BarryGruff’s March 2015 Playlist

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A regular monthly feature to the blog; a nice, neat and handy playlist of tracks featured during the month.

It was a pretty big month for the blog to be fair. We celebrated 5 years of BarryGruff with GruffWuff; a 19 track compilation of new, previously unreleased and exclusive recordings from some of my very favourite acts over the past 5 years of blogging. If somehow you missed all the hoo-ha about ‘GruffWuff’, there’s more info here & you can download / stream it here: Bandcamp / Soundcloud.

Aside from this rather significant milestone, there was the return of Tame Impala, Applescal, Crocodiles and Cian Ciaran with new tracks ahead of their respective albums, and new singles from Teleman, Telegram, Girls Names, Tandem Felix, The Dead Heavys, CaStLeS and Spies. Also featuring on the playlist are: Django Django, Ulrika Spacek, By The Sea, Hippies Vs Ghosts and O Emperor.

Listen to BarryGruff`s March 2015 playlist below. The track listing is after the jump:

 

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Teleman – ‘Strange Combinations’

 

Speedy Wunderground is a singles label where each release has been written and recorded in 24 hours, coordinated by Dan Carey, previous releases have included TOY, Telegram, Kate Tempest and many more.

For their 11th release, they’ve got a great single from London band Teleman, ‘Strange Combinations’, their first new material since the band’s sublime 2014 debut album Breakfast. Out on April 6th as a one-off limited 7”, ‘Strange Combinations’ is a three-minute slice of propulsive rhythms, funky synth work and Tom Sanders’ echoing vocals soaring over the top of an unmistakeable Teleman sweet spot between pop and indie. In many ways it sounds like a cross between Hot Chip and Metronomy; with a hefty dose of Teleman’s recognizable beautiful sweeping guitar-pop, psych textures and splendid crystalline pop sensibilities. Utterly magnificent!

Accompanied by a Dan Carey dub rework, you can stream both sides of ‘Strange Combinations’ below ahead of its release on April 6th.

Girls Names – ‘Zero Triptych’

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Irish post-punk outfit Girls Names are back with their first new material since their sublime 2013 LP, The Next Life.

The Belfast quartet’s latest offering, entitled ‘Zero Triptych'; is a spectacular and engrossing eleven-minute return. The whirring post-punk feel of The New Life remains central to their approach, as it opens with an eerie sense of foreboding before settling into it’s spiralling guitar work. Ushered onward by a propulsive rhythm as it blasts through meticulously crafted swells of guitar, electronic fuzz and atmospheric vocals. ‘Zero Triptych’ is an utterly sensational return from Girls Names and not too dissimilar to Toy at the peak of their prowess. Mere words don’t do it justice. Nothing yet of a new album but ‘Zero Triptych’ is released on 12-inch vinyl on May 11th via Tough Love.

Listen to ‘Zero Triptych’ below and pre-order the single here.

The Rifles – ‘Peace & Quiet’ + Re-Release Debut LP ‘No Love Lost’

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The Rifles are set to re-release their debut No Love Lost, to mark and celebrate ten years of the band. The deluxe edition will be released May 4th on Cooking Vinyl and re-mastered at Abbey Road Studios, it comes with all the usual bells and whistles associated with a release; B-sides and unreleased bonus material from studio sessions.

Okay, so it wasn’t exactly an era or generation defining record but hey, No Love Lost was, and remains a pretty damn fine record. ‘Peace & Quiet’ is testament to the album’s quality and the band’s signature Mod revivalist sound. Upbeat and up-tempo, combining a whirlwind of punchy vocals, guitar swaying twangynes and sing-a-long choruses. The Rifles have after all proven to have a knack for bashing out catchy as hell tunes. The past decade has spawned four Rifles’ albums – debut No Love Lost was an introduction the quartet’s aforementioned style, follow up The Great Escape did much the same while 2011’s Freedom Run shifted towards more grandiose, orchestral pop in places and None The Wiser saw a resurrection of their early sound, energy and enthusiasm. It’s been far from plain sailing, having to overcome financial problems, rows with banks and enforced line-up changes. Yet a decade on, The Rifles are still with us, outliving many of the 2006 vintage who are long since gone. A fine band and an equally splendid record.

You can purchase the album here and The Rifles have a few celebratory live dates too, check ’em here.

CaStLeS – ‘Ar Agor’ & ‘Argau’

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CaStLeS are a three-piece band from North Wales. We//Are//Animal brothers Cynyr and Dion Hamer switch instruments and are joined by Calvin Thomas to complete the trio.

Performed in both English and Welsh, their music is an engrossing infusion of psychedelic rock, blues and potentially dancey grooves. The songs take inspiration from theie studio’s surrounding wilderness, which sits high up in the hills overlooking two castles. Early 2015 has seen the North Walian trio drip feeding singles, which combined, will form the bones of their forthcoming debut EP, PartDepart. The latest of which are ‘Ar Agor’ and ‘Argau’. From the irrefutably infectious reverb soaked melodies and jerking riffs of ‘Ar Agor’ to the organic meandering earthiness, infused with some shimmering jangly moments of ‘Argau’, and rounded off perfectly with a unique peculiarity and some melodious lilting North Wales vocals – both could be said to be instilled with the very essence of CaStLeS. Not only is it a joy-filled listening experience but it also reaffirms the musicality of the Welsh language, and the fact that music really does transcend language barriers.

There is no confirmed date for their PartDepart EP as yet but, all three CaStLeS’ singles are yours if you head over to bandcamp and ‘name your price’.

Applescal – ‘Airports’

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Following 2013’s rather brilliant Dreaming In Key, Dutch producer Applescal aka Pascal Terstappen is set to return with a new LP in May on his Atomnation label.

