The Vickers – ‘She’s Lost’

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Are you looking for something to file next to Tame Impala in your record collection? Never fear, here’s the ticket. Hailing from Florence, Italy comes psychedelic rockers The Vickers, who’ve just released a brand new single, ‘She’s Lost’. 

There are patches of late-60s psychedelia and decades of British bands, ranging from the Kinks to Jesus & Mary Chain and to the darkness of Joy Division – the result of which is dreamy psych fuzz with a touch of casual darkness. ‘She’s Lost’ is a hypnotic and controlled concoction of noise. Motorik drums and propulsive  post-punk basslines drive things forward, while allowing echoes and delayed guitars to sweep and burst into one another, cultivating a far-out, and irrepressibly cool sound. Meanwhile the b-side, ‘All I Need’, sticks to a similar script but finds space to add a touch more darkness. The Vickers are ones to keep an eye (and an ear) on, especially as they’ve an album in the pipeline too, which hopefully it sees the light of day sooner rather than later.

You can check out both tracks and the fittingly psychedelic video for ‘She’s Lost’ below.

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The Joy Formidable – ‘Silent Treatment’

This week sees The Joy Formidable release a brand new four track EP, Silent Treatment. Included on the EP are the album original, new track ‘All This Promise’ and a live recording of ‘Tendons’, as well as a William Orbit rework of ‘Silent Treatment’.

‘Silent Treatment’ is one of the standouts from the Welsh Indie-rockers latest album Wolf’s Law, and having seen them live twice earlier in the year, it’s quiet exceptional live too. ‘Silent Treatment’ offers a more unfamiliar side to The Joy Formidable as the rampaging guitar heroics and emphatic wall of sound take a temporary back seat. That said, the passion and intensity remains the same on this delicate acoustic ballad, which also allows for a full appreciation of Ritzy Bryan’s wonderful vocals. The William Orbit rework of the track is excellent too, subtlety adding atmosphere and a sprinkle of synths to enhance the sheer intimacy and beauty of the original. 

The Joy Formidable’s Silent Treatment EP is out now and you can listen to the title track, and William Orbit’s rework below.

I Am Legion [Noisia + Foreign Beggars] – ‘Make Those Move’

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Noisia and Foreign Beggars are no strangers to each other having collaborated on tracks like ‘Soul Purge’ and ‘Shellshock’ for the former’s 2010 album, Split The Atom.

The two acts are at it once again, teaming up as I Am Legion. This project has apparently been in the pipeline for five years but they have unveiled the fruits of their union, the single, ‘Make Those Move’. It is a truly monstrous track filled with massive amounts of heavy bass and big beats. It is essentially a blend of Noisia’s love of smashing big beats and the griminess of Foreign Beggars, a mix which only works wonders. This collaborative project might have taken five years but so far so good.  

An album from I Am Legion is due in September but before all that, you can stream ‘Make Those Move’ below. Edit: ‘Make Those Move’ is available as a free download from I Am Legion’s website

(Video) Lethal Dialect – ’13 ‘Til Infinity’

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Lethal Dialect is easily one of the best rappers in Ireland, and has been for sometime now. LD is gearing up for the release of his highly anticipated new album, 1988 this summer.

Ahead of the forthcoming LP the he has treated us to ’13 ‘Til Infinity’ – a fine first taste of what to expect from the album. It appears he’s swapped the darkness of his previous two albums in favour of lighter, brighter vibes. ’13 ‘Til Infinity’ has a sun-kissed summery feel to it with a woozy laid-back vibe and a jazzy touch. All a platform for LD to unfurl  his  nostalgic, contemplative lyrics. LD has always been a thoughtful soul, but even so, his lyrics and delivery on this occasion are really striking. The suitably summery and highly polished video, directed by Jonathan Lambert, is excellent too, check it up above. Having scrapped his Magnum Opus project it was always going to be intriguing to discover what LD would come up with. The good news is, he hasn’t disappointed. 

1988 is due out this summer & you can download ’13 ‘Til Infinity’ for free here.

(Video) Manic Street Preachers – Rewind The Film (ft. Richard Hawley)

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Yesterday the Manic Street Preachers unveiled the title track from new album Rewind The Film, which comes out in September. 

