Showing posts from 2018

Playlist 497 - Best of 2018 Part 1: Dance/Jazz/Psych Pop

The first instalment of my favourite music of 2018. Categories are a bit arbitrary as always. Parts 2 and 3 to follow. Enjoy. Playlist Django Django – In your beat (Because Music) De Lux – 875 dollars (Innovative Leisure) Tune-Yards – Heart attack (4AD) Kamasi Washington – The Space Traveller’s Lullaby (Young Turks) Todd Tobias & Combo Qasam – Do the Massabu (Tiny Room/Hidden Shoal) Khruangbin – Maria tambien (Dead Oceans) Richard Swift – Broken finger blues (Secretly Canadian) Terry – The whip (Upset The Rhythm) Gulp – Claudia (E.L.K Records) Blue Orchids – Get Bramah (Tiny Global Productions) Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread – When (Full Time Hobby) Jessica Pratt – This time around (Mexican Summer) Steve Gunn – New moon (Matador) Soccer 96 – Harmonious Monk (Slowfoot Records) Orchestra of Spheres – Koudede (Fire) Nightports w/ Matthew Bourne – Exit (Leaf) Camera – Super 8 (Bureau B) Snapped Ankles – Drink and glide (Leaf) Sz

Playlist 496 - Winter Mix Dec 2018

I decided to do something a little bit different this year. Instead of a bunch of overtly Christmas tunes (much as I love them) I thought I’d do a more general winter theme. (By the way you can find several Christmas playlists from years past on the site if that’s your thing.) So this is a version of winter music. What’s that says you. Music with a sense of time passing. A sense of coming to the end of something. The year obviously but maybe something else too. Some music references the time of year explicitly either in titles or in lyrics. Or the weather we associate with winter in our northern hemisphere. In other cases it’s something in the arrangement. The spareness maybe conjuring up a bare frozen landscape. Take Laura Cannell’s double recorder for example. Or the massive string drones of Slow Moving Clouds . There is meditation in it. Observation of the world and its effect on our selves. And a certain strangeness at times. The alienation of it

Playlist 495 - Singers & Vocals Mix 2, Dec 2018

A little while back I put together a mix of my favourite singers and vocalists . There were 39 tracks in it but as soon as I finished it I realised there were loads I’d forgotten about. So here’s Part 2 (possibly of an ongoing series). There’s a capella, shoegaze (a genre often highlights and heightens the vocals), stirring soul, sunshine pop, jazz, group singing, solo. It can be hard to distinguish where the great song ends and the great singer starts. Is it the song or the singer? I don’t know but I know what I like. Enjoy. Playlist Nat King Cole – Nature boy (Capitol) Doris Day – Secret love (from the soundtrack of the film Calamity Jane ) Julee Cruise – Falling (from the soundtrack of the film/tv series Twin Peaks ) Susanna & the Magical Orchestra – Hallelujah (Rune Grammafon) Laetitia Sadier – Invitation au silence (Drag City) C Duncan – Silence and air (Fat Cat) Kathryn Joseph – the want (Hits The Fan Records) Jonathan Hering – Hear my p

Playlist 494 - Psych/Dream Pop/Kosmische New Releases, October 2018

A selection of miscellaneous favourites from UOH Towers lately. It so happens they tend around the psych/kosmische/dream pop axis for the most part. Also a bit of jazz and instrumental, a children's tv soundtrack (Bagpuss) and a concept piece about WWI survivors (Thankful Villages), for good measure. All new releases. Enjoy. Playlist Todd Tobias & Chloe March – Lillavva (Hidden Shoal) Darren Hayman – Bigby ( Thankful Villages Vol 3 , Belka Records in association with The Arts Council and Caught By The River) Yann Tiersen – Tempelhof (Mute) The Magic Lantern – Darling day (Hectic Eclectic Records) Peace Signs – Satellite Hitori (Gare du Nord) Camera – Super 8 (Bureau B) Lewsberg – The smile Methyl Ethel – Scream whole (4AD) O Emperor – Effort (Big Skin Records) Hilma Nikolaisen – Only me (Fysisk Format) Snapped Ankles – Drink and glide (The Leaf Label) Orchestra of Spheres – Chimes (Fire Records) Harmony Rockets – Atropos (Tompkins Square) Sone

