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Showing posts from January, 2012

Frankie Rose - Interstellar (Memphis Industries)

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This is the second album from Miss Frankie Rose, former drummer to the stars (both Vivian and Dum Dum Girls, as well as Crystal Stilts), who struck out magnificently with The Outs in 2010. If you’re expecting more of the same this time around (surf guitars, reverb, shoegaze), then for the most part you’d be wrong. Minus band, Frankie has retained a certain dreamy, enigmatic quality but the musical arrangements are radically different, with synths predominant.

So there are the lovely synth-pop stylings of Gospel/Grace and Daylight sky (both overlaid with chiming C86 guitars, one of a few nods back to the previous album). That latter song also has more than a hint of ambient soundscapes about it, with a bubbling, gurgling bass running through – an atmosphere repeated on the beautiful Had we had it, with its ecstatic, twinkling chorus – which, along with the epic vocal treatments, would tend to remind you a little of the euphoric melancholy of Apparat. Apples for the sun is a cosmic ch…

Markus Mehr, new album

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Just time for a quick mention of new music from friend to the show Markus Mehr, from Augsburg in Germany. A couple of years ago, he brought out a really beautiful album of ambient instrumentals, Lava, on the ever wonderful Hidden Shoal label, embroidered with his distinctive guitar drone designs. At the time, he spoke to me on the phone from Germany - that's an interview you can find over there on the right of the page (that's right, I'm not going to link it, don't be lazy, it's just over there...).


The new material is a 2-track album called In, the first part of an ambitious-sounding triptych, with On and Off to follow later this year. Personally, I can't wait. Check out a couple of excerpts from In down here, it's therapeutic.

Playlist 205 - Jan 24 2012

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The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


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

Playlist 205
Tues Jan 24 2012
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
https://rapidshare.com/files/517000224/The_Underground_Of_Happiness_Jan_24_2012.m4a

Playlist
Arvo Part - Fratres for string quartet
Mint Julep - Aviary
Band of Clouds - The great silence of snow
Peaking Lights - Tiger eyes (Laid back) (Adrian Sherwood/On U Sound Remix)
Lower Dens - Brains
Phantom Limb - The pines
Slow Place Like Home - Carte blanche
Flare Acoustic Arts League - Yes I do (Merry go-round)
Emphemetry - Old dreams
Oliveray - The book she wrote and in the time
Matthew Bourne - Smile (Montauk Variations album launch, Cafe Oto, London, Feb 15)

*next week's show will feature music from Land Lovers, Milagres, Songs of Green Pheasant, Tanlines, Hooded Fang and Errors,…

Matthew Bourne - Montauk Variations (The Leaf Label)

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I'm no jazz afficionado. I probably know as much about jazz as the average pop music fan. Which is why I'd previously only been aware of the pianist Matthew Bourne at arm's length, through references in regular mailings from the Leaf record label. Now, Leaf are releasing what is apparently his first ever solo studio album, and his first outing with the label. From what I read about Bourne, it sounds like he doesn't wear the jazz tag easily; he's been a serial collaborator over the last decade - piano trios, free jazz/noise groups and even a project seeking out broken pianos, Songs from a lost piano (which sounds intriguing and I must check it out this minute).


I've no intention of attempting anything like a review of this album. I'm not qualified and I hate it when people wander into territory where they're clearly out of their depth. However, there is an obvious "way in" for me here - a version of the Charlie Chaplin tune Smile, which origi…

Grimes Video and Live dates

We played some new music from Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, from Montreal on the show the other week. Genesis is her first release under the 4AD umbrella (and what an ample, pleasant, accommodating umbrella it is), ahead of a new album Visions later in the year. Her album on Lo Recordings, Halfaxa, made quite an impression around here last year (check the Best of 2011 Review here), and the new song is in a similar vein of murky electronica with jittery beats and ethereal, layered vocals - intriguing and fairly uncategorisable really. There's some video for the track from Yours Truly below. She plays a whole host of European dates in the summer, including at the Primavera Festival in Barcelona, Field Day in London and Forbidden Fruit in Dublin.

