Castlepalooza 2012 | Irish Acts Mixtape

Castlepalooza 2012 is almost upon us. The Music and Arts Festival returns to Charleville Castle Tullamore, County Offaly this Bank Holiday weekend (Friday August 3rd to Sunday 5th).

Castlepalooza is definitely one of my favourite Irish festivals, it’s in a fabulous setting, relaxed and with an admirable mix of Irish and International acts. There are so many different acts worth seeing this year, check the line-up/stage times for yourself if you don’t believe me.

Here’s a mixtape, an introduction to some of the Irish acts playing this year, which have caught my eye. There’s lot’s of great stuff on here, with plenty of diversity reflecting the festival itself, hopefully there’s something for everyone.

You can stream/download it below and the tracklisting is after the jump. Hopefully it’s useful and people enjoy it and this year’s festival too, obviously.

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Highasakite – ‘Indian Summer’

Having already made waves in their native Norway, this pop trio, Highasakite, are now set to put out their debut EP in this neck of the woods.

As an introduction we have the title track from the forthcoming EP, ‘Indian Summer’. The track is a beautifully produced, bewitching three and a half minutes of blissful pop with driving keys, pounding percussion and powerful vocals. It all sounds so fresh, organic and spacious,  it certainly is a wonderful introduction to the band’s delectable talents.

Highasakite’s Indian Summer EP is released on August 20th and you can download the title track below now, for free.

Kodaline – ‘Lose Your Mind’

Dublin quartet, Kodaline are preparing to release their debut self-titled EP in September.

The EP’s first single is ‘Lose Your Mind’, an anthemic, spacy alt-rock song. Expressing a similar demeanor or ethos we’ve come to expect from Doves or Elbow, mixed with some of the psychedelic tendencies of  Spiritualized. These guys have kept a relatively low-profile up till now but now signed to B-Unique/RCA Records, that looks all set to change.

Check out the fabulous ‘Lose Your Mind’ below and grab a free download of ‘Pray’, also taken from their debut EP.

Tame Impala – ‘Elephant’

A few weeks back Tame Impala unveiled ‘Apocalypse Dreams‘, the first track from their forthcoming second LP Lonerism. Now releasing the first single they continue to defy expectations and exemplify why they are the ‘King of Kings’ of modern day psychedelic rock.

‘Elephant’ swaggers through that now so recognizable haze of The Beatles, ’70s psychedelic and glam rock influences. It’s a hard edged musical juggernaut, bursting with electrifying guitar licks and riffs, combining with a glitz of smoothly cosmic vocals to permeate the inner most part of your mind. These guys sure know how to get one excited about a new album, fantastic stuff!

Enjoy ‘Elephant’, it’s not long till October 5th when Lonerism unleashed on the masses.

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Mp3: Tame Impala – Elephant  [audio]

Vitalic – ‘No More Sleep’ + Album News

Vitalic is prepping his third studio album Rave Age for release on October 22nd and has also unveiled the first track from the LP, ‘No More Sleep’.

The French producer restored my wavering faith in electronic music back in 2005, he’s a true creative genius with a masterful knack for creating electro catered to many tastes, something few, if any, contemporaries are able to get close to.

Enough of the history lesson, what about the here and now I hear you cry? There’s no drop in quality whatsoever with ‘No More Sleep’.  It’s a ravey, noisey, take-no-prisoners banger of blistering intensity, which has very generously been made a free download too, which you can grab below.

Roll on October 22nd when the new LP Rave Age drops. Questionable name aside, if he hits anywhere near the level of OK Cowboy and Flashmob, we’re in for a hell of treat.

SertOne – Shapes In The Sky

SertOne is with out doubt one of Ireland’s most promising talents, both prodigious and prolific (I make his fifth release inside of 18 months). His brand new EP, Shapes In The Sky, shows the quality is there in abundance, along with the quantity.

