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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Playlist 346 - Mar 3 2015

We started this week with a couple of novelty/comic records, of sorts. From the Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis, Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake & Adam Driver do a fantastic job of evoking the spirit of the 60s, hilariously. (p-p-please...) And from the wonderful Trunk archives, Rod McKuen from 1959 with some coffee house jazz beat poetry - waitresses in bandanas, big men with paper bag lunches, it's brilliant stuff.

New Polar Bear, how prolific are they, more great grooves with saxophones. And Aloa Input sounding like early Beck a little.

Beck himself plays Cork at The Marquee in June, that's him channelling JC Vannier/Serge Gainsbourg. And José Gonzalez channelling handclaps and drones to great effect.

A golden oldie from The Czars, John Grant's former band; Death & Vanilla with a lovely take on brooding psych pop; This is the Kit new single, another wonderful undulating groove.

And Marker Starling who I will never tire of, taking a cold hard look at husbands.

More on these pages as always.

Mar 3 2015 w/ Polar Bear,Aloa Input,Beck,José G,Czars,Death & Vanilla,This is the Kit++ by The Underground Of Happiness on Mixcloud



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


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

Playlist 346
Tues Mar 3 2015
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
http://goo.gl/NFT4WX


Playlist
Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac & Adam Driver – Please Mr Kennedy (from the soundtrack of the film Inside Llewyn Davis)
Rod McKuen – Haiku poems (Trunk Records)
Polar Bear – Don’t let the feeling go (playing Village Underground, London, Apr 8)
Aloa Input – Far away sun
Beck – Wave (playing The Marquee, Cork, June 16)
José Gonzalez – Leaf off/The Cave (playing Scala, London, Mar 11+12)
The Czars – Get used to it
Gaz Coombes – Detroit (edit) (playing Black Box, Belfast, May 9)
White Noise Sound – All you need (playing Convergence Festival, London, Mar 16)
Mini Mansions – Freak out (playing Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Mar 9+10, w/ Royal Blood)
Laurie Shaw - Haircut
Death and Vanilla – The optic nerve (playing Liverpool Psych Fest, Sept 25+26)
This is the Kit – Bashed out (playing The Workman’s Club, Dublin, Mar 6)
Marker Starling - Husbands (playing Shacklewell Arms, London, Apr 15)
Surf City - Leave your worries

*next week’s show will feature music from The Monochrome Set, O Emperor & Virginia Wing, 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.




Friday, February 27, 2015

Cat Palace – This delight (self-released)

Every now and again a voice catches your ear. I don’t mean a voice in the sense of someone with something to say. I mean an actual voice. The tonal quality of it. The resonance. Maybe the intent of the words too.

David Blaney has a voice. The kind you’re unlikely to hear on The Voice.

First of all it’s deep. Very deep. It reaches down into you and rattles the furniture.

Then, as in this song, it’s used in a measured way. It could be a dirge yet it’s strangely uplifting. There are plain guitar chords and later a drumbeat but it’s all about the voice.

And there’s an ingenious twist to the arrangement. Blaney’s voice is double tracked, the deep lower register with a higher mid-range octave. The latter is way down in the mix to begin, then mixed further up as the song progresses. Finally, it is replaced by a falsetto octave harmony for the final act. It’s such a simple manoeuvre but so devastating in its effect.

Which is to suggest the gathering of the spirits featured in the lyric.

Arresting would be a word. Moving and poetic are two more.

Skelocrats – Lyin eyes (Popical Island)

Another very tasty line in progressive pop from the Popical Island crew.

This one has a lovely loping country rock jangle going on and crucially a sublime soulful female lead vocal from Bronwyn Murphy-White to go with the insinuating melody.

For Beatles fans there’s even a perfectly appointed half-beat bridge complete with an exit consisting of a rising figure you miss once it’s over.

Until the glorious vocal falsetto in the final chorus.

I’m not even sure what the song is about – deception, mal intent loosely, providing a satisfying antidote to the sweet musical arrangement.

But it’s all about the songwriting which is sharp and succinct and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling all over.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Rozi Plain – Actually (Lost Map Records)



Another beautiful semi-folk cut from the Winchester native ahead of her third album due out in May.

Firstly, a giant bass drone rumbles along like some kind of oversized sidewinder, shuffling clicking percussion at arm’s length.

The first enigmatic lines – “It will be reported to be a difficult year, a tumultuous year.”

Then the gorgeous high tone punctuation of a singalong vintage synth line, eyes fixed on the stars.

Each lyric line has this cosmic release, the groove rolling along underneath as the plot (something concerning familes, relatives, something ancient, possibly archetypal) works through.

Until a crescendo – “Don’t get over it, this is actually it” - the vocal rising in harmonies into a higher register for extra emphasis.

Then it fizzes out in just 3 minutes, short and snappy as a pop song. It has more in common with kosmische than pop or even folk. You might feel the urge to dance to it although maybe slower than you’re used to.

An exultation amid intrigue, a questioning probing somewhat cautionary tone.

In all a fabulous uplifting reshaping of folk music.

Playlist 345 - Feb 24 2015

Started with a bit of a soul run this week. Superior country soul boogie from Durham NC from Hiss Golden Messenger, then up the road to Richmond VA for delicate orchestrated soul pleadings from Natalie Prass. And classic Minnie Riperton from 1970, more of a cosmic soul variety.

Rozi Plain - new music, fascinating folk/kosmische drones; Colleen - new album is all about the dub/reverb, she plays Cork in May.

Some great Elliot Smith from 1997 and Jessica Pratt from 2015, channelling part him, part English folk, part who knows what but I love it.

