Posts

Showing posts from November, 2016

Playlist 425 - Nov 29 2016

Image
Weyes Blood (pic) is Natalie Mering and you need to hear her. Dreamy psych pop that is stately, somewhat serene, and with a singing voice that will have you in the palm of its hand from the first note. Do it.

Also great new Howe Gelb, from his Future Standards album, which is piano trio jazz tunes and with to die for vocals also by Lonna Kelley.

Virginia Wing have some very interesting spooked electronic shapes on their new album, haunted you might say.

Cory Hanson's solo album is another beaut, subtly freaky folk songs with lush throbbing strings.

And Rothko have made something that's absolutely gripping, like some kind of cross between Mark E Smith and Ken Loach. Give it a go.

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 425
Tues Nov 29 2016
11.00am-12.00pm
(repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm)
UCC 98.3FM…

Mikael Tariverdiev – The irony of fate (Earth Recordings)

Image
Last year Earth Recordings did a great thing. They released a retrospective of the film soundtrack work of Mikael Tariverdiev, a Russian composer who might have been to that country what Michel Legrand is to France. He was prolific in the 1960s and 1970s, a time when not much of Russian culture passed through the iron curtain to this side of the continent. That album was an absolute treasure and you can read more here.

This new release is another sublime collection from a 1975 film, sweeping orchestral passages brushing up against plaintiff Russian folk songs. My favourite moments are the sublimely soporific feel to the orchestral jazz theme of ‘Snow over Leningrad’ and its companion/variation ‘Melody’, where the strings come out from under the shadow of the vibraphone magnificently.

Another album to treasure from a treasure of a label.

The Irony Of Fate – Original Score by Tariverdiev

Lambchop – FLOTUS (Merge/City Slang)

Image
Autotune on vocals is about the last thing I would put on my wish list for the next Lambchop (or any) album but when dealing with a legend like Kurt Wagner (and pals) let’s say we can give him more leeway than most.

And it turns out autotune, which is appalling on all those strident belt it out vocal styles, produces a surprisingly delicate effect in the case of a subtle and restrained instrument like Wagner’s. It acts as a blink and you’ll miss it twist to his low key croon.

So it adds a level of intrigue to opening track ‘In care of 8675309’, something somehow punk rock among the gorgeous lounge soul stylings.

It plays up the funk on a track like ‘Old masters’, a slow and smooching dancefloor jam.

And it adds deep pathos on the title track, a song with an already sad nostalgic air and undercut by softly skittering electronic beats.

For the rest of the album you can drift or you can listen closely, treating it as a warm bath or an aural puzzle, a kind of shapeshifti…

Jess Williamson – See you in a dream (from the album Heart song, Brutal Honest)

Image
There’s a deceptive and devastating simplicity to this wracked blues from the Austin Texas singer.

Williamson’s voice is a wonderful instrument for starters, hovering on the edge of cracking, somewhere between a plea and Portuguese fado, a distant relation to Angel Olsen maybe, so little enough is needed in the musical arrangement to set it off.

Just some of the tastiest reverbed and tremolo-laced guitar since Chris Isaak and perfectly judged drumbeats, shading in between the lines with sensitivity and artistry so that the magnificent singing remains centre stage.

All in all it has the air of a David Lynch soundtrack cut, a shimmer of moonlight, a shiver, a dream, something from another world.

A memorable and intriguing piece of pop music.



*Opening album track ‘Say it’ is also a beautiful thing, a cousin to ‘See you in a dream’, another smouldering blues with a lovely reined in walking guitar line and a vocal to strap your soul to where every breath is a matter of lif…

Playlist 424 - Nov 22 2016

Image
A spate of great gigs coming up in Cork and we played several of these bands on the show this week.

Fixity, a new album conceived in Cork, recorded in Malmo and sounding like a pure beast, launches in Triskel Dec 3.

The Altered Hours, "hometown" show at the Kino Dec 10, it's been too long. Also Rozi Plain, same venue the following night, all part of the Sudden Club Weekender. Great.

A terrible clash but also on Dec 10 in Cobh at the Sirius Arts Centre, the return of the wonderful Slow Moving Clouds, strings and drones turned into gorgeous ambient hum.

Also great music from Cool Ghouls, channelling The Byrds from 1965/6; Rothko with vocals by Johny Brown, sterling bass and voice expositions from the north of England; The Sea Nymphs, a timeless treasure from 1992, just released.

