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Showing posts from November, 2012

Playlist 245 - Nov 27 2012

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I’m always interested to know where (geographically) music comes from – on this week’s show, it came from Canterbury, Liege, London, Brooklyn, Paris, Sheffield, Manchester, Swindon, Berlin and Cinncinatti. Where (philosophically, creatively) it comes from is another matter… More Sone Institute (A model life), XTC (Apple Venus), Wires Under Tension, Little Annie & Baby Dee, Wussy, Laetitia Sadier, Richard Hawley (Irish Tour next week) & Peter Broderick. Plus for the first time, The Loved Drones (drifting psych pop), Jacqueline Taleb (Beginner's Guide to French Pop compilation), Milk Maid (like a shoegazey Big Star), Eat Lights, Become Lights (furious krautrock backbeat), Syd Arthur (jazz folk feel) and Daphni, which is actually Caribou/Dan Snaith under a different name, with some lovely, loose and soulful house music. And Melody’s Echo Chamber to finish, a pop tune so perfect I think I’d rank it up there with Downtown, the Petula Clark version, in other words an all time …

Beach House in Berlin

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Photo: Bríd O'Donovan - showshotshare.tumblr.com

I went to see Beach House in Cork last month, at the Cork Opera House (review here, which was originally published on WeAreNoise). I’m a big fan of the band and I enjoyed the gig, but, disappointingly, I wasn’t blown away. That was my third time seeing them live, in fact, and each gig, for different reasons, fell short of the wow factor (Whelan’s 2010, some kind of onstage edginess; Primavera 2010, ropey sound).

At the time, I put this down to a combination of things – mainly, the festival weekend crowd in the Opera House, much of whom were more concentrated on the bar than the stage, and qualms about the suitability of the venue for the band. Now, the Opera House is a magnificent venue, but it occurred to me that somewhere less expansive, high-ceilinged, theatrical might be a better fit for Beach House.



Well, I was lucky enough to see the band again, in Berlin, a few weeks ago, at the Astra Kulturhaus in Kreuzberg. For older…

Jon DeRosa – A wolf in preacher’s clothes (Rocket Girl)

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As a companion piece to Little Annie & Baby Dee, try this, another type of New York lounge album, with loss and longing also at its heart. This one, though, draws on rock (post punk, drone - he used to front the drone rock band Aarktica) rather than cabaret for its core sound.

DeRosa has an irresistible croon which, allied with his lyrical observations of New York life (he also works as a bartender in the city), and the beautiful orchestral arrangements, all makes for a very visual effect. There’s also a cover of a Blue Nile song, and Julia Kent on cello is part of the musical cast, if you need any further persuading. Snow coffin is my favourite from the album (you can hear it below) - it's a beguiling mixture of insistent strummed bass and sweeping strings.

B. Fleischmann – Your bibles are printed on dollars (Morr Music, from the album I’m not ready for the grave yet)

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“Your bibles are printed on dollars
Your dollars are printed with blood
Oh God I’m in the corner of the ring
With Bono and Sting.”


Hilarious, but yet serious and strangely touching. The German veteran has smuggled a beguiling form of protest song into an album of cut-up guitar riffs, drifting electronica and motorik pulses. Protest songs seem to be in the air again finally – I feel a playlist coming on…

Nov 20 20123 Show w/ Serge & Jane, B Fleischmann, Little Annie/Baby Dee, Mice Parade, Sfumato++ by Theundergroundofhappiness on Mixcloud

Little Annie & Baby Dee – State of grace (Tin Angel Records)

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Some reviews now of the music that's been featured regularly on the show over the last few weeks, starting with Little Annie & Baby Dee. This is the label blurb for the album.

State Of Grace is a record that covers love, loss, leaving and the confusion of time. It features collaborations with such luminaries and modern mavericks as Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Eric Chenaux, Chris Cundy (Guillemots, Cold Specks) and Jordan Hunt (Irrepresibles, Hidden Cameras). Little Annie aka Annie Anxiety Bandez, is a smokey contralto, raconteur and restless spirit who has spent the last 30 years creating a body of work that would take much more space than available here to list. Baby Dee is an enchanting composer, performance artist, classically trained harpist, circus sideshow veteran, and transgender street legend.”

