Showing posts from June, 2011

Playlist 182 - June 28 2011

The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Playlist 182 Tues June 28th 2011 11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm) Cork Campus Radio, 98.3FM listen live on the web at *listen back to this show at Playlist Future Islands - Before the bridge ( playing Plan B, London, July 9 ) Thread Pulls - Weight ( playing Crane Lane Theatre, Cork, July 1 ) Cian Nugent - Sixes & sevens (excerpt 2) ( playing Triskel Christchurch, Cork, July 22, w/ Ryan Francesconi ) Patrick Kelleher & his Cold Dead Hands - Too many harsh words ( playing The Grand Social, Dublin, July 15, album launch ) The Reich Effect Festival, Cork, July 27-31 Ensemble Avantgarde - Pendulum Music I ( Steve Reich Public Interview, Cork Opera House, July 27 ) Efterklang - Illuminant ( playing Savoy Theatre,

Fleet Foxes in Cork

I remember a time, just about 6 years ago (bear with me on this, it won't take long). It was the Electric Picnic Festival in September 2005. I was attending largely because of one band, Arcade Fire , whose first album Funeral had spent most of that year on repeat at my house, and whose uplifting anthems (or are they anti-anthems) I was very much looking forward to seeing and hearing in the flesh. Of course, I wasn't alone. In fact, at least 5,000 other people had exactly the same idea as me and crammed into the large tent for one of the most anticipated Irish gigs of recent times. Now, I'm not a great one for crowds, in the sense of feeling at one with that many other people in a confined space. I'm a bit too cynical, maybe. I'm happy to share the moment with a few close friends, but beyond that... However as the band came on stage and played through Rebellion (Lies), Wake up, Neighbourhood #2 (Laika) et al, I felt myself surfing a genuine wave of emotion, a wave

Glastonbury Festival 2011

I flicked around the BBC love-in over the weekend, otherwise known as the Glastonbury Festival . In among the constant back-slapping, there were some genuinely memorable pop moments. (Not including Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé and Jay-Z standing together in the VIP pit watching Coldplay . Or U2 . Although both had some anthropological value.) I'm thinking more of Metronomy's performance of The look in the backstage "fairy garden", which was brilliant. They came complete with compulsory wellies, handclaps, watertight vocal harmonies and that unforgettable vintage keyboard riff. Magic. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate the footage of the performance on the net, so we'll have to make do with the video. And as a bonus, here's the ridiculously entertaining video for their new single The Bay , a sub-Ian Fleming fantasy, showing off lovely Torquay, I believe. *I must also mention the mindblowing performance of Janelle Monae . Apart from the flaw

Josh Ottum - Watch TV (Tapete Records)

Josh Ottum - Watch TV (Tapete Records) Thrilling revival of all that is good about 70's AM rock and a certain 80's high fidelity sound (you know you love it), from America's Pacific Northwest. Goin gone has authentic prog-pop chops (a bit like a calmer Darwin Deez ) and a knockout chorus (two different ones, in fact) that recalls the theme tune to The Greatest American Hero . The spectre of Chicago (the band) hangs comfortably around the twin guitar solo of Fool in the night . The very next song, Storms in the summertime , takes a left turn with synth gurgles and handclap syncopations - sounding quite like a 21st century Steely Dan - underlining the experimental heart beneath the pop hooks. The gorgeous male falsetto of Green in the sun belongs on primetime television (not a putdown), which is appropriate given the title of the album. Not built for two seems at first like the type of electric piano ballad not heard since Dean Friedman's I am in love with a McDonald

Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Everything's getting older (Chemikal Underground)

Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Everything's getting older (Chemikal Underground) Grand Snr's a big fan of this and it's grown on me like something you'd look forward to wearing. We already spoke last month about the brilliant single The copper top , a plaintiff meditation on mortality. Among other things worthy of your attention on the album, check the shopping list monologue of Cages with its handclap jazz beat backing; the raw, and very Arab Strap -ish, confessional of Ballad of the Bastard ; the scuzzy Scottish street funk of Glasgow Jubilee , all back-alleys and blow jobs; the great Runyonesque noir gone wrong of Dinner time . The arrangements of legendary jazzman Wells, anchored by sombre piano, are pitch-perfect all the way, sincere or playful as needs be. And Moffat's writing jumps off the page, characters fully formed, a dirty-realist page-turner. It's a great piece of work, this album.

Playlist 181 - June 21 2011

The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Playlist 181 Tues June 21st 2011 11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm) Cork Campus Radio, 98.3FM listen live on the web at *listen back to this show at Playlist Patrick Kelleher & his Cold Dead Hands - Multipass (Catscars remix) ( Catscars playing The Spiegeltent, Cork, June 26 ) The Doomed Bird of Providence - Fedicia Exine (Zoon van snooK remix) Josh Ottum - Goin gone Darren Hayman & the Secondary Modern feat. Emmy the Great - Calling out your name again ( playing Deaf Institute, Manchester, June 29 ) Metronomy - The bay ( playing Oxegen Festival, Punchestown, July 8 ) Ryan Francesconi - Palios Karsilamas ( playing Triskel Christchurch, Cork, July 22, w/ Cian Nugent ) Cashier No. 9 - Lost at sea ( playing The Marquee

Random Reviews

Qluster - Haste Tone (Bureau B, from the album Fragen ) From Hans-Joachim Roedelius, who (along with Dieter Moebius and others) brought you Kluster, Cluster and Harmonia, and sound installationist Onnen Bock. Meditative, swelling synths ebb and flo like the tide, punctuated by discreet bells and obscure gurglings, until a beautiful piano and flute duo sails into view. Sublime stuff from a master. QLUSTER - LIVE PREVIEW 2011 from luma launisch on Vimeo . Cashier No. 9 - Lost at sea (Bella Union, from the album To the death of fun ) An uplifting wall of 60's sound, with a melancholy vocal in the middle and a lonesome harmonica in the wings, from the Belfast band's David Holmes-produced debut album. Tympani and castanets make up the intriguing supporting cast. There's the glorious whiff of the Brill building about the songwriting too. And here's the equally great first single from the album, Goldstar , sounding a shade like The Stone Roses taken in hand by Lee H

A salute to Van Dyke Parks

I've been meaning to put down a few thoughts for quite a while about Van Dyke Parks . He's one of these Zelig-like characters, appearing at many crucial junctures in pop music history. This much I knew. I knew he played keyboards on the title track of The Byrds' 1966 album 5-D (I can hear that sunburst organ on the playout now - actually so can you, here). I knew about his association with Brian Wilson , co-writing several songs with him for the lost Smile album. Including this absolute classic, Heroes and villains . What a great lyric - I'm fit with the stuff To ride in the rough And sunny down snuff I'm alright He was also involved in plenty of other Beach Boys compositions, co-writing with Brian mostly, not always with the approval of the other 'Boys (Mike Love in particular, I think). And I notice he crops up on backing vocals on one of my all-time favourite Beach Boys songs, A day in the life of a tree from Surf's up , 1971. Mmmm.

Anni Rossi Interview

The new Anni Rossi album, Heavy meadow , is out on the 3 Syllables label. We had Safety of objects on the show this week, here's the video - Anni Rossi- "Safety Of Objects" from Consequence of Sound on Vimeo . There's a distinctive bounce to the tune (something of two-step and reggae about it) and as usual with Ms Rossi, it's very catchy. Plus, I don't know anyone else who plays viola (often distorted) while singing. In fact, she's also an accomplished drummer, a talent she showed when she played in Cork a few years ago. I interviewed her that night, in October 2008, and she recounted her interest in Ghanaian drumming, reggae and Swedish pop group Ace of Bass (!). Have a listen here.

Playlist 180 - June 14 2011

The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Playlist 180 Tues June 14th 2011 11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm) Cork Campus Radio, 98.3FM listen live on the web at *listen back to this show at Playlist Julia Kent - Acquario Nils Frahm & Anne Muller - 7 fingers ( playing The Vortex, London, July 28 ) 13 & God - Old age Qluster - Haste tone North Sea Radio Orchestra - I a moon William D. Drake - Wholly holey Crystal Stilts - Half a moon ( playing XOYO, London, June 20 ) Washed Out - Eyes be closed Anni Rossi - Safety of objects Left with Pictures - June Nik Freitas - Middle Judy Garland, Billie Burke, The Munchkins & the MGM Stidio Orchestra - Come out, come out... (from the soundtrack of the film The Wizard of Oz ) The Beach Boys - Add some music t

Future Islands

No excuse needed for a bit of Tin man , it's just top notch.

The Doomed Bird of Providence - Fedicia Exine Remixes (Front & Follow)

We spoke about the above mini-album recently, a companion to the current Doomed Bird of Providence album, Will ever pray , which is wonderful. Well there's more, in the shape of a Sone Institute remix of the same track. You need to go here to stream it. It's very woozy without losing any of the drama of the original. By the way, as you're at it, check the Sone Institute album of last year, Curious memories , and the Dollboy meets Sone Institute collaboration, The sum and the difference , both on Front & Follow . This is what I thought of them at the time, with listening links added. Sone Institute – Curious memories (Front & Follow) Beguiling album of Burt Bacharach tones and gorgeous orchestrations, in among the cut-and-paste glitches and samples, from one man electronic wiz Roman Bezdyk. Here's the absolutely sublime French woods from that album. Sone Institute - French Woods by beneshmade Various A

Peter Broderick Interview

In the ongoing project to transfer all the content from the old website ( ) over here, here's the Peter Broderick interview from May 2009, which we recorded before he played at Crane Lane Theatre in Cork that night. which Peter talks about some of his musical influences, including Arvo Part and Max Richter, how he hooked up with Efterklang and Bella Union and about his hometown of Portland, Oregon. Here's one of the best songs from the then current album Home (Bella Union), which Peter played that night - (I love that, "music and acted by Peter Broderick"!) After the interview, as we came back into the venue, Peter grabbed a CD from the merchandise stand and handed it to me. "I'd be interested to know what you think of this," he said. It was called Music for Falling from Trees , a soundtrack to a dance piece which Peter was commissioned to write by Adrienne Hart of the Erased Tapes label. As I

Hidden Shoal Records' 5th birthday

One of my favourite record labels is celebrating 5 years in 2011, the Perth-based Hidden Shoal Recordings . They've released some wonderful music in that time. I think it was 2009 I first became aware of them - some of my top albums of that year were from this release list - 2009: A Million Square Miles I might also direct your attention to a couple of Hidden Shoal artists who have been interviewed on the show, German ambient artist Markus Mehr in 2010 and Blake Madden from Seattle band Hotels just a few months ago (links here, or jump straight to the interview below that - you could also follow a search for "Hidden Shoal" at the top of the page). Markus Mehr Interview Podcast by underground of happiness And even more recently, the glorious and uplifting pop music keeps flowing from Western Austral

Primavera 2011

So the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona has been and gone for another year. I didn't make it this year, sadly for me. But I was not missed as about 40,000 other people made up for my absence, and except for some bar hiccups (to do with a new swipe payment system that crashed) it seems like most of them had a pretty great time. (You can find way more detail about this year's festival on Jim Carroll's blog here .) Just to cheer myself up, here's a couple of samplers of the action from two bands that would have been high on my list, and who both made a big impact at the festival by all accounts. Courtesy of genkisparkle Courtesy of MrLiranya She really makes some racket for just one person, doesn't she?

Playlist 179 - June 7 2011

The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Playlist 179 Tues June 7th 2011 11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm) Cork Campus Radio, 98.3FM listen live on the web at *listen back to this show at Playlist Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - The copper top (radio edit) Adrian Crowley - These icy waters ( playing King's Place, London, June 10, w/ Serafina Steer ) Kitty, Daisy & Lewis - Messing with my life ( playing Oxegen Festival, Punchestown, July 9 ) Tune-Yards - Bizness ( playing Whelan's, Dublin, June 17 ) Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Fright night (Damn Funk remix) ( playing Field Day Festival, London, Aug 6 ) EDM - Stereo/Video Jai Paul - BTSTU The Horror The Horror - Wilderness Chad VanGaalen - Sara John Stammers - The fridge (full band version)

13 & God - Own your ghost (Alien Transistor)

Grower is the word for this. 13 & God - Own your ghost (Alien Transistor) The Acher Brothers (The Notwist/Tied & Tickled Trio) are at it again (they're busy this month), this time part of a kind of supergroup with members of Oakland hip hop group Themselves. Many are the delights contained within; the sleepy tick-tock rhythm of Its own sun , the fantastic anti-anthem Armored scarves , the flute and shaker entree to the stalking hip hop main course of Janu are , the dreamy shoegaze of Old age , the compelling half beat with strings of Death minor . It's a real grower this album, pleasingly adventurous without being self-indulgent. Have a listen here.

