Drens – ‘No’

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Drens are a fuzz loving garage rock / surf punk foursome from Dortmund/Cologne, Germany.

Their debut ‘Wilhelm Be Gone’ was released in January of this year and has been quickly followed by the brand new single, ‘No’. A freewheeling frenzy of energetic surfy punk-tinged indie, ‘No’ packs a hell of punch. Unleashing itself with all the energy of a coiled-up spring, wave after wave of hi-octane racy riffs, spiky guitars, snappy drums and rumbling basslines coalesce with equally springy (Zebedee-esque) vocals for a whirlwind salvo of raucous vitality. A lively, infectious and fun tune, it is a bona fide two-and-a-half minutes of punky indie gold (and the video is pretty nifty too).

Listen to ‘No’ and its predecessor ‘Wilhelm Be Gone’ below:

The Echo Bombs – ‘Pistachio Pudding’

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Phoenix, Arizona trio The Echo Bombs – aka Eddie Horn, Daniel Endicott & Michael Regan – do a rather redoubtable trade in the seriously potent garage rock stakes.

They play fast, energetic and loud, something abundantly clear upon hearing ‘Pistachio Pudding’ – first single off the forthcoming second album, Pleb, penned for released in April. Musically, it’s a whirlwind of crunchy guitars, searing riffs, pounding drums and raspy vocals (decrying a seething revulsion at growing older), all clamouring for air above a sea of fuzz. There are shades of Weezer meets Fidlar, in a confection of punky, surfy, power-pop that across two-and-a-half minutes, delivers an undeniably infectious catchy and anthemic cut of garage-rock.

You can listen to ‘Pistachio Pudding’ below – as yet, there is not confirmed date for The Echo Bombs new record but watch this space.

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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Something for the Weekend: New Music Playlist #30

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After a couple of weeks absence, ‘Something for the Weekend’ returns with a relatively short Spotify playlist featuring some of the finest new music to prick my ears over the course of past while.

Clocking in at just over an hour, it’s an easily digestible slice of new music, just in time for the weekend. There’s a nice mix of genres and styles too, allowing me to share even more crackin’ tunes. Well, without further ado, here’s #30 – Something for the Weekend: New Music Playlist. Get stuck into the tunes & enjoy the weekend!

You can follow me on Spotify here.