Eyesore & The Jinx – ‘On An Island’

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Liverpool post-punk outfit Eyesore & The Jinx return with second single ‘On An Island’; a politically charged cacophony of pent up post-punk fury.

Recorded in a former slaughterhouse and produced by Jonathan Hartley from superb Liverpool garage/psych stalwarts Clinic, ‘On An Island’ is a tightly wound, caustic slab of guitar noise and distortion. Underpinned by an insistent, nagging bassline and increasingly manic, winding guitar lines and metronomic drumbeat, it shifts between taut spoken word segments and thundering one chord bedlam without so much as a moment’s notice. The thrashing chaotic noise over one chord, barking chorus and quick pace rambling vocals makes ‘On An Island’ hard to ignore as it tackles “the cultural residue of post-Brexit Britain…”. Drawing sounds and aesthetics from an abrasive clutch of early-eighties post-punk groups (particularly The Fall, The Gun Club, and The Birthday Party), other influences include Parquet Courts and the unmistakable energy of The Cramps – their frantic whirlwind approach is nothing short of phenomenal.

Listen to ‘On An Island’ below – just as a point of interest, it is best served LOUD.

Death Hags – ‘Electrochemical Communication’

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Death Hags is the multifaceted project of Los Angeles-based, French electronica artist, Lola Jean. Working mostly from the secluded hideaway hills of East LA, Jean crafts hypnotic, futuristic and minimal electronica inspired by the likes of like Brian Eno or Björk.

The latest release from the enigmatic creative force that is Death Hags, is new single ‘Electrochemical Communication’. A hypnotic, futuristic and post-industrial-themed track, it revels in its charmingly monotony and krautrock-esque gripping repetitiousness. A steady drum machine tips along at a metronomic pace and joined by hooks and melody, as synths swarm and cascade to create a rich atmospheric soundscape; a perfect backdrop for Jean’s soothing vocals and poetic lyrics (in both English and French) to thrive. ‘Electrochemical Communication’ is born of a shadowy futuristic world of that is hypnotic, dreamy and filled with spellbinding electronic beats; simply astounding.

Listen to ‘Electrochemical Communication’ below:

The Hannah Barberas – ‘Look, Know’

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Self-proclaimed “DIY pop partisans”, The Hannah Barberas – Damien, Lucy, Doug & Matthew – an indie-pop foursome from New Cross, London have proven themselves a reliable source of home-brewed charms, with a knack for charming effervescent indie-pop gems.

This rep has been confirmed by a slew of irresistible singles and EPs over the course of the past 18 months or so. The foursome have kicked off 2019 with a cover of ‘Look, Know’, one of the band’s favourite songs by The Fall, and released to mark one year since the passing of Mark E Smith. It is a fitting fans tribute that remains pretty faithful to the original with meaty, very bassy basslines and snappy, biscuit tin snare leading the way with dual vocal exchanges adding a hint more pop veneer. And the intro includes a wee snippet from Mark E Smith reading the classified football results on the BBC’s Final Score – always worth being reminded of. Not only is great cover, the proceeds will go to a good cause; available as a name-your-price download, all proceeds will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

You can listen to ‘Look, Know’ below & download it, just name-your-price, from bandcamp.

Munky – ‘You’ve Got Male’

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Having occupied most of 2018 touring tirelessly around Ireland and Britain, Dublin-based post-punk outfit Munky returned home and began work on recording new material towards the end of last year.

With several demos in the bag, the foursome headed off to refine the fruits of their labour in the studio, where they enlisted the producing talents of Girl Band’s Daniel Fox. The Dublin outfit have kicked off 2019 by unleashing the as-yet-untitled forthcoming EP’s lead single; the raucous ‘You’ve Got Male’ and it is a thrilling three-and-a-half-minutes of relentless, searing psych-punk and psych fuzz over rather danceable grooves. An unrelenting, electrifying juggernaut, ‘You’ve Got Male’ unleashes a sprawling barrage of relentless, spiralling guitars and pounding drums from the get go. Searing riffs and danceable rhythms duke it out, cutting through swaying bass lines, while frontman Zac Stephenson’s caustic croons sit up top, airing a disdain for the powerful and hypocrisy that goes hand in hand with neo-colonialism.

A furious first taste of the new EP, ‘You’ve Got Male’ is breathtaking, potent and feverish as it screeches through serrated layers of sonic energy – and is best consumed at high volumes.

Listen to ‘You’ve Got Male’ below:

Introducing: Durty Mick

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Durty Mick is the musical moniker of Kildare musician Owen Murphy who from the confines of his bedroom, armed with an acoustic guitar, microphone and laptop, crafts a home brewed fervently DIY sound.

