Beev Rations – ‘The Bigger Tricker’

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Based in Santander, Northern Spain, Beev Rations is the musical alter-ego of Alan James, a songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist, with a loving flair for psych-tinged, country & western flavoured folk jams.

As far as introductions go, you couldn’t ask for more from recent single ‘The Bigger Tricker’. A kaleidoscopic musical mosaic, it serves up a rather special brew of psych flavoured country & americana, rootsy folk and just a lot of off-kilter magic as it clip-clops along its merry way, like many a pioneer heading west out upon the plains. It’s warm, sunkissed and a wee bit weird but most importantly it is incredibly infectious and a joyous listen.

You can listen to ‘The Bigger Tricker’ below now & of you like that, there’s plenty more where that came from, over here!

Billy Bragg & Joe Henry Team Up for Album, ‘Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad’

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In March, 2016, Billy Bragg and Joe Henry caught a train from Chicago to Los Angeles. Over the course of the 2,728 miles of winding track, they recorded a collection of classic railroad folk and blues songs – originally made famous by Hank Williams, Lead Belly, The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Glen Campbell & more – at various stations along the way.

The result is the new album, Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad, which they recorded live at train stations, and will be released on September 23 via Cooking Vinyl. To get us right in the mood, accompanying this announcement is ‘The Midnight Special’. First recorded in 1926 by Pistol Pete, a member of the western group Otto Gray and his Oklahoma Cowboys, the song is generally attributed to Leadbelly, who recorded his version while serving time for attempted homicide at Louisiana’s Angola Prison Farm. Bragg and Henry have stuck with the acoustic roots of ‘The Midnight Special’, and the result is pretty damn fine. Those rough harmonies and rustic sound, work ever so well.

Watch a trailer for the album and listen to ‘The Midnight Special’ below.

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Introducing: Bad Sea

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Bad Sea are Dublin duo Ciara Thompson and Alan Farrell (occasionally joined live by violinist Éna, from Tandem Felix).

Their sound flows from a rich well of influences and styles to produce a smooth, smokey, alt-country sound. The pair’s most recent release, single ‘I’d Want U’, is a simply stunning example of their prowess. It is intimate and sincere, with a slightly rough around the edges feel amplifying the wounded, raw emotion. Amid these gloomy, doleful surroundings and stark strum, Thompson’s rich, distinctive and emotive voice is buoyed by a swelling guitar, paired so well against a sparse, smokey backdrop. A smooth, tender and stunning, emotive little gem and if you’re anyway human, ‘I’d Want U’ should stir something in you and leave the hairs on the back of your neck on end.

Nothing concrete but Bad Sea are rumored to be recording more material but. if you’re back home, keep an eye out for them as they seem to busy on the gig front around Ireland. For now, sit back and enjoy ‘I’d Want U’.

Celebrating 5 Years of BarryGruff with ‘GruffWuff': A 19 Track Compilation Album

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BarryGruff is 5 years old today!

Those five years have been interesting and fun. The blog has ebbed and flowed in parallel with my own life which has moved on somewhat from where it was back in March 2010. Since my early teens spouting about music has always been part and parcel of my life but I’m very grateful to have been in a position to share those musings and whatnot with a wider audience than my mates (or whoever is willing to listen).

Blogging has become quite a big part of my life and while listening to and discovering new music etc. is something that comes rather natural, a lot of my free time is devoted to the upkeep of the blog and how much longer I can continue to do so is anyone’s guess. It might be one year or another five, who knows? So with that in mind I really wanted to do something really special to mark the occasion and I’m pretty damn chuffed with this one.

Without further a do, to celebrate 5 years of BarryGruff is ‘GruffWuff': A 19 track compilation of new, previously unreleased and exclusive recordings from some of my very favourite acts over the past 5 years of blogging. While I initially thought it was just a pipe dream and one that would remain just that, the enthusiasm that met my initial inquiries bowled me over, I couldn’t believe how eager everyone was. It is something that’ll stay with me forever and it means an awful lot. Hopefully it will shine a light, brief as it maybe on some of the acts that have brought me the most joy over the past few years. The enjoyment music brings me can’t be overstated, be it happy times or sad times, there’s one constant; music.

Thanks to Stevie for all his assistance, Caroline for putting up with me, Peter Lee for mastering & all the artists who provided tracks for the compilation. A huge amount of credit must go to the artists involved for their eagerness and the ever so brilliant music.

‘GruffWuff’ will be released through Bandcamp on Thursday, March 19th and the tracklisting is below for your perusal. I’m really, really excited for people to finally hear what everyone’s been working away on for the past 9 months.

Celebrating 5 Years of BarryGruff with ‘GruffWuff':

01. Fold – ‘Where Are You’

02. Oh Boland – ‘White Boy’

03. Seazoo – ‘DIG (Demo Version)’

04. Mr Huw – ‘Bai Neb Ond Fy Hun’

05. Dan Amor – ‘Can’t Sleep’

06. Oisin McCole – ‘Far From The Sea’

07. Anderson – ‘The Way The Stream Flows’

08. Knoxville Morning – ‘Bridget’

09. Nathan Conway – ‘Babycheeno’

10. Disconcerting P – ‘Treated You Rough’

11. The Expert – ‘Swapsies’

12. SertOne – ‘Seventeen’

13. Imploded View – ‘Barry’s Game’

14. Channel Swimmer – ‘Racket’

15. Monto – ‘Yeuh’

16. Open Window – ‘003 (Africa)’

17. Captain Moonlight – ‘What is Property?’

18. GEM_DOS – ‘Mag D’Allen’

19. Hippies Vs Ghosts – ‘Three Shadows’

 

Guest Post: Johnny Feeney Picks 3 Albums [Timber Timbre, Brodie Dalle & Total Control]

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The ever insightful Johnny Feeney pops up now and then to share his thoughts on some albums which have caught his eye, always adding extra flavour to the blog. Without further a due, here are three albums have been taking his fancy lately. Thanks as ever to Johnny for taking the time to do this and with that, I’ll leave you in his very capable hands.

Timber Timbre – ‘Hot Dreams’

The fifth album from Canadian outfit Timber Timbre is a rather dark affair – twisted, cinematic country/Americana accompanied by vocalist Taylor Kirk’s dulcet tones, baritone guitars, snapping percussion and luscious string arrangements that feels like a perfect soundtrack to a disparate spaghetti western noir. This album is certainly one that requires multiple listens before it fully reveals itself. The dreamy title track is the lightest thing on offer with layers of synth-strings and woozy saxophones but is an exception rather than the rule.

The sinister ‘Bring Me Simple Men’ sounds like Portishead gone country fronted by Roy Orbison. ‘This Low Commotion’ is an album highlight with its sweeping strings and tinkling keys. The supreme ‘Run From Me’ plods along before slowly building and bursting unexpectedly but welcomely into life. Instrumental ‘The Three Sisters’ mirrors all what’s gone on before it and closes the album with one final ride into the sunset as the darkness envelopes all around. Hauntingly beautiful.

Brody Dalle – ‘Diploid Love’

Perhaps better known as the former frontwoman of punk-rockers the Distillers and wife of Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Brody Dalle’s rock credentials are certainly plain for all to see on here. On her debut solo album, she takes on production duties along with QOTSA collaborator Alain Johannes and although guests on the album include the Strokes’ Nick Valensi and Garbage’s Shirley Manson amongst others, there’s no doubt that the star of the show is Dalle herself.

There’s no shortage of thundering hooks or spiky attitude with Dalle’s snarling vocals driving the songs along. The strongest track on the album, ‘Meet the Foetus/Oh the Joy’, is a paean to motherhood with an ending so impossibly catchy that it can lodge in your head for days. ‘Blood in Gutters’ is fantastic – the scuzzy guitars and Dalle’s raw vocals providing the perfect foil for each other. There are some weaker moments towards the end such as the tame ‘I Don’t Need Your Love’ but shouldn’t take away from what is an excellent rock album.

Total Control – ‘Typical System’

Melbourne quintet Total Control is not an especially easy band to pigeon-hole into one specific genre – new wave, post-punk, alternative rock, krautrock are some of the terms they’ve been labelled as. Their second album runs the gamut of all these and bends and contorts them into a weird and wonderful, heavily psychedelic sound. Founding member Mikey Young is also a member of garage-rockers par excellence Eddy Current Suppression Ring so it’s no surprise to see some rollicking, spiky punk rock appear throughout such as the fabulous ‘Expensive Dog’.

In other places you get something approaching straight-up garage rock like ‘Systematic Fuck’ and the much darker psychedelic sounds of ‘Liberal Party’ and the brilliant ‘Two Less Jacks’. The synth-rock of ‘The Ferryman’ is a further departure, while the chorus of the sublime closer ‘Safety Net’ evokes Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. All this interchanging keeps the listener guessing as to what’s coming next which makes the forty minute listening time fly by. Truly exceptional.