The School – ‘All I Want From You Is Everything’

The School 2015

Last week Cardiff’s resplendent pop purveyors, The School released their latest EP, All I Want From You Is Everything, through Elefant Records, who’s raison d’etre is nostalgia pop. A match made in heaven if there ever was one, and it certainly lives up the billing.

Steeped in classic pop songwriting, this is a joyous and colourful explosion of bright, breezy indie-pop. This is a band with a real flair for the insanely catchy, timeless pop song, something that becomes patently clear throughout the EP. Be it the title track or ‘I Will See You Soon’, or covers ‘Crying In The Rain’ (by Carole King) and ‘Baby Don’t Hold Your Breath For Me’ (by Knickers) – timeless pop earworms are the order of the day. Not only are the tunes catchy and lyrics charming, they also have a delightfully off kilter way of delivering them. The songs are rich and layered with varying instruments and sounds all contributing to the laid-back, sun-kissed and gorgeous sound. And the icing on the cake? Liz Hunt’s light-as-air angelic tones – honeyed, mellifluous, melodic, harmonious – it’s quite a difficult task to describe with mere words just how wonderful. A splendid collection of marvellously bright pop songs.

With new album Wasting Away And Wondering waiting in the wings, this EP offers a wonderful snapshot of what we can expect. All I Want From You Is Everything is available now, from here. You can sample some choice cuts below.

Introducing: Girlpool

Girlpool are Philadelphia based, by way of Los Angeles, duo of Cleo Tucker (Guitar) and Harmony Tividad (Bass).

The pair recently announced that they’ll be following up their excellent self-titled EP with the release of their debut album, Before The World Was Big in June. This week Girlpool have shared the album’s first official single and title track, ‘Before The World Was Big’. Their sound is raw. Comprised only of guitar, bass and vocal harmonies, this stripped-back, minimal instrumentation accentuates the brash, dispirited and vulnerable feeling, and adds serious weight to the powerful and candid lyrics.

Capturing what has become their forte, ‘Before The World Was Big’ is a hooky, poppy punk song, utilising little more than stabs of bass surrounded by rhythmic guitar strums. From this to the swaggering tale of revenge and piercingly screechy ‘Jane’ to the spat-out vocals, bouncing baseline and rocking chorus of their most immediately affecting song ‘Blah Blah Blah’, the duo lure you in with their tales of youth and uncertainty of young adulthood (does that really ever subside?). Utterly raw, infectious and supremely brilliant – proof if proof be needed – great music doesn’t have to be complicated.

Before The World Was Big is out June 2nd via Wichita Recordings and the duo have a string of tour dates with them opening for Waxahatchee, including Vancouver on May 2nd at the Biltmore Cabaret – see the full list here.

Young Wonder – ‘Enchanted’


Last month, Cork electronic duo Young Wonder released their stunning new single, ‘Enchanted’. With their debut LP, Birth set for release on May 18th this year, ‘Enchanted’ and previous single ‘Intergalactic‘, offers a flavour perhaps, of what’s on the horizon.

Seamless and pleasant, it is imbued with a sense of wide-eyed optimism. An anthemic take on the duo’s distinct and colourful vision of electro-pop, ‘Enchanted’ bumps along, popping and clicking as it goes, with an uplifting vibe, rhythms and sudden bursts of excitable synth. Vivid, vibrant and brilliant, Young Wonder create a sound that is both incredibly captivating and immersive, and Koeman’s vocals, stunning, utterly stunning.

Listen to ‘Enchanted’ below & it’s out now through Feel Good Lost.

The BarryGruff Fortnightly Vancouver Gig Guide (April 16th – 30th)


Like any city, there’s quite a lot of stuff goes on in Vancouver week on week. So with that in mind, the plan is to try and compile a list of recommended events taking place every fortnight.

In time, hopefully the lists will grow and become more and more comprehensive, and serve as something of a catalyst to go to more shows and unearth more interesting stuff that’s going on. Here’s what’s caught my eye over the next 14 days! 

Feel free to let me know if I missed anything of interest in the comments or you can always shoot me an email about upcoming shows.

Thursday, April 16th

Erol Alkan @ M.i.a., 350 Water Street, Vancouver (10pm)

  • [Dance/Electro] Reputable London DJ, remixer, label founder, club promoter, radio host hits up new venue. [Cancelled]

 Friday, April 17th

Co-op Radio’s 40th Anniversary @ WISE Hall, 1882 Adanac, Vancouver (7pm, $10-15)

  • Celebrating 40 years of community operated & innovate radio, featuring The Creaking Planks and Purple Soul.

Discorder Fundraiser + Launch Party @ The Astoria, 769, East Hastings St. Vancouver (8pm, $5/$10)

  • Fundraiser for Vancouver music, arts & culture mag w/ music from Stefana Fratila, Wetface, The Crowbots, Still Creek Murder, Energy Slime, bb.yu [dj set], Andy Resto [dj set]

Saturday, April 18th

Record Store Day @ Neptoon Records,  3561 Main, Vancouver (10am – 10pm, Free)

  • Performances from local acts No Sinner, Tough Age, Poor Form & more, plus a meet ‘n’ greet with Eric Burdon. Yes, that Eric Burdon.

