Showing posts from October, 2012

Playlist 241 - Oct 30 2012

Two pieces of clapping music to start the show this week, from Dirty Projectors and Pollens (who sound like they are influenced by the Projectors, and that's fine by me). Just from Chevron could be a modern form of the protest song. New music from two fine English bands, Dutch Uncles and Fossil Collective; two great slices of prog pop, from windings and Wires Under Tension, the latter with a great orchestral heft to it; the latest in both the Collision/Detection and Days & Nights at the Takeaway (pictured) series; Ariel Pink pondering international espionage, that Peter Broderick gospel mantra I can't get out of my head and two absolutely wonderful brass arrangements, from Myles Manley and David Byrne & St Vincent. You can't beat a bit of brass, in fairness.

The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed

Playlist 241
Tues Oct 30 2012

Beach House w/ Holy Other - Cork Opera House, Oct 27th 2012

Photo: Bríd O'Donovan

This weekend one of my favourite bands, Beach House, played at the Opera House in Cork, as part of the city's Guinness-sponsored Jazz Festival. The Jazz Festival is something of an institution in the city, taking place over the Irish October bank holiday weekend. Over recent years, the festival has broadened to take in both a wider definition of jazz, and also a greater variety of programme. So for example, the Opera House had Balkan big band Taraf de Haidouks, Beach House and De La Soul, while across town in The Pavilion you could find Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and Toby Kaar, among others.

This review originally appeared on We Are Noise, at this link, where you'll also find more great pics by Bríd O'Donovan -

In passing through Ireland last weekend for three dates (Mandela Hall Belfast, Vicar Street Dublin and Cork Opera House), Beach House joined an…

The River Fane - EP 2

We played a track on the show this week by an Irish band called The River Fane. I came across the band through one of its members, Johnny Fox, who is on something of a sabbatical in Sao Paolo at the moment. (I say sabbatical, although he's "churning" out his own solo material at a ferocious pace -

Johnny directed me to his band page, currently hosting EP 2 recorded in 2011 in Dublin, which opens with Kaleidoscope, the track we played on the show. It's an absolutely glorious broken-down piano ballad, with woozy double bass and reverb-soaked vocals. As Johnny himself commented in correspondence, it was written at a time of a major Beach Boys obsession (which is grand with me). It reflects the overall ethos of the EP, showing an endearing blue-eyed soul demeanour. The production is direct and in service to the songs, which are superb. It sounds like nothing Irish, and that, to me, is also a fine thing in itself.

Playlist 240 - Oct 23 2012

A few new albums in this week and we featured a couple of tracks on the show. Wires Under Tension graced us with a brilliant, frantic, brass-laden instrumental - B. Fleischmann's album is called I'm not ready for the grave yet and he chipped in with Don't follow, a meaty, polyphonic backbeat boasting a wonderfully downbeat vocal. Mumblin' Deaf Ro was back with the heartbreak and absolute class of Little mite, Jon DeRosa's baritone made a welcome return too, Roll the Dice meets Pole, Sone Institute, Rozi Plain's compelling choral dynamics, and the irresistible dream pop of Melody's Echo Chamber. Richard Hawley and Susanna (she of the Magical Orchestra) both play Cork soon (I can't wait), and Dublin duo Thread Pulls show how much drama you can wring out of a drum set and a bass (some electronics too, in fairness). And The River Fane , the most sublime distillation of the best bits of The Beach Boys, which is no disservice to its gorgeousness.

The Unde…

Peter Broderick, new album track streaming

Nestled in the middle of Peter Broderick's new album is an unassuming 2 minute track with the weighty title Proposed solution to the mystery of the soul.

Let me try to sum it up. It's like an evolving gospel refrain fed into a meditation mantra ("first you've got a soul that's awake while you're asleep"), complete with finger cymbals and the convex sound of a glass bottle of water being struck. That's all. Just a number of Peter Broderick vocals to fill it out, and rounding off with a second refrain - "I love when words ring out true". It's intoxicating, basically. I can't get enough of it.

Even embedded in an album that is full of surprises - Broderick delves into beatboxing and RnB rhythms, a capella recitals and semi-sound design style dual conversations - I'm finding I can't get past this song. The album began life as a series of home recordings some of which he offered to fans for free on his flickr page. The kind of…

Playlist 239 - Oct 16 2012

A few new tunes this week, along with a few recent but enduring obsessions. Owensie and Laetitia Sadier paired together at the beginning, both with a certain bossa nova shuffle going on, both playing gigs in Ireland soon. There's a Big Star documentary coming out (called Nothing can hurt me) so any excuse to play Alex Chilton and friends, alongside a great fuzz pop tune from a Dublin girl band called after that Big Star song (I'm assuming anyway), September Girls. New music also from Myles Manley & the Little People (touring Ireland this week), The Sea & Cake, ex-Codeine & Come stalwart Chris Brokaw and a transcendant Balkan folk guitar instrumental from Ryan Francesconi & Mirabai Peart, new signings to Bella Union (they're part of Joanna Newsome's touring band). Plus the new free d'load single from Melt Yourself Down (pictured above), which involves people from Acoustic Ladyland. It's frenetic, infectious dance music, drawing on jazz, world a…

Owensie - Distance of her love (Out on a Limb, single)

One thing I didn't expect to arrive in the post during the dark mornings and shortening evenings of October was a new bossa nova tune from an Irish singer-songwriter.

