The Alice Kona Band call it a day with parting EP ‘Alice Is Dead’


Earlier this week sad news emerged of Belfast’s The Alice Kona Band decision to call it a day. On an brief statement on Facebook, the band said, “We’ll be announcing a new project in the very near future. Huge thanks and much love to everyone that’s supported us over the last 4 years, especially anyone who came to the shows and bought the music.”

It’s a shame. Their brand of fuzz pop meets noisy garage punk will be missed, certainly by me, and others too I would hope. The Alice Kona Band have softened the blow somewhat with a parting glass in the form a final EP, the aptly-titled Alice Is Dead.  The EP is great and sees them bow out in style. It captures the very best of the band, including two of their finest tunes, ‘Bad Dreams’ and ‘Film’. Hopefully we don’t have too long to wait for the aforementioned “new project” – hopefully they’ll find success in whatever they turn their hand to. 

You can listen to a couple of choice cuts from Alice Is Dead below and you can download the full EP for free via Bandcamp.

Freedom Fry – ‘Hanging With The New Crowd’


Last summer Freedom Fry served up one of most infectious slices of sun-soaked indie pop with ‘Summer In The City’. One year on, and they are up to their old tricks again.

The LA based duo of Parisian born, Marie Seyrat, and Michigan native, Bruce Driscoll are preparing to release a brand new EP, entitled Friends And Enemies. It serves as a summertime teaser for their easy on the ear boy/girl pop but of the three tracks, ‘Hanging With The New Crowd’ is far and away the standout. It is a soft, smooth and utterly adorable ditty of playful lyrics, swooning harmonies and hypnotic groove. It must said, this is one of those tunes likely to be stuck in your system.   

You can listen to ‘Hanging With The New Crowd’ below, while Friends And Enemies EP will be released digitally on July 29th.

GEM_DOS – ‘When The Dust Settles’


Dublin based producer GEM_DOS has been in sparking form since bursting into view with his superb Trials EP, and with ‘Cuffs’ earlier this year.

He has re-emerged with great news of a forthcoming EP titled Construct, which will be released on July 1st through Clubstream Green. And as to offer us a flavour of what we can expect, GEM_DOS has unveiled ‘When The Dust Settles’. It is a little different to what’s gone before, which isn’t really a huge surprise as experimentation has become his forte. It is a more down-tempo approach to electronica which sees a techno influence supersede the previous drum and bass elements. ‘When The Dust Settles’ bounces along with a muscular energy as a chromatic splash builds until it’s ready to explode in to full force with stomping rhythm and brassy synths.  The pitch shifted vocal adding astral qualities,  giving the finishing touch to an absolute cracker of a tune. Going by this track the EP promises a lot. 

You can listen to ‘When The Dust Settles’ below or check the Cormac Murphy and Evan Buggle produced video, if you prefer.

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Youan – ‘Nightwalker’


The last time we swung by on Youan was for the release of his excellent debut Girl EP. Since then, the young UK producer has won plenty of admirers of far greater notoriety than this blog, and obviously this isn’t without merit.

Youan is now preparing to release another EP, Your Trust, this summer and he’s unveiled a new track ‘Nightwalker’ to get us in the mood. The good news is that ‘Nightwalker’ picks up where ‘Girls’ left off. It is a pumping (funky) house tune revolving around a rather seductive rhythmic bounce, R&B vocal loop and bassline combo. In short, I can’t get enough of this tune right now and the new EP can’t arrive quick enough. 

You can listen to ‘Nightwalker’ below and it is available as a free download over on Youan’s Facebook.

Introducing: The Last Monroes


The Last Monroes are the Wicklow duo of Simon Quinn and Konrad Sheane, who take their cue from the White Stripes/Black Keys school of rock, where one bashes drums and the other sings and slugs his guitar.

