BarryGruff Albums of the Year (2016)

barrygruff-albums-of-2016

Yes. It is that time of year again, lists, lists and more lists. Well, not be out done, here are my 13 (lucky for some) albums of 2016.

There was lots of great music in 2016 but I decided to keep it to a short list this year. Also, I’m hoping the festive period will provide some time to catch up on some records I’ve missed throughout the year, so feel free to recommend some listening material.

Anyway, without further ado, here are my favourite records from 2016:

There is also a Spotify playlist of all the albums, to save you time and hassle, and it is here.

13. Amber Arcades – ‘Fading Lines’

Amber Arcades‘ – Dutch-born musician Annelotte de Graaf – debut album is a dazzling blend of ‘60s tinged psych, lush jangly guitars, floating pop melodies and an abundance of propulsive, hypnotic krautrocky moments. [Listen here]

12. Tuff Love – ‘Resort’

Glaswegian scuzz-pop aficionados Tuff Love, combine a terrific trilogy of EPs into an LP of dazzling, fuzzy indie pop with sugar-sweet melodies and crunching choruses and shoegazey guitars galore. [Listen here]

11. Underworld – ‘Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future’

A first proper Underworld record in half a decade, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith deliver a stomping electronic record that is up there with the best of their work. [Listen here]

10. The Coral – ‘Distance Inbetween’

Distance Inbetween – their eighth LP and first in over five years – saw The Coral rediscover their roots, mojo and discover their dark side and add a harder edge to their brand of psychedelic indie. It’s an evolution of the Wirral five piece’s sound into a cohesive, weird and imaginative psych-rock record, and one that grows with time. [Listen here]

09. Mr Huw – ‘Gwna Dy Feddwl I Lawr’

Gwna Dy Feddwl I Lawr is album number five from one of Wales’ finest, Mr. Huw and with it, he has delivered an irresistible set of inventive, electrifying indie. Sang in his native tongue, these are melodic songs with a spiky edge. Post-punk riffs and snappy drum-machine punctuate infectious pop melodies, mild psychedelic leanings and Huw’s affable Welsh lilt. A magnificent collection of soul consuming tunes which provide proof if proof be needed, that we should never underestimate the power of great music to overcome a small matter, like a language barrier. [Listen here]

08. Jinx Lennon – ‘Magic Bullets of Madness To Uplift The Grief Magnets’

2016 saw Jinx Lennon return with two new albums – Past Pupil Stay Sane and Magic Bullets of Madness To Uplift The Grief Magnets – with each offering distinctly different brilliance. Magic Bullets… is the pick of the pair but in fairness, both find the folk punk poet at his uncompromising best. Recorded with Liverpool experimentalists Clinic, it is a collection of instantly catchy tunes that boasts a meatier, more beat-driven sound, combined with Jinx’s raw truths kicking back against the humdrum bullshit of modern life. Jinx Lennon is a unique talent, a national treasure to be exact and this is him at his inherently brilliant best. [Listen here]

Continue reading

Playlist: Best Songs of 2016

bg-songs-2016

Lists, lists, lists and more lists. Yes, it is that time of year when lists become more common place than overly optimistic Liverpool fans in August.

Time, or lack of it, truly is the enemy once again but I’ve compiled a 100+ strong song Spotify playlist; selection of personal favourites from throughout the year. Pretty self-explanatory this, but there’s loads of great stuff in there from many styles and genres and, from across the globe.

I hope to have an ‘Albums of 2016′ post completed this week. Anyway, for now, I hope you enjoy the playlist.

 

Electric Picnic 2016: 8 Recommended Acts to See

Electric Picnic 2016

Electric Picnic takes place in Stradbally this weekend (September 2 – 5) and there are no shortage of reasons to be excited. Tasty propositions abound, especially among the bigger names – Super Furry Animals, LCD Soundsystem, Daniel Avery, The Chemical Brothers to name but a few.

