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Showing posts from April, 2011

Playlist 173 - Apr 26 2011

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The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/theundergroundofhappiness

Playlist 173
Tues Apr 26th 2011
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
Cork Campus Radio, 98.3FM
listen live on the web at www.ucc.ie/ccr
*listen back to this show at
https://rapidshare.com/files/459281930/UOH_Podcast_Apr_26_2011.mp3

Playlist
Wires Under Tension - Irreversible machines
Grimes - intor/flowers (playing Whelan's Upstairs, Dublin, Aug 3 w/ Catscars, re-scheduled from May 15)
Thursten Moore - Benediction
Patrick Kelleher - This sporting life
Justice - Civilization (radio edit)
Gablé - Too fat to fart to fight (playing Great Escape Festival, Brighton, May 12)
Connan Mockasin - Megumi the Milkyway above (playing Tripod, Dublin, May 15, w/ Warpaint)
The Doomed Bird of Providence - The wild beast of Goat Island (playing Wilmington Arms, London, June 15)
Josh T. Pearson - Drive her out (playing Crane Lane Theatre, May…

Flock of Dimes

Here's a new one on me, solo project from Jenn Wassner of Baltimore's Wye Oak. Wonderful lilting vocal over a concrete purée (it's all about the babyfood at the moment...) of guitar chords and piano arpeggios. Souper duper.

Prison Bride by Flock of Dimes

Fleet Foxes - Grown ocean (Sub Pop)

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Fleet Foxes - Grown ocean (Sub Pop, from the album Helplessness blues)

Among the many comments about beards and vocal harmonies, what is sometimes overlooked about Fleet Foxes is their fine grasp of the dynamics of a pop song - when to rise, when to fall, a timely key change to shift the mood, an instrumental flourish to spice an arrangement. The second track to see the light of day from their upcoming second album showcases all these qualities (the trilling flute is my own favourite moment). And it's a tune you'll want to sing along to. Oh yeah, and the vocal harmonies (beards) are irresistible and sound like they've arrived from another time.

Playing The Marquee, Cork, June 26

World's End Girlfriend - Les enfants du Paradis (Erased Tapes)

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World's End Girlfriend - Les enfants du Paradis (Erased Tapes, from the album Seven idiots)

Beautiful and challenging 7 minute opus from the Japanese composer's new album. Comparisons to Cornelius are inevitable and WEG does skim across genres like a stone over water (pointedly, another track on the album is titled Teen age Ziggy). Amidst various classical and IDM references though, the overriding impression of this epic instrumental is of the golden ages of pop music, with Bacharach-like string sweeps and 80's power pop, punch-the-air choruses. There are also cameos straight out of the Hard Rock Café. Nothing but glorious and uplifting pop music, all round.

World's End Girlfriend – Les Enfants Du Paradis by erasedtapes

*Check out too the great accompanying video, directed by Yohei Saita, featuring a wonderful solo dance interpretation.

Connan Mockasin - Forever dolphin love (Because Music)

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Connan Mockasin - Forever dolphin love (Full length original) (Because Music, single)

A genuinely mind-bending and envelope-pushing addition to the canon of surreal New Zealand pop. Atonal piano string arpeggios, followed by the fusion of several high-pitched synth drones, before falling away to be replaced by jam-room bass and drums introducing some lovely woozy guitars. That's just the prelude. At that point the tune kicks in with underwater atmospherics around a chillout drumbeat and high tone bass sound. Plus the vocal has an outer space character as befitting a lyric about inter-species amour. It sounds ridiculous on paper but believe me it's completely convincing in the flesh. It's intriguing, slightly haunting and makes you want to press play again and again.
(Stay around for the full 10-minutes of very strange theatre below.)