And a great new (to me anyway) voice in the shape of Cat Palace, deep boneshaking gospel tones.

Feb 24 2015 w/ HGM,Natalie Prass,Minnie Riperton,W&P,Rozi Plain,Colleen,Jessica Pratt++ by The Underground Of Happiness on Mixcloud



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


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

Playlist 345
Tues Feb 24 2015
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
http://goo.gl/O2G6Xw


Playlist
Hiss Golden Messenger – Saturday’s song (playing Primavera Sound Festival, Barcelona, May 28)
Natalie Prass – Why don’t you believe in me (playing Opera House, Cork, Mar 3, w/ Ryan Adams)
Minnie Riperton – Les fleurs
Wildbirds & Peacedrums – The offbeat (playing Supersonic Festival, Birmingham, June 11-14)
Group of the Altos – News from wino
Chloe March – Orpheus Head
Rozi Plain – Actually
Colleen – Eclipse (playing Opera House, Cork, May 3, w/ Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh)
Alasdair Roberts - In dispraise of hunger (playing Lexington, London, Mar 16)
Elliot Smith - Between the bars
Jessica Pratt – Greycedes (playing Botanique, Brussels, Mar 26)
Cat Palace – Hear me Lord
No Monster Club – I’ve retired (playing The Pop Inn, Dublin, May 30)
Joan Shelley – River Low (playing Coughlan’s, Cork, Mar 1, w/ John Blek & Vikesh Kipoor - Certain Three Tour)

*next week’s show will feature music from José Gonzalez, White Noise Sound & The Czars, 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 19, 2015

Marker Starling – Husbands (Tin Angel Records)



There’s an automatic association for Steely Dan, I think, a kind of signature sound. It’s electric piano and of course Donald Fagen’s creamy and nasal vocal tones.

These are also the key touchstones in this intoxicating single from Chris Cummings of Toronto who goes under Marker Starling (he previously used Mantler). He’s been a stalwart of the underground Toronto scene for quite a few years but I think this is the first music of his I’ve heard.

Sombre electric piano chords and a fine lived-in croon (somewhat reminscient of Donald Fagen) introduce a song that seems at first to be about a semi-absurd encounter with a stag group on an airplane. However, over the course of a few short verses the focus shifts onto the protagonist himself, prompting a kind of philosophical meditation.

There’s a delicious jazz-pop key change midway through with meandering vibes solo and the woodwind/reed backing rising to the fore which is followed by a distinct deviation in lyrical tone.

“Did they really fool themselves, ask unanswerable questions
Did they forge a new path as if their own was not the best one
They came back to be husbands, they’re husbands husbands husbands again”


Those are the kind of lines that could skip past you on the breezy melody but chances are you’ll be snared and need to go back to play them again to appreciate the weight.

After this, like a great short story, you are left with the feeling that you’ve been lead in one direction but somehow ended up somewhere else altogether. This feeling is crowned by the triumphant final verse, a mixture of deadpan self-deprecation and deadly serious life mantra.

“I’m giving up on the sublime
And I’m giving the ridiculous a try”


To underline the ambiguity, there’s a hush in the arrangement, the two lines repeated, the backing subsiding momentarily (a spotlight on the meaning of existence?) before the flutes and saxophones rise up again around “husbands”. The latter might be mocking or comforting or a combination of the two.

Steely Dan is right – this is a dense, multi-layered three minutes of progressive pop, some of the most teasing and intriguing pop music you might hear this year.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Playlist 344 - Feb 17 2015

We started this week with a riff on a kosmische theme. Villalog are an Austrian duo on the Faust label Bureau B. They have plenty of motorik rhythms too but this tune has a beautiful ambient drift to it. And Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith making transcendant electronic music which manages to have a playful undercurrent, which is great.

More from Noveller, Sarah Lipstate, creating epic instrumentals with one guitar. Grasscut, a kind of chamber pop with a pastoral tone.

A treasure from The Go Betweens from 1984's Spring Hill Fair album (which by the way is cruelly underrated, even by Go Betweens' standards), sounding a little like Orange Juice who of course the band were friends with at the time.

New Bjork, break up analysis with heartwrenching orchestrations. New This is the Kit, serene folk music with timeless drones.

Two male-female duos, one Swedish, one Australian. More from Death & Vanilla (great reverb-drenched psych pop) and new from Elstow (lovely hazy dream pop).

Plus Marker Starling (pictured below), taking a hint of Steely Dan to make utterly beguiling prog pop with knockout reed and woodwind to boot.

More on these pages as ever.

Feb 17 2015 show w/ Bjork,Olof Arnalds,This is the Kit,Noveller,Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith,Villalog++ by The Underground Of Happiness on Mixcloud



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


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

Playlist 344
Tues Feb 17 2015
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
http://goo.gl/JeHpj7


Playlist
Villalog – Plaetscher plaetscher
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – Careen
Noveller – Concrete dreams (playing Levitation Festival, Chicago, Mar 13)
Grasscut - Curlews
Future Islands – A dream of you and me
The Go Betweens – The old way out
Olof Arnalds – Turtledove (playing Scala, London, Mar 11+12, w/ José Gonzalez)
Bjork – Stonemilker
This is the Kit – Bashed out (playing Workman’s Club, Dublin, Mar 6)
Death & Vanilla – Follow the light
Elstow – Evil dreams
Skelocrats – Lyin eyes
Marker Starling - Husbands
Barringtone - Feverhead

*next week’s show will feature music from José Gonzalez, Chloe March & Group of the Altos, 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.