Sweet Baboo – ‘Got To Hang On To You’

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Sweet Baboo’s fifth album The Boombox Ballads is penned for release on 14th August via Moshi Moshi.

Sweet Baboo, ake Stephen Black, has brightened and enlivened proceedings by sharing new single ‘Got To Hang On To You’, also out on August 14th. ‘Got To Hang On To You’ is of the usual high standard that we have come to expect from him, super catchy it demonstrates his flair for beautiful melodies, lovely harmonies and just general all round brilliance. It is beautiful and touching love song about hanging on to that someone special, and sharing all the music you love with them, a sweet sentiment and one you can’t argue with surely? Of the song, Black says “That was my attempt to write a song like The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy”, even though the song’s lyrics, “All I want to do is play you Northern Soul records, while you’re lying next to me until late in the night”, suggest a different inspiration, you can definitely here it in there (you can listen to his cover below too). The video is a nice touch too, directed by Ewan Jones Morris, it sees Sweet Baboo ‘s reflection pop up everywhere, from gardens, trees and sunglasses to toilet doors.

Both The Boombox Ballads and ‘Got To Hang On To You’ will be released on August 14th. Check the latter out below.

 

 

 

 

Introducing: Hibou

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Hibou is the Seattle-based solo project of 21-year-old Peter Michel, former drummer for Craft Spells.

Hibou’s raison d’etre is warm and friendly dreamy jangle-pop, fuelled by twisting reverbed-out guitar melodies, lush arrangements, ’80s synth and all manner of feel-good, surfy, summertime vibes. Having recently announced his self-titled debut LP will be released September 18th, we’ve been presented with a first taster in ‘Dissolve’, and oh my, doesn’t it suggest it’s going to be a good one. ‘Dissolve’ is a dusky, warm fusion of steady pulse fuzzy drums, sleek luminescent guitar, and mystical, dreamy whispers drowning in reverb that wash over you like, well like dream! There’s just enough time for it to veer off into the unusual, exploding into a wonderful prog-rock climax. ‘Dissolve’ is no flash in the pan either, as the similarly excellent ‘Above Us’ and ‘Sunder’ both testify to, and Hibou played Vancouver recently and it was an electric, energetic and illuminating performance (one of the most memorable since arriving here). Watch this space.

An 11-track self-titled debut LP will be released September 18th through Barsuk Records and Hibou will back in Vancouver on October 20th, playing The Electric Owl w/ Cayucas – full list of dates here. For now? There are some choice cuts below.

Girls Names – ‘Reticence’

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In March Irish post-punk outfit Girls Names returned with their first new material since their sublime 2013 LP, The Next Life.

This welcome return was heralded by ‘Zero Triptych’, a spectacular and engrossing eleven-minute whirring post-punk master class, which seemed for all intents and purposes, as a stand alone release. However, recently Girls Names have revealed they will release their third album, Arms Around a Vision, in October through Tough Love. The first taste is ‘Reticence’, lurking further in the shadowy darkness than ever before, it is simultaneously stunning and savage. Opening with a clamour of discordant sounds before seamlessly hitting it’s dark and morose post-punk groove. Brimming with a sneering attitude, discordant guitar sounds, agitated rhythms and shimmering electronics, it is a memorable and arresting listen and certainly bodes very well for third record.

Arms Around A Vision will be released in October. For now though, you can stream the magnificent ‘Reticence’ below.

The Statics – ‘Get On It’

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The Statics have been keeping pretty quiet this year, locked away in the studio, the Dublin quartet, have been working on their highly anticipated awaited debut LP.

The foursome have been one of Ireland’s finest guitar bands for quite sometime now, with their utterly lovable, infectious and heartwarming indie sounds. The Statics have broken their self-imposed bout of silence with new single ‘Get On It’, and it’s a doozy. Recorded ‘live’ to capture the essence of The Statics’ live shows, it offers a rawer, grittier and rockier edge to their signature indie-pop-jangle. They’ve taken their well honed Merseyside inspired combo of bright melodies, twangy rhythmic guitars, bobbing bass and stomping drums, to another level entirely. Especially when ‘Get On It’ breakdowns and climaxes with screeching vocals, soaring riffs and immense drumming (White Stripes territory anyone?). While there’s nothing definite confirmed yet about the long-awaited LP, surely its not outlandish for one to assume this is what we can expect? We’re definitely on it.

You can stream ‘Get On It’ below now, ahead of its release on June 26th. To celebrate the single’s release, The Statics play The Mezz, Dublin on Friday, June 26th – further details here.

PANKHABILLI – ‘Come Around’

Last month we were introduced to sublime sounds of PANKHABILLI, the wonderful collaboration between North Wales based, Parisian singer-songwriter Claire Jacquemard and We//Are//Animal & Hippies vs Ghosts‘ Owain Ginsberg.

The songs are composed by Jacquemard, arranged and produced by Ginsberg, together this enigmatic pairing has all the early signs of something rather special indeed.  We haven’t been kept in the dark for too long thankfully, as PANKHABILLI make a speedy return with new single ‘Come Around’. A bliss-rock stunner, ‘Come Around’ unfurls slowly, introducing itself through an intoxicating mist of swirling, atmospheric textures, heavenly strings and harmonies, forming around Jacquemard’s marvelously soothing vocals. Amid the rapturous ambience, mildly psychedelic and shoegazy touches merge and mingle with a gentle guitar jangle, before climaxing with some baggy/ravey percussion. ‘Come Around’ confirms what the previous two singles, ‘Water on Mars’ and ‘The Ladder’ suggested; PANKHABILLI are an extremely exciting and promising proposition. One to keep an eye on for sure.

The duo are rumoured to be releasing a debut EP very soon but for now, you can check out ‘Come Around’ below.

 

Introducing: Hooton Tennis Club

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Wirral foursome Hooton Tennis Club appear to be  carving out a niche of their own, as purveyors of lo-fi scrappy guitar pop brilliance.

The band’s debut album is out later this year via Heavenly and was produced by The Coral’s Bill Ryder Jones. Their latest single is ‘Kathleen Sat On The Arm Of Her Favourite Chair’, and serves as a perfect introduction to their delectable touch. Charming, breezy and endearingly ramshackle, this is a perfect pop song. From the first snap of the snare, you’re hooked as big hooks combine and the guitar wind and twist around the casually cool vocals. Effortlessly off kilter, it is sun-soaked and imbibed by a care free laissez faire attitude. Written after Murphy’s grandfather passed away, bitterly-sweet poetic song ‘Jasper’, casts their swirl of carefree jangle guitars in a more sullen and emotion-wrung light. A mesh of hazy guitars, irresistible melodies and sighed half-dead pan vocals makes for another decidedly brilliant track. A fresh take on a classic sound, done with style and endearingly ramshackle.

‘Kathleen Sat On The Arm Of Her Favourite Chair’ is out on July 7, check the choice cuts below. If these sweet ditties are to your liking, remember to keep an eye out for their debut album, released on August 28th via Heavenly Recordings.

Seazoo – ‘Martyn and Jayne’

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Since their inception in April 2013, North Walian five-piece Seazoo, have impressed on every occasion, indelibly planting their multifarious concoction of charming, sprightly indie-pop in our psyche.

Their music is a colourful, curious and smile inducing mix of guitar jangles, delightful noise, fuzz and smiley melodies, topped off with clever lyrics. Each Seazoo release has been one exceptional step after another and now the Wrexham outfit have Car Deborah EP, from which we have ‘Martyn and Jayne’ for our aural pleasure. Opening with crackling static it bursts into life with their recognizable jangle-pop-bounce, joined by rumbling, fuzzy bass tones, driven guitars with an added edge of muscular aggression and focused vocals delivered with conviction, adding a melancholic tone. Whilst most likely to be stuck in your head for days, with ‘Martyn and Jayne’, they have struck a perfect balance between sweet and sour, in a further evolution of their already wonderful sound.  Infectious doesn’t even cover the half of it. A band to be treasured and enjoyed, hopefully this and the EP, is but a prelude to their long-awaited and anticipated debut album.

Car Deborah is out now, via iTunes, while physical copies are only available at their live shows. You can check out ‘Martyn and Jayne’ below. Also, you can listen to Seazoo’s GruffWuff inclusion, ‘Dig (Demo Version)’ – of which you can download here for FREE.

 

Rise of Super Furry Animals: An Interview with Ric Rawlins

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The wonderful, the magnificent and the legendary Super Furry Animals, make their return to Irish shores, with their first Irish show in many a year, at Body & Soul this weekend. As one of my all-time favourite acts, I can honestly say that there is more than a hint of jealousy toward those of you who will get to see them this weekend (or any other time in the not so distant future).

With all that in mind, here’s a chat I had with author and authority of all things SFA, Ric Rawlins about all things Super Furries and his book, ‘Rise of Super Furry Animals’.

Originally published for GoldenPlec, March 8th 2015, notably prior to SFA’s reunion. Enjoy!

Throughout their long and fascinating career, Super Furry Animals have proven themselves as one of the most enigmatic, creative and brilliant psychedelic pop bands of our time.

They had an army tank equipped with a techno sound-system, caused national security alerts with 60-foot inflatable monsters, went into the Colombian jungle with armed Guerrilla fighters, and drew up plans to convert an aircraft carrier into a nightclub. Yet SFA’s crazed adventures only tell half the story. Most importantly, there is their music.

Originally, an electronic music collective, Super Furry Animals started out playing raves across Europe before evolving into an experimental rock group in 1993. Signed to Creation Records, they shot to fame and thanks to the record sales of label-mates Oasis; they found they suddenly had a vast budget to play with. By mixing up electronic beats, surf rock, Japanese culture and more, the band produced some of the most exciting and memorable records of the past two decades, in their own uniquely surreal way.

Written with the band’s participation, new book, ‘Rise Of The Super Furry Animals’ tells this remarkable story and ascent to fame. Barry Healy caught up with the book’s author Ric Rawlins, to delve into the weird and wonderful world of Super Furry Animals.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ON SUPER FURRY ANIMALS?

Ric Rawlins: They’re one of the most radical, creative and catchy bands of all time, but for some reason pop culture hasn’t quite embraced SFA’s legacy yet. Anyone who’s really explored them knows that they’ve created a multidimensional universe… at their best they’re like a crazy Mario-style game, with miles of palm trees and ice mountains to explore. In the ’90s they were labelled ‘Britpop’ by some, but they actually had more in common with stateside acts like Beck or the Beastie Boys; it was this sample-based, upbeat approach to fusing beats with guitars that really marked them out as a cutting edge pop group. So I wanted to kind of visit Furryworld: go behind the scenes of their fantastic songs, find out why they’ve had these radical flourishes, and meet Pete Fowler’s monsters up close. When I met the band for a magazine article in 2009, it sort of green lit the idea.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE BOOK AND WERE THE BAND ENTHUSIASTIC/HELPFUL ABOUT THE BOOK?

RR: It took about five years of slowly piecing it together in my weekends and evenings, and that was propelled forwards by a sort of annual ‘Gruff summit’ whereby I’d meet him in Cardiff and scribble down few more notes. The band were helpful although Bunf was strangely AWOL for about a year… the band didn’t know where he was… it was as if he’d been abducted.

HAVING SPENT TIME WITH THE BAND, WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES AND THE DYNAMICS WITHIN THE BAND?

RR: I guess for Furry fans this might not be news, but Gruff is considerate, originally minded and obscurely hilarious… Cian is a kind of evil genius without the evil bits… Bunf is surreally hilarious but I only ever realise this after considering what he’s said for a few minutes, Guto is a real pleasure; he’s generous, considerate and has good manners and Daf is kind of like their star footballer who’ll slide through to score the goals!

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Introducing: Pale Honey

 

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Pale Honey are indie-rock duo – Tuva Lodmark (guitar / vocals) and Nelly Daltrey (drums) – from Gothenburg, Sweden.

The Swedish pair released their solid self-titled debut album last month, one whereby their guitar-and-drums combo embraces a concoction of sleazy rock n roll, scuzzy dream pop and moments of reflective beauty. It maintains a distinct, stripped-down and pretty minimalist approach that blows up at will, the onslaught of noise (incl. cowbells, synth and laser-gun sound effects) is diced with the enervated vocals stylings of Lodmark, making for a rather remarkable amalgam. ‘Youth’, ‘Tease’, and ‘Lonesome’ are quintessential of this, and their sound; bass-heavy, sparse percussion and quick bursts of fuzzy guitar, interspersed with splashed of illuminating synth, which fizz and flare unexpectedly. The duo are well equipped with the slower, subtly tender and emotionally charged moments too, of which ‘Desert’ and ‘Sleep’ are testament to. Electrifying, attitude filled stuff indeed. Whether you’re wishing to kick start your eardrums with some high-octane activity or some subtle shades of unleashed emotion, Pale Honey have you covered.

Pale Honey’s self-titled LP is out now via Bolero Recordings/Instant Records (Stream/Purchase). You can sample some choice cuts below.

Slow Riot – ‘City Of Culture’

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Irish post-punk trio Slow Riot – Niall Clancy (formerly of The Vagabonds), Aaron Duff & Paul Cosgrave – are releasing their debut single, ‘City Of Culture’, via Straight Lines Are Fine on July 10th.

Having already shared some promising demos with world, ‘City Of Culture’ offers a perfect introduction (or re-introduction) to the band. A sarcastic ode to the cultural status bestowed upon their native Limerick in 2014, ‘City Of Culture’, combines classic post-punk influences of Gang of Four, Television, Wire, while conjuring up the likes of Girl Band, The Rakes, Sluts of Trust and Future of the Left at different points song, for a fired-up, raucous three-and-half-minutes of post-punk. Exploding out of the blocks with ferocious vitality and energy, Clancy’s apathetic yet angry vocals are buried in the midst of dark, bass-heavy rumblings, layers of sharp guitars and searing noise. Dark, brooding and bone-rattling; impressive stuff indeed.

‘City Of Culture’ is taken from their forthcoming Cathedral EP, due later in the year, both were recorded at the Manic Street Preachers’ FASTER studio in Cardiff with producer Kevin Vanbergen. For now, there’s the no so small matter of ‘City Of Culture’. Check it below.