LØE – ‘People Have The Power’

LØE are a UK based alternative-rock outfit who’s raison d’etre is weaving speech and music to create a reflection of our times, and to capture and reflect triumph, heroism, anguish and struggle throughout society.

On their debut single ‘People Have The Power’ they marshal all their might to craft an artful and powerfully evocative mix of post-rock, post-punk and krautrock, with a hint of instrumental hip hop and electronica. It is an epic and electrifying powerhouse that opens with a relative whisper as John Lennon speech flutters through a cinematic air, twinkly synth and glistening guitars line before exploding into a riff fueled frenzy – riffs roar, guitars crunch and drums bang as it ebbs and flows with power and a deft touch of elegance. It is a stunning jam that captivates from the first note to the rousing and explosive concluding climax of thundering drums and serrated, buzzsaw riffs. A mighty, riotous and epic debut – an absolute must listen.

Check out ‘People Have The Power’ below:

Ex Norwegian – ‘Jove Was At Home’

Miami Beach psych-rockers Ex Norwegian are spending their 2020 releasing new music almost every Friday, mostly obscure covers of favourites, like this one from Irish psych-folk troupe Dr. Strangely Strange’s 1971 track ‘Jove Was At Home’

The original, a gentle, playful and pristine psych-folk jaunt is afforded an electric make-over into a psych stomper. While retaining the sweetness and melody of the original, this re-imagining it saunters along a swaggering groove and stomping beat amid a heady haze of warm fuzz and distortion as guitars buzz, riffs fizz and fuzz with hazy, nonchalant vocals loom large in the background. A superb and very easy on the ear tune, this is one of the more unusual things to cross my path recently but a welcome one at that. I had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Strangely Strange live a few years back (on my Dad’s recommendation who is a big fan) and they were really enjoyable. 

Listen to Ex Norwegian do Dr. Strangely Strange and ‘Jove Was At Home’ below:



The Whags – ‘Fraction Of’

The Whags are a Seattle-based five piece whose sound is a joyous amalgam of indie, psych, funk and soulful Americana with rich vocal harmonies and a deep seductive grooves.

‘Fraction Of’ is the first in a series of singles set for 2020, and is the perfect distillation of their sound. It is a deep grooving and swaggering slice of soulful pop the slowly unfurls into a beautifully bright, breezy and wholly optimistic jam. Everything feels big and bright as soaring choruses, lush harmonies and sweet licks are peppered with an uplifting air shimmering tones while the lilting, soul-filled vocals roll across the top.This a heavenly jam dripping with melody and lavishly coated with lush harmonies as it swells to enraptured bouts of euphoria. This an absolute joy, a treasure in fact and food for the soul.

Tune in to the wondrous sounds of ‘Fraction Of’ below:

The Wants – ‘Container’

The Wants are a NYC trio whose gloomy, propulsive post-punk resides on the darker side of life as post-punk, new-wave, techno/dance and industrial collide.

The Wants began life when drummer Jason Gates and Velding-VanDam met in New York in 2014, but became fully formed while VanDam and Elle were working together under the Bodega moniker years later. Finding a common passion for electronic music, the trio began writing together, and debut album Container is the result of this collaboration. Released earlier in March, it is fronted by lead single and title track which perfectly captures the essence of their sound. ‘Container’ is gritty, thrashy and dark post-punk fare, loaded with a menacing air and anxious noise, and gripped by the dead-pan delivery from VanDam. This gripping sense of foreboding chimes perfectly with the insistent, nagging bassline,  increasingly manic, winding guitar and metronomic drumbeat which underpins this dark and gloomy but utterly captivating post-punk monster.

Listen to ‘Container’ below and if that is to your liking, why not try the album here.

Guest Post: Johnny Feeney’s Albums of 2019

Aside from compiling my own lists, I really enjoy looking over other people’s albums of the year rundowns and none more so than Mr. Johnny Feeney.

An insightful musical sage, Johnny’s guest appearances are always interesting and bring added flavour to the blog and I look forward to reading his contributions – of which, surely I’m not alone?

Yes, we’re a bit late with this one but sure better late than never, right?

A huge thanks to Johnny for taking time out to compile this list, and on that note, I’ll leave you with his favourite records of 2019.

10: DIIV – ‘Deceiver’

Following up 2016’s supreme Is the Is Are, Brooklyn shoegaze quartet DIIV’s third album Deceiver draws obvious comparisons to My Bloody Valentine with its multiple layers of shimmering, squalling guitars and lead singer Zachary Cole Smith’s dreamy vocals. Expect plenty of loud / quiet / loud moments on this dazzling return.

