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Showing posts from September, 2016

August Wells – Madness is the mercy (FIFA Records)

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One last album for this month.

A sumptuous set of bruised chamber soul built around the swooning vibrato of Ken Griffin and the perfectly judged brass, wind and string arrangements of John Rauchenberger.

Sad songs, songs of loss and regret but with a great dignity, some kind of bearing about them which is warm and welcoming.

The late night sound of New York, as it appears to us who do not live there.

Enduring. Satisfying. Strangely uplifting.

A wonderful piece of work.





Syrinx - Tumblers from the vault: 1970-1972 (RVNG Intl)

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A wonderful archive compilation of this Canadian group’s output from the early 1970s.

There’s an ecstatic quality to tracks like ‘Aurora spinray’ and ‘Tilicum’, a great kosmische bounce that borders on Eden Ahbez-like exotica in places, in others approaching the blissful pastoral haze of Cluster.

Elsewhere you’ll find the gorgeous stretched out electronic jazz trails of ‘Hollywood dream trip’.

All round a thoroughly fantastic slice of the 70s underground (although unexpectedly accessible) and a great piece of work by RVNG Intl.

Full details below.

The two instrumental albums that Syrinx issued in the early 1970s sound little like the psychedelic music prevailing Toronto’s rock venues at the time, and are even further removed from the electronic tape experimentations spooled by a younger John Mills-Cockell.

Instead, the path of Syrinx whimsically veers away from the dominant mode of ‘70s subculture, charting surprising commercial success. Tumblers From The Vault pre…

Nathan Bowles – Chiaroscuro (from the album Whole and cloven, Paradise of Bachelors)

This is about the last thing you would expect from an artist renowned for banjo playing and Appalachian folk tunes.

It’s a solo piano piece consisting of a core unchanging 6-note pattern – fast, repeating – while around it staccato bursts of notes drift in and out of phase creating a hypnotic interlocking whole.

It’s the kind of minimalist phasing exercise you might associate with Messers Glass or Reich.

It lasts about 3 minutes but it feels much longer...in a good way. In the sense that you feel like you’ve been through something significant. Something worthwhile. And something, if you’re anything like me, you feel you need to listen to again immediately to figure out what just happened.

It’s not exactly clear what it’s doing on an album of mostly banjo tunes, mysterious and tantalising as they are.

But then again, why question when beauty arrives.

Let’s just treat it as an absorbing, intriguing puzzle.

Track 8 in this playlist

Playlist 416 - Sept 27 2016

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Two bands from down under who burst through in the 1980s to start the show. The Moles have a new album out, it's great. From The Chills we heard from their 1986 album on Flying Nun, Kaleidoscope world, their album last year was a brilliant and thoroughly authentic update on the 1980s sound.

The singular sound of Xylouris White who play Cork in October as part of the Jazz Festival (my kind of jazz). Syrinx, the kosmische sound of the Toronto early 70s underground, a beautiful thing. Nathan Bowles, making banjo swing and swoon.

And Barry McCormack, the ex Jubilee Allstars man has a new album out, a rollicking folk rock set with a scathing eye on his home city of Dublin. Like The Fall, always the same, always different.

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 416
Tues Sept 27 2016
11.00am-12.00pm
(repea…

Cool Ghouls – When you were gone (Empty Cellar Records/Melodic Records)

There’s a gorgeous Byrdsian flow to this single from the San Francisco band’s third album, the wonderful Animal races.

The vocals and guitars unfurl in unhurried fashion, culminating in some glorious steel guitar work.

It chimes and rings like (probably) only a Californian band truly can and the arrangement is all the more affecting for the counterpoint against the lyrical discussion of death and mortality.

It is roots music brought into contact with something very groovy.

A piece of class is what it is.

Animal Races by Cool Ghouls

North Sea Radio Orchestra – Dronne (The Household Mark)

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Another sublime set of tunes from Craig Fortnam and company which combines folk, kosmische and avant garde classical strands, taking the legacy of former band Cardiacs into fascinating new territory.

