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Showing posts from April, 2014

Ellis Island Sound feat. John Matthias – Intro, airborne, travelling (Village Green)

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Wonderfully enervating motorik groove from Pete Astor and David Sheppard, with a great nagging vocal turn from the Radiohead collaborator.

It’s insistent and stoic, things you would expect from Krautrock, but there’s also a lovely dreamy quality to this track which gives it the edge over the competition.

Tennis – Small sound EP (Communion)

Glorious combination of pitch-perfect arrangements and swoonsome vocals, with just enough bite to keep you on the edge of your seat, from husband and wife duo Patrick Riley and Alaina Miller.

You need go no further than lead track ‘Mean steets’, unrolling on an exquisitely languid groove in keeping with the subject matter ("summer up in the Catskills baby, singing just for the thrill"). If the electric piano and beautifully slurred vocal delivery aren’t enough for you, check the drop-dead bridge – a gorgeous fog of organ stabs and the most appealingly sunny, chiming guitar line in years.

It all makes for blue-eyed soul of the highest order, brimming with pent-up emotion. Coming a close second is ‘Dimming light’, making like a slowed-down, drowsy Supremes off-cut, with a distinctly ambiguous heart beating amongst the jangly guitars and ringing piano.

To die for.



Playlist 308 - Apr 29 2014

Back this week (no show last week as I was away at funerals) with new music from Laetitia Sadier, to go with her sublime duet with Benjamin Schoos.

Tennis are on heavy rotation round UOH Towers these days with their gorgeous brand of blue-eyed soul. The Elwins are also in there, a beautiful sunshine pop cut.

Wussy have a new album, it's great as you'd expect. The War on Drugs, another satisfying blue-collar feel to that band.

Then Arch Garrison and Stars in Battledress, two English folk duos flirting with the avant garde brilliantly (and sharing James Larcombe in common).

Boa Morte play a rare gig in Cork this week, with Barry McCormack.

And Automat, featuring the distinctive vocals of Genesis P-Orridge, a sultry slice of dub electronica.

Apr 29 2014 w/ Laetitia Sadier,Sabina,Wussy,Boa Morte,Automat,Red Snapper,Arch Garrison++ by Theundergroundofhappiness on Mixcloud

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Jacques Caramac & The Sweet Generation – The highs and lows of Jacques Caramac & The Sweet Generation (Everyday Life/Rocket Girl)

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They’re French (and Scottish and Bolivian apparently), they’re a bit trashy, a bit glam, they sing in English, they’ve got class tunes.

‘Snowballs’ we’ve spoken of here before, a headrush of scratchy/jangly guitars and Drumming 101 with one of the most deeply pleasurable pop choruses of recent years.

‘It takes all sorts’ is cut from a similar cloth, a short, sharp punch to the head channelling VU and The Modern Lovers. There’s a tongue-in-cheek swagger to it which also recalls the spirit of Marc Bolan, although in this case more for the purposes of social comment than sexual celebration, you feel. The press release mentions “on the edge of clever and stupid” and a provocative dadaist gene runs through the album. A hilarious title like ‘Liberté, Fraternité, Galaxy’ says it all, as do remarks on pop tarts "kream" puffs.

Somehow, amongst the instant hooks and nods and winks they also manage to be quite a bit progressive. ‘El Dorado’ posits the conquistadores among a …

Playlist 307 - Apr 15 2014

The centrepiece this week was a cut from the Kronos Quartet collaboration with Bollywood legend Asha Bhosle from a few years back, an album well worth your time. The track we had was a version of her original song from the 1971 film Hare Rama Hare Krishna, music composed by her husband RD Burman at that time. The Kronos Quartet play Cork Opera House in May, along with Julianna Barwick. That should be a very special night.

On the world musics theme, we had Sabina again with her refreshing update on bossa nova, paired with Gal Costa, the Brazilian Tropicalia great.

New music too from Wussy (energising tribute to The Who, kinda), Bob Mould (in very good voice), Arch Garrison (rubbing folk music up against vintage synths, brilliantly) and Shonen Knife (extolling the virtues of green tea, loud and fast).