A thrilling, invigorating record bringing Baby Dee’s brilliantly fluid piano work together with Little Annie’s thoroughly lived-in (the definition of authentic) voice of exp…

Playlist 244 - Nov 20 2012

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I picked up a 60’s French Pop compilation recently, put together by Kid Loco, and I’ve been on a bit of a French buzz ever since. The Les Chats Sauvages track is from that, giving the 1st Psych Wave a run for its money. And before that, any excuse for the incomparable greatness of Serge & Jane. We also had two Front & Follow releases, a beautiful remix from the Sone Institute album (pictured, the remix EP is a free d'load through the label from Dec 3rd), and Kemper Norton with the latest in the Collision/Detection series. Great label, that. Another Little Annie/Baby Dee song from the getting better all the time State of grace album; Kyle Forester (Crystal Stilts keyboardist) singing the songs of his friend Joshua Stein; B Fleischmann brilliantly taking a pop at Bono & Sting; Sfumato with full gospel choir; some lovely flamenco from the upcoming Mice Parade album; and Snow Palms' (Ellis Island Sound's David Sheppard) beautiful instrumental exotica. Plus a lost…

Playlist 243 - Nov 13 2012

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We started the show this week with XTC from an album I only picked up again over the weekend, having "lost" it years ago, the great Apple Venus. River of orchids is such a strange but uplifting piece of music, Andy Partidge's vocal is brilliantly unhinged.

There's a new Hauschka remix album out in the new year, we had Michael Mayer's lovely, slow building house re-do of Radar. He's the head of the Kompakt label, based in Cologne, and with Hauschka/Volker Bertelmann from Dusseldorf, that's an axis of current German electronic music right there.

Jon DeRosa was back again with the gorgeous Snow coffin, the most moving anti-war song in a long time (at least I think I detect a war comment in it). Get Well Soon also in there, with another epic piece of orchestral, sweeping pop music, using Italian 60s/70s film music as his (Konstantin Gropper) drawing board, Rota, Argento, Morricone and the like.

Also TOPS' nice New Wave sound, Seti The First with an…

Ryan Francesconi & Mirabai Peart

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We had a track on the show a few weeks ago from Ryan Francesconi and Mirabai Peart, called Road to Palios. It's the title track of an album to be released on Bella Union on Dec 3rd.

It's a series of tunes, really, spun out over almost 9 minutes - sometimes meditative, sometimes urgent - consisting of guitar and violin instrumentals, and it's absolutely fantastic stuff.

For anyone in Cork, you might remember Ryan & Mirabai played in Triskel Christchurch last year, around the time of the Joanna Newsom show in Marlay Park in Dublin (they both play in her touring band). Here were my thoughts on that gig at the time - it was a stunning performance.

http://theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.ie/2011/07/ryan-francesconi-cian-nugent-in-cork.html

I can't be sure if they played Road to Palios that night, but there were certainly other tunes with similar trajectories, drawn from their travels around Greece and the Balkans.

Here's the blurb from the Bella Union website…

Playlist 242 - Nov 6 2012

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Lots of orchestral influences on the show this week, it goes like that sometimes. Jon DeRosa, with the brilliant drone-and-strings of Snow coffin; the great brass fanfare of Seti The First (playing Cork and Dublin this week - here's an interview I did with Kevin from the band for WeAreNoise, where he explains the title and thinking behind Victory Motel); previously unreleased film music from Sylvain Chauveau; more film music with signature and sublime vocals from Ennio Morricone; and either side of the master, two current artists certainly influenced by him - Laetitia Sadier and Get Well Soon. There's also two lovely pieces of "modern" English folk music, from North Sea Radio Orchestra and The Singing Loins; some beautiful, fuzzy dream pop from Dublin's September Girls; Nils Frahm and Jens Lekman (both playing Cork's Half Moon Theatre soon). And B. Fleischmann (pictured), with a track from a wonderfully laconic album called I'm not ready for the grave y…