H. Hawkline – ‘Llenwi’


Welsh psych folky H. Hawkline has returned with his first new recordings since last year’s weird and wonderful EP, Black Domino Box. ‘Llenwi’ is one of two tracks he has contributed to Recordiau Lliwgar’s (Welsh for Colourful Records) double 10″ compilation, Y Record las, out on April 1st.

‘Llenwi’ channels his experimental whims through a rough of sludge of meandering folk and indie, with his decision to sing in his native Welsh, adding a level of distinction and unusuality to the track. It does mean however, whatever he is singing about remains a mystery (to me at least) – not a problem though, it is both unusual and brilliant. Here’s hoping for much more from H. Hawkline in the not so distant future. 

You can listen to ‘Llenwi’ below and if it floats your boat, you can stream some other tracks from the Y Record las compilation here

China Rats – ‘Nip It In The Bud’

China Rats fin B&W-3

China Rats spent the best part of 2012 feeding us a series of top notch indie-rock gems to indulge in, and the good news is, the lads from Leeds have begun their assault on 2013 in a similar fashion.

China Rats’ new single ‘Nip It In The Bud’, is a two and a half minute blast of rough ‘n’ ready rock ‘n’ roll. Delivered with more than whiff of swagger, it is a little bit ’60s, just a tad garage & punk, and a certain Arctic Monkeys influence continues to loom large. As one of the few recent ‘indie’ bands to emerge and create some cause for excitement, it’s good too see China Rats have picked up where they left off. Hopefully 2013 results in a more than just singles. 

‘Nip It In The Bud’ is officially released on April 15th but you can listen to it below now.

Saturday Looks Good to Me – Invisible Friend


In their decade or so existence, Saturday Looks Good To Me‘s progress has been anything but straightforward, enduring endless line-up changes and major shifts in sound. Band head honcho Fred Thomas has returned with a reconfigured band line-up and with news of a new album, One Kiss Ends It All, their fifth LP.

I can’t say I’d been aware of their existence until now, so I’m obviously no expert but lead track ‘Invisible Friend’ suggests I have been missing out. Drawing on the finer points of ’60s pop and early indie rock, ‘Invisible Friend’ is a delightfully upbeat and airy indie-pop jangle. It is simply an irresistibly infectious song.  

Saturday Looks Good to Me will release One Kiss Ends It All on May 21st through Polyvinyl. 

Sea Area Forecast – ‘Blue Notes’


Sea Are Forecast are an indie-folk outfit from Newbridge, who went down a treat when they played a couple of the ‘BarryGruff Presents’ shows last year, and importantly showed increasing promise with each performance. 

Taken from their debut release, ‘Blue Notes’ appeared late last year but got somewhat lost in the deluge of end of year lists and other festive commitments.  ‘Blue Notes’ is a perfect introduction to Sea Area’s ‘indie with a folky touch’ approach. It’s an earthy and warm slow burner with some wonderful vocal harmonies – a quite a stirring rendition as it goes.

You can listen to ‘Blue Notes’ below or watch the video, made of footage from recording sessions, live shows and other hi-jinx.

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DB Band – Loosen Up (EP)

DB Band Loosen Up

Formed by former Supergrass bassist Mick Quinn, Paul Wilson and Mikey Dean-Smith in late 2010,  the DB Band are back with a long awaited follow up to 2011’s Stranger In The Alps EP.

Loosen Up, the second coming from the DB Band, reaches even beyond the giddy heights of their debut. With Mick on vocal and guitar duties, the EP is a confection of hyperactive indie rock with their collective knack for a catchy tune and poppy hook at the centre of everything they do. It is a harder-edged affair than their debut, fairly obvious from the first note of title track ‘Loosen Up’ to the blistering stomper ‘Falling Down’ and the racey finale, ‘Pocahontas’. Strange then that the finest moment comes in the shape of the wistful, reclined and lazy acoustic alt-folk-country ballad, ‘Up In Smoke’.  As with Quinn’s previous work with Supergrass (that’s the last mention I promise), there’s a real sense of fun, making the EP a contagiously intoxicating, addictive and thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Loosen Up is out now through BAM Records

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Anderson – Hallowed Heart EP

anderson hallowed heart

Since the release of debut single Patterns / History, Anderson has been writing and recording tracks for his debut album. Intended to be his next release, the process has been more fruitful than expected however, as the Dubliner amassed more songs than space allowed for on one LP. And so the Hallowed Heart EP was born, four tracks from the album sessions that sit together as a separate entity rather well. 

Varying from peppy and positive to melancholic, this is a folksy sound with irresistible classic pop melodies, draped in Anderson’s intuitive songwriting and storytelling abilities. There is a quite buoyant feel to songs like ‘Hallowed Heart’ and ‘Cecilia’s Sister’; the lyrics are as deep and personal as they are optimistic and hopefully, bobbing along some jaunty keys and acoustic guitar mingling. ‘A Sad Lullaby’ hits a gloomier tone, a moving song of a girl lost to the trappings of her life to the point of despair. Closer ‘Death Is Like The Rain’ returns to the previous optimism, a gentle acoustic strum accompanies his earnest voice, leaving Anderson with a wide open space for his lyrics to fill. Serving as something of the Anderson manifesto, it rallies against resignation and depressive decline in a powerful insistence to stay positive. An overwhelmingly powerful climax, leaving the listener wishing the song wasn’t just 1:52 in length.

Hallowed Heart is a simply wonderful collection of songs. These are touching personal tales, taking some of the finer moments ’60s/’70s folksy pop and told through the eyes of an intuitive songwriter and storyteller on the very top of his game.

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Colleen Green – ‘Heavy Shit’ & ‘Time In The World’


Following on from some excellent singles and EP releases over the past few years, Colleen Green will release her full-length LP, Sock it to Me, through US indie label Hardly Art on March 19th.

The one-woman pop-punk machine has taken her time readying the album. With ‘Heavy Shit’ & ‘Time In The World’ as an introduction, Colleen Green is once again exhibiting her expert talent for quality and  thoroughly catchy songs. She is  keeping the lo-fi candle burning bright. Ably assisted by her trusty drum machine, the fuzzed up ‘Time In the World’ is tempered by her breathy vocals and a meandering lasse faire vibe. ‘Heavy Shit’ on the other hand, is much more direct. Green’s ever ever smooth vocal floats over a driving buzzsaw guitar and synthesized drum beat. Simply put; this is lo-fi garage punk with a catchy pop core. 

Two quite different yet utterly intoxicating and addictive introductions to the album which are bound to brighten up at least part of your day.

BarryGruff Presents #13: The Depravations & The Dead Heavys :: Flanagan’s Bar, Newbridge :: Saturday :: March 16th


‘BarryGruff Presents’ returns to Flanagan’s Bar for its 13th Newbridge show on Saturday, March 16th. 13, lucky for some, huh?

Over the course of the previous shows there’s been some really special nights littered with many great performances. This coming Saturday will be another top night of live music with The Depravations and The Dead Heavys.

The Depravations are Galway four-piece indie-folk band who take their influences from a combination of ’50s and ’60s surf music, old country and blues. The band went down a storm when they played late last year and return as part of their tour in support of their excellent debut album, ‘Onwards, Westwards’. The album, like their music in general, is filled with warmth, rich sounds, stories and harmonies; they are one of the West of Ireland’s hidden treasures but hopefully not for too long.

The Dead Heavys are gearing up to release their debut record, produced Jagz Kooner (Primal Scream, Kasabian & Sabres of Paradise). The Waterford bands brand of funky indie rock, tinged with psychedelics and a catchy pop sensibility, is utterly infectious. Not a surprise then that they’ve already made quite a stir. In February alone they played a sell-out show in The Village, appeared on Today FM and have been announced for a slew summer festivals. 2013 looks like being a big year for the lads from Waterford, and what’s bigger than coming to Newbridge? 

It’s FREE in as usual & kicks off at 9pm. It’s going to be another great night of live music and one not to be missed. [RSVP]

Introducing: Dog Legs


Dog Legs are London / Brighton duo of Moema Meade and Liam Bradbury, by way of Menai Bridge. The duo are fine purveyors of dirty, rough ‘n ready lo-fi garage punk, done in short bursts and wrapped with a touch of extremely catchy bubblegum pop.

There is a definite ‘don’t give a fuck’ vibe going on, furthered by their fondness for an expletive which runs throughout their latest EP, Awkward. The EP is quite fun and filled with sharp-tongued lyrical sweariness, from the high-energy blasts of ‘Beast Like Me’ and ‘Cobra Snake’ to the darker downbeat ‘Bitch Please’ or ‘Another Shit Teen Movie’. Yeah there’s a slightly juvenile aspect to the whole thing, but it’s actually one of the appealing features to Dog Legs and their EP.  Instead of ‘seriousness’ they allow their sense of fun run wild, bash out a jam and enjoy it. Simply brilliant stuff and utterly infectious too. 

You can check out some choice cuts from Dog Legs below or grab their Awkward EP from bandcamp.

Sweet Baboo – ‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’

Sweet Baboo

Sweet Baboo is preparing to release his fourth album Ships in April, preceded by the utterly delightful ‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’.

Sweet Baboo, real name Stephen Black, is a native of the north Wales countryside. Embracing that rich Welsh tradition for psychedelic folk/pop, he delivers it with style, on a par with fellow countrymen Gruff Rhys and H. Hawkline. The sweetly ‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’ captures this asthetic with perfection, opening in a shroud of melancholy before bursting into life with a delightful melody and irresistible swirls of brass. Aside from this idiosyncratic streak, Sweet Baboo’s star quality lies in his evocative and unique voice. 

‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’ is out now & you can check it below. The single will be followed by Ships this April on Moshi Moshi and Sweet Baboo will be hitting the gig trail across the UK too, there’s a pile of live dates over on his website.

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