Playlist 493 - My Autumn's done come (Autumn Mix, Oct 2018)

*Dedicated to LK who loves autumn* Autumn. Fall. I’ve been threatening to do one of these for a while. What are autumn songs? What is autumn music? There are the ones that reference autumn explicitly. Leaves. Wind. Rain. Colours. Sun lower in the sky. Those unforgettable moons. But beyond that there’s the metaphor of time passing. A certain mood. The beginning of the end of something. That can still be beautiful. Lots of music taps into this well for its atmosphere. A certain meditative quality might be in it. A contemplation of something. Maybe nostalgia. Often a minor key. Or at least bittersweet. (Possibly related – many of the tracks here feature woodwind. Flutes. Clarinets. Double recorder. The force of breath? There’s even the sighing of an accordion. And a harmonica.) There might even be spirits involved. Souls. Halloween. Contact with another world. Or like birds taking off for warmer climates some kind of migration. Transformation. Death or decay

Playlist 492 – Singers & Vocalists Mix, Sept 2018

The human voice. Singers. Vocalists. Solo. In groups. Harmonies. Dissonance. A capella. Sotto voce. Screeches. Swoops. Croons. Devotional. An attack. A glide. A growl. A swoon. A yearning. Jazz. Blues. Folk. Pop. Psych. Electro. Classical. Doo Wop. Whatever. Sometimes the simple effect of massed voices. Sometimes singing just for the joy of it. Sometimes a voice not technically great but still with something great about it. Intonations are involved too. Maybe not even words. A voice below the brain. Giving breath to feelings. Backing vocals. Sometimes so crucial and innovative they are the true heart of a song. Backing vocals that don’t deserve to be called backing. Some of my favourite singers and vocal arrangements and performances. Enjoy. ************************************************** Playlist Cocteau Twins – Cherry coloured funk (4AD) Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares – Pilentzee Pee (4AD) Julianna Barwick – The magic place (Asthmat

Playlist 491 - Sept 2018: New Releases + A Few Old Treasures

A collection of recent favourites here at UOH Towers. Mostly new or upcoming releases. Across genres. The way it should be. Plus a few of an older vintage. Enjoy. Playlist Elaine Malone – You Josephine Foster – Shepherd moon of starry height (Fire Records) Todd Tobias & Chloe March – Lillavva (Hidden Shoal) Kamasi Washington – Will you sing (Young Turks) Szun Waves – Moon runes (The Leaf Label) Spike & Debbie – Always sunshine (Tiny Global Productions) The Free Design – Make the madness stop (Project 3) Alison Statton & Spike – Open portal (Tiny Global Productions) Terry – The whip (Upset The Rhythm) Comet Gain – If not tomorrow (Tapete) Hater – I wish I gave you more time because I love you (Fire Records) The Chills – Deep belief (Fire Records) The Big Lovin’ – Adiadiadio The Honey Hahs – River (Rough Trade) Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread – When (Full Time Hobby) Lee Hazlewood – My autumn’s done come (Light in the Attic) Kathryn Jo

Playlist 490 - Instrumental Mix: Aug 2018

An instrumental mix for this summer/autumn crossover (sum/tumn). Some of my favourite soundtrack cuts in here. Also a few notable new releases. Some on the experimental end. Plenty of drones. Enjoy. Playlist William Tyler – I’m gonna live forever (If it kills me) (Merge Records) Glenn Jones – From Frederick to Fredericksburg (Thrill Jockey) Richard Osborn – Streets of Laredo, A Pastorale (Tompkins Square) Spindle Ensemble – Moonbow (Adderwell Music) Sebastian Reynolds – Mahajanaka (Remix by Emseatee) ( ) Bernard Herrmann – Scene d’amour (from the soundtrack of the film Vertigo , Varese Sarabande) Moondog – Theme (Columbia) Soccer 96 – Button basher (Slowfoot Records) Infinite Music – Magenta ( Infinite Music: A Tribute to La Monte Young , Fire Records) Jodie Lowther – Dream of the Melting Plane ( The Blow Vol 4 , Front & Follow) Eat Lights, Become Lights – Modular Living (Rocket Girl) Tangerine Dream – Teetering scales (from