There is a decidedly mellow, late-night, nocturnal vibe to his sound as his ponderings delivered in a despondent world weary vocal tone accompanied by lyrics of everyday observations draped with a prowess for intuitive songwriting and storytelling. Latest release ‘Beige Slave’ captures all this perfectly – and more acutely than any written description. A gentle acoustic guitar-driven number, it revolves around some ruminating sounds, chilled out rhythm, acoustic plucks and strum while Murphy shares his flowing musings. Previous single ‘The Degenerate Manifesto’ is cut from the same cloth, expanding on the loungey, laid-back murmuring backdrop for Murphy to express his contemplative reflections. Both tracks have the right amount of home brewed, rough around the edges sound – a little hiss here and a touch of reverb there adds a distinctive character.

There is a touch of King Krule to Durty Mick but that is in no way a bad thing. An innovative, interesting and exquisitely crafted exploration that rewards again and again with repeated listens.

Tune into Durty Mick below – his debut album Damage Limitationist is out next week.

The Red Leslies – ‘Intercourse Weapon’

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The Red Leslies are a garage-punk band from Southern California revolving around core members Luis Sanchez and Adrian Martinez whose sound is derived from influences like The Ramones, T. Rex, The Strokes, Buddy Holly and Lou Reed.

Having formed in 2015 The Red Leslies have spent the intervening years playing gigs at rowdy house parties, empty swimming pools, along with more traditional venues, and now have their debut record In White primed for release in March. And with that news comes lead single ‘Intercourse Weapon’; a fast, furious and fuzzed-up burst of guitar driven energy. It is riff driven garage rock at its triumphant best, fuelled by a fizzing vitality it races forward, pumped with adrenaline that is tempered by a melodic sensibility and hooks you could hang your hat on – and topped off by some simply scintillating vocals. This is a full-blood garage-rock explosion with raucous and riotous energy dripping out of every pour.

Tune into ‘Intercourse Weapon’ below and keep those eyes peeled for their debut record In White come March.

Paint Thinner – ‘Distortion’

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Formed from the remnants of Detroit underground outfits – like Terrible Twos, Fontana, Frustrations and Human Eye – post-punk noisemakers, Paint Thinner, are readying the release of their debut album, The Sea of Pulp, penned for release on February 15.

Ahead of their debut, the Detroit foursome have released the raw, rough-hewn post-punk powerhouse that is ‘Distortion’. Opening with an ominous and forbidding sense of doom, it is propelled onward by a repetitive, chugging post-punk guitar, meaty bassline and crashing drums.It is a tune that doesn’t mess about, it means business with its relentless, powerful drive chugging ever onward, burrowing inside inside your consciousness. ‘Distortion’ plumbs the murky depths, bubbling below the surface, deftly conveying powerful emotions, it ratchets up the tension to explode with an emphatic, cataclysmic climax. Think of early-The Horrors meets early-Wire; as far as opening introductions go, they don’t come much more emphatic than this.

Check out ‘Distortion’ below and keep an eye out for the debut album in February.

Weston Decker – ‘Black Smoke’

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An air of intrigue surrounds Weston Decker, a musician from Boulder, Colorado in the United States.

This interest is piqued by the backstory, in Decker’s own words, the project was “conceived in Terminal 2 of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Weston Decker grew up surrounded by Gary, Indiana’s vibrant reggaeton scene of which both the Hyenas who raised him played a central role. He eventually settled in Transylvania where he found work as a barnacle scraper. After a segway crash nearly fucking killed him, he began crafting music to pass the time in the hospital usually while tripping Ambien”. The outcome of which can be seen/heard on 2017’s Fuck This Album, and 2018’s Fuck This Album Too.

The Weston Decker backstory is perfectly suited to the immersive music that accompanies it – and ‘Black Smoke’ is a case in point. A blend of unsettling, shadowy post-punk and bruised jazzy vibes, ‘Black Smoke’ explores an outpouring of varied emotions through the half-spoken-half-sang lyrics, creating a slumbering and otherworldly sound; somewhere in-between dreaming and reality. Different it definitely is and well worth some of your attention.

Check out ‘Black Smoke’ below:

Johnny Fenney’s Albums of 2018

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Aside from compiling my own end of year lists, I always look forward to checking out other people’s take on the year and none more so than that of 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 2018.

10: Parquet Courts – ‘Wide Awake!’

New York City garage-rock outfit Parquet Courts enlisted the help of Danger Mouse on production duties for their sixth full-length studio album, with a more polished sound evident throughout. The band’s trademark spiky guitars are joined intermittently by keyboards, cowbells and whistles to create a highly entertaining and fun record.

