Showing posts from September, 2015

McCarthy – I am a wallet (Optic Nerve, reissue)

Thrilling jangle pop with actual political engagement from what seems like another age (in fairness it was originally released almost 30 years ago) from the band that gave birth to Stereolab (kind of). Providing proof if it were needed that the famous C86 sound could accommodate teeth underneath its smiling face. The guitar of Tim Gane supplies the chiming hooks but the vocals of Malcolm Eden give great emotional heft, as on the very poignant ‘The well of loneliness’. They are many, we are few There’s not much we can do As it happens, it’s one of the least overtly political songs in this collection but one of the most touching.

Playlist 371 - Sept 29 2015

A few nice pairings in this week's show. Robert Forster - "my soup-stained vest, my critical eye" Bob Dylan - "God said to Abraham, give me a son, Abe said, God you gotta be puttin me on" Joanna Newsom with leaping folk singing and a stirring medieval undertow Julia Holter crashing brilliantly through the naff barrier with delicate singing and unashamed sax solos Leo Abrahams going to town on Brian Eno, who sings guest Brian Eno going to town on 70s pop music Sun Ra going to the future. More on these pages. Sept 29 2015 w/ Robert Forster,Bob Dylan,Joanna Newsom,Julia Holter,Sun Ra,Leo Abrahams,Leaf Library by The Underground Of Happiness on Mixcloud The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 371 Tues Sept 29 2015 11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm) UCC 98.3FM listen

Robert Forster – Songs to play (Tapete Records)

As you know, Robert Forster was a founder member of The Go Betweens with Grant McLennan in Brisbane . Together they released 6 albums of literate off kilter pop music in the 1980s. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) they did not make the commercial breakthrough achieved by other indie bands of the time like The Smiths and REM. The prevailing consensus goes that McLennan had the better melodies and singing voice but that Forster had the spikier lyrical talent. (McLennan’s style had a more poetic, and often nostalgic, quality.) The band broke up in 1989 and the two songwriters embarked on solo careers. They reformed in 1997, initially to tour, and subsequently recorded three further albums together until Grant McLennan’s untimely death in 2006. Robert Forster then released The Evangelist in 2008, a solo album but which included three songs of Grant’s, so it’s thought of as a de facto Go Betweens album by many. Not surprisingly, most of the reviews so far have painted this first re

JR Green – Nigerian Princess (from Bring the witch doctor EP, Hits The Fan Records)

A most welcome addition to the canon of foul mouthed folk music from a pair of teenage Scottish brothers. A rowdy acoustic guitar and an accordion carry most of this but there’s not a hint of The Proclaimers you’ll be glad to hear (in fairness, I suppose the Reid brothers aren’t the worst, but ‘500 Miles’ does still give me the night sweats). There’s winning melodies at every turn and a great rough croon of a lead vocal but I think what I like best are the fantastic lyrical chops. Take this gem for example - I’m sorry for my output I’m surrounded by wankers I’m only 17 and I don’t have all the answers...yet Yeah, bit of a punk spirit, or “low-fi traditional skronk” as they put it themselves. Top notch all round and like Frightened Rabbit, who were also launched by Hits the Fan , you wouldn’t rule out stadiums for them. Bring The Witch Doctor - EP by JR Green

The Chills – Silver Bullets (Fire Records)

One of the more heartwarming returns of recent years in (let’s call it) popular music is the story of Martin Phillipps and The Chills , who are contenders for most cruelly underappreciated band in the history of the world. This piece by Michael Hann from The Guardian last year does excellent justice to Phillipps’ rollercoaster backstory (although the quoted paragraph does contain one glaringly debatable statement which I’ll come back to). “In the late 80s, the Chills were one of the groups most likely to. After several years of adored singles, EPs and one album on New Zealand’s Flying Nun records – which made the proper charts there, and gained a devoted cult audience in the northern hemisphere – they’d signed to Warner Brothers. Their first album for Warner, 1990’s Submarine Bells, was critically adored, with a single – Heavenly Pop Hit – that was all over radio. But by the time its hit-and-m

