Introducing: Candidate

Candidate are Lexington trio Cedric Sparkman, Laurence Adams and Jason Matuskiewicz. American they may be, but their music has a distinctly British edge to it.

Their sound reeks of mid to late ’80s British indie but is not pretending to be anything else. They have embraced those bands who inspired them for which there  are obvious comparisons, namely The Cure, The Stone Roses and The Smiths. The later seems to permeate every ounce of what they do and you can almost hear a young Morrissey shining through Sparkman’s vocals.

This straight edge indie approach appears to suit them very well. The songs are catchy, poetic, passionate and filled with hooks and melodies, it’s hard to dislike.

Like what you hear? You can pick up Candidate’s debut record A New Life from Bandcamp right now!

Download: Candidate – Need It Most

Download: Candidate – I’d Come Running

Candidate – A New Life

Clubfeet – Edge of Extremes

‘Edge of Extremes is the latest track from Clubfeet‘s debut LP, Gold on Gold, to get it’s own release.

Originating in the Southern Hemisphere (Melbourne, Australia and Cape Town, South Africa) they create a dancey brand of electro-indie famed by the likes of Hot Chip. ‘Edge of Extremes’ is the personification of this approach; it is instantly charming and permeated by an overwhelming daydream, carefree vibe. This is also the very first single from their new ‘Gold on Gold’ video collaboration with acclaimed Sydney videographer Alex Goddard.

‘Edge of Extremes’ is the first in a series of videos to be rolled out in the second half of 2011 and is accompanied by remixes from the likes of Munk, French Horn Rebellion, Urchins and Danny Daze.

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Clubfeet – Edge of Extremes via Future Classic

Clubfeet – Edge of Extremes (Munk Remix)

Free Music: REID – ‘Genesis EP’

REID is Eoghan Reid, a 22-year-old producer from Cork who, a few weeks back, released his debut EP for free download on Bandcamp.

Genesis EP  is an exciting blend of atmospheric electronica. The EP is an enthralling listen but it’s strength lies in how tranquil and laid back tracks sit so comfortably with those filled with boisterous energy, al a the title track and the thumping ‘Diptera’. A clever, assured and engrossing debut record.

With fellow Corkman Toby Kaar becoming one rising stars of the burgeoning Irish electronica scene in 2011 and now REID, you would be forgiven for wondering if there is something in the water down there.

Grab the EP for free now via Bandcamp.

Download: REID – Forrest

Download: REID – Diptera

Free Music: Max Tannone – Ghostfunk

New York producer Max Tannone, the brains behind Mos Dub, Dub Kweli and Jaydiohead projects is back, with a genius new mash-up record.

This guy needs no introduction, his previous work speaks for itself. The new project is called Ghostfunk and on this occasion Tannone pairs Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah, with vintage African funk, high-life, and psychedelic rock music. A daunting to task to most but as we’ve seen from his previous work, Max Tannone can pull it off

Here’s three reasons to grab the entire album for FREE from his website.

Download: Ghostfunk – Make It N.Y.

Download: Ghostfunk – Mighty Agho

Download: Ghostfunk – The Same Girl

Download: Billy Bragg – Never Buy the Sun

As the News International scandal continues to spiral out of control with the resignation of Rebekah Brooks, the legendary Billy Bragg has offered his own musings on the affair.

‘Never Buy the Sun’ was written, rehearsed, recorded and released a single in the space of a few days and it’s now available as a free download.

In the song Bragg refers to the boycott of The Sun by the people of Liverpool in response to the lies it told in 1989 just days after the Hillsborough Disaster that saw 96 Liverpool fans die. Concluding that neither press, police nor politicians come out of this scandal looking good. Only the people of Liverpool can hold their heads high. Bragg on the mark once again.

Download: Billy Bragg – Never Buy The Sun

Barrygruff’s albums of 2011 so far

We’ve passed the halfway mark of the year so what better time to take stock of the best albums so far this year. A lot will change by the year’s end with albums from Modeselektor and Toddla T yet to be released and I have yet to listen to SebastiAn, The Horrors and Digitalism properly.

Here’s the 10 albums of 2011 so far (the album title links go to full reviews). I hope this is useful to people, enjoy.

01. The Kills‘Blood Pressures’

“They push the parameters of their guitar/drum-machine set-up to its very limit, a fantastic record seeping with clanking, sleazy and dark snarling blues/punk hybrid.”

The Kills – DNA via Consequence of Sound

02. Pharoahe Monch‘W.A.R (We Are Renegades)’

W.A.R (We Are Renegades) has everything; great rhymes, wordplay and head-nodding beats while lyrically it’s hard-hitting, intelligent and insightful, providing a scathing attack on the industry and society.”

Pharoahe Monch – Evolve via viciosdelaslilas

03. Gruff Rhys‘Hotel Shampoo

Hotel Shampoo manages to strike the perfect balance between Rhys’ desire to indulge his oddities, lyrical humor and touching sentiment while making it all sound so natural and effortless.”