*As for the rest of the album, experimentation is never for its own sake or at the expense of catchy hooks. For example, the sublime trumpet…

Tune-Yards - whokill (4AD)

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Tune-Yards - whokill (4AD)

After recording her debut, Bird-Brains, using a dictaphone and freeware, album number two sees Merrill Garbus making full use of a studio, in terms of scope and sound. Unlike that album, there's a lot less ukulele in sight (one exception is Wolly wolly gong with its spooky fairytale quality, a kind of hip-hop lullaby). The other main difference is a more prominent dub influence running throughout - a prime example is Powa with its lovely loping tempo and heavily reverbed vocals. The single Gangsta has a great caustic energy (brass and strident vocals); check out the street funk of My country, with a memorable fuzz synth line, freewheeling brass section and playground chant na-na-na-na-na outro. However, if you have no other contact with this album, you must at least hear the transcendant moment during Doorstep when a bevvy of layered Merrill's (all sha-la-la's and whoa-oo-whoa's) contrive to produce an intimate atmosphere straight off a Chiff…

Hotels Interview

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The interview (phone) with Blake Madden from Seattle band Hotels is available to download now in full (23m45s, 70MB approx) - we had played a short extract on this week's show. The conversation ranged over film music, casinos, manipulating mood in pop music, John Barry, being based in Seattle, playing bass while singing, surf guitar, and of course the excellent new Hotels album On the casino floor. These were my thoughts on that album, from a few weeks ago.

Hotels - On the casino floor (Hidden Shoal)
A concept album of sorts from the Seattle band with a madly ambitious premise, too good not to quote from the press blurb. The plot concerns a "secret agent, his former mentor and current arch-nemesis, and a nefarious prince's plan to destroy Earth during the grand opening of the universe's only outer space casino complex" (!). This would be good enough in itself but happily the musical chops match the scale of the ambition, with elements of surf-rock and post-punk, …

Playlist 172 - Apr 19 2011

The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/theundergroundofhappiness

Playlist 172
Tues Apr 19th 2011
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
Cork Campus Radio, 98.3FM
listen live on the web at www.ucc.ie/ccr
*listen back to this show at
https://rapidshare.com/files/458199828/UOH_Podcast_Apr_19_2011.mp3

Playlist
Low - Try to sleep (playing Primavera Sound Festival, Barcelona, May 26-28)
Left with Pictures - Constantly (playing Two Thousand Trees Festival, July 16)
Antonymes - Endlessly
Tune-Yards - Doorstep (playing Whelan's, Dublin, June 17)
*d'load i'view with Merrill Garbus from Feb 2010 here:
http://rapidshare.com/files/354243779/Tune_Yards_UOH_Interview_Podcast.mp3


Toro y Moi - New beat
NLF3 - Shadows my friends (playing Great Escape Festival, Brighton, May 12)

Hotels Interview Part I
Hotels - From the west
Hotels Interview Part II
Hotels - The bat watusi
Hotels Interview Part III

Playlist 162 - Feb 8 2011

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The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed
www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com Playlist 162 Tues Feb 8th 2011
11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
Cork Campus Radio, 98.3FM
listen live on the web at www.ucc.ie/ccr *listen back to this show at http://rapidshare.com/files/446853426/UOH_Podcast_Feb_8_2011.mp3 PlaylistFleet Foxes - Helplessness blues(playing Primavera Sound Festival, Barcelona, May 26-28) The Unthanks - Lucky Gilchrist (playing School of Music, Cork, Apr 10) Gruff Rhys - Sensations in the dark Grant Hart - 2541 (live) (playing The Pavilion, Cork, Mar 31) Mogwai - Mexican Grand Prix (playing Radisson Hotel, Galway, Feb 14) Hotels - The bat watusi A Lazarus Soul - We start fires Ben Ottewell - Blackbird (playing Cyprus Avenue, Cork, Feb 26) Toro y Moi - Still sound Codes in the Clouds - Look back, look up Thomas Truax - January egg race dream Gary Wilson - Electric Endicott *next week's show features music from Vessels, Halves, Agnes Obel and Carried…

Patrick Kelleher/School Tour split cassette double EP (CF Records)

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Been enjoying this new split release cassette (that's right) lately on
Cass/Flick Records. The first half has unearthly, megaphone vocals, sparse drum machines and at least one piece of movie dialogue. The second half swings between dancing tunes, with very pleasing, building synth arrangements, and ambient drones (including seagulls). Overall, you could say goth-electro - as a description, it's grossly inadequate but I'm a sucker for labels. Have a listen to one of the Patrick Kelleher tracks here.