The album is one of two the band have apparently been working on simultaneously; one gentle acoustic and one spiky, with lots of guitars. Based on the evidence of ‘Rewind The Film’, we’re getting the acoustic one first. The Welsh rockers sound like their in a more reflective mood on this occasion, with Richard Hawley trading vocals with James Dean Bradfield. Hawley lends more than his voice to this brooding and cinematic number. Opening with delicately plucked guitar and the whisper of violins, it has his mark stamped all over it, before Dean Bradfield enters the fray with his impassioned vocals. A rather stirring lament which bodes well for the forthcoming new record. 

News of new Manics’ material also provides the perfect opportunity to share this little gem, which the band gave away recently. It’s another collaboration of sorts, with Gruff Rhys teaming up with The Manics for a rendition of ‘Let Robeson Sing’ at the O2. It’s slightly off the point but sure what’s not to like about Gruff Rhys teaming up with The Manics? Consequently (and controversially I’m sure) ‘Let Robeson Sing’ is taken from my favourite Manics’ album, Know Your Enemy.

You can check out the tracks below. The Manic’s will play Dublin’s Olympia Theatre on September 20th, days after the release of the album on September 16th.

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Introducing: Oisin McCole

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It never ceases to baffle me how so many talented artists remain hidden away for view, especially somewhere relatively small like Ireland. Oisin McCole is one such example, an outstanding and undeniable talented folk singer and songwriter, previously based in Dublin but currently residing in Germany.

McCole has been writing songs since the age of 12 and had planned to release an EP after his 13th birthday but was afraid of the critics. Now in his early twenties, less fearful and having extolled the virtue of patience long enough, he recently released his debut EP, From Here The Mountain. McCole’s lo-fi blues/folk blend is refreshingly humble and entirely devoid of ostentatious. The songs are beautifully written and constructed, never sounding contrived or over-produced. The songs posses an incredibly intimate sound and a personal touch; you can almost imagine him being stood a few feet away as they flow from your speakers. Importantly, he also has a knack for making good tunes too. From the gorgeous ballad, ‘Not For Your Heart’ to the extremely catchy and humorous ‘Doghouse’ – these are folk songs from a seriously talented songwriter, deserving of far greater attention. I was lucky enough to attend the launch of From Here The Mountain a few weeks back, and the entire room was absorbed by McCole’s amazing performance. It was simply faultless.

The only concern is that I’ve undersold his talent, but there’s only so many adjectives one can use. Needless to say, don’t take my word for it, have a listen to the few choice cuts below. If you like what you hear, you can ‘name your price’ and download From Here The Mountain from here.

Introducing: The Dirty Rivers

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Formed in Liverpool / Wirral back in 2011, The Dirty Rivers shed the influence usually associated with the city in favour of a darker, more adrenalin fuelled sound. 

The Scouse five-piece are just about to release their 2nd single, ‘The Kid’, which is simply a massive tune. It bombards the listener with layer upon layer of sound, as lazy guitar riffs are spliced over a range of lively percussion additives, forming into a sprawling, spiraling hedonistic jam. Their sound is owing much to B.R.M.C., Led Zeppelin, ‘Second Coming’ era Stone Roses and the early days of The Music – but in saying that there is something distinct to their work, perhaps it’s the swagger and attitude with which it’s delivered? Whatever the case, they appear to have struck on a formula that works, something their earlier works are testament to also. ‘Get Your Guns’ is packed with attitude and absolutely brimming with monstrous rock n roll licks, ‘Black Heart/Filth’ meanwhile, opens with a subtle melodic indie jangle before seamlessly morphing into an altogether darker, aggressive rock ‘n roll beast. This is a band of great promise indeed, let’s hope they get an album sorted before too long.

‘The Kid’ will be released on July 22nd through DeltaSonic Records & there’s plenty to sink your teeth into below.

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Disconcerting P – ‘Its Not Good Enough’

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Padraig McCauley has impressed no end over the past few years. The Naas based multi-instrumentalist already has two quality albums under his belt with The P Affection. In saying all that, this latest departure, side-project Disconcerting P, is all kinds of wonderful.

