GEM_DOS – ‘Veart’

South East London producer GEM_DOS has always been a tough one to place in one genre or another. Each new release has displayed a distinction to what’s gone before and experimentation has become his forte – that and affording us with magnificent tunes.

Recently returned to Blighty, following a number of years in Dublin, GEM_DOS has re-emerged with a new one off track, called ‘Veart’. It continues his preference for the experimental, with this bassy, downtempo and eerily mournful, house indebted cut. Never missing a beat, a classy use of bass combines with some atmospheric synth and a warped and distorted vocal, which morphs into a instrument in itself. Smart, clever and top class as usual.

You can listen to ‘Veart’ below, along with GEM_DOS’s GruffWuff inclusion, ‘Mag D’Allen’ – of which you can download here for FREE.

BarryGruff’s April 2015 Playlist

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A regular monthly feature to the blog; a nice, neat and handy playlist of tracks featured during the month.

It was another excellent month for new music, one which saw the return of CZARFACE, Miaoux Miaoux, Girlpool and Jinx Lennon, with new tracks from their respective forthcoming albums. There were new singles from The Urges, Wilding, Fold, Tuff Love, Hippies Vs Ghosts, Lazy Day, Freedom Fry & Imploded View, and tracks from forthcoming EPs from Tomorrows, Graham Cooney & JUNK.

Also featuring on the playlist are: The School, Fueds, Mowbird & Cotton Wolf. Yeah, so, April was pretty damn good.

Listen to BarryGruff’s April 2015 playlist below.

Fly High Society’s ‘Fly Thai Green EP’

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Fly High Society – a collective of DJs, producers and artists predominantly based across the UK & Europe – have put together an EP, Fly Thai Green.

A homage to Mary Jane, it was fittingly released last Monday, for 4/20. Featuring cuts from Bolts, Monto, Igloohost, and Tre’bore (along with guest appearances from some of your favourite screen dealers – including Moz from Ideal), the EP is simply sublime. The pick of the bunch (for me) is Bolts’ inclusion, ‘Beginning’, with its patted bongos, click-clacking percussion, perfect bass and eastern strings exuding an aura of supreme, smooth coolness. A blazing 20 minute offering their signature ‘bass, beats and bleeps’, as well as slick samples and ethnic-inspired beats, it is perfect chill-out soundtrack. Magnificent!

The EP is available for purchase (here) as a limited edition cassette, coupled with a download & sticker pack. Plus all UK purchases also come with a complimentary Fly High Society lighter. Check it out below.

The BarryGruff Fortnightly Vancouver Gig Guide (April 29th – May 11th)

A fortnightly list of recommended events taking place in Vancouver. Here’s what’s caught my eye over the next 14 days! 

Feel free to let me know if I missed anything of interest in the comments or you can always shoot me an email about upcoming shows.

Thursday, April 30th

Wishyunu @ Hindenburg, 23 West Cordova, Gastown, Vancouver (9pm, $10)

  • [Alt-Pop] Portland drum/synth du, Wishyunu (wish-u-new) have a penchant for weird and wonderful atmospheric electronic pop. Support from Redrick Sultan, The Wandering Halls & Cave Girl.

Young Fathers @ Fortune Sound Club, 147 E Pender St, Vancouver, (9pm, $15+Fees)

  • [Hip-Hop] Scotish Hip-Hop trio & Mecury Prize winners, Young Fathers, tour in support of their new LP ‘White Men Are Black Men Too’. Suppport from Mas Ysa.

Saturday, May 2nd 

Waxahatchee @ Biltmore Cabaret 2755 Prince Edward St, Vancouver (8pm, $14+Fees)

  • [Indie/Lo-Fi] Katie Crutchfield brings her lo-fi indie project to Vancouver to support her latest LP ‘Ivy Trip​p​’. With guests GIRLPOOL (utterly raw, infectious and supremely brilliant poppy-punk – more here) and Knife Pleats.

Tough Age @ The Astoria, 769 E. Hastings St, Vancouver (9pm, $8)

  • [Garage/Indie] Hometown fuzzed-up garage rock maestros return to Vancouver ahead of their new LP. W/ guests Energy Slime, Fountain, Milk & Needles//Pins.

Ponderosa 2015 Lineup Launch Party @ ANZA Club, Australia New Zealand Association, 3 W. 8th, Vancouver  (9pm, Entry by Donation)

  • Ponderosa Arts & Music Festival 2015 lineup launch w/ music from Colleen Rennison of No Sinner, DJ Joshua Oldsoul & more.

Nowhere Fast @ The Morrissey, 1227 Granville Street, Vancouver (9pm – 3am, Free)

  • [DJ] Regular night of post-punk, indie, garage rock & pop-dance tunes  w/ Bryce Dunn

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Jinx Lennon – ‘Xanax’

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Jinx Lennon is a unique talent, a national treasure to be exact. Influenced as much by post punk and hip hop, he is the embodiment of a modern folk singer.

Whether it’s played on a one string guitar or sampled disco beat, raw garage noise and blues, his are songs of raw truths that kick back against the humdrum bullshit of modern life and blow apart the chains in your head. Of late, Jinx has been working on songs for his next album (under the working title Keep Sane In The World of Eager Smiling Pricks), including a stint recording with Liverpool experimentalist’s Clinic. The first fruit from those sessions have emerged in the form of ‘Xanax’. Recorded earlier this year in Liverpool, ‘Xanax’ is typically brilliant and typically Jinx. It is a barbed, real and raw song with a serious groove, about a drug used to be used and abused, and people being medicated to the hilt. There’s no one quite like Jinx – utterly unique and searingly brilliant as always.

No word on a new album as yet but hopefully it’s sooner rather than later. For now though, there’s ‘Xanax’. Easy now.

JUNK. – ‘Dirt In My Eye’

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York’s JUNK. first caught our eye last year with their Car EP, introducing us to the trio’s charming, sweetly melodic take on garage punk.

The trio are back with a new track ‘Dirt in My Eye’, a first glimpse into their forthcoming EP, Liquorice, released on May 4th, through CHUD Records. Junk. have always exuded vigour and vibrancy, but with an innocence – or lack of pretension – to how they approach their music which is part of their charm. This charm is something amplified with ‘Dirt in My Eye’; a melodic, ridiculously tuneful and utterly contagious track. It’s lo-fi rumbling, rough-around-the-edges and shambling verse-chorus indie that is ever so affable. Affable because, for all its rough edges, a precocious energy sucks you and the whole thing is so teeming with frazzled guitars, riffs, sharp melodies, splendid doo-wopping and peppy vocals, and oh, you’re never more than five seconds from a hook. A wonderful jangly lo-fi racket is coated with fuzz and pop sensibilities, made exponentially more loveable by the delightful twin vocals of Estella Adeyeri and Sam Coates. Simply: charming, catchy and glorious lo-fi indie pop.

The EP will be with us on May 4th but right now, you can sample the sweet charms of ‘Dirt In My Eye’ below.

Miaoux Miaoux – ‘It’s The Quick’

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Almost three years since the irresistible electronic eclecticism of Light of the North, Miaoux Miaoux (Glasgow-based producer Julian Corrie) will return to the fold with School of Velocity.

Penned for release on June 1st through Chemikal Underground, the forthcoming record promises a sumptuous blend of influences, from eighties pop, nineties trance and the subtle, assured melodicism of Caribou. The first taster of the new record has been delivered in the form of the exhilarating ‘It’s The Quick’. It’s a fizzing glee-filled party tune that mixes rushing synths, joyous and euphoric dancefloor epiphanies with growly vocals that lend a sinister undercurrent. ‘It’s The Quick’ exudes sheer fun as it embraces an honest love of classic House music, while feeling fresh and inventive within a retro groove. A dazzlingly eclectic slice of what’s to come from one of the most reliably brilliant producers around.

The new album School of Velocity will be with us on June 1st and until then, behold the marvellous splendor that is ‘It’s The Quick’. It is simply magnificent.

Tomorrows – ‘Another Life’

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Tomorrows is a new project featuring members from Biggles Flys Again, The Chapters, Jethro Pickett and Woodheart, which takes its inspirations from a mix of prog, psychedelic and folk music of the ’60s and ’70s.

The first track to be released by the band is ‘Another Life’. It not only showcases how fantastically difficult it is to define their sound as any genre or other, given the broad array of styles at play but also that they found that sweet spot, a common ground between the array of influences and musical stylings that make up the band. Blending parts electronic, psych-pop and hazy krautrock, glorious vocals soar above a mist of wonderfully lush, shimmering, swirling textures, propelling beats and pulsing synths. It’s a harmonic, inventive and sprawling mix drowsy psychedelia, which brings to mind some sort of Death In Vegas / Paul McCartney & Wings (circa Band On The Run) crossover. An overwhelming addictive listen that will have you reaching for the repeat button time after time. This is one of the finest songs you’re likely to hear all year. Utterly sublime.

‘Another Life’ is a genre-defying marvel that offers an exciting and enticing introduction to Tomorrows, I for one can’t wait for more. There’s an EP on it’s way this May. Until then, behold, it’s ‘Another Life’.

The School – ‘All I Want From You Is Everything’

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Last week Cardiff’s resplendent pop purveyors, The School released their latest EP, All I Want From You Is Everything, through Elefant Records, who’s raison d’etre is nostalgia pop. A match made in heaven if there ever was one, and it certainly lives up the billing.

Steeped in classic pop songwriting, this is a joyous and colourful explosion of bright, breezy indie-pop. This is a band with a real flair for the insanely catchy, timeless pop song, something that becomes patently clear throughout the EP. Be it the title track or ‘I Will See You Soon’, or covers ‘Crying In The Rain’ (by Carole King) and ‘Baby Don’t Hold Your Breath For Me’ (by Knickers) – timeless pop earworms are the order of the day. Not only are the tunes catchy and lyrics charming, they also have a delightfully off kilter way of delivering them. The songs are rich and layered with varying instruments and sounds all contributing to the laid-back, sun-kissed and gorgeous sound. And the icing on the cake? Liz Hunt’s light-as-air angelic tones – honeyed, mellifluous, melodic, harmonious – it’s quite a difficult task to describe with mere words just how wonderful. A splendid collection of marvellously bright pop songs.

With new album Wasting Away And Wondering waiting in the wings, this EP offers a wonderful snapshot of what we can expect. All I Want From You Is Everything is available now, from here. You can sample some choice cuts below.

Introducing: Girlpool

Girlpool are Philadelphia based, by way of Los Angeles, duo of Cleo Tucker (Guitar) and Harmony Tividad (Bass).

The pair recently announced that they’ll be following up their excellent self-titled EP with the release of their debut album, Before The World Was Big in June. This week Girlpool have shared the album’s first official single and title track, ‘Before The World Was Big’. Their sound is raw. Comprised only of guitar, bass and vocal harmonies, this stripped-back, minimal instrumentation accentuates the brash, dispirited and vulnerable feeling, and adds serious weight to the powerful and candid lyrics.

Capturing what has become their forte, ‘Before The World Was Big’ is a hooky, poppy punk song, utilising little more than stabs of bass surrounded by rhythmic guitar strums. From this to the swaggering tale of revenge and piercingly screechy ‘Jane’ to the spat-out vocals, bouncing baseline and rocking chorus of their most immediately affecting song ‘Blah Blah Blah’, the duo lure you in with their tales of youth and uncertainty of young adulthood (does that really ever subside?). Utterly raw, infectious and supremely brilliant – proof if proof be needed – great music doesn’t have to be complicated.

Before The World Was Big is out June 2nd via Wichita Recordings and the duo have a string of tour dates with them opening for Waxahatchee, including Vancouver on May 2nd at the Biltmore Cabaret – see the full list here.