Video: Major Lazer – Original Don ft. The Partysquad

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Its good to have Major Lazer and their big beat electronic dance-hall back once again. If you liked what they’ve done before on debut album Guns Don’t Kill People… Lazers Do, you will love ‘Original Don’. it also comes with a pretty random video which plays like an extended edition or homage to the vital hit ‘Jihan Sword Dancing‘. 

A brand new album from the duo is currently scheduled for release in 2012.

Mixtape: BarryGruff’s Irish Songs of 2011

2011 has been a great year for Irish music, there has been a fantastic amount of great albums, EPs, songs and shows. It has been particularly good year for new and breakthrough artists with the likes of Sertone, Moths, REID, We Are Losers, Girl Band and Monto all impressing so much. Irish music is alive, well and more diverse and vibrant than ever.

Instead on doing a straightforward list of my favourite Irish songs from the past 12 months I’ve gone with a mixtape again. I only hope I do it and 2011 justice, and that you enjoy this as much as I did putting it together. The tracklisting is after the jump.

Download: BarryGruff’s Irish Songs of 2011 Mixtape

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The Cast Of Cheers – ‘Family’

The Cast Of Cheers have returned with their first new music since releasing free album Chariot, early last year, clocking up some 150,000 downloads in the process.

Their return was announced pretty spectacularly with Zane Lowe playing ‘Family’ twice, back to back, on BBC Radio1 last week. ‘Family’ is a rhythmic beast packed full of driving beats, catchy riffs and a ton of energy; shades of The Futureheads or Maximo Park to this one too. Their forthcoming second album is due sometime early next year and was produced by Luke Smith

Surely it’s fair to say that we’ll be hearing plenty of The Cast Of Cheers in the coming weeks and months, you can listen to ‘Family’ below now.

 The Cast Of Cheers – Family 

Django Django – ‘Default’

Django Django spent most of 2011 hidden away working on their debut album and last week they announced it will be released via Because Music on January 30th.

This is great news obviously but it got even better, the band also released a brand new single ‘Default’. It sticks with the essence of what the Django’s have been doing, mixing tribal, rockabilly and electro grooves topped off with some alluring harmonies to create a truly unique sound.

This is yet another fantastically catchy cut from the Djangos and I for one am really excited to hear their debut album in the new year.

 Django Django – Default

Albums of 2011: Johnny Feeney’s Picks

Last week I posted my list of top 25 albums of 2011. Needless to say there was a lot of great albums missing from that list which I had neglected to include or had not heard over the course of the year. 

This week its the turn of my frequent gig-going accomplice and foreign correspondent who covered Primavera, Johnny Feeney, to pick three albums from 2011 which were so criminally overlooked. Take it away Johnny!

Other Lives  – ‘Tamer Animals’

This second album from Other Lives, multi-instrumental 5-piece indie band from Oklahoma, is a moody, atmospheric affair. Densely layered and highly cinematic in tone, the mood changes breathlessly between haunting despair and, if not exactly joy, well at least the uplifting hope of something better to come.

The lush arrangements of ever-changing guitars, sweeping strings, blazing horns, twinkling keys, driving percussion and soaring harmonies propel the songs forward without ever feeling forced or becoming bloated. Repeated listens are rewarded with more and more revealed each time. But for a rather weak closing pair of songs, it could justifiably be labelled a masterpiece. An album to get lost in.

 Other Lives – As I Lay My Head Down

Veronica Falls – ‘Veronica Falls’

Rousing indie-pop is the name of the game on this debut album from London band Veronica Falls. The styles vary throughout – from the garage rock of ‘Beachy Head ‘ and ‘Found Love in a Graveyard’ to the surf-pop of ‘Misery’ to the beautiful girlgroup-esque ‘The Box’. The wonderfully triumphant closing track ‘Come On Over’ manages to fuse all these styles together into what has to be one of the tracks of the year.

The subject matter may not be the cheeriest (‘Misery is coming over me, Misery my old friend’, for example) but the jangling guitars, cheery harmonies and catchy, hook-laden riffs make for a highly enjoyable listen. Nothing in here is groundbreaking but what Veronica Falls do, they do very well. And clocking in at 36 minutes, this is a record that doesn’t outstay its welcome.

  Veronica Falls – Come On Over

Laura Marling – ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’

Not resting on her laurels after releasing last year’s critically acclaimed ‘I Speak Because I Can’, Marling came back with an even stronger set of songs for this her third album. Though still primarily a folk singer-songwriter, Marling successfully drifts into the previously unchartered territory of country rock and Americana while adding more punch to her music and more bite to her lyrics. The snarling electric guitars in ‘The Beast’ will testify to that.

In ‘Sophia’, Marling has written her strongest song to date. A brutally raw break up song, Marling sings “I’m a good woman and I never did say whatever it was that you did that day”, trusting the person (possibly Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons – they split late last year) will get their just desert on Judgement Day.  At the tender age of 21 and with three very fine albums already under her belt, Marling has set the bar unbelievably high for herself. It would be no surprise should she surpass herself once again.

 Laura Marling – Sophia

BarryGruff Presents #3: The Last Tycoons, Sive & Ciaran Dwyer :: Flanagan’s :: Newbridge :: Dec 14th

So, it’s gig #3 for ‘BarryGruff’ Presents’ in Flanagan’s, Newbridge on Wednesday, December 14th. Entry is FREE as always and judging by the gigs #1 and #2, this is going to be immense!

Now based between their native Dublin and Berlin, The Last Tycoons have taken time out of their busy schedule for a headline show in Newbridge. The Tycoons’ debut album was one of last years top albums, armed with this, their southern roots Americana tinged alternative rock sounds and some new songs (hopefully), it is going to be a fantastic show.

