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Showing posts from May, 2016

Playlist 404 - May 31 2016

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Galway singer Brigid Mae Power has hooked up with Peter Broderick on production for her new album, a lovely spacious set full of captivating vocals. It's out on Tompkins Square.

Robert Rotifer ploughs a line I like a lot - sombre measured songwriting with a political undercurrent.

Britta Phillips' debut solo album is out, it's full of sweet arrangements and dream pop gorgeousness.

And a trio of sumptuous orchestrations from the late 60s/early 70s - Lee Hazlewood invoking Morricone, Frank Sinatra invoking Jimmy Webb, The Beach Boys making vocal harmony orgasm.

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 404
Tues May 31 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/7CJHO6


Playlist
The Go Betweens…

Dieterich & Barnes – The coral casino (Living Music Duplication)

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A brilliant, slightly delirious album full of genius twists and turns from John Dieterich of Deerhoof and Jeremy Barnes of Neutral Milk Hotel, A Hawk & A Hacksaw and others.

Improvisation is the order of the day across 11 instrumental tunes which veer somewhere between the poles of Tortoise and Can.

So you have the muscular jazz rock tones of ‘Out and about’, the space pop wig out of ‘Philae lands on Comet 67’, the European horror soundtrack feel of ‘Parasol gigante’ and the dub inflected ‘People person’.

The drumming is particularly satisfying, crisp and upfront and assertive and an excellent foil for the shifting, swooning guitar and synth work.

Well worth your time, this piece of work.

*This film where John and Jeremy “interview” each other at a piano will tell you little about the album on the face of it – although some underlying conceptual themes do creep through – but it is extremely entertaining.



Cate Le Bon – Crab day (Turnstile)

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The latest Le Bon trades in some of the psych in favour of some endearingly wonky pop shapes.

Guitar lines cavort in giddy fashion, falling around the place good natured and wide eyed.

What’s striking amidst the loopiness of the arrangements is the unbeatable quality of the songwriting – short and sharp but giving the impression of taking its time and possessing a sweet almost childlike lyricism.

Take this endlessly fascinating section from 'Find me', a kind of surreal pastoral scene -

Mindful of the host
Colouring the cookbooks in with love
Shimmying your tree
Looking for my morning breakfast


In an absolutely killer first six songs (the single 'Wonderful', 'Love is not love', 'I was born on the wrong day' etc ), 'I’m a dirty attic' makes a compelling case for best song title in the history of pop music.

As you listen further, you discover hidden pockets of unruly horns, mischievous xylophones and buzzing synths. Le Bon’s voice…

Astronauts – End codes (Lo Recordings)

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A second album from Dan Carney (and friends) full of his signature hushed motorik, that wonderful combination of soft but insistent backbeats and sotto voce vocals.

Things to expect -

-the beautiful kosmische drift of ‘Civil Engineer’ and ‘Recondition’.
-the twinkling psych folk edge to ‘You can turn it off’ and ‘Hider’.
-the great brooding atmosphere of ‘A break in the code, a cork in the stream’ helped by a bass rumble, droning woodwind and wonderfully tense mandolin-style guitar strumming.
-the impassioned vocal of ‘Breakout’.
-the whirring menace of ‘Skeleton’ while it sparkles and shifts gloriously.
-the lovely sturdy organic feel to the instruments, typically warm picked acoustic guitars, warbling organs and middy snare beats.

Another triumph of subtly insinuating, slightly melancholy yet ultimately strangely joyous pop music.

Playlist 403 - May 24 2016

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Robert Forster is back in Europe this week. His new single is a first (I'm fairly sure) for him, a breezy samba duet with his wife Karin.

Robert Rotifer can do breezy too, jazz folk is more his bag, 'Calais' is an unsettling account of passing through the notorious Jungle in northern France.

Cate Le Bon has a brilliant new album out, wonky via psych via surreal pastoral. A Dyjecinski has a fantastic voice, in the country soul region of things, check his album too.

The first taste of Jherek Bischoff's new album sounds great, orchestral majesty. Clint Mansell channelling Bernard Herrmann a little from the s'track of High Rise. New music from The Moles and Piper's Son, great alt guitar pop.

