Living Hour – ‘Seagull’

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Canadian dream-pop outfit Living Hour will release their self-titled debut LP this month on Lefse Records.

To get us in the mood, the Winnipeg quintet have shared the first single from the band’s upcoming eight-track record. ‘Seagull’ is a doozy and dream pop, errrr, doesn’t get much more dreamier than this. Comprised in equal parts from scuzzy noise and charming dream-pop, it is absolutely gorgeous. It swells and soars combining so much stirring emotion with gauzy guitar hooks, undulating melodies and drifting, smoky vocals. ‘Seagull’ is as epic an introduction to a band as one could ask for. It is such a big sound and all that’s left now, is to click play and get lost in the sweet, sweet sounds of this amazing, swelling slow burner.

Living Hour’s self-titled debut LP will be released on February 19th via Lefse Records. Check out ‘Seagull’ below.

Also, Living Hour play Vancouver,’s Fortune Sound Club w/ Cullen Omori (formerly of Smith Westerns) on April 2nd, 2016.

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Introducing: Milk

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                                                                                                                                                                                                     Photo by Lauren Ray.

Comprised of former/current members of Watermelon, Village, and Soft Serve, Milk have just released their debut EP, Late Bloomer.

The Vancouver quartet’s debut release is one of sleepy, mellow beauty, specialising as they do, in sweetly crisp guitar licks, dreamy melodies and jangling tones, while singer-guitarist Thom James’ drawl looms large above these laid-back indie-alt-country. Across the 6-track release, it is one treat after another. ‘Don’t Laugh’ is bright, catchy ditty with the clean, jangling tones and crisp electric twang accompanying James’ deep drawl. ‘Standards’ is just as instantly lovable, like Village Green era The Kinks meets melodic alt-country tones. ‘Marmalade’ and ‘Funeral’ showcase Milk’s darker side, not too gloomy, just a shade darker and imbued with sentimentality which eventually merges into dreamy, laid-back indie pop. Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the nicest new sounds of 2016 thus far; sleepy, laid-back and promising stuff from the veritable Vancouver super-group.

Milk’s debut EP Late Bloomer is out now and available here. Meanwhile, there are a number of choice cuts below.

Sweet Baboo – ‘Blowing Up My Mind’

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With his UK tour kicking off this week, Sweet Baboo (aka Stephen Black) has shared the new video for ‘Blowing Up My Mind’, taken from his forthcoming Dennis EP.

The 6-track Dennis EP will be released on Feb 26th 2016 through Moshi Moshi. It includes a Christmas song, 3 covers (Daniel Johnston, The Exciters, The Beach Boys) and 2 previously unreleased tracks from his The Boombox Ballads album sessions. So, back to ‘Blowing Up My Mind’. Originally by The Exciters and a northern soul classic, it was recorded it as a B-side for ‘Got To Hang On To You’ (which name-checks The Exciters and the song too). Retaining the upbeat, bright and soulful nature of the original, he leaves his own unique and compelling mark on this one. Somehow carving out a space between indie pop and soul, what we’re left with is an utterly sweet, charming and breathtaking rendition of truly fabulous song.

Sweet Baboo’s 6-track Dennis EP will be released on February 26th 2016 through Moshi Moshi. You can order it here and treat your ears to ‘Blowing Up My Mind’ below.

UK live dates:

29th Jan – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
2nd Feb – The Musician, Leicester
3rd Feb – Tom Thumb Theatre, Margate
4th Feb – Moth Club, London
5th Feb – Night and Day Café, Manchester
6th Feb – Picture House Special, Sheffield
7th Feb – The Fulford Arms, York
12th Feb – Neuadd Ogwen, Bethesda
13th Feb – Moles Club, Bath

In Praise of Super Furry Animals: An Almost 20 Year Obsession

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The magnificent and legendary Super Furry Animals, make their return to Vancouver this week, playing The Imperial on Thursday, January 4th.

As one of my all-time favourite bands, I am more than guilty of some bias, but I can honestly say I believe they are one of the finest bands ever to grace this earth. 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. Super Furry Animals are truly unique.

They have the stories; they procured 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 Guerilla fighters, drew up plans to convert an aircraft carrier into a nightclub and turned down a seven-figure sum from a certain cola company who wanted to use ‘Hello Sunshine’ in an ad, instead allowing the track to be used in a short film about human rights abuses by anti-poverty charity War on Want. Yet these tales only tell half the story. Most importantly, there is the music.

Super Furry Animals have produced some of the most exciting and memorable records of the past two decades, in their own uniquely surreal, weird and wonderful pop genius. With an inherent gift for giddy pop melodies and excelling at rich, heart-felt and powerful slow songs too, it is an eclectic back-catalogue, imaginatively mixing up electronic beats, indie, surf rock, neo-psychedelia, Japanese culture and more.

My first encounter with Super Furries was seeing them play ‘Demons’ on TFI Friday, I then acquired ‘Something 4 The Weekend’ in some bargain bin or other, and that was enough to set in motion a process of acquiring whatever music of their’s that I could and albums, Radiator and Out Spaced, remain all-time favourites. It hard to put my adoration for these Welsh heroes into mere words for fear of underselling the virtues of their music but let’s just put it simply; in providing a constant soundtrack to my life ever since my school days, their music has afforded me so much joy.