It is two guys, guitar and drums, resulting in raw, edgy and rather muscular blues rock with a hint grunge and punk. The duo’s latest release, Live From The Barn, is a great introduction to what they’re all about. From the heavy blues riffage of ‘Underneath The Streetlight’ or ‘Thieves’, a more grunge tinged approach to this genre. Basically what we’ve got here are two top-notch blasts of good old fashion rock ‘n roll, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

You can listen to ‘Underneath The Streetlight’ & ‘Thieves’ below or, if you prefer, download Live From The Barn for free from bandcamp.

Shopping – ‘In Other Words’


Shopping are a post-punk trio hailing from London. Having formed in the latter days of 2012, they are set to release their debut single, In Other Words on 7″ in June.

The Devil Has The Best Tuna has aptly described Shopping as sounding like “the Gang Of Four stirring it up with the Au Pairs and the Slits”. There is certainly not better summation that comes to mind and ‘In Other Words’ and b-side ‘You Are A Sort (Don’t Call Me)’ are excellent exponents of this standard. This is a catchy and melodic post punk sound driven by groovy basslines, jagged twinkly guitar riffs and yelping vocals; a combination which works ever so well.

The In Other Words 7″ is out June 10th through MÏLK records. You can give both tracks a go below, and I thoroughly recommend TDHTBT‘s blog too, it is a goldmine of musical discoveries.

Introducing: Hippies Vs Ghosts

There is certainly no great secret regarding my affection toward Welsh experimental indie-rockers We Are Animal, and rightly so, they’re fantastic. So with that in mind, here is Hippies Vs Ghosts, a side project from We Are Animal guitarist & vocalist, Owain Ginsberg.

The project came together a few months back, with two EPs released in quick succession, entitled Hippies and, yes you guessed it, Ghosts. Hippies Vs Ghosts carries over the signature ear for a serious groove bestowed upon the fabric of everything We Are Animal does. Over the course of the two EPs we are treated to a series of fascinating off-kilter instrumental jams (by and large) augmented by alluring grooves and imaginative arrangements, taking in taking in parts ’50s surf rock, rockabilly, indie and mod, among others. Jams is very apt as there is an unrestrained organic flow to this, with the music feeling as though it is wandering freely wherever which way it can.

This is excellent stuff and you can check out a few choice cuts below or, if you fancy, you can check both EPs here

‘Czarface’ (7L & Esoteric and Inspectah Deck)

The ’90s is often cited as the golden age of hip hop and while this is a debate best left to another, it was this decade that thrust the likes of Gang Starr, Wu-Tang, Mos Def and J5 upon me. In doing so, it opened up a new and wonderful world before me. 

So, away from the trip down memory lane and back to the here and now. Inspectah Deck, 7L & Esoteric have come together as ‘Czarface’ and in doing so, taken ’90s East Coast Hip Hop as a blueprint, run it through the gauntlet and brought it right up to date. This is hip hop that makes you bop, with beats that have more bloody bounce than Zebedee. 7L’s production excels as he stitches together bits of dialogue to create a dark, aggressive and sinister subterranean-minded world that suits the two emcees to perfection. Lyrically it is filled with complex rhymes and similes, as Esoteric and Deck deliver verse after verse as a verbal art form. Add to this a pretty stellar supporting cast including Ghostface Killah, Roc Marciano, Action Bronson & Premier, and you’ve got one great record.

Yes it is a bit of a throwback record but it never sounds anything but inspired – enough chatter from me, just give it a go, I implore you. 

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Drenge – ‘Backwaters’


So far, anytime we have swung by on Drenge, brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless, we’ve found them manage a perfect balance of simplicity, rawness and soul in their blasts of good old fashioned rock and roll.

Not ones for unwanted surprises it seems, the duo keep the continuity going with their latest single ‘Backwaters’. It continues along the same punk-blues-rock path that made their earlier tracks so good. A 3 minutes plus of relentlessly exhilarating rock ‘n roll riffs and menacing chugging, as it swells with snarl and fuzz. Both gritty and gripping, we’ve got two noise makers at the very top of their masterful game.

