King Tuff – ‘Black Moon Spell’

King Tuff Band Photo

California outfit King Tuff, the brainchild of Kyle Thomas, has announced a third studio album entitled Black Moon Spell, will be released on September 23rd via Sub Pop Records. It serves as the proper follow-up to his 2012 self-titled album.

Ahead of the album’s release of the forthcoming LP, King Tuff has graciously presented us with the title track, ‘Black Moon Spell’, and it’s a full-blooded rock ‘n roll monster. Revolving around a brain-obliteratingly brilliant riff, which swells and swerves to carve through a blanket of instrumental noise, distortion. As do Thomas’ vocals – clean, nasaly and channelling his inner T-Rex (as in Mark Boland) – thee finds some way through the heady blitz of noise, encompassing swirling guitars, psych-pop, glam, garage and classic rock-inspired leads. A total beast of a tune, which you can get a load of below and Black Moon Spell of the same name is out September 23rd.

King Tuff plays the Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, BC (w/La Sera) on October 23rd. Full list of tour dates here.

Attaque – ‘Change Your Mind’

UK producer Attaque continues to tease us ahead of the forthcoming release of his new album, Only You. First off we had the dazzlingly infectious and meticulously crafted title track ‘Only You‘ and now he’s presented us with the bliss-filled sounds of ‘Change Your Mind’.

Majestic and melodic, it builds slowly through a woozy mix of beats and sounds, drifting towards the dreamy and magical realms of electronic music. A breathlessly atmospheric song, aided and abetted by some wonderfully hazy vocals from Adam Pleass of Qtier, it meanders through these braising blissful sounds, intoxicating every fibre of your being. A truly beautiful song that ekes out a sweet spot between woozy shoegaze and ambient electronic pop. Things are shaping up nicely for the release of Attaque’s new album, a change of pace, direction and style but the class remains.

Only You is released on October 27th via Bad Life. For now there is ‘Change Your Mind’, if you’re not already convinced, it’ll do just that.

Springtime Carnivore – ‘Sun Went Black’

springtime-carnivore-sun-went-black-2014-promo-636

Springtime Carnivore is the musical moniker of Greta Morgan, whose preparing to release her eponymous debut album. Produced by Richard Swift (Foxygen, The Black Keys, The Shins) it is penned in for release on November 4th.

First of the presses is the dazzling first single ‘Sun Went Black’, a buzzing, giddy burst of psychedelic tinged indie-pop. Employing ambient washes and hooky fuzzed guitars, she arrives at a blend of multi-coloured lush sounds that crackles with warmth and serves as a consummate companion for Morgan’s breezy mellifluous cooing. Morgan’s psychedelic interpretation on pop goes far beyond the hazy vocals and catchy beats, arriving at a sound that’s both danceable and dazzlingly colourful display of exuberant, synthesised pop. If this is an indication of what we can expect from her album, we’re in for a treat.

The album is out in November but for now it’s time to whet your appetite with ‘Sun Went Black’. Check it out below. Springtime Carnivore has a string of dates across North American throughout Oct/Nov (full list here), including Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret (w/ Generationals) on November 17th.

Introducing: Haüer

Haüer 2014

It’s fair to say that Dublin producer Haüer has a slight infatuation with the synthesizer sounds of the ’80s and synth-based cinematic film scores (those of John Carpenter in particular wouldn’t be a surprising find in his record collection). 

It is from this base that Haüer’s sleek, slick and cinematic vision of electro-pop takes shape. Retro yet futuristic, these fascinatingly imaginative and richly developed passages portray an impressive dreamlike ambience, rendering his latest EP, Esperbyte, such a captivating experience. In part due to painstaking production and an impressive, yet quite dark, vision of the place where dreams and reality coexist in the same space as video games and movies, offering the perfect backdrop for the driving beats, kicks, slow-motion chord changes and synths to combine and create an incredible sense of wonderment and adventure. The likes of ‘Merc II’ and ‘Esperbyte’ duly deliver in prompting the mind to envisage colourful flashbacks to numerous ’80s action movies and 8-bit adventure games – smooth, cool and feels a little dangerous. It not only unequivocally excels in inducing a severe case of nostalgia but it feels rather forward thinking and futuristic too. All in all, a masterfully pieced together release from start to finish.