And the wonderful Future Islands, who play Dublin in November, with their new single 'Spirit', another weird pop anthem full of soul and yearning.

Apr 15 2014 w/ Kronos Q…

Playlist 306 - Apr 8 2014

The new single from The Altered Hours was first up this week with their upcoming new single on Art For Blind, sounding great the live fave 'Dig early', along with Eat Lights Become Lights, driving krautrock at its best, fast and loud.

A couple of Record Store Day releases from Thrill Jockey, two different shades of guitar folk tune from Glenn Jones & Alexander Tucker.

New music from Tennis, love that sepia 60s vocal group sound; Beck channelling Gainsbourg, and Italians The Vickers with some lovely psych rock stylings, for fans of Tame Impala for sure.

And Prescott, feat. Kev Hopper ex Stump, making what I can only call wonky jazz. Great.

Apr 8 2014 w/ Altered Hours,ELBL,Glenn Jones,Alexander Tucker,Tennis,Beck,The Vickers++ by Theundergroundofhappiness on Mixcloud

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Playlist 306
Tues Apr 8 2014
11.00am-12.00pm
(…

UMA – Vanity

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A most appealing bass concoction from this Berlin husband and wife duo, Ella and Florian Zweitnig.

In among the stalking pulses, there are plenty of lovely kosmische tones giving a satisfying light-and-dark experience.

The vocal is perfectly pitched too, banks of dispassionate Ellas conveying something vaguely disquieting.

Beck – Wave (from the album Morning phase)

Beck revisiting his work with Charlotte Gainsbourg from a few years ago (on her IRM album), in which he recruited his father David Campbell to channel the spirit of Jean-Claude Vannier, the man who added the stardust arrangements to what might otherwise have been Serge Gainsbourg’s sordid sexual psychodramas, most notably on Histoire de Melody Nelson.

Here Campbell’s strings are the only backing to Beck’s flailing, drowning vocal, suggesting first a deep-sea undertow, then some kind of soaring transcendance as the end approaches.

It’s a beautiful, although distinctly upsetting, piece, a mid-album emotional trough which reaches convincingly into the depths of relationship death.

Julia Kent Interview

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I had the great pleasure to meet Julia Kent last month, having been a fan of her solo work for a few years. She was in Cork (and Dublin the following day) to play her first ever Irish show.

Unfortunately, this occasion was marked by her cello being waylaid at the airport in Paris. Luckily the resourceful people at Fractured Air and Plugd (who co-promoted the Cork show) were able to locate a replacement instrument in Cork (her own cello was re-routed to Dublin and she got it back the next day). When I arrived at the venue, Julia was getting acquainted with this unfamiliar cello and understandably a little bit put off by the turn of events. Despite the hitch, she was very gracious with her time and we spoke in the Triskel Arts Centre foyer as the sizeable crowd gathered for the show.

One of the most interesting things about the chat for me was her description of her classical music studies as "traumatic...super competitive", something she fled from to New York. There, s…

Playlist 305 - Apr 1 2014

The centrepiece of this week's show was some clips from the interview with Julia Kent. I spoke to her when she played in Cork last month at Triskel Arts Centre, she's a really interesting character. There are two clips - by the way apologies for the background noise, you might need headphones to appreciate properly. The full interview (14 mins or so) will be here to stream soon.

New music also from Diane Cluck (she plays Belfast, Cork & Dublin this w'end) - beautiful, eerie, spectral folk music - Sabina and her world of wonders, Benjamin Schoos with Laetitia Sadier swinging brilliantly.

And the brilliant synth-inflected folk tones of Arch Garrison , another in a long line of great work from Craig Fortnam.

More on these pages.

Apr 1 2014 w/ Sabina,Benjamin Schoos,Diane Cluck,Arch Garrison,Elastic Sleep & Julia Kent I'view++ by Theundergroundofhappiness on Mixcloud

The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhap…