Martha Ffion – ‘We Disappear’

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‘We Disappear’ is the brand new single from Irish-born, Glasgow-based singer-songwriter, Martha Ffion.

Ffion’s third release through respected indie label Turnstile (Gruff Rhys, Cate Le Bon, Drinks etc.), in three minutes it sums up what has made her work so endearing thus far. Inspired by her adopted hometown of Glasgow, it’s a gentle and relaxed jangle, coated in a light sparing, wash of reverb, with her powerful croon cutting through the tender surroundings. There is something utterly compelling in the way Ffion sings, heavily invested emotionally, what she is saying, needs to be heard. A touching ode to Glasgow, it is undeniably a spellbinding experience, ‘We Disappear’ further cements Martha Ffion’s ever-growing rep.

‘We Disappear’ is out now and you can listen/watch it below.

 

In Praise of Super Furry Animals: An Almost 20 Year Obsession

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The magnificent and legendary Super Furry Animals, make their return to Vancouver this week, playing The Imperial on Thursday, February 4th.

As one of my all-time favourite bands, I am more than guilty of some bias, but I can honestly say I believe they are one of the finest bands ever to grace this earth. Throughout their long and fascinating career, Super Furry Animals have proven themselves as one of the most enigmatic, creative and brilliant psychedelic pop bands of our time. Super Furry Animals are truly unique.

They have the stories; they procured an army tank equipped with a techno sound-system, caused national security alerts with 60-foot inflatable monsters, went into the Colombian jungle with armed Guerilla fighters, drew up plans to convert an aircraft carrier into a nightclub and turned down a seven-figure sum from a certain cola company who wanted to use ‘Hello Sunshine’ in an ad, instead allowing the track to be used in a short film about human rights abuses by anti-poverty charity War on Want. Yet these tales only tell half the story. Most importantly, there is the music.

Super Furry Animals have produced some of the most exciting and memorable records of the past two decades, in their own uniquely surreal, weird and wonderful pop genius. With an inherent gift for giddy pop melodies and excelling at rich, heart-felt and powerful slow songs too, it is an eclectic back-catalogue, imaginatively mixing up electronic beats, indie, surf rock, neo-psychedelia, Japanese culture and more.

My first encounter with Super Furries was seeing them play ‘Demons’ on TFI Friday, I then acquired ‘Something 4 The Weekend’ in some bargain bin or other, and that was enough to set in motion a process of acquiring whatever music of their’s that I could and albums, Radiator and Out Spaced, remain all-time favourites. It hard to put my adoration for these Welsh heroes into mere words for fear of underselling the virtues of their music but let’s just put it simply; in providing a constant soundtrack to my life ever since my school days, their music has afforded me so much joy.

So, needless to say, the fact Super Furry Animals play Vancouver next week is extremely exciting. Like a kid waiting for Christmas, since the announcement was first made, I’ve been counting down the days till February 4th. It has also got me thinking about the first time I saw them live, years back, 1999 in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre. It was a school night and we had a mini-bus drive us (cans and shitty fake IDs on hand) to Dublin. The gig was unbelievable. Only the second I had ever gone to at that point and it was an unforgettable experience, and one that has left an indelible mark on me. Many years on and almost ten thousand miles from where a 15-year-old me awaited that show excitedly, there’s pretty much the same level of anticipation for this week’s gig. Roll on Thursday night!

So with that, I’ll leave you with the excellent S4C documentary on 20 years of Super Furries, The Furry Years and a couple of choice Super Furry favourites.

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Coves Return With New Album ‘Peel’ and Share Video for ‘Stormy’

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The new album announcements are coming thick and fast, being that time of year and all. Adding their name to an ever growing list of albums set for release in 2016, is Coves.

The English duo of Rebekah Wood and John Ridgard will release new album Peel on April 1st. It is the band’s second LP and follows the pair’s much vaunted debut, Soft Friday; an atmospheric, distinctive and very enjoyable blend of spectral vocals, swirling psychedelia met with sweeping grandeur and dreamy synths. To warm us up for the main event, Coves have shared ‘Stormy’ and its visual delights, featuring visuals from lead singer Beck Wood. Apparently marked by Coves’ shift from Leamington Spa to London, the new LP is seemingly “split between fury and misery”. Saying that, latest single ‘Stormy’ picks up where the pair left off, retaining the essence that made their debut so, so good. It’s a well honed, thrilling and intoxicating three-minutes where soaring riffs and vocals mingle amid flickers of shimmering psychedelic, some rampaging guitar heroics, rhythmic grooves and plenty of swaggering confidence to boot. An emphatic indication that we may be in for quite the second album from Coves.

