Duncan Lloyd – ‘FReak FAcade’

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Duncan Lloyd is probably best known as the guitarist in Maximo Park, but away from the day job, he’s kept himself busy with various side-projects including Decade In Exile, Nano Kino and solo work under his own name.

It is the latter which requires our attention today with Lloyd planning to release a new EP, FReak FAcade very soon. Ahead of which, he’s afforded us a glimpse of the title track and ‘FReak FAcade’ is a doozy. It is four-and-a-half-minutes of beautiful, wistful meanderings treated with lo-fi fuzz. Bristling with an unobtrusive moodiness, it is permeated with a sense of melancholy and understated optimism. Lloyd’s hushed vocal echoes through the shimmering guitar, which twinkle like stars in the night sky. A tantalising reminder of what Lloyd is capable of on his own; marvellous.

There is no date as yet for the forthcoming EP (watch this space I guess) but you can listen to ‘FReak FAcade’ below. Is is also available to download as a ‘pay what you like’ from Bandcamp.

Introducing: The Immediate

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There’s a bit or a role reversal with this one, all will become abundantly clear below….

The Immediate are a three-piece power pop band from Mold in north Wales. Originally active in the ’90s, they split in 1997 due to frustration, an argument over a mouth organ and the success of Stereophonics – all valid reasons, no?

Earlier this year however, the trio of of Duncan Farmer, Richard Harrison & Adam Walton reunited – the latter’s BBC Radio Wales show is one of my favourites and a fine source of superb new Welsh tunes (role reversal explained) – not for one last crack at fame but for the love of making music. This love and that of music from The Jam, Small Faces, Ride, Badfinger & Teenage Fanclub among others, shines through brightly. Crafting songs about hope and love in the face of the moribund, daily grind, playing to please only themselves, with no thoughts of success or acclaim and having fun along the way. Taken from their debut EP Shadows and Ghosts, ‘Yoko’ is a case in point. Succinctly summing up The Immediate’s raison d’etre in a scintillating three-minutes, ‘Yoko’ is a guitar heavy, riff-filled indie rocker bursting with melody and vitality; and in Walton’s own words, it’s ace! Sometimes that is quite enough.

There is an album in the offing for the new year but for now, why not give ‘Yoko’ a spin below. You can get their debut EP, Shadows and Ghosts as a free download via Bandcamp.

Trails And Ways Share New Single ‘Happiness'; The Second From Their Forthcoming LP

Trails and Ways are gearing up to release their new album, Own It on October 7th.

There is no one better when it comes to sun-drenched, tropical-tinged indie-pop – something laid out emphatically by their wonderfully infectious debut LP, Pathology. The California foursome’s latest single ‘Happiness’ – the second to be lifted from the forthcoming record, following ‘My Things’ earlier this summer – is a blissful, buoyant synth-filled track. ‘Happiness’ with its crisp and bright guitar melody, bubbly chorus, joy-inducing hand claps, powerful rhythmic bass lines and charming male/female vocal interchanges, on the surface at least, everything seems blissfully all right. Lyrically however ‘Happiness’ delves into the challenging issue of whether human pursuit of happiness is impossible and it it is the juxtaposition between this and the carefree sound that makes this tune what it is; magnificent!

Trails and Ways also have a massive tour coming up too, so check here to see if they are playing a town near you soon!

You can listen to ‘Happiness’ below and the new LP, Own It is out on October 7th.

Julien Mier – ‘Hum Of The Hummingbirds’

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Yet another excellent piece of electronica via Ryan Hemsworth’s Secret Song selection; a bi-weekly offering of magnificent free singles curated by Mr. Hemsworth.

On this occasion the sublime sounds are supplied courtesy of Dutch, Australia-based producer, Julien Mier. Mier has become known for his eclectic and washed out collision of musical genres, and does nothing to dispel this notion with his exquisite new single ‘Hum Of The Hummingbirds’. Opening with a flurry of twinkling, colorful fluttering electronics it surges through a neat the light, bright and beautifully lush sounds, with a buzz of electricity. A stunning 2 minutes 40 seconds, as Mier intricately brings so many threads together, with a deft, exquisite touch.

You can sample the wonder of ‘Hum Of The Hummingbirds’ below. And if that is to you liking, Meir has a new album coming soon, via Vancouver label ‘King Deluxe’, more details on that, here.

Introducing: Dumb

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Dumb are a Vancouver foursome – Nick Short, Felipe Morelli, Gal Av-Gay and Nir Av-Gay – who proclaim themselves as a “punk rock band!”. They are that, and a whole lot more.

Following on from two 2015 EPs, Friendship and Tulips, they’ve recently released their debut album, Beach Church. In this holy house of beach (Beach Church), across nine-songs we a graced with a rather ‘smart’ collection from Dumb. The album is littered with an intoxicating flurry of crunchy indie-rock songs that flirt with indie, punk, garage, post-punk and even occasional surf elements. From the twangy, surf-themed instrumentals of ‘Beach Church pt. I, II & III’ to the rough-and-ragged, crunching guitars, cymbal crashing and shout-able lyrics of the likes of ‘Refrain’ or ‘7-11′; Dumb eek out a middle ground between garage rock, spaced-out psychedelia and the driving stomp of punk. It all works together and come across as endearingly authentic, suggesting that Dumb is a band to keep an eye on.

You can listen to some choice cuts from Dumb’s debut LP below and if you would like to get your mitts on Beach Church, it is here, all you gotta do is ‘name you price’. Also, they play Vancouver’s Music Waste on Saturday, June 4th (the full schedule is here).

Iechyd Da – A Tribute to Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci

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10 years on from Welsh psych-pop phenomenons Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci going their separate ways, Recordiau Prin‘s head honcho, Ash Cooke has curated Iechyd Da – The Music of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci; a 32-track celebration of the band, featuring covers from Gulp, Gorwel Owen Seazoo, Sweet Benfica, Stuart Kidd, Helicopter Spies, Baby Brave and many more.

Gorky’s are regarded as one of the most original and unique bands in the history of Welsh music. Formed in Carmarthen, west Wales in 1991, they drew from a diverse & eclectic range of musical influences, sang in both Welsh & English, released a string of excellent albums and thus, their cult status was cemented. Personally, it is a retrospective appreciation of their music. Lets just say, there weren’t many record shops in Kildare stocking Gorky’s stuff but their impact and influence has been a lasting one. Iechyd Da is a wonderful collection, crafted with obvious affection and respect it’s not only a tribute to Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, but a thank you from all those involved who loved the band’s music over the years. New to Gorky’s or a seasoned fan? There is something here for everyone.

There are a number of choice cuts from Stuart Kidd, Seazoo and Helicopter Spies for your perusal below. To seal the deal, Iechyd Da is out now and available for FREE from here.

 

Trails And Ways – ‘My Things’

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California foursome Trails And Ways have been pasting smiles on faces with their alluring, bright and joyous sounds for quite some time.

Having released their wonderfully infectious debut LP, Pathology only last year, the foursome are already prepping it’s follow up. While there is no concrete release date as yet, Trails And Ways have presented us with a taste of what is to come, in the shape of new single, ‘My Things’. It is yet another strong offering of sun-drenched, tropical-tinged indie-pop but with a shift towards a more rock and roll sound, while retaining their signature infectious, dream-pop air. ‘My Things’ is a simply sublime, joyful distillation of sweet summery vibes. Trails And Ways’ music is always particularly suited to summer, good on them for obliging us, and providing us with some early summery sounds.

You can listen to ‘My Things’ below and it is out now, and available free of charge, here. Keep an ear out for the forthcoming LP.

Koloto – ‘Fay’

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Canterbury based producer Maria Sullivan has been creating music for over a decade. Sullivan was the bassist in Delta Sleep and most recently, working under the moniker of Koloto, has demonstrated a passion and prowess for glitchy, homemade, hand-crafted sounds; treating us to a series of first-rate electronic compositions.

The latest of which, comes in the form of new single ‘Fay’. Released through Abandon Building, it is a typically intricate and delicately constructed, beat-driven cut of gorgeous, glitchy, electronic music. Profoundly wonderful and imaginative, it is matched in all manner of greatness by the accompanying animated video by Sabine Volkert, an animator, illustrator, and designer currently based in Nürnberg, Germany. While there can be no complaints with Koloto’s output thus far, here’s hoping that we get an album, or another EP, sooner rather than later.

You can stream ‘Fay’ below and it is available from Bandcamp now, just ‘name your price’.

 

Millions Like Us Podcast – Episode #8

We’re thrilled to share the first Millions Like Us podcast of 2016. It’s great to back and the latest, the eighth, of music podcasts hosted by Justin & I, in conjunction with Vancouver news & culture site 604now.

On a bi-weekly basis we aim to please, providing relief from all life’s toils* with lively and entertaining chat and eclectic selection of fabulous music from metro Vancouver and BEYOND. There’s plenty in there, well over an hour in fact, of new tunes, reflection on 2015, anticipation for the forthcoming year and more.

You can read more on it here and listen below, and the tracklist (with links) is after the jump too. You can subscribe to ‘Millions Like Us’ on iTunes & Podcast Republic or find us on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can email us at millionslikeuspodcast[at]gmail[dot]com.

Thanks for listening as always, enjoy!

Podcast #8 Tracklist:

2015 According to Oisin McCole

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                                                                                                                                                                                   Image via Unmade In Ireland

One of my proudest achievements on the blog last year, or any year for that matter, was the release of 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.

It was a truly fantastic way to mark 5 years of BarryGruff and I am incredibly grateful to everyone involved and the overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic response. 2015 may have drawn to a close, but I enlisted the various people who made the compilation what it was, to chat about their favourite moments and sounds from year, and last but not least, is Oisin McCole.

An outstanding and undeniably talented folk singer and songwriter, Oisin McCole 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. A seriously talented songwriter, deserving of far greater attention.

Before we take a look at his 2015 sound selections, you should check out McCole’s excellent back catalogue  here, and his GruffWuff inclusion, ‘Far From The Sea’ (w/ Desperadow)  – of which you can download here for FREE.

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