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Showing posts from April, 2016

Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld – Nerissimo (Specula Records)

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A compelling album that leaves a thick trace after it, like a fog or a snail track.

This from the press release.

“This record is also a nocturnal transfer, a diary of apparitions, it’s about colours that could transform the whole universe once you name them, a nocturnal flight with the lights off above european capitals.”

Nocturnal is right. It is deep and dark and has a midnight pacing to it.

The arrangements are in a chamber setting mostly, strings and woodwind taking the foreground under Bargeld’s intriguing intonations.

The pizzicato tiptoe of Caetano Veloso’s ‘The empty boat’. The low bass hum and undertow of the title track. The thrumming menace of ‘The beast’. The scrapes and whispers of the spoken word ‘Ulgae’. The pulsing waves of ‘Nirgendheim’.

A wonderful and enduring piece of work.



The Goon Sax – Sometimes accidentally (from the album Up to anything, Chapter Music)

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The highpoint from a debut album of very endearing indie pop guitar tunes from this teenage Brisbane trio.

A pummelling floor tom drum. A circling acoustic guitar line. A defiantly chugging bass. Which all adds up to no nonsense.

But the vocal demurs. It’s a love song of sorts. But it dwells on feeling inferior to other suitors. It’s all refreshingly uncertain and hangdogish.

Making a tangy contrast with the music.

*In fact, this gender twisting continues on the snappy single from the album 'Boyfriend'.

If I had a boyfriend / I'd treat him so right / and we could break your heart / so you see how I feel / I need a boyfriend / or just anything real

It would remind you of another Brisbane band, The Go Betweens, and in fact one of this band is the son of Robert Forster.

You know you’re getting old when the sons of the bands you love are forming bands. As long as they’re keeping up the family business we can all grow old without a care.

Lail Arad – The onion (The Vinyl Factory)

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An album of songs about life and love delivered with a youthful exuberance and a sweet nature.

Sweet natured but there’s also a wonderful deadpan quality to these songs giving them a certain bite which would make you think of Jonathan Richman, maybe even Leonard Cohen (one song here has Arad imagining herself as consort and muse to the Buddhist one in his prime).

As noted here before, the vocal style also has a lovely slacker vibe (I’m calling it), all insouciance and bending notes. This is shown off to best effect on the totally winning singles ‘When we grow up’ and ‘Lay down’. The former has this line which is a great high wire act of defiance and self-parody.

We try to be realistic but we’re so damn artistic

It all gives the impression of a writer trapped in a singer songwriter’s body or of simply choosing songs as a vehicle for now.

However the musical backing is very tasty. Off the cuff (seemingly) guitar work, choppy reverbed Motown chords, doo wop backing vocals an…

Giorgio Tuma – This life denied me your love (Elefant)

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Alluring dream pop with undertones of kosmische, shoegaze, library music and sublime orchestral soul.

Laetitia Sadier brings guest vocals (in fact the absolutely wonderful ‘Release from the centre of the heart’ appeared on her last album Something shines although here the main vocal is sung by Tuma’s fellow Italian Matilde Davoli, who also produces most of the album) which guarantees swooning straightaway. There are also notable cameos from Michael Andrews, Populous and Stephen Kaye.

Even apart from all that though, what a gorgeous set of arrangements.

‘Two half moons’, for example, shifts gear midway through from pillows of synths to a glorious string interlude with two step drumbeat.

‘Maude Hope’ brings to mind The High Llamas at their best with banjo/harpsichord arpeggios, a beguiling chord shift and Sadier’s dream of a voice. Around the edges, synth string and guitar melodies flutter and fall. It’s a song you could lie down in all day.

There’s a curious and lovel…

A Dyjecinski – The Valley of Yessiree (Sideways Saloon Recordings)

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There’s a word made for a certain tempo in music. According to me anyway. Lugubrious. I love lugubrious. Slow moving. Slow turning. Space to breathe. Meditative. Melancholy too.

A Dyjecinski does great lugubrious.

With a whiff of Lambchop and Bill Callahan, and for those in the know Boa Morte. Subtle shadings of brass and steel guitar and centrally a deep baritone voice on the verge of cracking. Those touchstones shown in post punk guitar distortions fizzing around country soul lounge shapes.