'Distance of her love' is the first single from Owensie's 2nd album, Citizens, which comes out at the end of this month. And it does indeed convey its message through the medium of bossa nova. Happily though, there's nothing tokenistic about the choice - the arrangement hangs on a comfortable array of classical guitar, murmuring saxophone, sympathetic, muted drums and Owensie's falsetto. It comes together brilliantly, all the more so because of the undertow of melancholy and loss in the lyric (a mother separated from her children, it seems through economic hardship and enforced migration) - the jaunty rhythm is particularly effective offset in this way. In fact, it tends to give the characters in the story extra depth. The best references I can find are Sam Prekop or José Gonzalez, pretty goo…

Playlist 238 - Oct 9 2012

We opened the show with some great bossa nova from Dubliner Owensie, a brilliantly catchy tune from his new album Citizens. We also had more brass-ornamented skewed pop from David Byrne & St Vincent; two Galway bands playing live together this week, Yawning Chasm and Christian Bookshop; Japanese legends Shonen Knife (pictured, as usual, great costumes), also on tour at the moment, the wonderful croon of Jon DeRosa, a track from a re-issued album by the incomparable North Sea Radio Orchestra, Limerick's windings, the orchestral flourishes of Jherek Bischoff, the choral beauty of Ombre. And a superb dub rework of Roll the Dice by Berliner Pole. Calling dub workers? Now there's a marching slogan...

The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed

Playlist 238
Tues Oct 9 2012
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at…

Roll the Dice meets Pole - In dubs (Leaf)

Last year's In dust album by Roll the Dice was one of my highlights of the year, a great slow burning, rolling machine of a beast, but somehow warm and engaging at the same time.

Now, the Swedish duo have enlisted Stefan Betke, better known as the influential Berlin electronic artist Pole, to perform some remixes from the album. Hard to say these days where an original begins and a re-do kicks in. In this case, it's as if the original pieces are in glitchy telephone contact with the updates, from a distant space colony of the future, while bass bins pound through the floor from downstairs. Ghostly dub, you might say, catchy and intriguing you might also say, and the effect is to make you hear the originals with a whole new perspective.

Here's the beef.

artist: ROLL THE DICE meets POLE
title: In Dubs
label: The Leaf Label
formats: Limited edition 12” silver and black vinyl EP (DOCK 59 / UPC 843190055968)
Digital (DOCK 59E / UPC 843190055999) release date: Monday 19 No…

Jon DeRosa - A wolf in preacher's clothes (Rocket Girl)

We had a track from Jon DeRosa on the show this week, the gorgeous single 'Birds of Brooklyn'. The whole album is an absolute treat - if you like a good croon, you'll love it. Listen back to it on the podcast, it's Track 5, about 20 minutes in.

Oct 2 2012 show w/ Melody's Echo Chamber, windings, Jon DeRosa, Ariel Pink, Thread Pulls, Goat++ by Theundergroundofhappiness on Mixcloud

The songwriting throughout the album is sturdy as well as poetic, though, making for a strong combination with the delicate orchestral arrangements - it's why, beyond the voice, Scott Walker is a valid reference point. 'Snow coffin', 'Teenage goths', 'Hollow Earth Theory', there are too many memorable songs to single out. There's also a cover of the Blue Nile song 'Easter Parade' and this bruised ballad in waltz time. Plenty more from the album to come on the show over the coming weeks.

Ombre - Believe you me (Asthmatic Kitty)

Beautiful album, released a couple of months back on Asthmatic Kitty, featuring a collaboration between two of its roster, Julianna Barwick and Helado Negro. She the one with the banks of celestial vocals (you'll find some more links in these pages), he with the sonic sculpts, or as the PR puts it, "rustic-Latin-psyche-folk meets big-city-blockparty" (nice).

Anyway, I'm saying no more about this. This one's not for reading about, it's for listening.

Believe You me by OMBRE

Playlist 237 - Oct 2 2012

This week's show kicked off with windings' new single, a great piece of prog pop from the Limerick band. Melody's Echo Chamber was in there again, can't get enough of that; Jon DeRosa, from a beautiful album called A wolf in preacher's clothes, for fans of Scott Walker; some Goat, for that itchy funk fix, new music from Thread Pulls, more brilliant skeletal grooves and Melt Yourself Down, a new project from ex Acoustic Ladyland members, more great African-inflected live dance music. And of course Ariel Pink..."you sank my battleship, no I sank your battleship...". Class.

The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed

Playlist 237
Tues Oct 2 2012
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at
*listen back to this show here

windings - This is a conversation