O Emperor – ‘Switchblade’

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Wateford band, O Emperor have released a new Lizard EP, continuing with the high standards of their last LP, Vitreous.

Lead track ‘Switchblade’ displays all the nuances of what you would expect from a band on the top of their game. A tenacious piece of indie-rock, it is delivered with plenty of swing and swagger. A mix of shimmer guitars combine with garage riffs, infectious rhythm and soulful blues-tinged vocals that make O Emperor so instantly recognisable. Yet another affirmation of their brilliance as a band, fast becoming one of Ireland’s finest.

You can check out ‘Switchblade’ below & buy Lizard from Bandcamp.

Crocodiles – ‘Crybaby Demon’

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With five albums since 2009, yes five, Crocodiles don’t really leave us to long waiting for new material do they?

They have emerged from their longest period of quiet, since they released Crimes of Passion in 2013, which isn’t too long really, bursting back into view with ‘Crybaby Demon’. Taken from their forthcoming album BOYS, ‘Crybaby Demon’ is a real groover, drenched in Crocodiles-style reverb, but one that you could most definitely shake your hips to, if you wanted to. Self-described as “salsa-punk”, this is Crocodiles at their most playful, but with a certain kick to the jangle and swagger. Crocodiles sound is always full on vitalized and immediately attention grabbing, ‘Crybaby Demon’ certainly keeps up that trend.

Check it out for yourself below. Their forthcoming album BOYS is out on May 12th via Zoo Music. Also, Crocodiles play Vancouver’s ‘Venue’ on May 26th.

Stealing Sheep – ‘Not Real’

Liverpool trio Stealing Sheep – Becky Hawley, Emily Lansley and Lucy Mercer – have a new album coming out in mid April.

Entitled Not Real, it follows their 2012 slow-burning but splendid debut, Into the Diamond Sun, and the first single to be released is title track, ‘Not Real’. As much psych as folk, experimentation was never ever far away, and it is this trait which manifests itself once again (albeit in a different form). Imbued with a dreamlike surrealism, ‘Not Real’ is utterly contagious. An addictive and instantly memorable chorus combines with sunny melodies and a bouncy, strutting rhythm, for what is a colourful mix of electronic music and ’80s pop, incorporating synthesizers and drum machines to their sweet and heavenly voiced psych-pop. A tantalizingly marvelous listen. The song’s video is an equallt surreal and colourful trip, check it out below.

Stealing Sheep’s Not Real is out April 14 via Heavenly.

Tandem Felix – ‘Nothing I Do Will Ever Be Good Enough’

 

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Dublin four-piece Tandem Felix are set to release new EP ‘Comma’ via Trout Records.

Having wooed us over the past few years with a number of lush, sweeping and soft indie tracks, the first taster from their forthcoming EP, ‘Nothing I Do Will Ever Be Good Enough’ offers a slightly different side to the band. Apparently brought about by a period of transition and a lineup change, Tandem Felix’s new single ‘Nothing I Do Will Ever Be Good Enough’, is nothing short of breathtaking. It’s a mellow, lilting indie-rock number, distilled with a breezy country vibe, while retaining the elegant facets of what made them an attractive proposition to begin with. A simply wonderful song.

Tandem Felix’s new EP Comma, is due on April 27th through Trout Records. The new single is below and you can also head to Soundcloud and check out their already impressive catalogue.

By The Sea – ‘At Your Window’

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Taken from By The Sea‘s second album, Endless Days, Crystal Sky, ‘At Your Window’ is a timely and perfect opportunity to remind the world of the virtues of both the Merseyside quintet, and their wonderful 2014 record.

Synth steeped ‘At Your Window’ offers probably the greatest departure from the band’s signature melodic guitar pop sound. Essentially a duet between Liam Power and Minnetonka, it revolves around a sparse synth pulse and illuminated by subtle, sizzling electronic beats, that combine to convey a deep intimate and wistful air. Taken from the same record, ‘Youth, has kindly just available for free download. A bubbling bass combines with subtle synth, gorgeous melody and drifting, dreamlike atmospherics, that are altogether more akin to By The Sea’s signature sound. A simply super band, if you haven’t checked out either their self-titled debut or Endless Days, Crystal Sky, you should. You do a whole lot worse.

You can check out ‘At Your Window’ and the rather grand video for ‘Youth’ by Dom Foster, below. Download it here.

Photo credit: Andrew Ab.

Tame Impala – ‘Let It Happen’

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Aussie psych-rockers Tame Impala have unveiled a brand new track called ‘Let It Happen’, their first new material since their excellent 2012 LP, Lonerism,  and it’s safe to say it was worth the wait.

A touch less rocky, ‘Let It Happen’ is a sprawling seven-minute-plus track. It sees their recognizable vocals, signature psychedelic and propulsive grooves blend perfectly with sumptuous electronic flourishes perfectly, for a slightly fresh approach to psych-rock. The shift half way through alone, is utterly brilliant. That should be enough to suitably whet the appetite and with two great albums already under their belt, Innerspeaker (2010) & Lonerism (2012), Tame Impala’s next steps were always going to be highly-anticipated anyway. I guess this is confirmation. ‘Let It Happen’ is accompanied by a pile of tour dates, including a massive North American tour with a Vancouver date on May 26th and of course, they play Electric Picnic back in Ireland this year too.

‘Let It Happen’ is available via the band’s website as the first taster of the follow up to 2012’s ‘Lonerism’, due later this year. No word on the album title or official release date yet, but it far fetched or outlandish to assume that, that news isn’t too far behind? Download the track here.

The Dead Heavys – ‘Liquidator’

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The Dead Heavys are currently in the midst of wrapping up work on their debut album, hoped to see a 2015 release.

