Chappie The Voices Hyena Love is Strange The Duke of Burgundy
ART Robin Eisenberg
Lots of featured reviews....
Pure M Ireland’s music, art & culture magazine
Issue #6 - 2015 €FREE
The Trials of a Growing Band We spoke with some Irish bands about getting on festivail slots and trying to make a dollar in the industry, we uncovered some very interesting stuff....turn to page 3 for more.
Pay Attention, For Folk’s Sake
Based in Bilbao, Newcastle, and Dublin, Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies have spent the last six years touring Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe playing bars, cafes, libraries, churches, theatres, circus galas, festivals, and folk clubs alike. Maybe now it's time they moved into stadiums. Turn to page 13...
The Music Cd and Record Fair Our Chris gives us his views about the record fair in Dublin’s Filmbase...
Artist of the month
Check out the interview on page 11
Pure M Issue 6/2015
The Music Cd and Record Fair
elcome to Issue #6 of Pure M, we have been so busy over the last month organising the music awards and putting together an editorial team. You may have noticed a new look to our zine, we have updated it to a Berliner style, gearing towards our first print issue. We're so overwhelmed with all of the music submissions we got in for review and carefully selected as many reviews to feature in this months issue as we could. Our front cover features an upcoming artist, Tiz McNamara who is climbing the ladder in the music scene. We have an exclusive interview inside, highly recommended to check out. As always, we respect your feedback on our articles and you can tweet us @puremzine.. Enjoy! Editor in Chief
@Filmbase Temple Bar, Dublin
Pure M magazine Editorial team
Editor in Chief – T.Halpin Contact email@example.com
Deputy Editor – Jason Coulter Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
News Editor – Sarah Swinburne Contact email@example.com
Deputy News Editor – Julie Bell Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Culture Editor – Kyle Mulholland Contact email@example.com
Deputy Culture Editor – Colin Brown Contact firstname.lastname@example.org Movies Editor Conor MacNamara Contact email@example.com
Deputy Movies Editor Darren Cahill
Feature Editor -Nathan Barrett Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Feature Editor – Bláithín Duggan Contact email@example.com
Music Editor - Stacy Walsh Contact Stacy@puremzine.com
Deputy Music Editor – Emma Hayward Contact firstname.lastname@example.org Sport Editor – Leon Pollard Contact email@example.com Staff Writers Issue #6
Aoife Kiernan Chris Leonard Craig Moran Dave Simpson Eimear Moriarty Emily Belton Gemma Dennison Ger McAuley Jonathan Monahan Jonny Ryan Nicole Leggett Paul Ryan Rachel Wakefield Robert Mulhern Tadhg Collins Mark Aherne Rose Flood Michael O'Toole Cian Dalton
Twitter: @puremzine Facebook: PureMofficial www.puremzine.com
Front cover Photo by Stuart lodge
ith the gradual decline in the number of record stores and the increase in downloading and virtual shoppers, buying from online retailers, the Irish CD and Record Fair is a breath of fresh air on the music scene who try to re-establish the fun of create digging in the hopes of finding some sought after slabs of wax for their aural pleasures. The music Cd and record fair is the brain child of Brian O’ Kelly from the well-known, well-loved and very much missed, Comet Records, which shut its doors in Temple Bar for the final time in 2011. Since its demise, Comet has risen like a phoenix from the flames via an online store and now, the pop up Cd and Record Fairs that travel the length and breadth of the country (at a small scale) giving vinyl junkies and music nuts the chance to go create digging to possibly unearth a gem or two for their collections. The Flimbase Record Fair is the largest of all the fairs and sees vinyl dealers, both private and commercial sellers, from not only all over Ireland but also from the UK, converge in Dublin for a weekend of buying, selling and trading their way for possibly that elusive collectable that they might be missing from their collections. It’s also a chance for Joe public to make a few euros by selling those records of your dads that have been stashed away
in the attic, maybe you won’t get much for the 4 copies of Showaddywaddy’s greatest hits that your dad bought as he was sure that they were going to be the re-incarnation of Jesus or the next Beatles. And sure, you might not get much for the compilation of Barry White’s greatest hits to make sweet lovin’ too that you were most likely conceived during it being spun in your parents’ bedroom. But if you did manage stumble across a copy of U2 – 3, 12 inch vinyl, on CBS Records that’s hand numbered by Hotpress’s Jackie Hayden you could walk away with a sweet €1000 or an original 7 inch copy of “The Farmer” by Thin Lizzy on Parophone Records, well you could be leaving with a pocket full of cash and a kidney. The Record Fair is a great opportunity for Vinyl Junkies from all walks of life and age to meet up and talk about their nerdy passion. Both old, new and the extreme hipster is catered for at the Fair and there is always something for you no matter how much you have in your pocket. Take for instance, me….. I’m piss poor yet I managed to pick up some sweet 12 Inch singles by the band Sugar (the band formed by Bob Mould after the demise of Husker Du ) including a promo copy of one of their singles on Creation Records for a steal at 5 euros, a Faith No More picture disc for 7 euros, a 12 inch Soundgarden single for €5 and
some other bits and pieces to flesh out my collection. I then made a stop of at my good friend, and one of my vinyl dealers, Darus Vinylmanic, If you’re looking for everything from Death Metal to Disney then you would find it all at Darus’s stand. I managed to pick up some great deals in his 3 records for €10 box which included the likes of David Bowie, Van Morrison and The Cure as-well as some Black Crowes singles and the Jam record that I had been looking for for ages. A quick trip downstairs and I came across a Re-issue of The Melvin’s second album Ozma on pink vinyl and afew 12 inch singles from Death From Above 1979 and Mogwai. All in all, I had change from 65 euro to pay for a quick coffee before heading home with my bag of swag. For anyone getting into Vinyl collecting or even for the hardened enthusiast that hasn’t had the chance to attend one of the Record Fairs yet, I would highly encourage you to stick the date in your diary of when they are next in your town. Who knows what you might uncover? - Chris Leonard
summer beach session. But imagine the average working person. Years of work frustration, and unhappiness replaced with showing up to the office raving to Avicii on the earphones and telling everyone how much you love them, despite never sharing more than a polite sentence in the past. And lastly, surely there’s enough young gardai out there who would inevitably report for duty off their faces. Instead of confiscating junk and arresting junkies, the world could see them joining them on the street corner and cracking open a can of Rosies Dew and shooting the shit together. Harmony would most likely be achieved within our often dark and grimy landscape, but everything else would go to shit. Would you want a surgeon on yokes taking out your appendix or
performing heart surgery? Granted, none of this is likely to ever happen, but it’s interesting to try and foresee a world where everyday life is like a page torn out of the Fear and loathing in Las Vegas book. And what must the government be thinking? Conspiracy theorists must be having a field day with this, using the legalisation of those drugs to distract the public from a much bigger issue of some kind. But the most likely answer is probably the correct one. Because as it has been proved time and time again, the people who run our country are a band of retarded suit wearing thieves who obviously have less of a clue about running our country, than the average student has about getting assignments done early. - Jonny Ryan
For more info check outwww.irishrecordfairs.com www.cometrecordsonline.com www.myvinylmusic.com
Fear and Loathing in Dublin City
he internet proved to everyone once again that when it comes to an outbreak of news, it travels fast on social media. Within minutes, all were aware of the temporary legalisation of class A drugs such as ecstasy and ketamine, due to a loophole in Irish government legislation. Now, straight off the bat, there are three different groups with certain views on the topic. The first group being the frequent users of those drugs who feel happy days are upon them and life can now be like a Happy Mondays music video in the heart of the golden age of the rave scene of the early nineties. Then there are the piss takers who use their phones or keyboards to write amusing status’ about the legalisation, writing status’ something to the tune of ‘ E’s are legal lads! Session yeah’. Then there is the gay community in Ireland. Several openly gay men and women who face a big year this year with the marriage equality referendum, took to facebook to state their utter disbelief that they could get more yoked out of their skull than a junkie on dole day, but cannot legally get married. Now, while this legalisation may be a temporary venture, just image for a moment the world we live in if it were made permanent. Imagine a world where you could go into the local newsagents and buy the Sunday paper, a pack of fags and four or five pills for that Sunday morning hangover. firstly, the sales of chicken fillet roles would probably plummet and deli counters shut down and would be transformed into Pill stalls. The offlicense would probably do crates promotions, a pill for a fiver when you buy 20 bottles for the
The Trials of a Growing Band
ringing together a band is no small feat. You have to find the right members, you have to write a set of originals, you rehearse, you spend hours posing in front of the mirror with your guitar, and you work hard to hone your sound. All this effort isn’t for the sole appreciation of your rehearsal room’s back wall. Sooner or later you’ll want to take to the stage and perform for an audience. The rush of playing live is hard to beat and it’s the best way to win fans. Building a strong fanbase is the sure-fire road to success, the more in demand you are the more doors open up for your act. The support of loyal fans is the momentum that drives a band, but money is needed too. Being a musician isn’t cheap, you find your cash being syphoned away to pay for instruments, studio time, and those excessively tight jeans and guyliner the lead singer insists on wearing. On top of that, being a musician doesn’t always pay well, an act can consider themselves lucky to come away from a gig having broken even. The starving musician is a cliche for a reason. We spoke to Fergus, percussionist of Skerries’ band Dem Fools, ‘We've invested every penny we've made back into the band. Playing a gig in the city costs us 50 odd euro. It adds up fast and it's money we'd much rather put toward studio time, instruments, festival kitties, etc! Bigger venues charge for the room and that's justified, but it's hard to build a fanbase when it costs you to play each show...’ There are opportunities for a band to earn some much needed money, but often they involve a degree of compromise, as Fergus goes on to tell us; ‘We play suburban gigs for regular paychecks,
but very few of these venues want original music, they want pop covers or Neil Diamond tributes, so this makes it almost degrading for us. We've done some of our best shows to dead crowds who only want to hear the latest Killers single. People have literally interrupted Ais (Vocals) mid verse, pulling at her sleeve croaking, "would ye not play a song we could all dance to?", while we play through the 25 covers we had to learn for the privilege of squeezing 6 or 7 originals in.’ Teaming up with a promoter is one of the more certain ways of ensuring a steady supply of gigs. A good promoter can be a real boon for a struggling band, a reputable promoter could kick your group’s progress into overdrive As with anything there are pitfalls, and sometimes promoters don’t necessarily play fair. ‘In 2013 we began doing gigs for a promoter. The nights were mainly held in Fibbers and Sweeneys.’ Stephen Young and the Union informed us. ‘We did maybe 6 overall. By about our 3rd show in late 2013 we were told by the promoter that she would like us to play whatever festivals she got booked for. By May last year then we were confirmed to play Jimmie Lees Juke Joint at Electric Picnic. June passed with no more word, by July we received an email saying the festival organisers were "reviewing" the acts she had chosen for her tent, that it’s probably standard procedure and not to worry but also refrain from announcing that we were playing the Picnic. By August we were informed by email then a phone call that 5 of the 12 bands originally confirmed were now dropped "by the organisers". Obviously we were as annoyed as you could be.’ A spot on a festival’s lineup holds an obvious
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eing a writer. Screenplays, plays, poetry, short stories, novellas, novels, whatever the kick is, all mean the same thing for the grumpy bastard who writes them. It”s a lifetime of having homework, creative frustration and self medication to escape into the clear thin veil fog of oblivion. The world is awash in great authors and writers, but the only catch is that most of them are either dead or sold out a long time ago. Today, a writer can easily be mistaken for a snapback wearing hipster sitting in Starbucks drinking latte after latte and staring at a computer screen. Writing furiously as onlookers watch in curiosity. Which is exactly the point of sitting in public and writing, the attention.
Liam Hallahan buries his dad live on stage
Anyone who wants to be, or think they are a writer should read some Charles Bukowski poetry or any great American piece of literature. Until we are all proven wrong, great literary achievement does not originate in the bowels of a coffee shop with free WiFi so that the author can share on Facebook how great their first chapter is coming along. Good writing is a struggle with a rapid wolf also known as your soul. Because if the very depths of ones soul is not on the pages then we might as well return to the Nazi book burning idealism. Except this time it wont be demeaning or ruining the work of Jewish writers, instead it will be the hacks and the posers who use typing as a free pass to slip into the writers cliche of drinking and whoring all in the name of art and self exploration. Every page can either be beautiful like the birth of a lucid dream, or ugly like a stabbing in the street. Whatever it may be, those who know, know. And never forget. From the gut, from the bloody spit of your alter ego, the world appreciates a humble heart screaming beautiful bloody murder for all the world to read and marvel at. - Jonny Ryan
allure. It’s the opportunity to play for a varied audience, a plethora of new fans who may otherwise never see you. Slots are hotly contested and disappointment is, sadly, a common outcome. ‘I applied for a few most times no one gets back to you,’ Kevin Wade of Dun Laoghaire band, Screefy, informed us, ‘Which means your not what they want, that’s fair enough, but they should acknowledge the fact that you bothered to enter.’ Increasingly, it can feel like your act is being judged on the weight of its social media presence rather than on the quality of your sound. ‘I think a lot music is judged on social media popularity and Facebook likes’ Kevin continues, ‘Which can be bought if you are inclined to do that sort of thing, apparently having 10,000 FB likes means you are popular.’ It can sometimes feel like a hopeless task weathering a barrage of rejections and fighting for every show you play. However, despite all the difficulties and rejections none of the acts we spoke to felt defeated. ‘We just pick ourselves up and motor on, but it's a frustrating game!’, Fergus told us. However overall, there’s many people out there who truly want to see a band succeed. There are dozens of avenues a band can pursue to publicise themselves and share their music. A band is a labour of love, all of the acts we interviewed are in it because they are genuinely passionate about music and they’ll persevere. If they hold the line there the results are positive, ‘Lately we’ve had more and more positive responses, and that outweighs the negative’ concluded Fergus. - Culture Editor Kyle Mulholland
t is unfortunately the case that while we may be familiar with an actor’s face, and see them appear across a plethora of films, they often remain simply ‘that guy Clint Eastwood shot’ or just another anonymous victim of one of Robert Di Nero’s killing sprees. Not only has Charles Hallahan been shot, stabbed and had his head leap off his shoulders and attempt to scuttle away from Kurt Russell’s flamethrower in The Thing (yes that was him), he has appeared in everything from Pale Rider to Space Jam to Dante’s Peak. Dead nearly two decades now, his son Liam writes and stars in a part-eulogy, part-theatre, part-documentary critiquing his father’s career and personal life. Sincere in its intentions, though at times prone to overacting, Hallahan’s supporting cast Síofra O’Meara and Shane Robinson bring an exuberant performance, veering the audience from the solemn clips of Charles Hallahan’s actual eulogy to comedic skits and jokes with the addition of a cheap moustache and cheaper bath robe (particularly O’Meara who’s level of enthusiasm and bubbly talent is infectious and transfers to the audience throughout her performance). The emotional backbone of this production is its emphasis on the sardonic rather than the ceremonious, poking fun at Charles Hallahan’s lest illustrious works, and the man himself in all his larger-than-life grandeur. The final scene is the knockout punch that sends this from what might have otherwise been simple starry-eyed nostalgia straight into the realm of the genuinely profound, with the two Hallahan’s having a pseudo father-son duet, with a live action performance by Liam spliced over his father’s earlier work. The performance of the duet is underscored by its subject matter, with the father accusing his son of homosexuality and implying disgust at his depression and alcoholism brought on by the suicide of his friend/lover. Liam (who himself is gay) delivers a stunning performance, imbued with as much real emotion as acted, railing against the frustration of his being denied closure and the chance to live out his onstage ambitions with his father like the many other father/son duos of film and theatre. Ultimately, this is an onstage catharsis, both comedic and tragic, that delivers on the promise of its bold title. Some Yanks Theatre Company’s Picnic on the Battlefield is showing at Pearse Centre 4-9 May. - Movies Editor/Conor MacNamara
Dolce & Gabbana Under Fire For Opposing Gay Marriage
he legendary fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have been outspoken against gay marriage and their recent comments have caused an outpouring of disgust from many well-known musicians, actors, designers and the general public. Stating that raising a family is meant to be something that occurs between a man and a woman they commented that a same-sex couple using IVF treatment, sperm donors or even adoption to start their own family was unnatural, calling these children “synthetic”. Fury quickly took over the Twittersphere with big names such as Elton John calling for a boycott of the brand. Courtney Love and Ryan Murphy, amongst others, have also condemned Dolce & Gabbana for their comments and, though there has been a public apology released, the iconic designers have made themselves very clear in their own beliefs. Christian groups and parents of gay children have sent letters of support to Dolce & Gabbana, thanking them for speaking out against gay marriage. On March 19, London LGBT groups and supporters held a protest outside the Dolce & Gabbana store, attracting media attention. There is also a backlash from many couples, gay and straight, who have used IVF treatment to have their children.
Dolce & Gabbana defend their comments and their right to freedom of speech but have also said that they do respect other people and their choices. Upholding that democracy and freedom of speech mean that people are entitled to express their own opinions, Dolce & Gabbana stand firmly by their views. As various celebrities make their opinions on same-sex marriage known on the web, Irish citizens will have the chance to make their voices heard this summer. Ireland’s referendum on same-sex marriage will take place on May 22nd. Join the discussion on Twitter #irishreferendum - Deputy music editor/Emma Hayward
Pure M Issue 6/2015
Love is Strange
From the ridiculous, to the gruesome, and back again. The Voices may polarize audiences, but that’s all part of the charm. Best described as a dark comedy, it treads the line brilliantly between tension and absurdity. And it treads this line without fear, giving us the best Ryan Reynolds movie to date. Though, let’s be honest, that hardly qualifies as praise… Set in the small town of Milton, the film follows Jerry, a schizophrenic who works in the local bathtub factory. Unfortunately, Jerry hasn’t been taking his medication, and as a result he believes his pets are talking to him. They take the form of good and evil, the dark recesses of Jerry’s mind battling against the good natured side. His dog Bosco wants Jerry to do good, while Mr. Whiskers the cat wants the opposite. The complete opposite it turns out. The tone flicks between light-hearted comedy to gruesome horror rather casually. Perhaps some of the jokes fail to land, and the jumbled storyline may not work for some, but there are flashback scenes which would unnerve even the seasoned horror fan. And the constant barrage of shockingpink outfits reflect the mood surprisingly well. The Voices does a lot more right, than wrong. It’s not often a reviewer gets to say this, but the star of the show is the cat, Mr. Whiskers. Both he and Bosco are voiced by Reynolds, and although a
talking cat with a dodgy Scottish accent may jar at first, you soon warm to the psychopathic feline. The scenes showing Jerry’s relationship with his pets can be genuinely heart-warming and strangely thought-provoking at times. Playing the three main roles is a job that Reynolds has seemingly embraced, and he gives a stellar performance. Yes, the ‘sweet, but dim’ character is one he’s well accustomed to, but that doesn’t prevent it from being impressive. He’s joined by Anna Kendrick who plays shy sweetheart Lisa, and the English “office hottie” Fiona played by Gemma Arterton. They work their roles well, but in a film like this there’s no need for them to do anything else. The Voices doesn’t pretend to know everything about schizophrenia either. A fact shown by its ludicrous portrayal of the illness. There has been some criticism for this, and it’s a shame because it doesn’t mean to offend. at least in that sense. In fact, deep down there is a debate about the nature of reality we choose to see, and the reality that we try and shut ourselves away from, but is that giving the film too much credit? Overall, it will keep you hooked throughout. Provided you strap yourself in and let it take you on the barmy ride it is, you won’t be disappointed. - Deputy Editor Jason Coulter
Love is anything but Strange in Ira Sachs’ latest portrayal of love and affection in a relationship spanning over forty years. This bittersweet offering of a couple struggling with life and age is both as poignant and natural as their relationship itself. The film begins on the morning of long-term couple Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) getting ready to tie the knot in an intimate setting surrounded by friends and family. From the celebratory scenes after the wedding, it is clear that not only do the couple possess a strong backbone of support from loved ones, but also how admired and revered their relationship is to others. Alas life kicks in and this is where things get tough for the couple. George loses his position as a music teacher at a Catholic School when his superiors hear the news of his marriage. Relying solely on Ben’s pension and George’s music lessons provides too strong a financial burden and they are forced to sell the Manhattan apartment they have shared together for over four decades. They have no choice but to seek the help and lodging from family and friends whilst they search for a more suitable pad. Ben moves in with nephew Elliott, niece-in-law Kate and their misunderstood teenage son Joey, who from the offset resents having to share a bunk bed with his 71-year-old uncle. George moves downstairs to the couch of party loving gay cops Ted and Roberto who are lovingly
referred to as the ‘policewoman’. However soon the change in routine and living arrangements begins to affect the couple, as life apart from each other starts to take its toll. Ben begins to feel more and more like an unwanted burden in his nephews’ house and George struggles to grasp with inter-generational shifts and the constant party lifestyle of his hosts. The seldom scenes of just the couple together highlight how vulnerable they are without each other and how each are handling the struggle of separation and isolation. These scenes appear raw and tender and the chemistry between Lithgow and Molina is evident. The creativity of the couple is also given space to shine and Ben’s art influences visually as much as George’s passion for music is set to the graceful melodies of Chopin. Whilst Sachs could have focused on the injustice of George losing his position or the chaotic jungle of New York real estate, he presents their story as what it is, a couple coping and supporting each other through thick and thin. Love is Strange offers an authentic take on love and life’s tribulations as well as pointing out it’s the little things that can be full of emotion and heartfelt. While the film is helped along by a strong supportive cast and secondary plots, the gentle and seemingly genuine connection between Lithgow and Molina is ultimately what makes this a winner. - Eimear Moriarty
Set in a dreamy village with surrounding woodlands, The Duke of Burgundy (2014) seems to exist somewhere out of time and place entirely. Peter Strickland’s ode to 70s European erotic films begins with a young woman, Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna) knocking upon the door of a grand house. An older woman, Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen), answers and berates her for her lateness. “Did I tell you that you could sit?” this sultry, expensively dressed mistress of the house asks when the seemingly flustered Evelyn attempts to take a seat. Evelyn is then subjected to tasks that seem designed to put her in her place. Tasks like handwashing her employer’s lacy underthings. “What is this?” her employer asks her icily, brandishing an unwashed pair of silk undergarments. What follows is Evelyn being taught a lesson by her mistress behind a closed door. It becomes apparent that this is just an elaborate game that they play together, the same set-up again and again and again. At its heart, the Duke of Burgundy is an erotic and sensual film about the relationship between these two women as well as the ever shifting power balance within it. The balance of power within their relationship is not as it seems. This is where the film is elevated from merely being aesthetically beautifully to meaningfully engaging with the nature of sexual fantasy and the intricacies that exist within a
dominant/submissive relationship. Although she is the submissive, Evelyn controls their encounters and she methodically writes these intricate roleplays down for Cynthia to memorise and enact with specific times for everything. “Wait up to five minutes before you answer the door.” Evelyn wants their games to escalate but Cynthia has her reservations. Their relationship starts to deteriorate as the season changes from autumn to winter. Knudsen gives a spectacular performance as Cynthia, nervously re-reading her instructions
and practicing her lines for their role play and giving the character a palpable warmth. D’Anna gives an eerie and cold performance as Evelyn, a woman driven to live out her sexual fantasies day after day yet who clearly loves Cynthia in her own way. Named after a type of moth, The Duke of Burgundy features moths and butterflies as central motifs. The rooms of the tastefully furnished house have moths and butterflies mounted in frames upon the walls. Cynthia is an
entomologist and Evelyn shares some of her passion for the subject. This is a film deeply concerned with visuals and it casts an enchanted and hypnotic spell with its lush costumes and sets. Cat’s Eyes, an alternative pop duo created a spellbinding soundtrack that gives the film a slightly more modern feel. With strong performances from Knudsen and D’Anna, the Duke of Burgundy is a dreamlike, erotic film with a surprising amount of substance that is a pleasure to watch. - Rachel Wakefield
The Duke of Burgundy
The sci-fi genre has become quite engrossed in films about artificial intelligence in the past year, but despite this, Chappie does a good job of standing out from the crowd. It’s big, brash and not very beautiful – and that’s why it works. While it may not be as good director Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, it’s certainly better than his other effort, the clunky Elysium. Set in Johannesburg in the very near future, robot police droids have successfully reduced crime levels in the city. One of the lead designers of these bots is Deon, who has secretly been working on a way for robots to develop consciousness. When he succeeds, he steals a droid about to be destroyed with the intent of testing his new project out. Unfortunately for him, he himself is kidnapped by a trio of gangsters who owe a lot of money to an angry, bizarrely subtitled crime lord. The trio force Deon to boot up the robot, viewing it as a chance to make a lot of money. And so, Chappie is born. With the intelligence of a baby, Chappie learns the hard way about life for a sentient robot. Chappie himself is rather hard not to love. As he stumbles through his first few days of existence, the viewer would be hard-pressed not to feel some sympathy for the robot. The film doesn’t bother explaining how and why Chappie is the way he is, it wants you to accept it and enjoy the journey. The decision to cast Die Antwoord’s odd-ball duo of Ninja and Yolandi Visser as the main characters may strike some as a silly gimmick, but both do a good job in giving Chappie some authenticity. They provide laughs and, compared to other characters, give some heart to the film. Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman are given side-roles, but it’s hard to see what – if anything – they add. You feel sorry for the Jackman, given a thankless task as Deon’s anti-AI work colleague. Although central to the plot, the role is very onedimensional. The film falters in other areas too. The characters occasionally have to force out some shockingly poor dialogue, and you get the sense that Blomkamp doesn’t actually know what kind of film he wants to make. There are moments when Chappie questions his own existence and why he was brought into the world, and you think this is where the film will go – but it’s followed by some B-movie action sequences which can be quite jarring. Too often, characters are guilty of over-explaining their actions, as if to question the viewer’s intelligence. The bizarre decision to include subtitles when certain South African characters speak is very out-of-place and completely unnecessary, especially when two of the lead actors are South African too. Essentially, Chappie is almost like a comedy Robocop and overall, it works well enough. Viewed as a light-hearted piece about a baby robot learning what it takes to be in Die Antwoord makes it all worthwhile. - Deputy Editor Jason Coulter
The hunter becomes the hunted in this tense crime thriller. Forget dramatic monologues, preposterous characters and outrages car chases – Hyena takes a bleaker, stark look at the underworld – and is all the better for it. Peter Ferdinando plays Michael Logan, head of a drug squad assigned to investigate trafficking in Eastern European gangs. They aren’t just your typical cops of course, oh no, they operate on a more ‘catch drug traffickers, beat them senseless, snort all their coke’ wavelength. Michael has invested a lot of money in a smuggling route operated by a Turkish gang, until they are brutally taken over by their Albanian rivals. When his squad is tasked with investigating the gang, Michael must try and get his money back while simultaneously keeping the gang and his superior officer happy. Perhaps the story itself lacks originality, but instead it focuses on its characters, their emotions and what it feels like to be trapped in an endless cycle of deceit and crime. It isn’t all doom and gloom however. Michael’s squad mates provide the film with a very crass, laddish sense of humour. A brash trio, Keith, Chris and Martin wouldn’t be out of touch in A Clockwork Orange. But looking behind the plot, we see a man struggling for air as he slips further and further away from safety. We see Michael lose control of
his emotions as his world starts to crumble around him. Perhaps it’s this feeling of helplessness that sees him attempting to rescue the pretty Ariana from the depths of human trafficking. An attempt to do some good in the world, the way a supposed policeman like him should. The viewer can question his virtues throughout the film but you get a sense that Michael himself is doing exactly the same thing. It’s an impressive display by Ferdinando, whose permanently bleary-eyed performance is very solid throughout. He’s also the cousin of director Gary Johnson and starred in a previous film of Johnson’s – the 2012 flick, Tony. Backed by a darkly seductive soundtrack and constantly contrasting visuals, the film shows itself to well ahead of its peers. What raises Hyena above the multitude of British crime dramas is that it does its level best to avoid falling into a cliche ridden action flick. It takes the viewer deep into the murky waters of human trafficking, rape and ultra-violence, and does so with a gritty style that suits the mood perfectly. It’s unflinching in what it forces you to see, whether you want to or not. More importantly, it’s a call to arms for other crime dramas that they need to raise their game if they want to compete. Hyena is a much watch. - Deputy Editor/Jason Coulter
Directors: David Cronenberg
Pure M Issue 6/2015
irectors are artists. They can take an action that means one thing on paper and turn it into something completely different through a visual medium. They can evoke fear or tears, they can produce something magical and above all else they can mesmirise you. This is a first of a series of articles detailing those who in Pure M’s opinion have stood out in this field. First, let us start with the master of visceral horror, David Cronenberg. Specifically his early filmography. Cronenberg’s early movies are ones that explore the genre of horror and in particular he focuses on body horror. Through this he can send a shiver down the backs of most viewers through his horrifying imagery and special effects. My favourite Cronenberg film is Videodrome. It is also the first film I seen by the director and it has stayed with me. The film follows James Wood who stumbles into a world of hallucinations, Tv’s made of living flesh, snuff movies and conspiracies. It’s imagery is excellent, with many body horror scenes that make you cringe in expectation and terror. The following clip is one that I just couldn’t turn away from but still watched with one eye shut. Another favourite is The Fly. Here Croneneberg again uses body horror to impact us but in a different way. Jeff Goldblum plays a scientist who accidentally uses his invention to merge himself with a fly. As the transformation begins, Brundle (Goldblum) becomes stronger and quicker but eventually things take a turn for the worst as he begins to deteriorate and transform completely into the fly. The film features some excellent gross out horror scenes as well as really producing a character story as both Goldblum and Geena Davis turns out excellent performances. Next up is Scanners, Cronenbergs breakout film. The film is famous for its exploding head scene. The film is about a group of people who can control people with their minds and the government who try to control them. It eventually breaks into an all out war between the ‘Scanners’ who have split into two camps. The standout scene is still the exploding head scene though. They came from within is Cronenbergs first feature length film. It takes place in an apartment block which is becoming overrun by parasites that turn people into zombies, or to be more precise sex crazed zombies. The film is probably more raw than any other movie by Cronenberg but that can probably be excused due to the fact that it was his first full length feature. Dead Ringers is probably Cronenbergs most daring film. About a set of Twin brothers, both Jeremy Irons, who are fertility doctors, the movie is crazy and plunges deep into the realms of obsession and addiction. Overall Cronenberg is excellent at differentiating between the two twins without commenting on it and creates an entertaining movie due to that fact. The last film I am gonna mention from that period is The Dead Zone. Christopher Walken stars as a man who after an accident wakes from a coma with the gift, or curse, of second sight. The movie is really light on gore except for one squeamish scene involving a pair of scissors, but creates an underlying sense of foreboding throughout the movie that we don’t really see in Cronenbergs other movies of that period. Overall I would have to say that the early visceral horror of Cronenberg is definitely something that appeals to me and as human beings probably appeals to us all on an animalistic level. - Deputy Movies Editor/Darren Cahill
Darren Aronofsky From the beginning
One of the most experimental and brilliant directors who’s films I am lucky enough to have seen grace the silver screen in the last 17 years is Darren Aronofsky. Aronofskys directorial debut came back in 1998 when he directed π . Despite still being in college π was funded through the donations of family and friends. π which is about the struggle of a man (Sean Gullette) with immense intelligence who is trying to unlock the stock market and the world through numbers. However everything becomes to much for Gullette’s character and he becomes mad. The film quickly became a cult phenomena and Aronofsky was making a bit of a name for himself. Then in 2000 came the iconic Requiem for a Dream. The film which was adapted from Hubert Selby jr’s book of the same name starred Jared Leto , Jennifer Connolly and Ellen Burnstyn in what can only be called one of the most brilliantly edgy and chilling films of the modern era. The film which is famous for the copious amounts of drugs that are consumed in the film featured some superb performances which led to an Oscar nomination for Ellen Burnstyn. Burnstyn who played Sara Goldfarb the mother of Jared Leto’ s character Harry has the dream of going onto a television show but becomes addicted to slimming tablets. The film deals again with the issue of madness as Burnstyn’ s character deteriotes both physically and mentally. Jared Leto’s character Harry has his own drug issues along with girlfriend Marion played by Jennifer Connolly who will at times will do anything for heroin. The film also featured the famous Lux Aeterna soundtrack by former ‘Pop will eat Itself’ frontman Clint Mansell. Lux Aeterna went onto feature in the trailor for ‘Lord of the Rings The Two Towers’. His third film followed 6 years later called The Fountain. The film saw Aronofsky entrusted with a huge budget and was set to star Brad Pitt until he pulled out. Australian Hugh Jackman came in and filled the sizeable void left from one of Hollywoods most famous actors. The Fountain told the story of a man (Hugh Jackman) in three different worlds trying to keep his wife alive which was played by Aronofsky’s ex girlfriend Rachel Weisz . The latest creation was slated by critics but the science fiction film which was incredibly experimental still gained a cult following. One of Aronofsky’s biggest successes came when he directed The Wrestler which was released in 2008. The film was brilliant and was Aronofsky’s first journey into the world of sports films. Mickey Rourke played a wrestler who in the latter stages of his career meets a stripper played by the brilliant Marisa Tomei. Both Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei were both nominated for Oscars, and deservedly so as this film like Requiem for a Dream was absolutely brilliant. The story had similarities to Rocky but I feel the edginess of Aronofsky made the film incredibly special and full of passion. Still without personal recognition from the Academy, Aronofsky went onto direct Black Swan which hit the cinemas in 2010. Finally the nomination for best director came for the American director. Black Swan is up there with the best films of the decade in my opinion. Natalie Portman was simply incredible as a ballet dancer who wanted to become the lead in Swan Lake. While some directors yearn for edginess, it pours from Aronofsky. The final scene is phenomenal and is a much see for anybody who hasn’t seen the film yet. While Aronofsky lost out on the best director award, Natalie Portman won the gong for best actress. Lastly, and most probably his most unsuccessful film Noah came out in cinemas in 2014 starred Russell Crowe, Emma Watson and Ray Winstone told the biblical story of Noahs ark. Aronofsky was heavily criticized for many aspects of the film including the now infamous ‘rock monsters’. There’s no hiding how poor this film is, both Crowe and Winstone give weak performances while being involved in of the strangest films I’ve ever seen. Noah however is a mere blot on the c.v of a simply brilliant director who can create such wonderfully crafted films that encapsulates so many different emotions and does something that little bit different. - Leon Pollard
