Showing posts from January, 2016

Two Winters - Instrumental Mix Jan 2016

Every week the radio show is a series of mixes, usually a sequence of mini-mixes, 3 or 4 song runs put together to fill an hour. Every now and again though, a bunch of music comes together on my radar, drawn from albums sent to me as well as my own listening habits. Over the last few months I’ve noticed an amount of striking and powerful instrumental music coming together in this orbit I call The Underground of Happiness . All of this has received an airing on the show at some point, but given that I only have 1 hour per week to play with live on air, I thought it would be good to give some of this music an extra platform. Firstly, as you would expect, these are all instrumental pieces, which is to say they don’t contain vocals (although Polar Bear flirt with humming at one stage in ‘No more goodbyes’). In fact, most of these artists are what you would call either exclusively or largely instrumental artists. The cellist Julia Kent for example, exploring the outer reaches of her inst

Playlist 386 - Jan 26 2016

Touring season approaches so quite a few bands on the show this week playing live soon. Daniel Knox , part of Quarter Block Party in Cork in early February August Wells , Irish tour in Feb This is the Kit & Giant Sand , both in Cork in April Yorkston Thorne Khan , part of the Field Day Festival line up in June. Great new music from Astronauts , so good to hear from them again; also Nap Eyes , songs to get under your skin. And The Altered Hours (pictured), launching their long-awaited debut album this week in Cork, after which they tour the known universe. More on these pages as always. Jan 26 2016 w/ Altered Hours, Tame Impala, Moodoid, Daniel Knox, August Wells, Astronauts++ by The Underground Of Happiness on Mixcloud The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 386 Tues Jan 26 2016 11.00am-12.00pm (rep

Tortoise – The catastrophist (Thrill Jockey)

There’s only one Tortoise in the world and they’re back with their latest gift to us, a glorious groovy thing from the very first beat. So. Many. Highlights. The title track, a thrilling circling tune full of conviction and killer kosmische synth hooks. The great ominous build of ‘Shake hands with danger’, a minimalist clanging chime loop at its centre. The beautiful shifting sands of ‘The clearing fills’, a drifting jazz dream. The epic ‘Gesceap’, buzzing keys under a series of interlocking Reichian melodies. Guest vocals by Yo La Tengo’s Georgia Hubley on ‘Yonder blue’, a gorgeous dream pop turn over an army of swooning guitars. ( John McEntire produced YLT’s 2nd last album, the very beautiful Fade , so favour returned.) The drumming as always is wonderful, chunky and delicate, supported brilliantly by an urgent bass pulse. Plus they cover a David Essex song, ‘Rock on’, sung by Todd Rittmann of U.S. Maple . Honestly, can this band get any cooler?

Playlist 385 - Jan 19 2016

A lot of new music on the show this week, in keeping with normal January service. TEEN , a lovely mid 80s Prince type electro pop bounce Ty Segall , pumping out the heartwarming glam jams Nadia Reid , swoonsome dreamy folk rock Morning Veils , spectral folk atmospherics from their debut album Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood & The Rajasthan Express , showing everyone how to make dance music. And Tortoise , more masterful minimalist grooves from their upcoming new album. More on these pages. Jan 19 2016 w/ TEEN, Ty Segall, The Drink, Morning Veils, Tortoise, Yorkston Thorne Khan, Damsel++ by The Underground Of Happiness on Mixcloud The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 385 Tues Jan 19 2016 11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm) UCC 98.3FM listen live on the web at *listen ba

Yorkston Thorne Khan – Little black buzzer (from the album Everything sacred, Domino)

A fantastic musical curio taking in naive pop, folk, jazz and Indian classical music. The song is written by the great Scottish songwriter Ivor Cutler , the band is James Yorkston , renowned Scottish folk musician, double bass player Jon Thorne and Indian classical singer and sarangi player Suhail Khan . They make something lithe and supple and swoonsome. Irish singer Lisa O’Neill , someone whose own work I personally haven’t dug up to now, adds a lovely dual vocal turn. I’m sitting here on the top of the world with my little black buzzer beside me My bum is cold and my face is white and this is my message to you as a bass pulse dots the backdrop and assorted drones (sarangi, nyckelharpa?) swoop and slide. Later Khan’s devotional singing just crowns it, a beautiful percussive instrument against the drones. It's a sweet and lovely thing which takes the charming strangeness of the original and turns it into something ancient sounding.

