HAVVK – ’52’


Formidable Irish outfit HAVVK will release their debut album Cause & Effect on November 22 and the alt-rock trio have been upping anticipation with a slew of scintillating singles – ‘Always The Same’, ‘Birds On A Wire’ and ‘Shifting Shape’ – and HAVVK have added another to the fold.

Written while living in London, new single ‘52’ exudes an ominous and tense atmosphere, reflecting the divisive nature of the Brexit campaign, as HAVVK attempt to make sense of the darkness and find a way through.
Front woman Julie Hawk’s distinctively impassioned vocal take centre stage, soaring majestically over the ethereal alt-rock backdrop before packing a punch as the chorus sets in, mirroring the anger for the situation at hand. It is raw and filled with anger, it is a song laced with ethereal beauty and finds a space where harsh and gentle can coexist. ’52’ is yet another majestic reason to look forward to the HAVVK’s forthcoming debut LP.

Listen to ’52’ below & HAVVK will be launching Cause and Effect on 6 December 2019 at the Bello Bar in Dublin.

Simple Kid shares new tracks: ‘The Last Bus Home’ & ‘Lost in Space’

Longstanding patrons will be aware of my adoration for Simple Kid, albeit not offering many opportunities to display it regularly.

The London-based Irish artist (aka Ciaran McFeely) released two brilliant albums in the mid 00s – SK1 in 2003 and SK2 in 2006 – before entering a prolonged period of musical hibernation, disappearing off the radar, only to reappear briefly here and there with ‘The Road’ in 2011, ‘Snakes and Ladders’ in 2014 and ‘Because’ late in 2018.

However, since the latter, his YouTube account has seen something of a flurry of activity and uploads including ‘The Last Bus Home’ & ‘Lost in Space’; which coincidentally are (IMO) the pick of the new material.

‘The Last Bus Home’ is a deliciously infectious and richly melodic blend of folky indie, with country and Americana brushstrokes. A gentle acoustic strum, hand claps and harmonica coalesce in perfect harmony, with warm vocals completing the loveable, swelling, heartfelt allure. ‘Lost in Space’ is the more complex of the pair as lush layers of psych-tones, spacey sounds and cosmic textures swell and swirl to engulf the delicious piano-led melody. Mining brilliant streams of melody and heavenly harmonies it is a roving, hazy and cosmic adventure that swells to beautifully epic climax. With its gorgeous melody, irresistible chorus, blend of guitar and frazzled electronics, and swelling emotion, ‘Lost in Space’ is not easily forgotten. Two differing (but equally stunning) sides to the talents of Simple Kid bound together by an undisputed ear for melody.

While not discounting something more substantial in the future, for now Simple Kid is enjoying crafting new songs in his loft – fingers crossed this fruitful period continues to blossom.

Listen to both ‘The Last Bus Home’ & ‘Lost in Space’ below, and you can listen to the man himself chatting to Dan Hegarty here.

And credit where credit is due: H/T to Dan Hegarty’s ‘The Alternative’ on 2FM & John Barker’s ‘Totally Irish’ on 98FM.

Mani Bazaar – ‘Dead’

Mani Bazaar is a musician, singer & songwriter from Ireland with a preference for ethereal goth-infused dream-pop.

It’s not often that a debut single delights, excites and enthrals as much as this but with ‘Dead’, Mani Bazaar has utterly bewitched with this alluring piece of dreamy pop perfection. ‘Dead’ slowly unfurls, washing over you with an ease and breeze as each passing moment reveals itself blissfully surreal, immersive and idyllic. Synths shimmer, guitars glisten and soft beats trickle beneath a cascading wave of warm electronics. It is a lush blend of ethereal, exquisite and heavenly electronica, a suitably beautiful backdrop for the heavenly, hushed and lullaby-esque vocals. ‘Dead’ is transfixing, heavenly electronica; an exquisite beauty tempered by subtle senses of the eerie while building gently to a bout of mild euphoria.

Tune into the blissful sounds of ‘Dead’ below – you will not be disappointed.

Introducing: I Drew Blank

I Drew Blank are Berlin-based outfit comprised of bassist & singer Oyèmi Hessou (Jaguwar), guitarist & singer Dominik Jureschko (White Hand Gibbon) and drummer Eilis Frawley (Party Fears).

