Introducing: Decade In Exile

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Not too many will remember Duncan Lloyd’s solo LP Seeing Double from 2008, which is a great shame as it happens because it was a really great and enjoyable record. 

Lloyd, better known as the guitarist in Maximo Park, is back with a new side-project, Decade In Exile. Like his previous solo effort, his new project is once again noticeably different from the high energy bowler hat hijinx of the day job. While the warm fuzzy lo-fi guitar pop of ‘Patti’s Town’ could have easily slotted into his solo album, the new self-titled EP sees his natural flare for a catchy tune pushed into more experimental areas. The results of which, ‘Way Beyond the Logic’ and ‘You Might Find’, are particularly fruitful. 

It’s always worthwhile when Lloyd decides to venture off to pastures new, this new project seems to have plenty of legs to it. There’s a few choice cuts below but you can pick up the Decade In Exile EP, along with some other stuff from bandcamp.  

Introducing: Soft Hearted Scientists

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Ah, wonderful Wales. With Ireland you can put your house on it raining but the same could be said for Wales and weirdly wonderful psychedelic bands. Following along a path laid by Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and Super Furry Animals, to name but two, are Cardiff based psych folk collective Soft Hearted Scientists

Their psychedelic-tinged folk owes much the heady days of ’60s and ’70s too. The collective’s trippy warped out and downright weird sounds are dripping with genuinely appealing eccentricity and sugar sweet melodies, grounded, only just, by musings of everyday life. A madcap of delights that if comparisons were needed, one might arrive at something like the lyrical depth, wordplay and acerbic wit of Half Man Half Biscuit, meets the off-the-wall antics of Syd Barrett and seductive sounds of Donavan or The Byrds. All in all, it is wonderful, bizarre and seductive in equal measures. These are songs which will burrow into the inner reaches of your mind.

With three albums under their belts already, they are hardly newbies but as album number four, entitled False Lights, is on the horizon it is a timely introduction to their wonderful psych folk delights.

Robin Snow – ‘Daydreamer’

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Remember Sad Soul Circus, right? Either way, the 20 year old Dublin based producer (aka Finn Yowell) has put Sad Soul Circus moniker on the back burner in favour of his new project, ‘Robin Snow‘.

Whereas SSC was down-tempo chilled out tranquil sounds, Robin Snow is an entirely different proposition. The first offering from his new alias is ‘Daydreamer’, an upbeat funky house tune with a jazzy swing and more than a nod or two to hip hop, demonstrating the transition from the laid back late night vibe to the feel-good party tune.

Hopefully this doesn’t spell the end for Sad Soul Circus on a whole but whatever the case, it will be interesting to hear more from Robin Snow in future.

Ghostpoet – ‘MSI MUSMID’

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How time flies? Two years on from the release of his excellent debut, Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy JamGhostpoet has announced he is to return with a new album, Some Say I So I Say Light, in May.

With this news comes brand new single and taster of his forthcoming LP, ‘MSI MUSMID’. Seemingly based on a dream Ghostpoet had where dimsum and noodles were life-long friends who kept squabbling all the time, trying in vain to make sense of it all. As you do. The lethargic murmurings remain a cornerstone of his work, but backed by an inventive flow of layered electronics with a jazzy kind of feel.

Some Say I So I Say Light will be released on the 6th of May. It’s good to see him back with new material, certainly one to keep an eye out for.

Applescal – ‘Spring and Life’

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Dutch producer Applescal released his brand new album Dreaming in Key a few weeks back. Comprised of 11 tracks, the album finds itself in an ambiguous hinterland between electronica & techno. More on the album itself later, suffice to say it’s very, very good.

For now feast your ears on ‘Spring and Life’, one of Dreaming in Key‘s sneak previews. It is a dark and bubbling slow-burner, building from these murky origins it transforms toward an illuminating but spacey climax with exuberance and punch. One can imagine it, like the rest of the record, working ever so well in a club as it does on headphones.

Dreaming in Key is out now via Atomnation and you could do a lot worse things than spending your weekend listen in its company.

King Kong Company – ‘BagPuss’

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Some may remember King Kong Club from their admirable attempt to release a brand new track a month in 2011, after reforming following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.  

To celebrate their latest Irish tour, of which began with a sell out performance in their hometown of Waterford, King Kong Company have released their latest track ‘Bagpuss’. What it’s got to do with ’70s UK children’s television series is beyond me but it is yet another no nonsense club track and dance floor filler, aided by Sue O’Neill on vocals.

You can catch King Kong Company live next month when they play Cyprus Avenue, Cork on Saturday, March 2nd & Pogo at The Twisted Pepper, Dublin, Saturday, March 16th.

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Album of the Week: The Pictish Trail – Secret Soundz, Volume 2

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Ever wondered what the greatest album to be recorded in a caravan was? Didn’t think so, but the latest effort from The Pictish Trail, Secret Soundz, Volume 2 has to be the front runner for this, the most unlikely of accolades (if there are others, answers on a postcard please).

Touted as the follow up to 2008’s Secret Soundz, we find The Pictish Trail, the alter ego of Scottish musician Johnny Lynch, in a contemplative, often meloncholic mood, concerned with life’s ups and downs. In contrast, musically Secret Sounds is rather chipper, spurred on by a glorious melange of oddball sounds, sparks of frazzled electronics and instrumental breaks.

Opening with the bright and bouncy, instrumental electro ‘Secret Sounds #6′, this introduction is a bit misleading, it’s with ‘Sequels’ that the album kicks into gear. The oddball sounds and electronics remain but what’s clear is, they are not the focus here. They are but a platform, with Lynch’s wonderful singing voice firmly in the foreground. The premise firmly established, the album gently cascades through folk-influenced balladry and warm electronics of ‘Of Course You Exist’, ‘The Handstand Crowd’ and ‘Michael Rocket’. It is a real bag of tricks but never losing of the balance between curiosity and melancholic it is interspersed with equal doses of both.

Although a sequel, one doesn’t need to need to be acquainted with it’s earlier sibling. As a stand alone record it is magnificent record; warm, inviting and full of charming quirks from an artist of genuine exceptional talent.