Peel will be out on April 1st, via the newly re-vamped 1965 Records imprint.

New cut ‘Stormy’ is online now, and it features visuals from singer Beck Wood. Check Stormy’ below now.

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The Last Shadow Puppets Return With New Single ‘Bad Habits’

 

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Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner and Miles Kane have returned to their Last Shadow Puppets guise to release a second album, surely among the year’s most anticipated releases.

The pair’s last album together was 2008’s The Age Of The Understatement and like it, the new one is once again produced by Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford and Owen Pallett returns on arrangement duties. ‘Bad Habits’ is the first single from the album, and it’s loud, brash and urgent, with a spiky aggression to its slithering groovy core and insistent bassline, matched with Owen Pallett’s swirling Bond-esque string flourishes. It’s a pretty fiery return, alright.

An official release date for the so far unnamed second album has yet to be revealed, but so far all signs have pointed to a Spring 2016 release. The band are also playing Coachella so expect more live dates throughout the year. For now, check out ‘Bad Habits’ below.

 

Courtney Barnett shares new song ‘Three Packs a Day’ + Tour Dates

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Less than a 12 months since Courtney Barnett released her excellent Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit, she’s kicking off 2016 with new material.

The new track ‘Three Packs A Day’ features on her Australian label Milk! Record’s compilation, Good For You, alongside tracks from Jen Cloher, Fraser A. Gorman, Ouch My Face, The Finks, and East Brunswick All Girls Choir. In typical Barnett fashion, ‘Three Packs A Day’ is clever, witty and slightly dark. An instantly infectious, light jangle with a jaunty guitar line, meandering bass and folksy harmonica blasts giving the song its upbeat coat, as she sings about her addiction to instant noodles. A magnificent tune indeed and exactly the high standard we’ve come to expect from her.

With a couple of shows coming this month in her native Australia, the North American leg of her tour kicks off in April, including a show on April 19th at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom. Find her full list of dates below. Good for You is out on February 14 via Milk! Records. Listen to ‘Three Packs A Day’ below.

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The Coral – ‘Chasing The Tail Of A Dream’

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While most of us we’re preoccupied with other matters, Wirral five-piece The Coral (now joined by guitarist Paul Molloy, formerly of The Zutons) signaled an end to their hiatus, delivering a tasty treat over Christmas.

This gift came in the shape of ‘Chasing The Tail Of A Dream’, a first taster from their forthcoming album, Distance Inbetween, their first collection of original material since 2010’s fantastic Butterfly House. It is a swaggering, muscular and rockin’ return, with snarling guitars, rumbling rhythms and their signature psychedelic flourishes cavorting and contouring around frontman James Skelly’s recognizable vocals. It is a compelling and captivating reminder of how fine a band The Coral and I for one, couldn’t be more pleased with their long-overdue return. Things are certainly poised nicely for the new LP, Distance Inbetween, which is released 4th March 2016 on Ignition Records.

Before then, you can sample ‘Chasing The Tail Of A Dream’. It is out now on limited edition and signed 7”, also featuring new track ‘Unforgiven’ on the flip side.

Distance Inbetween, tracklisting:

Connector
White Bird
Chasing The Tail Of A Dream
Distance Inbetween
Million Eyes
Miss Fortune
Beyond The Sun
It’s You
Holy Revelation
She Runs The River
Fear Machine
End Credits

 

Rozi Plain – ‘Best Team’

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Sort of folk but sort of indie too, Rozi Plain is tough one to box off.

Something that can be agreed upon is however; the London-based songstress is a supremely talented and engaging songwriter. Testament to this assertion is her third album, Friend, which was released earlier this year through Lost Map Records. It is a laid back, delicate and intricate blend of gentle and deftly-arranged folk, indie and ambient pop. An utterly beguiling album, it is a record to get lost in, such are the subtleties, textures and layers at play. If you’re still not sold on the merits of Friend, her latest single ‘Best Team’, will sway you away from the dark-side. As endearing an introduction as you could ask for, the deftly-arranged ‘Best Team’ drifts along a mellow vibe, imbued with a touch of melancholy, only to be lifted with bursts of brass, busy percussion and fluttering sounds. Singing with a sense of wonder, her vocals are mesmerizing, beautiful and shimmering. A delightful listen that demonstrates perfectly, what Rozi Plain is all about.

You can check out ‘Best Team’ and a few other choice cuts below. Both Friend and ‘Best Team’ are out now via Lost Map Records. Rozi Plain has a slew of live dates across the UK and beyond – check ’em here.