This Room by Patrick Kelleher

And the entire School Tour side is for listening here.

School Tour/Patrick Kelleher Split by School Tour

My favourite track from the EP, The last exit west, is included in there as a free download you'll notice. I had it in my picks for last month, as follows:

School Tour - The last exit west (Cass/Flick, from a split release cassette with Patrick Kelleher)
Fascinating goth-electro workout from the Dublin artist, culminating in a great distresse…

Nils Frahm and Anne Muller - 7 fingers (Erased Tapes)

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Erased Tapes is a label I'm very fond of and well worth keeping an eye on. This was a release of theirs from last month.

Nils Frahm & Anne Muller - 7 fingers (Erased Tapes)

A triumphant collaboration between the pianist/composer and his fellow-German cellist. These are luminous soundscapes ranging from post-classical pieces with an ambient undertow (Teeth), to full-on electronic workouts with glitches and squiggles (7 fingers, sounding quite like something Radiohead might have had a hand in). Check also the emotional tug in the busy, Nymanesque strings of Let my key be C; the minimalist, and very German, electronica of Show your teeth, with violins adding synthesised swells; the cinematic chamber piece Because this must be/Augmentation (which includes Italian movie dialogue for good measure); and the haunting musique concrete of Journey for a traveller. Frahm's production is sublime the whole way through. Another gem on the Erased Tapes label.

Emphemetry - A lullaby hum for tired streets (Time Travel Opps)

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Another beauty from last month's list.

Emphemetry - A lullaby hum for tired streets (Time Travel Opps)

A beautiful album alternating between ambient instrumentals and heartfelt folk songs with avant-garde leanings, from Derby's Richard Birkin. He describes the album himself as a "time travel fancy" and it comes across a bit like a love poem to his home city. After Catalunya is a sleepy wash of rumbles and drones punctuated with guitar harmonics. The sound of traffic in the rain opens Every other second day, a drunken keyboard waltz with distorted vocal takes over, before a low-key trumpet duet to finish. Five fields has a gorgeous fingerpicked guitar pattern with string accompaniment. Emilelodie is an elegant and arresting piano instrumental eventually submerged under an intriguing wave of static (the piece fits easily into the post-classical camp and in fact Nils Frahm crops up here on production and mixing duties). The overall effect is to put a sense of wonder bac…

Playlist 171 - Apr 12 2011

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The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/theundergroundofhappiness

Playlist 171
Tues Apr 12th 2011
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
Cork Campus Radio, 98.3FM
listen live on the web at www.ucc.ie/ccr
*listen back to this show at
http://rapidshare.com/files/457071633/UOH_Podcast_Apr_12_2011.mp3

Playlist
Agnes Obel - Riverside (playing Sugar Club, Dublin, Apr 16)
The Phoenix Foundation - Flock of hearts (playing Forbidden Fruit Festival, Dublin, June 4)
Connan Mockasin - Forever dolphin love (radio edit) (playing Tripod, Dublin, May 15, w/ Warpaint)
Warpaint - Undertow (radio edit) (playing Tripod, Dublin, May 15, w/ Connan Mockasin)
The Go! Team - Apollo throwdown
Land Lovers - The conema bell (playing Crawdaddy, Dublin, Apr 30, w/ Wave Pictures)
Damon & Naomi - Shadow boxing (playing Cube Cinema, Bristol, May 14)
Steve Mason - All come down (playing Button Factory, Dublin, Apr 16)
Deer…

Josh T. Pearson - Woman, when I've raised hell

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Another one of March's favourites in the UOH cabin.

Josh T. Pearson - Woman, when I've raised hell (Mute, from the album Last of the country gentlemen)

Thoroughly outstanding centrepiece from the Texan's, ex-Lift to Experience frontman's, new album. From the gripping opening line, "Woman, when I've raised hell, you're gonna know it", you will be captivated by the wonderfully slurred delivery for the full 7 minutes. That's without mentioning the heartrending violin backing of Warren Ellis (and others) and the completely convincing dirty realist imagery - "Don't make me rule this home with the back of my hand", "Let me quietly drink myself to sleep". In a way, it's amazing how much drama can be wrought out of a sparse acoustic guitar, a vocal and some strings. I've listened to it about 20 times and it still sounds new every time. However you cut it, it's a compelling masterpiece.