‘Backwaters’ is out with b-side ‘Necromance Is Dead’ on July 1st via Infectious. Also, you can catch them live when they play Longitude Festival, Dublin on July 21st.

The Derry Sound | An Interview with Our Krypton Son

The brand new issue of Lookleft hit the shelves across Ireland this week. Here is an interview with Our Krypton Son from the previous issue. Lookleft is available in every Easons north / south & other selected retailers.


Our Krypton Son is the brainchild of Derry man Chris McConaghy, who released his self-titled debut album of warm alt-rock/folk songs late last year, that solidified a growing reputation as an exceptional songwriter.

Having cut his first musical teeth with psychobilly art-rockers Red Organ Serpent Sound, on their demise, McConaghy emerged from the ashes with something quite different. Our Krypton Son initially began life as a solo-project, before gathering close musician friends together to create the band in early 2010.

The path, from then to today, was far from straightforward as McConaghy explains “I’d been in another Derry band (Red Organ Serpent Sound) that were signed to Mercury Records for 3 odd years. It had been a turbulent time though and I knew things were about to go pear-shaped so I began just writing songs myself again. I hadn’t really done that in a number of years. Initially I started gigging with a laptop (mainly because the idea of another acoustic singer/songwriter bored the hell out of me) but before long I was writing more elaborate songs for different instruments and it became apparent a band was required!”

Our Krypton Son took their time with their debut LP, making sure it was the album they were happy with. The response, which McConaghy is delighted with, would suggest they were right to do it their way “The reception has been terrific! We’ve always been really lucky in terms of radio play anyway but the reviews of the album have been great too. Some reviews in particular have totally blown me away and it’s been picked up by everyone from Hotpress and AU magazine to The Irish Times and The Sunday Times.”

One gets the distinct impression that McConaghy is very happy with how Our Krypton Son is progressing and why not? Their so far fruitful relationship with Derry Indie label Smalltown Records too, rather than a major, appears to be a large factor. He explains further say there is“a huge difference! With Mercury, there was a lot at stake. Plus when we were signed to them – 2005/2006 – the industry was just beginning to change and there was a serious focus to be commercial and sell records etc. Smalltown are more interested in creating art than selling records. They’re a lot savvier than a major label and they’re a good enabler to allow me to achieve my modest goals! It’s nice too that they’re just around the corner.”

There is a lot of attention being paid to Derry at present with it being ‘City of Culture’ this year. Prior to the recent flux of interest, from the outside at least, there seemed to be a very healthy music scene in the City. McConaghy said: “there are a lot of eyes on Derry at the moment so it’s a good time for acts from the town. SOAK, Little Bear, Ryan Vail, Best Boy Grip, Fighting With Wire & Rainy Boy Sleep are all doing brilliant. Some other acts to look out for include Figure Of 8, The Wood Burning Savages, Strength, Invaderband and others.”

On the ‘City of Culture’ he adds “There are a number of big concerts planned throughout the year including certain local Derry bands. No offense to these acts – they’re terrific and totally deserve the acclaim given to them – but it would be nice if some other local acts got the call for these slots occasionally as well. Though I suppose in a town with so much talent, it would be difficult to include everyone”.

Excluding the recent flurry of interest surrounding the ‘City of Culture’, one question comes to mind, do Northern acts get their fair share of coverage by the southern media? He feels they do, saying “even back in 2006, ROSS was nominated for a Meteor Award – which was a massive deal for us. It can be hard for a working band from the North to gets gigs in Dublin, say, unless you have a promoter behind you but in terms of press and radio play and coverage it’s been great.”

2013 will be a busy year for Our Krypton Son with McConaghy planning “album number two, a couple of lo-fi ep’s and as many gigs/festival appearances as we can squeeze in!”

Our Krypton Son’s self-titled debut album is out now through Smalltown America Records. You can listen to it and others below.