Bill Ryder-Jones – ‘He Took You In His Arms’

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Bill Ryder-Jones, formerly of The Coral, is stepping out as a songwriter in his own right with his debut LP, A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart.

‘He Took You In His Arms’ is the first taste of what to expect from the forthcoming album. It’s a gentle, touching slice of melancholy with a heart swelling melody. It is in fact, the most beautiful song of 2013 so far, one that will be hard to surpasses throughout the year. Ryder-Jones is sounding very much at ease with himself and his talents. The album was recorded upstairs in Ryder-Jones’ mother’s house in Liverpool, with two members of the great By The Sea making up the backing band. 

A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart is out in April through Domino imprint Double Six Records. Until then, just open your heart to ‘He Took You In His Arms’.

Gem_Dos – ‘Cuffs’


Dublin based producer GEM_DOS announced himself in some style last year with his superb Trials EP, and he’s kicked off 2013 in similar fashion with ‘Cuffs’.

Now based in Dublin the half English, half Irish producer grew up in south-east London, spending his formative years listening to Drum and Bass and Electronica. The latter of which real shines through on ‘Cuffs. Built around a simply huge bassline and a canny use of drum and bass,  he never misses a beat, sustaining the rhythm and protracting the promise of greater things to come.

‘Cuffs’ is a track of sheer seductive brilliance, which retains, like his previous work, a slight Orbital character. You can listen to/download ‘Cuffs’ below and see for yourself. You can also download his debut EP, Trials, for free here.

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


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.