Playing Crane Lane Theatre, Cork, Ma…

The Doomed Bird of Providence

An album that's been consuming my brain over the last few days is the new Doomed Bird of Providence, Will ever pray, on the Front & Follow label. It's a set of songs drawing on historical accounts of the early days of colonial Australia. Think dirges, dark waltzes, folk music with a tragic underbelly, and a deep foundation of accordion and droning strings holding it up. I'll have more to say on the album at the end of the month once I've digested it all (it's fairly dense, on first listen). If you've been into anything Black Heart Procession or The Dirty Three have done, you'll love it I'd say. Here's a sample.

The Doomed Bird of Providence - Fedicia Exine by frontandfollow

Grimes - Halfaxa (Lo Recordings)

Just to double up a little bit, I'm posting a few of the March monthly picks in their own right. This is one record (CD in fact) on heavy rotation around at UOH HQ lately. Check it out.

Grimes - Halfaxa (Lo Recordings)
Meet Claire Boucher from Montreal, who has produced a fascinating, impossible-to-pigeonhole album. The constant features are haunting vocals - layered, filtered, and antique sounding, calling to mind Liz Frasier or Kate Bush in places - and sparse drum machine+synth backing. The overall effect is of a wide-ranging and completely "other" soundworld. From the de-constructed R 'n B ballad Heartbeats, to the ghostly-lament-masquerading-as-dance-pop of sagrad, the deliriously shoegazey Devon, and the ukulele stomp of Favriel. Be prepared for a trip. An album to treasure.

Grimes performs at Gorilla Vs Bear / Mexican Summer party, SXSW '11 from BlearyEyedBrooklyn.com on Vimeo.Playing Whelan's Upstairs, Dublin, May 15th

New Future Islands

Just came across this on Pascals Country Sounds. Worth sharing I thought. Class band.


Future Islands - Untitled new song from Lloyd Hammarlund on Vimeo.

Playlist 170 - Apr 5 2011

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The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/theundergroundofhappiness

Playlist 170
Tues Apr 5th 2011
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
Cork Campus Radio, 98.3FM
listen live on the web at http://www.blogger.com/www.ucc.ie/ccr
*listen back to this show at
http://rapidshare.com/files/455996827/UOH_Podcast_Apr_5_2011.mp3

Playlist
Cloud Control - Meditation song #2 (playing Academy, Dublin, Apr 7)
Grimes - Favriel (playing Whelan's Upstairs, Dublin, May 15)
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Bats in the attic
Boa Morte - Luminous plankton
Emphemetry - Emilelodie
Left with Pictures - This light (playing Vortex Jazz Club, Dalston, London, Apr 19)
Bibio - Wake up!
Hotels - The bat watusi
Eat Lights; Become Lights - They transmit
Mi Ami- Hard up (playing Crane Lane Theatre, Cork, Apr 17, *6pm)
Extra Life - Elegy (Cartoon piano)
*d'load i'view with Charlie Looker from May 2009 here -
http://ra…

March 2011 Music Picks

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Greetings from the Underground of the known pop universe. We have a fair bit of time-travelling this month, taking in Texas, Derby, Montreal, New York, California, Berlin, Seattle, Dublin, North Wales and Cork. Time travel is good. Let the UOH be your travel agent...
All albums, unless otherwise noted.

Josh T. Pearson - Woman, when I've raised hell (Mute, from the album Last of the country gentlemen)
Thoroughly outstanding centrepiece from the Texan's, ex-Lift to Experience frontman's, new album. From the gripping opening line, "Woman, when I've raised hell, you're gonna know it", you will be captivated by the wonderfully slurred delivery for the full 7 minutes. That's without mentioning the heartrending violin backing of Warren Ellis (and others) and the completely convincing dirty realist imagery - "Don't make me rule this home with the back of my hand", "Let me quietly drink myself to sleep". In a way, it's amazing how muc…