The Cats Never Sleep – ‘Wide Open’

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‘Wide Open’ is the second track lifted from The Cats Never Sleep‘s debut full length, Massage, released last month through Le Pop Club Records.

The Swiss five-piece’s sound pulls from are wide and varied source of influences, ranging from German Krautrock to progressive pop to Fela Kuti. It’s a brew that translates into groovy, funky, laid-back and loungey lo-fi indie/psych-tinged jams. This loungey vibe is joined by lazy, dreamy and jangly instrumentals, and chilled vocals imbued with a beautiful lethargy. A perfect companion to kicking back and enjoying some sunshine.

Check out ‘Wide Open’ below (the video is fun) and if it is to your liking, The Cats Never Sleep’s debut LP Massage is streaming here.

Girlpool announce new album, Powerplant, share ‘123’

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On May 12th, Philly-based outfit Girlpool will make their return with a new LP, Powerplant. The album follows their brilliant 2015 debut, Before the World Was Big, and sees Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker joined by a full band.

Heralding this auspicious news is lead single ‘123’, which shows off this new dynamic, complimenting their stripped back guitar-and-bass approach. ‘123’ opens like a lot of other Girlpool song, with a slow, muted and watery-sounding guitar melody before the drums kick in. With that, it bursts into a life, in full colour. Yet, it is still the vocal harmonies which provide their edge. Imbued with a vulnerable, angst-ridden tone, it and the woozy, undulating quality compliments the dreamlike imagery perfectly.

As mentioned above, Girlpool’s much-anticipated Powerplant is out May 12th, via new label home ANTI- Records. For now, check out lead track ‘123’, along with the video.

Girlpool have also announced a pile of North American tour dates, hopefully some shows on this side of the Atlantic will follow soon.

 

The Fine Lines – ‘Gold’

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The Fine Lines are indie-rock foursome – John, Ben, Justin & Zach – from Madison, NJ.

The quartet’s debut offering is single, ‘Gold'; a glowing piece of classic indie-rock. Opening in a down-tempo, moody and somewhat melancholic fashion, it quickly shifts through the gears, burning guitars in tow, surging toward a crest of anthemic choruses. Mammoth as the anthemic surges are, ‘Gold’ manages to remain rather personal and intimate. There are shades of Idlewild, The Charlatans & late ’90s/early ’00s Bunnymen on show here; not a bad trio of acts to be name-checking whatsoever.

The Fines Lines have afforded us a magnificent first introduction and hopefully there will be more in the way of music, sooner rather than later.

‘Gold’ is out now. Listen to it below.

Zefur Wolves – ‘Stars of Omaha’ (A Tribute to John Trudell)

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Revolving around the twin talents of Cian Ciaran from Super Fury Animals and Estelle from Baby Queens, Zefur Wolves have returned following a two year absence.

The Welsh outfit’s return is marked by new single ‘Stars of Omaha'; their first new music since their wonderful self-titled debut in 2015. The single is a tribute to Native American author, poet, actor, musician, and political activist, John Trudell, with all proceeds going to The Standing Rock Foundation.

‘Stars of Omaha’ continues in a similar vein to that of their debut LP, with a clear preference for creating powerful, emotive and politically tinged shoegazey-grunge. Imbued with a sense of awe and mysticism, a swirl of mellow, atmospheric sound surrounds Estelle’s impassioned vocal, which in turn is greeted by stripped-back bass and guitar, that gradually evolve heavier and louder. The chunky guitar chords are tempered by languid drumbeat as feint layers of vocal sustain a sense of otherworldly atmosphere and spirit. A wonderful political themed, shoegaze and psychedelic waltz.

You can check out ‘Stars of Omaha’ below or purchase from here; with all proceeds from the song will go to The Standing Rock Foundation. Buy it here.

