Sisters – ‘February’


It’s been quite some time since we’ve heard from London-based, Irish trio Sisters.They were in Ireland for Hard Working Class Heroes before heading to New York for a string of shows at CMJ Festival, but in terms of new music however, there has been nothing since ‘Hush Hush‘ this time last year.

To coincide with their trip to New York, Sisters thankfully break their self-imposed vow of silence with the release of brand new single, ‘February’, available as a free download. It is another sweet (but not too sweet) and catchy three minutes of heavenly dream-pop with a grungy edge, as Bassist Aoife takes full charge of vocal duties with aplomb. Her sublime vocals soar above the fuzzed up distortion to leave us with another irresistible earworm of tune. A triumphant return to form from Sisters and hopefully they don’t leave us waiting another 12 months for some new material.

You can check ‘February’/video below and if you head on over to their SoundCloud page, you can grab a free download of their single right now.


CMJ Tour Dates:

Baby’s All Right 22/10/14

Standard Hotel 23/10/14

The Delancey 24/10/14

Irish Arts Centre 25/10/14

Coco 66 25/10/14


Watch a short documentary about the Belfast godfather of punk Terri Hooley

If you haven’t seen Good Vibrations, the film about Terri Hooley, music mad idealist, Belfast’s godfather of punk and “terrible businessman”, you are missing out.

Both charming and impassioned, it charts how Hooley defied the grim reality and misery of the Troubles by opening a record shop in the middle of Belfast, before going on to champion punk bands like The Undertones, The Outcasts and Rudi. An inspiring, funny and utterly loveable film, next time your looking for something to watch, look no further, you will not regret it. Anyway, last week Nialler9 shared this short video documentary, shot during the recent Red Bull Music Academy weekender, it features the man himself taking a tour of a much-changed city. Hooley is now 65 and still runs that shop (which has closed and re-opened 11 times now) and it’s still open (just about).

The world would be an awfully bland, grey and banal place without mavericks, idealists and dreamers, and the same can be said of music, and Hooley’s a fully fledged member of that club.


Albums Roundup: By The Sea, Second Storey & The #1s


By The Sea Endless days crystal sky

Back again with a few more albums that have been keeping me occupied over the past while.

Second Storey – ‘Double Divide’

Formerly going by the name Al Tourettes, London-based Alec Storey began life as Second Storey in 2013 with his Margosa Heights EP. Released but a few weeks ago, his debut LP, Double Divide, is a revelation. Both rich and complex in equal measure, it is steeped in electronic experimentation. Double Divide is a hybrid of styles and influences, shifting from a dreamy ambient side, while others clearly leaning towards the dancefloor, and back again. It success lies in finding a balance, a sweet one at that, between atmospheric soundscapes and ones more at home at a hedonistic club. An album of contrasts, it’s in its infectious, often unusual rhythms too, that binds the entire LP together. A finely crafted debut and an absolutely thrilling listening experience from start to finish.

By The Sea – ‘Endless Days, Crystal Sky’

With their second LP, we find By The Sea sounding bigger and fuller than ever before, as they expanded and refined their wistful yet driven psych-pop undulations. ‘Endless Days, Crystal Sky’ is a magnificent collection of melodic guitar pop songs, illuminated by drifting, dreamlike atmospherics, jangling guitars and bubbly bass. This is an album which should sit proudly with many of the greatest records to emerge from the banks of the Mersey. While the influences are worm well, the understated and shimmering synth work adds a more modern veneer to this retro fitted piece of dreamy indie-pop. This scintillating dreamy indie-pop is sometimes propulsive while punctuated by world-weary vocals, imbued with an aching sense of melancholy, creating a great sense of both depth and warmth. While unquestionably excellent, By The Sea’s debut managed a cult success, released back in August, the Wirral 5-piece’s follow-up deserves far greater acclaim and attention.

The #1s – The #1s

This foursome have been knocking around Dublin for a couple of years now, as The #1s and their various other groups like Cheap Freaks, the Pacifics, and Cian Nugent & the Cosmos. Their seasoned status shines through spectacularly on their self-titled debut, a short and snappy blend of racy punk, power-pop and lo-fi that owes a certain debt to Northern punk bands of the mid-to-late ’70s, like Rudi, The Outcasts and The Undertones. The #1s wear their influences well and openers, ‘I Wish I Was Lonely’, ‘Sixteen’ and ‘Heartsmash’, leave you in no doubt that were headed to a bouncy punk scene from 35 years ago. Frantic and fast paced, it’s all over before you know it, in under 20 minutes in fact but no sooner has it finished and you’ll be hitting play once again. Combing all the finest ingredients, it’s bratty and fun, raw yet tender and simultaneously sugary sweet and sour, they’ve come up trumps with a master class in power-pop punk, and a thrilling debut.



Velvet Morning – ‘Green Whale’

Velvet Morning 'Green Whale' 2014

Velvet Morning and their self-coined ‘smooth psychedelia’ sound captured our attention this year, with a series of gently contagious, wistful, swirling and seductive bouts of psychedelia.

Having recently signed to RIP Records (good to know it’s not just me they’ve impressed), the Leigh-on-Sea quartet have shared their wonderful new single ‘Green Whale’. In doing so they continue to proliferate their dreamy slumbering wonderland as they conjure something hypnotically alluring, effortlessly cool and vaguely shoegaze on ‘Green Whale’. Washed-out, whispery vocals and a distorted melody line grapple for space amidst oceans of fuzz,as it bobs and bounds in and out of focus, in a woozy free-floating, undulating manner. Melodic, atmospheric and utterly brilliant – Velvet Morning continue to go from strength to strength.

Check out ‘Green Whale’ and its visual companion below.

Marika Hackman – ‘Drown’

marika hackman new album 2015

Folk songstress Marika Hackman has shared the first single from her forthcoming album, We Slept At Last, a much anticipated follow-up to her splendid 2013 mini-album, The Iron Taste.

Her latest offering, ‘Drown’, is a stunning reminder of her remarkable songwriting prowess, naturally intertwined with her captivating vocals. Characteristically eerie, ‘Drown’ sort of rustles and flickers in the darkness, muffled drums and delicate strum create a suitably haunting ambience for Hackman’s whispering soft vocals to beguile us. For someone still in the early days of her career, Marika Hackman has already amassed quite a tasty back catalogue, of which ‘Drown’ is as good as any that have preceded it. It goes without saying but her forthcoming debut full length is one to keep your eyes peeled for come February next year.

We Slept At Last will be released on February 16th 2015 with ‘Drown’ on December 8th (2014). You can stream it below now.