Playlist 370 - Sept 22 2015

Some notable new music this week from - The Chills , 1st studio album in almost 20 years but sounding as vital as ever Deerhunter , from the new album, gorgeous prismatic psych pop The Drink , 2nd album also upcoming, wonderful skewed guitar pop. Then somewhat of a glorious vocal interlude midway featuring - The Lewis Sisters , bringing jazz standards into the stratosphere The Free Design , sunshine, baroque, lysergic vocals intertwined Stereolab , taking on the thread with added monster motorik grooves. And HeCTA , great cut up electronic dance music. More on the blog. Sept 22 2015 w/ Blank Realm,The Drink,Free Design,Stereolab,Chills,HeCTA,Deerhunter++ by The Underground Of Happiness on Mixcloud The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 370 Tues Sept 22 2015 11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8.30

Kodiak Deathbeds - Kodiak Deathbeds (Affairs of the Heart)

Elegaic collection of late night love songs from a duo made up of Amber Webber (Black Mountain, Lightning Dust) and Derek Fudesco (Pretty Girls Make Graves, The Cave Singers). Barely strummed guitars and Webber’s soft world weary vocals make a great match in songs taking stock of life with a bittersweet but quietly determined eye. It’s hard to beat the slow building emotion of the opening pair of songs, ‘Never change’ and ‘Wild hearts’. The first in particular digs deep into the end of a relationship with raw details underneath the brilliantly unshowy vocal harmonies – “this is lasting too long for me, being around to see your fading words, stare out windows when it’s pouring rain, we’ve got our histories to blame but they’ll never change”. The latter introduces a startling harmony which throws a gorgeous gospel hue over the country stylings. A deceptively low key and beautiful record. Kodiak Deathbeds by Kodiak Deathbeds

Playlist 369 - Sept 15 2015

That's Christopher Porpora aka Cheval Sombre in the picture below, he plays his first Irish show in Cobh next month, excellent. He's a friend of Dean & Britta and they used one of his songs for their 13 Most Beautiful , the Andy Warhol Screen Tests project, pairing 'I found it not so' with Mary Woronov's compelling features. There's a raft of festival action happening - Noveller at Incubate , Death & Vanilla at Liverpool Psych Fest , Jeff Lewis at Clonakilty International Guitar Fest . And gorgeous new music from Kodiak Deathbeds , featuring the great voice of Amber Webber of Black Mountain/Lightning Dust . More on these pages as always. Sept 15 2015 w/ Gun Outfit,Cheval Sombre,Dean & Britta,Kodiak Deathbeds,JR Green,Robert Forster,Low+ by The Underground Of Happiness on Mixcloud The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed

Playlist 368 - Sept 8 2015

Special extended 2 hour show this week, including in the first hour... Girl Band who play in Cork next month Patrick Freeman who is running a fundit campaign for the release of his debut album Susan James from her gorgeous new album, with sumptuous arrangements by Sean O'Hagan The Chills , something old something new, both glorious Tom Furse of The Horrors with a solo EP on Lo Recordings , very exotica. And the 2nd hour of this week's show with such gems as... Laura Cannell evoking the ancient and natural world Spires That In The Sunset Rise with a bracing minimalism (flutes and horns), playing Gulpd in Cork in Sept De Lux channelling Talking Heads C Duncan dreaming the sweetest dream pop dreams Blank Realm kicking out the psych jams, they play Dublin this month. More on these pages. Sept 8 2015 Hr 1 w/ Tom Furse,Susan James,High Llamas,Patrick Freeman,Kathryn Joseph,Girl Band++ by The Underground Of Happiness on Mixcloud Sept 8 2015 Hr 2

Playlist 367 - Sept 1 2015

First show back and a few new albums which came in during the summer break. Robert Forster's 1st solo album in 7 years is a beautiful slow burn of Blonde on Blonde -ish folk moves and faux memoir. Blank Realm , also from Brisbane, are a powerful psych rock beast taking in elements of No Wave on this the opening track from their new album Illegals in heaven . Seminal jangle pop Marxists McCarthy are getting a reissue on Optic Nerve . This is the Kit play Sounds from a Safe Harbour festival in Cork this month. Sublime soul crooning from August Wells . And The Chap being extremely Chappish once again, setting the internet on fire with their electric sound of desire (that excellent line is a quote from the song 'Guitar Messiah'). More on these pages as always. Sept 1 2015 w/ Robert Forster,Blank Realm,Television,August Wells,The Chap,McCarthy,Ergo Phizmiz++ by The Underground Of Happiness on Mixcloud The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music o