Introducing: The Alice Kona Band

Loud, lively and exciting are three words that best describe The Alice Kona Band, a 4-piece garage/punk band from Belfast.

These four lads from the banks of the Lagan channel a racey mix of 60′s garage, 50′s pop and gritty rock ‘n roll/punk. The Alice Kona Band already have a number of startlingly good EPs under their belt, which accumulates to a riotous collection of high energy songs. Whether it’s the spikey indie of ‘Bad Dreams’ or brash punk-rock-out of their latest single ‘Film’; their tunes are invariably rockin’, loud, punchy and yet endearingly melodic. 

Pretty compelling stuff and presumably a ferocious proposition live. They play presents at The Hard Rock Cafe, Dublin on the 29th of November but until then you can give the tracks below a spin and you’ll get the idea.

BarryGruff Presents: The Statics, The Violet Roadkills & Wayfarer :: Arthur’s, 28 Thomas Street :: Dublin :: Friday :: Nov 23rd

I’m delighted ‘BarryGruff Presents’ is on its way back to Dublin once again, this Friday, November 23rd. We’re taking over Arthur’s on Thomas Street, the newest addition to Dublin’s live music scene under the watchful eye of The Mighty Stef.

I’m really excited about this one and to have ‘The Statics’, ‘The Violet Roadkills’ and ‘Wayfarer’playing on the night. There is more details and tracks from the acts below. Doors at 8pm and admission is FREE, hopefully some of you can make it along to make it a really great night. [Facebook event]

The show is on Friday November 23rd, Arthur’s (Upstairs), 28 Thomas Street, Dublin 8. Doors at 8pm and admission is FREE. There’s more info/links below.

The Statics:

Echoing the likes of The La’s, John Power & The Coral, The Statics specialise in upbeat, energetic and heart warming indie-goodness with twangy rhythmic guitars, rich distinctive vocals and sing-a-long choruses, played with energy, refreshing honesty and assured sense of style. This Dublin four-piece are a real hidden gem but hopefully not for too long.

 [Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter]

The Violet Roadkills:

Also hailing from Dublin, The Violet Roadkills are a somewhat different prospect. Taking their cue from the likes of Death In Vegas and Holy Fuck, they have a preference for a loud, intense and powerful mix of heavy riffs and driving synths, channelled into a haze of Electronica and Krautrock. Their influences from My Bloody Valentine, Royksopp, Steroelab to Godspeed You Black Emperor run riot throughout their music. These guys don’t mess about, and do what they do very, very well. This is a first Dublin show in sometime and one definitely not to be missed.

[Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter]

Meanwhile support comes from Newbridge trio Wayfarer, whose soft and gentle folk sound is something of beauty, a perfect combo to kick off any night.

This really promises to be a great night in Arthur’s, the newest addition to Dublin’s live music scene, so come on down for a buzz!

Anderson – ‘History’

Anderson, aka Daniel Anderson, introduced us to his new solo project withPatterns back in September, and my, did it deliver.

The Dubliner has now unveiled ‘History’, ‘Patterns” companion on his forthcoming debut double a-side. ‘History’ lives up to the impeccable standards of it’s predecessor. It is such a beautiful soothing song, filled with genuine heartfelt emotion; it is both inviting and reflective. The video from Colm Russell is wonderful, and a perfect partner for the song. It is going to be very exciting to see where Anderson can go with this, if his record to date is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat.

‘Pattern’s/’History’ will be released soon on 7″/CD & mp3. Until then you can stream the video/track below to your hearts content.

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Album of the Week: Sam Willis – Winterval

Winterval is the debut solo album from Sam Willis, one half of London-based Walls, and he’s gone and cooked up something rather special. Taking a host of house, techno, minimal and Balearic influences, Willis assimilates these familiar traits into otherworldly electronic music that is not easily defined. Winterval gracefully hovers in an ambiguous hinterland between subtly euphoric and vaguely ambient.

The music is cloaked in a shadowy mystique, flanked by the wispy near silence opener of ‘140 Miles Away’ and eerie closer ‘Twirled With Your Slight Fingers’. Although the more unnerving sides to his sound are maintained throughout, these haunting, atmospheric individual spurts are by no means the pulse of the album. Willis is the master of not missing a beat, sustaining the rhythm and protracting the promise of a euphoric climax, while keeping you captivated through repeated propulsive beats and swirls. None more so than the swirling synth and deep drones of ‘Weird Science’, the twinkling crystalline grandeur of ‘Fox Glissando’ and the spectacular ‘Frozen-Cirrus’.

Chiming notes resonate through every track and the beats are delivered with pin point accuracy. Willis has mixed the warm sounds with a crisp frosty elegance, creating a hypnotic, comforting sound collage. It is no way an exaggeration to say not only is Winterval one of the finest records of 2012, it is one of the most aesthetically complete electronic albums for quite some time.

Introducing: Peadar Kearney

It is hard to explain, or understand, the reasons why so much quality music is coming from Newbridge (after all I’m from the place and I can hardly even hum a tune). What is clear though, for a small town, the dearth of musical talent is staggering. Another name to be added to the ever increasing list is Peadar Kearney, a 22-year old musician from Newbridge, currently residing and working in Toulouse, France.

From his Gallic hideaway, Kearney has been whisking up some wonderful, bubbling downtempo electronica. Created with a deft touch and delicate attention to detail to furnish us with sounds of tranquility. The rather nocturnal ‘Yonville’ is a case in point; calming, peaceful and oh so smooth, as is the equally lovable ‘Serenade. Assuring he’s not a one trick pony ‘Ahab’ meanwhile, has a bit more a spark to it. Centered around a seductive guitar line, it is met with sharp snappy beats and deep hums, which all sit comfortably side by side.

There are a few choice picks below and if this tickles your fancy, there’s plenty more over on Soundcloud.

Veronica Falls – ‘Teenage’

Veronica Falls self-titled album was a definite highlight from 2011, a mix of garage rock, indie and surf-pop it was unbelievably lovable.

With that in mind, it’s great to hear they’re returning with a new album next year, Waiting For Something To Happen. While we await that release, Veronica Falls provide a taste of what the future holds with lead track ‘Teenage’. It’s a pretty dreamy tune with an undercurrent of melancholy and longing for days gone by running through what is at  just under three minutes, a short and sweet blast of sugary jangley indie pop that you’ll easily fall in love with. 

Waiting For Something To Happen will be released the 4th of February on Bella Union.

Guest Post: Johnny Feeney Picks 3 Albums

The ever reliable Johnny Feeney returns with another guest post, this time around he’s sharing three albums missed or overlooked on the blog. Take it away Johnny.

Alt-J An Awesome Wave

This quite astonishing debut album from English four-piece Alt-J has been earning rave reviews from near and far and recently, deservedly, won the 2012 Mercury Music Prize. It’s not difficult to see why. This is easy listening, but with backbone. Short, snappy drums propel the songs forward with shimmering layers piled on top along with lots of vocal repetitions, harmonies and lead singer’s Joe Newman’s unique, almost nasal vocals, which is a potent weapon in its own right.

The additional flourishes throughout make the album – the dreamy guitars and pianos on ‘Something Good’, the mantric repetition in ‘Breezeblocks’, the deliciously delicate xylophones in ‘MS’, the Eastern-style guitar line on the exceptional closer ‘Taro’, the squelchy synths in ‘Fitzpleasure’. Everything comes together effortlessly without a duff track in sight. Even the three short interludes are a class apart. Some of the lyrics are cryptic at best but with music this good it’s hard to complain. An Awesome Wave? An awesome album.

Richard Hawley Standing At The Sky’s Edge

The seventh studio album from Richard Hawley is an interesting change of direction for the Sheffield singer-songwriter. Hazy psychedelia is the order of the day here and Hawley proves masterful at it. With only one track clocking in under five minutes, the songs are suffused with snarling, meandering guitars solos and Hawley’s distinctive vocals. The title track is a masterpiece telling tales of a man who kills his wife and kids, a hard-up prostitute who ends up in jail and a young man involved in inner city violence respectively.

‘Down in the Woods’ is a real rocker with a venomous Hawley sounding not unlike Mark Lanegan. There are moments of real beauty here too with the woozy rock of ‘Time Will Bring You Winter’, the delicate ‘Don’t Stare At the Sun’ and the haunting ‘The Wood Collier’s Grave’. It’s the rockier material here that really stands out though such as the excellent closer ‘Before’, which begins gently before a mazy guitar line comes in, ‘She Brings the Sunlight’ and ‘Leave Your Body Behind’. One wonders where Hawley will go next but it will certainly be interesting to find out.

Grizzly Bear Shields

It’s three years since Brooklyn’s Grizzly Bear released the superb Veckatimest. It seems Shields was not a straight forward follow-up, with news of a full album supposedly binned along the way. However this album could justifiably be called their strongest yet. With its dense, complex layers it’s certainly challenging but one that reaps rich rewards upon multiple listens. There’s certainly nothing as instantly accessible as ‘Two Weeks’ on here with no apparent radio-friendly songs, not that this is a bad thing.

The album opens with ‘Sleeping Ute’ and its disconcerting time signature is an indicator of what’s to follow You learn to expect the unexpected from Grizzly Bear. As always, vocals are shared between Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen with harmonies appearing throughout. The sublime ‘Yet Again’ has a really catchy chorus that can get stuck in your head for days. Album standout ‘Half Gate’ is a work of high art with its soaring, sweeping strings and jangling guitars. Brilliant stuff from a brilliant band.

BarryGruff Presents #10 w/ Our Krypton Son, Ciaran Lenehan & Sea Area Forecast :: Flanagan’s Bar, Newbridge :: Saturday :: Nov 17th

It’s hard to believe this is the tenth BarryGruff Presents show in Newbridge, how did that happen?

Anyway. BarryGruff Presents #10 returns to Flanagan’s Bar, Newbridge for another fantastic night of  live music on Saturday, November 17th, w/ Our Krypton Son, Ciaran Lenehan (full band) & Sea Area Forecast.

Chris McConaghy aka Our Krypton Son hails from Derry, where he cut his first musical teeth and establishing his song writing credentials sharing stages with David Kitt, Jape and Cashier No. 9. In early 2010 McConaghy gathered close musician friends together to create Our Krypton Son. Our Krypton Son’s muse traverses the songscapes of Wilco, Costello, Bowie, Waits and Orbison; with McConaghy’s voice fragile, tender and touching. This is a first visit to Newbridge for Our Krypton Son as part of their Irish tour in support of their self-titled debut album.

Dublin folk rocker Ciaran Lenehan takes time out from prepping his new album to return to Newbridge, where he has become a firm favourite. Having earned his stripes on the live circuit with the likes of Damien Dempsey, Frank Turner and Wallis Bird, Lenehan is a songwriter to be reckoned with; simple, assured and engaging. Most importantly he has the talent to make wonderful stories into fantastic songs. This is a rare chance to see him perform with his full band behind him.

Meanwhile support comes from Newbridge’s very own Sea Area Forecast who bring their indie folk sounds to the town for the first time since releasing their debut EP. It all promises to be yet another memorable night.

Entry is FREE as always and the show starts at 9.00pm in Flanagan’s, Newbridge on Saturday, November 17th. For more info & Facebook event.

(Video) Clinic – ‘Miss You’

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As we await the release of Clinic‘s forthcoming seventh album, Free Reign, which drops next week, we have lead single ‘Miss You’ to entertain us. And entertain is does, just what we’ve come to expect from the Liverpool-based experimentalists. ‘Miss You’ is a transportive off kilter slow jam, with a mix of out-there psychedelic funk. As for the video, see for yourself, the rather trippy sounds are matched in equal measure by some hallucinogenic visuals.

Free Reign is due November 12th through Domino.

(Video) Heartsrevolution – ‘Not That Hard To Explain’

It feels like an age since last hearing from Heartsrevolution. Last year’s Are We Having Fun Yet? mixtape was a nice stop gap until the release of their promised LP, what happened to that is anyone’s guess?

Regardless of the back story, they have returned with a brand new track ‘Not That Hard To Explain’. Borrowing a sample from The Strokes’ ‘Hard To Explain’, it is matched with by Heartsrevolution’s recognizable feisty mix of electro, punk and hip-hop. It is ridiculously catchy but even that can’t mask the stingy lyrics. 

It’s great to have them back, even if it is just for one song. You can watch/listen to ‘Not That Hard To Explain’ below.

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