ROTATION ROUND-UP #4

Time is becoming increasingly precious and difficult to obtain these days but I still have a grá on me for blogging.

So, this is an attempt cover more of what I am listening to on a regular basis, with a relatively quick roundup of what has been on rotation over the past week or two.

Enjoy!

Adwaith – ‘ETO’

Welsh outfit Adwaith – Hollie Singer, Gwenllian Anthony & Heledd Owen – will release the follow-up to their wonderful and Welsh Music Prize winning debut with new album Bato Mato on July 1st via Libertino Records. The new record is led by ‘ETO’, a soaring evocative guitar driven adventure brimming with confidence and ideas. It is shimmering, evocative, life-affirming and moving, and bursting with open-hearted soaring melody’s and lyrical vulnerability – instantly sweeping us along with this stirring anthem. This is Adwaith at their finest; you will be replaying, again and again, and again.

Many Voices Speak – ‘Within Reach’

Many Voices Speak – the project of Swedish musician Matilda Mård – has announced her return with second album Gestures, released on 29th April 2022 via Strangers Candy.

A master of misty-eyed, melancholic and hazy indie-pop, Many Voices Speak has always found its power in its ability to capture an eternity in an expression; found in abundance on her debut and lead single ‘Within Reach’. A six-minute long reflective slow burn that just brims with beauty, as Mård’s elegant, yearning dream-pop makes the world seem to slow down around it, where time stretches out, and you become totally immersed in it. ‘Within Reach’ showcases Mård’s continued growth as a songwriter, one more comfortable in her own skin.

Komla MC vs Fold – ‘Victoria Falls’

Komla MC vs Fold is the unlikely combination of two expats in Leeds, UK. Hailing from Accra and New York respectively, Rob (Komla MC) and Seth (of the band Fold) were brought together by having kids at the same school and united in their undying love of hip hop. Given that Seth’s work with Hip-Hop/Trip Hop outfit Fold has a rep for funky, groovy and cool sounds, it is no surprise that this delivers a healthy dose of all three pitted with a fun and cheeky sensibility. Hopefully there is more to come from this collab – top marks!

The AM – ‘On Joy Road’

The AM – AKA Ann-Marie Teasley – is a DJ with a penchant for Techno and Electro that started out as a classical violinist in Detroit. The AM is releasing her debut EP Black Majik on March 11, and comes fronted by ‘On Joy Road’; an Electro-influenced jam named after the long, dual-carriageway street that connects the centre of Detroit to Nankin Lake and the enclaves on the city’s west side. It is urgent and intense while simultaneously elegant as a hypnotic spell is spun by frantic up-tempo snappy beats, claps, rippling electronics and winding synths, while a warped vocal sample and woozy flourishes fade in and out of view. A mesmerising and thumping dancefloor ready banger.

Clwb Fuzz – ‘Sertraline’

Cardiff outfit Clwb Fuzz return with new single ‘Sertraline’; a magnificent blaze of fuzzed-up spiralling psychedelic-rock. Burning guitars fuzz, ominous eerie synths and swaying, pendulumic percussion, set the swirling stage for Emily Kocan’s haunting vocals, regaling vivid and sometimes far too real dreams, occurring as a side-effect of taking antidepressants. Unsettling paranoid introspection has never sounded so glorious.

Rotation Round-Up #3

Time is becoming increasingly precious and difficult to obtain these days but I still have a grá on me for blogging.

So, this is an attempt cover more of what I am listening to on a regular basis, with a relatively quick roundup of what has been on rotation over the past week or two.

The aim is to keep them coming on a weekly / biweekly basis or failing that, I may as well pack this malarkey in altogether.

Stephen Durkan – ‘Prayer’

Glaswegian artist Stephen Durkan released his debut EP The Stories We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves last week and ‘Prayer’ is the latest single lifted from it. Less energised and meaty than previous single ‘The Acid Commune’, we find Durkan poetically reflecting on a lack of divine belief as hard-edged, introspective words play out amid muted swathes of downbeat electronica. Like the rest of the EP, ‘Prayer’ will captivate and will have you hooked from the get go. Durkan is a voice worth listening to.

