BarryGruff Albums of the Year (2016)

barrygruff-albums-of-2016

Yes. It is that time of year again, lists, lists and more lists. Well, not be out done, here are my 13 (lucky for some) albums of 2016.

There was lots of great music in 2016 but I decided to keep it to a short list this year. Also, I’m hoping the festive period will provide some time to catch up on some records I’ve missed throughout the year, so feel free to recommend some listening material.

Anyway, without further ado, here are my favourite records from 2016:

There is also a Spotify playlist of all the albums, to save you time and hassle, and it is here.

13. Amber Arcades – ‘Fading Lines’

Amber Arcades‘ – Dutch-born musician Annelotte de Graaf – debut album is a dazzling blend of ‘60s tinged psych, lush jangly guitars, floating pop melodies and an abundance of propulsive, hypnotic krautrocky moments. [Listen here]

12. Tuff Love – ‘Resort’

Glaswegian scuzz-pop aficionados Tuff Love, combine a terrific trilogy of EPs into an LP of dazzling, fuzzy indie pop with sugar-sweet melodies and crunching choruses and shoegazey guitars galore. [Listen here]

11. Underworld – ‘Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future’

A first proper Underworld record in half a decade, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith deliver a stomping electronic record that is up there with the best of their work. [Listen here]

10. The Coral – ‘Distance Inbetween’

Distance Inbetween – their eighth LP and first in over five years – saw The Coral rediscover their roots, mojo and discover their dark side and add a harder edge to their brand of psychedelic indie. It’s an evolution of the Wirral five piece’s sound into a cohesive, weird and imaginative psych-rock record, and one that grows with time. [Listen here]

09. Mr Huw – ‘Gwna Dy Feddwl I Lawr’

Gwna Dy Feddwl I Lawr is album number five from one of Wales’ finest, Mr. Huw and with it, he has delivered an irresistible set of inventive, electrifying indie. Sang in his native tongue, these are melodic songs with a spiky edge. Post-punk riffs and snappy drum-machine punctuate infectious pop melodies, mild psychedelic leanings and Huw’s affable Welsh lilt. A magnificent collection of soul consuming tunes which provide proof if proof be needed, that we should never underestimate the power of great music to overcome a small matter, like a language barrier. [Listen here]

08. Jinx Lennon – ‘Magic Bullets of Madness To Uplift The Grief Magnets’

2016 saw Jinx Lennon return with two new albums – Past Pupil Stay Sane and Magic Bullets of Madness To Uplift The Grief Magnets – with each offering distinctly different brilliance. Magic Bullets… is the pick of the pair but in fairness, both find the folk punk poet at his uncompromising best. Recorded with Liverpool experimentalists Clinic, it is a collection of instantly catchy tunes that boasts a meatier, more beat-driven sound, combined with Jinx’s raw truths kicking back against the humdrum bullshit of modern life. Jinx Lennon is a unique talent, a national treasure to be exact and this is him at his inherently brilliant best. [Listen here]

Continue reading

Jinx Lennon to Release Two New Albums in October; Shares ‘Past Pupil Stay Sane’

past-pupil-stay-sane

Jinx Lennon is a unique talent, a national treasure to be exact. Influenced as much by post punk and hip hop, he is the embodiment of a modern folk singer. Whether it’s played on a one string guitar or sampled disco beat, raw garage noise and blues, his are songs of raw truths that kick back against the humdrum bullshit of modern life.

Needless to say, it has been far too long since we’ve had a new record from Jinx – the last seems like a distant memory – so news of not one, but TWO new Jinx records this month, is cause for serious excitement. Recorded with Liverpool experimentalists Clinic, Past Pupils Stay Sane & Magic Bullets of Madness to Uplift Grief Magnets will be released simultaneously on October 21st. Ahead of the double release, we’ve been afforded a glimpse of what’s to come in the shape of ‘Past Pupil Stay Sane’ and it is typically brilliant and typically Jinx. His way with words and delivery is unique and backed by a steady electronic beat, synths, twangy reverberating guitar and acoustic strum ‘Past Pupil Stay Sane’ is Jinx at his very best. There’s no one quite like him anywhere in the world – brilliant as always.

Both Past Pupils Stay Sane & Magic Bullets of Madness to Uplift Grief Magnets will be released simultaneously on October 21st. For more info / pre-orders go here.

BarryGruff’s April 2015 Playlist

BGAP15

A regular monthly feature to the blog; a nice, neat and handy playlist of tracks featured during the month.