And Lambchop, making autotuned vocals credible for the first time.

More on these pages.



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness…

Trashcan Sinatras – The Workman’s Club, Dublin, Nov 12th 2016

Image
At the end of my twenties I was standing in Waterloo Station in London. I was over for a long weekend with Songs to Learn and Sing. As he queued for food someone tapped me on the shoulder and said, “do you like the Trashcan Sinatras?” I was wearing my I Hate Music t-shirt, bright yellow text on blue, the one I bought at their gig in Nancy Spain’s in Cork a few years earlier, which had a series of anagrams of the band’s name on the back – Anarchist Has Ten and the like. I used to wear this t-shirt around town. It had an uncanny ability to draw comments from people as if it was the controversial opening salvo in an argument, a blatant provocation, a long straight middle finger – “Well I love it”, “You don’t mean that do you?”, and other things. People would approach me distraught, vexed, furious. This particular guy in Waterloo was none of those things. He was politely curious. I told him I did like them and he said, “would you like to meet them?”. Still in the dark, I told him I wou…

Playlist 423 - Nov 15 2016

Image
I saw Trashcan Sinatras play live last weekend. What a joy that was. A band at the top of their craft, 25 years + on. This album (pic) features some of the best one liners in all of pop music - "got to get the keys from my girlfriend", "disco dancing in the morning" - and that's just in the first song, which opened the show . More to come on that gig on the blog.

August Wells are back on tour in the spring with band which should be very special.

We had a run of beautiful vibes-tinged jazz pieces - Kathryn Williams & Anthony Kerr from their album of jazz covers. Rayon (Markus Acher from The Notwist) plying similar late night tones. And Mikael Tariverdiev, the sound of St Petersburg through film in the 1970s, a bittersweet and quietly uplifting sound.

And more from Hilma Nikolaisen, a gorgeous album of shifting psych pop shapes.

More on these pages.



The Underground of Happiness
uplifting pop music of every creed


www.theundergroundofhappiness.blog…

Hilma Nikolaisen – Puzzler (Fysisk Format)

Image
The bass player with the renowned Norwegian band Sereena Maneesh strikes out into intriguing Tame Impala (grooves) meets Ariel Pink (bittersweet pop sensibility) territory.

The first thing you notice is the bass playing. It’s front and centre in the mix, a beautiful warm sound and full of circular figures which are insistent and groovy. It immediately brings to mind The Byrds from around 1965-67, in which the bass went far beyond simple root notes to bring an extra voice to the arrangements. Think ‘Eight Miles High’ or ‘So you wanna be a rock and roll star’. It’s a brilliant foil to Nikolaisen’s unusual and enigmatic vocal and you’d be inclined to be humming these basslines to yourself after one listen.

The next thing to say is that the songwriting has the ability to make different moods rub shoulders together without it sounding forced or for effect, but instead inherent to the song. It’s a joy, that.

So the wonderful opener ‘Hermitage’ follows an urgent psych pop beginnin…

Playlist 422 - Nov 8 2016

Image
A couple of great new records featured this week.

Hilma Nikolaisen might be best known as the bass player in Norwegian shoegazers Sereena Maneesh. Her first solo record is a brilliant combination of dreamy jangle pop and psychedelic grooves, adorned with outstanding bass playing, maybe not surprisingly.

Lambchop are back with a shift in focus. Kurt Wagner has been on the autotune but it tends to work a dream with his gentle croon and on a bed of electronic clicks and coos.

Also new sounds from Goat, Cory Hanson, Virginia Wing.

And a treasure from Bruce Haack, inner space moog masterpiece.

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 422
Tues Nov 8 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/6XEuNF


Playlist
Vir…

Playlist 421 - Nov 1 2016

Image
An extra hour this week so time to fit in a few indulgences like

12 minutes (well most of) of glorious orchestral sweep from The Fiction Aisle
New music from Jess Williamson, great desert blues with a voice on the edge of cracking
Fantastic shifting cosmic soul from Ex Reyes
Lovely country boogie from Hiss Golden Messenger.

Also time for some more wonderful Russian film music from Mikael Tariverdiev
Irresistible beats from Yama Warashi
Some treasures from The Byrds & Big Star.

And a Grant McLennan interlude featuring a great solo cut from 1997 and two of his genius Go Betweens catalogue.

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 421
Tues Nov 1 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/rmydww

Playlist…