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.