Raincity Blue – ‘Keeping Busy’

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Raincity Blue are the wonderfully (and aptly*) named, Vancouver based Neo-Soul outfit.

Formed in 2016, the five piece ensemble – Clare Twiddy, Kaylar Chan, Ryley Kirkpatrick, Jay Schreiber & Chantal Gauthier – draw influence from R&B, soul, psych-rock and funk, to brew something smooth and soulful, that’ll get your feet moving and the heart racing. Their latest release ‘Keeping Busy’ is one such case. It slowly swaggers along, soulfully, with a groove and aura of coolness, before gradually swelling, growing and becoming more impassioned to envelope everything in its wake. Amid this soulful waltz, there is yet more to relish in Twiddy’s luscious, powerful, impassioned and oh so soulful vocal as it rises to soar emphatically atop. ‘Keeping Busy’ has all the key ingredients; magnificent, simple as that.

You can listen to ‘Keeping Busy’ below now & you will be all the better for it.

Raincity Blue released their debut album Stuck on Replay this month – you can check it here.

*Why apt? Anyone who’s been to Vancouver, BC will know how synonymous it is with rain, particularly the winter months.

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 #19

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A new regular feature to blog, a relatively short weekly Spotify playlist featuring some of the finest new music to prick my ears over the course of past seven days.

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 #19 – Something for the Weekend: New Music Playlist. Enjoy the tunes & enjoy the weekend!

You can follow me on Spotify here.

Night Auditor – ‘No Vacancy’

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Night Auditor is the brainchild of Los Angeles native, Omar Jamal; a multi-instrumentalist and poet at the heart of this funky genre-hopping musical endeavour.

Now based in Brazil with the rest of the Night Auditor troupe, the collective is gearing up to release a new LP called Soul Junk. Ahead of its forthcoming arrival later this year, ‘No Vacancy’ is the first single lifted from the aforementioned album. It is an effortlessly cool and timeless funk/soul delight with all the hallmarks of a modern classic. Whisking together a deliciously seductive brew of strutting funky swagger, soulful vocals, stabs of bass/guitar and to-die-for organ work, with an underlying pop sensibility and a touch of the psychedelic, we’re left with a stunning masterclass in soulful funk. So, so good – which certainly bodes well for the forthcoming LP.

For now, check out the stunning ‘No Vacancy’ below:

Introducing: Nia Wyn

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It’s never a bad day when you discover a precocious music talent, especially when it’s going to fill a soulful void in your life.

With that in mind, open yourself to the powerful, raw and soulful sounds of London-based North-Walian artist, Nia Wyn. Wyn has a canny ability for raw and powerful storytelling, set within a kind of unorthodox, rich and engrossing vocal, it immediately marks her out as something rather refreshing. She introduced herself with stunning, folk-tinged blues debut, ‘Help Me’, and actually goes one better with latest single, ‘Do You Love Enough’. The music, as with her voice, channels old blues and soul with a modern twist. These are timeless tales of broken hearts at home and in society, told with her unique and powerful voice. Both singles conjure up a very exciting, defiant charisma that’s simultaneously streetwise, witty, hard and warm. A unique and captivating talent, and one to keep your eye on this year, and beyond, for sure.

A debut EP is in the pipeline for a June release, so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks. In the meantime, make sure and check out ‘Do You Love Enough’ & ‘Help Me’ below.