McCauley has teamed up with fellow Naas dweller Emma Butler for the side-project.  The initial fruit from this union has come in the shape of ‘Its Not Good Enough’, a blissful slice of summery vibes. It’s such a bright, breezy and dreamy indie-pop ditty, oozing with such a super cool and carefree vibe, the prefect soundtrack for Bultler’s syrupy sweet vocals. Irresistibly infectious, this is a pick me up of a track, one to stick a smile on even the most sullen of faces. 

‘Its Not Good Enough’ is all we have from the duo, for the time being anyway. You can give it a spin & download it below, it should add a bit of pep to your step.

BarryGruff’s Best Albums of 2013 so far……

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Due to various reasons I’ve been slacking with album reviews this year. That said, I’ve been listening to more than ever before but finding the time to pen some musings about some of them. In an attempt to redress this situation, here’s the ten albums that have impressed me the most so far this year.

10. Applescal – ‘Dreaming In Key’

Dreaming in Key is the third LP from young Dutch producer Applescal. Comprised of 11 tracks, the album isn’t too easy to pin down, finding itself in an ambiguous hinterland between electronica & techno; meaning it comes across as both dreamy and driving. It is also marked by the track’s complexity. Lavish layers of sound are met with impressive sound sequencing resulting in a warm, mellow vibe. Applescal is on top of his game.

[Stream on Spotify]

09. Trwbador – ‘Trwbador’

Mergers of folk and glitchy electronica can at times yield yawnsome middle of the road, chin stroking bollocks, but not so for Welsh duo Trwbador (aka Angharad Van Rijswijk & Owain Gwilym). Since forming in 2010, the pair have forged a distinctive and fruitful partnership for producing serenely beautiful, otherworldly music. It’s a trend carried through to their self-titled debut which sees warm folky sounds and whimsical vocals pinned to electronic glitches and loops. It contains a real sense of tenderness, twinkling and flickering simultaneously, it is both carefree and hypnotic. A magic and irresistibly beautiful album. This is absorbing music to get lost in.

[Stream on Spotify]

08. The Pictish Trail – ‘Secret Soundz, Volume 2′

Most likely the greatest album to be recorded in a caravan, Secret Soundz, Volume 2, is the second LP from The Pictish Trail, the alter ego of Scottish musician Johnny Lynch. Throughout the LP, he’s in a contemplative, often melancholic 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. A magnificent record; warm, inviting and full of charming quirks from an exceptional talent.

07. Biggles Flys Again – ‘Remember Saturday’

Ireland certainly produces plenty of great bands, but for me, where it falls short of say our Welsh neighbours, is when it comes to indie bands of the weird and wonderful variety. But in Biggles Flys Again we’ve got a domestic talent expertly filling that void. Biggles Flys Again is the moniker of Dubliner Conor Deasy, who’s got a real talent for crafting 3 minute pop gems. Biggles’ debut album Remember Saturday is brimming with enchanting and whimsical good old fashioned pop songs, filled with sinuous melodies and organic arrangement. This is pop in the old fashioned sense, played by a band, and with an assured sense of style.

06. Sweet Baboo – ‘Ships’

Touted as a concept album about the sea, and yes, there are plenty of sea related moments but the songs are mainly concerned with love and relationships, usually with a bittersweet edge. Ships is a wry take on lost love and heartbreak, sliding from darkly funny to piercingly tender, this is one of the most perfectly crafted indie-pop you’re likely to hear all year. There are so many highlights, ’If I Died…..’ opens the album perfectly and features one of the best lyrics – “Daniel Johnston has written hundreds of great tunes, and I’ve got six, so I guess there’s some catching up to do” – and a delightful melody and irresistible swirls of brass. That’s followed the startlingly perky ‘The Morse Code For Love’ and ‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’, shrouded in a woozy veil of melancholy before bursting into life with a brass-filled chorus that won’t leave your head anytime soon. The North Wales native is an idiosyncratic artist with an ear for a sparkling melody and a gift for an evocative lyrical turn.

[Stream on Spotify & Deezer]

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