Together the trio deliver a special blend of lo-fi fuzzy slacker garage-pop that melodically drifts between early ’90s and west coast vibes – something born out on their addictive new EP; Interesting Life Choices.

While primarily the music is easy on the ear and seemingly carefree, as songs slide by with an effortless ease and general breeze. On repeated listens however, much more bite and greater thematic depth is revealed; dark thoughts and failed relationships meet escapism and reflection over five tracks. This dizzying encounter opens with ‘No Promises Were Made’ which could serve as the archetypal blueprint for the band’s sound. Pumped with meaty riffs, heavy driving bass lines and sappy snare kick combos ‘No Promises Were Made’ has no shortage of bite and punk grunt or melodic pop allure for that matter, provided by the dreamy riffs, sweet licks and hooks. The vocals are passionate, melodic and dance in the remaining space provided in the mild haze of warm fuzz and distortion. Elsewhere ‘What We Need Is Time’ is even more more infectious as it breezes by with an abundance of heavenly harmonies while ‘It’s Winter, It’s Warsaw’ is less breezy, more gallop as it hurtles along a dancey groove with jerky riffs, cowbell and interlocking harmony rich vocals.

This is a dazzling fuzz-filled display of lo-fi, garage-indebted indie-pop. On the right side of infectious and grit, it is a tonic to the overly-polished and ekes out a perfect space on the musical landscape.

Tune into some choice cuts below and the EP can be found here.

Captain Moonlight – ‘The Great Austerity Bake Off’

Kilkenny rapper Captain Moonlight, has long been one of Irish Hip Hop’s most prized possessions. Obsessive about politics, philosophy, literature, music and hurling, it has been nine long years since his last album, 2010’s On The Lough (Agroculture Pt 3).

This period of relative radio silence has been brought to a welcome and abrupt close by new single ‘The Great Austerity Bake Off’ – and it is superb. The beats are infectious and snappy, along with the hovering, soft synth provide an toe-tapping and contagious backdrop for his potent lyrical expanses. Moonlight is up there with the finest lyricist’s this country has produced, and ‘The Great Austerity Bake Off’ finds him in fine fettle – and as usual he doesn’t disappoint.

Although there have been singles here and there – incl. a track for our very own GruffWuff compilation (see below) – the new single also comes with news of new album called Offences Against The State Act 1, which is expected before the year is out.

I’ve long been a huge fan of Captain Moonlight and made no secret of this adoration over the years, so needless to say, it is great to have him back in action.

Listen to ‘The Great Austerity Bake Off’ below:

Introducing: K J M

K J M is the moniker for Irish musician and producer Kevin James Murphy (who also records as The Key Rocks).

The K J M project offers a series of thoughtful and cinematic explorations of electronic sound, utilising only sounds and loops available on Garage Band, as evidenced on debut album Jelacate. The album traverses various electronic musical landscapes, exploring themes of melody and mood as a gorgeous confection of ambient instrumental music that ebbs and flows through lush, atmospheric, cinematic drifts of retro futurism as it depicts a trip to Tokyo. Take ‘Divide’ and ‘The Sea’ as examples. ‘Divide’ harnesses a deep, warm, winding synth, hypnotic phasing sound and floaty atmospherics to create a gripping, transportive and transfixing track; moody, atmospheric and elegant, it will consume you. ‘The Sea’ hypnotises as it opens softly, lapping like its namesake but propelled forward by tidy percussion as a steady release of shimmering warm sounds, cloudy atmospherics and gentle guitar chords complete the lush picture. As an experiment, one could only say it is a success, delivering as it does, an abundance of ethereal beauty and cinematic escapism.

You can check out ‘Divide’ and ‘The Sea’ below and if they are to your liking, you can check out the album here.

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Kastane – ‘Shimmers’

Kastane is an electronic music project from Irish producer and drummer Alan Walsh, and beginning life as a side project while in Berlin, he has two EPs to his name Tunnels EP (2017) and Trang EP (2018), with a third expected in the future. 

With the latter in mind, Kastane has released ‘Shimmers’; a sophisticated, transfixing and melodic eight-minutes. While heavy on mood, texture and atmosphere with relentless oscillations transfixing, given that he is a card carrying member of drummers union, ‘Shimmers’ true strength and allure is sourced from its rhythmic and percussive power. As it unfolds, layer upon layer of sound evolves, the rhythm remains focused as beats are unleashed with pinpoint precision, while tight drum pads and sharp synth notes dual to create an alternate beat. ‘Shimmers’ is elegant, bewitching and sophisticated and will bend you to its mighty will, leaving you utterly powerless to resist it’s tempting allure.

Listen to ‘Shimmers’ below: 

Orla – ‘Breathe’

Orla is an 18 year old Irish musician and producer from Co Meath who has a preference for dreamy, elegant and atmospheric sounds; flashed with exquisite finesse on her debut single ‘dream’.

With new single ‘Breathe’, Orla sticks to this familiar formula for ambient, atmospheric and downtempo sounds. ‘Breathe’ is an elegant, shimmering delight with bags of charm. Striking a delicate and subtle balance between electronic elements with organic instrumentation as lush flowing synths, jovial beat and chiming guitar converge with an entrancing bass line. Subtle and unassuming, warm and alluring, dreamy and intoxicating; ‘Breathe’ will make an indelible mark your soul, and leave you all the better for it.

Listen to ‘Breathe’ and it’s shimmering majesty below:

Super Extra Bonus Party – ‘Some Dark Forces’ (feat. Sorcha McGrath)

Super Extra Bonus Party have long been makers of exceptional tunes – indeed some of their choice cuts reside in my all-time favourites list – and that’s not to mention the copious amount of phenomenal live shows.

The Newbridge outfit returned from hiatus in late 2017 with ‘Switzerland’ and followed a few months later by ‘Purple Heart’ – the latter is an infectious groover and the former, it is arguably their finest tune – the second coming has delivered, and looks continue to do so.

SEBP are busy working their third album, which is well overdue but in the meantime, they have released a brand new single and video. ‘Some Dark Forces’ features Sorcha McGrath from Ships on vocal duties; one of Ireland’s foremost vocalists adding a next level touch of class. It’s an upbeat, driving and emphatic electronic indie anthem. Propelled by a stomping drum beat and rhythm, ‘Some Dark Forces’ is littered with glistening synth lines and soft guitars, as cascading electronics and synths gradually fill the remaining space as it swells to an emphatic climax. It is a lush backdrop for McGrath’s stunning vocals to excel, in fact, the subtle swagger of the groove isn’t a million miles away from the cosmic disco vibes of Ships, so it is a perfect paring for McGrath. Another stunning single from SEPB mark II, hopefully work on the new album continues at pace.

There is also a video, directed by fellow Newbridge native Peter Fleming, which is equally magnificent and gorgeously shot. Check out ‘Some Dark Forces’ and video below:

Brí – ‘Low Supply’

Brí is a Dublin-based musician and singer-songwriter from Offaly.

Drawing from a deep well of folk influences ranging from Birdy, Laura Marling, Lisa Hannigan and Gabrielle Aplin, along with subtle touches of psychedelia and electronica, Brí crafts her own unique brand of beautiful, expansive, fragile and experimental psych-folk It is something born out on exquisite new single ‘Low Supply’, and aided and abetted by producer Darragh Nolan of Asta Kalapa studios and guitarist Aidan Mulloy, it is a perfect introduction to Brí.

‘Low Supply’ is a languid psych-folk daydreamer that whisks us away on a lush meditative journey. Swirling layers of vocal harmony gently unfurl an essence of pastoral warmth as it meanders along a soft beat, splashes of subtle electronics and rhythmic psych undulations. It is a mesmeric canvas for Brí’s bewitching atmospheric tones to transfix the listener entirely. An elegant, awe-inspiring and charming blend of shimmering pastoral psych-folk; it is a hazy, soothing and altogether wonderful song.

To celebrate the single’s release, Brí plays Whelan’s Upstairs, in Dublin on Tuesday. June 11. For further details / tickets etc. click here

In the meantime, you can listen to ‘Low Supply’ below.