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Showing posts from July, 2015

Various Artists - Kaught at the Kampus EP (Reekus Records)

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And to finish off this strange July a first digital release for a little treasure from 1981.

Kaught at the Kampus is a somewhat legendary title for people of a certain vintage. Those who remember the Arcadia Ballroom which was the kind of pre-Henry’s Sir Henry’s in Cork.

A rock venue that played host to the fledgling U2 as well as The Cure, UB40 and plenty of other worthy names of the time.

This Downtown Campus was run by Elvera Butler who persuaded the leading Cork bands of 1981 to be part of a live recording.

It’s a live EP recorded at Elvera’s UCC gig Downtown Kampus, features tracks by post-punk bands such as Nun Attax, Mean Features, Urban Blitz and the original line-up of Mircodisney.

Finbarr Donnelly and Ricky Dineen of Nun Attax went on to form Five Go Down To The Sea and later Beethoven before Donnelly died tragically in London. Mean Features included singer Mick Lynch who went on to front Stump. And of course Microdisney “spawned” Fatima Mansions and High Llamas…

Bjork – Lionsong (from Vulnicura, One Little Indian)

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A distinct echo in this from Bjork’s Post album which is one that always has a soft spot in my heart.

Presumably it’s those bending swooping Bollywood strings. Those alone and her vocal are enough to make this captivating.

The backbeats are more reminiscient of the Homogenic album maybe. Thudding and brooding.

Notice too the wonderful layering of her vocal at the beginning of the song. Not double tracking. Quixotic and out of sync.

The triumph here overall is taking deeply emotional content and turning it into a strangely uplifting experience for the listener.

Masterful as always.

Totally Mild – The next day (from the album Down Time, Fire Records)

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There’s something about Elizabeth Mitchell’s voice.

While singing these lines -

I’m in bed and I never want to go outside again

she sounds like she’s drifting off into sentimental or even mildly ecstatic reverie.

The voice is billed as falsetto. I’m not sure it is exactly but I’m sure it’s pitched just above the shelf of full throated. Delicately poised.

Meanwhile the genius guitar line forms a duet with it in the spiral staircase chorus.

Thereafter the rhythm section pulls the neat trick of leaving out half the beats.

With the twined guitar and posied at an angle voice this has the wonderful effect of slowing you right down to the pace of the song as it stretches its limbs. Twould nearly make you want to up sticks to Melbourne.

It is languid and altogether very very lovely.

Down TIme by Totally Mild

De Lux – Oh man, the future (Innovative Leisure)

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A genius turn from the LA duo which takes two crucial elements of the vintage Talking Heads sound and fuses them with an authentic 21st century anxiety.

Those elements are the relentless pulse bass of Tina Weymouth.

And the declamatory, talking-loudly-to-myself vocals of David Byrne.

World War 4. US Civil War 2024. No money. Everything is free.

They suggest a scenario in which dancing to a four to the floor disco beat can alleviate this state of affairs. Not a solution maybe but a way to soothe your mind and body.

You might even feel like embracing an uncertain future if the soundtrack is as brilliant as this.

Man of Moon - The road (Melodic Records)

There’s a bit of a Glasgow roll on the show lately what with C Duncan and Kathryn Joseph (there’s also a new Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat album due out later in the year). What’s even more impressive about them all is the diversity of styles on show, no sign of trendsetting or bandwagon jumping.

Man of Moon are a duo who take a hint of Jagwar Ma and put a motorik worm into it.

Chunky power chords.
Unswerving drumbeat.
A song about the road.
World weary vocals. (They’re only young.)
Dancefloor breakdown.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Playlist 365 - July 21 2015

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Some whistling to start off the show this week. Esquivel pushed the boundaries of stereo sound (and orchestral arrangements) in the 50s and 60s. And C Duncan is doing similar with pop instruments and classical techniques. Both have knockout whistling interludes.

New music from Best Boy Grip of Derry, always welcome, one of the best songwriters and arrangers on this island.

J Fernandez, lovely Beach Boyish arrangement. Ezra Furman with that great manic energy but also a searing intellect. The Phoenix Foundation taking off into epic prog territory, a great trip.

