Best of 2014: w/ Stephen Connelly of Knoxville Morning

stinky steve

As has become tradition for this time year, I’ve asked bands and artists who’ve played a BarryGruff show during the year, to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2014′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2014′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. I’ve really enjoyed these over the past few years so why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to Stephen Connelly of Knoxville Morning (and my right hand man with gigs)  to share his picks from 2014.

Favouite Album of 2014: Damien Jurado – ‘Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Sun’

This album was a real slow burner for me. I knew of only a handful of songs by the man before hearing this record but had already fallen in love with his songwriting. This album was different though. Producer Richard Swift creates a whole new world for Jurado’s songs. The album is a squeal to his last album ‘Maraqopa’. Based a guy who wants to disappear from society but winds up coming across a commune in the dessert where everyone is waiting on the second coming of Christ. Already sounding like an epic movie! A serious sci-fi/spiritual buzz off the new record and the music reflects this. I’m a sucker for a concept album and this went one step further. Jurado’s vision is very clear and cinematic. It’s a rare thing when a sequel tops the initial movie, think of it like Terminator 2: Judgement Day or Aliens, even Cheaper by the fuckin’ Dozen 2! A couple of other highlights for me this year were The Bug- ‘Angels & Demons’ // Angel Olsen – ‘Burn Your Fire for No Witness’ // Oh Boland/Me and My Dog Split – ‘Delphi’ // Future Islands – ‘Singles’.

Favorite song of 2014: A Lazarus Soul – ‘Midday Class’

I adore this band. I remember hearing this song for the first time in the Mercantile around this time two years ago and being floored by every word. Brian Brannigan’s songwriting is second to none and backed by an unbelievable band. This track is like a modern day take on Sean-nós with Brannigan’s vocal accompanied by only looming cacophony brewing underneath. First line kills me every time, a feeling that I know too well: Like a hangover dense as a city smog
followed me like a big black dog’

Favourite Irish song of 2014: Oh Boland – ‘Home Truths’

If I had only one wish this Christmas I would wish for everyone in the whole wide world to go see these guys live. Mesmerising rock n roll shows. Their split ep ‘Delphi’ with Me & My Dog has been on loop in the house since its release in the summer. Its tough to pick one jam off it but ‘Home Truths’ is a perfect place to start. Catchy riffs with fuzz dripping off the fretboard backed by an energetic rhythm section. I love everything about this band. If my head goes any further up their arse, I’ll be crawling out of their mouth at this stage. Needless to say I can’t wait for their debut album in the new year.

Best of 2014: w/ Padraig McCauley of Disconcerting P

1452056_609702942424828_166838746_n

As has become tradition for this time year, I’ve asked bands and artists who’ve played a BarryGruff show during the year, to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2014′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2014′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. I’ve really enjoyed these over the past few years so why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to the Padraig McCauley of Disconcerting P to share his picks from 2014.

Favourite Album of 2014: Angel Olsen – ‘Burn Your Fire For No Witness’/ Mac DeMarco – ‘Salad Days’

Angel Olsen‘s album drew my attention for two reasons: Her flawless vocals (Her vibrato is scary perfect) and her unusual song forms. All the tracks on the album have this steady flow which only seems to break when the melody changes around them, making the overall experience hypnotic and effortless to listen to. The production only adds to this sense of haze with drowning reversed guitars and tremolo’d guitars that wash around each other in the middle ground whilst Angel vocal flourishes in the fore. Its subject matter is heavy – loss and loneliness – but the experience is so beautiful it can be easy to find the merit in these experiences when music so raw and passionate can come from them. The stand-out tracks for me are ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Enemy’. Whats truly refreshing about the album is that Angel feels genuine – everything about the album feels real and authentic.

Salad Days is on par with Angels album for its honesty and genuine nature. Its seems that he really is pouring his heart out, but under the guise of this cartoon character. The effect works and I find him to be quite loveable. Mac is a smart guy – you can hear it in his song harmony, his melodies and his effortless rhyming schemes and what makes him even more loveable is that he seems determined to not let you know it – coming off as a unbeknown genius rather than obnoxious. The subject matter of the album is relatable – the constant struggle between youth and maturity. I suppose what can be take from Mac DeMarco as a character is that both don’t be exclusive. There is enlightenment to be found in the album – even if it is being delivered by a gap toothed jester – making it all the more exciting.

Favourite track of 2014: TOPS – ‘Way to be Loved’

Oh man that groove. I love how easily this songs moves! The feel shifts so seamlessly, only adding to this shimmering glitteriness the track has. The lyrics are great too. The track is delivered with a coyness from Jane Penny that makes it so alluring. It has glimpses of other bands in it but feels unique within itself. Oh man… that groove.