So, needless to say, the fact Super Furry Animals play Vancouver next week is extremely exciting. Like a kid waiting for Christmas, since the announcement was first made, I’ve been counting down the days till February 4th. It has also got me thinking about the first time I saw them live, years back, 1999 in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre. It was a school night and we had mini-bus drive us (cans and shitty fake IDs) to Dublin. The gig was unbelievable. Only the second I had ever gone to, it was an unforgettable experience and one that has left an indelible mark on me. Many years on and almost ten thousand miles from where a 15-year-old me awaited that show excitedly, there’s pretty much the same level of anticipation for this week’s gig. Roll on Thursday night!

So with that, I’ll leave you with the excellent S4C documentary on 20 years of Super Furries, The Furry Years and a couple of choice Super Furry favourites.

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BarryGruff January 2016 Playlist

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Your regular monthly round up all the blog action, in a nice, neat and handy playlist of tracks featured throughout the month.

January was a busy month, especially for new record announcements and whatnot. We had tunes from The Coral, Yuck, Sea Pinks, Steve Mason, exmagician, Ulrika Spacek, Coves and The Last Shadow Puppets, from their respective, new and forthcoming albums. We had introductions to Bousada, ACCU and Honey Moon, while there were excellent new singles/EPs from Seazoo, Allure, Applescal, Marta Ffion, Courtney Barnett, Shit Robot and Golden Fable. Oh, and there were two new episodes of ‘Millions Like Us’, Justin Beats & I’s new music podcast extravaganza for 604now (if you missed them, check ’em here). You can also subscribe to ‘Millions Like Us’ on iTunes & Podcast Republic or find us on Facebook & Twitter.

Well then, that’s that for another month – listen to BarryGruff’s January 2016 playlist below. Enjoy!

 

Millions Like Us Podcast – Episode #9

We’re thrilled to share yet another Millions Like Us podcast with you all. It’s great to back with the latest in a series of music podcasts hosted by Justin & I, in conjunction with Vancouver news & culture site 604now.

On a bi-weekly basis we aim to please, providing relief from all life’s toils* with some lively and entertaining chat and eclectic selection of fabulous music from metro Vancouver and elsewhere. There’s plenty in there, well over an hour 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 or find us on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can email us at millionslikeuspodcast[at]gmail[dot]com.

2016 has been good to us so far, so thanks for all the support thus far and once again, thanks for listening!

 *May not actually do that.

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Allure – ‘Divine’

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Parisian producer ALLURE (aka Lorris Piasco) is planning to release a brand new EP in early in the year, ahead of which, he’s unveiled ‘Divine’.

‘Divine’ is the second track taken from the aforementioned EP, following ‘By Surprise’, last month. It is hard to resist the ‘allure’ of this one, a bouncy, playful and funky manifestation of pulsing electro house. ‘Divine’ is bright, upbeat, espousing a joyful union of crisp beats, infectious synth and an irresistible groove, all tempered with a sort of frosty elegance. Allure’s more recent work has somehow eluded my gaze, an excellent re-introduction with the Paris-based producer & a choice tune to boot.

‘Divine’ is below for your listening pleasure and the new EP is pencilled in for release early this year. Keep your eyes peeled.

 

Seazoo – ‘Telephone Jones’

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‘Telephone Jones’ is the new single by North Wales’ SEAZOO, and out on February 22nd.

Over the past few years we become accustomed to Seazoo serving up some of the most fabulous, charming and sprightly indie-pop on the planet, and the North Walian five-piece’s return, marks no deviation from this rich vein of form. A three-and-a-half minute pop nugget, ‘Telephone Jones’ whizzes and fizzes by with skuzzed guitars, delightful fuzz, smiley melodies and charming. Infectious doesn’t even cover the half of it; this is sparkling indie-pop perfection. A band to be treasured and enjoyed, no doubt about it.

New single ‘Telephone Jones’ is released on February 22nd via Bandcamp and is taken from a so-far-unnamed forthcoming EP, which shall be with us in late March. Till then? well, there’s ‘Telephone Jones’ of course. Check it out below now.

Applescal – ‘Leone Highway’

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‘Leone Highway’ is the new single from Dutch producer, Pascal Terstappen aka Applescal.

Set for release before the end of this month, ‘Leone Highway’ is the Dutch master’s first new material since last year’s wonderful album, For. Just like the aforementioned album and previous productions, we’re presented with another stunning piece of work. A lushly produced patchwork of melodic sounds, it naturally glides along an addictive synth-line embellished along its way by all manner of assorted samples, chimes and stabs of synth. ‘Leone Highway’ is as dazzling display of Applescal’s savoir faire as anything he’s done before. Top class!

‘Leone Highway’ is out on January 22nd via Atomnationand accompanied with a B-side track titled ‘Isomethyl’. Check the former below.

 

Introducing: Bousada

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Bousada is an electronic producer based out of Victoria, BC (as in Canada, not before Christ, obviously).

Over the past 10 years, he’s gradually drifted from writing and performing music on the guitar, to electronic productions with an emphasis on dancefloor readiness, synths and bass sounds. This passage and exploration toward the world of electronics has been beneficial to say the least; arriving at something of a rather natural electronic sound. It’s all sultry, smooth and seductive electronic music, with so many interesting and layered sounds and noises, steady piano (often quite dubby) chords and permeated, ultimately with rather cool vibes. This cool and select backdrop is just the ticket for Bousada’s voice to take centre stage; his smooth, soulful and melodic vocals are the icing on the cake, something his most recent singles ‘Cast In Gold’ and ‘Shake’, will testify to.

Check out ‘Cast In Gold’ and ‘Shake’ below, and there are a whole host more tunes on his SoundCloud.