Playlist 489 - Best of 2018, Jan-July

A review of the year so far in music. Some great sounds in 2018. Enjoy. Playlist 489 - Best of 2018, Jan-July Kacy & Clayton – The siren’s song (New West Records) Kacey Johansing – The hiding (Night Bloom Records/Melodic) Jessica Risker – Anyway when I look in your eyes (Western Vinyl) Jim Ghedi – Sloade Lane (Basin Rock Records) Szun Waves – Constellation (The Leaf Label) Spindle Ensemble – Moonbow (Adderwell Music) Nightports w/ Matthew Bourne – Exit (The Leaf Label) Get Well Soon – Martyrs (City Slang) Caroline Says – First song (Western Vinyl) The Saxophones – Aloha (Full Time Hobby) Jack Hayter – At Crossness Pumping Station (Gare du Nord) Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread - Less than positive (Full Time Hobby) Jennifer Castle – Texas (Paradise of Bachelors) Kamasi Washington – The Space Traveller’s Lullaby (Young Turks) Django Django – In your beat (Because Music) De Lux – 875 dollars (Innovative Leisure) BOYTOY – Mary Anne (Stolen Body

Kacey Johansing – The hiding (Night Bloom Records/Melodic Records)

Now and again a record comes along that just seems to suit the atomsphere. As in the actual weather. One album has dominated the last two months for me. It has soundtracked my heatwave. Almost as if it was written specially for it. The sound is dreamy. There’s a shimmer to it. All acoustic guitars, staccato picked electrics and upfront airy synths. Back of the room drums with plenty of toms. Pitter patter basslines. And a voice that conjures nothing but a warm summer night. You might say a California sound. This album was released last year in the US but thanks to the people at Melodic in England it’s getting a second life. The vocals deserve another mention. They’re an absolute dream. Soulful. Swooning. Persuasive with gorgeous tumbling bittersweet melodies. At times the between the eyes purity of a Christine McVie. At times the drifting enigma of a Victoria Legrand. At all times the most convincing natural thing in the world. And not just

Playlist 488 - Summer 2018: I see the white

A playlist for summer. Sunshine. Heatwave. (We've been having that around this neck of the woods.) When the heat does things to you. Changes your brain. Makes everything blurry. So it shimmers. Enjoy. Kacy & Clayton – The light of day (New West Records) Gene Clark – Why not your baby (A&M Records) The Byrds – Wild Mountain Thyme (Columbia) Jess Williamson – I see the white (Mexican Summer) Naim Gabriel Amor – Just before revelation (Vacilando ’68) Kamasi Washington – The Space Traveller’s Lullaby (Young Turks) Esquivel – My blue heaven (RCA) Ennio Morricone feat. Edda Dell’Orso – Una spiaggia a mezzogiorno (from the soundtrack of the film Vergogna Schifosi) (Ariete) LWW – CTP (radio edit) (The Leaf Label) Szun Waves – Constellation (The Leaf Label) Kody Nielson – Bic’s birthday (Flying Nun) Os Mutantes – Bat macumba (Polydor) Malena Zavala – If it goes (Yucatan Records) Tenniscoats – Ende (Alien Transistor) The Saxophones – Aloha (Full Ti

Playlist 487 - Spring 2018: A cooling sun

A playlist for Spring. Things growing. There is sun but in this part of the world it's still weak. A cooling sun (with thanks to Jessica Risker , see below). Enjoy. Playlist 487 – May 2018: A cooling sun Modern Studies – Young sun (Fire Records) ( playing The Lexington, London, May 28 ) Nightports w/ Matthew Bourne – Exit (The Leaf Label) ( Matthew Bourne playing Leeds Jazz Festival, July 22 ) Jack Hayter – The mulberry tree at Abbey Wood (Gare du Nord) Sebastian Reynolds – Mahajanaka (Remix by Emseatee) Laurence Pike – Cloud and wires (The Leaf Label) Alasdair Roberts, David McGuinness, Amble Skuse – Long a-growing (Drag City) ( Alasdair Roberts, playing Campfire Club, London, Sept 14 ) Spindle Ensemble – Panic amongst the dragonflies (Adderwell Music) ( playing The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol, May 20 ) Moondog – Voices of spring (CBS/BGO Records) Death & Vanilla – Free Design Kung-Fu (live, The Tenant) (Fire Records) Ennio Morricone with the Czech Nat

