JOHNNY FEENEY’S ALBUMS OF 2017

albums of 2017

Aside from compiling my own end of year lists, I really do enjoy checking out other people’s take on the past 12 months and none more so than Mr. Johnny Feeney.

A reliably insightful musical sage, Johnny’s guest appearances are always interesting and add an extra flavour to the blog and I look forward to reading – of which, surely I’m not alone?

A massive thanks to Johnny for taking time out to compile this list, and on that note, I’ll leave you with his Mr. Feeney’s favourite records of 2017.

10. Grandaddy – Last Place

Previously split up in 2006, Grandaddy’s first album in eleven years saw the ever-eccentric, cult Californians return with a bang with their trademark, electronica-tinged alt-rock. The familiar sounds of Jason Lytle’s distinctive, melancholic vocals, chugging guitars and synth flourishes are all present and correct on a wonderful comeback album that was well worth the wait.

09. Fangclub – Fangclub

Dublin rockers, Fangclub, have been tearing up stages around the country and further afield for a while now and, thankfully, their self-titled debut album delivers on the promise of their raucous live shows. In a classic guitar/bass/drums set up, the trio display a keen ear for an infectious hook and make a thunderous racket not dissimilar to Nirvana. If you like it loud then look no further.

08. Wolf Alice – Visions Of A Life

The London four-piece’s sophomore album sees a fine follow up to 2015’s commercially successful, Mercury-nominated My Love Is Cool. The adaptability of vocalist Elise Rowell means the group are equally comfortable on the melodic, anthemic indie-rock side of things (‘Beautifully Unconventional’) as they are on the heavier material (‘Yuk Foo’) and anything in between. It’s this broad range that makes Wolf Alice such an interesting proposition.

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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.

Something for the Weekend: New Music Playlist #5

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A new feature to blog, a short weekly Spotify playlist series featuring some of the finest new music to prick my ears.

Clocking in or around and 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 top tunes for your ears. Well, without further ado, here’s #5. Enjoy!

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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End of year round up of sorts……

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Being the time of year it and all that, the blog shall be assuming radio silence over the festive period but fear not, normal service shall resume in the New Year. Before I sign off it is only right to say thanks to a few people.

Firstly, a huge thanks to Stevie, Co & Paul for all their help with the BarryGruff / Discord shows earlier this year and thanks also to Poggy for the desk. A big thanks to Johnny Feeney for his excellent guest posts throughout the year and his work revamping the site too. Thanks to everyone who either played the shows this year, those of who came to gigs during the year and continue to read the blog. Without you, the blog is pretty much fucked, so thanks a million. Last but not least, thanks to Caroline who has to put up with me on a daily basis and unlike you, can’t just click away somewhere else. I hope I haven’t missed anyone, if I have I apologise.

It’s been quite a year with lot’s of laughs, great music, some smashing gigs and seen me end up on the other side of the pond (which has been ever so much fun too). There is some really interesting stuff planned for next year too and I look forward to sharing that with you in the new year.

Before I go here’s a sort of round-up of stuff from the blog, with links, playlists etc. Enjoy your holidays if you have ‘em and see you on the other side. Cheers BG.

Some links….

BarryGruff’s Albums of 2014

Favourite New Sounds of 2014

Johnny Feeney’s Albums of 2014

Artist’s who played BarryGruff gigs in 2014 and their picks from the year

Some playlists….

50 Favourites songs from 2014:

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Favourite New Sounds of 2014

 

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Originally published for Dukla Prague Away Kit on November 27th 2014 – where by I shared some of my favourite new musical discoveries from 2014. Pretty self-explanatory this….

David Harks

“Infectious, upbeat and colourful..”

Hailing from Brighton in the UK, David Harks, is a singer-songwriter who creates lush elegant electronic-pop music. Harks left quite an impression throughout 2013 with a number of beautiful, blissful and uplifting singles. The pièce de résistance of this heart-pumping, well-whisked blend of soul and pop, with electronic undertones being ‘Illusion’. Hushed, inviting and transfixing vocals float upon a beautifully warm melody. Flowering beats and percussion, usher a soft hypnotic psychedelic feel and a simply irresistible listen. Infectious, upbeat and colourful, with tender vocals, it is a soul-filled, synth-kissed, soothing sound with flourishes of warmth. David Harks’ is definitely worth some of your time and one to keep your eye on in future.

Distant Cousin

“Hazy chants, swirling synth and subtle melodic embellishments”

Earlier this year LA-based producer Distant Cousin released his promising and stylistically diverse self-titled debut EP. Both pensively cinematic and reflective, it delves headlong into a textural depth that goes far beyond the constraints of one single genre. Done with majestic progression, he paves a winding path through a chilling hinterland of electronica, techno and even hip-hop. Of which, ‘Floating/Above Nothing’ is a perfect example of this exemplary touch. Opening in bubbling slow-burning fashion, the murky origins are expanded upon by hazy chants, swirling synth and subtle melodic embellishments. Chugging relentlessly toward a deep and mysterious well of rich sounds, then bang, we have lift off. A heavy bassline and mutating synthwork laid over a thick bed of bristling percussion as the euphoric underbelly comes to the fore, only relenting to allow the poignant spoken sample ring through. Utterly captivating beat and synth work. Exciting times lie ahead.

Oh Boland

“With every rumbling note their music proves ever more captivating and palatable..”

Oh Boland are a garage rock trio – Niall Murphy, Éanna Mac Donnchadha and Simon McDonagh – from Tuam, Co. Galway.

Admittedly formed close to two years ago, their charms having remained elusive (to me anyway) till January of this year, a discovery I’m all the better for. The trio’s rough, ragged and somewhat abrasive sound borrows from an earthy mix of garage rock, indie, pop and some local guitar flavours. To date they released two EPs Oh! & Ho!, and this year’s super spilt release with Me and My Dog. Taken from the latter, ‘Tidy Is’, a rollicking indie rock number with crashing drums and rumbling guitars, pretty much captures the essence of this band. With every rumbling note their music proves ever more captivating and palatable, as it screeches and howls harmonically as the sheer thrashing nature rings through. Bands of this ilk are relatively rare commodity Ireland and rarely are they so utterly fuckin’ brilliant, which is all the more reason to treasure them. With a debut LP on the horizon they’re one’s to keep an eye out for in the new year. Listen here.

Mowbird

“Hurled together with exuberant bursts of energy, and a sheen of poppy harmonies..”

Welsh lo-fi-fuzz pop wizards Mowbird specialize in scuzzy, charming, soul-consuming guitar jams.

Fusing a predilection for fuzz pop, with parts surf-rock, slacker indie and some garage punk nuances to create fun filled blasts of sub 3 minute, easy to listen to tunes. There is a real spontaneity and energy to their sound; a theme running throughout their dedut LP Islander. It kind of feels unrehearsed and unplanned as it goes where feels right without putting a single foot wrong, with ‘Return to the Sea’, ‘Islander’ and ‘Empress’ are exemplary exponents of this prowess. Hurled together with exuberant bursts of energy, and a sheen of poppy harmonies, melodies, catchy hooks and some stunning organ work (an intrinsic part of their sound), and you’ve got yourself absolute joyous amalgam of sounds that lives in the moment. Quite simply one of the finest things crafted in Wrexham since Mickey Thomas’ free kick against Arsenal in ’91. Listen here.

The Careers

“There is a scrappy imperfection and absence of glossy production..”

The Careers are a garage- rock band comprised of four young men – Luke O’Neill, Eoin Conway, James Moone & Fergal Hennessy – from Cork.

They’ve a certain penchant for the past and sound as though they were raised on a steady diet of ‘6os rock and roll and garage bands. They’re a rock ‘n roll band, plain and simple. To date, they’ve released one EP, Atomic Cosmosaurus, recorded in the drummer’s shed, it’s filled with lively and stomping gems of the fuzzy, garagey variety. These scratchy, rough and ragged home recordings are endearing in their unique imperfection, and pleasing to the ear and an eminently repeatable experience. While there is a scrappy imperfection and absence of glossy production to their sound, the execution is tight, as any number of examples from the EP are testament to – from the bashed kickdrums and turbulent guitar riffs of ‘Won’t Go Far’ to the slinking swagger of ‘Try [Try, (Try)]’ or stomping retro-fitted rock ‘n roller ‘All The All The Whiles’. Combining a clever use of great riffs, driving rhythms and catchy hooks and melodies, The Careers have struck an incredible balance between sounding familiar, yet wholly original at the same time. Hopefully we’re hearing more from them soon. Listen here.

BarryGruff’s Albums of the Year 2014

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So, it’s that time of year again, yeah, it’s favourite albums of the year time. Loads of great music this year, some old faces and plenty of new ones too but for those of you who care, here are my 25 albums of 2014. Enjoy!

25. Second Storey – ‘Double Divide’

24. Beach Day – ‘Native Echoes’

23. Globelamp – ‘Star Dust’

22. Sex Hands – ‘Pleh’

21. The #1s – ‘The #1s’

20. Attaque – ‘ON LY YOU’

19. Shit Robot – ‘We Got Love’

18. Mowbird – ‘Islander’

17. Oh Boland/Me & My Dog – ‘Delphi’

16. Jamie T – ‘Carry on the Grudge’

15. Pharoahe Monch – ‘PTSD’

Following on from his 2011’s W.A.R, comes fourth solo LP, PTSD (aka Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), a loose-concept album which sees Pharoahe Monch speaking as a weary independent warrior against the industry machine and dealing with the struggle of the black male experience in America. It’s dense, raw and sometimes painfully raw, as he relives harrowing memories of his struggle with addiction, depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s all draped with his familiar top-notch storytelling, cavernous vocabulary, thought-provoking rhymes, precise delivery and thought-provoking metaphors, placing him right up top of the current hip-hop pile.

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