(Video) Marika Hackman – ‘Drown’

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We were given a first taste of what to expect from the highly anticipated debut album* from Marika Hackman, We Slept At Last, with its first single ‘Drown’ back in October, and now to stoke the fires of interest further, it has been given the visual treatment.

The single itself is characteristically eerie and 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. It is this underlying layer of darkness which is eked out further to quite grim and unnerving proportions on the new video, as the songs title is taken literally. Unsettling it may be but visually it is pretty stunning. We Slept At Last will be released on February 16th 2015 and ‘Drown’ is timely reminder of her remarkable songwriting prowess, naturally intertwined with her captivating vocals. For someone still in the dawn of her career, she’s already got a pretty a tasty back catalogue to her name, of which ‘Drown’ is as good as any. It goes without saying but her forthcoming debut full length is one to keep your eyes peeled for in the new year.

You can check ‘Drown’ below and you can pre-order We Slept At Last here.

*Debut album proper following on from here splendid ‘mini-album’ The Iron Taste in 2013.

Only Real – ‘Yesterdays’

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London’s Only Real aka Niall Galvin has unveiled a new track ‘Yesterdays’, taken from his forthcoming debut album.

Latest single ‘Yesterdays’ sticks to the script; sugary, sun-drenched and somewhat unseasonal surf-rock goodness, better fit for sunny beaches than the grey skies of wintertime. Opening with a whirl of harmonies and charming samples before Galvin lays down typically telling half-rap/half-spoken word lyrics. Shimmering melodic guitars echo the laid back, nonchalant poise flourishing toward a woozy feel-good climax that ensures summer is not forgotten just yet. Since introducing himself with woozy slackerish, surf-rock inspired tunes, produced in his West London bedroom, Only Real hasn’t put a foot wrong. Rather, he has proven a profuse source of sun-kissed lo-fi-indie-pop. In ‘Yesterdays’ we’ve got yet another deliciously woozy, feel-good track

As yet there is no title or date for Only Real’s forthcoming debut LP but it’s penned in for release in early 2015. For now? Check ‘Yesterday’ out below.

Favourite New Sounds of 2014: W/ Philip Neeson AKA Dukla Prague Away Kit

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As November draws to a close and the silly season of list making and roundups draws near, myself & Philip Neeson, who runs and edits one of my favourite and frequently visited Dukla Prague Away Kit, decided to get in on the action early. A blog swap whereby he & I pick our five favourite new acts from 2014 seeming the most apt. After all, I quite enjoy these end of year lists, both sharing mine and reading others to see what I`ve missed out on during the year, so this covers both bases nicely.

With that I shall leave you in Mr. Neeson`s capable hands as he outlines his favourite new sounds of 2014. You can also check mine out here.

(05) Nochexxx:

The boy Nochexxx (aka Dave Henson) actually released a couple of slabs back in 2011 but 1) I wasn’t aware of these, and 2) he finally put out a debut LP this year, so he’s new in every other sense of the word…ahem. ‘Thrusters’ is one fun-packed acid test of retro bleep and sample-heavy techno. (The tune included here samples the classic ‘The Fly’ movie). “Electro-funk freak beats” was how Boomkat described this release, and they’re usually not that wrong.

(04) Vomitface:

“Slimy-grunge post-punk disturbance” is how I winged the track ‘Sloppy Joes’ on the website upon first listen or three. I enjoyed it lots. And then a month or so down the line the New Jersey three-piece got in touch to tell me about their “completely reverent and irreverent simultaneously” video for the single, and I loved it– and indeed them– even more. The vid in question is music video of the year for me, and the tune quite possibly my number 1 single to boot. I’m looking forward to hearing more.

(03) Quirke:

Josh Quirke’s ‘Acid Beth’ is possibly my second favourite EP after the EP from my number 1 new act below ( I do like EP’s, you know). A dark release, that incorporates things like ghostly pianos in empty Victorian houses (the title-track) and restless, all-out industrialized techno attack (‘Break A Mirrored Leg’).

(02) CRUISING:

CRUISING are an Irish DIY indie supergroup. They’re also quite loud and raw. In fact, one can’t imagine them ever playing in a venue hat isn’t a spit-and-dust dive with graffiti scribbled in the toilets. I saw them play a venue in Belfast earlier this year that was a spit-and-dust dive with graffiti in the toilets. CRUISING also very good. And put out a cassette single this year on the excellent Soft Power label called ‘You Made Me Do That’. It sounds like Jack White playing The Fall circa 1980.

(01) M.E.S.H.:

My favourite new act award goes to M.E.S.H., who is from Berlin, a place that seems to produce no end of good electronic and techno. His debut release ‘Scythians’ is possibly my favourite EP of 2014.  It’s out on PAN, which also happens to be one of my favourite labels. I particularly love ‘Captivated'; it’s one cold and uncertain cave-dweller of a track. But M.E.S.H. loves everything from dub-techno to spacy hip-hop.

Photo by John Quintero

(Video) Beach Day – ‘How Do You Sleep At Night’

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During the summer Beach Day released Native Echoes, a collection bright and cheeky, lo-fi garage rock tunes. Inspired by nostalgia but powered by a fresh verve, it captured that hazy summer vibe and this bright blend of garage rock, surf pop and girl group sounds, sits comfortably alongside contemporaries like Cults and Tennis.

Needless to say, hazy summer days (and nights) are but a distant memory on this side of the world but doesn’t mean we must dispel the hazy, sun-kissed and cheery tunes. Beach Days’ latest single, ‘How Do You Sleep At Night’ provides an easy and breezy escape from the shackles of winter. It has a swooning, peaceful feel to it, aided by the sound of waves lapping a Holywood shore line. A gentle jangle accompanies Skyler Black’s wonderful floating vocals in tenderly piercing the soft fuzz that crackles with warmth and tingles with nostalgia. One of many loveable and inescapably brilliant tunes that festoon their latest album, Native Echoes.

You can check out ‘How Do You Sleep At Night’ below and if you’re liking that, why not give the album a whirl over here?

Ceiling Demons – ‘Every Step (Fold – Follow The Lights remix)’

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Following the release of their debut album Dual Sides, alternative hip-hop group Ceiling Demons are releasing ‘Every Step Is Moving Me Up’ as a digital single, along with a brand new remix from Leeds based trip hop extraordinaires Fold.

The single aims to raise awareness for CALM, short for Campaign Against Living Miserably, a charity dedicated to raising awareness and the prevention of suicide – an issue that has affected far too many of our lives for sure. Accompanying the Yorkshire trio’s own ‘Every Step Is Moving Me Up’, an assured, sincere and wholly positive track, is Fold’s re-imagined and re-titled ‘Follow The Lights’. Uplifting and warm, it underpinned by a soft driving beat, trip hop grooves and dubby layers, peppered with uplifting bouts of brass and chanting samples which extenuates Ceiling Demons’ deft lyrical dexterity, which ingrains a positive message within their music. A marvelous anthem of positivity, which is quite apt and all for a very good cause.

The single is available from all the usual haunts as well as a ‘name your price’ via bandcamp, with all proceeds going to CALM. You can also check out their debut LP, Dual Sides, here.

Soft Hearted Scientists – ‘The Ups And The Downs’

Everyone loves a nice surprise right? Like when you find twenty quid stuffed in the pocket of your jeans after the weekend. Yeah, result!

Well that’s how today felt when it was discovered that ever charming Welsh psych-folk ensemble Soft Hearted Scientists, only went and released a new album – The Slow Cyclone. Released back in late September, it is their sixth LP to date and is comprised of a staggering 24 tracks, a mix of full songs, instrumentals and tiny interludes, divided into 4 groups of 6 tracks. The first single to be taken from their rather hefty LP is ‘The Ups And The Downs’. It is a typically endearing number with a cosmic mix of jaunty acoustic chiming, stunning harmonies, extremely clever wordplay and unusual lyrics; dealing with Alexander the Great, the horrors of typecasting for Basil Rathbone who played a great Sherlock Holmes (“It made his name, brought global fame, but turned him into stone”), the trauma of domestic conflict, and the consolation of domestic panther purrs. A wonderfully whimsical mix of the tongue-in-cheek with the surreal – just marvelous, simply marvelous.

You can check ‘The Ups And The Downs’ below and buy it here. You sample more from the album here too.

Mmoths – ‘Yago’ + ‘Santo’

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It’s been a pretty quiet year for Mmoths (aka Jack Colleran) but for the most part of the past 12 months he’s been working on his forthcoming, so far unnamed, LP.

More recently though, he’s broken radio silence to share with us two new tracks, ‘Santo’ and ‘Yago’. While not on the album, both were written during that period and offer a flavour of what’s on the horizon perhaps? ‘Yago’ is hauntingly mesmerizing. Fusing subtle euphoric undercurrents with choral vocals, stretched and tort to resemble something of a primal cry, we’re engulfed amid an electronic fog leaving us with something epic and huge. ‘Santo’ meanwhile is dark and heavy, weighed down by abrasive electronics and ambient noises only to be raised by vocals awash with reverb and head-nodding, pounding beats. Having spent the guts of the last year or so penning new material for the album, the fruits of his labour certainly ups expectations for what is to come, which is likely be with us some time in 2015.

Before all that however, there are ‘Santo’ and ‘Yago’ for your listening pleasure. In other Mmoths news, you can catch him + Guests at Block B, Smithfield Market, Smithfield, Dublin 1 on Saturday, December 20th. Tickets are €15 (from here) + BYOB.

Public Service Broadcasting – ‘Gagarin’

 

public service broadcasting 2015UK duo Public Service Broadcasting are looking toward the stars for their forthcoming second album, The Race For Space, which is out February 20th 2015.

As the title suggests, on this occasion they will turn their cut-and-paste techniques on the space race. The first single is ‘Gagarin’, a tribute to Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, the first man to orbit the earth. With both a 6-piece brass section and 5-piece string section in tow, the duo have cooked up a brassy and funky-as-hell backdrop for samples from various radio and television broadcasts to mingle with. It sounds quite a lot like a theme tune to some classic ’70s/’80s TV show – very Mike Post-esque – which is in no way a bad thing. The video, directed by Alex Kemp, is no slouch either as a pair dancing astronauts busting some serious moves. PSB’s new record has a lot to live up to, after all their debut, Inform – Educate – Entertain, was rather fantastic but going by ‘Gagarin’, they are on the right track.

You can check out ‘Gagarin’ for yourself below. And PSB have announced a whole host of tour dates across Europe and North America, check ’em here.

Gruff Rhys – ‘Set Fire to the Stars’

Gruff Rhys‘ latest album American Interior has quite rightly been met by rave reviews and lavish praise. An astonishingly brilliant LP that among other things, displays how captivating a storyteller Rhys is, who wistfully spins wonderful narratives of being carried through new worlds and visions, and only adds to the particular idiosyncratic charm that this Welshman personifies.

As if Mr. Rhys hadn’t enough on his plate with ‘American Interior’ duties, he’s also penned the soundtrack for biopic, ‘Set Fire To The Stars’, about the life and work of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. In doing so he joined forces with drummer Chris Walmsley, Jim Barr who is the double bass player with Portishead, Osian Gwynedd (formerly of Big Leaves and Sybridion) on piano and Gruff Ab Arwel from Y Niwl who arranged the strings, to form a jazz band. The title track is a characteristically beguiling and lavish composition, that’s climactic moments occur when immaculate strings and exuberant brass combine to pierce the dark yet immersive, smoky, café-acclimatised vibe. All the while an ever assured Gruff Rhys’ utterances ring through with a recognizable assured and serene coolness. Never one to keep us waiting too long for something new and interesting is he? Thankfully not.

You can check out ‘Set Fire To The Stars’ and there’s more on the whole thing here too.

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – ‘Baby Bye Bye’

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Three years on since their hugely enjoyable Smoking In Heaven LP, rock’n’roll trio Kitty, Daisy & Lewis have announced the release of their new and third album, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis The Third, through Sunday Best Recordings on January 26, 2015.

Produced by Mick Jones of The Clash, the LP will feature the single ‘Baby Bye Bye’, which you can listen to below. The trio have thus far carved out a distinct niche for timeless music with a retro vibe, taking it’s inspiration from a lavish blend of R&B, Swing, Country and Western, Rockabilly, Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll (among others). New single ‘Baby Bye Bye’ fits in nicely to that category too. A retro-fitted rock ‘n roller, it’s is a bouncy joyful wee number filled with toe-tapping and infectious goodness and seductively addictive groove. There is something remarkably endearing about Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, apart from the delightful tunes, it’s refreshing to find a group so comfortable doing their own thing and the enjoyment they get from doing so really shines through in their music.

Check out ‘Baby Bye Bye’ below and they’ve lots of live dates lined up across the UK & Europe. Check them here.