Playlist 486 - Apr 17 2018

The final weekly show for the time being has a number of my favourite things in 2018 so far. Caroline Says , a dream pop of devastating hush. Jim Ghedi , beautiful chamber folk and each element holding its own. La Luz , stalking noir pop with an unbeatable bassline. Kacy & Clayton , great country rock with an unforgettable lead vocal. Jack Hayter's wonderful heart on sleeve narratives. And new Jessica Risker , folk music with gorgeous/unsettling psych tones. Keep in touch on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 486 Tues Apr 17 2018 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 Byrds – She don’t care about time Kacy & Clayton – A lifeboat ( playing Cathedral Arts Quarter Festival, Belfast, May 7 ) J

Playlist 485 - Apr 10 2018

New John Parish album coming soon. The first song from it is a remembrance of the late Mark Linkous feat. PJ Harvey , both of whom worked with Linkous. And some wonderful slowcore Americana from the man himself. Gone too soon, 8 years already. Bedouine plays Dublin in May, a sublime slice of soulful folk from her debut album. Both Fixity and The Bonk playing live shows this month. Sample their brilliantly atmospheric mongrel jazz. And Lee Hazlewood giving expression to a mature years world view with grace and genius string arrangements. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 485 Tues Apr 10 2018 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 Sparklehorse – Homecoming queen John Parish feat PJ Harvey – Sorry fo

Playlist 484 - Apr 3 2018

New Jess Williamson (pictured) on the show this week. A bit of a departure based on her previous stuff I've heard. She apparently moved from Texas to California. Sounds like a good move. Blue sky psych pop shall we say. Caroline Says (Caroline Sallee) moved to Austin Texas from Alabama and recorded her second album late at night in her apartment with gorgeous hushed vocals. Landless are a 4-piece a capella Irish group. Here's a spellbinding lament from their debut album. Jim Ghedi - great folk instrumentals undercut with classical strings and a lovely trumpet part. And The Double Six of Paris . Giving Ray Charles an upbeat jazz treatment. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 484 Tues Apr 3 2018 11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm) UCC 98.3FM listen live on

Serge Gainsbourg & Offshoots - 27th Anniversary Mix

27 tunes to mark the 27th anniversary of Serge Gainsbourg's death in March 1991. The Provocateur Extraordinaire. Playlist Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – Je t’aime (moi non plus) Serge Gainsbourg – Le poinconneur des Lilas Mick Harvey feat. Anita Lane – The song of slurs Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot – Initials B.B. Serge Gainsbourg – Mambo miam miam Jane Birkin – C’est la vie qui veut ca Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – Ballade de Melody Nelson Jean-Claude Vannier – La girafe au ballon Charlotte Gainsbourg – Le chat du café des artistes Mick Harvey – Intoxicated Man Jean-Claude Vannier – Danse de l’enfant et du Roi des Mouches Anna Karina – Roller girl (from the soundtrack of the film Anna ) Michael Stipe – L’hotel Beck – Wave Charlotte Gainsbourg – Rest Serge Gainsbourg – New York USA Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – 69 Année Érotique Serge Gainsbourg & Michel Colombier – La Horse (from the soundtrack of the film La Horse )

Jim Ghedi – A hymn for ancient land (Basin Rock Records)