There is a swagger and air of confidence to Shapes In The Sky. Armed with an astonishing array of head-nodding beats and slick samples, SertOne takes us on a journey through a subterranean world of 8 bit sounds, beats and a hip-hop influenced grooves. Funked up jams like ‘Further Down’ and ‘Lego’ will bounce around your head all day. ‘They Call’ does much the same, shuffling along a steady stream of beats with the much sampled Damien Marley line “Out In The Streets They Call It Murder”, adding another layer of sheen. 

At just over 7 minutes ‘Breath’ is possible the finest example of the fine dexterity his talent possesses. It slides between a frenetic run of beats and synths to a more relaxed bass jam allowing every breath from Rachel Koeman (Young Wonder) joyous vocals to really come to the fore.

Proof, if proof be needed, SertOne is one of the most talented of a new generation of electronic producers coming out of Ireland. It is an  arduous task to do this EP justice with mere words, on that note, why not give it a much deserved listen?

Shapes In The Sky is out now on Melted Music.

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Introducing: Marika Hackman | Potent folk songs of enigmatic beauty

We have suffered something of a deluge ‘new folk artists’ from Britain in recent times. In reality, by and large, they have been purveyors of substandard happy-clappy pop, with a few notable exceptions of course. 

One such exception is London singer-songwriter Marika Hackman, whose folk style will undoubtedly see comparisons to Laura Marling. These are potent songs of enigmatic beauty with a striking vocal delivery, sounding both wise and beautiful, imbued with a striking level of touching emotion. She’s been working with Johnny Flynn and Adam Beach from the Sussex Wit to produce the double A-Side ‘You Come Down’ and ‘Mountain Spines’.

The double A-Side provides an excellent introduction to what Marika Hackman is all about and is released on September 3rd. Marika Hackman will also play a couple of Irish shows in late October/early November. 

 Marika Hackman – You Come Down

 Marika Hackman – Mountain Spines

Freedom Fry – ‘Summer In The City’

Freedom Fry are French & American duo of Marie Seyrat and Bruce Driscoll.

After apparently meeting on a film set in California a couple of years ago and they set to recording together and released their debut EP, Let The Games Begin, in August 2011. Following from this debut record the duo have released a brand new single ‘Summer In The City’. The timely named track is one of the breeziest,  chipper and infectious slices of sun-soaked indie pop that you are likely to hear anywhere.

You can download ‘Summer In The City’ and watch the video below.

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(Download) Milan Jay – In The Shadows of Footsteps

To date we’ve witnessed Milan Jay flirt with vast array of genres from indie, rock, electro to hip-hop. The Galway band’s latest single ‘In the Shadows of Footsteps’ is on a whole other level and could possibly be the most exciting departure yet.

‘In The Shadows of Footsteps’ is a high octane track, fueled by a heady mix of driving beats, synths and drones, coming out the other end sounding like the bastard child from a seditious love affair between Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros and ‘Rez’ by Underworld.

‘In the Shadows of Footsteps’ is due for release on August 4th – the same day they play Indiependence but you can grab it below and check out a feast of previously released music via soundcloud too.

We Are Animal | Indus Seal & Royal Wolf

It’s been a while since hearing from We Are Animal but the Welsh 5 piece are busy working on a new album and follow up to, the excellent debut, Idolise.

These Welsh wizards cook up something intrinsically curious, unusual and organic. Writing and recording mountainous region of Snowdonia, North Wales, this relative isolationism has done nothing to subdue the rampant creativity, in fact, their surroundings seem to inspire and add something special to the music.

This brings us to the new tracks. Their approach hasn’t changed much, say for the tapered abrasiveness and more controlled sound, they continue their foray through an explicit DIY attitude. The dark and trippy ‘Indus Seal’ has something of spaghetti western frontier vibe to it while ‘Royal Wolf’ trots along a similar trail and rhythmic groove.

A new record from We Are Animal can’t come quick enough, the band and their music is deserving of much greater notoriety and acclaim too.