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 403
Tues May 24 2016
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesd…

Robert Rotifer – Calais (from the EP If we hadn’t had you, Gare du Nord)

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Something rare these days.

A songwriter documenting Europe’s migrant crisis. (Maybe documenting isn't the word but read on.)

That would make you think something worthy and dense and difficult.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead what you have is something light and drifting, an impressionistic account of passing through the famous jungle in northern France on the way to Belgium.

It’s a sublime jazz folk canvas, full of shakers and sumptuous guitar chords.

Difficult though. No, disconcerting is better. Disorientating. A woozy guitar line seems about to fall down drunk. A background vocal “ooh” takes the part of the steamed pal holding you up staggering down the street.

In the midst of this pleasurable haze, the lyrical content creeps up on you. Around here, an awful realisation hits home – “you see the sea, the sea of tents” – that you’ve been party to a nightmarish scene, although one painted in beautiful pastel colours.

That is an impressive a…

Playlist 402 - May 17 2016

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10 years since Grant McLennan died, good to remember his heartfelt cinematic songwriting, in a shape of a genius cut from Tallulah, a somewhat underrated album even by the standards of The Go Betweens.

A trio of haunting/chamber/devotional pieces around the middle of the show.

Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld, so delicate, so elegant, so compelling.
Pedro Soler & Gaspar Claus, a father and son duo playing Spanish guitar and (very muscular) cello, stirring inspiring stuff.
Brigid Mae Power, the Galway singer making haunting late hours music with a little help from Peter Broderick.

More on these pages as always.



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


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

Playlist 402
Tues May 17 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/QTPSVY


Play…

Playlist 401 - May 10 2016

Another stream of great new music this week.

The 2nd Melt Yourself Down album is just out, another marvellous set of space jazz funk. Another track from the Dieterich & Barnes album (pic), delirious improv instrumentals. Holy Fuck back with some great punk funk. Orchestra of Spheres with tricky shapeshifting psych grooves. A couple of lovely looped tropical cuts from Aries and Maria Usbeck. The 2nd Kevin Murphy album, superior wracked songwriting.

And The Moles, new music from them for the first time in years, beautiful bittersweet jangle pop.

More on these pages as always.



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


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

Playlist 401
Tues May 10 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/2S966D


Playlist
Melt Yourself Down – The …

Howe Gelb Interview

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I sat down for a chat with Howe Gelb a few weeks ago. What a pleasure that was for me.

He’s a wonderful speaker, a raconteur, you could sit down and listen to him all night. The warm engaging quality you find in his music is all there in person too.

He was in town as part of the Giant Sand Farewell Tour which stopped off at Cyprus Avenue in Cork on April 14th. It was a beautiful day, the evening sunny so we sat on the street outside The Oliver Plunkett Bar just across the way from the venue. That's the strains of their regular Thursday night trad session you can hear cranking up in the background.

The Farewell Tour was, I gather, a decision not to take to traipsing around the world much anymore (Howe turns 60 soon), although he hasn’t ruled out festival appearances, beginning with a few in Europe this summer. And to coincide, Fire Records are releasing a slew of his back catalogue over the next while, Sun Set, starting with six Giant Sand albums from across the decades …

Playlist 400 - May 3 2016

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The centrepiece of this week's show was a snippet of an interview I did with Howe Gelb a few weeks ago, when Giant Sand played in Cork as part of their farewell tour. The full interview is about 30 minutes long and I'll upload the whole thing here soon. He's a fascinating man.

Also new music from Rozi Plain (gorgeous kosmische), Britta Phillips (noirish dream pop from her debut album), Cate Le Bon (keeping it brilliantly wonky), Dieterich & Barnes (John Dieterich of Deerhoof and Jeremy Barnes of Neutral Milk Hotel, A Hawk and a Hacksaw etc, making superb left field improv instrumentals) and XIXA (two of the guys from the Giant Sand band making psych cumbia).

And Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld (pic), making vivid compelling chamber sounds, glorious.

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 400