Aside from the attention grabbing bigger names, there’s plenty of quality among the smaller, perhaps lesser known acts. There really are some absolute gems amongst this year’s line-up so here are 8 highly recommended acts worthy of your attention this weekend.

Nialler9 has the full line-up here, if you haven’t seen it yet and there is a very handy, printable Clashfinder here too. Dead handy & does not require batteries. 

New Pope (Friday, 17.30-18.00 @ Earthship Stage)

New Pope is the Galway-based project fronted by Dave Boland who deal in truly beautiful, timeless and carefully crafted acoustic folk sounds. Passing with a whisper rather than a roar, New Pope’s songs are delivered with warmth and tenderness, as Boland’s distinctive vocal creates warm and lush atmosphere – and an overwhelming sense of sense of nostalgia. Yet to see them in the flesh but, on the evidence of last year’s splendid YOUTH EP & LP, they should be quite the proposition. Check out the layered, lush and beguiling beauty of ‘Love’ below:

The Altered Hours (Friday, 22:00 – 23:00, Body & Soul Main Stage)

For some time now, The Altered Hours have been eliciting much, and well deserved, praise for their frenetic and freewheeling psych/post-punk heroics. Everything they have done thus far has been gold – including debut album In Heat Not Sorry – and are reliable reputed to be one of Ireland most exciting live acts. For a glimpse of what mind-melting stuff Altered Hours are capable of, check out ‘Way of Sorrow'; a thrilling two-and-a-half-minute blast of turbulent post-punk influenced, driven, menacing and hazy swirl of psych-rock goodness.

No Monster Club (Saturday 18:00 @ Trailer Park: My Lovely Ranch Stage)

Easily one of the most reliable, inventive and brilliant bands in Ireland, No Monster Club bring their utterly lovable, rough-around the edges, lo-fi indie-pop hi-jinks to Stadbally. Live or on record, NMC never disappoint, there is just a infectious about everything they turn their hands. These fun-filled indie-pop adventures are just so damn endearing and guaranteed to brighten up your day.

Phare (Saturday, 01:00 – 02:00 am @ Oxjam)

Known for his work as one half of atmospheric duo Lyttet, Phare is the new solo-project from Peadar Kearney. On the clubbier side of things, Phare gracefully floats in an ambiguous hinterland between subtly euphoric and vaguely ambient, sustaining the rhythm and protracting the promise of a euphoric climax, while captivating through repeated propulsive beats and swirls. Check the hypnotic, twinkling crystalline grandeur of Kearney’s debut single, ‘UP’.

Slow Place Like Home (Sunday, 18.00 – 18.45 @ Body & Soul Main Stage)

Slow Place Like Home – the musical moniker of producer/musician Keith Mannion – has been treating us (and our ears) treating us to rich electronic sounds, crafted carefully from his Donegal base in the North-West of Ireland. Always inventive, imaginative and seductive compositions, Slow Place Like Home has already released a series of EPs and debut album Romola, to date. Now with a full band, 2016 saw the release brand new double A-sided singles ‘Tiger Lilly / Friday’, as they gear up for album number two next year. Another act who’s live shows have remained elusive, until this weekend hopefully.

The Dead Heavys (Sunday, 21:30-22:00 @ Body & Soul Main Stage)

The Dead Heavys are no strangers to receiving praise around these parts. Longstanding favourites, the Waterford five-piece are a great, great band, and an especially exciting live proposition. Their psych-tinged indie-rock is tempered with a catchy pop sensibility, rendering it utterly infectious for all and sundry. You can sample some of The Dead Heavys now characteristic combo of keys, guitars and vocals, anthemic surges and infectious sing-a-long moments, in ‘Liquidator’ – a bright, upbeat and rocking-groover that is very easy on the ears indeed.

ADULTROCK (Sunday, 21:25 – 22:10 Earthship Stage)

Under his ADULTROCK guise, Gavin Elsted (Super Extra Bonus Party & fellow Newbridge compañero) uses it as a vehicle to flex his dance music muscles, crafting magnificent dancefloor-ready, hypnotic and melodic electronic jams. His most recent EP Push and Pull came out in June through Bodytonic Music, and it is excellent. For a taste of it and Sunday’s service, check out the EP’s title track below. An enticing proposition.

