lot like John Lennon’s second coming. Stunning.

Favourite Irish Song of 2012: Death in the Sickroom – ‘Tonight’

It’s a bit cruel to pick just one Irish tune but I’d have to say ‘Tonight’ by Death in the Sickroom. They have a sound unlike any other band around at the moment. Really worth seeing live if you get the opportunity. Thoroughly decent chaps, too.

Best of 2012: w/ Dan Shanahan of Wayfarer

dan wayfarer

It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling end of year lists. This time around, I thought I’d shift the focus to the bands and artist’s who’ve played a ‘BarryGruff Presents’ show this year and ask them for their ‘favourite album of 2012′, ‘favourite song of 2012′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’.

Right, that is enough from me, over to Dan Shanahan of Wayfarer and his picks from the year that was 2012.

Favourite album of 2012: Lau – ‘Race The Loser’

On a whim, I agreed to go see these fellows in the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge one wet Thursday and by grud, it was a show I would never forget…I was sitting two rows from the front in a near empty venue watching three of the finest folk musicians to emerge from the British Isles, playing as if it were just for me. I was wrapped tight in a blanket of sounds that made me close my eyes and lose myself in the intricate musicality. Chris Drever on guitar with his tightly controlled and constant chord changes, complimented with a soft aching Scottish voice, singing songs about unrequited love in old folk songs. Aidan O’ Rourke holds his own with expert fiddle playing that gives soul to the compositions while Martin Green is unbelievable on the accordion, jumping in his seat as if possessed by the music…he’s the Hendrix of accordion players, no joke! These guys have featured on Jools Holland after they released this album and seem to be on the up and up so whenever they come back to Ireland, I dare say, check ’em out! And in the mean time…buy this album!!

Favourite song of 2012: Field Music – ‘Start The Day Right’

I’m crap at finding new music that I like, I’m old school…preferring the comfort of listening to Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti for the millionth time than pretending to enjoy such and such’s album because they’re “cool” or “the in thing” or whatever. I know, i sound like an old fart but good music always seems to creep its way onto my now defunct, 29 year old radar in random ways. Field Music’s Plumb was one album, blasting out of a mate’s car speakers one day, that grabbed my attention. This is the first song off of Plumb and it doesn’t mess around. These guys wear their influences on their sleeves with a prog-rock 70’s sound, some grandiose Beatles inspired moments and amazing musicianship. Check them out!

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode

Favourite Irish song of 2012: Villagers – ‘The Waves’

What can I say about this band that hasn’t already been said? Conor’s beautiful words and melodies are always a treat for the old ear holes. I’ve seen them play a lot of new material at a gig in Kilkenny a few months back and I’m eagerly awaiting their new album next year which I’m sure will be a guaranteed thing of beauty. Also check out MMOTHS remix of this song, it’s jaw-droppingly good!

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode

Best of 2012: w/ Nathan Conway of Nathan Conway & The River Valley Band

It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling end of year lists. This time around, I thought I’d shift the focus to the bands and artist’s who’ve played a ‘BarryGruff Presents’ show this year and ask them for their ‘favourite album of 2012′, ‘favourite song of 2012′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’.

Without further ado, here’s Nathan Conway of Nathan Conway & The River Valley Band, and his picks from the year that was 2012.

Favourite Album of 2012: Angel Olsen – ‘Half Way Home’

Bob Dylan’s voice, phrasing and delivery peaked on Tempest this year but his band were so full of tired moves that they killed off the atmosphere. And so, apart from my own Sonny Boy record, this year I find only one album worth attention. Half Way Home by Angel Olsen, her first full album. Last year when I heard her song ‘If it’s alive, it will’, I wrote to her record company to try and get her to sing on a song I was recording. I was turned down in favour of her going on tour with Will Oldham. To this day I can’t imagine why? I’ve no chance now.

I had first thought there was something French about her songs and later that she wouldn’t be out of place in Os Mutantes. It could be that the music here doesn’t conform. It has an international sound. Although she’s got a lot of style, her songs are unaffected by it. It’s all very natural. There’s a real patient, calm, learned hand in getting the sound settled for this record too. Its got the type of hofner bass sound that I love the most and shes the best singer around.

Favourite song of 2012: Django Django – ‘Storm’

My sister put me onto Django Django. I’m not gone on them. Everything I heard when I checked them out was this very contrived 80’s thing, but their song, ‘Storm’, is a cracker. Although they appear to be carefully cultivating the image of the nerd, there’s a rawness to the sound and a laziness to the lyric of this one that frees it up from all that and sets it apart from their other work. For a moment here they become a more dangerous breed of nerd like that French writer Michel Houellebecq. I would imagine this was a throwaway song that came to life in the recording because everything hinges on the rattley sound achieved here.

Favourite Irish song of 2012: The Brand New Switcheroo – ‘Diane’

Music in Ireland seems to be sinking ever further into the quagmire. The music makers are all still there alright, their voices drowned in the ceaseless tide of shite bands. Now and again I get lucky and hear something outside of the classical oeuvre that restores my faith and joy in music.

The Brand New Switcheroo are brothers and they are both really good writers. Because of the close tone of voice, brothers and sisters can’t be beat for harmony singing. So far as I know this song, ‘Diane’, hasn’t been recorded, so this rough you-tube thing is the best example I can find. It sounds simple but to whittle a song down to this kind of simplicity and clarity takes a lot of ability and confidence in ones work. There’s a ‘walking on the sand’ image here that pervades in the lyric and the whole song has a whoozy wash and eddy thing going on.

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode

Best of 2012: w/ Sadhbh O’ Sullivan of Sive

Sive

It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling end of year lists. This time around, I thought I’d shift the focus to the bands and artist’s who’ve played a ‘BarryGruff Presents’ show this year and ask them for their ‘favourite album of 2012′, ‘favourite song of 2012′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’.

Right, that is enough from me, over to Sadhbh O’ Sullivan from Sive and her picks from the year that was 2012.

Favourite album of 2012: Sam Jackson – ‘Sharp and Flat’

I stumbled upon Sam Jackson by accident when I read a review of his album in the Independent and thought “hmm, this sounds like it might be up my street!” I took a trip over to his Bandcamp page and within the first few seconds of the opening track I was already compelled to buy the album (AND a ticket to one of his shows). Every track displays not only a top notch level of musicianship, but also a lofty helping of sensitivity and imagination. His sound is reminiscent of jazz, classical and some more contemporary music, without sounding like it quite fits in under any one label. For me this album is a perfect work of art!

Favourite Song of 2012: The Unusual History of Ether – ‘Innate’

I’m not entirely sure whether this song actually came out in 2012 or at the end of 2011, but I discovered it at the beginning of this year and was blown away by it. The band is fronted by Irishwoman Rebecca Collins, who is based in Copenhagen along with her band of Danish musicians. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them live twice and they’re a lovely bunch of people as well as fine musicians. Their whole EP is worth repeated listens.

Favourite Irish Song of 2012: Wallis Bird – ‘In Dictum’

This was one of the stand-out tracks from Wallis Bird’s latest album, for me anyway. The first time I heard it was at her album launch in The Academy when she hopped down from the stage to perform an unplugged rendition of it in the middle of the audience. The entire crowd joined in and it was definitely one of those gig memories that sticks with you for a long time. When played live this song carries bags of energy and passion that can’t have been easy to capture in a studio, but I think Wallis and her band nailed it. Here’s a video of what happened that night in The Academy:  

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode