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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa – She he see feel (Thrill Jockey)

This just in but it's more than deserving of its place in this mid-summer round-up.

Fans of Cornelius will be interested, and in fact Takako Minekawa has collaborated with him/them in the past, as well as with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Buffalo Daughter among others.

There's a touch of 80s English New Wave about her vocal, or what was sometimes called twee pop, a la Altered Images and the like. We're told that in this song Takako sings about “quantum physics, human consciousness and flying above a desert all within the framework of Japanese puns”, which definitely holds more weight than most of the twee pop you find on this side of the world.

The vocal has a lovely carefree attitude which seems to emanate from lots of Japanese artists (Pizzicato Five and Shonen Knife, to name two). And the backbeat has just the right balance of drone and bounce to stay ahead of the posse. Her 90s hit 'Fantastic cat' below serves as an interesting counterpoint. It was apparently used in a Miller ad, which shows up the difference between what passes as (semi) mainstream in Japan versus in the western world.

The impressive guitar work on this tune by ex-Ponytail member Dustin Wong veers from unexpected space country associations to wonky pop and hi-life riffing, but still manages to contribute to a coherent, infectious, groovy tune. Which is a fair achievement.

With a rush and a push, you could find this down your indie disco (do they still have those?), somewhere wedged between The Flaming Lips and Battles. That is to say, it's off the beam, forward-thinking pop music you can dance to.

Let's make it happen.

From the album Savage imagination, out in September.

Diane Cluck – Sara

I've been meaning to post this for months, since Diane Cluck played in Cork, last April I think it was (I didn't make the gig, as often happens).

She's a name I'd come across before as a CocoRosie collaborator, which is a good start, but I don't think I'd heard any of her music until this.

And what a stunning introduction to the woman's music. A simple strummed acoustic guitar and her voice. The voice is idiosyncratic, you might say - there's a lilt in it, a catch sort of, or the hint of one. It's earthy but unassuming. Parts are half-spoken, drifting in and out of key, deliberately, as if blown off course by the wind. She seems to be singing to herself, or communing with a higher power, or channelling something ancient.

However you read it, by the time the cello and xylophone come in towards the end, almost drawing the curtains on the piece, you are already thoroughly transfixed.

I believe she lives in Virginia in the US and to say there's something rural about this sound would be putting it mildly. 'Sara' is from her current album Boneset and there's also a brilliant live rendition below from an NPR Tiny Desk show.

Caribou – Can’t do without you (Merge)

I've been a bit remiss with posting on new music lately so time for some favourite tunes from the past month or two. There's plenty to catch up on.

Dan Snaith returns as Caribou, after his great sideline under the name Daphni a couple of years ago. This is the lead track from new album Our love which comes out on October 7th, and in fact it takes up where Daphni left off.

That is to say - warm, bouncy house backbeats, a soothing bath of synths and soulful vocal samples. It's beautiful and builds a whole world, an entire narrative, emotional arc, into 4 minutes.

It comes out with an atmosphere of something like downbeat euphoria, which is an intriguing state of affairs to find yourself in on the dancefloor.

Here's the full album blurb.

You reach a point in life where the question of how to stay at the top of your game looms, with the only real solution being: you change the game. Our Love, the new album from Caribou, is the sound of Dan Snaith doing just that. Our Love, due October 7 on Merge Records, is the fifth studio album from Caribou.

Our Love is formed around a mixture of digital pop production, hip hop-inspired beats, muted house basslines, and a love of shuffling garage that can be traced all the way back to the time of Start Breaking My Heart – all of which are, of course, filtered through Dan’s own unique perspective. The warm analog sounds of classic soul should not be overlooked either, for they weave themselves most intensely into the record’s DNA. In fact, Our Love is probably Caribou’s most soulful record to date, with tracks like “Back Home” whose heartfelt lyrics – dealing in tired relationships and a weary kind of love – and organic nature cut through the bubbling synths and blissful euphoria of their synthetic constructions. It’s not all downbeat of course; while some thoughts linger on mortality, loss, and letting go, there is always an element of celebration.

Our Love features collaborations with Jessy Lanza and Owen Pallett.

And some tour dates.

Aug 15 Green Man Festival, Wales, United Kingdom
Aug 16 Jabberwocky Festival @ Excel Centre, London, United Kingdom
Nov 05 Vicar Street w/ Jessy Lanza, Dublin, Ireland

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Playlist 321 - July 29 2014 - Trunk Records Special

A Trunk Records Special before the summer break for the show, paying tribute to the wonderful, varied catalogue on that esteemed English label.