Exmagician (Sunday, 22:00 – 22:45 Jerry Fish Side Show)

Exmagician is the latest musical adventure from long-time collaborators Danny Todd and James Smith; the musical partnership behind Cashier No.9. More urgent and rockier than their previous incarnation, still present, is their preference for shimmering psychedelics, echoed instrumentation and melodiousness. Falling somewhere between BRMC, Supergrass and yes, their previous band Cashier No. 9, ‘Kiss That Wealth Goodbye’ finds a band in fine form with its anthemic and quite cool vibe, amid a whirlwind of swirling melodies and catchy groove – as good a reason as any to catch them this weekend.

 

2015 According to Oisin McCole

tumblr_nf8fm79Nu41qhimuco1_1280

                                                                                                                                                                                   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.

Continue reading

End of Season Roundup & Favourite tracks of 2015 Spotify Playlist

Monkey-Island-2015-Round-up

Season’s greetings to everyone who follows, reads, sends music, helps or writes for the site etc. Somehow everything’s been kept on between the ditches for close to six years now and it weren’t all of you, the site would be pretty useless, so thanks a million – it’s very appreciated.

It’s been quite a year if I’m honest, so many great albums, lots of new musical discoveries and some splendid gigs (not enough of the latter, on my behalf). I got to interview two musical heroes of mine, namely Conor from Villagers and Cian Ciaran from Super Furry Animals, which was fantastic to say the least. I finally managed to take the plunge into podcasting, creating music podcast ‘Millions Like Us‘, with Mr. Justin Beats for 604now. It’s been lots of fun and very interesting so far, and hopefully we can kick it up a notch in the new year.

Personally speaking, the high point of the year from a musical standpoint, was the release of GruffWuff; a 19 track compilation of new, previously unreleased & exclusive tracks from some of my favouorite artists to celebrate 5 years of BarryGruff. It was amazing to to work with so many artists that hold a special place in my heart and, importantly to pull everything together and get it released on time – a lot of thanks for that goes to Stevie Moon who was yet again, a huge part of another Gruff project. Not only was it an amazing experience to be involved with but the response was phenomenal, it was heartwarming and made all the hard work which everyone did, worth it. A special thanks to everyone involved, and everyone who supported it, you know who you are. I think this will warrant a dedicated post in future.

So, for 2015, that’s almost that but before assuming radio silence over the festive period (with normal service resuming in the New Year), we’ll just have a quick round up of links and the small matter of my 100 track strong Spotify playlist of favourites from 2015 (and a sly Christmas tune below that). ICYMI, let the roundup of links commence…

My Top Albums of 2015

2015 according to members and artists from the GruffWuff Family: here

Johnny Feeney’s Albums of 2015

You can download GruffWuff for Free from here.

Continue reading

Johnny Feeney’s Albums of 2015

Johnny Feeney's albums of 2015

The reliable musical sage that is Johnny Feeney, steps up on this soapbox to share his favourite records from 2015.

Johnny’s guest posts are always insightful, interesting and always add an extra flavour the blog and I look forward to reading them – surely I’m not alone? 

A massive thanks to Johnny for taking time out to write this up, and on that note, I’ll leave you with his 25 albums of 2015……

25. Grimes – ‘Art Angels’

24. Floating Points  – ‘Elaenia’

23. Public Service Broadcasting – ‘The Race For Space’

22. EL VY – ‘Return To The Moon’

21. Julia Holter – ‘Have You In My Wilderness’

20. Girl Band – ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’

19. Trembling Bells – ‘The Sovereign Self’

18. Courtney Barnett – ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit’

17. Stealing Sheep – ‘Not Real’

16. Nadine Shah – ‘Fast Food’

15. C Duncan – ‘Architect’

Glaswegian Christopher Duncan’s Mercury-nominated debut album is a beautiful piece of dreamy, baroque chamber pop, heavily layered with more than a hint of Grizzly Bear about it.

14. Unknown Multi Orchestra – ‘Multi-Love’

The Auckland/Portland band’s fantastic third album chronicles a soured polyamorous relationship. A lovely lo-fi record full of psychedelic grooves and some of the sleaziest, funkiest guitar lines you’ll hear this year.

Continue reading

2015 According to Mathew Mayes AKA Channel Swimmer

1146175_555568001171096_1324518494_o

One of my proudest achievements on the blog this year, or any year for that matter, is 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. As 2015 draws to a close, I have enlisted help from people who made the compilation what it was, to chat about their favourite moments and sounds from year, and up next is Channel Swimmer.

Channel Swimmer is the alias of London based Welsh beatsmith Mathew Mayes. A master of manipulation, sound manipulation that is, his is a world of lavish exploration through genres, styles and eras. Meticulously crafted, you will be lost in a sea of breathtakingly lush layers, choice samples and snappy beats, maintaining a shimmering warm glow of sheer joy happiness . An exemplary talent, always.

Before we take a look at his 2015 sound selections, you should check out Channel Swimmer’s stunning 2013 album, Alphabet, and his GruffWuff inclusion, ‘Racket’ – of which you can download here for FREE.

Continue reading

2015 According to SertOne

11836914_1113398212021016_6032078875831787973_n

One of my proudest achievements on the blog this year, or any year for that matter, is 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. As 2015 draws to a close, I have enlisted help from people who made the compilation what it was, to chat about their favourite moments and sounds from year, and up next is SertOne.

Liverpool-based Irish producer SertOne has been one of Ireland’s finest producers for some time. Always fresh, original, innovative and thoroughly enjoyable, and that’s the way we like it. It’s splendidly slick and riveting beat music, indebted to Hip Hop as much as the electronic side of production. Layered warm textures meet twitchy percussion and rhythms, stabs of synth for a wholly irresistible listen. A class act. No doubt about it.

Before we take a look at his 2015 sound selections, you should check out SertOne’s superb back catalogue here and his GruffWuff inclusion, ‘Seventeen’ – of which you can download here for FREE.

Continue reading

2015 According to Dan Amor

11150692_821438504572420_8802449853142156776_n

One of my proudest achievements on the blog this year, or any year for that matter, is 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. As 2015 draws to a close, I have enlisted help from people who made the compilation what it was, to chat about their favourite moments and sounds from year, and up next is Dan Amor.

Performing in both Welsh and English, Dan Amor slips between the two, retaining his own sound and style, infused with Welsh culture. Drawn to obscure and different sounds and worked to shape beautifully frail songs, that radiate a lingering warmth. Recalling snippets from Syd Barrett’s fractured solo years or early Graham Coxon, it’s reflective, unassuming and adorable, with a classic pop twist and a joy to behold.

Before we take a look at his 2015 sound selections, you should check out Dan Amor’s superb back catalogue here and his GruffWuff inclusion, ‘Can’t Sleep’ – of which you can download here for FREE.

Continue reading

2015 According to Nathan Conway

556969_396600633720341_1710467042_n

One of my proudest achievements on the blog this year, or any year for that matter, is 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. As 2015 draws to a close, I have enlisted help from people who made the compilation what it was, to chat about their favourite moments and sounds from year, and up next is Nathan Conway.

Nathan is one of Ireland’s most underrated songwriters, a veritable treasure trove of magical songs. Taking old folk, gospel and good time rock n roll, to create a beautiful, timeless and assured soulful country sound. Conway’s intuitive storytelling and striking vocals bringing it all home, painting vivid pictures with his words. Beautiful, timeless and assured.

Before we take a look at his 2015 sound selections, you should check out Nathan Conway’s sublime and soulful debut with The River Valley Band, Sonny Boy and his GruffWuff inclusion, ‘Babycheeno’ – of which you can download here for FREE.

Continue reading