Introducing: Tarsiers


Tarsiers are a band based in Cardiff. They formed last year, began gigging in April and now their first recordings have surfaced online.

That’s the story of the Cardiff three-piece so far, in the most simplistic form. Finding an explanation for their style and sound has proven to be a rather more arduous proposition. This first collection of tracks, entitled Demo, sees them embrace an intriguing mix of styles and genres. ‘Camel’, ‘Last Train’ and ‘Black Ice’ are three imaginative and organic sounding jams, veering from rhythmic post-punk to the off-kilter realms of psychedelia and ’60s/’70s rock, all augmented by alluring grooves and imaginative arrangements. Tarsiers are an exciting proposition in what seems, from the outside anyway, as a remarkably healthy and diverse scene in Cardiff. Having set out with the aim of making music that was both ‘interesting’ and ‘fun’, we can definitely say it’s mission accomplished. Job well done.

You can stream Tarsiers tracks below and if they take your fancy, you can download them for free in a neat bundle from bandcamp.

(Video) Paul Davies – ‘Why Did I Give You My Heart?’


Paul Davies proved his credentials as songwriter and wry storytelling ability last year with his EP, If You Only Knew, and almost exactly one year on, Davies is back once again. 

Ahead of a forthcoming new and so far nameless EP, Davies has produced a quirky DIY style video for ‘Why Did I Give You My Heart?’. Taken from last year’s If You Only Knew EP, it captures the heartwarming nature of that quintessential Paul Davies sound. It’s subtle, graceful and charming, as a gentle woozy strum accompanies his soft and gentle vocals along a passage of melancholic musings. In the past unequivocal comparisons were drawn between Davies and the slower, vulnerable moments of both Pete Doherty or Graham Coxon’s solo work. It is a similarity that still stands.

Check ‘Why Did I Give You My Heart?’ and it’s accompanying video below. No concrete details yet on the forthcoming release but hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode

(Video) China Rats – ‘N.O.M.O.N.E.Y.’


We’ve been keeping tabs on Leeds noisemakers China Rats for sometime now, and they have yet to disappoint us with their musical antics.

China Rats continue this rich vein of form with their latest slice of spikey indie-punk, ‘N.O.M.O.N.E.Y. (No Money)’. Clocking in at just two minutes we’re blasted with a modern take on The Undertones / The Buzzcocks school of punk. Where real life is laced with a sense of humour, as frustrations of being young, jobless and skint in Britain today are met with a punchy-chorus and an abundant of hooks, giving you the best of both worlds. And oh me oh my, that video is just sublime. It’s definitely worth at least two minutes of your time.

‘N.O.M.O.N.E.Y.’ is taken from their forthcoming EP Don’t Play With Fire, will be released on October 14th.

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode

Introducing: Paddy Hanna

Paddy Hanna is a name that many may be familiar with from his role’s in Grand Pocket Orchestra, No Monster Club, Skelocrats and Ginnels. One would think he might have enough on his plate with four bands as it is, but not so.

With his new solo venture Hanna has enlisted the help of some familiar faces Mark Chester (Ginnels) Bobby Aherne (NMC) and Enda Canavan (GPO). With his first solo offering of ‘Join The Army’ and ‘Barry White’, Hanna is in a somewhat more laid back and relaxed mood. Two absolutely gorgeous tracks of mellow yet pleasantly chipper indie-pop with Hanna’s voice filling the songs with so much warmth. He (and and band) played their first live show down at EP last weekend and the set was an absolute treat too as it goes.

The single package of ‘Join The Army’ / ‘Barry White’ is out now on Popical Island. You can give ’em the once over below or download it gratis via bandcamp.

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode

5 Of The Best From Electric Picnic 2013


This time last week there were a lot of tired minds and weary bodies after Electric Picnic. It was a great weekend with plenty of highlights, musical & otherwise. That said, I have yet to find the time to pen anything of consequence about the weekend. No such problem from the every reliable Johnny Feeney, who’s here to share with us his five highlights from the weekend. Huge thanks to Mr. Feeney for taking the time to put together another excellent piece. 

