The Manc Tank
4 Scene & Heard 14-16 17-23 24-25 26-27
Dimestore Recordings Saucy Sundays The Ruby Sessions BIOT
28-37 38-51 52-53 54
Irish Album/EP Reviews International Album/EP Reviews Single Reviews December 4x4
2am Orchestra 10
EDITORIAL What a fantastic 12 months it has been here for us at U&I Music Magazine. We started off with the intention of producing a high quality that would reflect how good the grass roots music scene in Dublin and Ireland. That is exactly what we did and what we will continue to do throughout 2014. From our small and modest initial issue we have grown to a magazine with over 85,000 readers each month. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us through 2013. In addition to establishing ourselves firmly as an independent magazine we also expanded our co-op network this year. That saw us develop a network in Israel back in January. We then showed what the music scene in that part of the world by having LEGO LEPRICONS included on the bill for DIMESTORE RECORDINGS fourth birthday in June. We then developed further co-ops in the United States, China and a further seven in Australia. So all in all it was a great year for us. 2014 will see us continue to pick where we have left off with new co-ops set to be established in Canada and we also intend to further establish things in the UK with a network in the North-East of the country also set to come to being at some stage. What we also intend to do with our magazine in the UK is to develop an edition of the magazine in Liverpool. We will be on the ground on the 21st of this month to begin putting the wheels in motion for that. We have been working behind the scenes on making this happen since May and we are very pleased with how it is progressing. We will then look to follow that up with a Manchester based edition of the magazine shortly after. In addition to this we will be looking to extend the magazine in Dublin with a YouTube based project called “Station-To- Station TV”. This has also been in the pipeline for some time and we are making excellent progress towards getting that off the ground. We intend to continue to have a presence on the Dublin music scene this coming month. We will be running our “10 Bands Of Christmas” feature this year. We will randomly choose 10 of the acts performing at this year’s Dame District and include it in our upcoming “Little Christmas” special edition. All that is left to say is we would to wish all our readers a very Happy Christmas. Phillip Ó’ Baoighealláin Editor-In-Chief
he 2013 King Kong Club saw 172 bands battle it out for the first prize. Obviously it was a competition that a lot of upcoming bands took seriously. How does it feel to have won? It's an incredible feeling. We always knew there was a small chance of winning but it was such a long time between the semi-final and final itself. We'd almost forgotten about it and it
crept up on us. We had been to a few of the other Semi-finals too and had seen the likes of Sugar Cane Flame and Midnight Union Band progress, so we knew it would be tough competition. You came through a rather tough semi-final with a lot of good bands playing against you on the night. How were you in the weeks leading up to the final itself? When the dust settled on it, how do you think the night went before you were announced as winners? Yeah, there were a lot of good acts in our semi-final and it ended up going down to a clap off. We were lucky in the end that the Wicklow faithful were loudest on the night. As we said, the final crept up on us. It was only about two weeks before we got word from Keiron and the organisers of the date and straight away the nerves and excitement kicked in. On the night it was just great to be playing alongside so many talented bands in such a brilliant venue as The Village. Again it was encouraging to have so many people there to support us and it was the most enjoyable gig we've played to date. You are a band that have been together a reasonable amount of time, but at the same time are still relatively new. How did the band get together in the first place? We have been friends since we were all very young and have been in numerous bands which haven't been taken majorly seriously. But when we got together as The Daily Howl in March this year, everything seemed to fit into place perfectly and song writing came naturally. We were lucky to get involved in the King Kong Club in the first few months of our formation. That really kicked us on. It made us knuckle down and get our tracks performance ready. Do you still feel that you are learning as a band? Of course, we will always be learning. We are
