The Joy Formidable + We Are Animal :: Academy :: Dublin :: Sat Jan 26th

Two of Wales’ best acts right now, The Joy Formidable and We Are Animal, on the same bill for €15. You can’t go wrong, right? 

Okay, it is a bit late in the day but if you’re looking for something to do this weekend in Dublin, I can’t recommend this show highly enough. I got along to the Liverpool leg of the tour on Tuesday in The Kazimier and it was immense, simply immense. 

If you’re not familiar with the acts here’s a short explanation. The Joy Formidable? Soaring riffs and rampaging guitar heroics meet to form an emphatic and epic wall of sound; a masterclass in how indie-rock is supposed to sound. We Are Animal on the other hand are a curious bunch,  sometimes dark and trippy, buzzing guitars and distinctive vocals are set to a rhythmic groove. If Tuesday’s show in Liverpool is anything to go by, this shouldn’t be missed.

The Joy Formidable & We Are Animal play Belfast’s Limelight tonight & The Academy, Dublin, tomorrow night (Saturday). Doors 8pm/€15.

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(Video) Marika Hackman – ‘Bath Is Black’

We’ve been on the receiving end of a deluge ‘new folk artists’ in recent times. In reality, by and large, they have been purveyors of substandard happy-clappy pop, with a few notable exception of course. Marika Hackman is one of the latter and a welcome respite from the mundane. 

Hackman’s songs are potent and beautiful, her voice is strikingly, powerful and pure. With the release of her mini album, That Iron Taste, only around the corner (out February 25th), she has unveiled two intimate acoustic videos for ‘Bath Is Black’ & ‘Mountain Spines’ . Both of these tracks feature on the forthcoming release but more importantly, they are two astonishing songs in their own right. An introduction, if one were needed, to the wonderful talent of Marika Hackman.

Check out ‘Bath Is Black’ & ‘Mountain Spines’ below. That Iron Taste is out on February 25th through Dirty Hit, one for the diaries. 

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Billy Bragg – Handyman Blues

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The great Billy Bragg is set to return with his first studio album in nearly five years, since Mr Love & Justice. The new record entitled Tooth & Nail will be out through Cooking Vinyl on March 18th 2013.

To coincide with this news there’s a treat, ‘Handyman Blues’. Serving as a taste of what’s yet to come with album, it is a slightly downbeat, somber lament about an inability to perform the simplest of DIY or ‘handyman’ duties, and his love for the written word. It is a rather lovely song, if somewhat slightly tongue-in-cheek. 

You can listen to ‘Handyman Blues’ below or head over to Billy’s website and get the track for the cool price of an email address. 

Teleman – ‘In Your Fur’

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Hot on the heels of Teleman‘s debut single/video, ‘Cristina‘, comes b-side ‘In Your Fur’.

Be assured that b-side does not denote a drop in quality, in fact, it’s another exquisite pop song. ‘In Your Fur’ illuminates the former Pete & The Pirates trio’s more warped psychedelic side with a rich blend of guitar, drum and synths, the perfect backdrop for lead singer Tom Sanders’ distinctive and bittersweet vocals. An absolutely wonderful little ditty. 

Hopefully we hear a lot more from Teleman throughout 2013 and beyond but for now, ‘Cristina’ & ‘In Your Fur’ are on Moshi Moshi.

The Pictish Trail – ‘The Handstand Crowd’

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The Pictish Trail is set release his second album Secret Soundz, Volume 2 on January 21st through Fence Records, which he heads up with Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote. 

The album was recorded in a caravan on the Scottish island of Eigg, and with the release date only around the corner the Scottish alt-folker has given us a sneaky glimpse at what we can expect. ‘The Handstand Crowd’ is a wonderfully melodic and beautiful lead single; the vocal is a tender and the folk-inflicted with a slight electronic haze. A fantastic lo-fi folk gem, just what you would expect from The Pictish Trail really.

Secret Soundz, Volume 2 is coming on the 21st January but before all that you can listen to ‘The Handstand Crowd’ and earlier single ‘Michael Rocket’ below.

Introducing: Ieuan Williams

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Ieuan Williams is a singer-songwriter from South Wales, who is currently based in Bristol.

Influenced by the likes of Elliott Smith, Ben Marwood, Jeffrey Lewis and The Tallest Man on Earth (there is also a certain hint of Frank Turner to his sound); alternative acoustic folk is the order of the day. There is an honesty in it’s simplicity. This one man and his guitar approach allows for a full appreciation of his intuitive songwriting and storytelling ability. Williams’ songs are both touching and stirring as his distinctive voice clamors above the acoustic strums and picks.

His music is impassioned without ever being wholly angry, something that might suit his style perfectly, if he choose to go down that road. William’s may only be finding his feet bu there is plenty on offer already to enjoy. There are a few choice cuts below but there are plenty more on soundcloud & his latest EP is available on bandcamp

(Video) Teleman – Cristina

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Teleman announced their arrival late last year with this song, ‘Cristina’, but the band have gone and released this simple but lovely video to accompany the song.

Comprised of former Pete & The Pirates trio, ‘Cristina’ is a simplistic slice of blissful pop, a gently propulsive song allowing lead singer Tom Sanders’ distinctive and bittersweet vocals come to the fore. Hopefully we hear a lot more from Teleman throughout 2013 and beyond but for now, ‘Cristina’ is out on Moshi Moshi and joined by ‘In Your Fur’.