John Wesley Coleman III – ‘Shovel’

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Texas-bred John Wesley Coleman, a self-professed ‘trash poet’, has cultivated a rep as one of the most preeminent and distinct artists on the US indie scene, since the ’90s.

Arguably, he’s made his biggest splash with psych garage five-piece Golden Boys but that would be to do his solo work a great disservice. The latest instalment, new album Microwave Dreams, was released last month and it captures exactly what John Wesley Coleman III is all about.

Coleman’s songs boasts a canny knack for witty storytelling and turn of phrase, none-more-so than the album’s opener, ‘Shovel’. An impassioned stomper driven by scratchy guitars, fuzz, whirring alarm and steady backbeat, it finds a balance between frayed-cuff wit and earnest sentimentality. There’s a weariness to Coleman’s voice – disenchanted and tired – all he do is laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. It’s gritty, catchy and passionate, and imbued by a real devil-may-care attitude, it a wonderful intro to John Wesley Coleman III’s new record.

You can listen to ‘Shovel’ below & be sure to check out the album, Microwave Dreamshere.

IRMA VEP – ‘A Woman’s Work Is Never Done’

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Manchester via North Wales musician IRMA VEP – aka Edwin Stevens – released a his new album, No Handshake Blues last week.

Accompanying album number four under the IRMA VEP moniker, is the LP’s lead single, and album opener, ‘A Woman’s Work Is Never Done’. It is a world-weary and shadowy 11-minutes plus of epic, sprawling distortion, feedback and psychedelic drone. The vocals are almost entirely swathed in distortion and reverb rendering the lyrics indecipherable, amid the already swirling fuzz and feedback. A thrilling and epic introduction to Irma Vep’s new and experimental sound, and album too.

You can listen to the epic ‘A Woman’s Work Is Never Done’ below. If that is to your liking, you can hear the new album, No Handshake Blues, over here.

Dead Naked Hippies – ‘Lights Out’

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‘Lights Out’ is the debut single from Leeds trio Dead Naked Hippies.

Produced by Matt Peel (Eagulls, Pulled Apart By Horses, Autobahn), ‘Lights Out’ offers a thrilling introduction to the raucous sound of Dead Naked Hippies.

This trio – Lucy Jowett – (vocals), Joe Clarke (guitar), Jacob Marston (drums) – trade in scintillating, punk-tinged indie-rock brilliance. ‘Lights Out’ blaze forth with coiled riffs, terse drums, insistent bass and Jowett’s impassioned vocals. Drenched with pent up emotion, ‘Lights Out’ slowly uncoils, revealing itself as an unflinching, focused three minutes of gritty, cathartic and rage-fuelled fuzz-drenched rock ‘n roll abandon.

More new music is promised soon – which is great obviously – but for now get your ears around the frenetic, electrified and scintillating master-class that is ‘Lights Out’.

Ghost Effects – ‘Blue By You’

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Ghost Effects are Kentucky-based lo-fi indie merchants – Trey Bartley (Guitar), Jarred Halcomb (Vocals/Keys), Logan Newby (Bass) & Daniel Peach (Drums) – who released their debut LP, You Can Always Find Me Here towards the end of 2016.

While it’s a record littered with ideas, there is a certain affinity for good old fashion indie which permeates their entire LP. The undoubted high-point from their aforementioned debut LP is latest single, ‘Blue By You’. Shimmering guitars and dreamy vocals coalesce with meaty-toned bass for a laid-back yet simultaneously spirited cut of classic, indie gold. One track guaranteed to improve your day.

You can give ‘Blue By You’ a spin below and if that is to you liking, you can check out Ghost Effects’ new record here.

BarryGruff Albums of the Year (2016)

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Yes. It is that time of year again, lists, lists and more lists. Well, not be out done, here are my 13 (lucky for some) albums of 2016.

There was lots of great music in 2016 but I decided to keep it to a short list this year. Also, I’m hoping the festive period will provide some time to catch up on some records I’ve missed throughout the year, so feel free to recommend some listening material.

Anyway, without further ado, here are my favourite records from 2016:

There is also a Spotify playlist of all the albums, to save you time and hassle, and it is here.

13. Amber Arcades – ‘Fading Lines’

Amber Arcades‘ – Dutch-born musician Annelotte de Graaf – debut album is a dazzling blend of ‘60s tinged psych, lush jangly guitars, floating pop melodies and an abundance of propulsive, hypnotic krautrocky moments. [Listen here]

12. Tuff Love – ‘Resort’

Glaswegian scuzz-pop aficionados Tuff Love, combine a terrific trilogy of EPs into an LP of dazzling, fuzzy indie pop with sugar-sweet melodies and crunching choruses and shoegazey guitars galore. [Listen here]

11. Underworld – ‘Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future’

A first proper Underworld record in half a decade, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith deliver a stomping electronic record that is up there with the best of their work. [Listen here]

10. The Coral – ‘Distance Inbetween’

Distance Inbetween – their eighth LP and first in over five years – saw The Coral rediscover their roots, mojo and discover their dark side and add a harder edge to their brand of psychedelic indie. It’s an evolution of the Wirral five piece’s sound into a cohesive, weird and imaginative psych-rock record, and one that grows with time. [Listen here]

09. Mr Huw – ‘Gwna Dy Feddwl I Lawr’

Gwna Dy Feddwl I Lawr is album number five from one of Wales’ finest, Mr. Huw and with it, he has delivered an irresistible set of inventive, electrifying indie. Sang in his native tongue, these are melodic songs with a spiky edge. Post-punk riffs and snappy drum-machine punctuate infectious pop melodies, mild psychedelic leanings and Huw’s affable Welsh lilt. A magnificent collection of soul consuming tunes which provide proof if proof be needed, that we should never underestimate the power of great music to overcome a small matter, like a language barrier. [Listen here]

08. Jinx Lennon – ‘Magic Bullets of Madness To Uplift The Grief Magnets’

2016 saw Jinx Lennon return with two new albums – Past Pupil Stay Sane and Magic Bullets of Madness To Uplift The Grief Magnets – with each offering distinctly different brilliance. Magic Bullets… is the pick of the pair but in fairness, both find the folk punk poet at his uncompromising best. Recorded with Liverpool experimentalists Clinic, it is a collection of instantly catchy tunes that boasts a meatier, more beat-driven sound, combined with Jinx’s raw truths kicking back against the humdrum bullshit of modern life. Jinx Lennon is a unique talent, a national treasure to be exact and this is him at his inherently brilliant best. [Listen here]

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Incoming: A Quick Chat With Count Vaseline | Plays Broken Home This Saturday

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Count Vaseline is the new project from Stefan Murphy, formerly of Dublin rock ‘n roll miscreants The Mighty Stef, and The Count is bringing genre-warped garage sounds to Newbridge, for an intimate and special Broken Home show.

It was a dark day for Irish music back in May, when time was called on The Might Stef. Always a prolific tunesmith, it wasn’t long before Murphy introduced his new guise Count Vaseline. Falling somewhere between raw garage rock and crooning fuzz-pop – sonically a different being – the new project remains draped in his unique and intuitive storytelling ability. There’s already a debut LP, Yo No Soy Marinero – a genre-warped record that fizzes with energy, invention and brimming with weird and wondrous ideas, and full of heart – with album number two, Cascade to follow in December.

In support of his new endeavour, Count Vaseline has been playing shows across the US and Ireland, and this Saturday, December 3, he rolls into Newbridge town, for an intimate and special Broken Home show, with support from the Tallaght folk machine We Went Down.

Ahead of the weekend’s show I caught up with Count Vaseline, to chat about the new project, touring and all things music. Check the album below too!

You can find further details on The Broken Home Series here, more info on the show here and you can purchase your ticket from Eventbright.

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