On the bill too are Kildare musicians Sive and Ciaran Dwyer. Sive are fronted by songwriter and musician Sadhbh O’Sullivan, who along with her band, has been busy gigging around Ireland this year. Meanwhile Ciaran Dwyer of Band on an Island will be showcasing material from his debut solo album, which is due out in March of next year.

Entry is FREE as always and starts at 9pm, Wednesday, December 14th. More info & Facebook event here.

The Last Tycoons – Speed

The Last Tycoons – The Dry Law

Ciaran Dwyer – Alphabet City (Acoustic) 

Sive – Sunkissed

Black Star Are Back

Back in ’98, Mos Def and Talib Kweli joined forces to release the classic album Mos Def And Talib Kweli Are Black Star. The illustrious duo of Black Star have come together once again (albeit with Mos Def changing his name to Yasiin Bey) for a new record in honour of Soul legend Aretha Franklin.

The album still doesn’t have a release date but they have graced us with some tasty new jams, ‘Fix It’ & ‘You Already Knew’. Black Star still sound like one of the strongest hip-hop alliances in the world and seem as though they never left us, which bodes well for the new album.

Black Star – You Already Knew via HypeTrak

Black Star – Fix Up via PunaBlog

Video: Come On Live Long – Animal

Dublin five-piece Come On Live Long, have revisited their self-tilted EP from earlier in the year to bring us this wonderful video for ‘Animal’.

Despite only forming late last year they have released two EPs in the intervening time. Simon Keenan’s video complements the gentle, melancholic chill which permeates ‘Animal’. They have found a perfect balance with slick production and excellent musicianship, just listen to that subtle guitar lick. Impressive stuff.

You can download the Come On Live Long EP entirely for free from BandCamp.

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 Come On Live Long – Animal 

Captain Moonlight – ‘Occupational Therapy’

As a consistent producer of intelligent hard-hitting hip hop with a penchant to speak his mind on any number of controversial or political issues, it comes with little surprise that Captain Moonlight has decided to air his views on the Occupy movement.

The brand new track ‘Occupational Therapy’, comes as we eagerly await the release of his fourth album, Offenses Against The State. The beats are great, the lyrics potent and his ability to rap and rhyme is sublime – as usual he doesn’t disappoint.

‘Occupational Therapy’ is a surprising treat before the new album arrives in the coming weeks. That’s not all, he’s also made ‘Well Now’, featuring Limerick’s finest Rubberbandits, available for free download. Grab ’em both below.

Download: Captain Moonlight – Occupational Therapy

Download: Captain Moonlight – Well Now (Rubberbandits Remix)

BarryGruff’s Albums of the Year 2011

It has been a great year for music and there’s been so many fine albums this, so much so that many which featured on the blog throughout the year didn’t even make the final cut. Without further ado, here is a personal selection of the top 25 albums from 2011. Feel free to recommend ones I have missed below and enjoy!

25. Squarehead – ‘Yeah Nothing’

24. Malachai – ‘Return To The Uglyside’

23. Cashier No. 9 – ‘To The Death Of Fun’

22. Crystal Stilts – ‘In Love With Oblivion’

21. The Rifles – ‘Freedom Run’

20.The Strokes – ‘Angles’

19. The Joy Formidable – ‘The Big Roar’

18. The Go! Team – ‘Rolling Blackouts’

17. Toddla T – ‘Watch Me Dance’

16. Modeselektor – ‘Monkeytown’

15. Miles Kane – ‘Colour Of The Trap’ 

Kane had already made quiet an impression during his time with The Little Flames, The Rascals and The Last Shadow Puppets, alongside Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys. His debut solo album saw the Wirral-born musician embrace his deep and abiding love for the ’60s whisking the listener on a whirlwind trip through a spooky ’60s parallel universe. It is a record which found a balance between the ladish swagger and pulse-raising rock’n’roll riffs and swooning heartfelt love songs.

 Miles Kane – Come Closer

14. Pete And The Pirates – ‘One Thousand Pictures’

It’s been about three years since they released their jangly upbeat debut Little Death and their forte remains well-observed, ditsy, easy on the ear indie. One Thousand Pictures is melancholic and beautiful, fragile and robust and rowdy and rousing without ever feeling forced or misplaced. Sanders timeless songwriting ability captures the everyday ponderings and personal portraits is comparable to Ray Davies in his pomp.

 Pete And The Pirates – Half Moon Street via Jaumita

13. The Streets – ‘Computers and Blues’

Mike Skinner decided to retire The Streets moniker by bowing out with one last album, Computers and Blues. It turned out to be the most enjoyable listen since Original Pirate Material with Skinner sounding more relaxed and assured rhyming over a stunning blend of garage and hip-hop beats and some old school ravey undertones. A great way to sign off.

 The Streets – Going Through Hell via highgerman

12. Hyde & Beast – ‘Slow Down’

Comprised of drummers from The Futureheads and Golden Virgins, Hyde & Beast, melted down all the best parts of  ’60s/’70s rock to paint a swirling psychedelic vision of pop from another era. Slow Down meanders slowly, slinking through a wonderfully organic songs which while sounding retro it still feels remarkably fresh, new and timeless.

 Hyde & Beast – (and the) Pictures In The Sky

11. Siriusmo – ‘Mosaik’

Berlin based producer Siriusmo has been producing music for the best part of a decade yet 2011 saw him finally release a long-awaited debut album. Mosaik sees the exploration through the psyche of an enigmatic genius. It is an eclectic patchwork of electronic music, 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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