Langkamer – ‘Teeth’

From Bristol in the UK, Langkamer are commonly described as country rockers (the best yet is Avon Americana, serious thumbs up) but they land somewhere between Pavement, Creedence, Wilco and Hooton Tennis Club. Their latest single ‘Teeth’ is undoubtedly a perfect blend of these components, crafting a supremely addictive, smart and contagious sound that is simultaneously familiar and excitingly fresh. There’s a lo-fi aesthetic to the drums and vocals, lending a garage band vibe as a slide guitar bathes ‘Teeth’ with an alt country shade. It is bright, catchy and playful, finding a sweet spot between off-kilter and hooky, it is a vivid and irresistible tune.

Captain Rico and The Ghost Band – ‘Dracula On A Skateboard’

French surf-rock aficionados Captain Rico and the Ghost Band will release their second album Fréquences d’outre-tombe (Rhythms from beyond the grave) on March 4, 2022, which promises 1’1 new instrumental tracks  featuring a kaleidoscope of guitar riffs, from powerful to simply off the wall’. Ahead of the new album, Captain Rico and The Ghost Band has shared lead single ‘Dracula On A Skateboard’. A free flowing and energetic ramble, it has a vintage yet timeless air to it, with serious echoes of 60’s surf sound of The Shadows and Dick Dale as bright, energetic surf guitars and glistening riff thrive over frantic rhythmic groove that hares off at a furious pace from the off. Wonderful.

Maida Rose – ‘Fallen’

Maida Rose is dream-pop pairing of Roos Meijer and Javièr den Leeuw from Dutch seaside city the Hague, and will release their debut LP Tales Of Adolescence on March 25. Ahead of the album, the pair share new single ‘Fallen’ which perfectly captures their prowess for rich and wistful dream-pop. It oozes with nostalgia and a pang of melancholy, as soft vocals purr with feeling and heartstrung melodies hover above a languid meandering groove and soft shimmering guitar. ‘Fallen’ is yet another beautiful and moving single from Maida Rose; the album promises a lot.

RIFLE – ‘Flag’

RIFLE are a North London punk outfit who’s debut EP, Holloway Demos was recorded live and in one take at Storm on Holloway Road, and all for the price of a tube fair. Fronted by blistering single ‘Flag’ – it, like the EP – is a short, sharp shock to the system, the proverbial kick in the bollocks if you like, filled with scintillating guitars played at breakneck speed, over a furious beat, while raspy vocals fight to be heard amid the barrage of noise. A bolt of biting raw punk energy; an absolute tour-de-force.

The Bug Club – ‘Intelectuals’

Welsh outfit The Bug Club were my favourite new find of last year, their mini-album Pure Particles and EP, Launching Moondream One were, and still are, outstanding.

From the little-known rock n’ roll hotbed of Caldicot, Monmouthshire, the creative trio of Sam Willmett (guitar/vocals), Tilly Harris (bass/vocals) and Dan Matthew (drums) craft tight-knit, catchy and memorable tunes; sometimes blistering, fiery and fierce and other times, melodic and playfully addictive, and always fizzing with humour and riffs-a-plenty. And the good news is; The Bug Club are back with new single ‘Intelectuals’. But it is a single with a difference. ‘Intelectuals’ is actually five new tracks, recorded in one take.

During the Intelectuals sessions the band wrote five tracks. They recorded the whole lot back-to-back in one take and whacked that entire session out as the a-side with the ‘Money Version’ – a single of sorts – sitting on the proverbial reverse.

Over the 10 minutes we are treated to the gamut of The Bug Club’s endearing brilliance. Opening with a gentle melodic, meandering and tender pop air allowing Willmet & Harris brilliant dual vocals to thrive before fizzing into a blistering, fiery and excitable garage-rock foray, leading to crunching anthemic territory and concluding with hyperactive guitar driven brilliance. Phew! It is a whirlwind of electrifying energy.

Tune into both full and ‘money version’ below:

Introducing: Mudge the Dog

Mudge The Dog are a Californian duo composed of Carrie Potts (guitar, vocals) and Luke Rossi (drums, bass) who specialise in scuzzy, fuzz-filled punk/garage leaning indie. 