Record Store Day @ Vinyl Records, 319 W. Hastings (11am – 7pm, Free)

  • In store performances from K’Immortal, Dawn Pemberton, Tonye Aganaba & more.

Record Store Day @ Red Cat Records, 4332 Main Street, Vancouver (3pm – 9pm, Free)

  • In store performances from The Backhomes, Frog Eyes, Hello Blue Roses & more.

Record Store Day @ Horse Records, 2447 E. Hastings, Vancouver (10am, Free)

  • In store performances from Peace, Flyin’, SP Davis, Mecca Normal & more.

Record Store Day @ Beat Street Records,  439 W. Hastings St. Vancouver,

  • Live DJs in store all day.

Nowhere Fast @ The Morrissey, 1227 Granville Street, Vancouver (9pm – 3am, Free)

  • Regular night of post-punk, indie, garage rock & pop-dance tunes  w/ Bryce Dunn

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The Urges – ‘Passing Us By’

The Urges - 2015 - Passing Us By

It has been some time since we have heard from The Urges, almost three years in fact, but the Dublin outfit are back.

The Urges are returning with a brand new single ‘Passing Us By’, and backed with its b-side counterpart ‘Corners of Her Mind’ – affording us a first glimpse into the band’s forthcoming second LP, Time Will Tell. ‘Passing Us By’ adopts a gentler, almost pastoral take on the Urges’ signature rock ‘n’ roll, psychedelia tinged sound. Swathed in Coral-esque twanging guitar jangle, rambling organ work and sporadic burst of brass, ‘Passing Us By’ is an empathetic and infectious re-introduction to The Urges. B-side ‘Corners of Her Mind’ meanwhile, shows they’ve not entirely mellowed as whirling organs, buzzing guitars and stabs of brass combine with swashbuckling effect. Much more akin to The Urges’ up-tempo pysch roots. A magnificent return from and equally astounding band.

The Urges celebrate the release of ‘Passing Us By’ with a show at the Grand Social on Friday, April 17th. Tickets are a cool €5, with support from September Girls and Beatfink. More info here. The single meanwhile, will get its release as a limited edition 7″ on Record Store Day, Saturday, April 18th.

For now, you can check out ‘Passing Us By’ below. Information overload.

Tuff Love Record Store Day Split 7″ w/ Lazy Day

Tuff Love Lazy Day #RSD15

Glaswegian scuzz-pop duo Tuff Love are teaming up with London lo-fi dream-pop quartet, Lazy Day, to release a split 7″ for Record Store Day 2015.

In under three minutes, Julie Eisenstein and Suse Bear unleash another glorious fuzzed-up and sun-soaked cut of exuberant lo-fi pop. The gloriously hook-laden ‘Groucho’ oozes with a sense of laid-back and effortless coolness as it rumbles along melodiously. Heart-warming harmonies, direct guitar lines and dreamy melodies combine with whispering cooing floating over the top, highlighting the duo’s flair for charming, and addictive and perfectly formed alternative rock.

On the flip side we’ve got London lo-fi dream-pop quartet Lazy Day, who are no less impressive and similarly exuberant. ‘Portrait’ navigates its way through a heady mix of slow-burning guitars and fizzing enveloping fuzz with some sublime sharp bursts of energy and adorned with soothingly soft buzzing, dreamlike melodies and magnificent vocals. Powerful, emotive and enriching.

A super sounding split release from two fine bands. What more could you want? The 7″ single is released on 18th April 2015 (Record Store Day) via Lost Map Records.

Mowbird – ‘Audrey, Are We Lost?’ & ‘One-Offs’ Compilation


Welsh lo-fi-fuzz pop wizards Mowbird are releasing a compilation album called One-Offs, available only at live shows, it celebrates five years the band and features singles, demos, one-offs and four previously unreleased tracks.

Mowbird have long been firm favourites around these parts and their predilection for fuzz pop, fused with parts surf-rock, slacker indie and some garage punk nuances has served up sublime fun filled blasts of scuzzy, charming, soul-consuming guitar jams. Taken from the One-Offs compilation and recorded in the same session as their excellent debut record Islander, ‘Audrey, Are We Lost?’ captures everything that is wonderful about Mowbird. A hyperactive, gritty and surf inspired garage-rock belter, ‘Audrey, Are We Lost?’ is just over two-minutes jammed packed with energy, poppy sheen, riffs, catchy hooks and some stunning organ work – something that really marks their sound out as something very special indeed. Magnifique!

While One-Offs is currently limited to 50 copies and only available at live shows, you can stream it on their Bandcamp page. Perhaps one day, the album will be available digitally, here’s hoping.

Czarface Return with ‘Deadly Class’ feat. Meyhem Lauren



CZARFACE are back!

After murmurs that we could expect an album at some point this year, CZARFACE, the collaborative trio of Inspectah Deck, Esoteric and 7L, are preparing their return with a new album, called Every Hero Needs A Villain.

The forthcoming record with follow their stellar self-titled debut, which is hands down one for the best and most enjoyable records of recent years. The first glimpse from the new album, which is due later this year through Brick Records, comes in the form of ‘Deadly Class’. Joined by Meyhem Lauren, it is a slick slice of ’90s–style hip-hop. Lyrically it’s sublime, verse after verse of complex rhymes and similes unfold as Inspectah Deck works his production wizardry over the snappy yet meaty drum-work, horns and Middle Eastern style guitar. It would appear that they have lost none of that zip, gloss or bounce that made their debut such an unbelievably great record and an unenviable proposition to follow up.

No exact release date as yet for Every Hero Needs A Villain but suggestions are some time this summer – till then – there is ‘Deadly Class’. Check it below!

Cotton Wolf – ‘Moxa’

Cotton Wolf 2015

Welsh electronic duo Cotton Wolf are set to release a brand new EP, Moxa, through the ever reliable Strangetown Records.

The first glimpse afforded to us from the Cardiff pairing’s forthcoming EP comes in the shape of title-track ‘Moxa’; a spectacular four minutes of wonderfully dreamy hypnotic oscillation. All manner of majestic electronic sounds and faint heavenly vocals are intricately woven together with bouncy bass, crunchy beats and click-clack percussion to give an overall aura of liquid, glistening blissfulness. It’s lush, energetic, altogether alive and utterly, utterly sublime! Going by this, their EP, is going to be a hell of a record.

You can check out ‘Moxa’ below, along with Cotton Wolf’s (Dead Of Night) remix of TRWBADOR’s ‘Several Wolves’. You won’t be disappointed.

Guest Post: Johnny Feeney Picks 3 Albums (Father John Misty, Menace Beach & Viet Cong)


The eminently knowledgeable musical savvy Johnny Feeney, returns to share with us, some albums which have caught his eye, or ear to be more precise. Always insightful and interesting, his posts definitely add an extra flavour the blog and I for one look forward to reading them – of which I’m surely not alone? Without further a due, here are three albums that have been taking his fancy of late. Thanks as ever to Johnny for taking the time to share his thoughts and with that, I’ll leave you in his very capable hands.

Father John Misty – ‘I Love You, Honeybear’

The second album from former Fleet Foxes drummer J Tillman is a dazzling roller-coaster ride of emotions. This is wonderfully produced and musically uplifting folk/Americana, while Tillman’s cutting lyrics have the ability to consistently knock you to the floor. The gorgeous opening title track is a case in point – swooning layers of acoustic guitars, luscious strings and pianos are accompanied by declarations of love and visions of impending doom (“Everything is doomed, and nothing will be spared, but I love you, honeybear”).

Tillman effortlessly switches moods throughout. There are some genuine moments of humour on here such as on ‘Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Thirsty Crow’ (“my baby … blackens pages like a Russian romantic, gets down more often than a blow-up doll”). The standout moments come towards the end of the album. ‘Bored in the USA’s withering commentary on modern America is played out over a beautifully delicate piano and, midway through, ironic canned laughter. The spellbinding ‘Holy Shit’ tackles organised religion amongst other things before its last verse closes euphorically on a wave of glorious strings. Stunning.

Menace Beach – ‘Ratworld’

Leeds indie-rockers Menace Beach certainly wear their influences on their sleeves on their debut album. Opener ‘Come On Give Up’ and ‘Elastic’ channel ’90s grunge in a revivalist manner similar to Yuck a few years back. Elsewhere ‘Blue Eye’ evokes the shoegaze of The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. Fuzzy guitars and occasional earbleeding squalls of feedback abound as Ryan Needham and Liza Violet switch vocal duties throughout. Violet’s breathy, dreamy vocals, especially, rescue some of the tunes out of their murk.

The band have a clear ear for melody and album highlights include ‘Tennis Court’ which starts out as dream-pop before exploding into a filthier sound. The standout ‘Tastes Like Medicine’ is a more straight-up indie-rock affair with the extremely infectious chorus having a tendency to lodge in your head for days. With 12 tracks coming in at just over half an hour there’s no hanging around and the album’s the better for it. Although there’s nothing startlingly original on here, this is a highly promising debut nonetheless.

Viet Cong – ‘Viet Cong’

The self-titled debut album from Canadian post-punk four-piece Viet Cong, is certainly not one for the faint of heart. If Fuck Buttons were to make a guitar album it’d probably sound like this. The music is hypnotic, repetitive and bleak but absolutely compelling. Stuttering, industrial beats and mazing guitars come to the fore with lead singer Matt Flegel’s vocals way down and difficult to decipher. The unsettling, captivating ‘March of Progress’ opens with clangouring beats in a constant loop before it slowly moves into psychedelic territory with sinister Eastern strings.

The album’s most accessible songs, the brooding ‘Continental Shelf’ and the energetic ‘Silhouettes’, provide an almost welcome relief. This is brief respite before the aptly-named album closer ‘Death’ launches into its epic 11 minute journey – a relentless, bruising and punishing ride that will leave the listener exhausted and battered into submission. One could imagine going catatonic at their live shows. This definitely won’t be to everyone’s tastes. Turn it up loud.