Haüer’s new EP, Esperbyte, is out on September 12th. You can sample ‘Merc II’ & ‘Esperbyte’ below or pop over to Nialler9 & stream the EP in its entirety.

Introducing: Nano Kino

Nano Kino 2014

There’s a rather meagre amount of information available on Nano Kino, except say that they are a band, apparently based in London and yet another side-project involving Maxïmo Park guitarist Duncan Lloyd.

Nano Kino’s first offering is a beauty, a self-titled two track release that falls somewhere between pensive, yet self assured dream pop and droning reverb laced pysch-rock. Nano Kino slip seamlessly from being immersed in heavy blankets of reverb and fuzz, to gentle whirlpools of shimmering psychedelic dream-pop. Centred around an as yet unknown female vocalist, who’s powerful and evocative voice is the centre piece from which everything else is built. ‘Bike Ride’ sees subtle and refined percussion met by a driving guitar line and all soaked in a fuzzy lo-fi veneer, the perfect backdrop for her vocals (the sweet harmonies in particular) to shine. ‘L Song’, the pick of the two, sees her dreamy pitch ushered toward the slightly more experimental, spaced-out zones of hazy psych-pop. It just washes over you with such an ease, shimmering on it’s merry way, it fashions a perfect balance between pop and the psychedelic. Rather inspired stuff, of which, hopefully there’s more to come, and soon.

You can listen to both ‘Bike Ride’ & ‘L Song’ below & if they tickle your fancy, they can be yours, just ‘name your price’ here.

The Coral – ‘The Curse of Love’

The Coral The Curse Of Love 2014

Breaking an indefinite hiatus by releasing an LP which was recorded eight years ago must stand as one of the odder things to do, but The Coral are set to do just that.

Featuring 12 previously unreleased tracks that were recorded between 2005 album The Invisible Invasion and 2007’s Roots & Echoes, the new LP, The Curse of Love, will be released on October 20th, through their own Skeleton Key Records. The album’s title track, the first offering to be unveiled from the forthcoming release, is a sombre and slumbering psych-folk number with waltzing swaying sea shanty vibe at it’s core, as James Skelly mournfully recounts ‘the curse of love’, in distinctive lilting scouse vocals. Also taken from the forthcoming LP is ‘Wrapped In Blue’. Featuring original guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones’ unmistakable style, it is a more uptempo number with a locked in groove and twitchy and warped aesthetic, against a dark narrative and softly strummed guitar. No major shocks or surprises to anyone familiar with The Coral’s previous output and it certainly sounds as though it wasn’t shelved due to quality control issues.

Whether or not The Coral’s hiatus is nearing a close is anyone’s guess but for now we’ve two great ‘new’ tracks and an album to look forward to. That’ll certainly do for the time being.  The Curse of Love is available to pre-order here.

Electric Picnic 2014: Johnny Feeney’s 5 Best Acts

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of all the people who made it to Electric Picnic this year, especially after last year’s festival, which was one of my favourite EP’s of all. It’s a small price to pay I guess for a new life over here in Vancouver. In my absence however, the trusty and reliable Johnny Feeney was down in Stradbally for this year’s festival, one of his favourites yet. His knowledge, diverse taste and appetite for music (gigs in particular) is astounding and always provides a refreshing and interesting take on whatever he chooses to write about. I for one really enjoyed his report from the weekend’s antics and hopefully you do too. So without any further hesitation, here are the five acts that impressed him the most at Electric Picnic 2014. Thanks as always to Johnny and I’ll leave you in his very capable hands.

Portishead, Main Stage, Saturday 30st August, 22:35

Trip-hop masters Portishead are not a band renowned for being overly prolific (they’ve released three studio albums in 20 years) or for their zealous touring schedule (they haven’t played in Ireland since 1997) so tonight’s performance on the main stage falls into the once-in-a-blue-moon category which you do not want to miss. The huge crowd at the main stage is recognition of this fact and thankfully they are treated to a very special show. The set opens with ‘Silence’ and its long, clattering intro before lead singer Beth Gibbons comes on stage to a raucous reception.