Gruff Rhys – Shark Ridden Waters via Crossfiremusic

04. Siriusmo‘Mosaik’

“an eclectic patchwork of electronic music takes us on a rollercoaster ride where you can never tell what is coming next; dubstep to disco, hip-hop to house, electro and the experimental”

 Siriusmo – Feromonikon via thesubs-blog

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SOnance HOtel :: Album Launch :: Twisted Pepper :: July 15th

SOnance HOtel is the new work of Dublin musician and songwriter Brian Gallagher. Gallagher is probably better known to most as the drummer in Humanzi or for his work with The Mighty Stef.

He is set to release his first solo album Don’t Look Behind You this Friday, July 15. The record was conceived in Berlin and shaped on return to Dublin. It is virtually the work of one man, with all the material being composed, arranged, performed and produced by Gallagher.

It is quite different from his previous work but is no less astounding, preferring a gentle, uplifting and beautiful blend of lush 90’s style indie with touches of electronica. Don’t Look Behind You is a stunning debut, I’ve been hooked on it since I got it on Monday.

Don’t Look Behind You is launched this Friday 15 July in the Twisted Pepper, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin w/ support from The Mighty Stef and Ciaran Dwyer. Doors 8pm / €5.

SOnance HOtel – Ode To Nowhere

SOnance HOtel – Living Is For Dreaming

Albums, Albums, Albums: The Kills & Arctic Monkeys

Two more albums getting plenty of plays over the past while.

The Kills – Blood Pressures 

The Kills are another of 2011’s surprises. Yes I had been acutely aware of this duo’s talent but say for a few songs, their albums just never did it for me.

However, latest album Blood Pressures has absolutely blown that assumption to smithereens as they push the parameters of their guitar/drum-machine set-up to its very limit.

Blood Pressures is a fantastic record seeping with clanking, sleazy and dark snarling blues/punk hybrid. It melds the chugging, melancholic dub-tinged skanking rhythm of ‘Satellite’ with the likes of ‘Future Starts Slow’, ‘DNA’ and ‘Nail in My Coffin’ which drip with post-punk guitar riffs and pure aggression. There is even some sultry crooning of the brooding ballad ‘The Last Goodbye’ and ‘Baby Says’.

Blood Pressures really plays to the strengths of Mosshart’s vocals and Hince’s guitar playing, both of which seem effortlessly cool. It is mystifying how just two people can make such a raucous racket, but in no uncertain terms, Blood Pressures is the most complete record of their career.

The Kills – Satellite

The Kills – DNA via Consequence of Sound

Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See

It seems like an eternity since Arctic Monkeys exploded on to the scene rattling out reckless spiky indie-punk and singing about ‘dancing to electro-pop like a robot from 1984’.  2009’s Humbug, saw them move out of their comfort zone and into darker, weirder terrain proving they had much more in the tank than maybe some had expected.

Album number four, Suck It And See changes tack quite a bit, it isn’t a step back to the Monkeys of old but yet a further departure. They’ve traded in the kitchen sink approach for swooning swagger, it seems our Alex has found a certain romance and seems pretty content. No surprise the rasp has been reigned in, his vocals ripened into a honeyed croon a la his recent Submarine EP.

The record oozes with warmth and a glowing feeling of sentimentality none more so than Black Treacle’, ‘Suck It And See’ and ‘Reckless Serenade, while ‘Piledriver Waltz’, ‘Love Is A Lazerquest’ and ‘That’s Where You’re Wrong’ are similar but more melancholic. They have found a nice groove, something they are comfortable embracing.

There are dark and dirty rocky moments too like ‘Don’t Sit Down Because I Moved Your Chair’, ‘Library Pictures’ and ‘All My Own Stunts’, which sound much like hangovers from Humbug. ‘That’s Where You’re Wrong’ brings the curtain down in style with a terrific stirring indie-rock rendition (the chords sound remarkably like those from Humanzi’s ‘Out On A Wire’).

The four skinny indie kids from 2006 are growing up fast. In true Arctic’s fashion the music is reflective of their lives, albeit lives that have changed dramatically but the quality remains intact.In 2011, Arctic Monkeys remain as fresh and important as ever. In short Suck It And See is full of beautiful tunes, beautifully played and beautifully produced.

Arctic Monkeys – Don’t Sit Down Because I Moved Your Chair

Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See via fadeglamourblog

Video: Hyde & Beast – Never Come Back

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Last month saw Hyde and Beast announce themselves with the wonderfully rockin’ ‘(and the) Picture in the Sky’.

The duo, made up of The Futureheads’ Dave Hyde and ex-Golden Virgins’ drummer Neil Bassett have followed it up and unveiled their first single ‘Never Come Back’, out on August 8th via their very own label, Tail Feather Records. The retro ’60s/’70s inspired sound remains intact but is fleshed out with a sweet psychedelic edge.

Their debut album, Slow Down will be released on August 15th on their own label, Tail Feather Records.

Download: Fela Kuti – Everything Scatter (Toby’s Indigo Edit)

Toby Kaar was introduced to readers of the blog back in March and since then he’s been pretty busy gigging around Ireland.

Last week Toby Kaar unveiled a wonderful new remix of Fela Kuti’s ‘Everything Scatter’ which he found time to do . The Corkman has spruced up the orignal fleshing out the party vibe adding lots of warmth, added funk and claps.

Kaar is doing lots of shows this summer including Castlepalooza (July 29 -31). You can check his Breaking Tunes page for the full list.

 Download: Fela Kuti – Everything Scatter (Toby’s Indigo Edit)