rtist and illustrator Robin Eisenberg hails from Los Angeles. From an early age she has been surrounded by the creative influence of her family with her mother holding an art degree and her dad working in film and television. This artistic environment nurtured her creativity, ‘My parents always encouraged all of my crazy creative ventures, no matter how silly!’ When she was still quite young her parents divorced and consequently she was moved around a lot. This, combined with the standard-issue formative year awkwardness led to some difficult times, ‘I was super nerdy in my younger years, well, nerdier than I am now! Glasses, retainer, perm and all!’ She found that drawing was an escape from these more difficult and awkward periods of her childhood and youth. Though she’d been drawing and sketching all her life it was only 6 years ago that she decided to turn it from a fun pastime into a full time job! While touring as an organ player with a band called Crocodile she met a person who would offer her an opportunity that would change her life. Musician Hollie Cook, hired Robin to design her album’s artwork. This proved to be the event that would inspire her to pursue her ambition to be a full time illustrator. She hasn’t looked back since, ‘So far it’s been the raddest decision ever!’ she told us. Her influences draw from the frantic day-glo aesthetic of 80s Saturday morning cartoons. More recently she’s found inspiration in the imagry of skateboarding and ‘zine culture. On her art style, Robin remarks, ‘I like the idea of finding the strangeness in beautiful things and the beauty in strange things.’ As a result of her career as an illustrator, she has been able to travel the world living and working everywhere from California, to Ohio, and even Berlin in Germany where she lived for several years under an artists visa. Though her experiences travelling have been rewarding she looks forward to returning to LA. ‘I’m moving back to Los Angeles this summer, and I’m really looking forward to being back home and being able to explore the art scene again and get involved with the all of the art and ‘zine festivals in LA.’ www.robineisenberg.com - Culture Editor/Kyle Mulholland
Pure M Issue 6/2015
Larne, Co. Antrim
Audible Joes Crank it up Live at Whelans
Power Punk Rock band Audible Joes traveled from Cork on their tour bus to play a headliner midnight show in Dublin's Whelans on Friday, March 20th. The four piece Cork band describes themselves as "Punk Rock, varying from melodic to hardcore and everything in between." The line-up is Michael Stone - Vocals/Guitar, Alex Dinan - Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals, Ella - Guitar/Vocals and David Ballantine - Drums. Dublin is not an easy place to come to when you're an outsider, and the Dub's are a very critical audience to play to. However, Audible Joes took to the stage full of confidence and filled the room with a wall of sound. Leaving no escape and no room for the usual gig talkers and sound scrapers. The dance floor filled with a mix of headbangers and onlookers as the band kicked off into their opener "How to Build an Urban Soldier". At this
point of the gig, I really wasn't sure what to expect, but I was clever enough to move out of the way as the Moshers took over the dance floor. There sound captivated me and brought me back to old school days, Punk with a mix of metal thrown in for good measure. It was one of those "You better be prepared to mosh" gigs, and by the look of the audience they were enjoying every bit of the bands performance. The band played their latest track Murder Victim, this song completely took the roof right off. Fast paced and in your face punk, this was the killer song for me on the night. They did play a few covers and one that stuck out was Pet Sematary by The Ramones and they nailed it. Overall it was a superb gig, shame there was not a bigger crowd to witness a great show from such a fantastic band. -T.Halpin
American metalheads Fozzy joined forces with Welsh rockers The Dirty Youth to thrill fans as their Cinderblock Tour took over Fibber Magee’s in Dublin on March 6th. Packing the venue to capacity, both bands certainly made sure that the audience got their money’s worth. Marching out first, The Dirty Youth were led by vocalist Danni Monroe as she sported a pair of shades set ablaze by LED lights. This was the second time I’d seen the fivesome live and I can very much confirm that they still sound just as good on stage as they do on record. Charging straight into a flawlessly executed rendition of new single, “The One”, the energetic alt-rock anthem immediately had the crowd bouncing along enthusiastically. It was followed by a forceful performance of “I’m Not Listening To You”, another offering from the soon to be released album, Gold Dust. In its wake, Danni’s declaration that Dublin is one of their favourite cities was met by avid cheers of approval ahead of Red Light Fix B-side belter, “Crying Out For You”. Veering back to more recent material, the masses were incited to wave their hands back and forth in the air during the affective chorus of “Darkest Wedding”. Spirits remained high both on and off stage as the relentless rhythm of “Bury Me Next To Elvis” led into a trilogy of the troupe’s most definitive tracks. Danni took a moment to ensure that all those present were versed in the words of essential singalong anthem “Requiem of the Drunk”, before its explosive riffs blasted off. Anyone previously unfamiliar evidently caught on quick as the congregation erupted into a keen chant of “la la la la la la let’s get drunk” each time the chorus hit. The awesomely furious instrumentation of “Fight” charged vigorously out of its aftermath, ensuring an electric atmosphere, while Danni’s ability to hold the final note of the word “control” never ceases to stun. It was a perfect preface to the infectious as ever, “Alive”, which raised energy levels to the extreme, serving as a powerful finale. After expressing their gratitude to the crowd, The Dirty Youth departed to fervent applause, leaving
behind an invigorated assembly for their successors to entertain. It wasn’t long before those gathered began to call out for Fozzy to appear, being spurred on as the room darkened and the music began to build again. Frontman Chris Jericho lit the stage back up as he strode out next to his bandmates adorned in a jacket covered in coloured lights and burst into “Do You Wanna Start a War”. Screaming out “Hello Dublin”, the vocalist clearly relished the gathering’s wild reaction as he and his four fellow musicians delivered a lively opening salvo. There was no denying that Jericho had the rock star persona down, pumping the crowd up by telling them how crazy they sounded before continuing to own the stage for “Tonight”. An impenetrable sea of enthusiasts threw their fists in the air, moshing and singing continuously as the show progressed. The band ploughed through material from all across their discography, ranging from older hits such as “To Kill a Stranger” and “Enemy” to the more contemporary “Lights Go Out”. These were all interpersed with further cries of their name that at one point, in true Irish fashion, morphed into a keen refrain of “Olé olé olé”. Jericho persisted to jump around like a mad man throughout, clapping his hands above his head and encouraging the crowd to do likewise. After proclaiming “Bad Tattoo” to be the finisher, the throng of fans were asked if they wanted more. Seeming more than happy to oblige their affirmative response, the ensemble barged into “Sandpaper”, then returned to their roots to cap things off with Krokus cover, “Eat the Rich”. Coming together at the front of the stage, the five members closed the curtain with a collective bow. I think it’s fair to say that The Dirty Youth and Fozzy left their fans feeling more than satisfied with their performances during the Dublin date of their tour. The vocal and instrumental talent exhibited was amazing, while the showmanship on display succeeded in eliciting an ecstatic reception that made for a captivating show all round. - Dave Simpson
The Dirty Youth and Fozzy: Fibber Magees, Dublin
Pure M Issue 6/2015
yan Thomas is from Dunnamaggin, Co Kilkenny. Ryan recently won the Highrise Competition and was the recipient of the 2013 YADA Award (Young Artist Development Award). Ryan has been a songwriter from a very young age and is hoping to record his debut EP soon. Ryan is a fantastic singer/songwriter and he is also known for his beautiful take on various cover songs. Read our interview with Ryan where we discuss his future plans, influences and how his musical journey kicked off. - Music Editor/Stacy Walsh
First off, congratulations on recently winning the Highrise Competition – how was that for you? You also won the 2013 YADA Award – do you often enter competitions? I have only ever entered 3 competitions; the YADAs, the All-Ireland schools talent search and the Highrise. I was delighted and surprised to win the Highrise as I only had two people with me on the night and there was a voting system so I assumed a Dublin act would win.
How did your musical journey start? Tell me a bit about yourself. I got my first guitar when I was 8 and I started to write simple songs a couple of years later. I had a great music teacher (Mrs. Dwyer) in primary school. She taught the tin whistle and she loved me because I was good at it, ha. I grew up listening to all sorts of music; Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, Counting Crows, Blondie, Aslan, Pink Floyd. In secondary school, I was lucky again to have a great music teacher (Ms. Rowe). She always encouraged creativity and kind of got us all used to performing in front of a few people in class. This was a great exercise as it’s very hard to go from belting out a tune in your room to performing to a crowd. How would you describe your sound? I’m still discovering it really but I’d have to say it is acoustic, pop. But whenever I think something sounds cool, I will just develop on the sound.
You do lots of great cover songs – is there anything special you are working on at the moment? Paolo Nutini’s “Jenny Don’t Be Hasty”… I need to sort that out for my next slot. Can you tell me about your original songs? What do you find yourself writing about? I don’t have a pattern or a routine. I just play a few
chords and riffs and then the words just flow. Some of my songs, but not all of them, are personal to me – just everyday life situations that could fit in to most people’s lives.
How was it releasing “I Won’t Let Go” as your debut single? Recording it was fun. I felt great excitement around that time. However, I don’t actually remember it being released and I don’t even think it was ever launched. Sad now!
What are your 2015 plans? Can we expect an EP soon? An EP is the next step for sure, I hope. I have a lot of songs written to choose from but I’m not sure how the funding is going to work out. It costs a lot
to do this. I think a group fund is going to be set up.
What’s your favourite thing about playing live? What do you feel you bring to your live performances? I’m always so nervous at first but then when I go on I love the buzz and the nerves go. I’m not sure what I bring really. I hope the crowd I play for enjoy my stuff. That’s always on my mind. I know people come out to support us musicians and I hope we can give them that bit of enjoyment. Since you’re from Kilkenny, where’s your favourite place to play in Kilkenny? I played in the Castle Park on Paddy’s Day and it was packed. I loved it – everyone was really hyped
up and happy. It was great.
Musically, who are your biggest influences? Oh there’s so many; Paolo Nutini, Jason Mraz, James Morrison and of course Ed Sheeran. I’m really into all those singer/songwriters.
What music are you listening to lately? I’m actually listening to older music lately and even watching some documentaries on Sam Cooke, bit of Bob Marley and Bob Dylan is very good in my opinion.
Keep track of Ryan’s new releases and upcoming tour dates on Facebook: /RYANTHOMAS.MTM
Tiz McNamara T
wenty four year old Tiz McNamara, hailing from Cork, Ireland has already received high praise for his first single from various DJs in Ireland, the UK and the US. Tiz has also gigged extensively throughout Ireland, UK, Europe and the US, building a growing passionate following along the way. Tiz has supported the BRITS ‘Critics Choice Winner 2014’ James Bay for some of his UK shows. Tiz is about to set off on tour and he is also about to release his latest single “I Hope You Know” so we decided to catch up with him for a quick Q&A... - Music Editor/Stacy Walsh Hi Tiz, could you tell me a bit about yourself and your music? How did it all kick off for you? I am 24 years old, from Cork in Ireland and orignally a drummer. I played with several bands over the years before being accepted to Study Music at LIPA in Liverpool. Unfortunately, in February of my second year I dropped a piano on my foot and suffered a severe injury, leaving me with compartment syndrome. I narrowly avoided amputation after a succesful surgery but was unable to drum for several months so my attention turned fully to writing and singing.
How would you describe your sound? I think of my sound is quite raw and unapologetic. Most of my songs are written on an acoustic guitar and some on piano and then I get various musicians to tour and record with me but for me the most important thing is the song. As a music fan, I only like music that has a story and is water tight and clever lyrically. It’s still quite early in my journey to narrow down my sound too specifically as different producers can highlight different strenghts but it really is all about the lyrics for me. I write stories and try and tell them in a way where it feels like it’s live and I am playing acoustically to who ever is listening.
“I Hope You Know” is set for release April 1st – can you tell me a bit about the track? This track was written in the ‘Burren’ in Ireland. It is a national park consisting of miles and miles of mountains and exposed limestone. It is incredibly scenic and tranquil. I borrowed a small cottage and went up for 2 months on my own and wrote many songs and one of them was ‘I Hope You know’. The song is a story of a friend of mine who passed away last year while hiking is Switzerland. He was like a big brother to me growing up and we were band mates for 7 years. The song was not a conscious effort to write a song for him but it seems to just happen. I release a new single every year on April 1st in memory of my dad and brother, who died in a boating accident when I was 11 months old. Deasy died in mid April so it seemed like an appropriate time to release this song.
Your set to play in Cork in the Oliver Plunkett the same day “I Hope You Know” is released – are you looking forward to the tour? What do you bring to your live performances? I am so excited for the tour. The whole thing has been organised solely by me so it has been a stressful few months of planning but the tour will make it all worthwhile. I love perfroming live and we always get such an incredible response. I have some incredible musicians and friends joining me for the tour so it will be really special. It looks like at least a few of the shows will sell out which would be incredible, so really looking forward to
meeting some new people and trying out our new material live.
How was it supporting James Bay? Supporting James was really cool. He’s a really nice guy and very chilled out. I supported him while he was just starting to really take off so it was still smallish venues which was really nice because everyone who was there was there to listen, so it was a really cool atmosphere.
How did you end up on the 2012 Christmas UK No. 1 Single alongside Paul McCartney and Shane McGowan? How was that experience? I studied at LIPA and during my time there one of the tutors decided to create a charity single campaign for ‘Justice for 96’. I sang as part of a choir on the track and it was incredible to reach No.1 in the UK, although I had a very small part to play in the whole thing, it was incredible to be a part of such a massive campaign for an incredible cause.
I read that you were on BBC London lately – how did that go? What else have you been up to? Yes, I had a live session with Gaby Roslin which was great fun. We played the new single and another one of my tracks live and had a little chat. It was really nice to play the new single live for the first time and the response has been great. I’ve been very busy putting the final touches to the tour plans and doing as much radio and promo as possible really. I have had a few small solo shows in Ireland to
promote the tour dates and practicing a lot with the band. I am really excited to show everyone the live show because the musicians are incredible and we have been working really hard to make sure we blow everyone who comes to see us live away.
Your influences range from Ben Howard to The Beatles – any other artists that you haven’t mentioned before that you are influenced by? I love Damien Rice, James Vincent McMorrow, Ryan Adams. I love the fact that each of them can play a solo show with a guitar or on piano and be equally as amazing as with a full band. They all make music that is full of soul and it really makes you stop and take note.
What music are you listening to lately? I’m listening to lots of Foy Vance, Hozier, Ciaran Lavery, Jess Leen and Catfish and the Bottlemen. Loving their album, it’s been my shower soundtrack for the last few months.
Favourite album of 2015 so far? It would have to be ‘All We Are’, the album is just so catchy and has so much groove, perfect for chilling out or dancing, just a great album.
Your next single “Would You Wait For Me” is due out in July – is there any other releases planned after that track is released? I’m hoping to release an EP with four tracks within the next year but it all depends on finances. Last year I worked on a quarry for a few months and I
am considering going back there to save some money to get new tracks recorded. So hopefully I’ll have an EP released before the end of 2015.
If you could pick any band/artists to collaborate with – who would you pick? That is such a tough question. The first thoughts that came into my head were Tracy Chapman or John Mayer. I just have so much respect for them both and think we could make something really interesting if we worked together. I would have said Damien Rice but I think our styles are pretty similar so a collaboration wouldn’t be as interesting. Hopefully Tracy or John will phone me any day now...
Anything else you would like to say? Just that I am reallly looking forward to making new music for people to hear, so keep an ear out I guess. People can message me their email address on my facebook music page and I will send them the single. Follow Tiz McNamara on Twitter: @TizMcNamara Want to see Tiz live? Check out Tiz’s upcoming tour dates below April 1st – Oliver Plunkett, Cork April 2nd – Cobblestone Joes, Limerick April 7th – Parr Street 2, Liverpool April 8th – The Arts House, Bristol April 9th – Fat Fox, Portsmouth April 10th – The Islington, London April 16th – Whelans (upstairs), Dublin April 23rd – Leaf, Liverpool
Pure M Issue 6/2015
Ones to watch!
Emerging Tullamore folk/pop quintet RuggedWood have proved themselves a definite one to watch for 2015 with their latest YouTube hit. The group found voice in the unlikely combination of traditional instruments to create mainstream pop music and this gorgeous spin on Sia’s massive tune ‘Elastic Heart’ is a prime example. Listen to this beautiful stripped back cover, we have a feeling you’ll have this one on repeat! - Gemma Dennison
Winstons Big Brother
Birmingham born four-piece Winstons Big Brother are an alternative indie-rock band making waves in the British music scene. Although based in the West Midlands, the quartet has no bones about travelling the length and breadth of Britain, including making the big trip for some gigs in the states. Winstons Big Brother cite bands such as The Beatles, Elvis, Kings of Leon and The Who as their chief influences – the impact of all can be clearly heard throughout all songs. There is also an ultra-modern element to be heard in Winstons Big Brother, one that is highly reminiscent of Gorillaz or even Hot Chip. While they are yet to release an official EP or album, the scattered tracks littering their website, Youtube channel and Soundcloud account boast exceptionally high quality tunes, any one of which would be an excellent addition to a dancing, toetapping playlist. In terms of members, Winstons Big Brother consist of: Gary Mason on rhythm guitar and vocals, Sean Duggan on lead guitar and vocals, Mark Flight on bass and Tom Johnson on drums. ‘People Will Forget’ is one of the best blues/rock tunes recorded in recent years. With definite echoes of The Black Keys and vocally channelling Tom Meighan of Kasabian or even Jack White, this track will be stuck in your head for days to come. Beginning with an addictive guitar riff and scratchy vocals, this songs brings you back to the hey-days of blues infused rock n’ roll, but adding to it an absolutely modern twist which will bring you to your feet. The inclusion of a 70’s era guitar solo (short enough to punch will maximum strength) brings the whole song together like a cheese board after dinner – not strictly necessary, but completely welcome all the same. ‘Remedy’ then opens with rumbling bass, brisk percussion and a Thin Lizzy-esque guitar lick. This holy triumvirate then builds in speed and intensity morphing into a veritable blaster of a hook. This song has the air of one that would be electrifying if played live. The track is peppered intermittently
with some more of that 70’s-80’s reverb heavy guitar solos. ‘The Sign of the Times’ is a slower, more sedate tune. Still leading in with a slow build-up and perfect synchronicity between the instrumentalists, but the slower pace gives the tune head-nodding groove. ‘Rollin’’, which is still in its Demo stage is a
Conor Dardis is a Clondalkin-born musician based in Preston, England. His collection of demos, ‘The 51 From Station Road’ is the work of an exceptional artist, specialising in what he terms ‘Immigrant Suburban Folk’. Dardis’ lyrics focus on the working-class, suburban Dublin of his childhood, its characters, and their experiences and hardships. With minimal production and a stripped-back sound throughout, this collection relies solely on Dardis’ often haunting, always sincere vocals and acoustic guitar playing. Dardis’ work and approach to songwriting has drawn comparisons to Billy Bragg and Bruce Springsteen, and the similarity to the latter is evident in his hoarse yet soft vocal delivery on ‘Accelerator’. Paying homage to early blues artists, it is a fast-paced, steam-train of a track, calling to mind The Soggy Bottom Boys of the Coen brother’s masterpiece ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ ‘Ballad Of The Butcher’s Wife’ is a wonderfully told story, which I won’t spoil here, set to countrystyle guitar playing and with Dardis’ voice suggesting he’s a man who has seen it all, and is setting his life experiences to a beautiful acoustic backdrop. The writing here is of the same ilk of Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits, Dardis’ captivating storytelling ignites the imagination and the imagery is so vivid you can picture the events discussed. Throughout these recordings you can’t help but be rapt, and feel a connection with the characters and their messenger. The title track of the collection is nothing short of expert songwriting, and after multiple listens and a long time deliberating I have decided to give
it a five-star rating. I know this is high praise, but I am happy in saying that this song is flawless. It is a tale of the cancellation of a bus route and its knock-on effects on the community, the narrator in particular. It really tugs on the heart strings, with fingerpicked minor chords and soft, excellently delivered vocals. This song would not seem out of place on the soundtrack to a Shane Meadows film.
