Seazoo – ‘Panda Pains’

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It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything more than a peep from North Walian five-piece Seazoo. Both they and their multifarious concoction of charming, sprightly indie-pop certainly left a lasting impression and in that spirit, we are greeted by fantastic news of a new release, which thankfully brings this period of unwelcome silence to an abrupt close.

The Wrexham outfit has announced they have teamed up London-based label, Label Fandango and will release their new single ‘Panda Pains’ on January 19th. It is a bright, upbeat and colourful two and a half wonderful minutes of power-pop. Filled with a booning vitality it harness the full power from an irresistible melody, a delightful blend of chipper guitars and a surge of cheap-sounding keyboards – let’s just say infectious would be to put it mildly. A band to be treasured and enjoyed, this is mesmerizing stuff as usual from Seazoo; one of Wales’ most exciting emerging bands. Also, rumour has it that there is more to come in the new year, including an EP, and potentially an album. YES! YES! DOUBLE YES!

For the being? Well there’s is just the ‘small’ matter of ‘Panda Pains’ – you can enjoy it below.

PS – What a lovely hat that is.

BarryGruff’s Albums of the Year 2014

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So, it’s that time of year again, yeah, it’s favourite albums of the year time. Loads of great music this year, some old faces and plenty of new ones too but for those of you who care, here are my 25 albums of 2014. Enjoy!

25. Second Storey – ‘Double Divide’

24. Beach Day – ‘Native Echoes’

23. Globelamp – ‘Star Dust’

22. Sex Hands – ‘Pleh’

21. The #1s – ‘The #1s’

20. Attaque – ‘ON LY YOU’

19. Shit Robot – ‘We Got Love’

18. Mowbird – ‘Islander’

17. Oh Boland/Me & My Dog – ‘Delphi’

16. Jamie T – ‘Carry on the Grudge’

15. Pharoahe Monch – ‘PTSD’

Following on from his 2011’s W.A.R, comes fourth solo LP, PTSD (aka Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), a loose-concept album which sees Pharoahe Monch speaking as a weary independent warrior against the industry machine and dealing with the struggle of the black male experience in America. It’s dense, raw and sometimes painfully raw, as he relives harrowing memories of his struggle with addiction, depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s all draped with his familiar top-notch storytelling, cavernous vocabulary, thought-provoking rhymes, precise delivery and thought-provoking metaphors, placing him right up top of the current hip-hop pile.

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Best of 2014: Johnny Feeney’s Albums of the Year

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The ever insightful Johnny Feeney pops up every now and then to share his musical musings with us, always adding an extra flavour to the blog and always a welcome one at that.

Ahead of my own albums of the year list, Johnny has kindly compiled his top ten albums from 2014 but before I leave you in Johnny’s very capable hands, I’d like to thank him for this, and all the other posts during the year, and of course the site’s renovation too.  So, without further ado, here are Johnny’s top ten albums of the year.

10. Sleaford Mods – ‘Divide and Exit’

2014 was certainly the year that Nottingham’s Sleaford Mods shot to prominence after years in the underground. Primitive programmed beats and Andrew Fearn’s menacing basslines provide the platform from which vocalist Jason Williamson volleys tirade upon aggressive tirade. Foul-mouthed, venom-spitting Williamson is the star turn here – a poet of the disenchanted lower classes in the UK. Powerful.

09. Miss Kenichi – ‘The Trail’

The third album from Berlin-based Miss Kenichi is a haunting, gloomy slow-paced affair reminiscent in parts to White Chalk-era PJ Harvey. Although sparse and dark on first listen, this album slowly reveals itself on repeat listens and is stunningly beautiful in places.

08. Benjamin Booker – ‘Benjamin Booker’

New Orleans-based Booker’s self-titled debut album is a treat of stomping, soulful blues rock. Sounding older than his 25 years, Booker’s voice is a magnetic presence throughout this record. The rollicking, rousing tunes are such good fun but Booker is equally as effective when he slows things down on tracks such as ‘Slow Coming’. Big things lie ahead for Booker, one imagines.

07. Brody Dalle – ‘Diploid Love’

Well-connected former Distillers frontwoman Dalle’s first solo album features guest appearances from the likes of the Strokes’ Nick Valensi and Garbage’s Shirley Manson but never for a moment is the spiky Dalle outshone on this fine rock record full of snarling vocals and thundering hooks.

06. Ultimate Painting – ‘Ultimate Painting’

Ultimate Painting are the very interesting side project from Jack Cooper of Mazes and James Hoare of Veronica Falls. Packed full of breezy, dreamy indie rock, lovely harmonies and incredibly infectious tunes are prevalent throughout. The easiest of easy listening.

