Mr Huw – ‘Cariad Afiach’


It is hardly stretching the bounds of reality to suggest that for many people outside of Wales, their first introduction to the Welsh language in musical form, was with the release of Super Furry Animals’ album Mwng. Welsh is a language that lends itself to music rather well, regardless of whether you can understand what the lyrics are all about.

In a roundabout sort of way that brings us to Mr Huw, a rather prolific Welsh language musician, and his fourth album in six years, Cariad Afiach. Mr Huw’s formula is pretty straightforward, write a catchy tune, sing lyrics over a catchy melody and hey presto, an album. It is an approach happily embraced by Mr Huw, and one that rewards with serious dividends on Cariad Afiach (or ‘Sick Love’ in English). The album remains accessible to non-Welsh speakers through of combination of tight arrangements and melodic bliss, and you can pick up on the mood of the songs/album even if when the lyrics remain a mystery.

There’s something familiar and retro-leaning about the songs throughout Cariad Afiach, while at the same time, it sounds entirely unfamiliar. The likes of ‘Cerrig Beddi’, ‘Cariad Afiach’ or Cyfrinachol set the tone, ragged, raw and edgy indie/post-punk tunes, filled with pointed riffs and broached with some swoonful melodies. Every track on here is so catchy, Mr Huw is perhaps the closest modern-day relative to the off-kilter genius of HMHB.

Cariad Afiach is an album filled with so many beguiling qualities. Regardless of whether you’re a Welsh speaker or not, it remains a fine indie/alternative record, just give it a chance. [Buy / Stream]

Manor – ‘Architecture’

Manor - Promo Photo

‘Architecture’ is the latest single from Melbourne alt-pop duo Manor, and one of the most effortlessly catchy tracks you’re likely to hear for quite some time.

Together this duo, comprised of Caitlin Duff (vocalist) and Nathaniel Morse (multi-instrumentalist), have managed to pull off something rather special. ‘Architecture’ is a compelling slice of alt-pop and one that’s utterly intoxicating. It’s a dreamy slow-burner, crafted around a chugging bass line and spacey synths, with Duff’s enchanting vocals atop Morse’s swirling guitars. It is just such a wonderful song. There’s chat that a debut EP is in the pipeline from Manor too and if ‘Architecture’  is anything to go by, it should be one to keep an eye out for. They’ve gone and set the bar rather high with this one.

‘Architecture’ is out now digitally from all the usual haunts. You can give it a spin below. 

Crystal Stilts – ‘Future Folklore’


Brooklyn’s Crystal Stilts are back with news of a new album, entitled Nature Noir, it comes out on 16th September via Sacred Bones.

Crystal Stilts’ previous two records, Alight of Night and In Love With Oblivion were both excellent, so it’s hardly being harsh to expect more of the same from the forthcoming album? ‘Future Folklore’ offers a glimpse into what’s to come and it goes someway to satisfying such lofty expectations. ‘Future Folklore’ thunders along from the off; a rumbling bassline, muffled drums, organ and snappy guitar solos are met with touches of blues, swamp rock, psych and post-punk. This all provides the perfect platform for Brad Hargett’s baritone croon to float upon as the music thunders along. Clocking in at just over two and a half minutes, nothing is left to waste, this is a good old fashioned rock ‘n roll jam. Magnificent! 

You can listen to ‘Future Folklore’ below, along with fellow taster ‘Star Crawl’; hazier and more psyched out yes, but it’s got that recoginsable post-punk drone.

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Introducing: Kyle Lee and the Mexican Walking Fish


Hailing from Bangor in North Wales, Kyle Lee and the Mexican Walking Fish carefully crafted beautiful, soft acoustic (predominantly) alt-country ballads.

