Showing posts from October, 2013

Jacques Caramac & The Sweet Generation - Snowballs (Everyday Life Recordings/Rocket Girl)

A fantastic piece of pop “nonsense” from a few months back, from a band I know next to nothing about. Apart from...they're French and they have a way with ferociously catchy glam pop. All together now - He snowballs, she snowballs, fear snowballs

Playlist 286 - Oct 29 2013

The death of Lou Reed loomed large over this week's show. As plenty of other people have remarked over the weekend, there's an enduring freshness and vitality about the first Velvet Underground album, especially. It really has aged well, as the man himself did. New music from Wooden Shjips , La Femme & Delorean ; old soundtrack music from Ennio Morricone and Witchfinder General , the latter gets a re-release next month. More from Angele David-Guillou (pic), beautiful, moving piano music; and littlebow , brilliant, playful, keyboard and flute-lead exotica. The National are on tour right now, as is the film made on tour with them Mistaken For Strangers , which plays in Cork soon. So do NZ folk duo French For Rabbits , and Bouts , launching their debut album. Plus Band of Clouds are just finalising a fundit campaign, they could do with your patronage. More on these pages. Oct 29 2013 w/ Wooden Shjips,littlebow,Bouts,La Femme,Witchfinder General OST,

Angele David-Guillou – Kourouma (Village Green)

A serene set of keyboard-led, classically influenced tunes from the London resident, whose previous solo work has been released under the Klima moniker. They are deceptively sedate though with a sense of deep emotion and fierce intelligence at work underneath the still, almost-romantic surface. The addition of sprightly violins, shaker, tambourine and clicking percussion to the waltzing piano turns ‘And the grass was singing’ into a beautiful far-reaching chamber pop. A kind of dream pop emerges from the hazy cascade of electric piano on ‘Dream of Leonor Fini’. Finger bells, click drums, saw, tambourine and pizzicato strings are all used superbly with a light touch to alter the mood. ‘But now I am joyful’ introduces vocals for the first time to brilliant effect, creating a bath of sadness with dynamic piano shapes before finishing with the devastating punchline, ”I can see the sky from the bottom of the sea”. ‘Our garden’ weaves avant garde leanings into another gorgeous

Playlist 285 - Oct 22 2013

I was reminded of Heaven or Las Vegas recently so felt like pulling it out for some classic Cocteau Twins from 1990. It still sounds as fresh and brilliant as ever. Elephant are responsible for an alluring modern brand of dream pop, love that too. SlowPlaceLikeHome from Donegal plays Cork soon; Cork band The Shaker Hymn tour the country on the back of their really good debut single; This Is The Kit are on tour with The National; Colleen too is in Cork, as are Dott ahead of their debut album. Dan Haywood with some intoxicating pastoral folk music, The Doomed Bird of Providence with another set of deeply affecting folk songs around the Australian colonial experience. Satelliti , loving them, smouldering, deconstructed jazz meets math rock...or something like that. (The) Caseworker making more beautiful minimal drone rock. And Brous back again, I can't get enough of her joie de vivre, soaring melodies and bonkers arrangements. Oct 22 2013 w/ SlowPlaceLikeHome,T

Playlist 284 - Oct 15 2013

Several pieces of music this week from artists playing in Cork, or Ireland, soon. Adrian Crowley plays his first show in Cork next month since his Choice Prize nomination earlier this year (for his excellent I see three birds flying album), Crayonsmith are in town this weekend launching their new album on Out on a Limb , Glenn Jones lands in November too bringing his beautiful guitar instrumentals, Vindicatrix in Cork as well, gesturing at "unspeakable depravity just beyond the cabaret curtain." (one of the press release quotes of the year, that) Beautiful new music from Angele David-Guillou , a sublime piano instrumental from her gorgeous new album Kourouma , more on that soon); The Unusual History of Ether , beguiling cosmic jazz pop shapes; Bill Callahan getting down with the funk; Kramies produced by Jason Lytle, lovely hazy dream pop; Carriages from Dublin, brilliant folktronica sound. And Barry McCormack launches his new album in the National Concert Hall

