Introducing: Them Jones

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Them Jones are a Philadelphia five-piece with a flair for mesmerising, retro sounding, psych-tinged garage rock.

Them Jones’ most recent album, A Mountain of Nonsense was released last year and is a rough-around-the-edges and unpolished aural adventure, swathed in ’60s sounds and inspirations. Whether it is the likes of ‘Outburst’, which sees them tumble into a frenetic two-minute burst of punchy guitar driven garage-rock or ‘Honeytrap’, embracing the softer subtleties of the genre, giving a smoother, more soulful flavour – we find a band at the peak of their prowess. The same can be said for slowly waltzing and hushed poetic delights of ‘The Shrinking Violet’s Light’, and the record in general. At varying times, Them Jones bring to mind The Doors, The White Stripes, The Animals and any more of a similar ilk, yet they manage to maintain ownership of their musical vision and sound. This is their interpretation of a genre and era they know and love. They are masters of their craft and it executed with perfection, and sometimes you know, that is quite enough.

You can listen to some choice cuts from Them Jones’ latest album A Mountain of Nonsense. If those are to your liking, well, you can stream the LP here. Enjoy!

Johnny Feeney’s Albums of 2016

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Better late than never, Johnny Feeney would like to share his favourite records from 2016 with you all.

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 them – 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 2016.

10. Laura Mvula – ‘The Dreaming Room’

The Birmingham soul singer’s second studio album comes densely packed with layers of Mvula’s unique vocals and a broad range of sounds and influences, including lead single ‘Overcome’ featuring Nile Rodgers. Despite not always hitting the mark, there are some powerful, intriguing tracks on here. Really needs to be played at a high volume to give everything a chance to be heard.

09. Car Seat Headrest – ‘Teens Of Denial’

Virginia’s Will Toledo has been releasing albums prolifically as Car Seat Headrest for a few years now but this is only his second full release on a major label. Seriously overlong at almost 70 minutes, the album has the capacity to absolutely blow you away with cracking rock songs such as ‘Fill In The Blanks’ or ‘Drunk Drivers / Killer Whales’. The more you listen to it, the better it gets.

08. Hinds – ‘Leave Me Alone’

The debut album from this Madrid all-girl four-piece is a joyous, upbeat lo-fi indie rock affair. There’s a neat trick performed here with the loose, ramshackle guitars and lazy, loose drums in stark contrast with the tightness of the hook-laden, impossibly infectious songs – and the sound of a band having a lot of fun and not taking themselves too seriously.

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Alternative Christmas Playlist

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Every celebration is in need of a good soundtrack and of all the public holidays, Christmas has no shortage in this department.

However, if you a bit worn out from the incessant playing of ‘classics’, we’ve got you covered with this Alternative Christmas Playlist on Spotify. There’s a nice two hour mix of alternative Christmas cuts from Julian Casblancas, Slow Club, Sweet Baboo, We Cut Corners, Spectrals, Jinx Lennon, Half Man Half Biscuit & more. All in all it’s a pretty nice spread of tunes, and one that’ll hopefully serve you well.

Right, time for me to leave you to it – enjoy!

BarryGruff Albums of the Year (2016)

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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]

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Millions Like Us Podcast #21

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Hello! We’re back (again) with another delightful mix of music and chat that is, Millions Like Us Podcast, Episode #21.

First off, apologies for the delay with this one but it was entirely out of our control. Some technical mumbo-jumbo put a spanner in the works but we (and by that I mean Stevie, poor sod) finally pulled it together after a lot of hard graft. Some sound issues remain but hopefully it doesn’t hamper the listening experience any more than usual. 😉

Anyway, back to the Pod. For Episode #21 we – Justin, Barry & Stephen – brave some dodgy internet connections, technological misadventures and timezone challenges, to bring you a bumper 90 minutes plus of music chat and an eclectic, hand-picked selection of superb new tunes.

Thanks for your patience with us with this one, we really appreciate it. We’ve all got the thinking caps on to figure out a more efficient way of doing this so once again, thanks for baring with us and we hope you enjoy Pod #21!

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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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!

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!

 

Introducing: The Immediate

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There’s a bit or a role reversal with this one, all will become abundantly clear below….

The Immediate are a three-piece power pop band from Mold in north Wales. Originally active in the ’90s, they split in 1997 due to frustration, an argument over a mouth organ and the success of Stereophonics – all valid reasons, no?

Earlier this year however, the trio of of Duncan Farmer, Richard Harrison & Adam Walton reunited – the latter’s BBC Radio Wales show is one of my favourites and a fine source of superb new Welsh tunes (role reversal explained) – not for one last crack at fame but for the love of making music. This love and that of music from The Jam, Small Faces, Ride, Badfinger & Teenage Fanclub among others, shines through brightly. Crafting songs about hope and love in the face of the moribund, daily grind, playing to please only themselves, with no thoughts of success or acclaim and having fun along the way. Taken from their debut EP Shadows and Ghosts, ‘Yoko’ is a case in point. Succinctly summing up The Immediate’s raison d’etre in a scintillating three-minutes, ‘Yoko’ is a guitar heavy, riff-filled indie rocker bursting with melody and vitality; and in Walton’s own words, it’s ace! Sometimes that is quite enough.

There is an album in the offing for the new year but for now, why not give ‘Yoko’ a spin below. You can get their debut EP, Shadows and Ghosts as a free download via Bandcamp.

‘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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Estrons – ‘I’m Not Your Girl’

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Estrons will release a new EP She’s Here Now on November 4th, ahead of which, the Cardiff-based foursome have shared their scintillating new single ‘I’m Not Your Girl’.

Having already blown us away with blistering indie-rock brilliance ‘Make A Man’ and ‘Drop’, this latest outing is equally as exhilarating and underpins why we should all pay close attention. An under-three-minute burst of coiled up aggression delivered with a gripping, almost menacing intensity, ‘I’m Not Your Girl’ unloads a barrage of ear-shattering, scorching riffs and pounding drums, as Källström’s incredibly powerful, searing vocal delivery, brings the house down around us. A scintillating and high intensity master-class of cathartic, brilliantly rage-fuelled and fuzz-drenched rock ‘n roll.

The new EP She’s Here Now is out on November 4th, ahead of all that there is the not so small matter of ‘I’m Not Your Girl’. Check it out now.