Favourite Irish track of 2014: The Gloaming – ‘Allistrum’s March’

While this may be a traditional tune – The Gloaming’s version is breathtaking. The whole album is unbelievably. Go see these guys. This really is musicianship at its highest and most pure.

Best of 2014: w/ Jinx Lennon

Jinx Lennon

As has become tradition for this time year, I’ve asked bands and artists who’ve played a BarryGruff show during the year, to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2014′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2014′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. I’ve really enjoyed these over the past few years so why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to the legendary Jinx Lennon to share his picks from 2014.

Favourite Album of 2014: Sleaford Mods – ‘Divide and Exit’

It’s not a very sophisticated album, it’s bass and drum machine and a lot of words. It sounds great on vinyl and for a microsecond it makes me feel that the old ritual of walking up town with an LP under your arm has been brought back to life (for a microsecond). The singer is pissed off and like his Irish spiritual brother Captain Moonlight he can make a tune into a surreal situation without getting wildly specific. (Ok I take that back The Captain is a might more specific in his topics but i hear a similar anger and humour). I’d like to see a lot more music like this. I thought 8 years ago we’d have less chirpy beard music in Ireland but 2014 has brought more and more CBM it would almost be hilarious if it wasn’t such a pain in the balls when you turn on the fucking radio and they use that jingly wingly sound on the bank adverts now with the usual Dublin 4 breathy lass that sounds like she pisses lemonade yapping with a mid Atlantic jackeen accent that has that horrid perpetual RRR sound at the end of two out of five of her words.

Favourite Song of 2014: The Primitive Calculators – ‘Dead’

Ahhh!! The Primitive Calculators are so refreshing. Their album The World is Fucked would be my ideal soundtrack for the 2 couples get together cosy wosy ”can I show you our new fireplace/car/extension” mindfuck evenings. I’d opt for the Calculators instead of the usual let’s pretend we are still 19 at the raves dinner background music guff which usually happens at such get togethers or worse a Father John Misty/Coldplay debacle of an evening. The singer of the Calculators is a 50 year old pissed off teacher who sounds like the bane of any up and coming PTA meetings and I’m grateful he exists.’Dead’ is an existential reminder of upcoming mortality for all of us and The Calculators don’t sound happy about that fact ,but still make such a glorious racket in the ‘Vein of Suicide’ or France’s brilliant ‘Metal Urbain’. The fella with the scythe might have second thoughts about performing his duties at their gaff.Grainne Seoige should have used them for her pitiful mess of a Christmas charity single instead of that jingly wingly beard music travesty she decided to immerse herself in. Second choice, Slaves ‘The Hunter’ great live band from Lawndarn.

Favorite Irish Song?

The sound of people saying ‘Can’t Pay Won’t Pay’ all across the land at the Water Protests is music to my ears. I havn’t heard anything better this year from Ireland. Captain Moonlight’s ‘Agroculture Part 2 and 3′ still sound prescient for 2014. I sometimes want to dabble in the myriad Irish musics that I come across but I’m not getting the meat I want from the sounds I hear. I go to local gigs that have usually three acts and I’m impressed with the way that modern Irish acts are all very confident looks wise, and musically competent in a technical way with their skills on stage and it all sounds nice and multi layered and perfect candy for the earlobes but I’d prefer to see someone bang their heads off the wall or thump the shit out of each other on stage, play a guitar with one string, or even just tell me the audience member what they really feel instead of sounding like some 4th rate Death Cab for Cutie, hypnogogic chilliwave 2010 castoffs, or jingly wingly mandoliney Mormon clothed beard nonsense or electronica girls with school music exam faces, and the fucking accents RRR RRR RRR which is made worse when some buck realises mid song he’s from Navan or Sligo or the Narthsoide and forgets about that homogenous twang for a millisecond. Disaster !!! Billllloppppppppp!

BarryGruff Unplugged #4: Jinx Lennon + Appo :: Thursday, April 24th :: The Liffey Studio, Newbridge

Jinx Lennon Newbridge 2014 Liffey Studio

So, we’re back with part four of the series on Thursday, April 24th, and we welcome the legendary Jinx Lennon and Appo to the intimate surroundings of The Liffey Studio, Newbridge.

To say we’re excited by this one would be putting it mildly. At the beginning, before we’d organised a gig, Stevie & I sat down to ponder what we could do, during this pipe dream exercise there were maybe three acts we agreed ‘had’ to play. Jinx Lennon was one of them and why not? Jinx is an absolute genius, a national treasure and rightly described by Christy Moore as the most important Irish singer/songwriter in the past 10 years.

Jinx Lennon is the epitome of a modern folk singer influenced by post punk and hip hop. Awkward and real, raw and righteous in his mode, he comes out of the northeast lost province of Oriel armed with songs to blow apart the chains in your heads. Songs about kicking against the bullshit of life .Whether it’s played on a one string guitar or sampled disco beat and raw garage noise and blues – Jinx’s music is sure to make the atoms on your skin surface vibrate externally for eternity. Jinx is currently in his HQ working on songs for next album working title ‘Keep Sane In The World of Eager Smiling Pricks’.

Support comes from Newbridge’s very own diamond in the rough, Appo, a one man bluesy-folk explosion. The gravelly voiced troubadour has also been busy in the studio working on a new album.

BarryGruff Unplugged #4: Jinx Lennon + Appo | Thursday, April 24th, The Liffey Studio, 1 Main Street, Newbridge, Co. Kildare (Above Johnson’s Pub) – Doors 7:30 | Admission: €8/€10.

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode

BarryGruff Unplugged: Paddy Hanna + Wayfarer :: Saturday, March 1st :: The Liffey Studio, Newbridge

Paddy Hanna Newbridge 2014

BarryGruff Unplugged #3: Paddy Hanna + Wayfarer | March 1st – The Liffey Studio, Newbridge –  Doors: 7:30pm | €5/€7

Following the success of previous BarryGruff Unplugged shows, we’re back with round #3 on March 1st. Part three looks an exciting proposition with Paddy Hanna and Wayfarer joining us in the intimate surroundings of The Liffey Studio.

The show is €5 if you book in advance or €7 on the night. The cheap list is limited so if you would like to reserve a spot, email your name to: barrygruff[at]gmail[dot]com – with ‘Cheap List’ in the subject title.

:: Paddy Hanna ::

Probably best known as lead singer in Grand Pocket Orchestra and drummer in No Monster Club, this year however, Paddy Hanna has stepped out on his own, releasing his debut solo album ‘Leafy Stilleto’ and attracting rave reviews in the Irish media since its release in January. The young man from Dublin is in a somewhat more laid back and relaxed mood than before, creating a warm and well-structured collection of gorgeous indie tunes. He was brilliant at Electric Picnic and since then we’ve been working hard to bring Paddy Hanna to Newbridge, and delighted we finally got our man.

:: Wayfarer ::

Wayfarer are folk duo Sam Devlin & Rachel Boland from Co. Kildare. The name might be familiar, having played a few BarryGruff shows, wooing audiences in the process, with their beautiful country folk sounds and alluring harmonies. They have been busy working on a forthcoming EP but thankfully found time to squeeze in a much welcome Newbridge show.

BarryGruff Unplugged: Oisin McCole + Sive + Phil McDermott :: Wednesday, December 18th :: The Liffey Studio, Newbridge

Oisin MCCole_edited-2

We’d an amazing time doing the first ‘BarryGruff Unplugged’ earlier in the year, easily our best show to date. To sign off on 2013, we’re doing another unplugged show in the wonderfully intimate surroundings of The Liffey Studio, with Oisin McCole, Sive and Phil McDermott performing for you;  three exceptionally talented musicians.

It’s all happening next Wednesday, Decemeber 18th in The Liffey Studio, 1 Main Street, Newbridge. Door are at 8pm. It’s €5 if you book in advance or €7 on the night. The cheap list is limited so if you would like to reserve a spot, just email your name to barrygruff[at]gmail[dot]com – with ‘Cheap List’ in the subject title. More details & info below. [RSVP]

:: Oisin McCole ::

Oisin McCole is an outstanding and undeniably talented folk singer and songwriter, yet he has managed to remain rather illusive outside his native Dublin. McCole’s lo-fi blues / folk blend is refreshingly humble and entirely devoid of ostentatious. His songs are beautifully written and constructed, never sounding contrived or over-produced, and posses an incredibly intimate sound and personal touch. These are folk songs from a seriously talented songwriter, deserving of far greater attention – something his two recently released EPs, From Here The Mountain & Winter Is Coming, are testament to.

:: Sive ::

Sive is no stranger to Newbridge audiences; having been wooed on many occasions by their always impeccable live shows. The brainchild of Naas musician Sadhbh O’Sullivan, ably assisted by her band, they draw from a wide variety of alternative rock, jazz and folk influences. Sive’s gorgeous sound comes from a combination of these influences being fused with excellent musicianship and charm, and her voice, which is simply exquisite. 

:: Phil McDermott ::

Phil is a talented young songwriter from Newbridge who has only begun to cut his teeth so to speak. Relatively new to the game he maybe, but he’s already got a fine bundle of material in his arsenal. Hopefully in the new year he takes the next step and heads to the studio to record some of his music.