Listen in full here

9: Django Django – ‘Marble Skies’

The kaleidoscopic third album from Django Django is a veritable smorgasbord ranging from the group’s distinctive, jangling Beach Boys-style surf rock to lilting dancehall to electronic club bangers. Although there are some slower moments of real beauty present, the high points are when the Djangos speed things up such as on ‘In Your Beat’.

Listen in full here

8: IDLES – ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’

The Bristol punk-rock quintet go from strength to strength with their second album, following up from last year’s brilliant debut Brutalism. The album’s twelve tracks of pummelling, angry punk are a furious state-of-the-nation address to post-Brexit Britain, with moments of lacerating wit thrown in for good measure by formidable lead singer Joe Talbot. Powerful.

Listen in full here

7: Dream Wife – ‘Dream Wife’

The debut album from this London-based all-female trio is punk-rock at the other end of the spectrum from IDLES but is nonetheless a fantastically good listen. Dream Wife specialise in melodic, (mostly) radio-friendly pop-punk with incredibly catchy hooks, lots of attitude and feminist undertones that may not become too apparent until you see the band live.

Listen in full here

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Ten Tracks of 2018

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Whittling down your favourite tracks of any year is an arduous task and this year, a particularly good one musically, has proven equally if not more difficult.

That said, in the interest of posterity, I condensed it down to ten and there is a nice extended 30-track playlist below too.

So, in no particular order, here are my favourite ten (then 30 below) tracks of 2018. Enjoy!

Omaloma – ‘Bubblegum’

Welsh artist Omaloma aka George Amor (Serol Serol & Sen Segur) has carved out special space on the musical landscape with a series of blissful, spacey psych-pop singles; ‘Ha Ha Haf’, ‘Aros O Gwmpas’ and ‘Eniwe’ in recent years.

This year, Omaloma added ‘Bubblegum’ to this burgeoning list of stellar singles. A first on vinyl, released as a 7″ single, ‘Bubblegum’ is utterly divine and marks the pinnacle of the project thus far. Sung in English and Welsh, ‘Bubblegum’ is a four-minute sojourn to a spellbinding interstellar paradise. It coolly swaggers as it moves on by, leaving us in a dream-like state, with an alluring blend of slinky, synth-pop with psych brush strokes, woozy synth lines and Amor’s soft, soothing bilingual vocals. Instantly lovable, it breezes gracefully by with a seductive soulful underbelly and charm to woo you.

ilu – ‘Graffiti Hen Ewrop’

Dividing their time recording between Tallinn, Estonia and rural Wales, Ilu are a Welsh Psych/Krautrock outfit crafting epic, spacey, interstellar hymns – of Spiritualized proportions. Backing up these lofty claims is stunning debut single ‘Graffiti Hen Ewrop’. Propelled along Krautrock, motoric grooves ‘Graffiti Hen Ewrop’, spacey synths and heavenly harmonies envelop spiky post-punk guitars and bass rumbles which coalesces into one coherent, unstoppable sound. Sizzling danceable grooves are woven tightly into their mammoth tones and grinding churn, which is all punctuated with a beautiful yet melancholic sense of longing. As far as debut singles go, they don’t come much bigger or better than ‘Graffiti Hen Ewrop’; an immaculate palate of sonics, sounds and textures.

Accü – ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?’

Accü is the multifaceted, genre blending solo project of Cardiff-based musician and producer Angharad Van Rijswijk. Accü’s debut album Echo The Red is one of 2018’s very best and lead single ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?’ is quite something. An offbeat exploration of imaginative experimentation and colourful, kaleidoscopic sounds, ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?’ is a spellbinding cosmic sojourn to psychedelic space. Fusing elements of frayed electronics, squelchy synths, soft-edged psych-pop it tips along a tidy drum beat with reverb-laced vocals swaying through a cascading sequence of crackling, frazzled electronics. Moving with a dreamlike, otherworldly aura; ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?’ is colourful, imaginative and fearlessly exploratory off-kilter pop.

Silverbacks – ‘Dunkirk’

Dublin-based outfit Silverbacks have delighted and excited at every turn thus far and none more so than with ‘Dunkirk’. A sprawling three-minutes of post-punk underpinned by an insistent, nagging bassline and increasingly manic, winding guitar lines, metronomic drumbeat and Gang of Four calibre bass lines. It is the ideal backdrop for Daniel O’Kelly’s stream of conscious musings of a dystopian future where Dunkirk, despite its history, has become a built-up holiday destination for young families. ‘Dunkirk’ is Silverbacks at their finest and signals strongest their evolution beyond their early Pavement-esque beginnings, to a coveted plain where parts Talking Heads, Television, LCD Soundsystem and Gang of Four can all coexist and flourish.

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