The Waterford five-piece return with irresistibly catchy new single ‘Liquidator’, a timely reminder of why news of an album, is very good news indeed. Teaming up with guest vocalist Aisling Browne of Solar Taxi and Cut Once they have served up yet another bright, upbeat and rocking-groover that is very easy on the ears indeed. Their now characteristic keys, guitars and vocals combo, anthemic surges and infectious sing-a-long moments, work in perfect tandem with Browne’s powerful and soulful vocals. The result is that their psych-indie stomp evolves into something with an added soulful edge, groove and coolness. The Dead Heavys continue to grow, adding further weight to all those attributes which stood them out from the crowd from day one. Hopefully their debut LP sees the light of day in 2015.

You can check out ‘Liquidator’ below and it is available as a free download for a limited time only.

 

Celebrating 5 Years of BarryGruff with ‘GruffWuff': A 19 Track Compilation Album

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BarryGruff is 5 years old today!

Those five years have been interesting and fun. The blog has ebbed and flowed in parallel with my own life which has moved on somewhat from where it was back in March 2010. Since my early teens spouting about music has always been part and parcel of my life but I’m very grateful to have been in a position to share those musings and whatnot with a wider audience than my mates (or whoever is willing to listen).

Blogging has become quite a big part of my life and while listening to and discovering new music etc. is something that comes rather natural, a lot of my free time is devoted to the upkeep of the blog and how much longer I can continue to do so is anyone’s guess. It might be one year or another five, who knows? So with that in mind I really wanted to do something really special to mark the occasion and I’m pretty damn chuffed with this one.

Without further a do, to celebrate 5 years of BarryGruff 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. While I initially thought it was just a pipe dream and one that would remain just that, 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. The enjoyment music brings me can’t be overstated, be it happy times or sad times, there’s one constant; music.

Thanks to Stevie for all his assistance, Caroline for 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.

‘GruffWuff’ will be released through Bandcamp on Thursday, March 19th and the tracklisting is below for your perusal. I’m really, really excited for people to finally hear what everyone’s been working away on for the past 9 months.

Celebrating 5 Years of BarryGruff with ‘GruffWuff':

01. Fold – ‘Where Are You’

02. Oh Boland – ‘White Boy’

03. Seazoo – ‘DIG (Demo Version)’

04. Mr Huw – ‘Bai Neb Ond Fy Hun’

05. Dan Amor – ‘Can’t Sleep’

06. Oisin McCole – ‘Far From The Sea’

07. Anderson – ‘The Way The Stream Flows’

08. Knoxville Morning – ‘Bridget’

09. Nathan Conway – ‘Babycheeno’

10. Disconcerting P – ‘Treated You Rough’

11. The Expert – ‘Swapsies’

12. SertOne – ‘Seventeen’

13. Imploded View – ‘Barry’s Game’

14. Channel Swimmer – ‘Racket’

15. Monto – ‘Yeuh’

16. Open Window – ‘003 (Africa)’

17. Captain Moonlight – ‘What is Property?’

18. GEM_DOS – ‘Mag D’Allen’

19. Hippies Vs Ghosts – ‘Three Shadows’

 

Ulrika Spacek – ‘I Don’t Know’

Originally from Berlin and now based in London, Ulrika Spacek initially formed under the joke that the music would sound like Wooden Shijps trying to cover Television.

In reality, the pairings first track, ‘I Don’t Know’, is an ever so promising slice of warm psychedelia, jangle pop, and fuzz. Opening with a scintillating riff, it ropes you in to reveal a warm and pleasant land of drones, blissed-out guitars that combine in a haze of spaced out sounds, that are topped off with dreamy vocal harmonies. A pulsating, lo-fi psych rocker, that’s utterly divine and soul consuming-ly infectious. Ulrika Spacek have been working on a self-produced record from various rooms in their shared house, suggesting, thankfully, we may not have too long a wait to hear more from the duo.

For now? It’s time to tune in (and zone out) to the wonderful world of Ulrika Spacek. Try ‘I Don’t Know’ below.

 

Hippies Vs Ghosts – Pin i’r Swigan E​P

 

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Since hurtling on to the scene close to two years ago, Hippies Vs Ghosts, the side project from We Are Animal guitarist & vocalist, Owain Ginsberg, has regularly and monumentally blown us away with his kaleidoscopic, instrumental Morricone meets krautrock sound.

It has been a fruitful two years, during which he’s served up numerous quality EPs, one off tracks and a sublime debut album, Mother Tongue (one of last year’s finest). It’s fair to say keep tabs on Hippies Vs Ghosts has been nothing short of breathtakingly exciting, and the first offering of 2015 is Pin i’r Swigan E​.​P. The EP captures the very essence of Hippies Vs Ghosts; krautrock indebted psychedelia, of epic proportions and recent single ‘Wazo’, leads the charge. Propelled onward by a chugging bass and persistent percussives, it hurtles along at breakneck speed with menacing intent, bending and contorting through a sea of swirling noise and scorching riffs. Urgent, catchy, and oh so irresistible! Title track ‘Pin i’r Swigan’ is sort of similar in that sense as it takes us on free-wheeling psychedelic journey through a fascinatingly imaginative, experimental and spaced-out world where Hippies Vs Ghosts’ krautrock indebted psychedelia meets early Joy Division. Closer ‘Hibou Calling’, meanwhile, is a much more tempered affair. A gentle acoustic strum, soft percussion and hushed repeated vocals fuse with some floaty sonic sounding atmospherics to soothe the soul and whisk ones mind away to a lofty transcendental plain. Truly exceptional stuff from Hippies Vs Ghosts once more, this is a creative talent that knows no bounds!

Pin i’r Swigan E​.​P is out now, for it be yours all you gotta do is ‘name your price’ here.