Robust and inspiring folk instrumentals (mainly) from the rural Yorkshire/Derbyshire border of the north of England. 6 or 12 string guitar takes the lead for the most part and with some authority. The album reminds me a little of William Tyler. There’s a similar endearing feel of immersion in the simple joy of playing. Like the gorgeous opener ‘Home for Moss Valley’ with the genius addition of a string section behind the guitar picking for added lilt and bounce. The sublime harp accompaniment in ‘Cwm elan’. The momentum of perfectly judged percussion and (what sounds like) bodhrán in ‘Bramley Moor’. The beautiful wash of guitar drones at the beginning of ‘Fortingall Yew’. A bleed of melody. And that song’s climax when the strings rise up to take a lead from the guitar and add the seriousness or gravitas of classical music. The wonderful communal vocal moment of ‘Phoenix Works’. A documenting. A flying of a flag. Double bass and a great drum stomp. A sense o

Playlist 483 - Mar 27 2018

It's Serge Gasinsbourg's 27th anniversary this month. Time to mark the occasion although no excuse is needed. The ageless 'Bonnie & Clyde' with Brigitte Bardot and a lovely late years version of 'La Javanaise' by Jane Birkin . A beautful hushed Yo La Tengo number sung by Georgia. Breezy jazz pop from the top drawer from The Sea & Cake . And lush power pop from Mr Ben Montero of Melbourne via Athens. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 483 Tues Mar 27 2018 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 Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot – Bonnie & Clyde Jane Birkin – La javanaise Katie Von Schleicher – Glad to be here (

Landless – Caoin (from the album Bleaching bones, Humble Serpent)

A spellbinding a capella lament from four young women based between Belfast and Dublin. Ghostly trails of natural reverb hang from long wordless vocal drones. It is traditional but there’s a strong element of avant garde about the treatment. Dissonance. Bent notes. Every audible breath put to use. Medieval sacred choral music comes to mind. Folk music of unknown provenance is invoked. Bulgarian female choirs maybe. The sigh of existence. Bleaching Bones by Landless

Caroline Says – No fool like an old fool (Western Vinyl)

The second album from Caroline Sallee – from Alabama by way of Austin – following quickly on from last year’s wonderful 50,000,000 Elvis fans can’t be wrong . It picks up on that album’s most interesting (to me) thread. Banks of backing vocals. Cooing and swooping in unexpected ways. As on her debut album much more than a background affair. In many ways more expressive than the lead vocal which has a deadpan quality. It’s very lovely for that. Maybe hushed would be a better word. In fact the press release informs that the album was recorded in Sallee’s apartment with the vocals often done late at night. Sometimes a necessity can become a virtue. Elsewhere there are baroque touches reminiscient of Grizzly Bear. For example the jarring but melodic intervention at the opening of the 2nd verse of ‘First song’. Also the sublime use of a soul sample on ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. The excellent itchy hi hat work on ‘Rip off’. The sheer deadpan stoicism of the whole thing.

Jess Williamson – I see the white (Mexican Summer)

Beautiful. Trippy. Sojourn into inner space. Tell me everything you know about consciousness. Like the sound of a move from Texas to the west coast. (She has.) Huge open skies and ringing guitars with reverb. A dreamy voice of optimism and wonder. I see the white.

BOYTOY – Mary Anne (Stolen Body Records)

Satisfying garage rock is a thing. In this case with the general legacy of The Kinks about it. Which is a great thing in itself. Clean muscular guitars. Riffs intertwining like two lovers cavorting. Plus a lovely mandolin style guitar part. As an afterthought. Although it seems to hold more weight than its intriguing cameo. Love with a downbeat edge. And yet uplifting. Which may be the essence of garage rock. Drag yourself up off the floor. A wonderful thing in under 3 minutes.

Playlist 482 - Mar 13 2018

Caroline Says is an artist whose debut album we loved last year. Her ( Caroline Sallee ) 2nd album is coming soon and we heard a gorgeous track from it. A hushed intimate wall of sound with banks of swooping backing vocals. Flights of Helios are a band from Oxford. 'Embers' is a beautiful building drone pop song with memorable backing vocals. The Altered Hours are a top class psych rock band as you know. They are currently touring UK/EUR and have a new EP out. Excellent live also. And one of the greatest uplifting/downbeat tunes of all time from 1983 and The The . 'This is the day' - an anthem for your personal development for sure. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 482 Tues Mar 13 2018 11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm) UCC 98.3FM listen live on t