Woodwind and strings are strong and strident against a hushed motorik rhythm on centrepiece song ‘The British road’, a wonderfully sharp state of the nation analysis of Brexit era Britain – “when will they learn to fight like our men”, “how can I rise if you don’t fall.”

These poised swooping strings, along with the cooing woodwind, the signature guitar style of Craig Fortnam – courtly, playful, lithe – buzzing synths and the great pure singing of Craig’s wife Sharon against Craig’s reedier tones provide the core elements throughout.

The swoon of ‘Queen of all the day and night’, the cosmic twinkle of the title track, the plain straightforward beauty of ‘Alsace Lorraine’.

An inspiring and uplifting set that stirs the heart and brain from one of England’s most consistently r…

Playlist 415 - Sept 20 2016

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We had a good deal of instrumental music in this week, another 2 hour stint.

David Pajo is reportedly releasing new music soon, great to hear something from his 1999 masterpiece Live from a Shark Cage.

Some great soundtrack pieces from Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler and also Nick Cave & Warren Ellis.

Fixity with dark and enigmatic improv work. Elias Krantz with wonderful propulsive rhythms. And as near instrumental as makes no difference from Syrinx, great kosmische feel.

Plenty of people touring - TAU at Liverpool Psych Fest, The Goon Sax in the UK, Rats on Rafts in Ireland, Pascal Pinon, C Duncan, The Lemon Twigs.

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 415
Tues Sept 20 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 t…

Angel Olsen – My woman (Jagjaguwar)

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This is the Angel Olsen record I was waiting for.

There’s a lovely garage rock feel to the guitars, a setting that works very well with her voice.

It’s a wonderful voice of course. It can be tender, it can be harsh, soft, berating, pleading, encouraging. Soulful needless to say, capable of turning the direction of a line with some crucial inflection or a change of gear. Usually simmering with intent and always laden with emotion.

This guitar vocal combination is best showcased in the early sequence of ‘Never be mine’, ‘Shut up kiss me’ and ‘Give it up’, a killer run of love, loss and fuzzy guitars. (She also does a marvellous thing midway through ‘Shut up kiss me’ which involves a bank of Angel voices racking up the tension on one repeated note in glorious harmony.)

It must be said that she tries on other clothes over the course of the album (‘Those were the days’ is an especially gorgeous cosmic soul turn), and there’s no doubt she can turn her hand to many things, but …

Playlist 414 - Sept 13 2016

Brigid Mae Power is on tour this week, see her at Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh at the weekend, hear her here winding a magical extended drone.

A new album by The Moles, wonderful news and wonderful tunes.

Angel Olsen sounding firmly in control of her own destiny and yet somehow endearingly vulnerable.

August Wells, album out now in FIFA, great songs, great arrangements, say no more. 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 414
Tues Sept 13 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
goo.gl/dKigj3


Playlist
Brigid Mae Power – It’s clearing now (playing Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Sept 17)
Joe Sampson – My love
August Wells – She was a question
Itasca – Daylight under my wing
The Moles – Beauty Queen of Watts
Real Numbers –…

Playlist 413 - Sept 6 2016

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An extended show this week, 2 hours of goodness feat. loads of new music from

Fixity, superb freewheeling improv
Nathan Bowles, minimalist piano patterns reminiscient of Philip Glass
Laura Cannell, timeless & arresting double recorder tunes
Angel Olsen, tremendous garage rock w heart on sleeve
North Sea Radio Orchestra, great delicate folk songs
La Femme, invigorating psych tune w motorik backbeat

There's also some older treasures from Luna, Television, Stars of the Lid, The Unthanks and of course Gene Wilder RIP. 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 413
Tues Sept 6 2016
11.00am-1.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM
listen live on the web at www.ucc.ie/983fm
*listen back to this show here
goo.gl/v6TS7X


Playlist
Gene Wilder – Pure imagination (from the soundtrack of the film Willy Wonka &…