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Friday, February 17, 2017

Mick Harvey – Intoxicated women (Mute)



Another absolute joy of an album of Serge Gainsbourg interpretations from the former Bad Seed (his fourth and apparently final), this time focusing mainly on the outstanding but maybe a shade lesser known back catalogue of duets.

It begins with a German language version of ‘Je t’aime (Moin non plus)’. It’s a bold move taking on a nailed on classic first up but there’s no risk really when the material is in such experienced and sympathetic hands. ‘Ich liebe dich (Ich dich auch nicht)’ ranks as one of the all time great Gainsbourg versions, the lead female part taken by the German singer Andrea Schroeder. And I have to say she trumps Jane Birkin in the plausibility stakes, her delivery full of sumptuous exhalations which tail off exquisitely. (Plus those guttural “ch” consonants are all soft and gooey.) Or maybe it’s just that she’s an older woman than Birkin was so her breath seems to carry more meaning, more weight. The effect is not so much sexual as existential and it’s moving to the core.

Plus Mick Harvey’s arrangement, although it retains the iconic organ, guitar stabs and swooning strings, emphasises the elements differently. In particular the dizzying 2 note up and down figure on the strings is much more to the fore than on the original. This works brilliantly, laying out the headrushing disorientating quality of the song from the very start.

There’s a bunch of other wonderful treatments here too featuring a string of sublime female singers – Sophia Brous, Jess Ribeiro, Xanthe Waite and others – mixing English and German and even the original French in places.

Ageless songs in the hands of a master interpreter and arranger. Another complete triumph.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Playlist 434 - Feb 14 2017

A couple of love songs (of sorts) to kick off the Valentine's Day show.

The sublime version of 'My funny valentine' by Kathryn WIlliams & Anthony Kerr, a smouldering take with a distinct air of desolation in the spaces between the lines.

Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble showing 'Undying love for humanity', which is tough to do but music as great as this makes it so convincing.

Warm Digits are a duo from Newcastle who make furious beat driven animals and here have Field Music in on guest vocals to wonderful effect.

Goldfrapp being filthy and there's not much better in life than Goldfrapp being filthy.

Urban Farm Hand make a lovely folk/kosmische hybrid.

And Foxygen being bonkers and beautiful and soulful.

More on these pages.



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/theundergroundofhappiness
Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy

Playlist 434
Tues Feb 14 2017
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at www.ucc.ie/983fm
*listen back to this show here
goo.gl/S0PsyX


Playlist
Kathryn Williams & Anthony Kerr – My funny valentine (Kathryn Williams playing Canada Water Culture Space, London, Apr 22)
Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble – Undying love for humanity (playing The Grand Social, Dublin, Apr 6)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – Arthropoda
Alexis Taylor & Green Gartside – Repair man (Alexis Taylor playing Convergence Festival, London, Mar 24)
Diagrams – Wild grasses
Urban Farm Hand feat Bella Hardy – Moving around
One Sentence. Supervisor – Scope explosion (playing The Great Escape Festival, Brighton, May 18-20)
Future Islands – Ran (playing Iveagh Gardens, Dublin, July 6)
Goldfrapp – Anymore (playing Roundhouse, London, Mar 27)
Warm Digits feat Field Music – End times (playing Safe As Milk Festival, Prestatyn, Apr 21-23)
Fazerdaze – Lucky girl (playing The Great Escape Festival, Brighton, May 18-20)
Foxygen – On Lankershim (playing Koko, London, Feb 27)
Promised Land Sound – By the rain
Noveller – Corridors (playing Kings Place, London, Feb 23, Blake & The Apocalypse, w/ Nick Flynn & Gabriel Martinez)
The Nightjar – Wardrobe (playing Proud Camden, Camden, Mar 15)

*next week's show features music from Mick Harvey, Lift To Experience & August Wells, among others

e-mail the show on radio@ucc.ie
or text +353 (0)86-7839800
please mark messages “uoh”

Conor O'Toole,
c/o UCC 98.3FM,
Áras na Mac Léinn,
Student Centre,
University College Cork,
Cork,
Ireland.




