Arms That Fit Like Legs – ‘What it is is’

Arms That Fit Like Legs are an electronic instrumental-rock trio from Dublin – composed of Mark Lynch, Gordon McCaughley & Mike Mahon – who take their cue from the likes of El Ten Eleven, Battles, Redneck Manifesto, Fridge and Aphex Twin among others.

We were introduced to their electronic experimentations with ‘My Mind is Going’ and accompanying album Legwork earlier in the year, and have shared new single ‘What it is is’ and revealed plans for a new record next year. The single is an immersive and hypnotic cut, elegantly blurring the lines between experimental electronica and propulsive Krautrock leanings. It is a transfixed coming together of glistening guitars, soft synths and breezy chilled-out vibes that gracefully mingle above lush, fast paced grooves the woo the soul before all culminating an epic climax – and then, silence. It is majestic sound, one that is vividly imaginative and elegant, and all consuming.

Listen to ‘What it is is’below and why not check out their most recent album Legwork, here.

Video Premiere: Tomorrows – ‘Night Boat to Franklin’

Trading in psych, prog and pop, Dublin outfit Tomorrows have been treating our ears to wonky psychedelic pop songs for half a decade now, and back in February (that feels like a long time ago now) they released their stellar third album, The Night Chorus Part 2.

The core of the band, Conor Deasy, Ben Shorten, Michael Murphy, and Jethro Pickett, were joined by Will Whyte on drums, Ruth Kennington on synth and Julian Banks & Aran O’Grady on saxophone with a wonderful, wonky and beguiling record the outcome.

The latest single to be lifted from The Night Chorus Part 2 is album opener ‘Night Boat to Franklin’ – a woozy, meandering and lush slice of seductive cosmic pop – and it is my absolute pleasure to bring you the premiere of the video. 

Film maker Ursula Woods and Jethro from the band live on the edge of the world in Glaziers Bay Tasmania. Their house, an old apple shed turned livable cabin, sits on poles in the Huon River. ‘Night Boat to Franklin’ is a song that was written and partly recorded there when Conor visited them in 2019.

A beguiling, lush, neo-psychedelic beauty, the track bubbles along an undulating groove, dripping with melody and plenty of off-kilter sax appeal – ‘Night Boat to Franklin’ captures some of the river energy that can only be experienced at the dusk of day.

The video was made when Ursula and Jethro were isolating after returning from Ireland in March 2020. With a real sense of cabin fever, they literally took the boat out and headed for Franklin.

On the journey there was an eerie scene in the sky that particular day as Forestry Tasmania were burning large areas of woodland. The flames and smoke were hanging heavy in the sky with the freezing winter waters below. Upstream, the boat choked and came to a complete still. Ursula kept the camera rolling during the rescue, the video is what it is. Anything can happen on a Night Boat to Franklin.

Check out the video below and if you haven’t done so already, give The Night Chorus Part 2 a spin here.

Sean OB – ‘Teacher’

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Dublin songwriter/musician Sean OB – aka Sean O’Brien – is quite the ball of energy, as evidenced by new single ‘Teacher’.

The former Trap Door man’s latest is spirited to say the least, it explodes out of the blocks with vitality, releasing it’s ferocious pent up energy, like a coiled up spring. Fusing the streetwise poetry of Jamie T with the irresistible rock ‘n’ roll of Buddy Holly, Sean OB delivers an incredibly catchy ear-worm, with pop-hooks and a snappy pace to boot. ‘Teacher’ follows previous tune ‘Alive’, and is another glorious sample of what to expect in the coming months, with a flurry of singles and debut EP promised.

‘Teacher’ and its visual companion is below – tune in now.

JOHNNY FEENEY’S ALBUMS OF 2017

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Aside from compiling my own end of year lists, I really do enjoy checking out other people’s take on the past 12 months and none more so than Mr. Johnny Feeney.

A reliably insightful musical sage, Johnny’s guest appearances are always interesting and add an extra flavour to the blog and I look forward to reading – of which, surely I’m not alone?

A massive thanks to Johnny for taking time out to compile this list, and on that note, I’ll leave you with his Mr. Feeney’s favourite records of 2017.