smooth rolling, rollicking tune characterised by grungy guitar and tidy guitar licks. The crisp percussion punctuating with military precision in the background provides the perfect canvas for the bass to play in counterpoint to the runaway guitar. The only downside to Winstons Big Brother is the brevity of their songs, they really could have lengthened them a little bit more. However, given
the impressively high standard in song writing and excellently executed in what can sometimes be a tricky genre, Winstons Big Brother are absolutely ones to watch out for. I must insist you go see them if they ever come to Ireland. Failing that, any one of their songs would be an instant hit on a house party playlist. - News Editor/Sarah Swinburne
Gar Clemens Onion Eyes
From my first listen to these demos I felt I was hearing something important, something brand new and to be excited about. This collection shows an extraordinary talent for songwriting and storytelling, the low-fi recording and subtle vocals perfectly fitting on these tracks. Conor Dardis has found a new fan in me, and with increased coverage and a broader spotlight, I’m sure I will be far from the last. - Paul Ryan
Gar Clemens comes from South Chicago in the US, and with his acoustic guitar and lullaby voice, he delivers a singer-songwriter vibe with an unmistakable country influence. This soulful singer brings us a mix of country and folk with narrative, pleasant melodies and a soft, sweet voice in his album Onion Eyes. Released in December 2013, you can listen to Onion Eyes here. If you like a slow song, like I do, this album is for you. As you listen to it you can find yourself becoming lost in your own thoughts. His lyrics are sombre, honest and self-reflective, portraying a raw honesty that is arresting and mesmerizing. Some of the tracks I would pick out as my favourites would be ‘St. Anthony’s Pawn Shop’, ‘Jacquie Lee’ and ‘Onion Eyes’. Parts of different songs become ethereal and atmospheric with humming backing vocals and echoing notes. Undoubtedly, this album is somewhere between the genres of folk and country and stands on its own as a solid collection of songs. The style and sound is similar to the music portrayed in the Coen Brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) and if you enjoyed that film then you will appreciate Gar Clemens’s album Onion Eyes. There is a variety of elements that all add something to the album; Gar Clemens incorporates guitar, percussion, piano and harmonica into the mix, making the album stand out as more than simply a man and his guitar. Onion Eyes has been carefully constructed and offers us a dynamic listening experience, drawing us into a world of wistful contemplation and guiding us to explore our own thoughts as well. - Deputy Music Editor/Emma Hayward
Pay Attention, For Folk’s Sake
Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies
Bricks and Feathers
Join Me In The Pines
Ordinarily, I listen an album to death before reviewing it. There’s a lot to gain through repetition that one couldn’t possibly pick-up upon first hearing something. Multiple listenings make it easier to explore that depth of songwriting and nuance us reviewers are always talking about… so naturally, I won’t be doing that today. I’m giving you all my first impression based on the fact that until this is posted, that’s all I can give you. I’ve listened through this album once and once only. Impressions? Before I get into that, I have absolutely no desire to continuously write out the name Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies every time I mention the band by name, so I’ll be referring to them as ‘John’ from here on in. After my first listen, there’s something lingering in the back of my mind that I just can’t shake. It’s an image of Paul Simon dancing the samba on a beach in a silk rainbow blouse with maracas in either hand. There’s a palm tree to his left and a tiki shack to his right, but Paul Simon doesn’t give a fuck. Why? You ask. It’s because he’s listening to his latest triumphant album – this one. The opening track, Hit a Wall, is the soundtrack to this dancing scene. It’s short, sweet, and does the job of setting the stage with a carnival flare. There’s a River is a change of pace. It’s more along the lines of what you’d expect from the folksy singer/songwriter sect. Being a writer, of course I’m going to be interested in the lyrics, which in folk, tend to go a little further than your average Nicki Minaj tune – this is no exception. A Garfunkelesque harmony and floating melody in the chorus are their vessels. The keys are beautifully upbeat, and with the building brass adding another level, it’s a contender for my favourite track on the album. Laughter in Sleep is another standout for me. The guitar work and keys just blend so seamlessly from verse into a catchy, melodic chorus. The string ensemble toward the end is absolutely perfect. John has my curiosity; now it’s time to win over my interest. Nire Maxuxta is a pretty little tune. I would analyse the lyrics, but I won’t. On second thoughts, I’ll speculate. It’s Euskara for My Maxi Twist; it’s a beautiful love song about a HB icecream. Now, I am only guessing here, because obviously, I don’t speak Basque. Although, if I’m being cynical,when you have a song written in Basque, it’s probably about Basque independence, so Askatasuna to that, or something.
Up Until Sunrise is as close to a 70s Dylan track as you can come without having to sit through Zimmerman convincing you he’s a cowboy – say from Blood on the Tracks. Musically, it bears some resemblance to Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts, which happens to be one of my favourite songs of all time, so it’s another thumbs up. Roll Out the Cannon is a carnival of a song. The western violin, banjo, walking bassline, piano, and horns all throw their two cents into the overall sound of the track. I’d half expect to hear it in a saloon, if Dick Van Dyke’s one man band took a tour of the frontier. It’s all inclusive and it’s as deliriously happy as the video for the Safety Dance. Expect bearded ladies and strongmen. The Pigeon Lord is a departure. The jamboree is done and we’ve gone high-concept. It could be 50 Ways to Leave Your Pigeon in the verses. Quite
frankly, in the time it’s taken to type this far, I’ve forgotten exactly what it sounds like and my notes are a bit useless. Give me a few moments. Okay, so I listened to it again, big fucking deal. I reckon I was spot-on with the above, so we’ll continue. With an array of sounds like bicycles and cowbells, I’m not sure you could disagree. I will, however, underline the fact that the piano piece is excellent. As far as I’m concerned, it wouldn’t be out of place at the ballet or the opera. It’s a strong finish and my hat has to go off to John. They’ve delivered more often than not and there’s very little to fault them on. I strongly recommend giving them the time to listen, because it’s not often you’ll get the chance to hear music like this, at this high a quality. The album’s due out on May 1st. - Jonathan Monahan
2014 was the first year for Join Me In The Pines, and what an explosive year it was for them. Formed as BellX1’s David Geraghty decided to go it solo. They return now in 2015 with an exciting theatre tour taking in venues in Offaly, Thurles, Cork, Sligo and Clare. Recently the band have been filmed for RTE2’s Other Voices, due for broadcast on April 19th, 11pm. To miss this show would be a crime. Their recent single Silence Has a Son blows the listener away with the clarity of the vocals, the lyrics seem to flow like silk from Geraghty’s lips. The track as a whole seems an unlikely mix of progressive rock and folk, the acoustic guitar accompaniment teamed with what I assume to electronic keyboard fills, makes for an unusual but not unpleasant harmony. The video for the track was shot by Dave himself while on the road in the USA, it really gives an intimate feel as he sings “selfie” like to the camera. Join Me In The Pines seem to be following the increasingly popular culture of less is more the vocals are given the space needed and deserved to unfold throughout each track. Another example not to be missed is the single Should Not Roam, released in 2014, this track combines, the acoustic guitar again, with muffled percussion, allowing vocal harmony and monophony to move you. This band, steered by Geraghty, is in my opinion one to watch out for over the next year, it would be great for them to get some radio airtime. If you can see them live I can’t encourage you enough to do so. - Feature Editor/Nathan Barrett
New Zealand born Hannah Curwood is due to release her eponymous debut album in May of this year. Citing artist such as PJ Harvey, Nick Cave and Kate Bush, Curwood’s influences are easily discernible throughout the album. With a crystal clear voice in the upper registers, and an otherworldly soundscape lingering in the background, Hannah in the Wars’ first release is an intriguing and well-made album. It also has the proud boast of being produced by Rodger O’Donnell of The Cure, a man who is rapturous in his praise of the Kiwi singer, and even offed up his home studio to record the album. Curwoods inspiration for the album came from a variety of sources. In her own words: “This album was written amidst a complex tapestry of events. A profound existential, spiritual and psychological crisis of a family member, terrifying, brutal and bewildering in intensity was accompanied by the agonising death knells and eventual shattering of a romantic relationship that had spanned many years, the deconstruction of a home”. A tall order indeed; but it absolutely works. She also mentions the earthquakes of 2011 as being a major factor in tailoring this album out of her own experiences. Interestingly, the idea of an earthquake is clearly heard, in fact, it is one of the first things that come to mind when listening to it. The feeling of something once thought fundamentally stable and reliable, suddenly becoming volatile and unpredictable is a common theme throughout the album. ‘Sweet Release’ is a thoughtful tune, beguiling in its simplicity. The smooth violins at the heart of the piece, gives a bizarre sense of unease, despite the lulling tempo. The song, lyrically and musically, gives a feeling of agelessness to
Curwoods vocal quality. However, the halting, breathy nature of the chorus brings it right into the modern era. The violin solo has echoes of the style of Warren Ellis (of the Bad Seeds). ‘Burning through the Night’ is a slower burner, but builds to a pacing crisis at the close of the song. The introduction is subdued musically speaking, which allows Curwoods unique vocal quality to shine. The towering piano chords during the instrumental gives an anthemic feel to the song, which is strengthened by the repeated chorus ‘Burning through the night, burning through the night…’. The overarching effect of the song is one that could have been written by Nick Cave, but sung by Kate Bush. Some records , or books for that matter, are a bit like All Bran cereal; it’s good for you, but you don’t enjoy it. This is the polar opposite. Clever, in a way that is inviting, not exclusive, and interesting in a way that doesn’t leave you cold. Incidentally, these are attributes shared by her previously stated influences. With dark, edgy lyrics, light-fingered melodies and a haunting voice, Hannah in the Wars is an artist (and an album) which would prove wonderful company on a solitary car journey. - News Editor/Sarah Swinburne
Liverpool’s live streamed 2Ube Extra Festival runs this year from April 15th until April 23rd and will see over thirty up and coming bands and artists take over the stage in the Paul McCartney Auditorium in LIPA in an intimate gathering of their nearest and dearest, fans and a list of respected musicians who have arisen from the flourishing Liverpool music scene. Many of the artists featured will have flirted with the national media, although many others will be immerging from the background. One such artist is Ingrid Frosland, a Scandinavian native based in Liverpool who has been compared to the likes of Regina Spektor and Daughter. Combining folk sounds with inherent pop, her music is brought to life by her positive, charming song writing and cheerful use of buoyant instruments. With influences who include
Bon Iver and Eva & The Heartmaker, Ingrid’s tracks have been featured on BBC Merseyside and the celebrated BBC Radio 6 Music. She recently embarked on a winter tour in Norway, effortlessly setting attendance records on the way. Ingrid is no stranger to the Festival scene, having featured in Liverpool Sound City and Musikkfest centred in Oslo to name a few. Ingrid’s recent release ‘Dare to Believe’ is a captivating array of hope filled lyrics and James Bay sort guitar, with an enormous drum laden chorus which really gets the meaning behind the lyrics across in an immense and seemingly effortless manner. Her graceful voice represents folk at its most endearing and it’s not unfair to say that it would be unsurprising if you happen to hear her name a lot more in the very near future. - Deputy News Editor/Julie Bell
Hannah in the Wars
Ingrid Frosland confirmed to play renowned Liverpool 2ube Extra Festival
Duende Dogs are a three piece Irish alt-rock ensemble who have borrowed their name from a goblin-like being prevalent in Latin American folklore. Over time, it has also become associated with a form of art known for provoking a wide range of emotional reactions. Given the exhilaratingly ambivalent effect of the band’s style, they have certainly chosen an appropriate title for themselves. Members Grum Gallagher, Joe Corcoran and James Taylor were no strangers to the music scene when they first began their collaboration. Having played with a multitude of other acts and artists between them, their expertise is very much apparent throughout the material they’re currently putting the finishing touches upon for their forthcoming EP. The heavy riff that begins “Cannibals” develops an enthralling character as it stomps towards vocals that are rich with expression and attitude. The instrumentation remains relentlessly fast paced and determined, exhibiting particularly awesome instances of guitar work both in the middle and at the end. It’s an incredibly absorbing composition that carries a great sense of defiance as it unfolds. “Car Crash” explodes into another vivacious riff before toning down for a melody which has an almost sinister quality about it. Erupting back into a raucous chorus, there’s a complex, technical execution to the whole piece that really resonates
and lingers in the mind. The ever present unsettling ambience ensures things stay inexplicably compelling. The wild instrumental introduction of “Deep River” immediately grabs your attention and pulls you in ahead of the jazzy verse. The tempo ups again for the chorus, after which the cutting riff from the start makes a welcome return. There’s a dangerous edge to this vigorous effort that infiltrates the senses and makes a strong impact. A resolute opening prefaces the distorted harmony that emanates a disaffected, menacing vibe during “Coming in to Land”. Bounding steadily along, its delightfully dark aura features some truly remarkable guitar work that goes down a treat. It’s an unapologetically hectic creation which becomes increasingly progressive at it goes on. Duende Dogs have developed a near perfect brand of artful and dramatic melodic rock. The above tracks are four tremendously captivating and exciting alternative anthems. The fact that they’re still in the post-production stage only adds to the anticipation for the band’s EP. Based on the material here, it will be utterly essential listening when it hits. - Dave Simpson
The Vantage are an Indie/Pop duo, or a ‘rock outfit’, or an alternative group, from Austin, Texas. These labels are not ones I have assigned the group, but ones which appear in the descriptions of three different media sites about the group. While the group could be an indie/pop group, they are most certainly not a rock group, and there are no defining characteristics which would set them apart as an alternative group. Disappointingly there is no in depth information about this group online, certainly none that I could find. However, this identity crisis doesn’t not only appear online but manifests itself in the music. It is hard to determine exactly what this group is, because there is nothing to set them apart from most other young, enthusiastic two piece bands. As I listen to the intros to a variety of their songs from their YouTube channel, these intros could be from any number of well established bands popular today. Now this unfortunately is a backhanded compliment, as we all know, sounding like everyone else is never a good thing in the industrial machine that commercial music has become.
Now let’s have a look at some tracks from the small selection available on SoundCloud and YouTube. Firstly the stand out one (all things being relative) is certainly On My Way with a catchy shaker and acoustic guitar riff introducing the smooth vocals, this track also features bass guitar, drums and what I am nearly sure is some sort of electric keyboard. So already we have 5 instruments played by this “duo”. What irks me here is that the quality and arrangement of recorded tracks should always be easily transferable into the live setting. Quite how this group will do that is beyond me, but I hope they have a good stage manager when this comes around. Released a month ago on SoundCloud, was their new single Place in The Water again the catchy intro motifs draws in the listener, but again I am disappointed by the lack of development throughout this track. Certainly listen to this band if you are simply looking for some industry standard sounding music, if you want to be blown away by innovative composition or instrumental skill, keep looking. - Feature Editor/Nathan Barrett
Proud Honey are a rock n roll/indie band from Glasgow. The four piece group is made up of vocalist and guitarist Stuart Bartwicki, guitarist Hugh Frizell, bassist Oscar Mackay and drummer/ vocalist Euan Sinclair. Their sound is rooted in British guitar music from The Stone Roses, The Verve to The Jam and The Who. The band’s collective desire is to bring upfront, soulful and emotive guitar based Brit-rock back to the mainstream and anywhere in between. Much of their songs consist of psychedelic excursions (“Fallen Star”) which unmistakably sound like the works of Kasabian, Oasis and The Verve. Proud Honey are indie rock meshed with pop melodies, yet explosive with heavy overdrive and some surprising underlying darkness creating a tense and emotive atmosphere. The powerful, guitar-drenched “All The Things You’ve Done” offers a pounding beat with sweeping soundscapes. “Your Light Will Shine” is a mellow, bluesy track with dreamlike qualities. The majestic and country-tinged “Taranchila“ shows off some quality bluesy guitar riffs. “One Hello” is a high-powered track full of purpose and energy. Although their songs may be too familiar sounding or non-experimental for some tastes, Proud Honey are a rich band that revitalizes rock traditions without ever seeming less than contemporary. - Emily Belton
The Rusbies are a pop punk group of four lads hailing from Sheffield, England. The quintet consists of Nathan (Guitar and Vocals), Luke (Bass and Vocals), Phil (Guitar) and Jake (Drums). The unsigned band formed in October 2013. There’s a lot that has to be said about a group that in a short space of time the lads have developed their sound, produced some memorable tracks and are currently taking bookings for summer 2015. The bands public Facebook account for The Rusbies pokes fun at themselves and their fans, giving the impression that these lads are unashamedly brash and witty, It’s refreshing to see a group not take itself so seriously, especially in an industry where pretension is rife.
