Introducing: Haüer

Haüer 2014

It’s fair to say that Dublin producer Haüer has a slight infatuation with the synthesizer sounds of the ’80s and synth-based cinematic film scores (those of John Carpenter in particular wouldn’t be a surprising find in his record collection). 

It is from this base that Haüer’s sleek, slick and cinematic vision of electro-pop takes shape. Retro yet futuristic, these fascinatingly imaginative and richly developed passages portray an impressive dreamlike ambience, rendering his latest EP, Esperbyte, such a captivating experience. In part due to painstaking production and an impressive, yet quite dark, vision of the place where dreams and reality coexist in the same space as video games and movies, offering the perfect backdrop for the driving beats, kicks, slow-motion chord changes and synths to combine and create an incredible sense of wonderment and adventure. The likes of ‘Merc II’ and ‘Esperbyte’ duly deliver in prompting the mind to envisage colourful flashbacks to numerous ’80s action movies and 8-bit adventure games – smooth, cool and feels a little dangerous. It not only unequivocally excels in inducing a severe case of nostalgia but it feels rather forward thinking and futuristic too. All in all, a masterfully pieced together release from start to finish.

Haüer’s new EP, Esperbyte, is out on September 12th. You can sample ‘Merc II’ & ‘Esperbyte’ below or pop over to Nialler9 & stream the EP in its entirety.

Introducing: Nano Kino

Nano Kino 2014

There’s a rather meagre amount of information available on Nano Kino, except say that they are a band, apparently based in London and yet another side-project involving Maxïmo Park guitarist Duncan Lloyd.

Nano Kino’s first offering is a beauty, a self-titled two track release that falls somewhere between pensive, yet self assured dream pop and droning reverb laced pysch-rock. Nano Kino slip seamlessly from being immersed in heavy blankets of reverb and fuzz, to gentle whirlpools of shimmering psychedelic dream-pop. Centred around an as yet unknown female vocalist, who’s powerful and evocative voice is the centre piece from which everything else is built. ‘Bike Ride’ sees subtle and refined percussion met by a driving guitar line and all soaked in a fuzzy lo-fi veneer, the perfect backdrop for her vocals (the sweet harmonies in particular) to shine. ‘L Song’, the pick of the two, sees her dreamy pitch ushered toward the slightly more experimental, spaced-out zones of hazy psych-pop. It just washes over you with such an ease, shimmering on it’s merry way, it fashions a perfect balance between pop and the psychedelic. Rather inspired stuff, of which, hopefully there’s more to come, and soon.

You can listen to both ‘Bike Ride’ & ‘L Song’ below & if they tickle your fancy, they can be yours, just ‘name your price’ here.

The Coral – ‘The Curse of Love’

The Coral The Curse Of Love 2014

Breaking an indefinite hiatus by releasing an LP which was recorded eight years ago must stand as one of the odder things to do, but The Coral are set to do just that.

Featuring 12 previously unreleased tracks that were recorded between 2005 album The Invisible Invasion and 2007’s Roots & Echoes, the new LP, The Curse of Love, will be released on October 20th, through their own Skeleton Key Records. The album’s title track, the first offering to be unveiled from the forthcoming release, is a sombre and slumbering psych-folk number with waltzing swaying sea shanty vibe at it’s core, as James Skelly mournfully recounts ‘the curse of love’, in distinctive lilting scouse vocals. Also taken from the forthcoming LP is ‘Wrapped In Blue’. Featuring original guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones’ unmistakable style, it is a more uptempo number with a locked in groove and twitchy and warped aesthetic, against a dark narrative and softly strummed guitar. No major shocks or surprises to anyone familiar with The Coral’s previous output and it certainly sounds as though it wasn’t shelved due to quality control issues.

Whether or not The Coral’s hiatus is nearing a close is anyone’s guess but for now we’ve two great ‘new’ tracks and an album to look forward to. That’ll certainly do for the time being.  The Curse of Love is available to pre-order here.

Electric Picnic 2014: Johnny Feeney’s 5 Best Acts

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of all the people who made it to Electric Picnic this year, especially after last year’s festival, which was one of my favourite EP’s of all. It’s a small price to pay I guess for a new life over here in Vancouver. In my absence however, the trusty and reliable Johnny Feeney was down in Stradbally for this year’s festival, one of his favourites yet. His knowledge, diverse taste and appetite for music (gigs in particular) is astounding and always provides a refreshing and interesting take on whatever he chooses to write about. I for one really enjoyed his report from the weekend’s antics and hopefully you do too. So without any further hesitation, here are the five acts that impressed him the most at Electric Picnic 2014. Thanks as always to Johnny and I’ll leave you in his very capable hands.

Portishead, Main Stage, Saturday 30st August, 22:35

Trip-hop masters Portishead are not a band renowned for being overly prolific (they’ve released three studio albums in 20 years) or for their zealous touring schedule (they haven’t played in Ireland since 1997) so tonight’s performance on the main stage falls into the once-in-a-blue-moon category which you do not want to miss. The huge crowd at the main stage is recognition of this fact and thankfully they are treated to a very special show. The set opens with ‘Silence’ and its long, clattering intro before lead singer Beth Gibbons comes on stage to a raucous reception.

Gibbons is an enigmatic, mysterious, almost reticent, front woman. Clad in black jeans and black hoody, she delivers her angst-laden, blood-chilling vocals with her head bowed and eyes closed not acknowledging the crowd. As soon as her vocals are finished she turns away from the crowd and the lights, faces the drums and almost cowers in the dark until called upon again. From tonight’s set ‘The Rip’ is especially brilliant early on followed by the gorgeously languid ‘Sour Times’. Other highlights include ‘Wandering Star’, ‘Over’ and ‘Glory Box’. It may be bleak, it may be grim, but this is just magnificent from start to finish.

As the band wave their farewells after the encore there’s more than a hint of a smile from Gibbons. Has the Stradbally crowd won her over or is she just glad it’s all over? We’ll never know. That’s Beth for you, ever the enigma.

St Vincent, Electric Arena, Sunday 31st August, 19:00

On the other hand, Annie Clark, aka St Vincent, has no apparent problems playing to the masses. Drawing in a huge crowd to the early-evening slot on Sunday she delivers a blistering show to an ecstatic crowd. Drawing heavily from her self-titled latest album, Clark opens with ‘Rattlesnake’ before playing recent single ‘Digital Witness’, an infectious, joyous track with blasting horns and an incredibly catchy chorus.

This is an art-rock performance that will love long in the memory. Not only no slouch on the guitar with some crunching, squelching riffs, there are also numerous choreographed dance moves with her keyboard player. Later on, Clark finds herself writhing around on the raised steps at the back of the stage before playing ‘Cheerleader’ standing atop them. A late stage dive into the crowd finds a green mask placed into Clark’s hand. As she’s returned to the stage, she duly puts on the mask and finishes with ‘Her Lips Are Red’. A born entertainer, a wonderful show.

Metronomy, Electric Arena, Saturday, 20:00

People are ready to dance on Saturday night as an expectant crowd awaits Metronomy in the Electric Arena. The band emerge to a hero’s welcome dressed in white suits eerily reminiscent of Liverpool’s ill-fated 1995 FA Cup Final attire and deliver a barnstorming set of highly danceable electronic pop. Their latest record, Love Letters, may not attain the heights of their earlier albums but the title track, in particular, along with the soulful ‘I’m Aquarius’ and the instrumental ‘Boy Racers’ are well received.

The set highlights however come from earlier tracks such as ‘Corinne’, ‘the Look’, ‘the Bay’, ‘Holiday’, ‘Radio Ladio’ and ‘Heartbreaker’. The tent is hopping throughout as punters dance with abandon and the atmosphere is suitably electric. This was an incredible amount of fun and up there as a contender for set of the weekend alongside Chic’s fairly monumental headline show on the main stage later on Saturday evening.

The Altered Hours, Body & Soul Main Stage, Friday 29th August, 20:00

Having never heard of this Cork band before, stumbling across these guys early on Friday evening by blind luck and then being absolutely blown away by them was my very nice surprise of the weekend. Live, they play a really noisey, dirgey brand of rock somewhere between heavier psych-rock and the ear-bleeding shoegaze of My Bloody Valentine.

The mesmerising ‘Sweet Jelly Roll’, from the eponymous EP, has a real Jesus and Mary Chain feel to it. This is hypnotic music that draws you further and further in. Certainly a band worth checking out more of in the future, The Altered Hours play upstairs in Whelan’s on 14th of November. Blind luck can be a beautiful thing.

Benjamin Booker, Cosby Stage, Saturday, 15:45

New-Orleans based Benjamin Booker is only 22-years-old, but you wouldn’t think it from listening to him. Oozing cool on the Cosby Stage on Saturday afternoon and touring in support of his recently released brilliant self-titled debut album, his blues-rock is stomping, soulful and full of energy.

Accompanied by guitar and drums, Booker drums up a whirlwind of rousing rock along the lines of Black Keys or the White Stripes (Jack White was a big influence), but with bags more soul. In fact, the first pause for breath is about two-thirds through the show when Booker disappears off stage, quickly returns with fag in mouth which he proceeds to light up and explodes into song again before jumping off stage and running straight through the entire crowd. Set closer ‘Violent Shiver’ is a beast of a blues-rock track and finishes the show in suitably energetic fashion. Superb.

Hippies Vs Ghosts – ‘Tales of a Lost Bike’ et al

Hippies Vs Ghosts

Hippies Vs Ghosts, the side project from We Are Animal guitarist & vocalist, Owain Ginsberg, has proven rather prolific and rewarding since it’s inception, just over 12 months ago. During which time he’s already served up a number of quality EPs, one off tracks and a stunning debut album, Mother Tongue (one of this years finest).

Thankfully it seems this insatiable appetite for releasing new music has yet to be abated, with news of a forthcoming limited edition vinyl release through Too Pure Records. And more immediately however, some new Hippies Vs Ghosts jams were released online earlier this week and in short; they are fantastic. Continuing in the same vein as previous work – a kaleidoscopic, instrumental Morricone meets krautrock sound – what has become Hippies Vs Ghosts’ signature. ‘Thumbs Up To John’, ‘Tales of a Lost Bike’ and ‘Weather Song’ take us on free-wheeling psychedelic journey through a fascinatingly imaginative, experimental and spaced-out world with an unrestrained organic flow. Swirling noise, seriously groovy yet slightly peculiar (in a good way), as we’re lifted through the swirling noise and earthy production by a driven, electrifying energy, intense riffs and meaty basslines.

Devastatingly excellent stuff from Hippies Vs Ghosts yet again, no indication yet whether these new tracks will make up the bones of the vinyl release, only time will tell. Until then? Time to get acquainted with Thumbs Up To John’, ‘Tales of a Lost Bike’ & ‘Weather Song’ below.

Teleman – Skeleton Dance (Boxed In Remix)

teleman 2014 tour

Released earlier this year, Teleman‘s debut album, Breakfast, is a charming yet bittersweet bundle of a indie-pop songs with a instantly loveable quality, which like all Saunders’ work (Tap Tap & Pete & The Pirates), has substance to match the immediacy.

Following on from the album’s release, Teleman are set to play a UK tour this Autumn, joined by Boxed In as support. Boxed In has already made quite an impression this year too, with ‘Run Quicker’ and ‘All Your Love Is Gone’ , two phenomenal pieces of driving, propulsive alternative-pop. And to coincide with this news, the producer has decided to re-work ‘Skeleton Dance’, with fantastically good results. Coaching out those psych textures, amplifying Teleman’s splendid crystalline pop sensibilities and planting a driving, motorik rhythm right through the middle – Boxed In brings to life a shimmering, sparkling late night jam of magnificently enchanting quality.

So that is two great acts playing under one roof, you can check out the tour dates here. And both the Boxed In rework of ‘Skeleton Dance’ and the original are below, as proof and enticement.

Recordiau Cae Gwyn Presents ‘Cynefin Cae Gwyn’


Independent Welsh label and home to Dan Amor, Mr Huw and Sen Segur, Recordiau Cae Gwyn, has released Cynefin Cae Gwyn, a free digital compilation album of artists from the label.

It features new material from more established acts/artists, some brand new projects as well as some exciting collaborative ventures. Over a stylistically diverse 12 tracks touching on folk, subtle electronica, indie and psychedelic, we’re treated to splendid sampler of the stellar talent they’ve brought together. What’s even more impressive is the fact that all the featured artists are from, or have close links with the village of Penmachno, North Wales. There’s lots of great tunes on offer here, from the beautiful instrumental acoustic strum of Ben Marshall’s ‘Tonnau Gwanwyn’, to the bright and snappy indie inclusion of ‘Ffiniau’ from Mr Huw and the utterly cool organ led psych groove of Huw Owen & Dan Amor’s ‘Cyfandirol’. It might be free to download but the standard remains supremely high – a thoroughly worthwhile compilation and a testament to all involved with the label.

It’s rather difficult to whittle it down to a few tracks but you can sample some personal choice moments from the compilation below. And if you’re liking that? The album is available as a free digital download from here.


Our Krypton Son – ‘Fool For Love’


It’s been a while now since we’ve heard from Our Krypton Son, in their absence however, the Derry outfit have been quietly working away on a follow up to their fabulous eponymous debut.

The first taste of which, ‘Fool For Love’, appeared online over the weekend, in unmastered form it must be added. Mastered or not, it’s a doozy. It’s a sweet, sentimental love song that gently waltzes along with an endearing warm glow and punctured with some exquisite bouts of melancholy. McConaghy’s vocals are impeccable as usual, soothing, warmth and inviting. Always a magnificent songwriter, it is a timely reminder of what McConaghy and Co. are capable of, this might rank as the most affecting work to date.

Hopefully it won’t be too long till we here from Our Krypton Son again, maybe with a new album in tow. For now at least, you can check out ‘Fool For Love’ below.