Friday, 28 November 2014

Irish Music - Silverbacks, 'Fad 1995'

Silverbacks, 'Fad 1995'

Info: Dublin band Silverbacks are a few weeks away from releasing their second album, following 2013's Lotion (link to full album below), Hot Bath will be self-made by the as of now unsigned four piece, consisting of Dan (guitar, vocals), Kilian (guitar, vocals), Emma (bass, vocals) and Paul (drums, vocals). 'Fad 1995' is the first single from the new album and I found the 1995 part quite appropriate after listening to it for the first time it immediately reminded me of two great bands, who I still listen to a lot. First up, after the opening bars I came over a bit warm and fuzzy thinking of The American Analog Set (formed in '95), but not for long although there were little pieces here and there later in the song. 

There was also a strong feel of lo-fi indie gods Pavement and particularly around the time of their mid-90's (okay I'm pushing it a bit, 1997) album Brighten The Corners. Comparisons, as always, only tell you so much of the story, the thing I like about Silverbacks is that there is thought behind the lyrics, obviously I find the music itself most appealing given my tastes, and it's also nice to hear a band that, you would have to say when listening to a lot of the standard guitars and drums acts about, seem to be genuinely thinking of the music they're making and not what's going on around them. I'm quite keen on hearing the new album, and I have to add, that I'm quite fond of hearing certain accents coming through in songs, but that's me sharing too much, the rest all stands.

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Friday, 21 November 2014

Catmando, DROOL E.P.

Catmando, 'Recluse' (feat. Una Dunne)

Info: Catmando is the performance name of Derry native, Alexander Lindsay, who is getting ready to release his debut E.P., DROOL, with the first track, 'Recluse' available for free download (see below). The electronic artist lists some of his influences, which I personally find to be in very good taste, as Aphex Twin, Grimes, Mogwai and Beach House. The thing I liked most about the above track, well two things really, are the placing of guitar-playing to the forefront of the song, something you don't hear much on electronica lately, and it helps that it's a nice funky riff, the second thing is Una Dunne's vocals which add a welcome extra layer and could work well once again on a future album release down the road. 

Second track 'Neve' has a tinge of the Beach House's about it alright, but is also very chilled and spacey, you're drifting on your back to this one and I really liked the filtered vocal sample a lot. DROOL finishes up on 'Twinkle Toes' which has a very soundtrack feel to it in many ways, Twin Peaks or some little known 80's thriller gem. All in all a good release from Catmando, and it's encouraging to see such differentiation between songs on a 4-track recording, the spark is there, oh, and check out his great remix of Joanna Newsom's ''81'....

Catmando, 'Joanna Newsom '81 Remix'

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

You Bred Raptors? - Album Release, Grant

You Bred Raptors? 'Ice Nine'

Info: Is string-rock a genre? Maybe it is now, New York band You Bred Raptors? mix alternative rock, heavy rock and classical music to wonderful effect, in some parts like Mogwai and in others like Dvorak with some dark thudding bass to give you something very unique. Their track 'Hazmat' (below, that fucking bass!) portrays a group of musicians who are able to think outside of the box and have been exposed to many different musical styles and influences. 'Boomerang' is also a fine example of the intensity that YBR bring to the table, very much a pace-setting track with rapid bass lines and feverish cello playing, and a quaint undercurrent of an old style traditional type of music. 

Later on the album 'Yad Vashem' is a contemplative and touching string and drum based song that is presumably an ode to Jerusalem's Holocaust Museum. Towards the very end 'Yukon' gets down and dirty and You Bred Raptors' inner rock takes over, guitars driven with intent interspersed with xylophonic jingle-jangles. Grant is very different to anything you might hear this year, and the protagonists involved seem to have a keen sense of how to make different great, intuitively. 

You Bred Raptors?, 'Hazmat', NYC Underground

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Oki's Wagon, New Single, Shake

Oki's Wagon, 'Shake'

Info: Dublin band Oki's Wagon combine blues, folk, country, jazz, and a bit of rockabilly to boot on their new single, 'Shake', which will be released tomorrow and will feature on their forthcoming album, A Curious Dose, which releases on the 10th of January. The band have already performed at Electric Picnic and one of my favourite events, The Jack of Diamonds Festival, and are regulars at Whelans, Sweeneys, The Workman's Club and The Mercantile. 

So to the music! Well, in addition to tomorrow's single I wanted to talk a bit about another track on Oki's Wagon's SoundCloud page, 'Bottom of the Stairs' as well, but first to 'Shake'. Singer Audrey Gleeson has a classic country rasp on this track and melded with the mandolin, piano and slide guitar you're quite taken back to the 70's and the likes of Patti Smith's 'Because The Night'. I was also really impressed by 'Bottom of the Stairs', it's very smooth and locks the band closer to contemporary artists such as Laura Marling, but to be honest, Marling doesn't bring the rockabilly quite like Oki's Wagon do, prime example, 'Horror Chord', a real rabble rouser, okay, that's three songs now....

Oki's Wagon, 'Bottom of the Stairs'

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Musique Française - Alf Moon, Automne

Alf Moon, 'Automne'

Info: I really, really want to get more French music sent to me, after my recent review of Normandy duo CHRISTINE, along comes another very interesting piece of Gallic electronica / experimental music from Parisian artist Alf Moon. The above track 'Automne' is also the name of the new E.P. he is working on, and it follows the first and equally good song, 'Hiver', below. Alf Moon gives his influences as DARKSIDE, Jamie XX, Trentemoller, Jon Hopkins and German act Moderat. 'Automne' is a breezy scene-setting tune and maybe it's just because it's a bit exotic to me but I really like the two small monologues toward the end of the track. In addition, 'Hiver' is a very enjoyable listen, and my favourite of the two, just about, little shades of Paul Kalkbrenner in there, it's very mellow and laid back, and leaves me very much looking forward to hearing the next two tracks from Monsieur Moon.

Alf Moon, 'Hiver'

'Alf Moon is a musical project of a young French producer, born and raised in Paris. I started a few years ago, trying to explore all the possibilities offered by electronic music. If music is becoming more and more visual, it's on the mental image that I wanted to work, trying to generate a sound in which everyone can get together and project themselves . The main source of inspiration is the idea of telling, through music, a story.'

Monday, 17 November 2014

Setline, These Thieving Streets

Setline, 'Speckled'

Info: Oh boy, this is so bloody good, Dubliner Setline's new E.P., These Thieving Streets has 5 solid solid tunes on it and at all too regular intervals listening to them I had hairs on the back of my neck. The intro, 'Getting Started' is a meandering and mellow track that puts you in a very calm tripped-out mood, just in time for you to be jolted by the above song, 'Speckled', which is just incredible. It's kind of like Tycho and Mogwai / Four Tet minus the mania, and the strings and harp in particular work so well with the electronic beats, at exactly 3:36 is when I had my first proper hair-raiser. Another zinger is 'Easter Parade' (below), punchy and great piano playing the track is like a shark frenzy, at the same time seeming almost effortless and delicately put together with it's orchestral undertones. 

'Are You Broken?' is definitely the most energy bursting track on These Thieving Streets, and has a bit of an early 90's house feel to it, before the E.P. comes to a close and let's you back down slowly with the piano-laden 'We're Not Happy Here'. I normally just post two tracks for a review and I really struggled to pick a second one out of the rest after 'Speckled', which for me is a good thing. This is an E.P. I can fully enjoy from start to finish and the fact that Setline is putting the finishing touches to a full-length album at the moment which will be out next year, is reason to be even more excited.

Setline, 'Easter Parade'

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Sunday, 16 November 2014

Zen Anton, E.P. Release

Zen Anton, 'Resemblance'

Info: From Queens, New York city, Zen Anton is a jazz, blues and classically trained musician who released his debut self-titled E.P. in September this year. Remarkably the opening track on the E.P., 'Longing to Touch', was written when Anton was only 13-years-old, a sweet little love song in the style of Finley Quaye or Counting Crows. Third track 'Sea Monkeys' is a spritely yet ponderous number which, as it with the rest of the E.P., chugs along with the rhythmic persistency of Anton's acoustic guitar. 'Angel' shows a more soulful and bluesy side to his music, dropping in and out of sombre tones and bursts of guitar with pained vocals, like a weird (and wonderful!) duet between Nick Cave and James Brown. The final track on the E.P. is also Zen Anton's latest work, 'Resemblance' (above) has a more old style folky vibe to it, reflected in the gentle guitar plucking and strumming, as well as highlighting his lyrical ability and thoughtfulness. I was also listening to some of Anton's earlier music on his SoundCloud page, and I hope he doesn't mind me putting the wildly contrasting track (written when he was 14) 'No, I Was Too Young To Be On Drugs', below, do listen!

In his own words, Anton describes his music as follows;

'For me, music is everything; "everything" in the sense that even though I may have not grown up in a musical family, I grew up part of the generation that had access to cull from any genre of music at the click of a button; “everything” in the sense that the people who inspire me most to write lyrics are the likes of Samuel Beckett and Outkast rather than the usual Singer-Songwriter’s inspiration; “everything” in the sense that myself being an ethnic mutt, music has given me the opportunity to get in touch with my various heritages in a way I would have never been given otherwise.'

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Zen Anton, 'No, I Was Too Young To Be On Drugs'