And a most pleasing way with a lyric.

“A spectacular failure is spectacular all the same”

On ‘I’m the woods’ he leaves lugubrious behind briefly and comes off a little like Antony Hegarty, his voice bending and pleading. Which only adds further weight and power to the great slow train when it returns.

A wonderful sound.



Playlist 399 - Apr 26 2016

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Some events happening which tie in this week.

Gene Clark died 25 years ago this year. The very good people at Young Hearts Run Free are putting on a tribute event in Dublin next month featuring a host of people playing GC songs. Should be great.

Slow Moving Clouds start a short Irish tour this w'end in Cork - go. Julia Kent is back in Dublin next month also, cellos all round.

Other than that, if you're in the UK you can check Aldous Harding, Nadia Reid, Anna von Hausswolff, Kathryn Joseph in the next while - spoiled ye are over there.

And JC Vannier rules of course. I'm sure he's not at all inconsolable, contrary to what Lake Ruth would have us believe.

More on these pages.



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/theundergroundofhappiness
Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy

Playlist 399
Tues Apr 26 2016
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on …

Playlist 398 - Apr 19 2016

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The new Astronauts album is out in a couple of weeks. Sit back and enjoy again the first single 'Civil Engineer', hushed but insistent.

A Dyjecinski releases his debut album tonight, and a highly entertaining slew of lugubrious country lounge it is.

Upcoming shows - Anderson in Cork, Hookworms in Dublin, Lail Arad at End of the Road, The Comet Is Coming in London.

And Robert Forster coming to Dublin in May (the w'end before Primavera).

More on these pages.



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/theundergroundofhappiness
Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy

Playlist 398
Tues Apr 19 2016
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at www.ucc.ie/983fm
*listen back to this show here
https://goo.gl/heTwsT


Playlist
JR Green – Do the Katie-step (playing Great Escape Festival, Brighton, May 19-21)
A. Dyjecinski – Dead horses (playing Hoxton Bar & Kitc…

Cate Le Bon – Wonderful (from the album Crab day, Turnstile)

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Which sees Cate dialling down the psych a tad but up on the wonderfully wonky pop, all manner of pastoral folk and baroque ballads rubbing up against angular post punk.

This song sings its own brand of wonky psych, a love song apparently, and why not, love is more psych than most, my heart’s in my liver / my heart’s in my supper my supper my supper.

And if you think that’s risky, watch the video. There really is nothing cooler than someone willing to risk looking ridiculous. The key of course is that Cate doesn’t give a fuck (I mean tan leather gloves?).

An endearing quality in itself. Paired with savage tunes it makes great pop music for all of us.

Playlist 397 - Apr 12 2016

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Wonderfully wonky new single from Cate Le Bon appropriately titled 'Wonderful'.

New Robert Pollard album out, why not dig out a GBV classic from 1996, and as we're at it some classic Pavement from around the same time. What a great time for "alt rock" that was.

The Bonk, making some tasty psych sounds, playing in Cork this weekend. Damien Jurado picking up where he left off with his last great psych folk album, playing Whelan's this week.

The Chap with some salutary advice for students, touring Europe now. The Chills with some salutary advice for the human race, playing Primavera in June. Rejoice.

More on these pages.



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/theundergroundofhappiness
Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy

Playlist 397
Tues Apr 12 2016
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at www.ucc.ie/983fm
*listen back to this sh…

Playlist 396 - Apr 5 2016

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Doo Wop? That'd be M Ward, mining the essentials of rock n roll again beautifully.

Ray Cathode, that's the late George Martin with friends from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (what a fascinating meeting of the mainstream and the experimental that was), space lounge let's call it.

New Aldous Harding, oh be still my heart, sounds like a slight departure for her, vocally especially, but still sounds great.

Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld, making brooding compelling chamber sounds, wonderful.

And it finishes with a class of a father and son act, The Goon Sax followed by The Go Betweens.

More on the blog.



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/theundergroundofhappiness
Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy

Playlist 396
Tues Apr 5 2016
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at www.ucc.ie/983fm
*listen back to this show here
https://goo.gl/TQl27x


Playli…