Smith Westerns - Weekend (Weird World)

Smith Westerns - Weekend (Weird World, from the album Dye it blonde ) It took me a while to warm to this - it actually took hearing the whole album to give it the context, with its psychedelic shades of glam - but it has a place in my heart now. Maybe it's the cavernous "oooh's" of the chorus. Or the throwaway fuzz guitar riff. Or the semi-whispered male vocal. It's all very west coast for a band from Chicago. SMITH WESTERNS "Weekend" by domino

Random Thursday Reviews

In the words of David Berman, random rules. Nik Freitas - Middle (Affairs of the Heart, from the album Saturday night underwater ) Understated but insinuatingly catchy tune, anchored by a wry vibrato vocal, somewhere between Harry Nilsson and George Harrison. The arrangement features cooing female singers and heart-tugging mellotrons, two of my favourite things in the world. There's also a drop-dead gorgeous raindrop piano line. Why can't daytime radio start selling some of this? C'mon playlisters... *In between being a touring member of both Bright Eyes and Broken Bells, Freitas also found time to release an EP at the end of last year. Here's the charming title track, a bouncing paean to vintage synths. Washed Out - Eyes be closed (Weird World, from the album Within and without ) Washed Out is producer Ernest Greene from Atlanta. His new album was recorded with Ben Allen - Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion , Deerhunter's Halcyon digest

Julianna Barwick - The magic place (Asthmatic Kitty)

A few months late with this, but there are some things so special you won't mind waiting. Julianna Barwick - The magic place (Asthmatic Kitty) From the opening strains of Envelop , with multiple wordless, heavily treated vocal parts creating texture as well as melody, you know you're in the presence of something special here. By the end of that track, as a distressed piano line gradually swamps the vocals, a haunting, heartrending mood has taken over from the initial bliss. The title track is a choral symphony which slowly disintegrates into a lone soprano. Cloak sounds for all the world like a line from a church hymn sampled and looped, until its layers gather a power not witnessed in any church I've ever been in. White flag creates the effect of standing at the mid-point of three competing choirs, which somehow manage to complement each other. You could quibble that a sameness sets in midway through the album which might have been broken by the use of more percussion

Wires Under Tension - Irreversible machines (Western Vinyl, from the album Light science)

Wires Under Tension - Irreversible machines (Western Vinyl, from the album Light science ) A confounding brand of math-rock from the South Bronx duo, with violin, electronics and a stirring brass undercurrent. Pounding toms bring a great rousing quality. And it's catchy as hell.

EDM - Night people (Western Vinyl)

EDM - Night people (Western Vinyl) You'll have heard of Bloomington, Indiana's progressive rockers Early Day Miners (their 2009 album The treatment was a particular favourite round these parts), now shortened to this acronym. Very reminiscient in places of ex-Cardinal Richard Davies' psych-folk/pop solo style (that's only a good thing), but with extra prog stylings. So you have the dense, galactic instrumental Milking the moon (a bit like a slowed-down Wooden Shjips), also the stirring folk-rock-with-recorder of Turncoats , the itchy psych-guitar of Hold me down , the insistent, circling melodies of Stereo/Video . The initials are no drawback. A fine, fine album. Stereo/Video free d'load :

Playlist 178 - May 31 2011

The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Playlist 178 Tues May 31st 2011 11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm) Cork Campus Radio, 98.3FM listen live on the web at *listen back to this show at Playlist The Phoenix Foundation - Bitte bitte ( playing Forbidden Fruit Festival, Dublin, June 4; Glastonbury Festival, June 25 ) Colourmusic - Yes ( playing Forbidden Fruit Festival, Dublin, June 4 ) Thomas Truax - Free as fireflies in May The Doomed Bird of Providence - Fedicia Exine (Position Normal remix) William D. Drake - In an ideal world Cardiacs - Day is gone Other Lives - For 12 The Middle East - Jesus came to my birthday party Nik Freitas - Saturday night underwater ( playing Columbiahalle, Berlin, June 19, w/ Bright Eyes ) B.I.L.L. - Lovely ending Rutman's Ste