It's associated with cratediggers and record collectors a lot - possibly novelty records too - but really there's plenty of very accessible material in its archive. It manages to accommodate artists operating on the fringes or the shadows alongside household names (although fewer of the latter in fairness). Certainly, there's no snobbery attached, something you sometimes find in collector circles. It's a label quite obviously run by music fans. There's something in it for everyone, the kind of comment that might be taken as derogatory but is the highest compliment in this case. The archive is also the result of curation and the utmost commitment to promoting lost treasures in many cases. I've discovered quite a few of my favourite albums of all time from Trunk.

Full playlist and further background info below. And of course you should also check out the Trunk website here - Apart from the musical treasures, the blurbs are astute and hilariously funny in equal measure.

Trunk Records Special w/ Eden Ahbez,Joe Meek,Wicker Man,Glenn Gould,Basil Kirchin,Sven Libaek++ by Theundergroundofhappiness on Mixcloud

The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed

Playlist 321 – Trunk Records Special
Tues July 29 2014
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at
*listen back to this show here

Eden Ahbez – Eden’s Cove
Jonny Trunk – Multiplication
The Vernon Elliot Ensemble – Oliver Postgate Intro and Main Ivor Theme (from the tv series Ivor the Engine)
Bernard Cribbins – Gossip calypso
Douglas Wood – Icicles
Joe Meek – The Dribcots Space Boat
Paul Giovanni & Magnet – Corn rigs (from the soundtrack of the film The Wicker Man, 1973)
John Cameron – Opening and Titles (from the soundtrack of the film Kes, 1969)
Edward Williams – Japanese Macaques: Warm baths in a snowscape (from the tv series Life on Earth)
Sven Libaek – Nature waltz (from the tv series Nature walkabout)
Riz Ortolani & Nino Oliveiro – LIfe saver girls (from the soundtrack of the film Mondo Cane, 1962)
Annie Cordy – A la petanque
Barbara Moore Singers – The elf
Basil Kirchin – Negatives
Yusef Lateef – Ching Miau
Julie London – Cry me a river
Delia Derbyshire (as Li De La Russe) – Delia’s Psychedelian Waltz
Mike Sammes – Timex
John Baker – Big Ben News Theme
John Baker – Woman’s Hour (Reading your letters)
Glenn Gould – Bach’s Goldberg Variations: Aria

*the next show is Tue Sept 2nd, following the station’s summer shutdown

e-mail the show on
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,

And so as promised, some more background info on the playlist.

1. Eden Ahbez - Eden’s Cove

This is one of those aforementioned, one of my favourite ever albums, Eden’s Island from 1960, which I discovered through Trunk a few years ago. George Alexander Aberle was born in New York but moved to Los Angeles, changed his name and lived a kind of hippie lifestyle before that was even a word, apparently camping out with his family under one of the "L"s of the Hollywood sign. He busked and played in coffee houses around the city. He's best known for writing 'Nature Boy' which became a huge hit for Nat King Cole in the late 1940s. I was always a big fan of that song but really this album is in another league of mysticism and intrigue. If this is hippie music, it's some of the strangest ever created, exotic and otherworldly, having more in common with Esquivel than The Mamas & The Papas. You'll find some more background on the album here.

2. Jonny Trunk – Multiplication

A lovely little piano piece from the label supremo himself, featuring an intriguing vocal sample. It comes off like the less brash but more interesting older brother than one of those Fat Boy Slim bangers. From the Scrapbook compilation released in 2009, a collection of very appealing musical doodles. Plus I think it's only right to include something in this set from Mr Trunk.

3. The Vernon Elliot Ensemble – Oliver Postgate Intro and Main Ivor Theme

Theme music from the English children’s tv programme Ivor the Engine dating from the late 50s/early 60s, which is well before my time. (From the bits I've seen, it looks quintessentially English which might mean it didn't fit the Irish cultural narrative of the 1970s, when I were a lad - Scooby Doo and The Roadrunner on the other hand fitted right in, presumably.) But no prior knowledge is needed to appreciate the glorious piano, tuba and clarinet arrangement, it's an absolute gem. The voice at the beginning, by the way, is that of Oliver Postgate, the animator/creator of the show, who was also responsible for Pogles’ Wood and Bagpuss among shows.

4. Bernard Cribbins – Gossip calypso

I've come to love this tune, taken from a compilation nattily titled A combination of Cribbins. It falls into that novelty category a little bit but let's look past that and focus on the quality. An English actor, not so much singing as inhabiting several characters, an inspired, breezy jazz calypso backing and a hilarious lyric about Cockney housewives one-upping each other with the latest scandal. Get it into you.

5. Douglas Wood – Icicles

One for the cratediggers, perhaps. Taken from G Spots, a fascinating selection from the Studio G library catalogue, featuring folk, electro, horror and loads of other film or radio style cues. Thanks again to Trunk for shining a light on this kind of thing, which goes unheralded and ignored in the mainstream.

6. Joe Meek – The Dribcots Space Boat

Joe Meek is another shadowy, cultish figure, although one whose reputation seems to be growing of late thanks to namechecking by a new generation of rock bands (off the top of my head, The Horrors, for one). He was of course a genuine creative genius in the studio. This track is from an album of his own, I hear a new world: An outer space music fantasy by Joe Meek, recorded in 1959 with a band called The Blue Men, a skiffle group who were regulars chez Meek. This album was his attempt "to create a picture in music of what could be up there in outer space", something of an obsession for him. To 2014 ears, it might come across with a bit of a comedy hue (I'm thinking Wallace & Gromit's trip to the moon, or something like that), but that's not to undermine the groundbreaking character of it, done from scratch with all manner of homemade echo and reel to reel tape.

7. Paul Giovanni & Magnet – Corn rigs

A classic soundtrack cut from the cult film The Wicker Man from 1973, which is as sublimely unsettling as the Christopher Lee/Edward Woodward movie. Influential isn't the word (I mean it is) - suffice to say that this soundtrack has become one of the main planks of modern psych folk.

8. John Cameron – Opening and titles

Another classic film, Kes by Ken Loach from 1969, about a boy in the north of England and his pet kestrel, although the soundtrack could possibly do with a gee-up (exactly Jonny Trunk's thoughts, I'd suspect). The arrangement is a quite beautiful, pastoral thing built around flute, acting as an inspired metaphor for the freedom of flight, optimism and escape from drudgery. It's wonderful.

9. Edward Williams – Japanese Macaques: Warm baths in a snowscape

This is from another one of my all-time favourite albums, the soundtrack to the seminal David Attenborough tv series from 1979, Life on Earth. It was – amazingly - unreleased at the time by the BBC, so its only ever issue has been on Trunk, in 2009. The arrangements are always unexpected and full of drama. I suppose it would qualify as avant garde if it wasn't so lush and melodic, and emotionally moving. A triumph, no other word for it.

10. Sven Libaek – Nature waltz

Another slightly cultish character in certain circles, a Norwegian who went to live in Australia after touring there with his band The Windjammers. While there, he developed a new career composing music for film and television. This track is taken from an Australian tv series called Nature Walkabout from 1966. The tune is undoubtedly lighter than Williams' compositions (it reminds me a bit of that Roald Dahl Presents theme music, remember that?), but no less brilliant with a sumptuous bed of brass and gorgeous marimba flourishes. Speaking of cultish, Libaek was also featured on the soundtrack of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, the Wes Anderson film - it's quite possible old Wes is on the Trunk mailing list too.

11. Riz Ortolani & Nino Oliveiro – Life saver girls

Slightly bonkers (but all the more brilliant for that) Italian film music from 1962, it also hits that beautiful, sentimental sweet spot. The film is Mondo Cane from 1962, a kind of anthropological documentary about life and customs all over the world, showcasing the weird and wonderful variety of human existence - from high class Hong Kong diners to fishermen in India, and African tribal ceremonies to European catwalk models to drunkards on the Reeperbahn. Among the musical pleasure are cha-cha-chas, tarantellas and various other forms of lushly orchestrated boogie, with a few glorious weepies thrown in - this track lands on the statelier end of that spectrum, all swooping strings. You can check some clips from the film on this link from the blog. They’re well worth a look too.

12. Annie Cordy – A la petanque

A song from a compilation called Ici Paris originally released in 1962, also featuring the likes of Edith Piaf & Charles Trenet among others. I don’t know anything about Ms Cordy but there’s something about French folk pop music that tends to make you think all is right with the world.

13. Barbara Moore Singers – The elf

A completely unhinged song taken from the Fuzzy Felt Folk compilation in 2006. It’s like an English version of The Free Design or something – that’s great obviously. Watch out, you could well find yourself singing along to this for the rest of the day –

See him hop
See him skip
See him jump
Running around

14. Basil Kirchin – Negatives

A true outsider figure, Kirchin started off playing drums with his father’s big band in the 1940s but is known mainly for composition through field and sound recordings and tape manipulations. For example, he slowed down recordings of birdsong creating sounds previously unheard, basically. But he also composed jazz and soundtrack music. Most of this work was unreleased at the time. And he was employed by the De Wolfe Music Library, recording sounds and cues. His life story has a poignant but also stoic quality to it, plugging away with his work unbeknownst to most of the world – although well known by Brian Eno, Nurse With Wound and other such underground types. There’s a lovely piece on the Trunk website about him from the time of his death in 2005. This track was previously unreleased but featured on the Trunk compiilation Now We Are Ten . It’s a beautiful keyboard (harpsichord?) and flute combination, a little as if Ennio Morricone had relocated to the English countryside.

15. Yusef Lateef – Ching Miau

16. Julie London – Cry me a river Jazz is something you’ll find plenty of in the Trunk catalogue. Here is something from Lateef’s Eastern Sounds album from 1961, an exploration of Middle Eastern music where he plays Chinese globular flute a lot rather than saxophone (although not on this track). And of course Julie London is well known, as is this song which reached no 9 on the US chart in 1955. But as I said above, you’ll find plenty of so-called standards on Trunk, in among the obscurities. No snobbery, just commitment to the tunes.

17. Delia Derbyshire (as Li De La Russe) – Delia’s Psychedelian Waltz

18. Mike Sammes – Timex

19. John Baker – Big Ben News Theme

20. John Baker – Woman’s Hour (Reading your letters)

Delia Derbyshire and John Baker both worked at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in the mid 1960s dropping pearls that would be picked up by later generations of musicians in rock and pop. I particularly love the piece where Baker explains how the theme music to Woman’s Hour was created, using the sound of water pouring from a cider bottle. It’s mind boggling and not a little inspiring to think that something so avant garde and progressive – musique concrete – was lurking on prime time BBC radio. I also love how Trunk retrieve something as supposedly kitsch as an advertising jingle and place it on an equal footing with the rest.

21. Glenn Gould – Bach’s Goldberg Variations: Aria

Glenn Gould is another maverick in music history. He was a child prodigy at piano but left that concert career behind to make quite odd and wonderful documentaries for Canadian national radio. I think this album was his only classical release. It’s something special beyond words, even to a non-classical head like myself.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Theatre Royal – Doubt (Vacilando ’68)

A great heartwarming sound that harks back to the likes of Martin Stephenson & The Daintees from another era.

Blue-eyed soulful vocals, jangly guitars, songwriting worn authentically on the sleeve.

From the upcoming album We don't know where we are, which we will certainly be mentioning here again.

Playlist 320 - July 22 2014 - Summer Songs

You've heard of a raindance. This is a kind of sundance set, a playlist dedicated to songs about, of and reminiscient of summer. (Much as I love Don Henley's 'The boys of summer', I'm thinking more outside the box than that for this playlist. 'Summer of 69' is right out.)

In here you will find nostalgic cuts (summers of the past), psych pop meanderings (summers of the imagination?), love songs, film music, plenty of soul and buckets of melody. There are also trumpets involved.

You'll find a blow by blow underneath, extra background and reasons why I picked these songs. They're divided into categories which are a little arbitrary. Also, because there was only room for 18 in the hour long show, I might post another set, part 2, later in the summer.

July 22 2014 Summer Songs Special w/Go Betweens,XTC,Serge & Jane,Crystals,Lee Hazlewood,Chills++ by Theundergroundofhappiness on Mixcloud

The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed

Playlist 320 – Summer Songs Special
Tues July 22 2014
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at
*listen back to this show here

The Crystals – Da doo ron ron
Martha & the Muffins – Echo Beach
The Go Betweens – Bye bye pride
Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – 69 Année Erotique
Prefab Sprout – Bonny
The Beach Boys – Wild honey
The 5th Dimension – Aquarius/Let the sunshine in
XTC – Grass
The Flaming Lips – Race for the prize
Lee Hazlewood & Nina Lizell – Hey cowboy
Dionne Warwick – Do you know the way to San José?
Cousteau – Last good day of the year
Esquivel – Mucha Muchacha
The Zombies – Time of the season
Ry Cooder – Brothers (from the soundtrack of the film Paris, Texas)
Harper’s Bizarre – I come to the sunshine
Minnie Riperton – Les fleurs
The Chills – Double summer (playing Button Factory, Dublin, July 31)

*next week’s show is a Trunk Records Special and will feature music from Glenn Gould, Eden Ahbez & The Wicker Man soundtrack, among others

e-mail the show on
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,


1. The Crystals – Da doo ron ron

We start with an absolute highpoint of popluar music, from 1963, recorded at Gold Star Studios in LA,– written by the peerless songwriting team of Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich, produced by Phil Spector, arranged by Jack Nitzsche, with Hal Blaine on drums. And of course the eternal voice of youth of Dolores La La Brooks. Something about the song screams the freedom and yearning of long summer nights when you’re a teenager. Those clip-clopping castanets could be the sound of teenage pulses racing.

2. Martha & the Muffins – Echo Beach

From 1980, a classic example of post punk infiltrating the pop mainstream, to the tune of no 10 on the UK singles chart. I seem to remember this song coming into our house on one of those pre-NOW chart compilations - I think 'Turning Japanese by The Vapours was on the same one so that was a pretty good year obviously.

There's a kind of sunny nostalgia here for a place and time in the past. The Echo Beach of the title is fictional but it's a symbol of anywhere we escape to from humdrum daily routine. 1980 also seems to have been a (happier) time before saxophone solos in pop songs became naff. This song was also covered later on one of his solo albums by Robert Forster of The Go Betweens...

3. The Go Betweens – Bye bye pride

From Tallulah, the 5th album by the band which tends not to receive as much love as their other albums from Go Betweens diehards. For me, it contains their best collection of songs.

It came out in 1987 but for me this song is all about the summer of 1991 which is when it came into my life. I was an impressionable 20 year old and this song made a lasting impression on me. Right from the vivid opening lines -

A white moon appears
Like a hole in the sky
The mangroves go quiet
In La Brisa de la Palma
A teenage rasputin
Takes the sting from a gin

Straightaway, that sticky, exotic atmosphere had me dreaming of the semi-tropical Antipodean climate...a little like Grant MacLennan dreaming of a heart “tied up and held for ransom”. Class songwriting at any time of the year.


4. Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – 69 Année Erotique

The sound of a head-spinning love rush and head-splitting sunshine is implied, as is plenty of good old fashioned and pleasurable adult fumbling. The album containing this song, Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg, is like the consummation of their relationship. And what a beautiful thing that is. As is that bassline, among many other things. Check also Mick Harvey’s translation for full lyrical appreciation.

5. Prefab Sprout – Bonny

The voice of the great Paddy McAloon, at his lovelorn best, from Steve McQueen in 1985, a year which brought Ireland something of a mini-heatwave. This album was my soundtrack to that summer as I grappled with adolescence - bush drinking, personal identity and what the fuck to talk to girls about. Extending the summer theme, this song also has a kind of sun-burnished atmosphere, courtesy of the exquisite production of Thomas Dolby.

6. The Beach Boys - Wild honey

The title track from the album of the same name, also a single from 1967. The Beach Boys were a band whose music seemed to occupy a permanent summer, so any number of songs could have made this list. This one has a stunning lead vocal by Carl Wilson and has a certain lustful, “in heat” quality which seems to add something unique to this set.

Psychedelic Pop

7. The 5th Dimension – Aquarius/Let the sunshine in

The height of the hippie dream, THE Summer of Love, but apart from that this is a high watermark of stoned soul, from a band supposedly set up as a black version of The Mamas & The Papas.

8. XTC – Grass

From the 1986 album Slylarking, there’s a wonderful giddy, childlike flavour to this song, aswell as a very appealing pastoral folk undertone. It's like the aural equivalent of doing downhill roly polys in a field in July (Andy Partridge actually does some of those in the video).

9. The Flaming Lips – Race for the prize

A song that ruled the airwaves, and my life, in the summer of 1999, from their classic album The Soft Bulletin. It's an unlikely tale of scientific rivalry. Other than that, all I can say is, what a drum sound.


10. Lee Hazlewood & Nina Lizell – Hey cowboy

That’s one of the most prolific writers and producers in pop music, from the Cowboy in Sweden album from 1970. That was the time Lee had exiled himself to that country. This song has an irresistible summer feel, mainly down to that breezy trumpet line and the clip clop rhythm...that’s even before they get to talking about the “land of the midnight sun”. Gorgeous.

11. Dionne Warwick – Do you know the way to San José

From 1968 written by Burt Bacharach & Hal David, I think of this as the dark heart of summer, that melancholy that Hal David specialised in and which Burt Bacharach disguised brilliantly with that signature swooning string, brass and organ arrangement. You can feel the sweat turning cold on the skin of the song’s protagonist.

12. Cousteau – Last good day of the year

From 2000, featuring singer Liam McKahey from Cork, what a voice. The song is almost like an update of the Dionne Warwick classic, the trumpet and strings arrangement could even be a Bacharach homage. The ending of summer. A bittersweet memory. (Actually I’ve just spotted that the song may in fact be about autumn but let’s not let that get in the way of a good playlist and a great pop song.)

Hot & Sticky

13. Esquivel – Mucha muchacha

An authentic flavour of Mexico by the genius composer and bandleader from the Latinesque album of 1962 (Esquivel's version of 'All of me' is the theme tune of my show). I’m picturing a sultry summer night, a space age bachelor pad, sports jackets, frilly dresses, and drinks with fruits in them.

14. The Zombies – Time of the season

Another one from the first summer of love, 1968, and a song that will forever be associated with summer in this country since its use in a certain cider ad. But apart from that, there’s something seething and steaming about the song - that backing vocal exhalation, the improvised organ solo, those guitar stabs, they all say STICKY. In fact, a little bit filthy all round, for such nice looking boys.

15. Ry Cooder – Brothers

Some classic film music from Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas (1985), starring the great Harry Dean Stanton and Nastassja Kinski. A film about the breakdown of a relationship under a neverending, unforgiving sun. A cruel summer, if you will.

Unashamedly Joyous

16. Harper’s Bizarre – Come to the sunshine

Written by the great Van Dyke Parks, with a sweet arrangement reminiscient of the man. If ever a song deserved the term “sunshine pop” it's this.

17. Minnie Riperton – Les fleurs

Mindblowing stuff from Ms Riperton's 1970 album Come to my garden. There's an ineffable quality to it, like fluff blown off a dandelion and floating in the air. It's just a song that brings to mind nothing but meadows and flowers and sunshine...possibly hallucinogens too.

18. The Chills – Double summer

To finish, a band I fell in love with in 1992 via their killer Soft bomb album. Written by main Chill Martin Phillips, it's a winning combination of melody, sentiment and weather. Perfect guitar pop doesn’t come any more sincere and moving than this.

Here goes double summer
Sharing with one another

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Laurie Shaw Interview

Here's the full audio now of that interview with Laurie Shaw - we had a few minutes of it on the show this week. We recorded it sitting outside at The Pavilion in Cork during the June heatwave, while Laurie was taking a break from rehearsing for an upcoming gig with his band.

Laurie is originally from The Wirral near Liverpool (as is quickly evident from his accent) but has lived in Kerry for almost 10 years. He started recording using his Dad's equipment at home and has amassed more than 30 albums to date. You can find a selection on these links - and I'll post some examples down the page.

I first came across his name through Plugd Records in Cork last February, when they posted one of his soundcloud or youtube links. I believe you can buy some of his music in there too. Which is something you should do.

The first bunch of songs I heard had a distinct Garage Rock flavour (Laurie himself mentions Arctic Monkeys in the interview, as well as Grinderman), but his songs are tripping over memorable melodies, something not always guaranteed in Garage Rock. The more you listen, though, the more dispersed and intriguing the influences seem to get - bits of glam-era Bowie (try 'Handbag' below), also some soul stirrings with particularly beautiful falsetto vocals to the fore in places. That song 'Toucan' down the end even has a kind of wonderful warped Kinks vibe going on. The album I've been playing on the show lately is called Evil, which I first heard a couple of months ago; according to Laurie, he's recorded about three albums since that one!

To say he's prolific doesn't come close. And he's just 19. Plus FIFA Records have just hooked up with him for an upcoming August release. Great.

Apart from those impressive credentials, he's also an interesting character and the music good's too. We chatted about how (and even why) he started, what he had in mind for the recordings at that stage, his musical influences, playing live, some thoughts on the "concept" behind the Evil album, and other stuff.


Interview w/ Laurie Shaw recorded June 18 2014 at The Pavilion in Cork by Theundergroundofhappiness on Mixcloud