Now, Kyle Lee and the Mexican Walking Fish isn’t likely to be a name you’ll forget in hurry but reassuringly, the music is just as memorable as their handle. The likes of ‘Humble Human Being’, ‘When we’re Lost’ and ‘Things Never Change’ flow gently by, amid a sea of subtle instrumentation and soft lilting vocals. Backed by The Mexican Walking Fish, Lee’s soft whispering lyricisms are shrouded in melancholy, adding a comforting air of vulnerability which binds everything together beautifully. There is a willingness to branch out beyond the relative simplicity of ballads, ‘Humble Human Being’ is peppered with brass, organ and banjo, lifting it to lofty heights. To put it simply; these are beautiful, simplistic and assured songs.

You can listen to a few choice cuts from Kyle Lee and the Mexican Walking Fish below. 

Public Service Broadcasting – ‘Theme From PSB (Fold’s Technicolour Remix)’

Public Service Broadcasting‘s raison d’etre appears to be for sifting through old propaganda film archives, splicing and dicing these snippets to music.

In doing so the London-based duo have managed to craft an artful and powerfully evocative mix of post-punk, krautrock  and electronics into the sample-tastic delight that is, Inform – Educate – Entertain. Their LP is a fresh and fun, which feels entirely retro and futurist at the same time. Hopefully time is found to elaborate further on the many qualities of this album in the near future. 

That said, it was Fold’s Technicolour Remix of ‘Theme From PSB’ which first the caught the eye and sparked an interest for further investigation. Fold’s interpretation is a stunning rework and a far cry from the original. Keeping the vocal clips, Fold’s adds a dash or two of horns, drums, drones and some spliced ambient vocals. The result? A colourful, uplifting and inspired remix.

You can listen to both the original ‘Theme From PSB’ & Fold’s remix below. And sure while you’re at it, if you have the time, check out PSB’s  Inform – Educate – Entertain [Spotify / Deezer / iTunes].

Win Tickets to Knoxville Morning: Celebrating 10 Years of Band On An Island :: Odessa Club, Dublin :: Friday, August 23rd


Competitions and giveaways are a rare thing on here but I’m delighted to be able to offer two pairs of tickets for Knoxville Morning: Celebrate 10 Years of Band On An Island in the Odessa Club on Friday, August 23rd.

To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is email your name to barrygruff[at]gmail[dot]com with ‘Knoxville Morning Giveaway’ as the subject title. Winners will be selected at random and the competition closes at 3pm, Friday, August 16th. If you still need persuading, here’s a wee bit of spiel about the band.

Under whatever guise, Knoxville Morning or BOAI, they have played a hugely important role in the development of what is now a rather healthy music scene in Newbridge. To be fair, few, if any have done as much for music in the town. So, before Knoxville Morning came Band on an Island. Formed over Campfire sing songs in Newbridge ten years ago, Band on an Island have enjoyed a good decade in Irish music. From the fire of those local campfires, they spread their music to places that even they themselves could never imagine. One of which was America, the birthplace of their beloved Country music, where the beginnings of a new project started to take shape. 

A trip across the US left Band on an Island founder and chief songwriter, Ciaran Dwyer with a collection of songs and stories, of a different variety to those of BOAI. Having assembled together the bones of a new album, with the help of his BOAI colleagues and a host of other musicians and friends, they recorded a new record under the new Alias “Knoxville Morning”. The resulting record was great – a sweet blend of folk, country and Americana, with Dwyer’s intuitive storytelling the linchpin that holds everything together. The record was well received elsewhere too and managed to secure a German record deal.

For this night only in August, with the help of many friends, they will dig deep into their extensive catalogue of jams and celebrate Ten Years of friendship and Newbridge Music.

Knoxville Morning: Celebrate 10 years of Band on an Island in the Odessa Club, 13 Dame Court, Dublin 2, Friday 23 August. Support: Daydream Regime, Appo & Rory Hughes. Doors: 8:30pm + Admission: €8. 