Yourstru.ly presents: Grimes "Genesis" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Hooded Fang on Full Time Hobby

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Been enjoying listening to new Full Time Hobby signings Hooded Fang, from Toronto. They released their second album, Tosta Mista, on Daps Records in Canada last year, it'll be available this side of the Atlantic in March. FTH are giving away a free download of album track ESP through their website on this link

http://www.fulltimehobby.co.uk/home/hooded-fang/

or directly on soundcloud here.

Hooded Fang - ESP by fulltimehobby

It's like a jumpy 60's garage Nugget dug out of the archives, with a fantastic fuzz bass and unexpectedly (but brilliantly) smooth pop vocal. Below is another album track, the equally great Highway steam, which had me from the second the triumphant ascending trumpet line kicked in.



Check the rest of the album on soundcloud here, it's well worth your time.

http://soundcloud.com/hoodedfang/

A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Half Moon Theatre Cork, live review

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A Winged Victory for the Sullen played in Cork during the week - part of their still-proceeding European tour - a gig I'd been looking forward to with great anticipation for quite a while. If you've never heard the name before, there's some notes on the album on this link.

http://www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com/2011/09/winged-victory-for-sullen-winged.html

The gig turned out to be a memorable experience, one that will stay with me for some time, a bright, shining highlight of the last 12 months of music (which have been pretty memorable all round). Here's a review I wrote for Cork-based webzine Noise, which is reprinted in full from this link, with kind permission.

http://wearenoise.com/index.php/2012/01/a-winged-victory-for-the-sullen-half-moon-theatre-cork-jan-18th-2012/

The Half Moon Theatre (the radical wing of Cork Opera House) moonlights as an arthouse cinema these days, so no venue could be more appropriate, I thought, to house the first Irish performanc…

Playlist 204 - Jan 17 2012

The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


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

Playlist 204
Tues Jan 17 2012
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
https://rapidshare.com/files/3707911098/The_Underground_Of_Happiness_Jan_17_2012.m4a

Playlist
Josh T. Pearson - Woman, when I've raised hell (alternate version) (Best of 2011)
*d'load an interview with JTP from 2011 here:
http://theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com/2011/05/josh-t-pearson-interview.html


The Lost Brothers - The goodbye kid (playing Workman's Club, Dublin, Jan 27, on Certain Three Tour, w/ Katie Kim & Puzzle Muteson, plus other venues)
Frankie Rose - Know me
Milagres - Here to stay
Band of Clouds - No maps no compass
Charlotte Gainsbourg - Out of touch
A Winged Victory for the Sullen - Steep hills of Vicodin tears (Best of 2011) (playing Half Moo…

Band of Clouds - Outside broadcast (Granny It's OK to Experiment)

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Meet Waterford-based but Cork-born John Haggis, and an album made with friends (including one Katie Kim and Richard from House of Cosy Cushions) at his Granny It’s OK to Experiment studio in the south-east of Ireland during a period of recovery following an operation.

No maps no compass is a great wall of sound to start, with beautiful shoegazey vocals offset by a heavily filtered trumpet, and drumbeats tripping over themselves. So long Bitter Root Hill features a circling Spanish guitar figure, followed by a fantastic deep-sea rumble of a bass underneath a lost, echoing voice. The great silence of snow transforms a simple plucked banjo and spoken word recitation into a looping vocal refrain with cinematic backwash of uplifting and epic proportions. Another haunting male falsetto adorns the brooding closer Happy endings (tending to put one in mind of Luke Temple from Here We Go Magic a little).

Stitched throughout the album are bits of film dialogue, harmonicas, violins, birdsong, rec…

Field Music – A new town (Memphis Industries, single)

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The Brewis brothers pick up from where they left off with 2010’s mini-epic double album (Measure), with this first single and tantalising taster from the upcoming Plumb. This tune takes a thread from its predecessor in the form of a twitchy, insinuating guitar riff and shuffling drumbeat, but distinguishes itself with some lovely prog stylings and the sound of gurgling water. Field music, as the man said.

*You'll have to take my word on the above as a listening link is not yet available, but here's the equally infectious (I keep thinking about) A new thing to tide you through.