It was another excellent month for new music, one which saw the return of CZARFACE, Miaoux Miaoux, Girlpool and Jinx Lennon, with new tracks from their respective forthcoming albums. There were new singles from The Urges, Wilding, Fold, Tuff Love, Hippies Vs Ghosts, Lazy Day, Freedom Fry & Imploded View, and tracks from forthcoming EPs from Tomorrows, Graham Cooney & JUNK.

Also featuring on the playlist are: The School, Fueds, Mowbird & Cotton Wolf. Yeah, so, April was pretty damn good.

Listen to BarryGruff’s April 2015 playlist below.

Jinx Lennon – ‘Xanax’

Jinx Lennon 2015 XANAX

Jinx Lennon is a unique talent, a national treasure to be exact. Influenced as much by post punk and hip hop, he is the embodiment of a modern folk singer.

Whether it’s played on a one string guitar or sampled disco beat, raw garage noise and blues, his are songs of raw truths that kick back against the humdrum bullshit of modern life and blow apart the chains in your head. Of late, Jinx has been working on songs for his next album (under the working title Keep Sane In The World of Eager Smiling Pricks), including a stint recording with Liverpool experimentalist’s Clinic. The first fruit from those sessions have emerged in the form of ‘Xanax’. Recorded earlier this year in Liverpool, ‘Xanax’ is typically brilliant and typically Jinx. It is a barbed, real and raw song with a serious groove, about a drug used to be used and abused, and people being medicated to the hilt. There’s no one quite like Jinx – utterly unique and searingly brilliant as always.

No word on a new album as yet but hopefully it’s sooner rather than later. For now though, there’s ‘Xanax’. Easy now.

Best of 2014: w/ Jinx Lennon

Jinx Lennon

As has become tradition for this time year, I’ve asked bands and artists who’ve played a BarryGruff show during the year, to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2014′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2014′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. I’ve really enjoyed these over the past few years so why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to the legendary Jinx Lennon to share his picks from 2014.

Favourite Album of 2014: Sleaford Mods – ‘Divide and Exit’

It’s not a very sophisticated album, it’s bass and drum machine and a lot of words. It sounds great on vinyl and for a microsecond it makes me feel that the old ritual of walking up town with an LP under your arm has been brought back to life (for a microsecond). The singer is pissed off and like his Irish spiritual brother Captain Moonlight he can make a tune into a surreal situation without getting wildly specific. (Ok I take that back The Captain is a might more specific in his topics but i hear a similar anger and humour). I’d like to see a lot more music like this. I thought 8 years ago we’d have less chirpy beard music in Ireland but 2014 has brought more and more CBM it would almost be hilarious if it wasn’t such a pain in the balls when you turn on the fucking radio and they use that jingly wingly sound on the bank adverts now with the usual Dublin 4 breathy lass that sounds like she pisses lemonade yapping with a mid Atlantic jackeen accent that has that horrid perpetual RRR sound at the end of two out of five of her words.

Favourite Song of 2014: The Primitive Calculators – ‘Dead’

Ahhh!! The Primitive Calculators are so refreshing. Their album The World is Fucked would be my ideal soundtrack for the 2 couples get together cosy wosy ”can I show you our new fireplace/car/extension” mindfuck evenings. I’d opt for the Calculators instead of the usual let’s pretend we are still 19 at the raves dinner background music guff which usually happens at such get togethers or worse a Father John Misty/Coldplay debacle of an evening. The singer of the Calculators is a 50 year old pissed off teacher who sounds like the bane of any up and coming PTA meetings and I’m grateful he exists.’Dead’ is an existential reminder of upcoming mortality for all of us and The Calculators don’t sound happy about that fact ,but still make such a glorious racket in the ‘Vein of Suicide’ or France’s brilliant ‘Metal Urbain’. The fella with the scythe might have second thoughts about performing his duties at their gaff.Grainne Seoige should have used them for her pitiful mess of a Christmas charity single instead of that jingly wingly beard music travesty she decided to immerse herself in. Second choice, Slaves ‘The Hunter’ great live band from Lawndarn.

Favorite Irish Song?

The sound of people saying ‘Can’t Pay Won’t Pay’ all across the land at the Water Protests is music to my ears. I havn’t heard anything better this year from Ireland. Captain Moonlight’s ‘Agroculture Part 2 and 3’ still sound prescient for 2014. I sometimes want to dabble in the myriad Irish musics that I come across but I’m not getting the meat I want from the sounds I hear. I go to local gigs that have usually three acts and I’m impressed with the way that modern Irish acts are all very confident looks wise, and musically competent in a technical way with their skills on stage and it all sounds nice and multi layered and perfect candy for the earlobes but I’d prefer to see someone bang their heads off the wall or thump the shit out of each other on stage, play a guitar with one string, or even just tell me the audience member what they really feel instead of sounding like some 4th rate Death Cab for Cutie, hypnogogic chilliwave 2010 castoffs, or jingly wingly mandoliney Mormon clothed beard nonsense or electronica girls with school music exam faces, and the fucking accents RRR RRR RRR which is made worse when some buck realises mid song he’s from Navan or Sligo or the Narthsoide and forgets about that homogenous twang for a millisecond. Disaster !!! Billllloppppppppp!

