Showing posts from July, 2011

Rachael Dadd – Balloon (Broken Sound Music, from the album Bite the mountain)

Rachael Dadd – Balloon (Broken Sound Music, from the album Bite the mountain ) Beautiful, exultant folk tune centered around a ukulele strum which gathers sparkles of what sounds like thumb piano, with lovely clarinet flurries. Reminiscient of Sufjan Stevens although less formal, more down-home. A tantalising foretaste of the Bristolian's upcoming album, most of which was recorded during a 2-month trip around Japan, which is the kind of back story that also gets me going. The other album track heard by UOH, Sticking in pins , favours strings, ukulele, brushed snare and massed vocals, to equally uplifting effect. Have a listen to this, another great tune from last year’s Elephee EP. And another track from Bite the mountain that just came to light. You can follow Rachael’s travels (including encounters with haybails and Japanese gobo seeds) on her blog here –

Bill Ryder-Jones – A leave taking (from the A leave taking Soundtrack EP, Double 6)

Bill Ryder-Jones – A leave taking (from the A leave taking Soundtrack EP, Double 6) The Coral cropped up recently in relation to Neville Skelly and here they are again, kind of. Bill Ryder-Jones was the original guitarist in the band, before striking out on his own a few years ago. Here's a quote from him worth copying - ‘ When I left the band I wasn't playing much music at all but in 2009 a friend got in touch asking if I would write something for this short he was making, which I did. It's pretty much the only thing I wrote that year but the process opened another world up to me. We thought it'd be nice to give it away to the people who have been interested in what I've been doing on my own and also to hint at the future a little bit. My album, which is a soundtrack inspired by a novel, is pretty much a progression from the things learnt when writing for Leave Taking .’ And apparently, this is the novel. As he says above, this 4-track EP is available

Efterklang in Cork

As you know, Efterklang are playing in Cork this coming weekend, at the Savoy Theatre , Saturday night July 30th. And by the sounds of this, from the Efterklang website , it will be very special. " Efterklang+Daniel Bjarnason & Their Messing Orchestra is a special 17 piece band that debuted at the Cross Linx festival tour in February earlier this year. It is the 7-piece Efterklang live band with Daniel James (of Canon Blue) on guitar, Heather Broderick on piano and Peter Broderick on vibes and steel drum. And then we have the brilliant Icelandic composer Daniel Bjarnason on Rhodes and then you add a saxophone quartet, a brass quartet and a classic percussionist. This all turns into Efterklang + Daniel Bjarnason & Their Messing Orchestra. We will be playing Efterklang songs with arrangements for the Messing Orchestra by Daniel Bjarnason ." Sounds fantastic on paper, says you, and here's a taste or two of what it might sound like in the flesh (also from the Eft

Playlist 186 - July 26 2011

The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Playlist 186 Tues July 26th 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 Metronomy - Everything goes my way ( playing Royal Albert Hall, London, Oct 3 ) Joan As Police Woman - Chemmie ( playing Electric Picnic Festival, Stradbally, Sept 2-4 ) Patrick Cleandenim - Crazy in the night Josh Ottum - Green in the sun Luke Temple - More than muscle Cloud Control - Gold canary ( playing The Academy, Dublin, Oct 7 ) Franki Valli & the Four Seasons - The night ( Munster Soul, Northern Soul Clubnight, The Phoenix, Cork, Aug 20 ) The Feelies - Should be gone Grimes - Favriel ( playing Whelan's, Dublin, Aug 3 ) Thomas Truax - A gold star for

St Vincent - First song off new album

Rejoice! The first track is now available from the upcoming third St Vincent album, Strange Mercy . The album comes out in September on 4AD . You can get your digital hands on Surgeon now in exchange for your e-mail address at It features lots of woozy synths and what sound like cut-and-paste guitars, as well as the memorable opening line, " I spent the summer on my back ". It also sounds like Annie Clark has been listening to some dirty funk music since the last album. You can view some fairly strange video teasers on that site too, including one where Ms Clark, as well as several other beautiful women, deliver some of the most polite, delicious, crushing rejections ever to camera. It's disconcerting and intriguing at the same time, quite like her music actually. And to get us even more in the mood for the new album, here's the video for Laughing with a mouth of blood from her last album Actor . It showcases her irreverent brand of

Ryan Francesconi + Cian Nugent in Cork

You could have been in Eastern Europe at times. If you stared up at the renovated church ceiling, you could have been back in time by a couple of hundred years, such was the antique quality of the music*. This was Ryan Francesconi playing at Triskel Christchurch in Cork last Friday, a sublime match-up of artist and venue, if ever there was one. Before saying any more about the gig, here's a few lines from a review of his current album that caught my eye. " Skirting any obvious models, this is an attempt to establish his own original voice on the instrument ... These are polished and meditative pieces, given to frequent pauses and moody moments. On the title track Francesconi can flight out sparkling ornaments that recall Toumani Diabate's kora ... The music is sophisticated, but there's an escape from the urban, a sort of West Coast Buddhist romanticism. That's not meant as a snide comment - this is a beautiful album, carried off with poetic aplomb .&q

Neville Skelly - Poet & a dreamer (Setanta/PIAS) / Interview

We had a couple of excerpts on this week's show of a recent interview with Neville Skelly , the Liverpool singer-songwriter, whose debut album Poet & the dreamer is out now through Setanta/PIAS . It was a very interesting conversation, taking in Neville's early big band and song stylist influences (courtesy of his father and uncle), how crooning is not a dirty word, how he hooked up with near-neighbours The Coral who introduced him to Dion Dimucci (of Dion & the Belmonts fame), earning his chops on open-mic slots, and more. Listen to the full interview here. Particularly interesting I thought was Neville's mention of the invention of the microphone, as the catalyst for the style of what he called "lyrical singing". The phrase was new to me but he explained it as a more intimate or soft-spoken singing technique. Up until that time, singers with backing bands would have had to belt out their vocals to be heard, or depend on the consideration/skill of t

Playlist 185 - July 19 2011

The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Playlist 185 Tues July 19th 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 Larsen - Annie's rap Julianna Barwick - Bob in your gait Bruce Haack - Cherubic hymn Cian Nugent - Sixes and sevens ( playing Triskel Christchurch, Cork, July 22, w/ Ryan Francesconi ) Patrick Kelleher & his Cold Dead Hands - Too many harsh words Tom Tom Club - Genius of love ( playing Harmonic Weekender, Vicar Street, Dublin, July 22 ) Neville Skelly Interview Neville Skelly - Child of the morning Interview Excerpt 1 Neville Skelly - He looks a lot like me Interview Excerpt 2 *d'load full interview here:

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

I was catching up on some of the 4AD sessions and came across this fantastic footage of Ariel Pink and friends. If nothing else, check out Menopause Man , from last year's great album Before today , for a sublime mixture of math-rock and 10cc-ness. I must say I also like the drummer's shirt - it's kinda hairy. To match his bear growls.

Liam Singer Interview

As part of the ongoing housekeeping project, the interview with New York-based pop experimentalist Liam Singer is here now... ...including talk of Morton Feldman, a classical music training, "happy accidents", high art vs low art, Carlos Castaneda, supernatural themes, the influence of travel on composition , and more. Listen here. (*By the way, you might gather that the first few minutes of the interview are missing. This is because of some interference on the phone line during that part of the conversation, relating to musical influences. These included Prokofiev, New Age music, They Might Be Giants and John Cage .) That interview was recorded last October around the time of the release of his current album, Dislocatia , on Hidden Shoal . Did I mention it's brilliant? Here's how much I liked it at the time. Liam Singer - Dislocatia (Hidden Shoal) Regular readers will know that if it's chamber pop, I'm there. Even for the converted though, this

Seán O'Hagan + Van Dyke Parks

As an interesting adjunct to the Van Dyke Parks post last month, surprising news now of a Skype conversation between VDP and Seán O'Hagan of High Llamas . No connection to the fast-developing News International phone hacking scandal here, the news was revealed by the Llamas' label Drag City . (By the way, the Drag City monthly newsletter is one of the most entertaining mailshots going, I recommend you sign up without delay.) Here's the video. A few things of note. VDP's conversational style is as meandering and quixotic as his wonderful back catalogue. This is a man who you don't want to stick to the point. The time delay on Skype creates awkward pauses. Seán mentions in the first few minutes the anti-government public protest march in London, which he'd attended that day. This prompts VDP to muse on the role of government in society. Forget David Norris . Can we give this man Irish citizenship and get him running in th

North Sea Radio Orchestra

And speaking of William D. Drake , I believe his hands make an appearance in this video (although I could be wrong). That's from the new North Sea Radio Orchestra album, I a moon . In a word, it's fantastic. I'll have a bit more on it at the end of the month. NSRO is Craig Fortnam and friends (that's him on guitar). Craig also released one of my favourite albums of last year under the name Arch Garrison . Here's a few thoughts on that at the time. Arch Garrison - King of the Down (Double 6) Arch Garrison is mainly Craig Fortnam of North Sea Radio Orchestra. This is a gorgeous album of ancient-sounding English folk music, with a few nods to modernity. Song titles like Stone on the pound, Thames Fluvius and Roman Road give a hint of tradition but this never feels clichéd. Great tunes help, as usual, and an irrepressibly upbeat mood. That upbeat mood is something carried over into his other band. NSRO classes itself as a chamber group of sorts. I'm no

Wanderly Wagon + William D. Drake

So anyway, I mentioned something in the William D. Drake review a couple of months back that I wanted to come back to. At the time, I said that the instrumental track Ziegler from his album, The Rising of the Lights , reminded me of the Wanderly Wagon theme tune. For the uninitiated, this was an Irish children's tv show from the 1970's, focused around the wide-eyed genius of puppeteer, the late Eugene Lambert . (For those of another generation, it also regularly featured the actor Frank Kelly - Father Jack from Father Ted - as the bungling evil wizard Dr Astro.) So here's the theme tune. Listening back to it now, it starts with more of a Beach Boys feel, with that signature alternating left-hand-right-hand keyboard style, before launching into full prog-rock glory with a creamy guitar solo. Nothing like Ziegler , in fact. Which sounds more like this. Ziegler by William D Drake Is that clarinet, harmonium and hurdy-gurdy together in the one piece of music? Brilliant

Playlist 184 - July 12 2011

The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Playlist 184 Tues July 12th 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 Handsome Furs – Bury me standing EDM – How to fall Elephant - Allured The Leisure Society – You could keep me talking ( playing Latitude Festival, Suffolk, July 14-17 ) Tom Tom Club – Genius of love (Money Mark remix) Brian Eno – Pour it out Mowest Compilation (Light in the Attic Records) Franki Valli & the Four Seasons – You’re a song (that I can’t sing) Syreeta – Black maybe Odyssey – Broken road Ryan Francesconi - Parables ( playing Triskel Christchurch, Cork, July 22, w/ Cian Nugent ) North Sea Radio Orchestra – Berliner luft ( playing St Giles in the Fields, London, July

Playlist 183 - July 5 2011

The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Playlist 183 Tues July 5th 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 Bruce Haack - Incantation ( thanks to Albert in Plugd ) Shonen Knife - Top of the world ( playing Whelan's, Dublin, Aug 19 ) Umpire - Supply chins The Go! Team - Ready to go steady ( playing Electric Picnic Festival, Stradbally, Sept 4 ) Reader's Wives - Light up ( playing Oxegen Festival, Punchestown, July 8 ) Friendly Fires - Hawaiian air (radio edit) ( playing Oxegen Festival, Punchestown, July 10 ) The Amsterdams - Country holiday The Travellers - Waiting Sebastian feat. Mayer Hawthorne - Love in motion Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Let's stop here

Random Tuesday Reviews

The Middle East - Jesus came to my birthday party (PIAS, single) This great swinging folk-rock tune has a distinct flavour of Sparklehorse at his laconic best. From the album I want that you are always happy . Roshi feat. Pars Radio - To bio (Rif Mountain, from the Mehregan EP) Prepare to be enchanted and transported by Welsh-born-of-Iranian-descent Roshi Nasehi on vocals and electronic backing by Graham Dids (Pere Ubu). The title translates from Farsi as " Come to me beloved " and the mood has an appropriate emotional heft to it, with deft, minimal soundscapes adding colour. A voice capable of making a name for Iranian folk music. Larsen - Annie's rap (Tin Angel Records, from the album Cool cruel mouth ) A monotonous ringing guitar, an ominous bass tone, a freestyle drum pattern, then a female monologue recounts a strangely gripping tale of getting an early drink in midtown Manhattan. She meets a man in a bar who offers to buy her a drink, to which she repli

The Scaramanga Six - Cursed (Wrath Records)

The Scaramanga Six - Cursed (Wrath Records) You'll remember the killer first single from this Sheffield 4-piece's (!) new album was mentioned here previously , the memorable power ballad Autopsy of the mind . Well there's plenty more to love on the rest of the album. Last roll of the dice starts life as a Joey Santiago instrumental before embracing a rousing horn section and massed harmonies. Walking through houses (the one song on the album produced by ex- Cardiacs man Tim Smith , before he was struck by illness in 2008, and to whom the album is dedicated - the full story is on the listening link below) is stalking post-punk masquerading as math-rock. Trouble is three minutes of retribution delivered with a croon. Dark matter is another rousing, brass-lead workout with strong cinematic leanings. The epic Like an insect takes the Kafka scenario literally and wraps it in glockenspiel, toms and a killer chorus. And, as also mentioned previously , closer Spent force comes

Vessels - Later than you think (Eyan Green remix)

We played the Eyan Green remix of Leeds band Vessels' Later than you think on the show last week. Eyan got in touch with the permanent link for downloading that remix for free. Check it out here. Later Than You Think (Eyan Green Remix) by Eyan Green A techno juggernaut on the face of it, but with distinct krautrock affiliations. In other words, really cool. Meanwhile, here's the band playing the original live in Brighton earlier this year. Beautiful Tortoise-meets-Mogwai-post-rock-launched-into-space vibe and lovely video made by Fix the Sky . Vessels - Later Than You Think (live) from Vessels Band on Vimeo . As we're at it, here's the wonderful first single from the still current album Helioscope , on Cuckndoo Records , featuring Stuart Warwick on vocals, which got plenty of air around here earlier in the year. Meatman, Piano Tuner, Prostitute (feat. Stuart Warwick) by Vessels And the impressionist video by Kira Zighalina . Vessels - Meatman, Pian

Thread Pulls & Twinkranes in Cork

Great to see Thread Pulls again over the weekend, playing on Friday at the Crane Lane Theatre in Cork . They make some racket for just two fellas and a (small) bit of machinery. One of the highlights of the gig was this, from their New thoughts album that came out last year on Osaka . I'm not sure about the choice of venue, although it was quite amusing watching what the Crane Lane weekend "regulars" made of sparse rock 'n roll, stripped to the bone. Not as entertaining as the gig itself, mind you. I spoke to them when they played in Cork last year, you can check out that interview here . Also on the double bill were fellow Dubliners Twinkranes , a band I hadn't seen before. They brought drums and organ, with electronics, and were pretty impressive in a driving, krautrock kind of way. We like a bit of motorik, in fairness. You'll get an idea from this. And have a look at their eye-catching hanging backdrop here.