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Showing posts from March, 2014

Benjamin Schoos feat. Laetitia Sadier – Une derniere danse (Freaksville)

Delicious, swinging synth pop (of the vintage kind) from the Freaksville boss, with a customarily gorgeous cameo from the ex-Stereolab singer.

As I listen, there’s even enough jangle to make you swoon after those hazy, rose-tinted days of the late 80s.

Whatever...that pit-pat bassline, that bending keyboard melody...yes is the word, that’s all.

Une dernière danse (feat. Laetitia Sadier) by Benjamin Schoos

Playlist 304 - Mar 25 2014

Another great cut from the Sabina album to open the show this wk, can't get enough of that (check the review of the album under posts on the right). Just as good is the new single from (Merrill) Tune Yards (Garbus, pic), working eco-politics into a clapping song. Genius.

On the Sabina theme, we took a detour into some other European female singers, via Marlene Dietrich and Nico, deadpan shades of both of whom you can hear on Sabina's album.

Also the sultrier, sax-smothered side of Polar Bear, the wonderfully atmospheric, stalking electro of UMA, The War on Drugs with fantastic krauty pop grooves.

New slanty guitar shapes from Young Knives. And something beautiful and jangly from Theatre Royal, a band from Rochester in Kent.

More on these pages as ever.

Mar 25 2014 show w/ Sabina,Tune Yards,Nico,Polar Bear,UMA, The War on Drugs,Eyedress,TEEN++ by Theundergroundofhappiness on Mixcloud

The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergrou…

Riz Ortolani & Nino Oliveiro - Mondo Cane OST (Trunk Records Reissue)

Slightly bonkers (but all the more brilliant for that) Italian film music from 1962, it also hits that beautiful, sentimental sweet spot.

There are cha-cha-chas, tarantellas and various other forms of lushly orchestrated boogie, with a few glorious weepies thrown in. The images which the music accompanies (check them below) are a film document of the strangeness and diversity of human life, from high class Hong Kong diners to fishermen in India, and African tribal ceremonies to European catwalk models to drunkards on the Reeperbahn.

More awesome treasures brought to light again by the wonderful Trunk Records. And a fitting tribute to Ortlolani, who died recently.







Sabina – Toujours (Naim Edge)

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Meet Sabina Sciubba, Paris resident but with Rome, Munich, Nice, Hamburg and New York in her backstory. Her debut solo album (she previously fronted electro pop provocateurs Brazilian Girls, who were neither Brazilian nor girls, apart from herself) finds her musing on the modern world charmingly, humourously and yet sincerely, to mostly minimal backing.

As an early calling card, ‘Viva l’amour’ rattles along at couldn’t-give-a-fuck pace and beguiles with deceptively simple and thrilling back-to-front vocals.

‘Long distance love’ develops a slightly more stately, although insistent, guitar-driven rhythm which rolls very pleasingly until a coda completely shifts the goalposts, using train whistle whoo-hoo backing vocals with stunning results. The song appears to be a cautionary tale about the global village and its isolating effect on our hearts and minds, but you’ll be hard pushed not to swing your hips to the beat. Perhaps this is the point – we’re here now together in the same…

Playlist 303 - Mar 18 2014

A pleasingly mixed bag this week, beginning with a beautiful kosmische cut from the new Eat Lights Become Lights album, Into forever, plus a forerunner in the shape of classic Harmonia from 1974.

Mark Linkous' 4th anniversary is around now, good/poignant to hear a Sparklehorse memory from the 90s. And with a new AWVFTS album due soon, a track from their 2011 s/t debut, an album dedicated to Linkous, with whom Adam Wiltzie played as part of the Sparklehorse touring band.

Some nice exotica around the middle of the show - new single from Benjamin Schoos with Laetitia Sadier (Euro flavour), Eden Ahbez from 1960 (west coast US hippie branch), Ellis Island Sound (motorik wing) and more great Italian soundtrack from Nino Oliveiro and the late Riz Ortolani.

Then Vertical Scratchers channelling The Kinks. And Sabina (below), my new fave female singer - part Marlene Dietrich, part Nico, part Dada, all parts intoxicating.

Mar 18 2014 w/ ELBL,Harmonia,AWVFTS, Sparklehorse,Kinks,Johnof…

Vertical Scratchers – Daughter of everything (Merge)

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New outfit of John Schmersal (ex Brainiac and a live member of Caribou). The band name refers to the plastic scratch of plectrum on unamplified electric guitar strings, a percussive sound which is foregrounded throughout this album.

There are 15 songs here in just over half an hour and hardly a guitar solo or distortion pedal in sight. There’s also a frantic intelligence at work which might put you in mind a little of They Might Be Giants but the songs bear all the (wonderful) hallmarks of The Kinks, channelling the spirit and tone of Ray Davies as their core influence, although with some other worthy reference points supporting.

And there are many good songs. Like ‘Pretend u are free’ with its falsetto strangeness conjuring XTC gatecrashing The Beach Boys. The uncomplicated, gentle psych folk of ‘Rainbows’. Or the lovely fuzzy boogie of ‘Someone’, which has some of the shambling genius of Guided By Voices about it (in fact, Robert Pollard himself crops up with guest vocals on…

Playlist 302 - Mar 11 2014

I finally got around to clubbing Teenage Fanclub and The Scud Mountain Boys together with The New Mendicants, which features Norman Blake and Joe Pernice from those great 1990s bands.

Some great new electro singles from Future Islands and Eyedress, plus a memory from Metronomy who play tonight in Dublin.

Patterns and Katie Kim both play Cork in the next month or so.

Golden Retriever's sublime minimalism, Glenn Gould's transcendant Bach piano.

And Benjamin Schoos with Laetitia Sadier (pic) sounding like they're ushering in springtime with a blast of breezy sunshine pop.

Mar 11 2014 w/ Future Islands,Metronomy,Benjamin Schoos,Polar Bear,Golden Retriever,Glenn Gould++ by Theundergroundofhappiness on Mixcloud

The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


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

Playlist 302
Tues Mar 11 2014
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the …

Kiran Leonard – Geraldo’s Farm (Hand of Glory Records)

I'm pure loving this at the moment, from the man who brought us ‘Dear Lincoln’ last year, another lip-smacking prog pop creation.

This one is more expansive/bonkers and brings a 70s gurgling synth-flanged guitar vibe to another superior arrangement. As that suggests, it is satisfyingly Krautrocky.

It’s the kind of anguished, loopy brilliance we’ve become used to finding stuck down the obscure end of yet another great Finders Keepers compilation, which you wind up dancing to at 2am at home on a Saturday morning (is it only me?).

Intoxicating stuff.

The New Mendicants – Into the lime (One Little Indian)

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Very tasty album collaboration between Joe Pernice (Pernice Brothers, Scud Mountain Boys) and Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), which would remind you of the reasons why those bands were such treasures.

Among the unexpected pleasures on the album are the perfect pop structures of Rubber Soul-era Beatles, in the shape of ‘Cruel Annette’, ‘If you only knew her’ and the particularly wonderful (with a touch of ‘Michelle’ to it) ‘High on the skyline’. These still have enough of a burnished Big Star/Teenage Fanclub finish to make the uplift bittersweet, gorgeously so.

Having said that (and I am a huge Rubber Soul fan), it’s hard to get past the gloriously burnished nostalgia of album opener ‘Sarasota’ - handclaps, glockenspiels, swooning vocal harmonies and sunburst guitars, it’s a really beautiful thing.







Playlist 301 - Mar 4 2014

Beck's new album Morning phase has some great moments. My favourites would have to be where his father David Campbell's orchestrations add melancholy grandeur, just as JC Vannier's do on Histoire de Melody Nelson, Serge Gainsbourg's opus from 1970 (and an admitted massive influence on Beck).

Laurie Shaw has some killer garage pop tunes (Cork live shows upcoming), so have Vertical Scratchers, with a distinct Kinks flavour in their case, which is always good.

Eat Lights Become Lights' new record is another winner, reportedly taking influence from Moondog among others. We had the latter's wonderful 'Bird's Lament' this week, part children's tv theme, part tricksy avant garde genius. Also great to hear from Kev Hopper, ex-Stump, in his new band Prescott.

Damien Jurado plays Dublin tonight (Mar 5), his new album, Brothers and sisters of the eternal son, is one of the best of the year so far, brilliant from start to finish.

Some beautiful Itali…