Their stand out track is arguably ‘Bedsit’ which occupies the realms between indie and punk, the song jumps between the two genres throughout their music. The track itself is littered with hooks, there’s something special about this song, it feels as though you are listening to the beginning of something special, a group about to break through. The guys have a few ‘rough demos’ on their SoundCloud account, the rough demos ‘Lead The Way’ ‘Is This what My Life’s About’ and ‘None The Wiser’ all have impressive listen counts; There’s no denying The Rusbies have potential. ‘Stop Drop Roll’ opens with breathy Sheffield twanged vocals, as the guitars gradually up tempo in comes the drums and the chorus. This number feels like a Libertines demo at times, but that’s not
a bad thing at all. ‘What’s The Point’ is a high energy track, heavy instrumentals with an angry drum beat lend this song some potential to be a stand out track when performed live. The Rusbies’ sound straddles between influences from the likes The Libertines to Arctic Monkeys. The vocals at times sounding eerily like a young Pete Doherty and sometimes, to a lesser extent, the vocal are reminiscent of Alex Turner, however it could just be the Sheffield accent. The northern lads will undoubtedly find success in the near future, they offer audiences something different, but still familiar. The lads have a But the instrumentals and raw sound feels like a 70’s punk renaissance is on the way. - Craig Moran
Pure M Issue 6/2015
Proud The Rusbies Honey
Two Camels and The River
Good Morning Finch
Wondering in Circles, Walking Straight
One of the few down sides of listening to Wondering in Circles, Walking Straight is that one could almost exhaust many of the positive superlatives necessary when trying to describe it. The Scandinavian outfit have created an album that is inventive, unique, surprising and wonderful. It is music that can arguably be enjoyed by all regardless of taste, and will be loved by fans of Two Camels and The River’s psychedelic, avant-garde style. The album contains 15 tracks, which could be considered long, but it is peppered with shorter songs and interludes such as Colours in Black and Elastic Wor(l)ds that ensure it does not drag or fade as the band displays a variety of styles. These vary from I, Miss Green and its attitude filled guitar riff outro to the beautiful melodic Blue Panorama Airlines that would surely have been an instant hit had it been released in the 60’s. The record is best listened to as a whole as the band create a cohesive, atmospheric vibe that is manipulated and stretched throughout but always maintained with skill. It may not boast individual standout tracks which may not be to the liking of all, but what is created is something arguably more impressive, a musical experience that
anyone with patience will cherish. Thin King showcases the band’s use of improvisation as the song descends into a chaotic cacophony of trumpet and percussion but, if anything, this displays a courage and confidence in the unique style that Two Camels and The River have created. Somenow is another flowing track that brilliantly utilises subtle keyboard to elevate it to a level that again, would not be out of place on a 60’s psychedelic record. While the aforementioned ambience that is created on Wondering in Circles, Walking Straight is proficiently maintained, it is difficult to pin down a singular description of its style due to the ever changing tone as you drift into each subsequent track. However, to scrutinise, dissect and elucidate the record’s individual crests and waves would not only be challenging, but would also be a disservice to it. To listen to this album is a marvellous experience, largely due to its improvisation and subtle surprises. Each listener may be able find the unique pleasures and whims that they enjoy most for themselves, and this is where the beauty of the record truly lies. - Tadhg Collins
Neoga Blacksmith offers the audience an alternative sound that is truly reminiscent of deep south blues. There sound could best be described as Americana, with splices of influence from the jazz, rock, grunge and rockabilly movement. Neoga Blacksmith utilises sounds associated with the deep south and produces a contemporary take on a classic sound. The gravely vocals are entwined with the rhythmic guitar’s riffs, creating an intoxicating array of sounds that would leave even the most discerning listener’s foot tapping. Neoga Blacksmith use a clever mix of genres to create an eclectic album that will stand the test of time. The stand out track is arguably ‘Greasepaint’ It’s use of raspy vocals and meandering bass guitar is the epitome of what one would expect from a deep south band. The vocals and bass are supported with a subtle, yet impressive drumming throughout. Another impressive track is ‘Formaldehyde’, this number is evocative of the 70’s excess and old school rock. It feels, at times, reminiscent of some work The Doors would have done, perhaps Neoga Blacksmith drew influence from Jim Morrison
and co for this album. ‘Three Knocks’ is another 70’s inspired number from these southern boys, this track feels as though it was influenced by Latin American blues, the use of the Mexican Vihuela coupled with the traditional instruments used in North American blues lend this song a unique edge. ‘Rutland’ would be a perfect dive bar track, in fact, Neoga Blacksmith’s whole album wouldn’t feel out-ofplace echoing around a dive bar. ‘Rutland’ follows a storyline narrative, with calming instrumentals, perfect for a summer’s evening in a dive bar. ‘Scrappers Delight’ is the most upbeat song on the album, a jazzy piano features throughout and lifts the song, the songs clever instruments will ensure that you will find yourself nodding along as you listen. Neoga Blacksmith are a unique collective of musicians that highlight the fragile nature of the American Dream with their music, their raspy vocals are licked by beautiful instrumentals; their lyrics are poetic, strong and beautiful. If you’re a fan of The Door, MGMT, Janis Joplin or even Jimi Hendrix then give these lads a listen. - Craig Moran
‘Gemini’ is the debut album from Italian four piece Good Morning Finch. It opens with La Stagione Delle Eclissi, a really well crafted track with a soft intro that builds into crashing drums and nice harmonies that sets the album off in the direction of pop/rock indie vibes. I also really enjoyed the transitions into the more stripped back instrumental sections. This is swiftly followed by Cerimonia, teetering up near the 6 minute mark but it’s so chilled that you can easily get lost in the drumstick rhythms and sweet harmonica sounds. Would definitely be one for kicking back in the garden to on a sunny day. There is of course the noticeable language barrier with this album, and as much as I’d like to comment on the lyrics my 6 week Italian module only equipped me with the skills to successfully order an ice-cream. However it doesn’t in any way hinder my listening experience, with Amo Quando Cadi Giu showing how powerful a little triangle can be for a song, dominating the arrangement while being joined by background bass lines and subsequent building acoustics. I’d be interested to see how Nottre Elettrica would come across live, a more drum infused sound with uptempo electro-guitar efforts also coming to the fore. A drum break around the 3.30 mark also welcomes a more rock focused segment to the track which portrays a slightly heavier aspect to their sound. Atomite is the first song on the album I’d be inclined to reach for the skip button. The intro is nothing short of someone trying to tune in a radio dial or dodgy TV aerial, and I guess they were kind of going for a mysterious grunge approach and it builds intro an electro-rock instrumental but they lose me about half way through. Copenhagen is a bit of an odd one. As the longest track on the album it appears on first listen to be three songs that got mashed together. To take it apart, the first ‘piece’ as such takes a near 2 minutes to get going at all, but as it progresses the
following sections improve, with an upbeat arrangement and harmonies that would send it on its way to a radio friendly stamp of approval. The song only really works though if you get rid of the first chunk, which is a shame because it’s hard to tell if listeners would stick around that long to give it a chance. La Stanza Blu is a great instrumental track, destined for something like the intro music to sports coverage or also wouldn’t be out of place on a FIFA soundtrack. Although starting off nicely, I quickly got bored of Malia, sounding repetitive to what I heard previously in earlier tracks. Again it has a darker, heavier feel towards the end of the song, and I only know that because I skipped ahead to see if anything would change. Zero focuses on a repetitive loop of chords with some accompanying drums near the end of the track, and I liked the inclusion of a slight twinkle as it faded out… was a nice touch. Bringing up the last few tracks of the album, Cane has the potential to lose listeners at the beginning but it builds to an anthem-like chorus that is pulled back and looped around again into finely arranged harmonizing sections. Finally, the album’s title track Gemini is fluttered with so many little sounds that it’s hard to grasp them all in one go. Mysterious whirring effects and brief synth inclusions are all joined by increasing drums that leads to an impressive layered guitar midsection instrumental. I really enjoyed making my way through this album, although I think the earlier tracks have the more potential and appeal for listeners. I could happily get lost in several of them, but towards the end it falters a bit. There’s no doubt that they’re talented and I love their arrangements, but with some tracks being very lengthy they tread on that fine line of a great track but also giving too much at times. Definitely worth a listen though, and several tracks will be soon be given a home in my iTunes library. - Nicole Leggett
Alice DiMicele ‘Swim’
Pure M Issue 6/2015
Swim is an album firmly rooted in all things natural. Since beginning her musical adventure almost 30 years ago, singer-songwriter Alice DiMicele is now on her 13th release and has built up a reputation as a pioneer in environmental folk music. Throughout the album we’re treated to DiMicele’s thoughts and passions for the organic virtues in life. The opening three tracks set the mood perfectly for what lies ahead with Soul Fly Free a feel-good folk number that soars thanks to some wonderful vocals. It’s the prefect introduction we need, showing her skills as a talented musician with a real knack for crafting a song. Album highlight is the groovy Old Life Back, a track that rallies against the chemical world. Set to a tune that twists and turns smoothly and
The Sky Went Low And The Sea Went High
brings in the catchiest chorus on the album with the refrain of “frack you / and your natural gas / ain’t nothing natural about that”. It’s this yearning for the simpler life that emanates throughout the album. Because, Swim wants you to reconnect with the environment. It wants to remind the listener that there is a great, big world out there full of wonder. The album does have a few flaws, unfortunately. The one-two of When Jane Rides Scout and Schoolhouse struggle to make an impact when compared to the rest of Swim. Although When Jane Rides Scout brings a quicker tempo to proceedings, it doesn’t engage as well as other songs do. It’s a shame too, that Schoolhouse overstays its welcome at five-and-a-half minutes – because there is a great three-minute tune in there. Perhaps the album suffers from an
unbalanced track-listing if you want to listen to it all the way through, but that certainly shouldn’t put you off. These flaws are completely forgiven as we enter the final chapter in DiMicele’s album. We are woken up by the fantastic jazzy sounds of title track Swim. It’s a glorious call to arms for people to take control of their own destiny, set to some wonderful brass and synth sounds that bring a real zest to the album. The gorgeous This Love and a cover of the Grateful Dead’s Ripple bring the journey to a casual, joyful close. Overall, Swim a very enjoyable experience, and also one that is surprisingly rare nowadays. It evokes a passion for life, for love, for the simple moments. It’s a beautiful love-song to nature and one that’s a joy to listen to. - Deputy Editor/Jason Coulter
demonstrate the true powerful quality of Tormeys voice, and instead attempts to be some sort of power ballad which falls short of its mark. Although, short comings aside, this song might be just the ticket for someone in the initial turmoil of a bad break-up. While the tinkling piano and simplistic melodies tend to be a bit Disney-esque, Tormeys masterful command of her sonorous voice means Perfect As I Am packs a tad more weight than a run-of-the-
mill Celine Dion sound-a-like. Where Tormey’s strength really lies is in the songs where she is not going for fireworks. It is when she holds back slightly that her vocal quality becomes very interesting. There really is more power in the arrow that’s left in the quiver. In any case, this album comprises of songs that would be a perfect addition to a recent divorcѐes playlist. - News Editor Sarah Swinburne
Perfect As I Am
Russian born, Dublin based singer Larissa Tormey has just released her debut album in English. This latest release comes quite soon after her Doors to Joy EP, which rolled out to critical acclaim. Classically trained as a pianist and vocal coach, Tormey has been singing and performing music for years, both in her native Russia and in rural Ireland where she now resides. Her debut album was recorded at Ventry Studios with producer and all round talented guy, David McCune. Tormeys backing musicians include Gavin Murphy (musical director and pianist) and Bill Shanley, (guitar) who has worked with music titans such as Ray Davies, Mary Black and Sinead O’Connor. Perfect As I Am is a slick, well-produced debut album which has a tendency to be unvaried and familiar in a forgettable way. However, Tormeys impressive and powerful voice stays with you and warrants a proper and close listen. The second track ‘Addiction’ is one of the highlights of the record. The slide guitar (excellent work by Bill Shanley) and tinkling piano give an otherworldly feel to the song. The slow build and gradual crescendo showcases the full range of Tormeys voice. There are elements of Kate Bush in this song which give depth and scope scarcely found in the grand scheme of the album. Another standout track is ‘Doors to Joy’. With gently strumming guitar and soft block chords on piano, the subtle intro gives space to Tormeys vocal experimentation with bluesy flat sevens and jazzy spirals. This is where Tormeys talent really lies: in the simple melody lines that allow her to improvise and embellish (which she can do apparently without effort) without having to fill her lungs for bellowing high notes. ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ is one of the more uptempo tracks, with brilliant input from Shanley and Murphy. The folksy/bluesy influence is clearly heard here to great effect, and the ever-there presence of a Russian accent adds a memorable flavour to the song. Surprisingly, the low point of the record is the titular track ‘Perfect As I Am’. With a melody line half-stolen from Puccini’s Nessun Dorma, and lyrics more commonly found in a Disney tune, this song (two versions of it, in fact) do very little to
Fia Rua – A.K.A Eoghan Burke – is an alternative folk troubadour from Galway (Kildare born) who released his third album The Sky Went Low And The Sea Went High in July of last year. Boasting an eclectic and varied career, Burke also has acting credits and has travelled around Europe with The Wilde Shamrock Touring Company (where he played William Shakespeare in an original play entitled The Life and Times of William Shakespeare), he also earned a Master’s Degree at the Irish World Academy in Limerick. Here he studied Community Music, specialising in the music of the Irish Travelling community. He spent time with young Travellers, aged between seven and twenty-five, in the Salthill halting site of Cúl Trá learning about their approach to learning the traditional music of their ancestors. This album sees Burke take a pointed and unflinching look at environmental and cultural issues effecting Ireland today. Between global warming, masculinity, murder and a good oldfashioned love of locality, The Sky Went Low And The Sea Went High has something for everyone. Joined by Adam Downey on drums, Ross Rooney on bass and Christopher Capewell on fiddle, this sparse quartet work well together to create a soundscape which sounds much bigger than a four-instrument band. The album opens with ‘River Gort’, an American style folk tune complete with rickety drums and a curling violin melody. The entire album is imbued with Burkes Luke Kelly inspired rasping, gravelly, purr, most notably in this first track. The infectious chorus ‘Flow, river, flow, oh….. flow, river, flow’ will be stuck in your head for the next week. ‘When Mark met Tom’ is in turn a drinking ballad, a buddy journey and a cautionary tale. This song is certainly the most lyrically profound on the album, with a few witty lines here and there: ‘Gossip covered memories, handshakes covered grief, Tom took out a fifty, and they both smiled with relief’. The rumbling bass and singing violin gives this tune a timeless, classic feel; it could almost have been written sometime in the sixties. ‘Hard to be a Man’ is the fifth track on the album and takes the listener on an altogether different route. Opening with swift but gentle drumming, and a subdued accordion, this tune builds slowly and is gradually joined by backing singers. Lyrically, this song takes us through Burke’s idea of masculinity with regards to the passage of time, loss and nostalgia (women of course being exempt from these phenomena ;)). Special mention must be made of ‘Ye Can’t be Sane’, which could easily have been written by Horslips, and the wonderfully confusing ‘Bohemian Rednecks’, which is weird enough to warrant several consecutive listens – in the best possible way. Burke has no interest in being yet another singersongwriter. Indeed, he chose the name Fia Rua (which means Red Deer in Irish) in order to distinguish himself from the countless acoustic guitar wielding minstrels who go by their given names. In a strange way, it works. The moniker Fia Rua gives a sense of ancient timelessness to what is essentially a modern take on traditional Irish folk, but American inspired music. The Sky Went Low And The Sea Went High is familiar enough to be comforting, but modern enough to be fascinating – a rare quality in an album. This latest from Fia Rua is definitely worth a listen. - News Editor Sarah Swinburne
Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy One
Canadian fiddlers Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are a husband and wife team with over twenty five years of musical experience between them. MacMaster alone has eleven studios albums to her name and while the couple have played together live across both North America and the UK, it is only recently that they’ve finally been able to collaborate on their very own record. Produced by Bob Ezrin, the soon to be released One is a stunning compilation that puts a nice contemporary spin on some classic Celtic motifs. There’s no hint of burdens or worries as things get going with “St. Nick’s”. This upbeat opener begins with rousing percussion before the fiddles set in to establish a happy and carefree atmosphere. “The Chase” is a lot more dire and urgent, taking off at an immense pace. After easing up around the halfway mark, the momentum builds back up and bounds towards the finish line. “The Whistler of Rosslea” takes a mellow and ominous approach. Solemn fiddles unfold slowly but steadily, conveying an intensity of emotion as they do. Upon arrival at the midway point, the tempo ups considerably, adopting a more optimistic disposition. There’s plenty on offer throughout, all of which is full of depth and character. The air becomes lighter during “Pastiche for Anne”, being well suited for encouraging people onto a dancefloor. Once again, the piece gets faster as it progress, seeming thrilled with itself as it does so. “Fiddler’s Despair” blasts off at a stunning velocity in its wake. The addition of electric guitars makes for a mixture of rock and trad that works fantastically. The mesmerising agility of the instrumentation results in a sensory overload in the best way. “Hector the Hero” abates to conjure up a solemn,
contemplative atmosphere. It’s an extremely introspective and beautifully affecting composition that hits hard and sounds huge. “Wedding Day Jig”, on the other hand, is a lively and animated number brought to life by complex instrumental work. This emanates a sense of seriousness and determination while still managing to feel festive and celebratory. There’s something quite eccentric about “Ellin Polka” as it develops a cool but delightfully hectic rhythm. It’s followed by the contented attitude of “Joyous Waltz”; an innocent and harmless offering that trots along without a concern in the world. “Tribute to Buddy” picks up with a jubilant beat that bounces forward exuding a great feeling of elation and satisfaction. Being almost comedic in nature, the bright aura of “Clog Medley” invites you to sit back and smile as it relieves you of any weight you may be carrying upon your shoulders. It’s “Cagaran Gaolach” that really sets itself apart though by abandoning all elements of instrumentation in favour of a remarkably resonant melody. In its aftermath, “The Balkan Hills” is a suitably loud and boisterous finale. Playing like a victory parade, it completes the collection with a wonderful feeling of triumph. In listening to what they’ve managed to achieve here, it’s easy to appreciate why Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are considered to be two of the world’s finest fiddlers. The incredibly stirring and motivational delivery of their material exhibits amazingly accomplished and exciting string work. It’s all but guaranteed to win over anyone who listens to it, regardless of their preferred musical genre. Make sure you experience One for yourself when it drops on April 28th. - Dave Simpson
Beginning her career as a singer/songwriter in 2007, Roseanna Ball has previously produced four albums under the name Roholio but for her fifth album ‘Geography’ she takes the stage under her full name. ‘Geography’ is Roseanna’s first solo album featuring melodic harmonies and a variety of instruments including guitar, mandolin and banjo. Roseanna’s effortless vocals and the overlaying of different harmonies are a defining characteristic of her music and coupled with her mastery of guitar, mandolin and banjo, the album comes together neatly. From the first track ‘Mexican Girl’ we are engrossed in Roseanna’s melodic, harmonious world and the instruments she uses. One of the first bands that came to mind as I listened to her album was ‘Rusted Root’ and their hit song ‘Send Me On My Way’. One of the reasons for this was the combination of instrument, vocals and melody which create an infectious sound whilst demonstrating a variety of talents.
One of my favourite tracks on her album, ‘Widemouth Bay’, demonstrates Roseanna’s finger-picking style beautifully throughout and the vocals vary from soft verses to the full harmonized chorus and back again. The titular track ‘Geography’ offers the listener something different to the other tracks on the album featuring very fast-paced vocals and a fluctuating melody in the verse. This track also features the distinguishing sound of the banjo. The romantic, slow but sweet tune on this album is ‘I’ll Stay’. Roseanna’s musical influences include Tori Amos and Johnny Cash which is clear in her distinctive marriage of vocals and guitar. The album ‘Geography’ offers the listener a rewarding experience of lyrics, vocals, harmonies and skilful command of guitar, banjo and mandolin. Not one to be missed, Roseanna Ball captivates and impresses with her solo album ‘Geography’. - Deputy Music Editor Emma Hayward
The Right To Forget
A singer-songwriter’s album with early 90’s rock and indie influences, ‘The Right To Forget’ by Martin Mackdee does enough to stand out amongst its many contemporaries. With a sound reminiscent of early Radiohead and a vocal style akin to that of Jack L, the album kicks off with the fast-paced ‘Tears Before Bedtime’. It’s a very strong opener representative of the album with its honest lyrics and catchy chorus which will have you humming along on your first listen. Mackdee’s vocals and guitar playing are excellently accompanied by a full band on this album. The bass in particular shines through, accenting the sparse guitar playing on the track ‘Icicle’ and often forming the backbone of songs. Hell or High Water is the highlight for me, calling to mind the elegance and heartache of Jeff Buckley. Again the chorus is one that sticks in your
head and had me unwittingly singing along to the line ‘I’ll see you in hell’! ‘For Whom My Heart Beats Still’ is a suitable conclusion to the album, with some of the more personal lyrics on display. The string section in the latter part of the song ends proceedings in a beautiful and elegant manner and leaves the listener wanting to hear more. Overall, ‘The Right To Forget’ comes across as the work of an artist with a knack for setting personal experiences and life’s tribulations to well-crafted melodies. Mackdee creates mature songs with great pop sensibilities, often coming across as uplifting despite at times having dark lyrical content. Although singer-songwriters are not difficult to find on these shores, I feel Martin Mackdee adds a new element and hopefully is not one soon to be forgotten.- Paul Ryan
Pure M Issue 6/2015
Trail of Feathers
Love and Theft
Listening to this record feels like a step back in time; a sense of nostalgia with a modern twist. Trail of Feathers are a four-piece classic rock outfit from Stockholm, Sweden. The band are – Verner Westund on vocals, John Bernström on guitar, Rasmus Söderling on drums and Patrik Engström on bass. This cultivated four track EP is the bands debut release and boasts an impressively solid collection of songs. The edginess of this record reflects the band’s diverse musical influences; timeless rock icons such as Jimi Hendrix and Portishead gaining them my seal of approval. They are passionate about the soul and meaning of the tracks in a bid to counteract the production focused modern music industry. I hear a melting pot of sounds enveloped in the songs from 70’s classic rock, blues, pop to soul. The EP merges this range of genres transporting you through the decades, honouring the past and breathing a new lease of life into the mix. Funky melodics and fast paced guitar riffs steal your attention from start to finish with bursts of vibrato and soulful blues solos leaving you hanging on to every note. The tone of lead singer
Verner Westund’s voice and the band’s harmonies fall pleasantly on the ears, add to that, easy to follow lyrics and song narrative, there’s no reason why Trail of Feathers wouldn’t translate on an international stage. With this very strong debut release, the have a lot of potential to go forth and spread their old skool love to the new generation. That said, some elements of the record are tad repetitive, provoking thoughts like ‘have I heard this before’ indicating a slight lack of originality. Perhaps digging a little deeper and finding creative inspiration indigenously may work to their advantage with their next release. Love and Theft EP is available now on all digital channels. A polished time-honoured recording that oozes a performance feel to it. Trail of Feathers make for an impressive live rock act which in my book is key for a band of their disposition. In a recent interview when asked what their goals are for their music, they replied “To excite ourselves and make music that we ourselves and hopefully others want to dance to. Music that stands the test of time.” - Gemma Dennison
Growth, Decay, Transformation
Formed in late 2013, Sleep Inertia emerged from the English metalcore band, The Dead Lay Waiting. The Dead Lay Waiting, were an extremely renowned group in their own right, releasing two albums, touring extensively nationally and internationally and picking up numerous award nominations. Fast forward to the present day, and their debut 5 track EP “Growth, Decay, Transformation” is due for release on March 20th. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the EP here; I will admit from the outset that heavy metal music, and the extensive sub-genres which it encompasses are certainly something I would
never listen to out of choice. I know there are many audiences who would agree, but saying that, this EP is certainly a fresh and refreshing experience for me. The quality of the musicianship and ability of the instrumentalists is beyond question here. Tom Shrimpton on drums, produces some excellent fills, riffs and the speed with which he can attack the bass drum is simply astonishing. I must also take the opportunity to mention the band members who feature as ‘backing’ vocalists, in my opinion they add immeasurable value to the tracks on which they feature, notably ‘Dark Passenger’. Overall the auditory spectrum created by the band is great, the tracks are well written, and a great combination of full on the vocal growls and screams, to really interesting harmonies and accompaniments. In my opinion I will never become fully accustomed to the ‘shouting’ as I call it, which is apparently what fulfils the role of lead vocals in a lot of metal bands. Here though with some actual singing interspersed as little pockets of joy throughout the tracks it makes for a tolerant listen. I would recommend this to those that are curious about this genre, its variety and inclusion of many ‘popular’ elements makes it a good bridge for those who may not yet be comfortable with the wall of sound that many metal bands can create. While I can not say I was excited by this EP, there is a lot to be said for the individual musicians who make up Sleep Inertia. Certainly musicians of extremely high quality. - Feature Editor/Nathan Barrett
Cable Street Collective
The Best of Times
Cable Street Collective have achieved quite a bit since they first came together at an open mic night in London back in 2012. On top of earning the approval of both BBC Radio and XFM in the UK, the band have graced the stage at a number of profilic music events, including Britain’s Isle of Wight Festival. The ensemble define their style as “carnival pop”, which they describe as being “music that makes you want to dance your arse off.” Based on their exceptionally upbeat debut EP, The Best of Times, it seems a very appropriate way to characterise their material. Following a brief intro, the record gets off to a jubilant start with “Wasted Hours”. Some sprightly instrumentation sails off next to a wonderfully uplifting and passionate melody. Emanating an extremely sunny disposition, this infectious opener is designed to brighten up a room and warm hearts. “He’s on Fire” pounds along in its wake through speedy percussion and amazingly absorbing vocals. There’s no escaping the enthralling rhythm of this vivacious pop anthem. The amount of energy it contains is absolutely irresistible. It’s followed by a cheeky riff that introduces “Yin and Prang” before handing the reigns over to a cheerful duet. You’d be hard-pressed to stop listening even if you wanted to, so engaging is its execution. A short interlude bridges the gap to “Can’t Take Me Under”. Featuring a delightfully sanguine riff and optimistic chorus, it’s quite a lustful piece
lyrically. “Two Cities” skips nonchalantly out of this on a bouncy beat that picks up a quick momentum. Things slow down in the middle, gradually building back up to a spirited conclusion. Cable Street Collective’s inaugural compilation is a wonderful assemblage of festive anthems that are brought to life through infectious instrumentation and spectacular vocals. I’d defy anyone, regardless of musical taste, to listen to their work here and not be completely captivated from start to finish. The Best of Times is guaranteed to relieve you of stress and put a smile on your face. - Dave Simpson
I, Us & We Mono
Albatross Archive have released their new EP “Ribcage”. The fresh-sounding, Cardiff-based duo are made up of Kit Denison (drums/electronics) and Richard Jackson (keys/vocals). Ribcage is richly entertaining, immersive and evocative. Albatross Archive represent the most intricate merging of indie rock, electronica and jazz. ‘Ribcage’ follows a character in the grips of total obsession with an unnamed entity (‘I Still See’), every moment spent dreaming of its possession and terrified of its desertion. This leads to losing all in its pursuit (‘Matches’) and reflecting on how their life has been squandered, envying those who’ve never had to experience the same. Release is found through acceptance that this cannot be (‘Lost And Found’) and they are left with a new sense of renewal, recovery and hope, ready to begin again. “I Still See” is orchestrated with fastidious care and feeling. Atmospheric synth textures, crashing cymbals and dramatic piano playing, what’s not to love? “I Still See” takes us on a euphoric musical journey and is a guaranteed favourite. The song shifts into something more virtuosic and complex near the end. “Matches” is vibrant with poignancy and grandeur. What starts out dreamy and gradual, builds in intensity and emotion. Perhaps similar to some of James Blake’s tracks but It is truly hard to find anyone adequate to compare Albatross Archive with. Richard Jackson’s vocals shine through on “Lost and Found”. Not a standout beauty but there is a certain elegance and charm to be found in the lyrics, softly sung vocals and beautiful piano playing. Albatross Archive’s snare stampedes and frenetic piano playing add to their multilayered sound. Their tracks are laced with hints of jazz, soul, and a little synth-pop. Ribcage is totally experimental with captivating inventions. - Emily Belton
Californian pop ensemble I, Us & We first came into existence in 2014 after being conceived by brothers Jordan, Evan and Aaron Doverspike. The three siblings, who label their work as “clean and unadulterated”, went on to put together their debut EP in their home studio, recruiting Chad Marshman for production duties. This led to the creation of four track record, Mono, which is due for release on April 6th. Beginning with the dramatic instrumentation of “Lantern”, the proceedings immediately generate a theatrical atmosphere. The opening number is extremely animated, featuring plenty of electronics and guitars at play amongst its solemn vocals. There’s quite a darkness about the piece as it burns slowly but steadily along. This, combined with its busy nature, gives the compilation a striking start. “Sunday” follows with a transient introduction ahead of a verse that’s brought to life by a high pitched harmony atop sparse synths and percussion. The chorus raises the tempo while maintaining an otherworldly ambience, solidifying the whole thing as a light and breezy psychedelic composition. Foreboding bells preface a heavy bass effect that persists through the gradually developing verse of “Free”. This is a track that takes its time, beginning hushed and expanding as it progresses without ever becoming too taxing on the senses. “Alive” glides out of its wake on some ominous instrumental work that proceeds to build alongside a reserved melody. It serves as a finale that feels heavy despite its restrained execution. I, Us & We have adopted a progressive style of pop that’s infused with a strong electronic flavour. Mono EP doesn’t rush to the finish line, giving off a pleasant sound as it unfolds at a leisurely pace. It’s a piece of work which creates the impression that a lot of thought and care went into its construction, making for an easy listen. - Dave Simpson
Enjoyable, But Lacking Penetration: Sweet Jonny
It's one of those Ronseal releases. Punk in the old sense of the word. It's decent, but all in all, lacking something truly outstanding, instead ending up as a mash of various established anti-establishmentarians.
just don’t know. This EP might be magnificent, mediocre, or appalling. That’s the difficult thing about punk. Empirically speaking, there’s so little between genius and noise that it’s just near impossible to say which it is. The one thing that’s always separated the greats from the bands I can’t even conjure up while struggling for an example, is romance. Well, it’s the romantic sense of danger… IMPENDING DOOM, as it were. If you’re against the musical establishment, you can make punk rock and sing about how everyone sucks, but you’re forgettable unless you’re primed to self-destruct. You need to be ready to take the whole world out with you at any point, by any means. So, in my interpretation anyway, punk is almost nothing about the music. Real punk is strung out, hepatitis-riddled, and violent, filtered through growling vocals and distorted guitars. Anything else is just posing – yes, I’m looking at you Green Day and anyone who believes it has anything to do with baggy trousers. I can say for sure, that Sweet Jonny definitely don’t sound like a softcore group of guys, but I’m guessing that was the point of the name from the get-go. Subversion, you know? But how is it? This is a 21st century take on proto-punk, as far as my ears and frequently mixed metaphors are concerned. There’s a lot of energy, and if nothing else, Sweet Jonny have that much going for them. They’re a weird mix of almost everything punk from the 70s with a bit of modern sensibility – think the Stooges, New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, and Danzig-era Misfits thrown into a blender with a Black Strobe-style vocal and the kind of rawness the Arctic Monkeys used to bring to the table. Before we continue, let’s stop referring this to punk, because in spite of the fact that this obviously is a fundamentally punk release, it’s unfair to expect a band to live up to that in these days where mediocrity is the latest and greatest version of excess. The Humdrum, to me, sounds like something Ian Drury would have written if he were spliced into the Sex Pistols. You could read into the lyrics and assume that it’s an indictment of the music industry, cranking out similar band after similar band, but inference is inference and I have no inclination or method of proving that. It’s about as tight and organised as anarchy gets, in fairness to them; it’s difficult to keep a recording as clean, but still pack a punch. It doesn’t take much to overproduce this type of thing and I think Sweet Jonny have found that balance.
Carpe Diem isn’t quite as raw as the opener. Some of the energy from the first track is still there, but it’s lacking that frenetic edge that initially caught my attention. There’s a little more in the way of musicality, with a lead line over the chorus that throws me into a glammier zone altogether, like there’s more of a Hanoi Rocks edge to it than pure, by the numbers, anti-Thatcher rebellion. American Psycho starts with plenty of feedback, half of a Tom Petty riff, and a sigh of relief when the song moves away from it. That sounds unfair, and probably is, because there are only glimpses of similarity to Runnin’ Down a Dream, but I’m just telling you what I hear. Once the vocal kicks in, there’s nothing ‘Heartbreakers’ about it, so don’t read in too far – I just figured I’d mention it. It’s balls to the wall from the get-go. It’s unrelenting, although you’d have to be disappointed if they’d run empty three songs into a four track release. Mother Knows Best is the single, with the obligatory attached video below. It also happens to be my least favourite track of the four. I’ll throw my hands up and say I have nothing productive to add; no suggestions, no criticisms. It just doesn’t click with me and I’m not in the business of needlessly slating a song, just for shits, giggles and pointless word-counts I’ve already gone way over.