Gibbons is an enigmatic, mysterious, almost reticent, front woman. Clad in black jeans and black hoody, she delivers her angst-laden, blood-chilling vocals with her head bowed and eyes closed not acknowledging the crowd. As soon as her vocals are finished she turns away from the crowd and the lights, faces the drums and almost cowers in the dark until called upon again. From tonight’s set ‘The Rip’ is especially brilliant early on followed by the gorgeously languid ‘Sour Times’. Other highlights include ‘Wandering Star’, ‘Over’ and ‘Glory Box’. It may be bleak, it may be grim, but this is just magnificent from start to finish.

As the band wave their farewells after the encore there’s more than a hint of a smile from Gibbons. Has the Stradbally crowd won her over or is she just glad it’s all over? We’ll never know. That’s Beth for you, ever the enigma.

St Vincent, Electric Arena, Sunday 31st August, 19:00

On the other hand, Annie Clark, aka St Vincent, has no apparent problems playing to the masses. Drawing in a huge crowd to the early-evening slot on Sunday she delivers a blistering show to an ecstatic crowd. Drawing heavily from her self-titled latest album, Clark opens with ‘Rattlesnake’ before playing recent single ‘Digital Witness’, an infectious, joyous track with blasting horns and an incredibly catchy chorus.

This is an art-rock performance that will love long in the memory. Not only no slouch on the guitar with some crunching, squelching riffs, there are also numerous choreographed dance moves with her keyboard player. Later on, Clark finds herself writhing around on the raised steps at the back of the stage before playing ‘Cheerleader’ standing atop them. A late stage dive into the crowd finds a green mask placed into Clark’s hand. As she’s returned to the stage, she duly puts on the mask and finishes with ‘Her Lips Are Red’. A born entertainer, a wonderful show.

Metronomy, Electric Arena, Saturday, 20:00

People are ready to dance on Saturday night as an expectant crowd awaits Metronomy in the Electric Arena. The band emerge to a hero’s welcome dressed in white suits eerily reminiscent of Liverpool’s ill-fated 1995 FA Cup Final attire and deliver a barnstorming set of highly danceable electronic pop. Their latest record, Love Letters, may not attain the heights of their earlier albums but the title track, in particular, along with the soulful ‘I’m Aquarius’ and the instrumental ‘Boy Racers’ are well received.

The set highlights however come from earlier tracks such as ‘Corinne’, ‘the Look’, ‘the Bay’, ‘Holiday’, ‘Radio Ladio’ and ‘Heartbreaker’. The tent is hopping throughout as punters dance with abandon and the atmosphere is suitably electric. This was an incredible amount of fun and up there as a contender for set of the weekend alongside Chic’s fairly monumental headline show on the main stage later on Saturday evening.

The Altered Hours, Body & Soul Main Stage, Friday 29th August, 20:00

Having never heard of this Cork band before, stumbling across these guys early on Friday evening by blind luck and then being absolutely blown away by them was my very nice surprise of the weekend. Live, they play a really noisey, dirgey brand of rock somewhere between heavier psych-rock and the ear-bleeding shoegaze of My Bloody Valentine.

The mesmerising ‘Sweet Jelly Roll’, from the eponymous EP, has a real Jesus and Mary Chain feel to it. This is hypnotic music that draws you further and further in. Certainly a band worth checking out more of in the future, The Altered Hours play upstairs in Whelan’s on 14th of November. Blind luck can be a beautiful thing.

Benjamin Booker, Cosby Stage, Saturday, 15:45

New-Orleans based Benjamin Booker is only 22-years-old, but you wouldn’t think it from listening to him. Oozing cool on the Cosby Stage on Saturday afternoon and touring in support of his recently released brilliant self-titled debut album, his blues-rock is stomping, soulful and full of energy.

Accompanied by guitar and drums, Booker drums up a whirlwind of rousing rock along the lines of Black Keys or the White Stripes (Jack White was a big influence), but with bags more soul. In fact, the first pause for breath is about two-thirds through the show when Booker disappears off stage, quickly returns with fag in mouth which he proceeds to light up and explodes into song again before jumping off stage and running straight through the entire crowd. Set closer ‘Violent Shiver’ is a beast of a blues-rock track and finishes the show in suitably energetic fashion. Superb.