Formed in 2021, the pair have just released a debut, three-track, self-titled EP, and it is a treat. Mudge The Dog offer a treasure trove of scrappy, endearingly lo-fi and fuzzy garage jams; opening with the melodic meanderings of the addictively catchy ‘Hey Dad’. But amid the glorious hooks and allure, guitars crunch and riffs buzz as vocals bite above the infectious swagger which feeds perfectly into ‘Familiar Stranger’ & ‘Sinner’. While the latter pair are both just as irresistibly catchy as the opener, there is an added zip as guitars fizz with biting riffs duke it out with a frenetic rhythmic energy while all bathed in a glorious layer of fuzz.

The EP is short and sweet, zipping along with a real honest charm and packed with an effervescent energy, catchy riffs and mashed with earworm hooks and in doing so have created something that thrives between brash and beautifully catchy – a joy to listen to.

Rotation Roundup #2

Time is becoming increasingly precious and difficult to obtain these days but I still have a grá on me for blogging.

So, this is an attempt cover more of what I am listening to on a regular basis, with a relatively quick roundup of what has been on rotation over the past week or two.

The aim is to keep them coming on a weekly / biweekly basis or failing that, I may as well pack this malarkey in altogether.

Panic Shack – ‘Mannequin Man‘

Cardiff noisemakers Panic Shack will release their debut EP, Baby Shack EP, on April 8th via Brace Yourself Records and ahead of which, they have shared lead single ‘Mannequin Man‘.The track is exactly what you’d expect from Panic Shack; a raw, spiky and incendiary punky cut bursting with bouncy basslines, chant along vocals, hooks galore and plenty of attitude. A rip roaring return, the forthcoming EP promises to be quite something.

Lyndsey Lawlor – ‘Love, Lust, Indifference & Hatred’

Lyndsey Lawlor is a Dublin spoken word artist who has teamed up with Kildare producer Gary O’Reilly (Mix & Fairbanks) for new album, Dearest Philistine, released in January. The album came to fruition with Lawlor locked down away from her band and creating an entire record with O’Reilly. ‘Love, Lust, Indifference & Hatred’ is the latest single lifted from the album, Lawlor’s vocals brimming with a positive and hopeful air flow cooly above a beautiful blend of warm, fluffy electronics that shimmer above a soft pattering of captivating beats. 

Peaness – ‘How I’m Feeling’

Longstanding BG favs Peaness have announced their debut album. The Chester trio will release World Full of Worry via their own Totally Snick Records on 6th May, preceded by new single ‘How I’m Feeling’.

Having charmed our ears for years with their irresistible brand of melodic, indie-pop goodness, and latest single is no different. Propelled by a playful, sunny energy juxtaposed by reflecting on the self-loathing and melancholy that can come from being stuck in an unfulfilling job, whilst offering a sense of hope that you can make a positive change. It is insanely catchy, littered with gloriously glossy harmonies, honey-sweet vocals and uplifting jangling hooks . Yet another gem from Peaness who have a propensity for such magic you know.

Listen to ‘How I’m Feeling’ below.

MEMES – ‘Second Thought’

Glasgow’s self-proclaimed “laptop-rock” duo MEMES – composed of cousins John and Paul McLinden – are back with another scintillating slice of fiery and fierce post-punk in the shape of ‘Second Thought’. Unleashed with a feverish intensity, it underlines all there is to love about this tempestuous pairing; unpredictable and unconventional ‘Second Thought’ is fuelled by an erratic, jerky punk electricity and coiled up bassline while the raspy vocals dance over the jagged rhythms and meaty stomp. A thrilling and exhilarating jam; brilliant from MEMES, who have nailed it again.

Astrosurf – ‘Highlife’

Astrosurf are a Toronto based trio with a penchant for freeflowing blues-rock leaning surf sounds, inspired by the cosmos, the open range and seas (like a harder edged, blues embracing version of Wales’ Y Niwl).

The trio’s latest release, Anything But… came out in December of last year and ‘Highlife’ is the latest single lifted from it. ‘Highlife’ perfectly captures the essence of Astrosurf in just under four minutes; it is marvelously scuzzy, unfurling with a lifeforce of its own packed with seductive grooves, meandering catchy  melodies and lashing of fuzz, feedback and mighty reverb laden riffs and licks. To their credit, Astrosurf sound familiar yet authentic, carving their own modern day niche that is, in their own words, “music for surfers, cowboys and spies”.

Live Review: The Charlatans in Dublin (23/11/21)

Personally a big fan of The Charlatans, Us & Us Only still ranks as one of my favourite albums so I was delighted when Alan Brady emailed me though a review of their show in the Olympia. I have seen them live maybe six times over the years and I can’t say I ever felt short changed. Anyway, thanks to Alan for the review and how nice is it to be talking about gigs again. Take it away Alan.