Field Music - (I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing by memphisindustries

**Here tis now, glorious.

Playlist 203 - Jan 10 2012

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The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


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

Playlist 203
Tues Jan 10 2012
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at www.ucc.ie/983fm
*no podcast this week - see below for video/audio links

Playlist
Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons - You're a song (that I can't sing) (Best of 2011)
Chairlift - Met before
AU - rr vs d
Grimes - Genesis (playing Forbidden Fruit Festival, Dublin, June 3; also Primavera Festival, Barcelona, May 31-June 2)
Matthew Bourne - Smile (Montauk Variations album launch, Cafe Oto, London, Feb 15)
Emphemetry - Old dreams
Metronomy - The look (Best of 2011)
Connan Mockasin - Forever dolphin love (Best of 2011)
Dark Captain - Submarines (Best of 2011)
Slow Place Like Home - Carte blanche
Other Lives - Tamer animals (Best of 2011)
Oliveray - Harmonics
Bruce Haack - Program me

*next week's show …

Slow Place Like Home - Coastal hubs for chivalry EP (self-released)

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Donegal-based Keith Mannion brings us a set of diverse but finely balanced electronic (semi-) instrumentals. Opener Carte blanche somehow manages to combine a propulsive rhythm with a sunny, chill-out atmosphere, helped by children’s playground recordings. The title track takes a smoky, trumpet-lead jazz tune and cuts it into glitchy, hip hop pieces. We learned to tilt at windmills has something of Air about it, all synth power chords and wide open spaces. My own favourite is the post-kosmische hum and swell of The long and winding tide, culminating in a beautiful, heartfelt melody. Encouraging stuff from the Atlantic North-West corridor.



Coastal Hubs for Chivalry EP will be available for free download from the SPLH Bandcamp page from Monday, January 23rd

Emphemetry digital release

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You might remember an artist called Emphemetry, consisting of Richard Birkin from Derby. He was responsible for a beautiful album in 2011 called A lullaby hum for tired streets, a kind of love poem to his home city - it featured in our Best of 2011 round-up. More detail on the album here.

He's announced new music now, one part of which is a soundtrack to a short film called Twinklebox , about the inner life/workings of a music box, made by Aaron Bradbury. There are two tracks involved in the digital release, the title track, a charming music box melody with piano support. The second, Old dreams, foregrounds the piano, with a lovely, close-miked, intimate atmosphere (in a style you might have come to associate with Nils Frahm), which adds an air of mystery to the busy melody. Listen here.

Twinklebox | Old Dreams by Emphemetry

And the film is available here, part one in a series of Music Box Chronicles.

Twinklebox from Aaron Bradbury on Vimeo.
There's more to Old dreams too. Birk…

Playlist 202 - Jan 3 2012

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The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


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

Playlist 202
Tues Jan 3 2012
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
https://rapidshare.com/files/387608023/The_Underground_Of_Happiness_Jan_3_2012.m4a

Playlist
Phantom Limb - The pines
Peaking Lights - Tiger eyes (Laid back) Adrian Sherwood/On U Sound remix)
The Last Sound - Only the lonley know the glow is failing (Best of 2011)
Julia Kent - Tithonos (Best of 2011)
AU - Solid gold
A Winged Victory for the Sullen - A Symphony Pathetique (Montauk in February remix) (playing Half Moon Theatre, Cork, Jan 18)
Flare Acoustic Arts League - Hideous ethnic stereotype
Atlas Sound - Mona Lisa
Trailer Trash Tracys - Candy girl
Penny & the Quarters - You and me (from the sound track of the film Blue Valentine) (Best of 2011)
William D. Dr…

Best of 2011 Round-up

Happy New Year. Just a quick hello to land you with a list of 46* (edit - make it 48) albums that did the rounds many times in here in the past year. Another great year for pop music, I think you'll agree. A couple of other miscellaneous highlights underneath. I'm not bothering with lots of links and pictures and videos in this post - that's what the rest of the blog is for, go digging and you'll find. Most, if not all, of the list have been represented in these pages over the last year. And I might also mention that interviews with Crystal Stilts, Efterklang, (The) Caseworker, Hotels, Josh T. Pearson and Neville Skelly from the year gone by are also over there on the right hand side of the page. I may well have left a few people out, and there were a few borderline cases - if anyone has any particular beef with me on what's below, give me a shout. I'm all on for, like, engagement. Say no more.

(I'm making one exception, I can't get enough of this)
The …