Bill Callahan – Dream River (Drag City)

Chances are many people have never associated Bill Callahan with soul music. There was always plenty of soul in his music of course but it was usually disguised within strains of what is generally called Americana (isn’t soul American too?) – country and folk. On this, his fifth album under his own name (18th when you count Smog), his wry, blackly comic observations are set against the funk. There are bongos and dub echo on ‘Javelin unlanding’ alone. Perhaps he’s just given into a longstanding urge. As if to signal his intentions in fact, the first song ‘The sing’ namechecks Marvin Gaye – “I’ve got limitations, like Marvin Gaye” - although perversely that arrangement is wrapped in a very country confection of fiddle and sumptuous low note electric guitar. Still, it is some kind of signpost. To ‘Spring’, with an ensemble of flute, bongos and authentic blues guitar, which culminates in the fervent line – “all I want to do is make love to you, in the fertile dirt with a ca

Kevin Murphy - LOVEhATE

It’s been a vintage year for Irish album releases. O Emperor, Cat Dowling, Biggles Flys Again, The Last Sound, Peter Delaney, Ann Scott, Enemies, Hidden Highways, God Is An Astronaut have all released singular and accomplished works. It’s time to add another one to that list, someone who is likely to be much less known to you than even those mentioned above. Kevin Murphy is an Irishman currently living in Australia, maybe that’s why he’s slipped under the radar of the Irish mainstream media. In line with those others, he writes songs that stay with you, in his case because of an achingly authentic delivery and brilliantly subtle arrangements. Here’s a review I wrote of his album for WeAreNoise a while back. An unassuming package came through the Noise letterbox recently (I mean that literally, it was a CD). An indistinct, autumnal woodland cover. The artist's name, Kevin Murphy , the album title LOVEhATE (which I'm happy to report appears to bear no relation to the tv s

Playlist 283 - Oct 8 2013

We started this week with a Colleen/Seti The First pairing, who are playing together in Cork in a few weeks - delicately earthy, singular musings/brilliantly poised classical tunes. A couple of great new discoveries for me this week too, Brous (pronounced Bruce) sings bonkers 60s style pop with sweeping Morricone-esque arrangements (something from Ennio in the show too), and Elephant return with another blissful slice of dream pop - both intoxicating. The new Fuxa album features Britta Phillips on guest vocals, among others, singing the old Linda Ronstadt number 'Different drum' to Randall Niemann's 'Stand by me', stirring stuff. Satelliti are an intriguing Italian duo playing instrumental post rock with jazz tones; Satellites an Englishman in Copenhagen making satisfying alt-rock mini anthems. New Crystal Stilts and Hidden Highways and the infectious Congo-via-Liege pulse of Dragon Noir . More on these pages as always. Oct 8 2013 show w/ Co

Cat Dowling, Live in Cork & Interview

Richie Tyndall Photography I had the great pleasure of seeing Cat Dowling play live in Cork the other week, as part of the excellent Coughlan's Festival lineup. As you know, her debut album The Believer is one of my favourite things this year . It was great to hear those songs in the flesh (about seven of them anyway). Here's what I wrote about the gig for WeAreNoise . Cat Dowling arrived onstage (joined by collaborator Gerry Horan ) on Sunday evening with no fanfare and set about charming the pants off the seated audience with both her demeanour and a set of beguiling tunes from her wonderful debut album The Believer . In this kind of living room, we were given a lesson in soul. And for that purpose, the songs sounded even better whittled down to the bare bones, which were provided mostly by Horan. Namely, straight ahead piano chords and some great Gre

Liam Singer - Arc Iris Interview

I had the pleasure of speaking again with Liam Singer the other week on the phone from New York, whose new album Arc Iris is out on Hidden Shoal . It's such a fine piece of work, everyone should check it out, spinning a delicate and poignant brand of chamber pop. I reviewed the album here - there are also some tracks from the album on that link. Over the course of the interview, it was interesting to hear Liam talk about the "tone colours" he had in mind for the album. In fact, if I'm not mistaken this certain atmospheric quality was his starting point and main aim for the record. I asked him about the fact that many of the songs on the album seem to relate to incidents from early life or childhood. He agreed and made a fascinating point about the age at which people begin to write music, in his case around 10 years old. That is, that their songwriting often remains fixed at that age, occupied with themes, concerns relevant to that age, no matter at what age the

Hero & Leander – Kiss me by the water cooler (from the album Tumble, Tapete Records)

This may be a bit twee for some tastes but there’s something about it I love. It could be the unashamed naivety of its blue-eyed soul. Or the arrangement, those lush piano chords and the bell-clear male-female voices. Or just for this line, “kiss me dry or drenched”. That’s an epithet liable to stick in your mind and grow in meaning.

Various Artists - Collision/Detection Series (Front & Follow)

A quick mention for this release over the summer, the box set compilation of the series spread over contributions from nine different artists using a communal set of sound files. You’ll find all the detail you need on the label website or on this link . Suffice to say that it is a consistently fascinating and surprising collection and it sheds new light on the term collaboration. Because I’m late getting around to this, it’s likely the special edition is gone by now, but here’s the blurb on that anyway. It looks and sounds like a particularly gorgeous package, which is just in keeping with Front & Follow's previous releases. “The limited first edition of 200 comes in a letter pressed package, with a bonus download album of exclusive additional tracks, and the original sound clips used to create each EP. EPs come from Psychological Strategy Board (Jonny Mugwump and Time Attendant), West Norwood Cassette Library, The Lord, Hong Kong in the 60s, BLK TAG, Kemper Norton,

Elephant – Shapeshifter (Memphis Industries)

The Anglo-French English duo continue to astound us with singles of rare poise and beauty. This time, we have violins and an angelic choir on backing behind Amelia Rivas’ hazy vocal. It’s widescreen and Spectorish, starring glockenspiels as twinkling stars and ooh and aahs as a moon-induced headrush. It really is blissful dream pop of the highest order. “A canopy of bliss” is just about right. and free download in return for your e-mail address here

Brous - Streamers

Ever wondered what might have happened if Dusty Springfield had hooked up with Ennio Morricone? Friends, wonder no more for Sophia Brous (pronounced “Bruce”) of Melbourne, Australia has supplied a glorious pseudo-reality to that tantalising daydream. Ever since I came across it yesterday, I've been hooked on this absolute classic, part Dusty domestic mini-epic, part Euro lounge exotica nugget. Apparently coming from a jazz background, Brous has forged a sound from the classic age of 60s pop, all swooping melodies, but with baroque arrangements of organ, harpsichord and bending strings which succeed in nodding very gently to the Italian cinema master. Add in a bonkers Bollywood flourish here and there (check those fantastically unhinged la-la-las and spacey Moog squelches) and you’ve got the headiest global pop confection heard in years, possibly. What’s particularly satisfying is that Brous has one foot in the avant garde – further research reveals she is lined up for

Playlist 282 - Oct 1 2013

The centrepiece of this week's show was a segment of the interview with Liam Singer . We also had two tracks from his wonderful album Arc Iris (review on the blog here and full interview audio to follow soon). I saw Cat Dowling play last weekend, she was superb, and her new single 'Somebody else' is just out. Plus another strong Irish female release in the shape of the fourth album from Ann Scott . Cool new music from Connan Mockasin , bit of a Prince feeling off that; new album this month from Dublin's Crayonsmith ; some great kraut-surf vibes from La Femme ; Cork's Elastic Sleep play the HWCH13 Festival in Dublin this week (so does Cat Dowling actually); The Unusual History of Ether , keeping a place for jazz in pop music, like that a lot. And another Hidden Shoal gem, the new single from (The) Caseworker . More as always on these pages. Oct 1 2013 show w/ Ann Scott, Elastic Sleep, Connan Mockasin, Liam Singer Interview,Crayonsmith++ by The