Saturday, 23 September 2017

Single: The Wood Burning Savages - Living Hell

The Wood Burning Savages - Living Hell

The Wood Burning Savages - Living Hell

Info: Formed in Derry City, Northern Ireland, The Wood Burning Savages are a fast paced punk rock band who proudly wear the rebel spirit of their hometown on their sleeves.

The band have just wrapped up working with producer Rocky O'Reilly (Start Together Studios) and breakneck single 'Living Hell' is the first track to be taken from those sessions. A fierce riot of relentless guitars and pounding drums, 'Living Hell' is the band's most intense single to date.

The Wood Burning Savages have never shied away from rattling our bones and speeding up the onset of early arthritis with their fire-brand and anarchic take on punk-rock. But behind the rollicking and boisterous sounds of previous singles such as 'We Love You' has been a long-brewing discontent which has fully manifested itself on the name that tells the tale 'Living Hell'.

When punk was born in the 1970's in its rawest form it acted as a mirror to the most unpalatable truisms that the establishment were both aware of and benefited from, but did not want anyone else to know about. The horror was that the people would become self-aware, and it was petrifying. Maybe, in some way, that movement made a sufficient number of people aware and change was very slowly initiated on the mainland in the U.K., obviously we think of The Sex Pistols here.

What TWBS are driving at with 'Living Hell' is the inertia in Northern Ireland, a power-sharing government which very rarely shares power, clashing over irrelevant policy issues, grand-standing on both sides, pay cheque in the bank account, while the populace grinds through an ever-lasting Groundhog's Day scenario. 

The bizarre parallel is that here in the South we have an elected government that sits in Dáil Éireann, but we're not really much better off, our public services are beyond stagnation, health, education, transport to name but a few. It may seem churlish and basic, but again a disconnected collective of less than 160 TD's squabble over nonsense on a daily basis when they bother to turn up for work. 

Without straying too much, the point is that for such a small island, with one of the lowest populations, yet highest taxes, in Europe, Ireland is a fucking mess in terms of how it's run, both in the North and South. The Wood Burning Savages have articulated the frustration of a generation which sees simple solutions to non-complex problems. As a hard-rock fan 'Living Hell' ticks all of the right boxes, it is primal in nature and transposes its anger with ease to the listener, I would certainly like to see more bands in Ireland taking a look at the issues that affect us all and articulating them through their music, for the moment TWBS lead the way, and lead it very well.

Look / Like / Listen & Follow:






Album of the Month: Edel Meade - Blue Fantasia

Edel Meade - Blue Fantasia

Info: Acclaimed Irish vocalist and composer, Edel Meade, celebrates the release of 'Blue Fantasia', her debut album brimming with sophisticated, romantic and beautifully unpredictable music. Her songs are almost episodic in structure, meandering through vivid ensemble instrumentation, bursts of funk, and intimate balladry, all led by her soulful and vulnerable voice. 

Following on from the video release of 'Blue Fantasia', an enthralling experimental piece earlier this year, and Sideways, a gorgeous, evocative lullaby of sorts, with it’s lush vocal harmonies and intimate lyrics, Edel says; "I’ve always been drawn to artists who speak from the heart, the ones who are honest and fearless in their approach. Certainly I’ve been inspired by Joni Mitchell and singers like Billie Holiday and Nina Simone who share a piece of their soul with you when they sing."

Soul-jazz is a rare bird in the Irish music aviary, and one that had never been spotted up until the last decade or two, like all sub-genres in Ireland, whilst there are few residing in it, the ones we have are to be cherished. Edel Meade is one such artist, her earliest song-writing successes casting all the way back to 2008, her debut album Blue Fantasia, which was released just yesterday, being the fruitful culmination of a long, and you sense, most enjoyable journey.

Opening with the warm balm of 'Sideways', the album as a whole is like a perfect cocktail of classic sounds from the past which left their mark on Meade over the years, and modern creations incorporating jazz, soul and a little bit of blues. It's a deeply intoxicating start to the LP, with multi-layered vocals drawing you into an old-world trance. The 70's cabaret ball-room energy of 'Cheek To Cheek' has a firm bossa nova styling, musically akin to a cross-over between Stan Getz and the hard-bop twists and turns of Kenny Dorham, it's uplifting and then some.

The unassuming 'Love Lost' is most definitely a key highlight on Blue Fantasia, with its painfully tender pace and mood, Meade's vocals shine through, again she brings us right into the middle of an oasis of jazz-induced calm. The bass-runs are expertly delivered and accompanied very well by keys, it's hard not to be filled with a strange sense of hope despite its lovelorn theme. 

We then reach the funky punch grooves of 'Round Midnight', isn't that the time that music such as this is at its best? Gorgeous blues guitar and be-bop percussion take centre stage for a good minute and a half before we collapse into a stream of other-worldly subconsciousness to the most escapist part of the album. We veer further into soul funk territory on 'Blind Eye', I don't quite know why, but, without the ensuing catastrophe of the film, the delivery hear reminds me of The Commitments very first live performance in Roddy Doyle's 1991 classic. 