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Miaoux Miaoux – Stop The Clocks (Tom Furse Remix)


Last year Glasgow based producer Miaoux Miaoux released his wonderful debut album Light of the North. One of 2012’s finest, it was an absolute treasure; delicately piecing together beats, electronics, synths and guitars, with his pristine vocals gliding through a heavenly mist of lush harmonies, melodies, beats and electronics.

This year has been a much quieter one for the Scottish producer. Although not entirely new, being part of Miaoux Miaoux’s Autopilot EP which was released late last year, this beauty has finally found it’s way online. The beauty in question is Tom Furse’s (of The Horrors) rework of ‘Stop The Clocks’, one of the standout tracks from Light of the North. Furse’s remix is an absolute triumph, and nothing short of epic. It unfurls over ten minutes, from an ominous, effect-drenched opening, before ascending to exquisitely blissed out and trippy plain, with some choice Eastern sounding synth work and snappy 808 claps. This is a simply stunning piece of work. 

You can check the Tom Furse’s remix below but if you haven’t check out Miaoux Miaoux’s debut album Light of the North, I wholeheartedly recommend that you do. [Buy / Stream]

(Video) King Krule – ‘Easy Easy’

We’ve been keeping tabs on King Krule for quite some time now, something like two and a half years maybe? Anyway, the young Londoner is finally poised to release his debut album entitled, 6 Feet Beneath The Moon

Ahead of the album’s release later this month, King Krule has released the video to new track ‘Easy Easy’. King Krule has long been the closest inheritor of Billy Bragg’s minimal folk/punk ruggedness, from Bragg’s early days anyway. ‘Easy Easy’ doesn’t exactly dispel this notion. It’s raw and punchy, with a sparsity to it, which allows for a thudding riff (very early BB) and gut wrenching vocals to completely take control of the senses. His album may have been a long time coming but if ‘Easy Easy’ is anything to go by, it might just have been worth the wait. 

6 Feet Beneath The Moon is out August 24th through XL True Panther.

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Babyshambles – ‘Farmer’s Daughter’


This came as quite a surprise the other week when Babyshambles announced news of a forthcoming new album and released ‘Farmer’s Daughter’ as a taster. 

Having heard rumours that Babyshambles were in the studio working on new material, they were chalked down as nothing more than speculation, given the media circus which generally surrounds Doherty. Doherty is a rather divisive character it must be said, but putting aside all the woo ha surrounding his personal life, the man’s got talent. Under whatever guise, beit The Libertines, Babyshambles or his solo work, he’s played his part in some damn fine records – so personally anyway, it comes as a welcome surprise. ‘Farmer’s Daughter’ sounds more refined and revitalized. It slips from a downtempo meander with Doherty’s melodic vocals rarely sounding as potent, before blasts of loud, twangy guitar riffs lead into an anthemic, full-blooded chorus. It is a powerful reminder that looking past all the bullshit, Babyshambles can turn out a bloody good tune.

Babyshambles new album is called Sequel to the Prequel and is due for release in early September. Check out ‘Farmer’s Daughter’ below.

Eugene McGuinness – ‘Fairlight’

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Everyone likes a surprise, well the good kind anyway. Eugene McGuinness has today released a new one-off single, ‘Fairlight’, which kind of came out of the blue this morning. 

‘Fairlight’ is the first new material from McGuinness since the release of album The Invitation To The Voyage last summer. It sees him continue to eek out a space (and perfect balance) between catchy pop and exhilarating indie. That said, ‘Fairlight’ is marked by a proliferation of further influences creeping in too, namely those of a psychedelic and krautrock disposition. The result is a spacey and hypnotic atmospheric number with a shimmering full-blooded sound, a swell of guitars, Arabian-inspired keys and the recognizable vocal prowess from McGuinness. On the surface it seems this is a stand alone, one off single but perhaps not. We’ll just have to wait and see won’t we?

‘Fairlight’ is out today as a download from all the usual haunts. If you happen to be across the water, Eugene McGuinness will be playing a free show at ‘Birthdays’ in London on September 16th.