10. Grandaddy – Last Place

Previously split up in 2006, Grandaddy’s first album in eleven years saw the ever-eccentric, cult Californians return with a bang with their trademark, electronica-tinged alt-rock. The familiar sounds of Jason Lytle’s distinctive, melancholic vocals, chugging guitars and synth flourishes are all present and correct on a wonderful comeback album that was well worth the wait.

09. Fangclub – Fangclub

Dublin rockers, Fangclub, have been tearing up stages around the country and further afield for a while now and, thankfully, their self-titled debut album delivers on the promise of their raucous live shows. In a classic guitar/bass/drums set up, the trio display a keen ear for an infectious hook and make a thunderous racket not dissimilar to Nirvana. If you like it loud then look no further.

08. Wolf Alice – Visions Of A Life

The London four-piece’s sophomore album sees a fine follow up to 2015’s commercially successful, Mercury-nominated My Love Is Cool. The adaptability of vocalist Elise Rowell means the group are equally comfortable on the melodic, anthemic indie-rock side of things (‘Beautifully Unconventional’) as they are on the heavier material (‘Yuk Foo’) and anything in between. It’s this broad range that makes Wolf Alice such an interesting proposition.

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Simple Kid – ‘Snakes and Ladders’

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In early 2011 Simple Kid announced through his official website that there will be no further music nor tours by Simple Kid. Despite this announcement, a new single, ‘The Road’, slipped out well and truly under the radar in the Spring of 2012.

Since then? Nothing. Well not quiet it seems. In November of last year he did it again, with out any fuss or anything really, Simple Kid slid a new song under the radar, called ‘Snakes and Ladders’. The track, commissioned by the BBC as part Radio 4 series  ‘Forever Young’, suggests the synths, beats and electronics of ‘The Road’ have been put to one side for the time being. Preferred instead is that recognizable and grainy SK alt-folk sound, as he and an unknown female vocal companion lament the precariousness which is all to real for so many living through the throes Capitalism’s latest crisis. The songwriting is clever yet subtle and the song in general is superb. 

Whether this is it, or we shall be intermittently treated to the odd track here and there or, by some stroke of luck might see something more substantial is anyone’s guess. Only the kid knows that for certain.

Hat tip to former Vagabond Dave Phelan for this one.

Imploded View – ‘Mixed View’

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From his Longford hideaway, operating under the guise of Imploded View, Jerome McCormick has proven a reliable source of experimental, sometimes abstract but always interesting electronic music.

McCormick’s preference has always been atmospheric, downtempo and minimalist electronic compositions with sparse sounds, synths and all manner of analogue trickery. Dark, moody and immediately emotive, the music rarely if ever, emerges from first gear, preferring to meander through a vast and cloudy world of dreamy, chilled sounds and ambient dreamscapes. Having released album #2, Anomoly Domine only last year, this latest work from the Imploded View camp is something quite different. 

Mixed View is a remix package (plus two new originals) which sees the entrusting of remix duties to R.S.A.G, Christ, VHS Head, Daithi & Yimino. Of them, the standout’s are R.S.A.G’s rework of ‘The Keeping’ and VHS Head’s remix of ‘Julia Taxi’. R.S.A.G takes probably the most playful and laid-back of all Imploded View’s works and adds pep to its step so to speak, giving it a new lease of life with an irresistible groove, bounce and a swaggering cool confidence of David Holmes or Primal Scream. VHS Head meanwhile, takes the dark, moody melancholy of ‘Julia Taxi’ and turns it into a fascinating, futuristic and impermeable concoction imbued between rumbling sonic road trip of its psychedelic whirls and the dense ear-shaking beats and crunching bass. Just two choice cuts from a thoroughly worthwhile and enjoyable EP. 

Mixed View is out now and available here

We Cut Corners – ‘Best Friend’

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We Cut Corners will release their second album Think Nothing on April 25th (May 12th in the UK) through Delphi and having already shared ‘YKK‘ and ‘Every Thief‘, ahead of the LPs release, we now have latest single, ‘Best Friend’.

