Rhodri Brooks – ‘Bws Dŵr’

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Rhodri Brooks is a Cardiff born singer and songwriter, whose rather wonderful sound is gathered from fragments of alt-country, psychedelia, Americana and lo-fi, and effortlessly sewn together.

Brooks’ chameleonic sound transcends eras and genres, evidenced by his wonderful back catalogue and latest single ‘Bws Dŵr’.The new track will be released through the Bubblewrap Collective – who he’s recently joined forces with – for Welsh Language Music Day on February 10th. Performed in his native Welsh, ‘Bws Dŵr’ is a gentle and wonderfully understated lo-fi blend of Americana/Country that lulls you into a hypnotic, woozy state of peace and calm as it meanders along with sliding guitars and washed-out vocal. So easy on the ear, this is just a wonderfully tranquil beauty.

‘Bws Dŵr’ is out for Welsh Language Music Day on February 10th. Listen to it below.

H. Hawkline Shares new track ‘Last Thing On Your Mind’

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Welsh artist H. Hawkline is currently working on the followup to 2015’s wondrous In The Pink Of Condition.

No concrete details on the album have been announced but we’re afforded an early taste of what we can expect with new single, ‘The Last Thing On Your Mind’. Featuring frequent collaborators Cate Le Bon and Josiah Steinbrick and powered by synths and a minimal drum machine, the single explores new territory. It does so while retaining the classic Hawkline approach for earworm hooks intertwined with gently groovy sounds, charming oddity and fused with experimental whims into mildly psychedelic, wonky pop song. A marvellously tantalising six-minutes.

As was said previously, there’s no solid info on when we can expect the new record but after all, any new H. Hawkline is good news. Be sure to be on the look out for the full length later this year.

Listen to ‘The Last Thing On Your Mind’ below.

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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Playlist: Best Songs of 2016

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Lists, lists, lists and more lists. Yes, it is that time of year when lists become more common place than overly optimistic Liverpool fans in August.

Time, or lack of it, truly is the enemy once again but I’ve compiled a 100+ strong song Spotify playlist; selection of personal favourites from throughout the year. Pretty self-explanatory this, but there’s loads of great stuff in there from many styles and genres and, from across the globe.

I hope to have an ‘Albums of 2016′ post completed this week. Anyway, for now, I hope you enjoy the playlist.

 

Conor Mason Returns With New Single ‘On The Surface’

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Derry singer-songwriter Conor Mason has revealed his intention to release a new EP early next year.

While Mason already has three albums under his belt, his last release (solo that is) was 2012’s beautiful and assured LP, Standstill. New material from Mason is long overdue and joining this news is the wonderful single, ‘On The Surface’. It seems Mason is picking up where he left off, having found his space on the musical landscape, not dissimilar to that occupied by Elliot Smith, Villagers or Matthew Jay. ‘On The Surface’ gently trickles by, amid a soothing sea of soft lilting vocals, whispering lyrical delicacies, subtle instrumentation and twinkling synth. Permeated by a rich and comforting warmth, a hint of melancholy and dash of uncertainty – it is a wonderfully crafted five minutes, reminding us how much a master Mason is when it comes to wistful whispering, harmony and hook. For a long, long time, Mason has been one of Ireland’s finest – if somewhat overlooked – artists and delectable talents. Lets hope the latter gets rectified in 2017.

There is no concrete date for the forthcoming EP’s release, just sometime, early in the new year. For now, you can listen to ‘On The Surface’ below. Prepare to be bedazzled.

Eoin Dolan – ‘Rockerfeller Christmas Address’

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We are now well into December so it is safe to mention Christmas, right?

Whatever your feelings surrounding the commencement of Christmas, Galway-based singer-songwriter Eoin Dolan, has released a suitably festive new single, which will go a long way to getting you in the mood. Entitled ‘Rockerfeller Christmas Address’, it is a Christmas pop song wrapped in, as Dolan calls it “the political madness of the modern world. Global anxiety mixed with holiday convention”. Dolan’s recognisable charming, surfy psych-pop is treated with a sprinkle of festive magic – in sound at least – as a blend of woozy, soothing sounds, sinuous melodies, a gentle strum and splotches of synth evoke feelings of warm nostalgia. As well as festivities, nostalgia, friends and family this stage of the year is a time for reflection – and there is a lot to reflect on – and lyrically, Dolan offers his assessment on 2016. ‘Rockerfeller Christmas Address’ is Dolan at his dazzlingly brilliant best, capping of an great year for Galwegian, which saw him release his wonderful self-titled debut LP (you can find it here).

‘Rockerfeller Christmas Address’ is below for your listening pleasure and you can download it for free here.

 

Minor Moon – ‘So Composed’

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Minor Moon is the songwriting project of Sam Cantor – a musician based in Chicago – which began life as a series of bedroom demos back in 2011.

Since then, he’s been firmly on the front foot gigging extensively and releasing EP, Faultines, and debut LP, A Whisper, A Shout. Minor Moon’s latest effort, a five track EP, What Our Enemies Know, is marked for on January 20th, 2017. Ahead of its release, we’ve been given a taste of the EP in single ‘So Composed’. The inspiration for this, and Minor Moon’s sound, seems rooted in classic practitioners of the craft – Nick Drake, Neil Young, Van Morrison with a touch of The Doors – while owing much also, to more contemporary artists like Wilco or Grizzly Bear. What is certain though, is Minor Moon strikes a wonderful balance between vintage and modern. ‘So Composed’ is a smooth and stylish infusion of laid-back indie with elements of jazz and airy Americana. Stellar pop-craft enhanced further with peppered brass, dripping keys and soulful vocals; rather great by any estimation.

What Our Enemies Know EP isn’t released until January 20, 2017 but you can listen to ‘So Composed’, right now, below.

Cate Le Bon Announces ‘Rock Pool’ EP; Shares Title Track

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Hot on the heels of one of 2016’s finest records, Crab Day, Cate Le Bon has announced a new EP Rock Pool.

Released on January 27 2017, the EP will include four previously unreleased songs dating from the ‘Crab Day’ sessions. Ahead of the forthcoming EP, we’ve been provided with taster and title-track. In just over three minutes, ‘Rock Pool’ is the embodiment to why Le Bon is a treasure. The Welsh artist is difficult to box-off with a taste for offbeat folk but an equal a propensity for psych. Swirling and imaginative, ‘Rock Pool’ sees Le Bon’s unique and powerfully versatile voice backed by a steady beat, swaying, acrobatic guitar jangle, odd sounds and keys. The strangeness, jarring arrangements and musical whimsy probably wouldn’t resonate so much were it not for the moments of melodic sweetness. A dazzling display of Cate Le Bon’s boundless versatility, captivating psych-folk and sheer brilliance.

Produced by Noah Georgeson and Josiah Steinbrick, and featuring musicians H. Hawkline, Stephen Black (Sweet Baboo) and Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint), the EP will be released on January 27th 2017. Listen to ‘Rock Pool’ below.

Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 Preview: 8 Must See Acts

 

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Hard Working Class Heroes takes place in venues across Dublin this week.

Running from Thursday, October 6th to Saturday, October 8th and it will showcase well over 100 of Ireland’s most promising emerging acts. One of HWCH’s biggest draws (and festivals of its ilk) is rambling around, seeing acts you have previously been unfamiliar with. That said, there are a couple of names that immediately jump out and come highly recommended with the much sought after BarryGruff seal of approval*.

The full line-up / stage times for Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 is here. And as always, feel free to share your own recommendations in the comments section below. *May not be much sought after.

Eoin Dolan: Thursday, 19:40 – 20:10 @ Tengu Downstairs

Galway-based singer-songwriter Eoin Dolan is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the finest finds from the past 12 months. Dolan has a real flair for twinkly and whimsical, good old fashioned pop gems, with a healthy dose of Brian Wilson, Syd Barrett and Lennon/McCartney (moments) threaded through the fabric of his sound. His brand of surfy psych-pop is totally charming, entirely irresistible, easy-going and timeless. Dolan’s self-titled debut album was released last month, for a taste of that & what to expect at HWCH, check out ‘Dear Brian'; a playful blend of woozy, soothing sounds, sinuous melodies, SFA-esque synth work, giddy-pop-playfulness and reverb-drenched vocals. Not to be missed.

New Pope: Thursday, 21:40 – 22:10 @ Tengu Downstairs

Galway-based New Pope – fronted by Dave Boland – deal in truly beautiful, timeless and carefully crafted acoustic folk sounds. Passing with a whisper rather than a roar, New Pope’s songs are delivered with warmth and tenderness, as Boland’s distinctive vocal creates a warm, lush atmosphere – and an overwhelming sense of sense of nostalgia. Last year’s YOUTH EP & LP are wonderful and New Pope were excellent at Electric Picnic this year, and if that doesn’t entice you? Check out the layered, lush and beguiling beauty of ‘Love’ below:

Slow Riot: Friday, 20:10 – 20:40 @ The Hub

Limerick trio Slow Riot‘s ferocious, tense and searing post-punk, has marked them out as one of Ireland’s most promising guitar bands in sometime. Taking classic post-punk influences – Gang of Four, Television, Wire – and infusing them with more contemporary ones such as Girl Band and Future of the Left, they create an irresistible and thunderous modern take on a classic sound. Still need convincing? Check out the intense, insistent and menacing ‘Trophy Wife’ below. Peerless.

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