Showing posts from February, 2017

Mind Over Mirrors – Glossolaliac (from the album Undying color, Paradise of Bachelors)

Churning dark edged kosmische from Jaime Fennelly and friends. There’s a pleasing synergy between electronic and organic as the female voices of Haley Fohr (Circuit des Yeux) and Janet Beveridge Bean (Eleventh Dream Day) swap places with the pulsing synths and rhythmic fiddle. Meditational, trancelike, adventurous, with a minimalist sway that’s satisfyingly cathartic. Undying Color by Mind Over Mirrors

Sodastream – Three sins (from the album Little by little, Sodastream Music)

Alternative pop belter from the veteran Australian duo. A sawing cello and simple acoustic guitar strum tend to mask the murky depths of the song, as Karl Smith’s sweet voice, reminiscient of Jonathan Richman or Stuart Murdoch, intones about bonfires on Christmas Eve. However, an early clue is delivered in the shape of this ear catching line, soon I’ll burn all these fuckers around me . As the song gathers a kind of VU style pace and power with a vocal background drone like a choir of the dispossessed, Smith ups the ante. I touched those boys, those boys in the wrong way and Between my legs takes the loving from me and So I’ll kiss this medal when they come to get me . And a chill sets in as string feedback swings back and forth until the final rowdy refrain which comes on quite like ‘Venus in furs’ on smoother drugs, all bumps and grinds and chaotic rumbles. A miniature masterpiece of incendiary songwriting. Little By Little - LP by Sodastream

Brokeback – Night falls on Chillicothe (from the album Illinois River Valley Blues, Thrill Jockey)

Sumptuous mood piece from Doug McCombs and friends from only the fourth Brokeback album I was surprised to learn, although of course McCombs has been plenty busy with other projects. If the title suggests cinema, so does the quietly intense atmosphere – a weary travelogue maybe, or a melancholic memoir. The gorgeous slowly unwinding guitar lines smoulder, reminsicient of McCombs’ work with Tortoise, and underneath a bed of steel guitar shimmers. Instrumental music doesn’t get much more beautiful or meaningful than this. Illinois River Valley Blues by Brokeback

Entrance – Always the right time (from the album Book of changes, Thrill Jockey)

A beautiful follow on from the Promises EP of last year from Guy Blakeslee and friends. It’s a sweet song about love in roughly folk guitar picking clothes but with a great supporting psych pop ensemble of warped strings, vibes and massed singers, suggesting the vaguely unhinged quality that can often accompany amour. It builds to an uncomplicated lovely rush and breaks back down to just Blakeslee’s very endearing vibrato voice. Just wonderful.

The Saxophones – If you’re on the water

A dreamy half there thing of beauty from the American west coast. There’s a fragile atmosphere, an air of late night fretfulness and the bare bones arrangement contributes fully to that feeling. Tentative plucked guitar, whispered woodwind and Alexei Erenkov’s reedy self deprecating vocal. That the lyric refers to dangers or unseen risks – “if you’re on the water better beware – only adds to the sense of something precious and intimate. An intriguing understated treasure. If You're on the Water EP by The Saxophones

Playlist 435 - Feb 21 2017

Mick Harvey has just released his 4th album of Serge Gainsbourg interpretations, the wonderful Intoxicated Women . The first track on it is a great cover of 'Je t'aime', in German ('Ich liebe dich') with the memorable vocals of Andrea Schroeder taking the part of Jane Birkin . Depending on your susceptibility to female sighs and intimations, very possibly not safe for work. Any excuse for a classic cut from the man himself Serge, a bit of Melody Nelson with tremendous orchestrations by Jean Claude Vannier . Benoit Pioulard, August Wells, Happyness, OOIOO all playing around or about these parts soon. Basil Kirchin is a revered cult figure in outsider music (subject of a recent festival in Hull), check his gorgeous mixture of jazz and birdsong/field recordings. And The Saxophones , a sublime late night disquieting dream of a song. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed www.theundergroundo

Mick Harvey – Intoxicated women (Mute)

Another absolute joy of an album of Serge Gainsbourg interpretations from the former Bad Seed (his fourth and apparently final), this time focusing mainly on the outstanding but maybe a shade lesser known back catalogue of duets. It begins with a German language version of ‘Je t’aime (Moin non plus)’. It’s a bold move taking on a nailed on classic first up but there’s no risk really when the material is in such experienced and sympathetic hands. ‘Ich liebe dich (Ich dich auch nicht)’ ranks as one of the all time great Gainsbourg versions, the lead female part taken by the German singer Andrea Schroeder. And I have to say she trumps Jane Birkin in the plausibility stakes, her delivery full of sumptuous exhalations which tail off exquisitely. (Plus those guttural “ch” consonants are all soft and gooey.) Or maybe it’s just that she’s an older woman than Birkin was so her breath seems to carry more meaning, more weight. The effect is not so much sexual as existential and it’s mo

Playlist 434 - Feb 14 2017

A couple of love songs (of sorts) to kick off the Valentine's Day show. The sublime version of 'My funny valentine' by Kathryn WIlliams & Anthony Kerr , a smouldering take with a distinct air of desolation in the spaces between the lines. Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble showing 'Undying love for humanity', which is tough to do but music as great as this makes it so convincing. Warm Digits are a duo from Newcastle who make furious beat driven animals and here have Field Music in on guest vocals to wonderful effect. Goldfrapp being filthy and there's not much better in life than Goldfrapp being filthy. Urban Farm Hand make a lovely folk/kosmische hybrid. And Foxygen being bonkers and beautiful and soulful. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 434

Foxygen – Follow the leader (from the album Hang, Jagjaguwar)

Delirious sweeping white soul from the LA duo, adding some welcome bonkers baroque flourishes to the cosmic stew. We like progressive tendencies around here and a part of this is a heady brand of progressive pop. It comes on like Todd Rundgren arranged by Curtis Mayfield, with top notes of swooning strings and the middle ground full of wonderful staccato brass. Apparently a 40-piece orchestra was involved on the album, arranged by Matthew E. White no less, and this song shows every sign of that (why bother says you if there wasn’t going to be every sign of it). Not to get bogged down in politics, but this kind of vaguely unhinged and entirely distracting pop belter could be THE most effective political response in these times, know what I’m sayin? *Plus check out this killer version live on Conan which is nothing less than joyous, while not surrendering an inch of its mad genius. Wielding a bomber jacket and eye shadow in place of a guitar, singer Sam France manages

Playlist 433 - Feb 7 2017

Peter Walsh appeared twice in this week's show. First in his own right as The Apartments , from his most recent wonderful album No song, no spell, no madrigal . Then guesting on the final album from Piano Magic , what a voice, lived in, soulful, stoic but full of sadness and regret. The Saxophones are a new band on me and I like what I hear. There's a hint of 50s rock n roll balladry about this song but in a more hushed atmosphere which is entrancing. Mick Harvey is back with another wonderful album of Serge Gainsbourg interpretations, lots of tremendous duets, many in German which is superb to hear. New music from Canada's The Dears , sounding as fresh as ever. UK out there jazz from The Comet Is Coming & Dinosaur , both playing in Ireland soon. And some Jacques Tati soundtrack music from Frank Barcellini . Marvellous. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed www.theundergroundofhappiness.

Playlist 432 - Jan 31 2017

Some odd things this week. Odd can be beautiful. Ariel Pink & Weyes Blood joining forces for something epic and strange. Half Japanese with legendary force for good Jad Fair sounding in great voice. Stephen EvEns coming on like a Cardiacs outtake, excellent. New music from Goldfrapp , not so much odd as just brilliant. And not odd at all, exactly as you'd expect, glorgeous songwriting from Mark Eitzel , who is on tour in Europe soon. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness i>uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 432 Tues Jan 31 2017 11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm) UCC 98.3FM listen live on the web at *listen back to this show here Playlist C Duncan – Nothing more ( playing Cyprus Avenue, Cork, May 4 ) Mark Eitzel – The last ten years ( playing Cypru