Deap Vally (Cosby Stage, Saturday)

Bizarrely, Deap Vally formed in LA in 2011 after Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards met in a crochet class. Thankfully, their brand of primal, scuzzy blues/garage rock is about as far removed from crochet as is humanly possible. The scantily clad duo, brimming with attitude and oozing sex appeal, open here with the storming, filthy End of the World and don’t let up for the next 45 minutes.

Troy leads on guitars and vocals, banging out huge power riffs and a bellowing wail, with the fiery Edwards hammering away at the drums like a woman possessed whilst also providing backing vocals – their sound is not a million miles away from the White Stripes. Drawing on songs from their excellent debut album Sistrionix, these girls pack a serious punch. Standout tracks include the visceral ‘Make My Own Money’, the downright nasty ‘Walk of Shame’ and ‘Bad for my Body’. Music so brilliantly dirty you feel like you need a wash after it.

Parquet Courts (Cosby Stage, Saturday)

Continuing the veritable feast of garage rock on Cosby Stage on Saturday afternoon, Brooklyn 4-piece Parquet Courts take to the stage and soon have the sizeable crowd spellbound with their spiky tunes. The band are supremely tight and confident and have a fine set of songs to choose from – their debut album Light Up Gold is another album that should rate very highly on this year’s best albums lists.

Guitarists Andrew Savage and Austin Brown swap vocals throughout while the songs are propelled on ably by the rhythm section. As on record, they willingly invite as much feedback off the amps as they can, and as they do during ‘Light Up Gold II’ among others. Other highlights include ‘Master of my Craft’ and ‘Yr No Stoner’. A highly accomplished set. They play Whelan’s in October and that gig is one not to be missed.

Savages (Cosby Stage, Saturday)

There were plenty of quality all-female acts on show over the weekend and Savages, a four-piece London outfit, are another band to fall into that category. They come onto the stage dressed all in black with the lights down (they stay down for the whole show) and their music suits the mood perfectly. They play brooding, dark post-punk from their fine debut album, Silence Yourself, and it’s all really quite hypnotising.

Jehnny Beth is captivating with her haunted vocals and androgynous looks – with her short cropped hair and eccentric dance moves she gives off more than a hint of Ian Curtis. As you would expect with a post-punk band there are some fine bass lines that drive the songs along. There’s thrilling menace to tracks such as ‘She Will’, ‘Husbands’ and ‘City’s Full’. If you like your music dark, then look no further.

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode

John Grant (Rankin’s Wood Stage, Saturday)

John Grant was a personal highlight at EP two years ago and it’s clear from the off here that we’re in the presence of something truly special once again this evening. Grant released his second album, Pale Green Ghosts, earlier this year and with its harsher electronic sound, it’s quite a departure from his tender piano-led debut. Grant, a gentle giant, switches effortlessly between the two albums throughout the performance.

An early set highlight is the delicate ‘Marz’, a delightful song about a sweet shop from his youth. The new songs such as ‘Pale Green Ghosts’ and ‘Black Belt’ sound great with Grant occasionally sitting down to play synthesiser. Good friend Sinéad O’Connor joins him on stage to huge applause to provide backing vocals for the final three songs (she also provides backing vocals on PGG). The epic ‘Glacier’ is magnificent while he closes with ‘The Queen of Denmark’ – a real showstopper and a song so beautiful as to seem scarcely real. Magical.

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode

Arctic Monkeys (Main Stage, Sunday)

Arctic Monkeys have built up a potent arsenal of classic songs since they burst on to the scene as fresh-faced youths back in 2006 and they’re not afraid to use the weapons at their disposal, which is in full evidence at the main stage on Sunday evening. A huge crowd have gathered and are given a real treat as Alex Turner and co rattle confidently through their set while a very rowdy main stage crowd jump around and sing along with reckless abandon. I’d be amazed if there weren’t dozens of personal items lost and bones broken by the crowd up the front.

Opening with super new track ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, the band then swagger through classic songs such as ‘Brianstorm’, ‘Dancing Shoes’, ‘Crying Lightning’ and ‘Old Yellow Bricks’ while Stradbally laps it all up. The combination of ‘Pretty Visitors’, ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ and ‘Do Me A Favour’ is particularly brilliant mid-show before Alex swaps his electric guitar for an acoustic one and plays a lovely rendition of ‘Cornerstone’. The tempo picks up again for the finale with ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ and ‘R U Mine?’ before the band leave the stage. For the inevitable encore, the opening lines of ‘When the Sun Goes Down’ sends an already elated crowd into a frenzy, the weekend’s high point, before the band closes with the stunning ‘505’. A masterclass in headlining a festival and an absolute triumph.

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode

Introducing: Junior Bill & The Scallies


Junior Bill & The Scallies are a four-piece from Cardiff, fronted by singer/songwriter/guitarist Junior Bill (aka Rob Nichols) and ably assisted by his band The Scallies.

Together they form a pretty formidable union, bashing out an eclectic mix of energetic and politically charged ska-tinged pop music, drawing influence from Reggae, Folk, Hip Hop, Punk and Skiffle. Their music displays a fine ear for melody and a breathtaking talent for a lyrical turn. Be it ‘Umbrella Pedestrians’, a stunningly ear-catching reggae-roots-rocker or ‘Tatty Laces’, which is just as lovable but Bill’s lyrical endeavors enter a new level altogether. Beyond knocking out tip-top catchy-as-hell tunes, Junior Bill is a man with his eyes open to the world around him. What makes the difference is his ability to interpret and digest what he sees into succinct tales that tackle everything from discrimination toward young people by the UK justice system to the class war being waged by the UK government. All done with energetic enthusiasm where by both style and substance are met with equal measures.

Check out ‘Umbrella Pedestrians’ and ‘Tatty Laces’, a fine introduction to his streetwise sounds.

(Video) Tandem Felix – ‘Third Degree Burns’


Dubliners Tandem Felix have just released a brand new video for ‘Third Degree Burns’, the opening track from their excellent Popcorn EP.

Tandem Felix and indeed their EP, came in for some well earned praise on it’s release a few months ago. It’s a breathtaking display of moody and atmospheric, murky veiled indie, and ‘Third Degree Burns’ sums up their sound so precisely. Not only is it the standout track from the EP, it’s sounds so graceful as it elegantly twists and turns through some rather lush instrumentation. Enough chatter, check out the brand new video for the track below, which is pretty sweet as it goes.

The EP is available as a free download from Bandcamp (or €5 on CD) & you can see Tandem Felix live at this years HWCH (October 3 – 5). 

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode

Cate Le Bon – ‘I Think I Knew’ (Feat. Perfume Genius)


I’ve definitely been late to the game in unearthing the delectable talents of Cate Le Bon, but over the past few months, I’ve been getting acquainted with her rather impressive back-cataloge.

Right, back to the here and now. The Welsh singer/songwriter has announced she will release her third full-length album Mug Museum, in November. Ahead of the new LP, Le Bon has served us up with a tasty treat. Taken from the aforementioned LP, ‘I Think I Knew’, is a beautiful duet with Perfume Genius. It’s a softly sweeping and emotive duet of mournful tones and fragility, accompanied by lush and dreamy orchestrated instrumentation. As far as tasters goes, it works. I’m sold, it’s just so beautiful.

Mug Museum is released on November 11th. You can download/stream ‘I Think I Knew’ (Feat. Perfume Genius) while you wait.

(Video) Anna Calvi – ‘Eliza’


Announced a few weeks ago, Anna Calvi‘s forthcoming second LP, One Breath, is one of the most hotly anticipated follow up records.

Calvi’s self-titled debut was after all, one of 2011’s finest records, and an enthralling collection of brooding and dramatic gothic pop-songs to boot. The London-based singer-songwriter has unveiled the lead single from the forthcoming LP and ‘Eliza’ is certainly an auspicious first taste of her new album. An electric art-rock stomp, ‘Eliza’, sees a rustic guitar twang quiver in the face of Calvi’s powerful, emotive vocal and instrumental solos – retaining the kind of sweeping, noir-ish cinematic appeal of her previous work.

You can check out ‘Eliza’ below, along with the Emma Nathan directed video. One Breath will be released on October 7 through Domino Records.

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode