BarryGruff Albums of the Year (2016)


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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BarryGruff January 2016 Playlist


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!


The Coral – ‘Chasing The Tail Of A Dream’

The Coral 2016

While most of us we’re preoccupied with other matters, Wirral five-piece The Coral (now joined by guitarist Paul Molloy, formerly of The Zutons) signaled an end to their hiatus, delivering a tasty treat over Christmas.

This gift came in the shape of ‘Chasing The Tail Of A Dream’, a first taster from their forthcoming album, Distance Inbetween, their first collection of original material since 2010’s fantastic Butterfly House. It is a swaggering, muscular and rockin’ return, with snarling guitars, rumbling rhythms and their signature psychedelic flourishes cavorting and contouring around frontman James Skelly’s recognizable vocals. It is a compelling and captivating reminder of how fine a band The Coral and I for one, couldn’t be more pleased with their long-overdue return. Things are certainly poised nicely for the new LP, Distance Inbetween, which is released 4th March 2016 on Ignition Records.

Before then, you can sample ‘Chasing The Tail Of A Dream’. It is out now on limited edition and signed 7”, also featuring new track ‘Unforgiven’ on the flip side.

Distance Inbetween, tracklisting:

White Bird
Chasing The Tail Of A Dream
Distance Inbetween
Million Eyes
Miss Fortune
Beyond The Sun
It’s You
Holy Revelation
She Runs The River
Fear Machine
End Credits


Bill Ryder-Jones – ‘Two to Birkenhead’


Bill Ryder-Jones has announced he will release his new album West Kirby County Primary, on November 6th via Domino.

The equally homely-titled ‘Two to Birkenhead, is the first glimpse from the former Coral guitarist’s follow up to his excellent debut LP, A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart. Judging by this first taste, Ryder-Jones’ new album will be a more guitar-driven, rockier affair than his intimate and sombre, but always gripping debut. Lead single ‘Two to Birkenhead’, is a potent and fuzzed-up garage rock tune with crunchy riffs and jaunty ton, tempered with a perfect blend of angst and vigor. While the pensive ballads and hushed pop songs of his debut seem to have been pushed to one side, a recognisable hint of melancholy remains with a restrained, detached delivery. An fine return from an artist who’s career thus far, has yet to disappoint.

You can check out ‘Two to Birkenhead’ below and the new album West Kirby County Primary, is out on November 6th via Domino.

The Coral – ‘The Curse of Love’

The Coral The Curse Of Love 2014

Breaking an indefinite hiatus by releasing an LP which was recorded eight years ago must stand as one of the odder things to do, but The Coral are set to do just that.

Featuring 12 previously unreleased tracks that were recorded between 2005 album The Invisible Invasion and 2007’s Roots & Echoes, the new LP, The Curse of Love, will be released on October 20th, through their own Skeleton Key Records. The album’s title track, the first offering to be unveiled from the forthcoming release, is a sombre and slumbering psych-folk number with waltzing swaying sea shanty vibe at it’s core, as James Skelly mournfully recounts ‘the curse of love’, in distinctive lilting scouse vocals. Also taken from the forthcoming LP is ‘Wrapped In Blue’. Featuring original guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones’ unmistakable style, it is a more uptempo number with a locked in groove and twitchy and warped aesthetic, against a dark narrative and softly strummed guitar. No major shocks or surprises to anyone familiar with The Coral’s previous output and it certainly sounds as though it wasn’t shelved due to quality control issues.

Whether or not The Coral’s hiatus is nearing a close is anyone’s guess but for now we’ve two great ‘new’ tracks and an album to look forward to. That’ll certainly do for the time being.  The Curse of Love is available to pre-order here.

(Video) Ian Skelly – ‘Cut From A Star’

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Merseyside has such a rich musical heritage. While the focus of late has been on the steady stream of new talent emerging from the banks of the Mersey, today it is the turn of one of the old guard (relatively speaking).

Best known for his role as The Coral’s drummer for the best part of a decade, Ian Skelly is now about to go it alone for the first time. Skelly will release his debut solo album Cut From A Star on November 10th, the first cut from which, is title track ‘Cut From A Star’. The ’60s/’70s influences remain (as does some of The Coral’s style), they are woven with whispering lyricisms to form a woozy, down-tempo psychedelic waltz

With The Coral on a temporary hiatus, it’s good to see the individual members are using their time productively to concentrate on some solo projects.

Graham Coxon, Paloma Faith & Bill Ryder-Jones – Desire

Get this. Converse pulled together awesome trio of Graham Coxon (Blur), Bill Ryder-Jones (Formerly The Coral) and Paloma Faith to create ‘Desire’.

It does seem a bit random, a shoe company bringing together exclusive music collaborations but, it is the latest of a series which has previously seen collaborations from Vampire Weekend, Kid Cudi & Best Coast, Bernard Sumner, Hot Chip and Hot City and Santigold, Pharrell and Julian Casablancas.

It doesn’t really matter about the who, what and why, this works so, so well. Ms. Faith’s soaring vocals are impeccable, especially against the backdrop of two of the most talented guitarists of their generation rockin’ out together. Thank you, Converse.

Watch the video or grab the track for keeps below.

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Download: Graham Coxon, Paloma Faith & Bill Ryder-Jones – Desire