BarryGruff Unplugged #4: Jinx Lennon + Appo :: Thursday, April 24th :: The Liffey Studio, Newbridge

Jinx Lennon Newbridge 2014 Liffey Studio

So, we’re back with part four of the series on Thursday, April 24th, and we welcome the legendary Jinx Lennon and Appo to the intimate surroundings of The Liffey Studio, Newbridge.

To say we’re excited by this one would be putting it mildly. At the beginning, before we’d organised a gig, Stevie & I sat down to ponder what we could do, during this pipe dream exercise there were maybe three acts we agreed ‘had’ to play. Jinx Lennon was one of them and why not? Jinx is an absolute genius, a national treasure and rightly described by Christy Moore as the most important Irish singer/songwriter in the past 10 years.

Jinx Lennon is the epitome of a modern folk singer influenced by post punk and hip hop. Awkward and real, raw and righteous in his mode, he comes out of the northeast lost province of Oriel armed with songs to blow apart the chains in your heads. Songs about kicking against the bullshit of life .Whether it’s played on a one string guitar or sampled disco beat and raw garage noise and blues – Jinx’s music is sure to make the atoms on your skin surface vibrate externally for eternity. Jinx is currently in his HQ working on songs for next album working title ‘Keep Sane In The World of Eager Smiling Pricks’.

Support comes from Newbridge’s very own diamond in the rough, Appo, a one man bluesy-folk explosion. The gravelly voiced troubadour has also been busy in the studio working on a new album.

BarryGruff Unplugged #4: Jinx Lennon + Appo | Thursday, April 24th, The Liffey Studio, 1 Main Street, Newbridge, Co. Kildare (Above Johnson’s Pub) – Doors 7:30 | Admission: €8/€10.

You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode

Phoenix 48 Radiothon: 2 Hours w/ BarryGruff + The Boozey Swine

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

A few weeks back, myself and The Boozey Swine, sandwich maker to the stars, took to the airwaves as part of Phoenix FM‘s 48 hour Radiothon.

The Radiothon was to raise funds for the station and to support the continued work it does in the Dublin 15 community, and it was an absolute pleasure to be part of. It was pretty nerve racking but after Boozey said a few prayers to the patron saint of radio, Larry Gogan, we we’re on our way and it was loads of fun. Sure what’s more enjoyable than taking over a studio to play loads of your favourite music? You can listen to the full two hour show in all it’s glory below and the tracklist is after the jump. We’d quite like to do something similar in the future but we shall see, maybe those prayers Boozey was rattling off will come through for us.

Before that, a massive thanks to Boozey for being part of the show, and everyone who donated a few quid and all the sound people at Phoenix FM, we thank you. Enjoy!

Continue reading

Free Music: Jinx Lennon – Hungry Bastard Hibernia

Raw punk-poet extraordinaire, Jinx Lennon, is one of Ireland’s most unique and treasured musical enigmas.

For over a decade he has cast a withering eye over modern Irish life, with the trifling matters of everyday bleakness of life in an Irish town. In that time he has been addressing the nation’s conscience with his sometimes humorous, sometimes serious but always clever and true lyrical.

His latest offering, Hungry Bastard Hibernia is a collection of work recorded between 2007 and 2010. As these songs were intended for earlier albums there are stylistic difference between them but it doesn’t feel disjointed. The more synonymous punk-poetry of ‘Anthrax for the Mind’ and ‘Noisemaker’ sits perfectly with the minimal instrumentation, synths and electronics of ‘Earwigging’ and ‘Far Too Cosy’ (al a 2010’s National Cancer Strategy). It all allows more focus on his lyrics, always his greatest asset.

Absolutetly no complaints here, a very interesting and enjoyable addition the Jinx collection.

Hungry Bastard Hibernia can be downloaded for FREE via bandcamp below. Also what a title, no?

Download: Jinx Lennon – Earwigging

Download: Jinx Lennon – The Perfectly Formed Stars of Mullingar

You can catch Jinx live at ‘Party Against The Pipe‘ this weekend, Aughoose, Co. Mayo.