What has been one of the most irritating things about the whole Corona Virus lockdown which has engulfed us in this country for the last two years? Possibly it has to be the lack of a live music gig, and the opportunity to go to a rock concert in a dark, wedged Olympia Theatre. Well the Charlatans ended that drought in superb fashion in late November, with a newly long blonde-haired Tim Burgess and co. thrilling the audience in what is surely the best music venue in Dublin.

The task of providing support for the West Midlands, England act lay at the feet of Aoife Nessa Frances, and the pop and folk Dublin songwriter duly began her set in a relaxed and leisurely manner with ‘Blow Up’ – a tune from her debut album ‘Land Of No Junction’ (2020). Maeve McKenna on the harp supplemented Frances’ singing and guitar playing, although it must be noted that the consequences were varied. The pair performed a lot of songs from Frances’ upcoming new album, which the Sallynoggin-originated singer told us won’t be released for a considerable period of time. The packed audience was enamored by her reverberating singing and guitar strumming, which firmly got the spectators in the humor for the headline act.

Enter the Charlatans – led by the strangely haired Burgess in his eccentric jumper – who were on top form from start to finish of their 23-song set. Proceedings were set in motion with a long intro to ‘Forever’, during which a very enthusiastic looking Burgess danced onstage to rapturous applause. Some of the best performed tunes were ‘Just When You’re Thinking Things Over’, ‘Can’t Get Out of Bed’, and ‘A Needs To Be Told’ – in which the steel guitar was somehow bestowed on keyboards.

Mark Collins was in superb form throughout as his riffs on songs such as ‘One To Another’ and ‘North Country Boy’ – encouraged the crowd to firmly bop – with Burgess duly egging them on to do so. Fans loudly sang along to the latter tune as those in attendance were now seriously in concert mood, and thunderous applause appropriately ensued. ‘How High’ was another ballad to see the voice-level raised around the one-hundred and sixty-six year-old venue.

‘The Blind Stagger’ built up in a slow and leisurely fashion, whilst conversely the audience was treated to an ecstatic rendition of ‘The Only One I Know’; and those present were further treated with a fantastic version of ‘ I Never Want An Easy Life’. The encore possibly encompassed the best-performed songs, as a harmonica-wielding Burgess led the way in an energetic version of ‘Impossible’, before their customary set-closer ‘Sproston Green’ – which again contained Collins displaying various burly guitar riffs – ended proceedings.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and although it’s been a tough two years for us fans of live music in Ireland, it was fantastic to see Burgess, Collins, Martin Blunt and Tony Rogers provide all at the famous Dublin Two venue with their fix of entertainment again.

Alan Brady

Rotation Roundup #1

Time is becoming increasingly precious and difficult to obtain these days but I still have a grá on me for blogging.

So, in an attempt cover more of what I am listening to on a regular basis, here is a quick roundup of what has been on rotation over the past week or two.

I’ll try keep them coming on a weekly / biweekly basis or failing that, I might as well pack this malarkey in altogether.

Melody’s Echo Chamber – ‘Looking Backward’

Melody’s Echo Chamber aka Melody Prochet has announced a new album, Emotional Eternal, which is due April 29 via Domino. The record will be the French musician’s third album and first new music since her excellent 2018 record Bon Voyage. Emotional Eternal is preceded by single ‘Looking Backward’; a dreamy and intoxicating psychedelic pop song with layers of shimmering synths, colours, soft grooves and woozy tones, with Prochet’s recognisable soft but euphoric vocals drifting above.

The first sampling of the new material is all that we would have hoped for and some.

Cate Le Bon – ‘Remembering Me’

Cate Le Bon has released her sixth album Pompeii, follow-up to 2019’s Reward, it is fronted by single ‘Remembering Me’. Difficult to box-off with a taste for offbeat folk but an equal propensity for psych, Le Bon is a treasure and ‘Remembering Me’ reminds us why. Sitting on a cool yet wonky waltzing groove Le Bon’s vocals are as otherworldly and stunning as ever while flourish of guitar appear amid an austere atmosphere; the latter reflected in the introspective and weary lyrics.

