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Showing posts from January, 2017

The Last Sound – Coruscate (Fort Evil Fruit)

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A quick mention for one of my favourite Irish bands of the last five years. Dublin’s The Last Sound which is organised mainly around the activities of one man Barry Murphy.

Coruscate (the 7th album by my count) came out just before Christmas and is another particularly dreamy outpost of industrial pop. A gorgeous kosmische drift in among the clangs and propulsive motorik rhythms. A step on from 2013’s brilliant Rainbow Xplode (review here - there seems to have been another album in between which I missed).

Again there’s a kind of wide eyed innocence at play – some might call it psychedelic. Bursts of filtered guitars and synths swaying in and out of focus around relentless backbeats.

‘Song of praise’ and ‘Found a rainbow’ are early standouts both full of thrumming bass. Dancefloor classics basically although maybe a more discerning than most kind of dancefloor.

The vocals especially get hold. There’s something poignant about them swamped in a murky wash shoegaze style. Bu…

Animals That Swim – How to make a chandelier (from the album Workshy, One Little Indian)

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A bracing cut from the heady days of 1994, now remastered and reissued and sounding arguably miles more relevant than in those pre-Blair days.

There’s a certain post punk feel, some kind of bearing, authority, swagger. Not just in Hank Starrs’ deadpan but somehow not lacking pathos semi-spoken vocal (something in it would remind you of Stewart Lee somehow). But in the genius guitar riffs, two of them, non-identical twins - the first a seemingly friendly Britpop wolf in sheep’s clothing, the second consisting of mostly the same notes but with a bend and a twist and a smear of rock n roll danger about it.

In the space of only two minutes, there’s also room for a pummelling breakdown and a blaring trumpet crescendo.

And all the way through the existential lyric, the epitome of lying in the gutter but looking at the stars - trying to make a chandelier from the glass of car windows broken by his own hand but only succeeding in cutting himself.

Thrilling rock n roll but more th…

The Nightjar – Wardrobe

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There’s a compelling haunted atmosphere about this single from the Bristol band which suggests folk music brought out of its comfort zone and into touch with the devotional wing of classical music and the ambient avant garde.

The arrangement is sparse to put it mildly – barely there guitar plucks, a hushed gong here and there, a low bass hum. But then the most startling vocal harmonies, recorded very close, crowd around turning a diverting melody into a chilling existential experience.

The press release makes mention of “songs for the end of time” and there is an apocalyptic sense to the lyric – objects destroyed by fire, swallowed by the earth, watching them disappear.

Let’s just call it all round wonderful and leave it at that.



Rozi Plain Interview

I met Rozi Plain before her gig at The Kino in Cork in December, the final night of the Sudden Club Weekender. On a busy Sunday evening in Christmas party season, we managed to find a not too noisy corner in Ryan’s Bar on North Main Street to have a chat (just a television showing rugby league you can hear in the background).

She’s a lovely character to spend some time with, full of energy and good cheer. She chooses her words carefully too, not in the sense of being cagey but to be precise I think. She started laughing at one point, I was asking her if her move to London from Bristol was hard. She seemed to agree but then baulked at the word “hard” a few times. “I’m having trouble saying the word hard”, she said, as if to say there are harder things in the world than moving to London, let’s keep a bit of perspective here. Not the average thing you’d expect to hear in a band interview and all the more interesting for that.

We also chatted about her early musical memories, comin…

Playlist 431 - Jan 24 2017

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The centrepiece of this week's show was the interview with Rozi Plain, recorded last month when she played with her band at The Kino in Cork (great gig). You'll find about 6 minutes of that chat in the middle of this set, the full interview will be up here soon in its own right.

A couple of new obsessions.

The Nightjar, a band from Bristol taking folk music into devotional classical music territory with a hint of the ambient avant garde too. Brilliant.

Animals That Swim, a band from the 1990s who fell between Britpop and, I dunno, post punk. They are reissuing their 1994 album Workshy on One Little Indian and it has some wonderful tunes on it - rushes of guitar, and intelligent, literate lyricism.

The Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble, a wonderful swinging tune with Brazilian undertones, ahead of European tour in April. Wonderbar.