The Dublin duo’s previous two tracks showcased both their quieter and more rocky dispositions, something of a blueprint set out by their debut album, Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards. ‘Best Friend’ is most certainly the latter. A short, sharp two minute blast of seething, sneery and raspy indie-rock. In fact, this is the most hostile and aggression fueled WCC have sounded, and things are nicely poised for the album’s release in April. They have also teamed up with Kijek/Adamski again for another wonderful animated video, the people responsible for their much praised ‘A Pirate’s Life’ video.

‘Best Friend’ is out now as a digital download and there’s plenty of shows planned for April and May too (check ’em here).

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BarryGruff Unplugged: Paddy Hanna + Wayfarer :: Saturday, March 1st :: The Liffey Studio, Newbridge

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BarryGruff Unplugged #3: Paddy Hanna + Wayfarer | March 1st – The Liffey Studio, Newbridge –  Doors: 7:30pm | €5/€7

Following the success of previous BarryGruff Unplugged shows, we’re back with round #3 on March 1st. Part three looks an exciting proposition with Paddy Hanna and Wayfarer joining us in the intimate surroundings of The Liffey Studio.

The show is €5 if you book in advance or €7 on the night. The cheap list is limited so if you would like to reserve a spot, email your name to: barrygruff[at]gmail[dot]com – with ‘Cheap List’ in the subject title.

:: Paddy Hanna ::

Probably best known as lead singer in Grand Pocket Orchestra and drummer in No Monster Club, this year however, Paddy Hanna has stepped out on his own, releasing his debut solo album ‘Leafy Stilleto’ and attracting rave reviews in the Irish media since its release in January. The young man from Dublin is in a somewhat more laid back and relaxed mood than before, creating a warm and well-structured collection of gorgeous indie tunes. He was brilliant at Electric Picnic and since then we’ve been working hard to bring Paddy Hanna to Newbridge, and delighted we finally got our man.

:: Wayfarer ::

Wayfarer are folk duo Sam Devlin & Rachel Boland from Co. Kildare. The name might be familiar, having played a few BarryGruff shows, wooing audiences in the process, with their beautiful country folk sounds and alluring harmonies. They have been busy working on a forthcoming EP but thankfully found time to squeeze in a much welcome Newbridge show.

BarryGruff Presents #17: Padraig McCauley + Rory Hughes :: Friday, January 31st :: Flanagan’s, Newbridge

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So, it’s been a while but were back in Flanagan’s to rip it up with ‘BarryGruff Presents’ #17 on Friday, January 31st. We’ve got the superbly talented duo of Padraig McCauley (The P Affection/Disconcerting P) and Rory Hughes performing on the night.

It’s sure to be another great night, so come along and enjoy the music. It’s FREE in as usual & kicks off at 9:30 pm. [RSVP]

:: Padraig McCauley ::

Padraig McCauley of The P Affection/Disconcerting P is no stranger to a BarryGruff show and should need little introduction. McCauley is a superb songwriter, singer and performer, if somewhat under-appreciated by many. This is in fact his fifth, yes fifth, BarryGruff appearance and while that might be some sort of record, it is a rare chance to see him play a solo set filled with tracks new and old, from a rather extensive body of work.  

:: Rory Hughes ::

Rory Hughes is a young musician from Dublin. He writes folk and blues tunes. Tunes that are good with a deep-rooted storytelling style. While some of the records, done himself with basic equipment, are rough and don’t do the songs full justice. However, if ‘Woe Is Me’ doesn’t stir something inside you, well, there might be something wrong with you.

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The Statics – ‘Hit & Miss’

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The Statics have been a firm favourite around these parts for quite sometime now. Saying that, the Dublin four-piece enhanced their reputation both here, and further a field, with their excellent Hidden Pigeon EP, and single ‘Alone’ last year.

The Statics’ latest single, and second taken from the aforementioned EP, ‘Hit & Miss’ is a touch slower and lyrically more bittersweet and emotive, than their signature indie-pop-jangle. Just a ‘touch’ mind, as it still bobs along bouncily to an effortlessly infectious rhythm and vocal harmonies. Utterly buoyant, utterly brilliant and seemingly effortless indie-pop magic. Hopefully by the time 2014 rings to a close, we shall have heard much, much more from The Statics.

‘Hit & Miss’ is available as a free download via bandcamp from Friday, January 31st. You catch them live with The Mighty Stef in Whelans on January 31st and at Phantom Presents in Sweeneys February 5th.