Playlist: Best Songs of 2016

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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.

 

Incoming: A Quick Chat With Count Vaseline | Plays Broken Home This Saturday

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Count Vaseline is the new project from Stefan Murphy, formerly of Dublin rock ‘n roll miscreants The Mighty Stef, and The Count is bringing genre-warped garage sounds to Newbridge, for an intimate and special Broken Home show.

It was a dark day for Irish music back in May, when time was called on The Might Stef. Always a prolific tunesmith, it wasn’t long before Murphy introduced his new guise Count Vaseline. Falling somewhere between raw garage rock and crooning fuzz-pop – sonically a different being – the new project remains draped in his unique and intuitive storytelling ability. There’s already a debut LP, Yo No Soy Marinero – a genre-warped record that fizzes with energy, invention and brimming with weird and wondrous ideas, and full of heart – with album number two, Cascade to follow in December.

In support of his new endeavour, Count Vaseline has been playing shows across the US and Ireland, and this Saturday, December 3, he rolls into Newbridge town, for an intimate and special Broken Home show, with support from the Tallaght folk machine We Went Down.

Ahead of the weekend’s show I caught up with Count Vaseline, to chat about the new project, touring and all things music. Check the album below too!

You can find further details on The Broken Home Series here, more info on the show here and you can purchase your ticket from Eventbright.

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Introducing: False Heads

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London grunge/punk trio False Heads have marked themselves as noisemakers supreme over the course of the past 12 months.

They have released a slew of blistering singles and their latest ‘Weigh In’, is as ferocious an intro as possible. ‘Weigh In’, and indeed their grunge/punk hybrid, is rammed with vicious hooks, fierce, crunchy guitar riffs, hammering percussion and banging bass line. Three-and-a-half-minute burst of coiled up aggression, delivered with a primal energy; this is raspy, aggressive, and downright infectious. The companion to ‘Weigh In’, ‘All Eyes’ leans toward the grungier end of the spectrum yet similarly menacing, viscerally snarling and hard to resist. False Heads certainly sound like a trio with fire in their bellies, and with a bunch of singles and live dates planned for the coming year, these guys look like an exciting prospect.

Three lads who make a whole lot of noise, what’s not to like? Well, for now, check out ‘Weigh In’ & ‘All Eyes’ – as good a start as any.

We Are Animal Return With New Single ‘Capoeira’

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It’s been a quite a while since we’ve heard anything from We Are Animal – which is a shame by any calculation.

The North Wales band released their splendid debut album in 2010, followed by a number of singles and last we heard from them as a collective unit was a tour with The Joy Formidable in 2013. More recently the various members of the We Are Animal family have been concerning themselves with various side-projects Hippies Vs Ghosts, Fauna Twin & CaStLeS – until now – We Are Animal have released a brand new single, ‘Capoeira’. Gritty, dark and edgy, ‘Capoeira’ is engulfed in layers if fuzz and eerie and menacing tones. Cutting through this shadowy blanket of murky fuzz is the muscular, shredding guitars and buzzing riffs, upping the intensity and ferocity, while propelled along an irresistible rhythmic groove. Fierce, hypnotic and spooky, ‘Capoeira’ might just be We Are Animal’s finest and most complete work to date. And my, that is saying something.

Regards a new album, the band have established a ‘Pledge Music’ campaign to help fund the next record – all the details on that, are here. For now, get in on ‘Capoeira’ below. It does not disappoint.

Mr Huw to release new album; shares ‘Gwendidau’

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For a relatively small place, Wales does rather well for itself musically. From the towns and cities, mountains and valleys, Wales has proven an ever reliable source of superb sounds.

Bearing the convoluted intro in mind, one of Wales’ finest talents, Mr Huw, is set to release his fifth album Gwna Dy Feddwl I Lawr (or ‘Make Your Mind Down’ in English) on November 25th. Ahead of the forthcoming record, we’ve been presented with a brand new single and taster, ‘Gwendidau’. Delivered in his native Welsh, Gwendidau’ is an irresistible cut of melodic, lo-fi indie. Catchy as hell, it’s all crunchy guitars, infectious melodies, insistent percussion mingling with mildly psychedelic leanings and Huw’s affable Welsh lilt. Yet another sublime piece of work from a true treasure.

Huw’s new album Gwna Dy Feddwl I Lawr shall be with us on November 25, for now, why not give ‘Gwendidau’ a spin below.

Introducing: La Bête Blooms

 

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Hull alt-rockers La Bête Bloom have been blazin’ and bashing a trail of rock ‘n roll destruction for a while now, and their work thus far has been nothing short of impressive.

All ends up, La Bête Bloom’s dynamic and visceral concoction of alt-rock, grunge and post-punk makes for one hell of an exhilarating experience. Tracks like ‘TV Speaks’ and ‘Nothing Left But The Taste’ suggested a bright and noisy future but the Hull post-punks’ new single ‘Breaking In’, is the best yet. In just over two-minutes, they unleash as potent assault of guttural guitars, ear splitting feedback. Combined with pummelling percussion, fizzing and hissing guitars, the vocals manage to cut through with an aggressive intent, adding a level of menace and building to a ferocious, explosive climax. More urgent, abrasive and altogether more aggressive than their previous efforts, ‘Breaking In’ is the first barnstorming taste from their forthcoming EP I Know It’s Nothing, which is due out early next year. Blooming beasts indeed.

