Showing posts from July, 2017

Bedouine – Back to you (from the album Bedouine, Spacebomb)

Another wonderful nugget from Matthew E. White’s Spacebomb hub in Richmond Virginia. The origin though is the voice and songs of Azniv Korkejian , born in Syria to Armenian parents but resident in the US for some years. Her voice is an intoxicating thing. Hushed. Softly spoken. Insistent. Containing something of a Carole King about it. Or even a Karen Carpenter maybe. Another time anyway. When there was strength in subtlety and soul was in the nuance as much as the volume. And the dream of an arrangement behind the perfect match. Gently enervating brass and woodwind. Uplifting top note strings. Beautiful pitter patter bass. A genius falsetto backing vocal that seems to catch me every time. She also has a way with as lyric, Ms Korkejian. California city parks They talk in exclamation marks An understated treasure. Bedouine by Bedouine

Colleen – Separating (Thrill Jockey)

This is quite the departure for anyone familiar with the last two albums by Colleen . Those featured prominently the viola da gamba, a Renaissance instrument not a million miles from a cello. In Colleen’s hands though it shook off any hint of baroque, instead zoning in on a kind of musique concrete taking loops and cut ups and field recordings and fashioning them into meditations on the elements and the natural world. There are no strings at all on the new album ( A flame my love, a frequency , due in October), ditched in favour of Moog pedals and Critter and Guitari synthesizers of all things. The lyrical themes show a certain thread mind you and the overall impression is of a fragile and trancelike brand of kosmische. Her voice is once again awash in echo while the backing shimmers and pulses insistently. It has very much the feel of chance music about it as the moog arpeggios skitter off in a thousand different directions. In keeping with those elemental medita

Yorkston Thorne Khan - Coughlan's, Cork, July 27th 2017

Standing room only in the back of Coughlan’s Thursday. James Yorkston wearing a cap. Jon Thorne in bare feet. Suhail Khan with a ponytail. A joyous occasion even if plenty of sorrowful songs. Some things that happened. The furious blues conjured with an acoustic guitar a double bass and a sarangi. The sarangi a blur of fingers and a keening yearning tone to it you sometimes get from a steel guitar or some other times from a fiddle. Suhail’s feet tucked under him with the sarangi in his lap perched on a table covered with a rug. James’ cheeky way with a wisecrack. (“Thanks to Christy Moore for playing support earlier. And Paul Brady.”) Jon’s laconic way with a wisecrack. (“Remember when The Beatles were so high that they let Ringo sing” as he took the guitar off James to sing.) Suhail’s earnest boyish quality. James’ mischievous boyish quality. Jon’s stand up routine. “I first met Suhail on the set of a Star Trek movie. The Wrath of Khan.” Su

Julie Byrne – Follow my voice (from the album Not even happiness, Basin Rock Records)

Some pieces of music stand or fall on the singer’s voice. That’s the way with the opening song on the new Julie Byrne album. A voice of what though? It’s in a not dissimilar register to Alela Diane in the mid range where you find a speaking voice. But a different tone to that and with an appealing reedy tone to it as opposed to Diane’s bell clear quality. The lines of swells and pauses filled only by acoustic strums and her voice and distant strings singing in the wind. Not really a sound you would associate with New York. A hush. Not a rush. And the line in the middle that stops you. I’ve been called heartbreaker Folk music with a distinct attitude hidden in its mild clothes. A beautiful thing. Not Even Happiness by Julie Byrne

Playlist 457 - July 25 2017: Best of 2017 Mid Year Review Part 2

Part 2 of this Mid Year Review. From the more folk side of the argument. Again all regulars on the show this year. Part 1 is last week in case you missed it. That's Camille in the picture. The show is back on the air in September after the station's summer break. Enjoy. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 457 - Best of 2017 Mid Year Review Part 2 Tues July 25 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 Yorkston Thorne Khan – Chori chori ( playing Coughlan’s, Cork, July 27 ) James Elkington – Wading the vapours Entrance – Always the right time Rich Osborn – Streets of Laredo, A Pastorale Camille – Fontaine de lait ( playing Barbican, London, Oct 30 ) Bedouine – Bac

Sean O’Hagan – The Cricket Club, Cork, July 2 2017

Great to see Sean O’Hagan again recently back in the People’s Republic. A sticky midsummer evening. Not so much sunshine but still with a promise of summer about it. In the background the lush green sward of the pitch and the hedgerows and St Vincent’s Church in Sundays Well towering on the hill across the river. Sash windows. Smokers (most of them cricketers wearing the club blazers as opposed to gig goers per se) watching from outside on the balcony. There was a convivial atmosphere in the long room. Something like a reunion of old friends. A room decorated by black and white photos of cricket teams. Behind the small stage a giant framed drawing on the wall of the Cork Exhibition in 1902 which took place on this very ground. Where we sported and played. An audience that came up in the 1970s and 80s. Who might have seen Sean play in Microdisney in one of Cork’s dingy/beautiful venues. There may have been some nostalgia in the air although Sean always comes across a

Playlist 456 - July 18 2017: Best of 2017 Mid Year Review

A playlist from the first half of 2017. Some were reissued this year. One is an extract from a longer piece. Most will be familiar if you're a regular listener. Part 2 of this selection comes up next week. Say hello to Laetitia and friends. Enjoy. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 456 Tues July 18 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 The Comet Is Coming – March of the rising sun ( playing Liverpool Psych Fest, Sept 23 ) Snapped Ankles – Jonny Guitar calling Gosta Berlin Percolator – Crab Supernova Golden Retriever – Pelagic tremor Matthew Bourne – Isotach The Roger Webb Sound – Moon bird (English Weather compilation) Kamasi Washington – Truth (extract) G

Caroline Says – Winter is cold (from the album 50,000,000 Elvis fans can’t be wrong, Western Vinyl)

I love a good backing vocal. Especially the kind that elevates something already good into something special. That’s what happens here on the opening song of the album by Caroline Sallee who goes under Caroline Says . A simple but handsome acoustic fingerpick takes on an atmosphere of intrigue with the addition of an intrusive backing hum. I say intrusive to mean you can’t but be aware of it and it’s recorded right up to the mike becoming a wash that is higher in the mix than you would be used to for background humming. It also enters along with the main vocal which is immediately...not disorientating as such but certainly wrongfooting. Later the hums turn into sighs and swoop and swoon in a way that only reminds me of My Bloody Valentine. This is a clue for the rest of the album in fact as folk rubs shoulders with off kilter jangling pop elements (in which some of the melodies carry a certain MBV-ish menace). You might not say shoegaze bit it is a dream of what p

Playlist 455 - July 11 2017

Some baroque pop majesty this week in the shape of The Zombies (the ultimate summer pop song) and The Magnetic Fields (delicious lyrical flourishes about Stonewall, Serge Gainsbourg and drag kings throwing bricks with Judy Garland’s name on them). Bedouine (pic) is a Syrian-Armenian-American who makes sublime hushed folk pop and with the help of Matthew E White’s crack Spacebomb crew has made one of the most beguiling albums of the year, in a muted orchestral glory kind of way. Caroline Says is another American and she also has a great line in hushed sounds. It’s bedroom pop of a sort and I particularly love the wash of backing vocals here (her own) turning a bare folk arrangement into something deceptive and intriguing. Diagnos. Todd Terje. Bruce Haack with savage vintage moogs. And Michael Nau with a beautiful dreamy dream of a thing. More on these pages. (And watch out for the first of 2 x Best of 2017 shows next week.) The Underground of Happiness uplifti

Playlist 454 - July 4 2017

Some classic Pavement on the show this week from their great Wowee Zowee album from 1995. The Stevens from Melbourne sound like fans, taking their serpentine guitarlines and winding them into thrillingly surreal rock shapes. Marika Hackman too has something of the Pavement spirit I think. Her new album has lovely clipped acerbic lyric lines (hot and steamy too) and the backing from English group The Big Moon is good and sturdy and suitably spiky. Kamasi Washington is in Europe playing shows. Take 13 minutes out of your day to listen to his masterpiece ‘Truth’, an epic and freewheeling work of orchestral cosmic jazz. Future Islands are in the middle of an Irish tour (when did we think we’d ever be saying those words?). We heard one of their pre-Letterman genius cuts, authentic southern soul meeting a rushing New Order world view. And Joan Shelley with a delicate feather of a vocal a gorgeous uplifting thing of beauty. More on these pages. The Underground of Hap