And The Chap are back and chapping away very chappishly as always.

More on these pages.

July 21 2015 w/ C Duncan,Beach Boys,J Fernandez,ALS,Blank Realm,Novella,Best Boy Grip++ by The Underground Of Happiness on Mixcloud

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Playlist 365
Tues J…

C Duncan - Architect (Fat Cat)

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A thoroughly intoxicating album of leisurely (mostly) and dreamy paeans to the everyday from Mr Christopher Duncan of Glasgow.

On one end of the scale you’ll find the very pleasantly Grizzly Bear-ish ‘Garden’ with its swooping ooh and aw vocals projecting against a driving psych pop backdrop. All on foot of a mere trip to the garden.

Dialling the psych down a notch is the gorgeous ‘Here to there’ with reverbed and falsetto vocal harmonies let loose over a thrumming backbeat. In it Duncan suggests “it’s so familiar” and the song almost comes across as a mission statement for his music. How strange and astonishing the world around us is.

Much of the rest of the album is in a lower but no less lovely gear. ‘For’ has a drifting folk-pastoral air to it (and the most beguiling whistling interlude since Esquivel’s version of ‘Sentimental journey’) with beautiful vocal arrangements on display once again.

It’s the culmination of the album’s opening run taking in ‘Say’, the title…

Deradoorian – A beautiful woman (Anticon)

Where pop music makes room for euphoric vocal innovations with the grace of Eastern and African musics and the adventurousness of the avant garde.

From one of the key voices of the best Dirty Projectors output, also Avey Tare, Flying Lotus, Vampire Weekend and more.

While the killer singing may hit you first here listen out too for the wonderfully lithe backbeat with groovy rolling bassline. It’s the perfect surging counterpoint to the stratospheric glide of the voices.

The birdsong back of the throat effect that adorns every chorus intro is my current favourite. There’s just no chaining it down.

It is a fantastic fucking racket all round.



And get full value for every inch of those syncopations with this live film as Angel and her sister Arlene lay down a series of interlocking drumbeats and handclaps before singing live with little more than a Hofner bass for company. It’s positively thrilling stuff. (And if you’re into things that look cool well it scores highly on th…

Playlist 364 - July 14 2015

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A few tunes this week from artists playing Cork soon. This is the Kit plays The Cave in Mitchelstown this week, Julianna Barwick is part of the wonderful Sounds from a Safe Harbour Festival line-up in September; and also in Sepembert, August Wells bring their beautiful chamber pop sound to Coughlan's. Good times.

Still tripping on Deradoorian, intoxicating stuff. Totally Mild are a Melbourne 4-piece with a great line in lovelorn indie guitar pop.

The centre of the show was all Glasgow - Kathryn Joseph, C Duncan & Man of Moon - great variety and quality and all playing UK festivals over the summer.

And some classic Nun Attax from the soon to be digitally released Kaught at the Kampus EP from 1981. A little Cork treasure.

More on the blog.

*By the way, apologies for a microphone glitch at the beginning of this show (anyone listening live would have experienced some disconcerting but soul-cleansing silences). So the first couple of links are missing from the podcast.…

Playlist 363 - July 7 2015

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New music this week from The Doomed Bird of Providence, an English-based folk ensemble who play the songs of Mark Kluzek, an Australian who has been researching his native country's early colonial history for some years and translating it compellingly into song. The new You brought the knife EP traces the life of one Maria Murray, a former slave and convict who forged a new life down under, amid rugged strings and brilliant no nonsense colloquial vocals.

Qluster (yes with a Q) is Hans Joachim Roedelius with Onnen Bock and Armin Metz all on piano making gorgeous meditative music which still retains an ambient undercurrent.

New/old guitar instrumental from William Tyler, his first EP is reissued on Merge. Laetitia Sadier tours the UK this month, anyone there should check out her sublime cosmic soul from the last album. Virginia Wing are at Liverpool Psych Fest in September, another great live band from what I've heard.

The Jean Paul Sartre Experience, classic Flying Nun. An…