Listen in full here.

09: Hot Chip – ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’

Although their newer material has perhaps lost some of the menace of their early output, ultra-consistent Hot Chip prove they are still adept at releasing dance-pop of the highest calibre. A perfect antidote to the grim global political and environmental situation we find ourselves in today, I challenge anyone to listen to the likes of ‘Positive’ or ‘Melody of Love’ and not feel a wave of joy wash over you.

Listen in full here.

08: Black Midi – ‘Schlagenheim’

The Mercury-nominated debut album from this four-piece experimental-rock band hailing from London is definitely not going to be to everyone’s taste. From the brutal opening salvo of ‘953’ to the wonderful closer ‘Ducter’, this relentless record is one that never lets go. A highly ambitious record, understandably it doesn’t always quite come together. But when it does hit the mark it’s absolutely thrilling. Improvised mayhem never sounded so good.

Listen in full here.

07: Marika Hackman – ‘Any Human Friend’

The latest LP from Marika Hackman certainly has a much more pop-leaning sound than her early fans would expect from the English singer-songwriter. Hackman’s usual vocals and guitar lines are regularly joined by jaunty synths to create upbeat tunes merged with deeply personal lyrics exploring themes such as same-sex relationships (‘All Night’) and masturbation (‘Hand Solo’). The jaw-dropping title track that closes the album is beyond staggering.

Listen in full here.

06: Drahla – ‘Useless Coordinates’

This bludgeoning debut record from Leeds post-punk outfit Drahla comes with driving guitars, a pummelling rhythm section, and Luciel Brown’s breathy vocals. Viciously, skewed saxophones add to the overall sombre atmosphere. Clocking in at a breathless half an hour, Useless Coordinates starts off dark and doesn’t veer off course once.

Listen in full here.


05: Mattiel – ‘Satis Factory’

The highly accomplished second album from the Atlanta-based singer-songwriter prominently features Mattiel Brown’s distinctive, booming vocals and some delightful, grooving and soulful blues-rock. Brown has an uncanny ability to create expertly crafted sub three-minute rock songs with an infectious hook. A very impressive piece of work.

Listen in full here.

04: The Murder Capital – ‘When I Have Fears’

The superb debut album from the Dublin post-punk five-piece is a moody, atmospheric affair. Brooding, menacing guitars and percussion are paired to pulsating effect with the haunting, angst-ridden vocals of lead singer James McGovern. A formidable live act, the group’s sound has been captured masterfully on record by UK producer Flood. Along with Fontaines DC and Girl Band, the Murder Capital are at the forefront of an exciting wave of great new Irish rock bands.

Listen in full here.

03: Aldous Harding – ‘Designer’

New Zealand folk artist Aldous Harding’s third studio album is the epitome of easy listening – nine tracks of blissful, exquisitely arranged songs. Harding’s tender vocals are accompanied by multiple layers of instrumentation and backing vocals to devastating effect throughout. A gorgeous album that gets better with every listen.

Listen in full here.

02: Vampire Weekend – ‘Father of the Bride’

After a six year hiatus and losing a key member in multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij back in 2016, Vampire Weekend fans could be forgiven for worrying if maybe this was the beginning of the end for the New York indie-poppers. Instead Ezra Koenig re-emerged with an exceptionally strong set of tracks, enlisting the help of the likes of Danielle Haim on vocals and guitarist Steve Lacy. The result is an immensely enjoyable, if overlong, album.

Listen in full here.

01: Fontaines DC – ‘Dogrel’

The eagerly awaited debut of Dublin punk rock quintet Fontaines DC delivers emphatically on every level. An extremely diverse and lyrical record, lead singer Grian Chatten’s miniature vignettes of Dublin City are accompanied by an ever-changing soundtrack from the rest of the group. From the piledriving punk of ‘Chequeless Reckless’ and ‘Hurricane Laughter’ to the jangling stomp of ‘Sha Sha Sha’ and ‘Boys in the Better Land’ via the tender ‘Roy’s Song’ and ‘Dublin City Sky’, not a single foot has been put in the wrong place. In a new Golden Age of Irish guitar music, it’s the Fontaines DC’s star who’s shining brightest at the moment.

Listen in full here.

Glitter Party – ‘Glitter Party’

Glitter Party is a Canadian outfit doing a wonderfully addictive line in fuzzy garage pop. I say ‘outfit’ but Glitter Party is the sole creation of a 19-year-old, Toronto-based musician called Sam, who crafted a whole album in house over the course of a month.