La Luz – Cicada (Hardly Art)

Surf noir they’re calling this and the reality is as good as that label sounds. There are somewhat expected guitar breaks over a major to minor foundation. Mysterious dream laden vocals carry a message of desire? transcendance? other things? However the core of the tune is an absolutely killer bass line so good it keeps me coming back every time on its own. It’s the definition of stalking but somehow not threatening. Propulsive certainly. Savage momentum without doubt. You’ll be humming along to it within 5 seconds upfront and centre in the mix as it is. Honourable mention to the excellent churning organ stabs which ride shotgun and complete the picture. Catch this wave now.

Playlist 481 - Mar 6 2018

A bit of a baroque kick on the show this week. Lake Ruth is a Brooklyn 3-piece with wonderful flourishing melodies and shimmering arrangements around treble-y basslines and analogue synths. Jean-Claude Vannier – famous collaborator with Serge Gainsbourg – patented a brand of baroque pop with those up front basslines once again. This is one of his vault treasures as issued by the Finders Keepers label some years back. Charlotte Gainsbourg has a new album full of great melancholy arpeggios. A kind of downbeat baroque pop. Also some exotica. From the past Eden Ahbez . A dream of a life of freedom that shimmers. From the present The Saxophones . A dream of pop music with flutes. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 481 Tues Mar 6 2018 11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8

Benjamin Schoos feat. Dent May – All night every night (Freaksville)

Another winning piece of leftfield pop from the Belgian Freaksville stable. Benjamin Schoos has hit gold before especially in collaboration with Laetitia Sadier and showing a gift for matching his songwriting to the singer’s particular qualities. So where a sumptuous orchestral pop suited Ms Sadier here we have a more mid tempo jam drawing from white soul and perhaps lounge a little all the better to work the strengths of Dent May’s wonderful laconic drawl. Sensuous.

Nisantashi Primary School – Mr Fingers (Nisantashi Records)

From Kiev – which is possibly a first for this show... ...packing a lovely rudimentary Silver Apples style aesthetic meets punk funk itch. Let me join in welcoming our new friends from the glorious east. Nisantashi Primary School by Nisantashi Primary School

Playlist 480 - Feb 27 2018

Meet Benin City . The lads in the sharp suits. Sharp tunes too. Nisantashi Primary School have nothing to do with Japan. They're a 3-piece from Kiev and have a very tasty brand of rudimentary IDM w punk funk shadings. The Brackish are a band from Bristol playing lovely instrumental post rock not a million miles from Tortoise. Josh T Pearson is back with a collection of brash pop songs. And The Saxophones making a most alluring dream pop. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 480 Tues Feb 27 2018 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 Spindle Ensemble – Moonbow ( playing South Bank Centre, London, Mar 16 ) Alex Stolze – Alkorhythmus Jack Hayter – At C

Jack Hayter – Abbey Wood (Gare du Nord)

A wonderful low key but sustaining collection of quixotic folk songs from the English artist... ...which is a lesson in how to make compelling arrangements out of small details. And the many memorable moments are in the details. Like the owls “whit whoo” of ‘Fanny on the hill’. The plaintiff female vocal humming entry of ‘The Arandora star’ and later its rousing sea shanty build with fiddle and accordion. The line in ‘I am John’s care home’ – “here in this place we’ll turn sand into light bulbs / Let in the sun that turns shit into gold” – over lovely woozy steel guitar. The line in ‘At Crossness Pumping Station’ – “what keeps me here / the shit and piss and afterbirth / the blood and spunk and snot and tears / we wait those years at the pumping station” – over beguiling harmonica fragments. The haunting vocal chorus of ‘The mulberry tree at Abbey Wood’. The strummed fiddle of ‘Fanny on the hill’. Hayter’s voice is a joy throughout. A colloquial and entir

The Sea and Cake – Any day (from the album Any day, Thrill Jockey)

A sublime piece of breezy jazz tropicalia from Sam Prekop and friends. Trends come and go but this is a band that dodges musical fashions effortlessly. Ageless. Any Day by The Sea and Cake

Playlist 479 - Feb 20 2018

A couple of surf references in this week’s show which is nice on the cusp of winter/spring. La Luz are a 4-piece from Seattle (or I’ve also seen LA) and their tune ‘Cicada’ is a brilliantly propulsive piece of surf noir, that’s what they’re calling it. Sven Libaek soundtracked a surf documentary in 1968. Here we had the wonderful theme from that OST which sounds a little like The Byrds gone lounge. (What a lost opportunity says you.) Also Nightports with Matthew Bourne making beautiful piano (re)shapes. Tune Yards going full soul diva on the excellent ‘Heart attack’. Brickwork Lizards carving a space for Egyptian fusion in Oxford. And a little Petula Clark to show everyone how to make perfect pop music. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 479 Tues Feb 20 2018 11.00am-12

Lake Ruth – Birds of America (Feral Child)

Baroque pop seems to be making a comeback. About time says you. Here’s another record from the Brooklyn trio full of intrigue with danceable backbeats and glittering instrumentation. Ringing Rickenbacker guitars. Sparkling analogue synths. Pristine vocals. Like an unholy and wonderful amalgam of The Byrds Stereolab and The Free Design. Dreamy and haunting and melodious and unsettling. Also full of great tunes and very forward thinking. Birds of America by Lake Ruth

Django Django – In your beat (Because Music)

Dance music to make people who don’t know how to dance dance. Say no more.

Playlist 478 - Feb 13 2018

Valentines are in the air. We had a few but not the soppy kind. Manly regret and nostalgia soaked in strings from Richard Hawley . Stirring moving heartwrenching soul lament from Nina Simone . Serge & Jane with a glorious JC Vannier arranged paean to love in the margins. Charlotte Gainsbourg with a gorgeous melancholy love letter to her father. And Jack Hayter with wonderful quixotic and earthy English folk songs. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 478 Tues Feb 13 2018 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 Richard Hawley – For your lover give some time Nina Simone – Black is the colour of my true love’s hair Spindle Ensemble – Kite ( playin

Playlist 477 - Feb 6 2018

A couple of themes in this week’s show. Voices. The wonderful bruised croon of Ken Griffin of August Wells , coming back again to Ireland to play in April. The epitome of soul. The pure heart-piercing tones of Brona McVittie , from her beguiling new album. Eden Ahbez , a lost treasure from 1960, imagining an idyllic existence amid hushed and spellbinding exotica. Jack Hayter , a gritty maybe eccentric folk voice, contemplating the outpourings and emissions of a city. And Orquesta Akokán , a Cuban group on Daptone. Irresistible frenetic Latin rhythms. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 477 Tues Feb 6 2018 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 Aug

Spindle Ensemble – Bea (Adderwell Music)

Debut album by the instrumental quartet from Bristol lead by Daniel Inzani on (mostly) piano with Caelia Lunniss on violin - Harriet Riley on tuned percussion (marimba and vibraphone) - Jo Silverston on cello. There’s a classical feel from much of the album but with very much a small c and there’s a very appealing lightness of touch to the compositions and arrangements. Like a hint of Ryuichi Sakamoto in the swoops and swoons of the strings on album opener ‘Moonbow’. The sprightly tango shapes of ‘Panic among the dragonflies’ with appropriate accordion backing. The enchanted combination of Celtic harp with marimba and cello/violin in oriental mood on ‘Sleepcloud’. The shimmering ambient bleed quality of the tuned percussion is a constant and beautiful feature of the sound palette. The rhythms and melodies nod to influences from jazz folk and various world musics but in a completely convincing and committed way. It all makes for a coherent and most endearing c

Brona McVittie – We are the wildlife

Beautiful album of pastoral folk sounds with a kosmische sense of adventure from the County Down native. Opener ‘When the angels wake you’ introduces some key elements – a traditional sounding harp melody and an electronic bed full of drift and intrigue. McVittie’s voice has a wonderful lilt to it and one of the delights of the album is how this traditional singing style interacts with the electronic and ambient details of the soundscape. ‘And the glamour fell on her’ for example features a reverbed cello pizzicato pattern with space echo steel guitar floating around it. The vocal part is made up of longer held notes layered which have the effect of emphasising the density of the backdrop. The whole thing is quite reminiscient of the cosmic meditations of Colleen. ‘Broken like the morning’ has a chamber pop feel with cheer up flute against sombre cello while sprightly harp arpeggios fill in the background. These unexpected shifts in texture are a constant progressiv

Playlist 476 - Jan 30 2018

It’s been a little while since we had a dance set on the show. We had a good mini set in the middle this week. Charlotte Gainsbourg hooking up with SebastiAn to wonderful French disco effect. De Lux with the great sunbaked LA disco full of nagging synth lines. And SlowPlaceLikeHome with some lovely ambient electronica from the Atlantic north west (Donegal). Also another beautiful cut from the new Spindle Ensemble album. Light as air. The Sea & Cake giving vent to wonderful breezy jazz pop. Jon Brion from the Lady Bird OST making gorgeous quixotic music for pictures involving woodwind. And Django Django making music to make people who don’t know how to dance dance. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 476 Tues Jan 30 2018 11.00am-12.00pm (repeated on Tuesdays 8.30pm

De Lux – Keyboards cause we’re black and white (Innovative Leisure)

Another winning slice of baked sunshine soul from the LA duo. Once again the bouncy and deceptively friendly backbeat camouflages serious intent much like Talking Heads once did with ‘Once in a lifetime’. In this case both the need to disco and the internal struggle showcased in the highly entertaining video. I especially love the whining one note synth line which remains consistent and true as things clatter all around it. A great way to start the year.

Charlotte Gainsbourg – Rest (Because Music)

File this in the 2017 “ones that got away” pile. A brilliant insistent minor key of an album which takes on the vast shadow of Serge and comes through with something authentic and individual and (for anyone with any interest in Serge) very poignant. The production by SebastiAn (with help from Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse and Guy-Manuel de Homem Christo of Daft Punk ) is crucially sympathetic to Gainsbourg’s voice which is by no means a powerful instrument. Where it is most effective is in its hush its intimacy and this is how the production locates it. Plus lyrically there is the inspired decision to address not just the loss of her father but also her half sister Kate (after whom one of the songs is named). The songs are shared between French and English (wisely most of the choruses are in English with the verses in French) as a nod to her joint heritage. Overall there is the sense of an update of Jean Claude Vannier’s Serge productions ( Melody Nelson in particular

Playlist 475 - Jan 23 2018

A lash of new music again this week. Lake Ruth , lush baroque pop tones. Brona McVittie , pastoral folk music with a kosmische filter. Jim Ghedi , sprightly enervating folk instrumentals. Chloe March , sumptuous dream pop. Benjamin Schoos & Dent May , gorgeous orch pop. Plus an aching memory from Michael Nyman from 1988 (pic), soundtrack music for the ages. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 475 Tues Jan 23 2018 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 Percolator – Crab supernova ( playing Quarter Block Party, Cork Feb 2-4 ) Lake Ruth – Julia’s call Tandem Felix – Nothing I do will ever be good enough ( playing Quarter Block Party, Cork, Feb 2-4 ) The

Playlist 474 - Jan 16 2018

A couple more great cuts from the Best of 2017 annals this week (check around the blog for more on that). This is the Kit who are in Ireland this week – Cork tonight, Dublin tomorrow – another great psych pop dance tune. Mick Harvey with the brilliant guest vocal turn of Andrea Schroeder giving Serge Gainsbourg’s ‘Je t’aime’ a German twist. It’s magnificent. Then Ennio Morricone from the new live album recorded on recent European tour. Bliss. Django Django back with new music and it’s a cracker ahead of new album. Plus Charlotte Gainsbourg (one that got away from my Best of 2017 lists but it's never too late). Dreamy, heartbreaking, sublime downtempo dance music. Take it how you like. More on these pages. The Underground of Happiness uplifting pop music of every creed Twitter: UndergroundOfHappy Playlist 474 Tues Jan 16 2018 11.00am-12.00pm (repeate