Looking forward to sinking the teeth into the album – there is also a rare and great interview in the Guardian for those interested.

Silverbacks – ‘A Job Worth Something’

Dublin-based post-punk outfit Silverbacks have kicked off 2022 in style with new album Archive Material, the follow-up to their superb 2020 debut Fad. The new record continues their propensity for brilliance; a colorful, vivid and exuberant record built upon irresistible grooves and propulsive rhythms, it is spearheaded by lead single ‘A Job Worth Something’. We find Daniel reflecting on his experiences working in insurance while his sister treated patients in a COVID ward, marked by the feelings of futility and guilt he felt at the time. A tight and pointed tune filled alluring guitars, hooks and jangly groove that veers from melodic meander to super focused.

More brilliance from long standing BG favs.

Deadletter – ‘Pop Culture Connoisseur’

Released toward the end of last year, ‘Pop Culture Connoisseur’ signalled the signing of Yorkshire outfit DEADLETTER to the always interesting indie label Nice Swan Records. Lyrically serious yet surreal, musically, it is brash and boisterous (yet very groovy) as a wall of post-punk, dubby bassline, swaggering guitars and impassioned vocals set the blistering tone. Think Gang of Four, Franz Ferdinand and lots of bite. Stellar stuff.

Simple Kid – ‘Failed Musician’

Another released and missed late last year, London-based Irish artist Simple Kid (aka Ciaran McFeely) continued his drip feeding of new material following a long period of musical hibernation with ‘Failed Musician’. A jaunty jam riffing on ‘I Feel Free’ by Cream, guitars glisten and shimmer atop a chugging bassline while McFeely’s recognizable vocals thrive amid the warm tones, charm and general sparkle. Long standing patrons will be aware of my fondness for Simple Kid, his two records – SK1 in 2003 and SK2 in 2006 – are also worth your time.


Future West – ‘Late Last Nite’

Future West is the creative outlet centred around Dundalk-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Francis Watters, who do a fine line in scrappy indie meets groove ridden post-punk.

Having spent the last year-and-a-half writing and recording new material with an all-new line up, Future West will release debut album Who Will Forgive All My Sins in early 2022 and have also shared the first glimpse of their graft, with the superb ‘Late Last Nite’.

Born out of frustration from fear and an internal argument after one too many nights of drinking and staying up too late indoors during quarantine times. Introspective, melancholic wistfulness and smouldering anger thrive in equal measure as vocals shift through the gears to hammer home the lyrics while guitars burn, buzz and jerk amid a layer of fuzz and Strokes-esque vibes meets LCD-style grooves. It is captivating, urgent and groove fuelled post-punk that is candidly introspective yet swaggering – and absolutely brilliant.

Tune in below:

Stephen Durkan – ‘The Acid Commune’

Glaswegian artist, Stephen Durkan is preparing to release his debut EP in February and the second single lifted from the EP is ‘The Acid Commune’.

It is a thrilling, hypnotic and exhilarating post-punk jam that shifts seamlessly between driving (drums and bass) rhythms and acoustic strums to choppy bursts of dreamy guitars; it feels vast and somewhat sprawling and works perfectly as a backdrop for Durkan’s rhythmic spoken/semi-sung venting, offering a searing critique of individualism that cuts to the heart of our everyday experience. It is a hypnotic, groovy and mesmerizing post-punk sound that will have you hooked from the get go.

Listen to ‘The Acid Commune’ below – and keep an eye out for the debut EP coming in February.

David Harks – ‘Mists’

David Harks is a name that should be familiar to long standing patrons of the site.

The British-born, Berlin-based artist and singer has been the recipient of much deserved lavish praise for his work with Safetalk, varying collaborative projects and of course, his solo work – and it is the latter that are concerned with on this occasion.

Harks has returned with a softly lit, seductive serenade entitled ‘Mists’; a cinematic sojourn into blissed-out lofi ambient pop, awash with soaring harmonies and dubbed-out synthesis. It slinks and gently bubbles along a seductive groove as soft beats patter below the colorful swirling textures, crunching guitar riffs and computer game tones while Harks’ hushed, mellow and incredibly easy on the ear – all dripping with melody. It’s always great to hear from Harks and this is an incredibly beautiful, blissed-out and seductive – this up there with Hark’s best work.

Listen to ‘Mists’ below, you are in for a treat: