Introducing: New Pope

New Pope

New Pope is a new project fronted by Galway-based musician Dave Boland, formerly of longstanding BarryGruff favourites, The Depravations.

Boland’s latest venture, a gentle, rich and precise acoustic folk sound, is no less impressive. An understated acoustic strum and accordion drone joins Boland’s distinctive vocal in creating a warm and lush atmosphere; the perfect companion to showcase Boland’s profoundly brilliant songwriting and storytelling abilities. The songs and stories are emotive to say the least; it instills a woozy longing for times long since passed and stirs an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. It is this which fills New Pope’s wonderful debut EP, YOUTH. A truly beautiful collection of timeless and carefully crafted songs which pass with a whisper rather than a roar, delivered with warmth and tenderness. A perfect companion for cold and blustery nights ahead, safely nested away in a comfortable armchair beside a roaring fire, contemplating the world and beyond.

Rumours are that we’ll see a debut album this side of Christmas (uh-oh, the ‘C’ word in October), until then feast your ears on New Pope’s debut EP, YOUTH (stream / purchase here).

Introducing: Mesa Luna

Mesa Luna

Vancouver based duo Mesa Luna, comprised of Justice McLellan and Alex Cooper, have a knack for rich, melodic and rather exquisite electronica.

Recorded in various places around the city such as cafe basements, bedrooms and an old empty bank vault, the pair will release their debut EP, Crux, toward the end of this month, October 24th in fact. Ahead of their forthcoming EP, there are already afforded us with plenty of reasons to get excited. Rich in textures and melodic subtleties, a hint of melancholia pulses through the veins of their absorbing sound, which has certain similarities to Boxed In, Hot Chip’s more down-tempo moments and some DFA stalwarts. From the sombre, downtempo psychedelia inflected electronica of ‘Ruins’ to the peaceful, introspective, spaced-out and thought provoking kind of mood inducing ‘Don’t Let Go'; it’s hypnotic, absorbing and all irresistible grooves. ‘Church Garden’ meanwhile, flits between subtly euphoric and vaguely ambient as chiming notes, fluttering keyboards and yowling synths combine with snappy beats, which are delivered with pin point accuracy. The result is a blend of warm sounds with a crisp frosty elegance, creating a absorbing hypnotic, comforting sound collage. Quite simply; Mesa Luna are one of the finest electronic pairings to emerge this year.

There are a few choice cuts below to further convince you and Mesa Luna’s Crux EP is out on October 24th via nbd Label.

JUNK. – ‘Dennis Wilson’


York-based lo-fi, garage indie rockers, JUNK. have returned with a second single from their Liquorice EP, which was released earlier this summer.

The many merits and endearing charm of JUNK’s fuzz-drenched, lo-fi  indie-pop goodness have been well noted here on a number of occasions. Saying that, there’s no harm in recapping and in just under three minutes, ‘Dennis Wilson‘ offers a timely reminder of what JUNK. have become known for. It’s a song of sweet, sweeping and loose drifting freedom with light dreamy vocals and lilting, shimmering lead guitar that peering through a haze of fuzz. ‘Dennis Wilson’ is overwhelmingly bright, optimistic and embed with an evocative sense of the last days of summer. JUNK. have been charming our ears for over a year now with their warm and infectious brand of lo-fi indie. What they do is deceptively simple and that is by no means a bad thing; they just create top notch songs.

You can check out ‘Dennis Wilson’ below now & the Liquorice EP is out now, and available via CHUD Records.

Juice – ‘Acid Kids’


The last we heard from Birmingham based trio Juice was about 18 months ago, with the release of their sublime debut single ‘Sugar‘.

On hearing little or nothing from, or about them, the worst was feared but thankfully those fears have been allayed. A year and a half and a line-up change later, the trio have returned with their long-awaited follow-up single, ‘Acid Kids’. Whilst less indebted to the sound of pre-Britpop indie-rock than its predecessor, ‘Acid Kids’ ain’t no slouch. In fact, it’s a top class and direct slice of indie; all scintillating riffs, catchy, fuzzy guitars, meaty basslines and great melodies. Prolific they may not be but there’s an abundance of indie-rock goodness on offer once more from Juice.

It’s great to hear from Juice again and especially in this fine form, but please, don’t keep us waiting 18 months for the next single, okay? Agreed? Anyway, check ‘Acid Kids’ below and happy listening.

Introducing: Nancy Leticia


Nancy Leticia is a Vancouver producer who has recently released her debut EP, Love Dream EP, through Hot Sugar’s new Associative Music collective, Noise Collector.

Leticia certainly has a preference for PC/computer sounds, creating a retro-futuristic vibe over the course of the wonderful and entirely instrumental EP. Employing a series of subtly integrated samples and sounds, familiar sounding hip-hop beats and Casio-borne pop melodies, she evokes moods, feelings and memories. It’s a magical trip through ethereal, mesmerizing and beautiful sounds; from the dreamy liquid flow of ‘Bitches’ or the synth strutting swagger of ‘Ur Pocket Mirror is Too Big’, or the slightly unnerving haunting twinkle of ‘I Like Your Fake Rose Tattoo’. Wondrous and entirely instrumental electronic jams with a softer and dreamier touch; this is music to get lost in.

There are some choice cut below. You can download Nancy Leticia Love Dream EP for free via bandcamp.

BarryGruff Playlist September 2015


A now regular monthly feature, whereby we round up all the blog action with a nice, neat and handy playlist of tracks featured during the month.

September was pretty damn good, aside from saying goodbye to summer! We had tunes from Sexwitch, Gwenno, Hinds and The Altered Hours ahead of their respective, new and forthcoming albums. There were excellent new singles from Slow Riot, Tuff Love, BUCK, H. Hawkline, Freedom Fry, Gulp & Miaoux Miaoux. Oh, and their was the launch of ‘Millions Like Us’, Justin Beats & I’s new music podcast extravaganza for 604now (if you missed them? Why not listen to episodes #1 & #2)

Also featured on this month’s playlist are great tracks from Avid Walker, Mesa Luna, Ghost Culture, Boxed In, Anderson & Peaness. So yeah, pretty good alright.

Listen to BarryGruff’s September 2015 playlist below.

Rozi Plain – ‘Best Team’


Sort of folk but sort of indie too, Rozi Plain is tough one to box off.

Something that can be agreed upon is however; the London-based songstress is a supremely talented and engaging songwriter. Testament to this assertion is her third album, Friend, which was released earlier this year through Lost Map Records. It is a laid back, delicate and intricate blend of gentle and deftly-arranged folk, indie and ambient pop. An utterly beguiling album, it is a record to get lost in, such are the subtleties, textures and layers at play. If you’re still not sold on the merits of Friend, her latest single ‘Best Team’, will sway you away from the dark-side. As endearing an introduction as you could ask for, the deftly-arranged ‘Best Team’ drifts along a mellow vibe, imbued with a touch of melancholy, only to be lifted with bursts of brass, busy percussion and fluttering sounds. Singing with a sense of wonder, her vocals are mesmerizing, beautiful and shimmering. A delightful listen that demonstrates perfectly, what Rozi Plain is all about.

You can check out ‘Best Team’ and a few other choice cuts below. Both Friend and ‘Best Team’ are out now via Lost Map Records. Rozi Plain has a slew of live dates across the UK and beyond – check ’em here.

BUCK – ‘Underneath The Glow Of My Skin’


Ed Jones – best known as the vocalist/frontman with Welsh indie-rockers Masters In France – has returned with a second single from his solo/side-project called BUCK.

Entitled ‘Underneath The Glow Of My Skin’, it follows ‘Arecibo’, and is similarly brilliant and alluring synth-pop. Centred around some squelching synth, skittering beats and slinking groove, it oozes with an aura of smooth coolness. Jones’ wonderful hushed but soulful vocals ride a wave of electronic flourishes and swells, with subtle gushes leading to some rather epic synthy climaxes. If ‘Arecibo’ was an intriguing first outing from BUCK, ‘Underneath The Glow Of My Skin’ confirms this promise, unravelling before your very ears with a silky, slick and an undeniably glorious tune.

‘Underneath The Glow Of My Skin’ will join ‘Arecibo’ as part of a four-track EP, which will be released toward the end of the year. For now though you can listen to below and if it’s to your liking? You can download ‘Arecibo’ from here.

The Altered Hours – ‘Way Of Sorrow’


For quite some time now The Altered Hours have been eliciting much, and well deserved, praise for their frenetic and freewheeling psych/post-punk heroics.

Now the Cork five-piece have unveiled the brand new track, entitled ‘Way of Sorrow’, it is taken from their forthcoming debut album In Heat Not Sorry, set for release in January 2016. ‘Way of Sorrow’ is as impressive as anything The Altered Hours have released to date. It is a thrilling and crunching two-and-a-half-minute blast of turbulent, driven energy. The menacing post-punk influenced chugging bass line, screeching guitar and hazy swirl of noise are pierced by distant vocals from Cathal Mac Gabhann’s and Elaine Howley’s cries. ‘Way Of Sorrow’ simply ticks all the boxes; a phenomenal, hard-edged sonic spiral of sounds. A timely reminder of what an exciting act The Altered Hours are, not to mention an enticing taste of things to come.

The Altered Hours debut LP, In Heat Not Sorry is penned for release via Art For Blind Records/Penske Recordings in January. ‘Way Of Sorrow’ meanwhile, is out now via iTunes. Check it out below.

Millions Like Us Podcast: Episode #2

Millions Like Us E2 Logo-1

Delighted to share ‘Episode #2′ of Millions Like Us – a new music podcast hosted by myself & craft beer, pastie and fast-food safari enthusiast, Justin Beats – in conjunction with Vancouver news & culture site 604now.

A bi-weekly installment of new tunes, some musings and general chit-chat, with a Vancouver slant, Episode #2 has a very nice blend of music from metro Vancouver, and beyond. Obviously these are still early days and we’re looking forward to developing it further and further, over the coming weeks and months. Not much else to say really, aside from thanks to 604now and we hope you enjoy the show (all feedback, good or bad, is most welcome). Here’s to good listening.

You can read more on it here and listen to episode #2 below, and the tracklist (with links) is after the jump.

Episode #2: 

Nancy Leticia – ‘Bitches’
Noble Oak – ‘Erase Me’
Villagers – ‘Hot Scary Summer’
Nick Diamonds – ‘Specimen Days’
Avid Walker – ‘Sun In Eyes’ –
Wilding – ‘Stuck In The Middle’
Mac Demarco – ‘No Other Heart’
The Courtney’s – ‘90210’
Tuff Love – ‘Duke’
HINDS – ‘Garden’
Sunflower Bean – ‘The Stalker’
Woolworm – ‘Useless’