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Foxygen – Follow the leader (from the album Hang, Jagjaguwar)

Delirious sweeping white soul from the LA duo, adding some welcome bonkers baroque flourishes to the cosmic stew.

We like progressive tendencies around here and a part of this is a heady brand of progressive pop.

It comes on like Todd Rundgren arranged by Curtis Mayfield, with top notes of swooning strings and the middle ground full of wonderful staccato brass.

Apparently a 40-piece orchestra was involved on the album, arranged by Matthew E. White no less, and this song shows every sign of that (why bother says you if there wasn’t going to be every sign of it).

Not to get bogged down in politics, but this kind of vaguely unhinged and entirely distracting pop belter could be THE most effective political response in these times, know what I’m sayin?



*Plus check out this killer version live on Conan which is nothing less than joyous, while not surrendering an inch of its mad genius. Wielding a bomber jacket and eye shadow in place of a guitar, singer Sam France manages an unholy hybrid of David Bowie and Tom Verlaine, which really is some achievement.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Playlist 433 - Feb 7 2017

Peter Walsh appeared twice in this week's show. First in his own right as The Apartments, from his most recent wonderful album No song, no spell, no madrigal. Then guesting on the final album from Piano Magic, what a voice, lived in, soulful, stoic but full of sadness and regret.

The Saxophones are a new band on me and I like what I hear. There's a hint of 50s rock n roll balladry about this song but in a more hushed atmosphere which is entrancing.

Mick Harvey is back with another wonderful album of Serge Gainsbourg interpretations, lots of tremendous duets, many in German which is superb to hear.

New music from Canada's The Dears, sounding as fresh as ever.

UK out there jazz from The Comet Is Coming & Dinosaur, both playing in Ireland soon.

And some Jacques Tati soundtrack music from Frank Barcellini. Marvellous.

More on these pages.



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/theundergroundofhappiness
Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy

Playlist 433
Tues Feb 7 2017
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at www.ucc.ie/983fm
*listen back to this show here
goo.gl/G4VNku


Playlist
Cormac O Caoimh – Second hand clothes (playing Triskel Christchurch, Cork, May 13)
The Saxophones – If you’re on the water
The Apartments – Please don’t say remember
Piano Magic feat Peter Walsh – Attention to life
Courtney Marie Andrews – Rookie dreaming (playing The Social, London, Mar 6)
Sodastream – Three sins (playing Islington Assembly Hall, London, Mar 24)
Frank Barcellini – Mon oncle (from the soundtrack of the film Mon oncle)
Mick Harvey feat Channthy Kak & Xanthe Waite – Contact
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Rings of Saturn (playing The O2, London, Sept 30)
The Dears – I used to pray for the heavens to fall (playing Village Underground, London, Feb 28)
Former Bullies – O world of love
Brokeback – The strollers’ memorial
Mind Over Mirrors – Glossolaliac
The Comet Is Coming – March of the rising sun (radio edit) (playing The Sugar Club, Dublin, Mar 7)
Dinosaur – Primordial (playing Triskel Christchurch, Cork, Feb 28)
Weyes Blood – Seven words (playing Workman's Club, Dublin, Apr 15)

*next week's show features music from Diagrams, Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble & Promised Land Sound, among others

e-mail the show on radio@ucc.ie
or text +353 (0)86-7839800
please mark messages “uoh”

Conor O'Toole,
c/o UCC 98.3FM,
Áras na Mac Léinn,
Student Centre,
University College Cork,
Cork,
Ireland.




Thursday, February 2, 2017

Playlist 432 - Jan 31 2017

Some odd things this week. Odd can be beautiful.

Ariel Pink & Weyes Blood joining forces for something epic and strange.

Half Japanese with legendary force for good Jad Fair sounding in great voice.

Stephen EvEns coming on like a Cardiacs outtake, excellent.

New music from Goldfrapp, not so much odd as just brilliant.