‘Fallen’ is the debut EP by Dublin-based electronic artist Leo Pearson’s current solo project Romin. Pearson is a musician and producer with a star-studded resumé, having worked on releases by the likes of U2, Christy Moore and Elvis Costello. Written, produced, recorded and mixed by Pearson, ‘Fallen’ sees him in the spotlight on a mature, laid back yet oftentimes dark release. Opening track ‘Wasted’ utilises cleverly overlaid vocals, both blending with the song’s rhythm and harmonising with Pearson’s solemn lead vocals. The line ‘Gone are the days that I wasted on you’ is repeated almost throughout, and used as a kind of rhythmic instrument. The vocal style calls to mind Trent Reznor on some of Nine Inch Nail’s quieter more melancholic offerings. ‘Fallen’ comes across to me as a more intelligent, slowed-down version of the type of dance song that’s topped our charts over the past several years; a mature songwriter’s take on a party anthem, of sorts. Pearson’s low-key vocals are here accompanied by a very subtle backing vocal. The song wasn’t immediately arresting, but admittedly after a few listens it did begin to grow on me. ‘Ropeburn’ is the highlight of the EP for me. It opens with a heavily percussive and bass-centric sound, similar to the likes of Gary Numan and again Nine Inch Nails. Pearson’s vocal are low almost whispers, sounding suitably menacing on this track. The descending vocal in the chorus announces the arrival of a horn section and electric guitar. It’s the most multi-faceted track on
All in all, there are some positives to take from Sweet Jonny’s Softcore EP. It’s different and it’s a breath of life in an ailing genre, something behind which I can always get with relative ease. There is, however, a large, heroin-addicted, alcohol-swilling elephant in the room. It’s nothing new. Lifting more than a few inspirational bits and pieces from the Damned and the Clash, it’s far from original. Even the font for Sweet Jonny’s logo appeared on the cover of Raw Power back in ’73, but that’s so damn obscure, only a savant with no life would even notice, let alone care. All in all, it’s punk in the oldest sense of the word. No skateboards or black abysses. If you’re into that, this is right up your dingy back-alley, no pun intended. One question remains in the end, however. When does homage become pure imitation? Everyone has a different threshold. Some people will see this as a throwback to when music used to be good; others will see copy-pasting early punk and rebranding it. That’s the overwhelming sense I get from this EP. It’s inspired by a lot of the greats straight out of the London, Detroit, and New York undergrounds, but more than that, it’s uninspiring in that it doesn’t seem to hit the spot quite as well as any of them. It’s decent, but it hasn’t quite blown my stripy Vivienne Westwood socks clean off. - Jonathan Monahan
Leicester based alt-rock ensemble Juniors first began in 2013 with school friends Jamie Hives, Jake Tasker and William Bond. After recruiting Daniel Lee into the mix the following year, their lineup was complete. While their first EP, Barcelona, isn’t due to be released until next month, the band have already managed to draw quite a bit of attention to themselves. Winning favour on BBC Introducing shows in the UK, the foursome managed to earn stage time at the prodigious Leeds and Reading Festival in 2014. Now, the focus is on their forthcoming debut record, scheduled to hit on April 20th. Kicking off with “Elusion”, the compilation features a synth heavy introduction that adds a touch of colour to a mellow riff. The spotlight is soon stolen by some piercing vocals as the verse sets in ahead of a hectic chorus featuring a lot of musical elements. It has a very technical and complex sound in its entirety. “We Swim” plays up the electronics again, but puts a more solemn spin on things. Its melody is just as penetrating as it leads to a sobering chorus with some hefty instrumentation. There’s plenty of vigour buried within the loud and hectic rhythm. It all remains admirably expressive and enthusiastic right up until the end. “Declare and Surrender” echoes in slowly before blasting into urgent guitars and a coarse, cutting harmony. It’s more melodic and lighter on the ears than its predecessors. There’s a bitingly cool quality about the whole thing that makes it easy to swallow. It stands apart from the previous pieces by being the most straightforward rock number of the three. Juniors aren’t off to a bad start with what’s on offer here. While some of their material can make for a challenging listen at times, it’s catchy and unique enough to maintain your attention throughout. Barcelona is available for pre-order now on iTunes. - Dave Simpson
Boy On Guitar
offer and all of these elements blend perfectly together to make a very enjoyable song. The track ‘Breathe’ closes the EP in a stylish manner. Yearning vocals and a slow tempo create a bleak mood, added to later by a disorientingly detuned synth sound. Pearson beckons ‘I could be your saving grace’ over the conclusion to the song, again with subtle backing vocals, completing the overall dark sound on this track. ‘Fallen’ demonstrates the artist’s wide array of influences and displays a perfectionism and attention to detail learned only with years of experience. This would be a great EP to listen to whilst winding down in the small hours before bedtime, or at a laid back, intimate gathering. I hope to hear more from Romin in the near future, and look forward to keeping a close eye on the career of mastermind Leo Pearson. - Paul Ryan
Californian indie-pop band Boy On Guitar are set to release their debut EP We Wait on April 18th. Their brand of acoustic guitar-led pop with sweet vocals and soft melodies is infectious and addictive, and sure to stick in your head. Opener My Last Name draws influence from Tears For Fears with its 80’s sounding keyboards played over a simple 4-chord acoustic guitar sequence. However,it is vocalist Genesis Jennings who really stands out here, her mild, effortless vocals breathing life into the song. Skydiving for me is the highlight of the EP. Bearing a resemblance to Swedish band The Cardigans and with country-tinged vocals, it is a song about a distance love, with Jennings pledging ‘I can be the land waiting for your safe return’. The refrain ‘I ain’t got nothing to lose’ is simple and catchy, and the accompanying lead guitar accentuates the beauty in the song. The band reprise the 80’s influence on Your Place, along with a rock sound complete with distorted guitars and group vocals during the song’s climax. During the conclusion, the band digitally slow and distort the word ‘down’, an element used again on closer Downtown. Here, the band employ a more lo-fi sound, with echoey vocals and a reverberating synth sound. The distorted vocal sound is interesting, achieving the effect of recordings slowing down when the
batteries in a walkman are running low. On this EP, Boy On Guitar create simple, enjoyable pop songs. Their execution is perfect, and the EP surpassed my expectations by far. The natural, gentle vocals are excellently set to the band’s folk and indie influences to create a soothing and uplifting release. We Wait is out on April 18th via the band’s own label Ronald Records. - Paul Ryan
Pure M Issue 6/2015
Tell No Foxx are a three piece ensemble from County Wicklow in Ireland whose genre has been referred to as everything from alternative electric to gloom pop. Collaborating together since 2012, members Luke Lacey, Johnny Flood and Brian Sillery went through two years of composing and honing their talent in Luke’s very own homemade studio. Following the release of their self-titled inaugural EP in July of last year, the band are now back on the scene with new single “Dust”. This latest offering introduces itself rather playfully, emitting an airy ambience via sporadic synth effects and ethereal keys. It takes its time settling in, gradually getting to grips with itself as it develops. Some slow but decisive percussion enters the fold just ahead of the minute mark, while the instrumentation takes a mellow and affecting turn. By the time resonant vocals set in and proceed to narrate the sombre lyrics through the verse, a serene and reflective atmosphere has been well established. The piece grows in stature considerably for the chorus, during which a haunting harmony combines with chilling instrumental elements to radiate an otherworldly aura. There’s a great deal of depth and emotion surrounding the heavy content. A strong sense of torment and sorrow persists throughout, allowing for an incredibly contemplative and introspective vibe. It really feels like Tell No Foxx have put their hearts and souls into the creation of this composition. It seems very carefully and thoughtfully constructed. There’s also a lot of selfassuredness about the execution. These guys appear to know exactly what kind of sound for which they are aiming and are extremely confident in carrying it out. You can sample “Dust” for yourself now on the band’s Soundcloud page. - Dave Simpson
R & B act Deliah was first conceived when vocalist Michelle Harris met guitarist Alex Dopierala while trying out for entry to the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Their latest single, “Any Last Words”, sails straight into a strikingly smooth harmony ahead of bursting into a bout of boisterous instrumentation. It adopts a quick pace as it progresses, featuring plenty of guitars and percussion that afford it a lot of character. The consistently stunning vocal work perfectly complements the jazzy riffs as they develop towards a vigorous climax before fading out and lingering. The new track is available for streaming on Soundcloud, along with several other pieces, the first of which is entitled “Spying on Life”. Beginning with a mellow musical introduction, it leads into a stirring melody brought to life by vibrant vocals that go on to demonstrate an amazingly wide range. Its cool and collected approach gives off a self-assured, resolute attitude. Of the final two offerings, acoustic demo “Talk Tonight” is very stripped down instrumentally, once again exhibiting a passionate, heartfelt harmony that steals the show. “This Is A Waste” carries a similar vibe, but is slightly funkier than its predecessor, differentiating itself with a well executed duet during the chorus. Judging by the material here, and “Any Last Words” in particular, it would be hard to guess that Deliah are still a relatively new band on the scene. They’ve managed to forge a very accomplished style that’s enacted with a great deal of professionalism. It makes for quite an impactful listen and its radio friendly sound should set the duo off towards a bright future. - Dave Simpson
Originally from the Welsh town of Dinas Powys, musician Grace Hartrey specialises in a brand of folk that utilises finger style guitar work. After spending the last few years making a name for herself around her homeland, she has now begun to share her music across the rest of the UK. Already, she has succeeded in making her mark on the Liverpool live scene, as well as having performed at the O2 in London. Recently, the singer/songwriter released her debut single, “King and Queens”. Bursting to life with a jubilant acoustic riff, the track immediately establishes an upbeat and cheerful atmosphere. This is soon emphasized by lively and vivacious vocals that are irresistibly absorbing. The stripped down, simple approach works wonderfully well, swelling with passion and enthusiasm. Its festive and merry execution is sure to brighten even the darkest of moods. “Kings and Queens” is available for download on iTunes now, along with companion piece “Hazel Grows”. This B-Side fades into hushed guitar work that continues to unfold subtly behind beautiful vocals during the verse. The pleasant and relaxing rhythm builds slowly as it progresses. It eventually grows to an immense climax loaded with affecting instrumentation and a choir like harmony that puts a spectacular cap on the proceedings. The musical and vocal talent displayed by Grace Hartrey throughout these two compositions is astounding. Her ability to craft marvelously uplifting and poignant melodies doesn’t leave you doubting that she belongs in the music industry. If you don’t experience these songs for yourself, then you really are missing out on something amazing. - Dave Simpson
After listening to Helena Johnson’s ‘Take Me Home Tonight’, I can say with confidence that it is quite simply a beautiful piece of music. Pulling you in from even the first piano chord, you’re immediately introduced to the impressive vocal talent that she has to offer. A student at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, her voice is seemingly effortless as she glides through her latest offering, taking listeners with her through a perfectly crafted musical arrangement. Her stand-alone vocals with a piano accompaniment slowly build to a more ample sound so that a nice touch of drums and strings can be welcomed into the mix, and it works so so well. There’s also a short a cappella section with backing singers that further showcases how powerful Helena is as a vocalist, and definitely adds some extra brownie points to the arrangement of the song itself. As she informs us that ‘In this life I have no regrets, so take me back to where we first met‘, you’re reminded that this superb offering is also here to tell a story, and with a combination of her own efforts and also the skilled band input, they’ve created a unique sound that does just that. I envisage Helena playing to packed out theatres with a full band to her side, a suits and long dresses affair with powerful performances and elegant hand gestures as she politely thanks the audience for their time. A definite one to watch for this year. Bravo. - Nicole Leggett
One Horse Pony are a hard driving acoustic blues band based in cork comprised of a mix of Irish, French, and Polish musicians. One Horse Pony have their own fresh take on blues, fusing the usual assortment of harmonica, double-bass, and soulful guitar with traditional Irish instruments such as the bodhran for a more characterful sound. ‘Staring Blues’ is a good old blues anthem of lost love, heartache, and pining. The fire and brimstone vocals wail a ragged pining for the woman who left him maudlin and alone. A pretty standard blues affair. Despite this One Horse Pony have a unique charm that sets them apart from the crowd. The vocals while suitably raspy, have a vulnerable quality. A rattling rhythm trundles along with a bouncy energy. A swampy guitar riff flows through the song with a laid back flow, the lead twangs and slides across the main riff with the very epitome of a blues melody. A whining harmonica interjects the vocals, matching their ennui and emphasising the theme of lethargy, love, and loss. If you like your blues rugged yet vulnerable then ‘Staring Blues’ fits the order nicely. Culture Editor - Kyle Mulholland
“Take a Bow”, the Mancunian band’s single prior to a UK tour stretching to the start of June is a promising track and will be sure to please crowds when performed live. The song is introduced with a powerful riff that synchronises with percussion to an extent that suggests a decent level of proficiency by the band, but it feels like the melody is not catchy enough to stand up to the impressive energy provided by the band. The verse is arguably the most pleasant section of the song as it nicely utilises a temporary emission of the guitar to allow Gary Nelson’s likeable vocals to take over. Nelson’s vocal style is not particularly distinctive but it suits The Reveurs understated type of music. One can notice influences, The Kings of Leon and The Strokes, as professed by the band, while still maintaining their own unique style. The riff bursts back into the song and the chorus aims to elevate the song to a level that will leave you humming after listening to it, but the lyrical melody just about falls short. “Take a Bow” is a well-structured song and can boast a good balance between the instrumental inputs from all of the band members. While the melody is not particularly mind-blowing there is definitely substance to it. - Tadhg Collins
Belfast-based Duke Special returns with his new album Look Out Machines! on April 3rd. Lead single Nail on the Head is a tantalising taste of what we can expect from the Award-winning singer-songwriter and pianist. Since coming to the public’s attention over a decade ago, Duke Special has consistently experimented with new musical styles and expanded his horizons, while maintaining a unique and original sound. This latest single is no change and looks set to dominate the airwaves both at home and abroad over the coming months. Nail on the Head takes the listener on a whimsical journey through orchestral backdrops, 1980’s synthpop and military drumming, with Duke’s signature piano and sweet vocals guiding the way. The suitably quirky video shows Duke performing the song in a large, old-looking house, his audience consisting only of a young woman in a native American style headdress dancing along. Duke Special’s unique image has set him apart from all other musicians in the country, often being as much of a talking point as his music itself. However, he has shown himself to be a prolific and constantly inventive musician, and this new single shows no sign of his fascinating talent letting up. - Paul Ryan
Kevin Casey released his new single I Was Wrong, and it’s a breath of fresh air. The track has a great, get-up-and-go feel to it, especially in the singalong chorus. Casey’s vocals are strong, and he’s backed by a brilliant band that keep the song flowing perfectly. There’s a line near the beginning, “since I’ve been alone, in the California sun” which perfectly encapsulates the sound of the track. Close your eyes and you can forget about being stuck in chilly Ireland for a few minutes, and imagine yourself somewhere else. Because that’s what the track feels like. The backing vocals toward the end of the song add an extra layer of immensity that brings the song to a dramatic close. Worth checking out as well, is Casey’s 2014 EP ‘My Share’. Five tracks packed full of emotion, that sees the musician taking stock of modern Ireland and realising that all is not well. Stand-outs include the thrilling title track as well as the more stripped back number I’ll Be Back Someday. Deputy Editor - Jason Coulter
Acoustic Fires is the project of Irish singersongwriter Stephen Rainey. His latest release, ‘These Tears’ is an acoustic guitar-led pop ballad which despite a good vocal performance, ultimately fails to rise above mediocrity for me. A post-break up song of heartbreak and loss, this song is very easy listening. Rainey has a nice quality in his voice, particularly in his falsetto. The lyrics, for me, unfortunately, were quite cliché, and despite expressing a sense of loss and sorrow, Rainey failed to convey this in his performance. Musically, while pleasant and easy on the ears, this song does little to make it stand out. It is fairly standard acoustic pop, and takes in little outside or contemporary influence. While modern pop music takes much from R&B and even hip-hop,
here we see little diversity, and I would like to see Rainey perhaps pump some of this excitement into his sound. Right now, the standard of pop music is very high, with the likes of Bruno Mars electrifying audiences and Ed Sheeran accumulating legions of fans with his stripped-back, intimate style and personal lyrics. While ‘These Tears’ is by no means a bad song, I feel Rainey is capable of much better. All the ingredients are present, he is clearly a decent musician, potentially a very good songwriter and definitely a naturally talented vocalist. I would like to see him do more with his vocals on future releases, and perhaps think of incorporating more contemporary influences into his music. - Paul Ryan
Silent Noise Parade
Hello, Pure M-aniacs (yes, I’m coining that and if you don't like it, you're already streets behind) are you sitting comfortably? Good. Let me tell you all a story about a little band from the faraway land of Cleethorpes, a seaside town just outside of Grimsby, Grimsby; yes, there’s a place more depressing than Slough (the word grim is actually in the fucking name and that can’t just be a coincidence) this band is called the Brookes and they have a single called Lucy out and while we’re a little behind on the breaking news front, we have an in-depth, ball-deep analysis for you, just to set us apart from the ravenous ‘first’s you tend to see on this internet nowadays. Lucy opens up with a Paranoid-era Tony Iommi guitar tone, a reverberating bass note and a kick thumping metronomically like the four-man rock groups of those glorious, scuzzy olden days, except with one slight difference it’s new and it’s from the minds and fingertips of teenagers on second thoughts. Maybe that’s not all that different or new for rock, but this isn’t rock as you knew it, you see, it’s indie rock’s entitled little brother that spends way too much time listening to what NME has to say sure, they foray into rock. But my gut’s telling me it’s still very much indie, along the lines of (and I’m sure the comparison’s already been drawn before) Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys (not that any up-and-coming band would ever shy away from such a comparison) but I digress Lucy’s packed full of energy and you’d expect nothing less from a group of seventeen year olds. In fact, if they were writing melodic folk or pan flute ambience, that would probably warrant an intervention of some sort, so leather jacket-clad rebellion and in your face, loud as fuck guitar, bass, and drum is the ever-appropriate ticket. Let me talk about the vocals - Ben Keal, seemingly channelling any number of brit-pop, indie, and recent garage-rock frontmen (I hear anything from Casablancas to Doherty to Turner in this track alone, and no, I couldn’t think of anyone appropriate whose name begins with A or Z off the top of my head). However, there is something a little grittier about the vocal, and even
the lead guitar overdubs, that scream rock n’ roll at me more than indie. But let’s not get caught up painting with a monochromatic genre brush it’s a decent song with some catchy hooks, tidy musicianship, and the fundamentals there to be built upon. Which I’m sure will come with experience. Shape of You is a different beast to the ampcranking, adrenaline-pumping eponymous track. If Lucy says ‘take it for what it is, we can rock it out as well as the next guys’, Shape of You begs you to slow down a little and appreciate the fact that these boys can really write (the calm after the storm springs to mind, but it doesn’t ring through wholly, as Shape of You is not exactly what you’d call calm so much as undulating, nor was Lucy quite the full catastrophic storm to end all storms before it’s a shift in mood, a shift in presence, and a shift in dynamic and personally. I think for the better given that it has a real maturity to it its predecessor hadn’t. You can’t go wrong with an up-tempo rocker, as long as it’s genuine enough there’s not much to fuck up, but something a little more high-concept (maybe not even remotely high-concept as Kashmir or Coma, but definitely a departure from the norm) like our second track here has a lot more on the line and a lot more room for error. It’s why a tune like Kasabian’s ‘Club Foot’ doesn’t come along too often when you can rattle out a hundred songs that you could compare the ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor’ his is the former well executed, thoughtfully composed, and still heavy enough that you don’t feel like a pussy listening to it on the bus cranked up to 11. These guys are only going to get better, if you ask me they’ve come out with a pair of solid tunes and I’m interested to hear the album, whenever it is that that comes along it’s a promising start, let’s see if they can build on it I feel, however, they could be limited drawing influences from purely modern groups, there’s a wealth of depth waiting for them a little further back as the panther once said: think punk. - Jonathan Monahan