Best of 2015 Mixes

We're all probably sick of these by now, but one last thing. This is a Best of 2015 mix I put together, this one largely taking in June-December last year (a few exceptions). The full tracklist is on the mixcloud page, there's a range of stuff in there, kicking off with some psych pop and electronic tunes, some power pop and prog pop, folk, instrumental and orchestral. By the way, I also did one around the middle of last year, which fitted into one of the weekly shows. That's also below. And a final reminder that there is more detail on the entire Best of 2015 round up on these links -

Playlist 384 - Jan 12 2016

Obviously some David Bowie reminisciences this week. Not many people get to orchestrate and soundtrack their own passing, apart from everything else he gave to humanity, hats off for that. New things this week from The Apartments (well the album came out last year), an absolute gem of later years yearning The Left Outsides , lovely psych folk Victoria Hume , stunning title track of her new EP, rolling wrongfooting chamber pop August Wells , new tune from them, Irish tour in Feb, can't wait. Something old from Ennio Morricone , wonderful a cappella with drums, just when you think you've heard everything from him. More on these pages. Jan 12 2016 w/ David Bowie, The Apartments, RIchard Hawley, August Wells, Benjamin Schoos, Ennio++ by The Underground Of Happiness on Mixcloud The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHa

Best of 2015: Part 4 - Soul/Dream Pop/Jangle

And so the final instalment of this Best of 2015 review, which has a Soul/Dream Pop tag ostensibly but really is a collection of odds and ends left over. (Floating Points, for example, could certainly have belonged in Part 1 if I had my head on straight a few weeks ago.) These round ups are by nature a time travel exercise, some of the music here being a year old. But even since Part 1 of the review in mid-December, the world seems a very different place. It's now a post-David Bowie time, a post-Mick Lynch time, mortality comes for all of us, better get used to it. Enjoy the music while you can. ************************************************************************************************ 1. Marker Starling – Husbands (from the album Rosy Maze , Tin Angel Records) Spring 2015 was all about my obsession with this song, a glorious discovery and an enduring memory from the year. From February - There’s an automatic association for Steely Dan, I think, a kin

Playlist 383 - Jan 5 2016

The first show of 2016 had some great new music from Tortoise , luscious shifting grooves from their new album The catastrophist Noveller , more epic soundscapes from one guitar, new album No dreams Josephine Foster , characterful vocal troubador songs, new album No more lamps in the morning . And some further fond memories from 2015 in the shape of Daniel Knox , endearing cabaret bounce Rozi Plain , beautiful kosmische type folk, both playing Cork's Quarter Block Party in February. And Lee Hazlewood from 1966, taking a leaf from Morricone, with massed vocals and bending strings...marvellous. More on these pages - check the Best of 2015 posts for more detail on my favourite music of last year. Jan 5 2016 w/ Tortoise, Noveller, Rajasthan Express, Josephine Foster, The Drink, Daniel Knox ++ by The Underground Of Happiness on Mixcloud The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed ww

Best of 2015: Part 3 - Punk/Psych/Motorik/Prog pop

Part 3 of this epic poem, and I hope your year's been good so far. We're at a faster clip (tempo basically) for this section, there's something about these songs that shows some kind of urgency, people in a hurry, on some kind of mission maybe. And it strikes me that few things in life are more exciting to me than pop music with progressive tendencies. What exactly this means we can debate but wrapping a pop tune around a literary/unexpected/twisted lyric or conceptual idea raises the genre to a higher artform. Or building a classic rock guitar riff then undercutting it with a kosmische synth. Or steeping a song in jazz influences only to strap a motorik backbeat onto it. Or...well you get the gist. Enjoy. ************************************************************************************************ 1. Ezra Furman – Restless year (from the album Perpetual motion people , Bella Union) Fantastic opening gambit from the lipsticked one’s current albu