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Introducing: Setline

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Setline, real name Steve Cash, is an Irish Electronic Musician, from Dublin.

Self-recording, producing and performing all the comprising elements in his home studio, he recently released a five track debut EP, These Thieving Streets. Encompassing a wide ranging blend of instrumentation, incorporating varying elements of acoustic and electronic performance, with digital a dash of manipulation; the outcome of which is simply gorgeous. Linking an airy whoosh, rhythmic surges and melodic hooks with the some understated electronic beats to create rather chilled, tranquil dance tracks. Taking all the aforementioned fragments, ‘Speckled’, his pièce de résistance, is a gentle, twinkly and breezy tune which harnesses some sumptuous strings and harp, that work ever so well with the electronic beats. ‘Are We Broken’ meanwhile, is built from a woozy base of squelchy sounds and some light keys, and it sees an injection of increased energy into this mix of understated tranquillity. A fine introduction indeed, and in other news, currently, Setline is studiously writing and recording a debut album, which will be released in 2015.

You can sample some choice cut from These Thieving Streets below or

The Lost Brothers – ‘Little Angel’

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Having already released their wonderful fourth album New Songs Of Dawn and Dust this year, The Lost Brothers are seeing out 2014 in quite some style, with the release of a rather fetching charity Christmas single, ‘Little Angel’.

Beginning life as a rough demo recorded in Portland seven years ago, it remained in The Lost Brothers’ locker until inspiration hit earlier this year while crossing the Irish Sea during a rocky winter storm. Out came the guitars and the remaining verses and choruses were written in one sitting. It was recorded with Sean Coleman at Gavin Glass’s Orphan Studios in Dublin with The Frames’ Graham Hopkins recruited on drums, Michael Buckley and Ronan Dooney on brass, and Keith Farrell on bass, with The Lost Brothers taking care of vocals and guitars. The results of which are ever so good. A gentle number, adorned with a rather fuzzy festive feel, ‘Little Angel’ is filled with a glowing goodness and features the Irish duo’s distinct harmony vocals, sweet acoustic picking, pedal steel and some sumptuous brass. The B-side ‘St. Christopher’, penned on a cold night train home to Liverpool, is equally festive and all proceeds from the sale go towards UNICEF or you can donate directly.

You can check out the simply splendid ‘Little Angel’ below.

 

Introducing: Sales

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SALES is a collaboration between long-time friends, Lauren Morgan (guitar/vocals) and Jordan Shih (guitar/programming), who have been recording together on and off for years and in September, they released their self titled debut EP.

It is a union that works ever so well for the Florida based duo, and they have quite a knack for inviting and warm, charming and rather beautiful, quirky indie-pop. Consisting of vocal and instrumental improvisation, sampling, subtle electronics, acoustic guitar and wonderfully glamorous vocals; it all makes for a clean, crisp and serenely beautiful sound. It is done with a mesmerising ease and breeze, from the sweetly melodious, delicate and dreamy ‘Get It On’, to ‘Chinese New Year’, sporting a wonderful guitar riff and buoyant melody, it is ridiculously catchy and pretty much irresistible. ‘Vow’ meanwhile, is simultaneously languid, nonchalant and passionate, somehow uncovering a place where all three can co-exist in perfect harmony. As an introduction, not many will rival the sheer splendiferous nature of their debut but one would hope this is but the beginning and there are many more marvellous musical treats to come from this pair.

There are some choice cuts below & you can check out their debut EP in its entirety here.

Boxed In – ‘Mystery’

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After a year or so of treating us to a phenomenal series of alternative-pop singles, Boxed In, aka Oli Bayston will bring his wide array of talents to bear on something altogether more substantial, with the release of his self-titled debut album on January 19th.

Ahead of the album’s forthcoming release, comes ‘Mystery’. Although actually released the week after the LP, it is yet another stunning exposition from Boxed In. ‘Mystery’ is piano led alternative-indie-disco-pop perfection, whereby jaunty keys, an undeniably infectious groove and more than a hint of electronica conspire with a bouncy beat, clicking percussion and his soft pleasant vocals. What we are left with is utterly and irrefutably brilliant, resembling something akin to LCD Soundsystem meets the poppier side of Hot Chip and The 2 Bears. On this and previous evidence, Bayston’s debut LP is one to watch out for in the new year. No question about it.

Boxed In’s self-titled debut LP is out via Nettwerk Records on January 9th and followed by ‘Mystery’ on January 26th, but you can listen to it below now.