No concrete date on the new EP but you can listen to new single ‘Breaking In’ – and some other choice cuts – below. Watch this space!

Whenyoung Share Scintillating New Single ‘Actor’

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One of this year’s HWCH standouts, London-based Irish trio, Whenyoung have shared a brand new single, ‘Actor’.

Penned for release on November 25, it follows-up their brash but brilliant debut single ‘See How They Run’. A stinging pillory of projecting artificial images of oneself through social media, ‘Actor’ is another infectious and fiery piece of punk-flavoured garage-rock. Guitars screech and wail amid a squall of distortion and fuzz which engulfs everything in its wake, but punctured by a powerful beat and sweet, yet punchy vocals. Bursting with vitality, melody ‘Actor’ is bristly, driven and of course, totally irresistible! Whenyoung’s second single adds a far greater weight to the their ever growing rep.

‘Actor’ is officially released on November 25 with a headline show, at London’s Shacklewell Arms on the 24th. Stream ‘Actor’ below right now.

Alternative Halloween Playlist

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Halloween is almost upon us once again, as we get ready to celebrate all things ghoulish, ghostly and chilling, with fireworks and flagons around bonfires.

Every celebration is in need of a good soundtrack and Halloween is no different. And if your in the hunt for some spooky sounds that extend beyond ‘Thriller’, ‘Monster Mash’ and ‘Ghostbusters Theme’? Fear not (or be very afraid) you’re covered with this monstrous four-and-half-hour ‘Alternative Halloween’ Spotify playlist. With lyrics or titles pertaining to Halloween, or some just plain ghostly, dark and creepy; from ‘The Horrors’ to ‘Burial’, ‘Ghost Town’ to ‘The Killing Moon’ and ‘Dead Souls’ to ‘Psycho Killer’ – there is a tidy blend of genres across 60+ tracks.

Plenty here to sink your teeth into. Bone appetit! (Ba dum tss). I’ll go now, the Spotify playlist is below & have a great Halloween!

 

‘Millions Like Us’ Podcast #20: We’re Back!

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So with my move back to Ireland, Beats’ trip back to Blighty (for a month long holiday) and logistical challenges, we’ve been quiet for a bit but as promised we are back in action. We are absolutely thrilled to share another Millions Like Us with you all!

For Episode #20 – our first transcontinental podcast – we welcome Mr. Stephen Connelly to the Millions Like Us family, who will be looking after producing and recording the pod, and has the unenviable task of keeping Justin & I on topic.

We’ve braved dodgy internet connections, technological misadventures and overcome all that global time zones could throw at us (global time zones be damned !!) to bring you a bumper 90 minutes of music chat and an eclectic, hand-picked selection of superb new tunes. There is also an exclusive track, recorded with Donal McConnon at the most recent Broken Home show (more info here).

Thanks for baring with us while we were off air, we really appreciate it. Hopefully you enjoy the new and improved MLU.

You can subscribe to MLU on iTunes and Podcast Republic, Mixcloud & SoundCloud, or find us on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can email us at millionslikeuspodcast[at]gmail[dot]com.

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Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 Preview: 8 Must See Acts

 

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Hard Working Class Heroes takes place in venues across Dublin this week.

Running from Thursday, October 6th to Saturday, October 8th and it will showcase well over 100 of Ireland’s most promising emerging acts. One of HWCH’s biggest draws (and festivals of its ilk) is rambling around, seeing acts you have previously been unfamiliar with. That said, there are a couple of names that immediately jump out and come highly recommended with the much sought after BarryGruff seal of approval*.

The full line-up / stage times for Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 is here. And as always, feel free to share your own recommendations in the comments section below. *May not be much sought after.

Eoin Dolan: Thursday, 19:40 – 20:10 @ Tengu Downstairs

Galway-based singer-songwriter Eoin Dolan is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the finest finds from the past 12 months. Dolan has a real flair for twinkly and whimsical, good old fashioned pop gems, with a healthy dose of Brian Wilson, Syd Barrett and Lennon/McCartney (moments) threaded through the fabric of his sound. His brand of surfy psych-pop is totally charming, entirely irresistible, easy-going and timeless. Dolan’s self-titled debut album was released last month, for a taste of that & what to expect at HWCH, check out ‘Dear Brian'; a playful blend of woozy, soothing sounds, sinuous melodies, SFA-esque synth work, giddy-pop-playfulness and reverb-drenched vocals. Not to be missed.

New Pope: Thursday, 21:40 – 22:10 @ Tengu Downstairs

Galway-based New Pope – fronted by Dave Boland – 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 a warm, lush atmosphere – and an overwhelming sense of sense of nostalgia. Last year’s YOUTH EP & LP are wonderful and New Pope were excellent at Electric Picnic this year, and if that doesn’t entice you? Check out the layered, lush and beguiling beauty of ‘Love’ below:

Slow Riot: Friday, 20:10 – 20:40 @ The Hub

Limerick trio Slow Riot‘s ferocious, tense and searing post-punk, has marked them out as one of Ireland’s most promising guitar bands in sometime. Taking classic post-punk influences – Gang of Four, Television, Wire – and infusing them with more contemporary ones such as Girl Band and Future of the Left, they create an irresistible and thunderous modern take on a classic sound. Still need convincing? Check out the intense, insistent and menacing ‘Trophy Wife’ below. Peerless.

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