Sirens is the new single from four piece Limerick alternative/synth group, Silent Noise Parade’s, forthcoming album. Since the release of their critically acclaimed album in 2013, life has been sweet for the guys. They supported The Heathers and The Riptide movement on recent tours, nationwide air play of the epic tunes Fears and In the Garden, use of said song Fears for promotional videos by Sky Sports, Scandinavian TV and RTE and to top it off a performance at Irelands favourite festival The Electric Picnic! Sirens is quite the departure from the previous sound of Silent Noise Parade. The band describes their style as “dark lyrical themes wrapped with lively upbeat tunes splashed across a morose and melancholic backdrop”. Sirens has the dark lyrical themes with the melancholic backdrop but the
My Favourite Runner Up has recently released the second single from their 2014 album, ‘Crossroads’. “Never Again” was released on the 6th of March and follows their first single from that album, “Poison”. The pop punk quartet, comprised of Chris Evans, Tom Carr, Lee Walker and Tom Hawkes, have enjoyed consistent and increased exposure in early 2015 with a recent tour of the U.K. which promoted the full-length album and new single.. I enjoyed this song concerning lost love and no more chances. There is no real intro to the song with maybe four or five bars of descending notes on the electric guitar before the lyrics kick in. This song starts off at a high tempo and stays with this
throughout the song, slowing down briefly in the bridge and pre-chorus. These breaks in the pace of the song lead nicely into the chorus. Overall the song is solid and a catchy, cool song that I have listened to four or five times now but there is nothing there to make it a special song that will stick in the memory for a long time. While the verse leads nicely into the chorus and the vocals of the song are excellent, it is a bit repetitive with the same form all the way through. It’s not a special song, but it’s a good song. Compared to the first single from ‘Crossroads’, “Poison”, this song is not as upbeat as the theme of lost love weighs heavily on the feeling given from the song. This translates into the video,
which shows a man grow increasingly frustrated with a lost friend or a lost flame with her new boyfriend and saying, “Baby you will never ever get better than me”. However, although the song is not dealing with a happy subject matter, we don’t really get the feeling from listening to it that this is a serious topic. The feeling I get is of relief for the guy in the video that he can let her go. Without delving into the meanings behind every single facial expression matched with a lyric from the song(I study English, I’m sorry), this song will do My Favourite Runner Up good in their quest for notoriety as it is a catchy tune and a good one to throw on every once in a while. - Cian Dalton
My Favourite Runner Up Never Again
song, which starts off slow and down tempo pretty much continues like this throughout. The lead singer has haunting tone to carry it through and after the first listen I found myself compelled to stick it on again for another go. I even went on the search for any upcoming gigs they might be doing. Sirens is a fine single overall. It has a nice chilled vibe and with summer around the corner I could definitely envisage myself soaking up the rays at a festival or beer garden, mojito in hand, with this tune as an essential part of my soundtrack. I don’t think I would stick it on to get a party started but for a come down Sunday or chilling in the sun with a beverage with some mates, it would be perfect. A good teaser track which left me looking forward to the rest of the album. - Rose Flood
Pure M Issue 6/2015
Dead Shed Jokers
This week’s album was an unusual one for sure. It is the second, self-titled, album by Dead Shed Jokers. It is to be released on Monday the 13th of April 2015 under the record label Pity My Brain Records. Their line up consists of Hywel Davies (vocals), Nicky Bryant (guitar), Kristian Evans (guitar), Luke Cook (bass) and Ashley Jones (drums). At first the cover caught my eye, it literally looks like plans written on the wall of a shed. This was a clever idea to go with the name of the band and album. There are eight tracks in total, and a lot of their names also grabbed my attention. They all looked like they were going to be heavy before even listening to them… and that they were. The whole genre of the album was hard to grasp. It had influences from metal, rock, punk and sometimes even elements of blues and jazz could be heard. Maybe alternative rock would be a good way to put it? But I’m still not so sure. The opening track was a great choice for an opener; it really set the bar for what was to come. It’s heavy, loud and angry, yet very melodic. It is titled Dafydd’s Song. It kicks off with heavy guitar, bass and drums, just beating out the rhythm and grasping all your attention. I felt that the vocalist’s voice suited this heavy music perfectly. He was well able to keep up with the volume and intensity of the other instruments. At about three minutes there is an awesome, quite bluesy guitar solo, which is followed by another at five minutes. Overall this track was a killer opener and really made me eager to hear the rest of the album. Another track that really stood out to me was one named Memoirs of Mr. Bryant. The build up to this song was fantastic, beginning with just guitar and vocals as slowly more is added. A heavier guitar riff first, followed by drums and suddenly,
boom, the song just hits you in the face. It’s a head banger for sure, with amazing rhythm throughout. It also has really nice, quiet, more melodic parts that make you lean closer and give it an intimate feel… but just to fool you so it can knock you back down once again. The vocals remind me of a song called My War by a band called Black Flag. They had the same desperation and emotion shown by that singer. The end of this song was the most unusual part for me. The music stops and the members of the band are just singing a melody “da da da da da da da” which is creepy and haunting, it’s almost like a haunted circus. There’s no doubt this is an awesome track. The closing track Exit Stage Left (Applause) was a bit of a shock to me, because it was almost like a ballad. It is soft and relaxing compared to the rest of the album, it was a really great way to end such a great album. The guitar is playing a beautiful chord progression while the bass brings a nice foundation to the song. The vocalist also shows off his capability of singing intimately, which was great. Once the drums come in the songs builds to form a climax that sends chills down your spine. It was a great ending to this great album. But take my word for it, just when you think it’s over keep listening… that’s all I will say. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this album. I’m going to give it four and a half out of five. It intrigued, confused, entertained and inspired me. It was so heavy and full of attitude. It really brought back the whole idea of music being in your face. You don’t have to like it, you just have to listen to it, because this album kicks ass and forces you to like it. If you like any sort of music with an element of metal and rock to it, you’re definitely going to like this album. It’s edgy, full of attitude and in your face. - Mark Aherne
Murdock’s band motto states ‘IF YOU’RE NOT BLEEDING OR EXHAUSTED, WHAT’S THE POINT?’ Let this serve as a warning as to what you’re getting yourself into with the Dublin three piece’s new album Dead Lung. With a sound rooted in hardcore, and encompassing elements of mathcore, punk, metal and jazz, this album is by no means a walk in the park. The vocals are growled and shouted over ferocious riffing, with time signatures changing with no prior warning and elaborate tangents flying off left right and centre. The band’s tightness and precision in creating such complexity, and it must be said; insanity, is both impressive and terrifying. Opening track ‘Deer Noises’ bears a resemblance to the likes of the noisy, discordant Dillinger Escape Plan. The melodic breaks are more like eyes of the storm than opportunities to catch your breath, you always know there’s an aural pummeling waiting for you just around the corner After a hectic opening on ‘I Am Not A Continent’, at times you almost feel confident enough to nod along, but don’t! It’s a trap! This song is Jekyll, Hyde and all his friends and family rolled into a four and a half minute whirlwind of madness. ‘Narrowcasting’ is reminiscent of Converge’s album ‘Axe To Fall’. The muted chords and creepy whispered vocals create a sense of despair, before the band launch into a heavy chorus. Followed by a short classic rock solo, this song has the most easily discernible structure of the album so far,
while still maintaining the band’s penchant for time changes and tangential riffing ’51 West 95th St.’ introduces itself as a soft jazz number, before building into a post-rock sound and ending on a hyperspeed math rock riff, all in under a minute and a half. Nice! ‘The Signal In The Noise’ is an apt summary of the album. With a mathcore base again reminiscent of early Dillinger Escape Plan, the song moves through classic punk, old school hardcore and even has a brief jazz flourish. It’s a beast with many heads and all the stability of a house built from cardboard on a fault line during tornado season. The penultimate track ‘Nineteeneightyfive’ is a slow-paced instrumental piece, beginning quietly, yet menacingly and building into a heavy riff before slowing down and leading seamlessly into closer ‘Monographia’. These two tracks together show a change in direction for Murdock to a more post-rock influenced sound, perhaps to be built on in future releases. ‘Monographia’ is an altogether more toned-down affair, with gentle melodic vocals and bearing somewhat of a resemblance to the likes of Isis and Neurosis. This album, while definitely not for everyone, is a must-listen for fans of metal and hardcore. For a trio, Murdock display an enormous sound and are very tight and musically diverse. Their live show is a raucous and volatile experience, and these lads look set to make an impact on the international stage. -Paul Ryan
Arctic Monkeys or The Killers heavier offerings. Although a similar high standard is not maintained throughout the entire album Afraid of Everything, Are we still here and the stripped down Intermission are all worth a listen and demonstrate the bands songwriting maturity and that they are no one trick pony. Overall a strong debut from Constables, littered with some great tracks which all tend to have an anthemic, forward pull . Although Constables demonstrate versatility, it does not always pay off on Complex Sex and it will be exciting to see how they develop. - Ger McAuley
Since their formation in October 2013, Irish folk ensemble The Longtails have endeavoured to make a name for themselves by embracing their homeland’s live scene. Playing renowned native venues such as Sin É, Sweeneys and Whelans, it was at the latter that the fivesome launched their debut EP, Lindsay Road, on the night of Saturday February 28th. Recorded during the summer of last year at Panchord Studio in Dublin, the five track compilation sails in atop the pleasant piano keys of “A Song with No Name”. The instrumentation is soon combined with a warm melody to give off a relaxing aura before the piece hits a lively musical peak in the middle. A gentle acoustic riff guides “A Man of the People” into a placid harmony. The pace is steady but tranquil, being sustained by an abundance of instrumental elements that meld well with both each other and the vocals. “Sound of the Rail” follows on by taking a more reserved approach,
beginning with slowly developing guitar and banjo work. This comparatively simple ballad is stirring in its simplicity. “My Glass Is Not Half Empty” arrives with a fast riff that storms into fierce vocals. A furiously resolute demeanour persists throughout, maintained by wonderfully recalcitrant lyrics and vigorous instrumentation. The tone does a complete turnaround for the cheery “Dream No. 18”. A buoyant banjo skips towards a merry melody, emanating a bright and sunny disposition. Its stripped down, lighthearted execution puts an uplifting cap on the proceedings. The Longtails have crafted an innocuous sound that’s very easy on the ears and should find favour with a wide audience. Their inaugural EP is a delightful collection of serene folk compositions that are all but guaranteed to soothe the senses and brighten your mood. - Dave Simpson
Hailing from Helsinki comes the debut album from Finnish indie rockers Constables. Complex Sex is true to its title, boasting a sound that is equally varied, intricate and full of virility. The quality of songs on offer can be a little hit and miss but overall this album is sure to win them many admirers. Constables wear their influences with pride throughout Complex Sex whilst never being afraid to delve into different moods. The delay soaked, contrapuntal guitars play off each other throughout many of the albums 10 tracks, recalling some of U2’s and Franz Ferdinands finer moments. The attitude mainly comes from the very tight rhythm section which benefits greatly from the space provided in the mix by the guitar style and relentlessly pulls the listener in. Complex Sex sets a high standard from the start, the hypnotic guitar riffs combine beautifully with the emotive and sometimes gritty vocals on opening track Citizens of Yesterday whilst standout track Saliva Bubbles is an anthemic number which boasts bite and attitude much like
The Never Ending Pageant
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Kris Delmhorst has been living and working in Boston Massachusetts for the last twenty years. This latest release Blood Test, is her seventh studio album since her first record ‘Appetite’ in 1998. Delmhorst is a remarkably prolific artist in the Bostonian folk scene, working both as a collaborator and writing original work. Characterised by a smoky voice and a subtle approach to song writing, Delmhorst represents the intelligent side of American folk music, along the same vein as Joni Mitchell, Woody Guthrie with elements of Neil Young or Bruce Springsteen. Blood Test is Delmhorst’s first record of original songs since the birth of her daughter in 2008. While the album is not explicitly about parenthood, it does explore the changes in perspective and outlook that having a child creates in a person. Thematically speaking, this album studies the effects of the fast pace of modern life on the slower, more measured speed of nature. There is a distinct plea for people to return to a
more pastoral way of life, to be in touch with the land and to be aware of its limitations and breaking points. Joining Delmhorst on this record is old friend and brand new collaborator Anders Parker, along with drummer Konrad Meissner and Mark Spencer (multi-instrumentalist). The titular track ‘Blood Test’ is the opener, sparse and plaint which sets the tone of the album. The simplicity of the vocal line gives a platform to Delmhorsts expansive voice somewhere between Gillian Welch and Alynda Lee Sagarra in quality. In terms of lyrics, this song echoes the overarching theme of the record, which is the ever increasing reliance on artificial means to explain the human condition. “It’s a blood test…. to tell me how you feel…” This sentiment is reaffirmed in ‘Bees’, one of the highlights of the album. This song, with its melodically elegant vocal line, allows Delmhorst the space for her plaintive voice to soar, particularly in the octave leaps in the chorus. The relentlessly churning run of thoughts in the
twenty-first century mind is the inspiration for this pensive lament. The endless buzzing in this modern hive of ours is preventing us from enjoying life in all its splendour. In her own words, Delmhorst has stated that she wanted this album to be a minimalist effort, free from unnecessary baggage cluttering up the soundscape. “I was focused on paring things down to their elements, less flesh, more bone… letting the imperfections be part of the story”. This is a very apt description. However, instead of bones, the core structure of this album is more like the mast of the ship, with the lightness of voice and malleability of song writing acting as the sails – seemingly gentle and subtle, but in actuality is the resisting force with which allows movement against the elements. In short, Kris Delmhorst is up to her old tricks of being a sentinel of clever alternative folk, paired with a haunting voice and insightful lyrics. As ever, she represents the eye of the storm. - News Editor/Sarah Swinburne
Colin Clyne has been fairly successful in the past number of years having won Best Acoustic Act at the San Diego Music awards and opened for the likes of Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The Never Ending Pageant is the latest studio album from the Scottish folk rocker following his 2010 release, Doricana. This album opens up with a lively number in ‘Merry Go Round’. It carries the sound of a classic folk rock anthem with a catchy chorus and some neat little breaks between choruses and verses, as well as some fairly engaging lyrics, particularly in the bridge. It’s quite a solid opening track and does a decent job of encouraging you to keep listening. It must be said that Clyne’s style has some uniqueness about it. He is a folk singer but perhaps there’s a little more going on here, hints of rock, pop and there is a definite Celtic flavour to a lot of his music. There are certainly elements of Dylan in a number of tracks here, including the title track of the album. ‘The Never Ending Pageant’ may begin with an intro akin to ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ but the lyrics suggest it’s quite a personal song and in spite of any similarities it remains quite distinct and as such is enjoyable in its own right. ‘Playing God’ is my highlight for this album simply because it’s the one which stuck in my mind the most. Clyne clearly has talent; we know this from his past accolades and achievements. This album only further proves his credentials as a very strong folk artist but this song in particular demonstrates best that he can bring that little bit more to the table. It still has clear elements of folk but there’s a little bit of grunge or post-rock in there too and it sounds great. All in all this is a very solid collection of songs making it a good album. It’s worthy of a listen, especially if folk/country/Americana is your thing. It’s a very well-produced and well put together album. - Michael O'Toole
Kingdom of Crows is a Dublin-based five-piece alternative rock band with a spacy, atmospheric twist. Their new single is an unusual take on Blondie’s 1980 punk-pop classic ‘Call Me’, taking the song down a previously unexplored and a more textured route. Beginning slowly, with a soft guitar sound and breezy, ethereal vocals, it’s clear from the off that this isn’t going to be a straight-forward cover. The band add a psychedelic element to the New York punks’ hit, with the accompaniment of a suitably trippy HD visualisation video, altering the arrangement, vocal delivery and tempo of the original. Leading up to the chorus the band teasingly hint at a punk sound, with distorted power chords and sped-up drums, instead transitioning into a quiet, 60’s psychedelia influenced chorus. Eventually the listener is treated to the raucous sound suggested earlier, providing a heavy climax to the song. The atonal guitar solo in the outro is a welcome departure from that of the original, bringing the cover to a strongly hard rock influenced conclusion. Kingdom of Crows have a wide range of influences on display here, and a sound that will appeal to fans of everyone from Jefferson Airplane and The Doors to Florence and the Machine, via Goat and Nirvana. The guitarist brings a 1960’s and 70’s classic and psychedelic rock style, something I’d like to see the band build on in future releases. Overall ‘Call Me’ is a promising effort, with some tweaking and general tightening up required, marking this band as one to watch out for in the near future. -Paul Ryan
“Meridian Sway” formed in 2014 when five friends decided they wanted to start a band and share their passion for music. On March 5th this year they released their first record. A three track EP titled All for Nothing. As they say themselves in their bio, you can’t really pigeon hole what exact genre of music they play. It’s definitely fresh and undoubtedly original. If I were to describe the EP I would say rock, with a very melodic and almost dreamlike twist. I fully enjoyed listening to this EP, I’m really glad that I had the chance to hear it. The whole band plays consistently well throughout each song. You can tell that they blend well and work well together just by listening to it. The entire EP has a dreamlike feel to it and a mellow laid back atmosphere. I particularly thought this about the song Nothing. The whole song feels like a dream whilst listening to it. Whether it’s the laid back bass by Kevin Nsingi-Monroe or the relaxed guitar riff, you can’t help but feel a sense of peace. The guitar solo in this song sounds miles away, but in a good way. It’s like the lead guitarist, Derek Coffey, is transporting you to another plane. The tone of the guitar in the solo in Lion’s Den I thought was familiar. It reminded me of Hendrix or Black Sabbath, a very vintage sound. Another element I enjoyed was the drumming of Darragh Walsh. It was played so solid and strong, but in such a way that none of the other instruments were overpowered. The build up and use of dynamics in the opening track; Lion’s Den were very ear catching. The song starts off at one level and then it builds and builds in volume. At the same time other instruments added every few
bars create even more of a build up. The rhythm section without a doubt throughout this EP are outstanding. If I was to find one fault however, I felt that the bass guitar could have been turned up slightly more in the mix. It was difficult to hear at times. Now to the vocals, the two singers Maurice Price and Shauna Rahaman were excellent. Both their melodies and harmonies during the EP were impossible not to enjoy. They were memorable and sort of haunting in a pleasant sense. The lyrics in Nothing were so meaningful in my opinion. It was easy to relate to and find meaning
in them. The second verse in Lion’s Den has a type of call and answer section where the singers intertwine and it adds a lot of emotion and soul to the song. The vocals were unforgettable on this one. Overall the EP was incredible. It was entertaining and easy to listen to. I would recommend this EP to anyone, no matter what they listen to. I would also give it four out of five stars. It is original and creative. It’s like they have brought a new life to rock. They’ve taken what has been in the past and made it their own. - Mark Aherne
Kingdom of Crows
Pure M Issue 6/2015
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