The album's title-track arrives, and it's one that should firmly be in the jazz-standard mould. It's the epitome of Meade mixing past and present on Blue Fantasia, moody, upright bass humming in the background, and a shroud of darkness to finish it off, all under-pinned by her spoken-word style. Covers within the same genre can be so much fun, but when you remove them from there and place them in an entirely different environment they can become almost unrecognisable, without losing their magic. Michael Jackson's 'Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough' gets an admirable reworking here, slowed right down, alluring and warm, it is done great justice, yellow, mellow.

'Iris' has an enchanting charm, it is quintessentially how I understand modern Irish soul jazz to sound like, and although my exposure has been limited in a live sense, it echoes a similar feeling within me to that which Meade's contemporary Ríona Sally Hartman displays. That sincere gravitas in delivery, and a sense of life-embracing freedom and heartfelt yet nonchalant feeling in the soaring vocal. 

We close with the appropriately titled 'Beyond the Coda', although the album has until now been a mix of funky brevity and tender moments, this is certainly a piece which begs quiet reflection. You wonder is Edel Meade asking herself, "What is next?" as the curtain draws down, and that artistic vulnerability can be quite inspiring, being on edge gives birth to greater things, but for now she should afford herself some well-earned satisfaction for a very special album.

Edel Meade will officially launch Blue Fantasia at The Bello Bar in Dublin 8 on Thursday, 28th of September with a 7-piece band, doors are at 8pm and tickets are available via

Like / Listen & Follow:

The Irish VidList: Sleep Thieves, Brass Phantoms, 5th Element, 1000 Beasts & Jiggy

Sleep Thieves - Is This Ready
Sleep Thieves - Photo: Mark Duggan

Info: The latest issue of The VidList here on REMY once again brings you the best new independent Irish music videos, and this weekend we have a particularly bumper package of quality tracks and visuals crossing multiple genres, with all five videos coming from artists who distinctly reside in their own musical spheres.

We cheat a little with our first video from Dublin dark-pop trio Sleep Thieves and their single 'Is This Ready?', which actually came out at the end of July, but are set to play Hard Working Class Heroes next weekend followed by two dates in New York. Visually it is a stunning piece which is directed by Spiceburger, an up close witnessing of the exorcism of art from the individual, musically it enters unsettling realms you wish your favourite dream-pop band had entered but never did.

Brass Phantoms - Indigo

Another Dublin band who will be off on their musical jollies to New York next month are Brass Phantoms, who just released their video for latest single 'Indigo' yesterday. Over the last few years they haven't put a foot wrong, writing singles which simply get better with each release, embracing each live show like it might be their last, and being most discerning in how they are portrayed visually, a long-working relationship with the excellent photographer Olga Kuzmenko being a prime example. One of their most electric live songs 'Indigo' finally gets the video treatment here and again it's great to see such burgeoning talent behind the camera courtesy of Alan McCarthy.

5th Element & DoubleScreen Ft. Trom - Veins

Dublin rap and hip-hop triumvirate 5th Element & DoubleScreen team up with pop solo artist Trom for new single and video 'Veins'. DoubleScreen is at his masterful best behind the control panel, opening the track with pinging beats that bounce vibrantly. Trom is an intriguing prospect, his vocal has always been something you are drawn toward, that rough and pained gravel tone echoing the best of 90's pop-rock vox, and one you won't forget in a hurry. With 'Veins' you get the sense that 5th Element's Ryan Lincoln and Ger Kellett may be right on the cusp of crossing over into a wider audience, and not before time.

1000 Beasts ft. Ryan O'Shaughnessy - Got This Feeling

One of the most inventive and exciting acts to come out of Cork recently, ambient electronic act 1000 Beasts released his single 'Got This Feeling' last week which featured on our last Irish playlist. The track features pop solo act Ryan O'Shaughnessy, and the two styles are blended together sublimely, on first listen you will enjoy the song, and with every listen after that you'll find yourself more and more reaching for it. The chorus is both musically and vocally invigorating, with everything in the lead up a proper tease toward heightened enjoyment. 

Jiggy - Silent Place

Finally, and with great deference, we come to experimental traditional and world ensemble Jiggy who released their debut album Translate at the end of July which we reviewed here. Jiggy unleashed the video for their track 'Silent Place' (above) last week and it is currently at a phenomenal 14 million views on Facebook. Their album is one that is not easily describable, it is simply magic, you could hear just one Jiggy song and it would throw you so off in terms of the rest of the album you wouldn't know if you're coming or going. With that in mind, merely leaving 'Silent Place' here in isolation seems wrong, so there's another beautifully shot video by Mia Mullarkey of Ishka Films below of a live session at The Harbour Bar in Bray for your perusal. I would say go see them before it's too late, but that ship has long sailed if you'll excuse the pun.