St. Tropez – ‘Down’

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Amsterdam’s St. Tropez will release their second album later this year, and have shared a new single ‘Down’, a track they call “both a chaotic ode and a political indictment to destruction”.

The quartet’s new record follows their 2016 self-titled debut album and Debate EP a year later – and the new single provides a more than compelling case for excitement. ‘Down’ is a visceral cut of meaty post-punk. Pummelling drums usher in a scorching riff and monstrous bass, before a serious groove and ear for a sing-a-long chorus takes over. All of this is accompanied by an ominous aura of threatening menace while remaining weirdly, but supremely infectious. A powerful and compelling tune, and on that’s been on constant rotation in recent days.

You can check out ‘Down’ below now – just one other recommendation, turn it up LOUD.

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Introducing: Adwaith

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I fear I’m destined to repeat myself over and over but for a relatively small place, Wales truly produces a staggering amount of stellar music. The latest addition to ever growing list is Adwaith, an experimental post punk three-piece from Carmarthenshire, consisting of Hollie Singer (vocals, guitar), Gwenllian Anthony (bass, keys, mandolin), and Heledd Owen (drums).

The trio recently released double A-side single ‘Fel i Fod’ / ‘Newid‘ through the very fruitful Libertino Records, which captures the essence to why you will be better for letting a little bit of Adwaith into your life.

‘Fel i Fod’ is a tender, inward searching affair with a foreboding aura of fear and marked with a melancholic mood. With its gorgeous subdued keyboard washes, chiming bright guitars, and stunning vocal harmonies, ‘Fel i Fod’ is simultaneously delicate, yet bold and confident, as the sense of fear subsides and trounced as it reaches its crescendo.

‘Newid’ on the other hand, is a harder edged, meatier and energetic proposition. Fueled by clattering post-punk chords and pulsating bass, it flits between darkness and light, and in continuity with ‘Fel i Fod’ there is an overwhelming and resounding feeling of defiance and hope. Over two tracks, sang in their native Welsh, you’ll be get a flavour of this trio’s spectrum of pristine but biting indie-pop to shuffling, lightly pulsating post-punk.

Powerful, beautiful and very special indeed – whatever 2018 has in store for Adwaith, it’s going to be interesting keeping an eye on, beginning with double-A single, ‘Fel I Fod/Newid’. Tune in below:

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Irish trio whenyoung share new video for ‘Pretty Pure’

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whenyoung – Aoife Power (Vocals/Bass), Niall Burns (Guitar) and Andrew Flood (Drums) – already shared their superb new single ‘Pretty Pure’ with us, kicking off 2018 with a storm.

Following on from that, the London-based Irish trio have unveiled a sublime video for ‘Pretty Pure’. A superbly shot, stylish and evocative video, it works as a perfect companion for what is already an indie-pop delight. This is an irresistible and infectious four-minutes of pristine, melodic jangle-pop with a punky-edge and hooks that you could hang your hat on. Powers’ vocals meanwhile, are the pièce de résistance, sweet, yet punchy vocals bristling defiance leaving you utterly powerless to resist the allure of ‘Pretty Pure’.

In short, ‘Pretty Pure’ is marked by everything that has made whenyoung a standout this far. Jump below to watch/listen to ‘Pretty Pure’ – which out now.

They’ve a pile of live dates across the UK & Ireland coming up, check ’em here.

JOHNNY FEENEY’S ALBUMS OF 2017

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Aside from compiling my own end of year lists, I really do enjoy checking out other people’s take on the past 12 months and none more so than Mr. Johnny Feeney.

A reliably insightful musical sage, Johnny’s guest appearances are always interesting and add an extra flavour to the blog and I look forward to reading – of which, surely I’m not alone?

A massive thanks to Johnny for taking time out to compile this list, and on that note, I’ll leave you with his Mr. Feeney’s favourite records of 2017.

10. Grandaddy – Last Place

Previously split up in 2006, Grandaddy’s first album in eleven years saw the ever-eccentric, cult Californians return with a bang with their trademark, electronica-tinged alt-rock. The familiar sounds of Jason Lytle’s distinctive, melancholic vocals, chugging guitars and synth flourishes are all present and correct on a wonderful comeback album that was well worth the wait.

09. Fangclub – Fangclub

Dublin rockers, Fangclub, have been tearing up stages around the country and further afield for a while now and, thankfully, their self-titled debut album delivers on the promise of their raucous live shows. In a classic guitar/bass/drums set up, the trio display a keen ear for an infectious hook and make a thunderous racket not dissimilar to Nirvana. If you like it loud then look no further.

08. Wolf Alice – Visions Of A Life

The London four-piece’s sophomore album sees a fine follow up to 2015’s commercially successful, Mercury-nominated My Love Is Cool. The adaptability of vocalist Elise Rowell means the group are equally comfortable on the melodic, anthemic indie-rock side of things (‘Beautifully Unconventional’) as they are on the heavier material (‘Yuk Foo’) and anything in between. It’s this broad range that makes Wolf Alice such an interesting proposition.

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BarryGruff’s Albums of the Year 2017

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Yes, it’s that time of year again, lists, lists and well, more lists – and from every angle possible. That said, compiling an annual list of my favourite records from throughout the year is one of the most enjoyable aspects to the blog.

There was lots of great music in 2017 (as with every year) but here are my 20 favourite records from the year. Also, I’m hoping the festive period will provide time to catch up on some records I’ve missed throughout the year, so feel free to recommend some listening material.

Without further ado, here are my favourite records from 2017:

20. Czarface – ‘First Weapon Drawn’

For album number four, Czarface (Esoteric, Inspectah Deck and 7L) teamed up with Marvel Comics to create a soundtrack to an actual hardcopy comic of the same name. The previous installments have featured rapping from Esoteric, Inspectah Deck and other guests, however, on this occasion it’s just the superbly evocative instrumentation, with narration tacked on throughout. In fact, 7L’s production is some of strongest found throughout all the releases. Not quite at the level of albums 1 – 3, it provides an excellent little stop gap while we await a new album proper.

[Stream on Spotify]

19. Nouveaunoise – ‘Nouveaunoise’

Galway duo Nouveaunoise – Conor Gaffney & Niall Conway – had earned themselves a rep for finely crafted electronic productions, intricately weaving crackling samples, jazz-sampling percussion and warm melodies and crisp beats a la Four Tet or Boards of Canada. The pair released their debut back in 2010 and their self-titled follow-up sees them continue to shine when it comes to elegant, lush and intricately produced pristine electronica. Eight years is a long time but it was worth the wait!

[Stream on Spotify]

18. The Courtneys – ‘The Courtneys II’

With their 2013 debut, The Courtneys peddled lo-fi fuzzy slacker garage-pop with the ’90s casting a pretty long shadow and for the follow-up, the Vancouver trio have repeated the trick. Endearingly ramshackle, the dreamy vocals and laid-back sunkissed vibes are pumped with fuzzed-up distorted guitars, sweet licks and heavy, driving bass lines. Rarely has ramshackle indie been so appealing and so pretty damn irresistible. This is the sound of long, hot summers.

[Stream on Spotify]

17. Girlpool – ‘Powerplant’

Girlpool’s sound gets bigger on their second LP, beefed up with addition of a drummer crafting that classic alt-rock loud-quiet-loudness throughout but Girlpool know where their true power lies: Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad’s voices still sit front and centre. The unsettling magic that exists between makes them Girlpool distinct, lending their patented fragility and vulnerability. Powerplant is sparse and explores the energy and shape of contrariety and emptiness.

[Stream on Spotify]

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