The resulting self-titled record is a whirlwind of hyperactive yet beautifully catchy and sweetly melodic garage-pop goodness bathe in swathes of fuzz & distortion – and this prowess is never better demonstrated than by lead single, also called ‘Glitter Party’.It is a two-and-a-half-minute frenzy of fuzzy, fun-filled and sweetly melodic garagey, noise-pop. Amid the exuberant bursts of energy and scuzzy riffs there is an irresistible alchemy at work. What makes this fuzz-filled racket so ear-pleasing is catchy harmonies and sweet pop hooks that woo the heart entirely. In typical fashion, this magnificent fuzz-fest will be bouncing round your head all day long.

Listen to ‘Glitter Party’ below and if that is to your liking, the album is here too.

Mandalai Lamas – ‘I Don’t Know What To Do With My Life’

Mandalai Lamas are a bustling, buzzing and spirited psych-rock outfit from Halden, Norway.

Currently prepping the release of their debut LP – expected in early 2020 on Big Day Records – they have ramping up expectation levels with a series of singles, the latest of which is the superb, ‘I Don ́t Know What To Do With My Life’. It is a sub-three-minute blast of high energy garage-rock, laced with psych radiance and ragged, raw power. While ‘I Don ́t Know What To Do With My Life’ trashes, screeches and rumbles rumbustiously along, it is supremely catchy,melodic and mashed with hooks you could hang your hat on. It is here the brilliance of their sound lies, as they traverse the space between brash and beautifully catchy they create perfection through imperfection.

Get yourself acquainted with ‘I Don’t Know What To Do With My Life’ below and keep an eye out for their debut LP come the new year:

Springfield Elementary – ‘Machine Fiend’

Springfield Elementary are Manchester-based post-punk powerhouse comprised of Billy Goodwin (Vocals/Guitar), Brad Lewis (Lead Guitar), Liam Moffat (Bass) and Chris Tomkinson (Drums).

The foursome introduce their raw, raucous and thrilling post-punk (with an underlying garage-rock and punk element) sound with new single ‘Machine Fiend’. A frantic and exhilarating opening offering, it explodes into life with a meaty guitar, chugging bassline and furious crashing drum combo, like releasing a coiled up spring. Searing riffs, fuzz, distortion and furious fast-paced insure it becoming even more brash, jagged and caustic as it shoots off with volatility as vocals spat out with venom. It is a short, sharp and muscular intro that is exhilarating and bursting with vitality and will have you headed straight for repeated plays.

Tune into ‘Machine Fiend’ below:

HAVVK – ‘Shifting Shape’

Formidable Berlin-based Irish outfit HAVVK will release their debut album Cause & Effect later this year and the trio have been ramping up expectation levels with singles ‘Always The Same’ and ‘Birds On A Wire’; and HAVVK have added further with new single ‘Shifting Shape’.

‘Shifting Shape’ is urgent and pulsating as it whizzes by in a whirlwind two-minutes of raucous, distorted and grungy alt-rock. It is fierce, biting and epic as it hurtles off along a furious stomping groove armed with searing, buzzsaw riffs, impassioned vocals and unrelenting guitar lines. It is gritty and raw, packed with vitality and passion, it is relentless but also incredibly catchy. Yet another reason to get excited for HAVVK’s debut album which is coming later in the year – watch this space.

Listen to ‘Shifting Shape’ below now:

Crimes Against – ‘Dirty River’

Crimes Against is the solo project of Dublin musician and producer Daniel Doherty (formerly of the Ghost Estates parish).

Working from his Darklands Audio studio in the capital, Doherty has been busy producing for artists like Munky, Galants and Fontaines D.C. to name a few, but has also found time for his own work under his Crimes Against guise.

‘Dirty River’ is the first track lifted from a so far unnamed forthcoming debut album, written, performed, mixed and mastered by Doherty and featuring ELM cellist Gary Molly, it is inspired heavily by Phil Spector’s productions for girl pop groups the Ronettes & The Crystals, with a nod to the Beatles, The Jam, The Ramones & Joy Division to name a few. Brimming with an air hopeful optimism, ‘Dirty River’ swoons and sweeps as it is fuelled by crashing cymbals and chugging guitar as rich melodies and sumptuous strings coalesce to form an exquisite and chic blend of beautiful textures permeated with richness. ‘Dirty River’ purrs gorgeously as it waltzes on its way, as Doherty strains against the rising tide of lavish sound which swells to a rapturous conclusion. An utterly loveable and lavish tune – beautiful stuff.

You can check out ‘Dirty River’ below now: