Bedouine – Back to you (from the album Bedouine, Spacebomb)

Another wonderful nugget from Matthew E. White’s Spacebomb hub in Richmond Virginia.

The origin though is the voice and songs of Azniv Korkejian, born in Syria to Armenian parents but resident in the US for some years.

Her voice is an intoxicating thing. Hushed. Softly spoken. Insistent. Containing something of a Carole King about it. Or even a Karen Carpenter maybe. Another time anyway.

When there was strength in subtlety and soul was in the nuance as much as the volume.

And the dream of an arrangement behind the perfect match.

Gently enervating brass and woodwind.

Uplifting top note strings.

Beautiful pitter patter bass.

A genius falsetto backing vocal that seems to catch me every time.

She also has a way with as lyric, Ms Korkejian.

California city parks
They talk in exclamation marks

An understated treasure.

Bedouine by Bedouine

Colleen – Separating (Thrill Jockey)

This is quite the departure for anyone familiar with the last two albums by Colleen.

Those featured prominently the viola da gamba, a Renaissance instrument not a million miles from a cello.

In Colleen’s hands though it shook off any hint of baroque, instead zoning in on a kind of musique concrete taking loops and cut ups and field recordings and fashioning them into meditations on the elements and the natural world.

There are no strings at all on the new album (A flame my love, a frequency, due in October), ditched in favour of Moog pedals and Critter and Guitari synthesizers of all things.

The lyrical themes show a certain thread mind you and the overall impression is of a fragile and trancelike brand of kosmische.

Her voice is once again awash in echo while the backing shimmers and pulses insistently.

It has very much the feel of chance music about it as the moog arpeggios skitter off in a thousand different directions.

In keeping with those elemental meditati…

Yorkston Thorne Khan - Coughlan's, Cork, July 27th 2017

Standing room only in the back of Coughlan’s Thursday.

James Yorkston wearing a cap. Jon Thorne in bare feet. Suhail Khan with a ponytail.

A joyous occasion even if plenty of sorrowful songs.

Some things that happened.

The furious blues conjured with an acoustic guitar a double bass and a sarangi.

The sarangi a blur of fingers and a keening yearning tone to it you sometimes get from a steel guitar or some other times from a fiddle.

Suhail’s feet tucked under him with the sarangi in his lap perched on a table covered with a rug.

James’ cheeky way with a wisecrack. (“Thanks to Christy Moore for playing support earlier. And Paul Brady.”)

Jon’s laconic way with a wisecrack. (“Remember when The Beatles were so high that they let Ringo sing” as he took the guitar off James to sing.)

Suhail’s earnest boyish quality.

James’ mischievous boyish quality.

Jon’s stand up routine. “I first met Suhail on the set of a Star Trek movie. The Wrath of Khan.”


Julie Byrne – Follow my voice (from the album Not even happiness, Basin Rock Records)

Some pieces of music stand or fall on the singer’s voice.

That’s the way with the opening song on the new Julie Byrne album.

A voice of what though?

It’s in a not dissimilar register to Alela Diane in the mid range where you find a speaking voice.

But a different tone to that and with an appealing reedy tone to it as opposed to Diane’s bell clear quality.

The lines of swells and pauses filled only by acoustic strums and her voice and distant strings singing in the wind.

Not really a sound you would associate with New York. A hush. Not a rush.

And the line in the middle that stops you.

I’ve been called heartbreaker

Folk music with a distinct attitude hidden in its mild clothes.

A beautiful thing.

Not Even Happiness by Julie Byrne

Playlist 457 - July 25 2017: Best of 2017 Mid Year Review Part 2

Part 2 of this Mid Year Review.

From the more folk side of the argument.

Again all regulars on the show this year.

Part 1 is last week in case you missed it.

That's Camille in the picture.

The show is back on the air in September after the station's summer break.


The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed
Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy

Playlist 457 - Best of 2017 Mid Year Review Part 2
Tues July 25 2017
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at
*listen back to this show here

Yorkston Thorne Khan – Chori chori (playing Coughlan’s, Cork, July 27)
James Elkington – Wading the vapours
Entrance – Always the right time
Rich Osborn – Streets of Laredo, A Pastorale
Camille – Fontaine de lait (playing Barbican, London, Oct 30)
Bedouine – Back to you
Caroline Says – My fia…

Sean O’Hagan – The Cricket Club, Cork, July 2 2017

Great to see Sean O’Hagan again recently back in the People’s Republic.

A sticky midsummer evening. Not so much sunshine but still with a promise of summer about it. In the background the lush green sward of the pitch and the hedgerows and St Vincent’s Church in Sundays Well towering on the hill across the river.

Sash windows. Smokers (most of them cricketers wearing the club blazers as opposed to gig goers per se) watching from outside on the balcony.

There was a convivial atmosphere in the long room. Something like a reunion of old friends. A room decorated by black and white photos of cricket teams. Behind the small stage a giant framed drawing on the wall of the Cork Exhibition in 1902 which took place on this very ground. Where we sported and played.

An audience that came up in the 1970s and 80s. Who might have seen Sean play in Microdisney in one of Cork’s dingy/beautiful venues. There may have been some nostalgia in the air although Sean always comes across as …

Playlist 456 - July 18 2017: Best of 2017 Mid Year Review

A playlist from the first half of 2017.

Some were reissued this year.

One is an extract from a longer piece.

Most will be familiar if you're a regular listener.

Part 2 of this selection comes up next week.

Say hello to Laetitia and friends.


The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed
Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy

Playlist 456
Tues July 18 2017
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at
*listen back to this show here

The Comet Is Coming – March of the rising sun (playing Liverpool Psych Fest, Sept 23)
Snapped Ankles – Jonny Guitar calling Gosta Berlin
Percolator – Crab Supernova
Golden Retriever – Pelagic tremor
Matthew Bourne – Isotach
The Roger Webb Sound – Moon bird (English Weather compilation)
Kamasi Washington – Truth (extract)
Goldfrapp – Anymore
Manu Louis – …