And Iggy Pop back guesting with Manchester band PINS, more spoken word - I think he should do more of that.

More on these pages.



The Und…

Playlist 430 - Jan 17 2017

New music from The Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble which is wonderful news and a joyous uplifting South American sound.

Wymond Miles was someone who caught me at the end of the year, a glorious cosmic soul cut.

The Nightjar are from Bristol and ostensibly deal in a folk style, although their haunted ambient atnospherics make it a whole lot more interesting than that might sound.

Brigid Mae Power plays Quarter Block Party in Cork soon. C Duncan on tour in UK. A marvellous Lift To Experience reissue/remix.

And the spellbinding coup de grace from Weyes Blood who is back in Europe this spring.

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 430
Tues Jan 17 2017
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/li7n0V


Playlist
Wym…

Best of 2016 – Part 4: Psych/Drone/Kosmische/Jangle/Wonky Pop

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So here's the final instalment of this Best of 2016 loosely centring on Psych Pop and some offshoots. I must say it was great listening back to the tunes over the last few weeks. It seems I always say this, but it really was another great year for music. It’s also very interesting when compiling a list like this to spot trends over the year, or longer, some kind of pattern that might be developing, or on the other hand any glorious one offs.

I think I always say this too but no harm in repeating. These lists aren’t meant to be representative in any way. I know there are glaring omissions here out of the sum of music released last year but this list is made up of the music that struck a chord with me and in almost all cases was played (generally quite a bit) on the show.

So once more with feeling, these are in no particular order. Enjoy.

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1. Weyes Blood – Front row seat to Earth (Mexican Summer)

Playlist 429 - Jan 10 2017

Another set with a few more Best of 2016 picks and a share of new music.

New Entrance album next month, baroque but heartfelt folk shapes.
New Brian Eno, ambient majesty.
Mick Harvey with Vol 4 of his great Serge Gainsbourg translations/interpretations.
Mind Over Mirrors, antique drones.
The Last Sound, brooding industrial pop soundscapes.
And Rothko, bracing spoken word memoir over stark solo bass.

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 429
Tues Jan 10 2017
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/za8Ixn


Playlist
Cory Hanson – Replica
Entrance – Winter lady
Mind Over Mirrors – 600 miles around
Alasdair Roberts – The downward road (playing Café Oto, London, Feb 23)
Hilma Nikolaisen – Word
Mick Harvey feat Solomon…

Best of 2016 - Part 3: Instrumental/Spoken Word/Electronic

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Part 3 of this epic poem, again in no particular order. And as a companion piece, check also this Best of 2016 mix which includes many of these tunes, along with a few from the upcoming Psych section, the final instalment.



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1. Tortoise – The Catastrophist (Thrill Jockey)
Another wonderful album from Chicago’s finest and apart from anything else (the glorious hooks, the minimalist chops, the thrilling musicianship etc) a reminder of just how fucking groovy they are.

Marvellous music for the brain and the feet.



2. Syrinx – Tumblers from the vault: 1970-1972 (RVNG Intl)
A bolt from the blue for me and a fantastic compilation of ecstatic kosmische/dream jazz from this Toronto 3-piece.

Also a thoroughly fascinating slice of the 70s underground (albeit unexpectedly accessible) and another great piece of archive work by RVNG Intl.



3. Fixity – Hungry clouds (Kantcope)
Tremendous cut from the very prolific Dan Walsh, a …

Playlist 428 - Jan 3 2017

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For the first show of 2017 a mixture of some 2016 faves and some new music.

The former.
Weyes Blood, majestic break up music.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, beguiling organic synth tunes.
Tortoise, a twisting groovebeast.
Lambchop, a subtly shifting pitter patter autotuned animal.

The latter.
Courtney Marie Andrews, sumptuous country regret.
Flo Morrissey & Matthew E. White, a lovely soulful flight of fancy.
Noveller, new year, same old epic soundscapes.

And a wonderful treasure from 1970, Lee Hazlewood with Suzi Jane Hokom in Sweden.

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 428
Tues Jan 3 2017
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/NhPIl9


Playlist
Courtney Marie Andrews – Rookie dreaming (playing Union Chapel, Lon…