Introducing: Best Friend

13220726_586997361474965_623351186877803891_o

Best Friend are a production trio from London, who slice up old 12 inches and Youtube videos and reassemble them into summery, soulful chill hop beats.

The trio’s taste for epic cut and pasting takes us on a gorgeous, colourful and sampladelic adventure. Our intrepid excursion begins with their new record Weekend With Best Friend; a sample-driven gem with scenic production and a hazy, tranquil vibe fit to lift the spirits of even the most glum among us. ‘Spotlight’ is a lavish, cool and irresistible blend of hip hop beats and slick, shimmering samples, leaving us in a state of blissful relaxation. ‘Colourful’ meanwhile marries a beautiful vocal with dazzling flourishes of glistening strings and gentle percussion for a wonderfully hypnotic feel. Throughout Weekend With Best Friend, the trio explore a world of genres, styles and eras to serve up a record which manages a real sense of familiarity without having heard it before – and all done with immense skill, style and substance.

Check out ‘Spotlight’ & ‘Colourful’ below & the full record is available here. This production trio are definitely ones to watch – keep tabs!

Something for the Weekend: New Music Playlist #1

BGPL1

A brand new feature on the Gruff channel, a weekly 15-track Spotify playlist series featuring some of the finest new music to prick my ears.

Clocking in at under and hour, it’s an easily digested slice of new music, just in time for the weekend. There’s a nice mix of genres and styles too, allowing me to share more great tunes for your ears, so hopefully it can be a regular feature. We’ll see how it goes, I guess.

Continue reading

BarryGruff Albums of the Year (2016)

barrygruff-albums-of-2016

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]

Continue reading

Millions Like Us Podcast #21

millions-like-us-podcast-21

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.

Continue reading

Playlist: Best Songs of 2016

bg-songs-2016

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.

 

Alternative Halloween Playlist

alternative-halloween-playlist-2016

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!

 

Bad Sounds Share Bright & Brassy New Single ‘Wages’

badsounds_1500x1000

Despite their self-deprecating handle, Bad Sounds bring the party vibes with deliciously catchy and funky, kaleidoscopic pop.

Much like the Bath 5-piece’s previous single, ‘Avalanche’, ‘Wages’ is insanely catchy, extremely addictive and pretty brilliant. Occupying a similarly luminescent space on the landscape as The Go! Team at their best, ‘Wages’ is a syrupy brew of big, brassy disco-funk, hip-hop and fun fun fun. Fusing bright pop hooks, fuzzy guitars, high-pitched harmonies, with an irresistible groove, sing-a-long lyrics and more horns than a randy goat – we’re treated to a fun-filled barrel-roll through the genres and decades. Impressively, ‘Wages’ joins ‘Avalanche’ as two of the most thrilling, fun-filled and addictive singles of 2016, and sure to leave an indelible mark on your soul. Not bad for a band starting out, no?

You can listen to the bright and brassy ‘Wages’ below and it is out now. It does not disappoint!

Electric Picnic 2016: 8 Recommended Acts to See

Electric Picnic 2016

Electric Picnic takes place in Stradbally this weekend (September 2 – 5) and there are no shortage of reasons to be excited. Tasty propositions abound, especially among the bigger names – Super Furry Animals, LCD Soundsystem, Daniel Avery, The Chemical Brothers to name but a few.

Aside from the attention grabbing bigger names, there’s plenty of quality among the smaller, perhaps lesser known acts. There really are some absolute gems amongst this year’s line-up so here are 8 highly recommended acts worthy of your attention this weekend.

Nialler9 has the full line-up here, if you haven’t seen it yet and there is a very handy, printable Clashfinder here too. Dead handy & does not require batteries. 

New Pope (Friday, 17.30-18.00 @ Earthship Stage)

New Pope is the Galway-based project fronted by Dave Boland who 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 warm and lush atmosphere – and an overwhelming sense of sense of nostalgia. Yet to see them in the flesh but, on the evidence of last year’s splendid YOUTH EP & LP, they should be quite the proposition. Check out the layered, lush and beguiling beauty of ‘Love’ below:

The Altered Hours (Friday, 22:00 – 23:00, Body & Soul Main Stage)

For some time now, The Altered Hours have been eliciting much, and well deserved, praise for their frenetic and freewheeling psych/post-punk heroics. Everything they have done thus far has been gold – including debut album In Heat Not Sorry – and are reliable reputed to be one of Ireland most exciting live acts. For a glimpse of what mind-melting stuff Altered Hours are capable of, check out ‘Way of Sorrow'; a thrilling two-and-a-half-minute blast of turbulent post-punk influenced, driven, menacing and hazy swirl of psych-rock goodness.

No Monster Club (Saturday 18:00 @ Trailer Park: My Lovely Ranch Stage)

Easily one of the most reliable, inventive and brilliant bands in Ireland, No Monster Club bring their utterly lovable, rough-around the edges, lo-fi indie-pop hi-jinks to Stadbally. Live or on record, NMC never disappoint, there is just a infectious about everything they turn their hands. These fun-filled indie-pop adventures are just so damn endearing and guaranteed to brighten up your day.

Phare (Saturday, 01:00 – 02:00 am @ Oxjam)

Known for his work as one half of atmospheric duo Lyttet, Phare is the new solo-project from Peadar Kearney. On the clubbier side of things, Phare gracefully floats in an ambiguous hinterland between subtly euphoric and vaguely ambient, sustaining the rhythm and protracting the promise of a euphoric climax, while captivating through repeated propulsive beats and swirls. Check the hypnotic, twinkling crystalline grandeur of Kearney’s debut single, ‘UP’.

Slow Place Like Home (Sunday, 18.00 – 18.45 @ Body & Soul Main Stage)

Slow Place Like Home – the musical moniker of producer/musician Keith Mannion – has been treating us (and our ears) treating us to rich electronic sounds, crafted carefully from his Donegal base in the North-West of Ireland. Always inventive, imaginative and seductive compositions, Slow Place Like Home has already released a series of EPs and debut album Romola, to date. Now with a full band, 2016 saw the release brand new double A-sided singles ‘Tiger Lilly / Friday’, as they gear up for album number two next year. Another act who’s live shows have remained elusive, until this weekend hopefully.

The Dead Heavys (Sunday, 21:30-22:00 @ Body & Soul Main Stage)

The Dead Heavys are no strangers to receiving praise around these parts. Longstanding favourites, the Waterford five-piece are a great, great band, and an especially exciting live proposition. Their psych-tinged indie-rock is tempered with a catchy pop sensibility, rendering it utterly infectious for all and sundry. You can sample some of The Dead Heavys now characteristic combo of keys, guitars and vocals, anthemic surges and infectious sing-a-long moments, in ‘Liquidator’ – a bright, upbeat and rocking-groover that is very easy on the ears indeed.

ADULTROCK (Sunday, 21:25 – 22:10 Earthship Stage)

Under his ADULTROCK guise, Gavin Elsted (Super Extra Bonus Party & fellow Newbridge compañero) uses it as a vehicle to flex his dance music muscles, crafting magnificent dancefloor-ready, hypnotic and melodic electronic jams. His most recent EP Push and Pull came out in June through Bodytonic Music, and it is excellent. For a taste of it and Sunday’s service, check out the EP’s title track below. An enticing proposition.

Exmagician (Sunday, 22:00 – 22:45 Jerry Fish Side Show)

Exmagician is the latest musical adventure from long-time collaborators Danny Todd and James Smith; the musical partnership behind Cashier No.9. More urgent and rockier than their previous incarnation, still present, is their preference for shimmering psychedelics, echoed instrumentation and melodiousness. Falling somewhere between BRMC, Supergrass and yes, their previous band Cashier No. 9, ‘Kiss That Wealth Goodbye’ finds a band in fine form with its anthemic and quite cool vibe, amid a whirlwind of swirling melodies and catchy groove – as good a reason as any to catch them this weekend.

 

Fold Return With New Single ‘Something Gives’

Fold__Something-Gives

Experimental Hip-Hop/Trip Hop outfit Fold have solid credentials when it comes to producing incredible music. Blending this enviable creativity with a social consciousness, they create something powerful and unique.

Fold have returned with their first new material since last year’s superb self-titled debut album. The new single is called ‘Something Gives’ and will be released on September 12 via Bandcamp. The Leeds based quartet felt compelled to respond, somehow, to the heavy sociopolitical escalations of late on both sides of the pond. This breezy, easy on the ears slice of fresh, jazzy hip-hop, is their way of bridging the distances & expressing universal solidarity as human beings. Essentially a vehicle for the eloquence of James Baldwin whose voice, along with that of Alice Walker, is the basis of the track; which is dedicated to the memory of James Baldwin and all that he articulated so beautifully. Fold don’t ever disappoint, and they ain’t about to start now. Absolutely stunning work from one of the most unique and exciting acts around.

‘Something Gives’ will be out on September 12 via Bandcamp. Until then, you can familiarise yourself with it below.

Millions Like Us Podcast – Episode #19

12743796_674492013278_2758067139373444652_n

We’re thrilled to share another Millions Like Us with you all, Episode #19!

Podcast #19 does however mark a milestone, it is the final show produced solely on Canadian soil with my return to Ireland. There is no need to fret, Messr Beats and myself intend on normal service resuming very soon, albeit in transcontinental fashion.

Every two weeks, Justin & I, in conjunction with Vancouver news & culture site 604now, deliver an eclectic, hand-picked selection of top class music. There’s plenty to chew on with a bumper episode #19, 90 minutes in fact, of great tunes and plenty of chat.

You can read more on it over here and of course, listen below (and the tracklist (with links) is after the jump too). You can subscribe to ‘Millions Like Us’ on iTunes & Podcast Republic, Mixcloud & SoundCloud, or find us on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can email us at millionslikeuspodcast[at]gmail[dot]com.

As mentioned previously, Justin has been busy compiling tracks featured in the series. If you’re a Spotify user, then you can access this 6 hours plus playlist here.

Continue reading