And not odd at all, exactly as you'd expect, glorgeous songwriting from Mark Eitzel, who is on tour in Europe soon.

More on these pages.



The Underground of Happiness
i>uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/theundergroundofhappiness
Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy

Playlist 432
Tues Jan 31 2017
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at www.ucc.ie/983fm
*listen back to this show here
goo.gl/o0SptT


Playlist
C Duncan – Nothing more (playing Cyprus Avenue, Cork, May 4)
Mark Eitzel – The last ten years (playing Cyprus Avenue, Cork, Feb 11)
Half Japanese – On the right track
Ariel Pink & Weyes Blood – Tears on fire
Goldfrapp – Anymore (playing Roundhouse, London, Mar 27)
Jealous of the Birds & Ryan Vail – Love is a crow
Band of Holy Joy – Come home to me
Stephen EvEns – Assembly
Foxygen – Follow the leader (playing Koko, London, Feb 27)
Arboretum – Absolution song
Entrance – Not gonna say your name
Virginia Wing – Sonia & Claudette (playing Rich Mix, London, Feb 28, w/ Jenny Hval)
British Sea Power – Bad bohemian (playing Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, Apr 12)
The Comet Is Coming – Final eclipse

*next week's show features music from The Saxophones, The Dears & Piano Magic, among others

e-mail the show on radio@ucc.ie
or text +353 (0)86-7839800
please mark messages “uoh”

Conor O'Toole,
c/o UCC 98.3FM,
Áras na Mac Léinn,
Student Centre,
University College Cork,
Cork,
Ireland.




Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Last Sound – Coruscate (Fort Evil Fruit)



A quick mention for one of my favourite Irish bands of the last five years. Dublin’s The Last Sound which is organised mainly around the activities of one man Barry Murphy.

Coruscate (the 7th album by my count) came out just before Christmas and is another particularly dreamy outpost of industrial pop. A gorgeous kosmische drift in among the clangs and propulsive motorik rhythms. A step on from 2013’s brilliant Rainbow Xplode (review here - there seems to have been another album in between which I missed).

Again there’s a kind of wide eyed innocence at play – some might call it psychedelic. Bursts of filtered guitars and synths swaying in and out of focus around relentless backbeats.

‘Song of praise’ and ‘Found a rainbow’ are early standouts both full of thrumming bass. Dancefloor classics basically although maybe a more discerning than most kind of dancefloor.

The vocals especially get hold. There’s something poignant about them swamped in a murky wash shoegaze style. But stoically they rise up. They just keep on.

I love the ambient ache of ‘Coarse spun strings’, smears of bass hum acrfoss sparkles of melody.

And the great new wave clatter of ‘Tether reined’. Another killer pop tune in an unlikely setting.

There are probably fewer all out pop songs here than on Rainbow Xplode but there is still no shortage of hooks and anthems actually. And a general hazy meandering demeanour which I find very endearing.

Plus there’s so much depth and texture to the album that it’s a joy in any case.

A beautiful record.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Animals That Swim – How to make a chandelier (from the album Workshy, One Little Indian)

A bracing cut from the heady days of 1994, now remastered and reissued and sounding arguably miles more relevant than in those pre-Blair days.

There’s a certain post punk feel, some kind of bearing, authority, swagger. Not just in Hank Starrs’ deadpan but somehow not lacking pathos semi-spoken vocal (something in it would remind you of Stewart Lee somehow). But in the genius guitar riffs, two of them, non-identical twins - the first a seemingly friendly Britpop wolf in sheep’s clothing, the second consisting of mostly the same notes but with a bend and a twist and a smear of rock n roll danger about it.

In the space of only two minutes, there’s also room for a pummelling breakdown and a blaring trumpet crescendo.

And all the way through the existential lyric, the epitome of lying in the gutter but looking at the stars - trying to make a chandelier from the glass of car windows broken by his own hand but only succeeding in cutting himself.

Thrilling rock n roll but more than that too. Earthy. Poignant. Beautiful.