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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Favourite New Sounds of 2014



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.


“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.

Best of 2014: Johnny Feeney’s Albums of the Year


The ever insightful Johnny Feeney pops up every now and then to share his musical musings with us, always adding an extra flavour to the blog and always a welcome one at that.

Ahead of my own albums of the year list, Johnny has kindly compiled his top ten albums from 2014 but before I leave you in Johnny’s very capable hands, I’d like to thank him for this, and all the other posts during the year, and of course the site’s renovation too.  So, without further ado, here are Johnny’s top ten albums of the year.

10. Sleaford Mods – ‘Divide and Exit’

2014 was certainly the year that Nottingham’s Sleaford Mods shot to prominence after years in the underground. Primitive programmed beats and Andrew Fearn’s menacing basslines provide the platform from which vocalist Jason Williamson volleys tirade upon aggressive tirade. Foul-mouthed, venom-spitting Williamson is the star turn here – a poet of the disenchanted lower classes in the UK. Powerful.

09. Miss Kenichi – ‘The Trail’

The third album from Berlin-based Miss Kenichi is a haunting, gloomy slow-paced affair reminiscent in parts to White Chalk-era PJ Harvey. Although sparse and dark on first listen, this album slowly reveals itself on repeat listens and is stunningly beautiful in places.

08. Benjamin Booker – ‘Benjamin Booker’

New Orleans-based Booker’s self-titled debut album is a treat of stomping, soulful blues rock. Sounding older than his 25 years, Booker’s voice is a magnetic presence throughout this record. The rollicking, rousing tunes are such good fun but Booker is equally as effective when he slows things down on tracks such as ‘Slow Coming’. Big things lie ahead for Booker, one imagines.

07. Brody Dalle – ‘Diploid Love’

Well-connected former Distillers frontwoman Dalle’s first solo album features guest appearances from the likes of the Strokes’ Nick Valensi and Garbage’s Shirley Manson but never for a moment is the spiky Dalle outshone on this fine rock record full of snarling vocals and thundering hooks.

06. Ultimate Painting – ‘Ultimate Painting’

Ultimate Painting are the very interesting side project from Jack Cooper of Mazes and James Hoare of Veronica Falls. Packed full of breezy, dreamy indie rock, lovely harmonies and incredibly infectious tunes are prevalent throughout. The easiest of easy listening.

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Guest Post: Johnny Feeney Picks 3 Albums – [St Vincent, Real Estate & Eagulls]

St. Vincent Press Shot - Throne.jpg

The ever knowledgeable (and the guy largely responsible for the relocated and revamped site) Johnny Feeney frequently pops up on the blog to share some albums which are catching his eye. So here are three albums have caught his attention, thanks as ever to Johnny and with that I leave you in his very capable hands.

St Vincent – ‘St Vincent’

Now on her fourth solo studio album, Annie Clark, aka St Vincent, returns with a collection of tight, muscular, finely wrought art-rock/pop songs brimming with intent. Clark has never seemingly been short of musical ideas but her songwriting here seems to have gone up a level or two since her previous solo album, 2011’s Strange Mercy. Perhaps her collaboration with David Byrne on 2012’s Love This Giant has given her renewed confidence to dare to be bolder. Whatever it was, it has certainly worked.

‘Huey Newton’ explodes from a slightly plodding mid-tempo number into a stomping rocker with Clark’s riotous, squelching guitars and snarling vocals. ‘Digital Witness’ is the album centrepiece – a blast of skronking horns, funk guitars and an incredibly catchy chorus. There is also some great electro-rock in the form of the menacing ‘Bring Me Your Loves’ and the dreamy ‘Psychopath’. Another gem from the consistently excellent Clark.

Real Estate – ‘Atlas’

New Jersey indie rockers Real Estate returned earlier this year with their third album ‘Atlas’, not veering too far from the style of their earlier work. Their trademark breezy, multi-layered guitars and woozy lyrics are prevalent throughout with meandering guitar solos making for seriously easy listening. The instrumental ‘April’s Song’ is spellbinding while the jangling ‘Crime’ is an album highlight.

Lyrically it’s a little bit darker in places than normal, but even the melancholic nostalgia of ‘Past Lives’ (“I can not come back to this neighbourhood, Without feeling my own age”) or ‘Crime’ (“Toss and turn all night, don’t know how to make it right, crippling anxiety”) is accompanied by such gorgeous, weaving guitars it’s hard to feel glum. Real Estate have always been a summertime band and this is truly a summertime album – a perfect backdrop to barbecue and a beer in the sunshine, but a great album in its own right.

Eagulls – ‘Eagulls’

Eagulls, the five-piece post-punk band from Leeds, certainly know how to make a racket. On their self-titled debut album the songs are loaded with anger as vocalist George Mitchell rages and Tom Kelly’s bass pulsates relentlessly. Thankfully, amid all the clatter, it’s quickly discernible that they also have an ear for a quality tune. It’s a welcome change of pace from the middle of the road indie rock bands that are getting all the radio play. They may be from the same town, but Kaiser Chiefs these are not.

It might take a few listens to untangle the layers of guitar, bass and vocals but it’s certainly worth the effort. The effervescent ‘Yellow Eyes’ gallops along breathlessly. ‘Tough Luck’ sizzles with its mazy guitars and infectious hooks. There are also elements of shoegaze and psychedelic rock on here – ‘Possessed’ channels My Bloody Valentine, while ‘Soulless Youth’ wouldn’t sound out of place played by Primary Colours-era the Horrors. Refreshingly exhilarating.

Barrygruff’s albums of 2011 so far

We’ve passed the halfway mark of the year so what better time to take stock of the best albums so far this year. A lot will change by the year’s end with albums from Modeselektor and Toddla T yet to be released and I have yet to listen to SebastiAn, The Horrors and Digitalism properly.

Here’s the 10 albums of 2011 so far (the album title links go to full reviews). I hope this is useful to people, enjoy.

01. The Kills‘Blood Pressures’

“They push the parameters of their guitar/drum-machine set-up to its very limit, a fantastic record seeping with clanking, sleazy and dark snarling blues/punk hybrid.”

The Kills – DNA via Consequence of Sound

02. Pharoahe Monch‘W.A.R (We Are Renegades)’

W.A.R (We Are Renegades) has everything; great rhymes, wordplay and head-nodding beats while lyrically it’s hard-hitting, intelligent and insightful, providing a scathing attack on the industry and society.”

Pharoahe Monch – Evolve via viciosdelaslilas

03. Gruff Rhys‘Hotel Shampoo

Hotel Shampoo manages to strike the perfect balance between Rhys’ desire to indulge his oddities, lyrical humor and touching sentiment while making it all sound so natural and effortless.”

Gruff Rhys – Shark Ridden Waters via Crossfiremusic

04. Siriusmo‘Mosaik’

“an eclectic patchwork of electronic music takes us on a rollercoaster ride where you can never tell what is coming next; dubstep to disco, hip-hop to house, electro and the experimental”

 Siriusmo – Feromonikon via thesubs-blog

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