The first taster from said album is new single, ‘Airports’, suggesting an evolution of sorts. Dreamy synths float above a bright and airy dance beat and sunny chimes, as he embracing slightly cheerier and brighter take on his signature ambient techno and electronica. In doing so, Terstappen has distilled (for me at least) a really vibrant summery air. The almost semi-Balearic moments, sunny chimes and electro grooves etch out a sense of excitement for summer days and nights to come, while whipping up a sense of nostalgia for those long sine gone. An overwhelmingly deep, immersive and intimate listening experience, it is a spine-tingling magical promise of things to come. Things are certainly shaping up nicely for the new record.

You can check ‘Airports’ out below now. Applescal’s new album album For will be released on May 18th via Atomnation.

Cian Ciarán – ‘Stand Up’ (Feat. Stephen Morrison-Burke)

Super Furry Animals may have announced their return, but if anyone was worried this might spell the end for the various fantastic solo projects, rest assured, in the case of Super Furry synth wizard Cian Ciarán, it does not.

News finds us that Cian Ciarán has recorded a protest album alongside former Beta Band frontman Steve Mason, and poets Stephen Morrison-Burke and Hollie McNish. The as-yet-untitled album will be released this summer, and will be preceded by a series of singles that will coincide with the run up the UK general election. Ciarán is no stranger to political territory. His last LP, They Are Nothing Without Us, one of 2013’s finest, was a ‘protest album’ taking to task the elites, bankers, politicians and big corporations who perpetuate the inequalities between the haves and have nots. It was spiky, angry but with shades of sweetness and a sparkling ability for a pop song sewn in; a perfect balance of politics and pop.

First up from the new project is ‘Stand Up’, a synth-splashed rap-state of the nation address, featuring last year’s National Poetry Slam Champion Stephen Morrison-Burke, it castigates those in power, lambasting the attacks on the vulnerable in society, dissolution of social support services and privatisation of the NHS. Backed by shuffling beats and permeated with overwhelmingly optimistic and positive vibe, it rises to a triumphant call to action and overthrow apathetic minds. It’s a really sweet and playful tune that embraces that time honored reggae / ska tradition of having glossy and easy on ear records that still say something. Enticing stuff indeed.

You can check out ‘Rise Up’ below. And worth checking out too is Ciarán’s piece in The Guardian, on why Pop Needs To Get Political Again.

Telegram – ‘Inside Out’

In the past 18 months or so, London-based psych-rock outfit Telegram have featured on here a number of times, providing scintillating excitement on each occasion.

Telegram return with a new one-off single, only their second official release in fact, ‘Inside Outside’ is released via the Speedy Wunderground label. The premise of the Speedy process is admirable; songs are recorded in 24 hour sessions and mixed the following day, with no one getting to hear it until it arrives back on vinyl – watch a short documentary about the label here. It is a process that lends itself rather well to their style of psych-rock. Although ‘Inside Outside’ is more straight-up ‘psych-indie’ than previous efforts, as the glam-motorik elements take more of a backseat, it is still supercharged, frenetic and tight with an essence of freewheeling, spontaneity. Accompanying the single is B-side, ‘Mr Dan’s Inside Out Dub’; a dub remix which strips back the original, turns it ‘inside-out’ and adding loads of dubby sounds, riddims and waves of haunting echoes.

Telegram’s effort is taken from a forthcoming compilation – a second from the Wunderground label. Listen to ‘Inside Out’ below.

Django Django – ‘Reflections’

Django Django really burst onto the scene back in 2012 with their excellent self-titled debut LP, that remains a firm favourite. On May 5th, they will return with their much anticipated second album, Born Under Saturn.

In preparation they’ve played a handful of UK dates, previewing material from the forthcoming record and also treated our ears to the wonder that was ‘First Light’. And now they’ve shared another song — ‘Reflections’ – a thumping, house-inflected twist on that trademark Django Django sound. Wonderful vocal harmonies float above a relentless, surging pulse and dance beat, and just wait for that super smooth sax solo. This is a glimmering, shiny stomper – most importantly another cracking insight to what we might expect from the new record.

You can find ‘Reflections’ below, while you will have to wait till May 5th for Born Under Saturn, out via Ribbon Music.

Celebrating 5 Years of BarryGruff with ‘GruffWuff': A 19 Track Compilation Album [Out Now]

So, the day has finally arrived; ‘GruffWuff‘ is out now!

I’ve been itching to share this with everyone and I very, happy this day has finally arrived. The past five years have been very interesting and for the most part, ever so much fun. I think this is a pretty special way to mark the occasion and I really hope you all enjoy the compilation as much as I do. Initially I thought an idea such as this was just a pipe dream and one that would remain just that. However, the enthusiasm that met my initial inquiries bowled me over, I couldn’t believe how eager everyone was. It is something that’ll stay with me forever and it means an awful lot. Hopefully it will shine a light, brief as it maybe on some of the acts that have brought me the most joy over the past few years.

Thanks to Stevie for all his assistance, Caroline for all her support and putting up with me, Peter Lee for mastering & all the artists who provided tracks for the compilation. A huge amount of credit must go to the artists involved for their eagerness and the ever so brilliant music.

So, to mark 5 years of BarryGruff, here is ‘GruffWuff'; a 19 track compilation of new, previously unreleased and exclusive recordings from some of my very favourite acts over the past 5 years of blogging. There is an act by act guide after the jump, I really hope everyone enjoys this as much as we did putting it together.

It’s yours now, just ‘name your price’ – which includes zero, so technically it’s free.

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