always finding new music and new bands, and so the more we experience, the more capable we are in our own writing and performing. Also, the more we play together, the more we learn about each other as musicians, and so we are always trying to improve and grow. Has the win sunk in yet? Will it change what you want to achieve as a band or will it see you bring things forward now that would not necessarily have been an immediate choice for you? The win is still sinking in. I think we're still buzzing from it. We had intended to record our debut E.P. in January 2014, but with this win we hope to get an entire album recorded in Portugal. So in this respect it has brought our plans forward. We have started rehearsing two or three times a week in order to get everything prepared, and we are very excited. We had always hoped to do the festival circuit this summer. We hope that with our King Kong Club victory, and a full album under our belt, this will be all the more possible for us. Ultimately though, we really have to express our thanks and
gratitude to Kieron and all the crew at the King Kong Club, and encourage any band that gets the chance to enter the competition. One of the things that we noticed about you was that you got in and did some recording from a very early stage as a band. How important was it for you to all get into the studio to make something happen? We are very lucky and thankful that we are good friends with Simon from Box Room Recording. We were able to record high quality demos as soon as we had material written. For us this was very important, as in order for us to promote ourselves people needed to hear our material. On the back of our recordings we were able to secure gigs around Dublin in the Mezz, Sweeneys, The Mercantile, and in the Patch in 4 Dame Lane. Also, for us, the best way to test our work was to put it out there for people to hear. Luckily the reactions were pretty positive! As a band, how does the writing process start and end when you get into the studio?
we got together as The Daily Howl in March this year, everything seemed to fit into place perfectly and song writing came naturally
What is the process for when a new song idea comes up? In our group, primarily, the song ideas come from one of our two vocalists, Sean and Ciaran. This is usually lyrics, a vocal melody, and a chord structure. These components provide us with a great foundation to work on in our rehearsal space. When we all get together we share ideas and suggestions for the songs… flesh them out with our respective parts. Vocal harmonies are also very important to the band, and so these are usually worked on separately also. We have been seeing a lot of good bands from Wicklow lately. There is something about the scene out there at the moment because it is turning out a number of fine acts across a lot of different genres of music. How do you see the current scene out there and what would you attribute it to? Wicklow has always had a lot of talented musicians. We all grew up admiring and
listening to a lot of local acts and that is part of what has inspired us to make our music. One of our favourite local bands, Bocs Social, actually won the King Kong Club a few years back, which gave us the confidence to enter. A lot of the music pubs in Wicklow town are willing to give gigs to original acts too, which plays a big part in developing a music scene. In the recent past we have done local gigs with other great bands from Wicklow such as DAYDREAM REGIME, TELL NO FOXX and THE LAST MONROES. Bands like these inspire us to push on and try to make our music the best we can. If you get that vibe of friendly competition in an area or in a field, where everyone wants each other to do well but you also look to do one better than the others. That's a great situation to be in. There's no point in us accepting weak songs because they wouldn't be listened to with such great alternatives around the place, so you try to rise to the challenge. It makes everyone stronger. Are there any bands out there that you would look up to and would love to play with?
Apart from the aforementioned bands there are a lot of bands who we would follow quite closely. Previous King Kong Club winners RAGLANS and THE HOT SPROCKETS would be two bands that we keep a close eye on as we hope to replicate their success following the win. We were lucky enough to play with THE CUJO FAMILY this summer at The Greystones Americana and Roots festival and would love to do it again as their music would be a big influence. What is going to come next for the band? Well at the moment we are going to finish writing our album, and then record it in Portugal in February. After that, we hope to build our profile over the coming months and launch the album in Dublin. This coming summer our main goal is trying to play as many festival slots as possible. After that, we really don't know! We are just enjoying every gig we are doing at the moment and hope for that to continue long into the future. Hopefully along the way, people continue to enjoy what we do, and maybe help us push on to the next level.
f you look back at the last 12 months or so, it would be safe to say that this has been a very good year for you as a band. That all began with being included as one of the artists on the “Ones To Watch Festival” in January. That was a line-up with some very credible bands and artists included. How did it feel to have made the final cut?
Jordan: It was great to be invited along, to be honest it's been a great year for us. We were named on the Hot Press Hot for 2013 list too which was a real honour to be mentioned beside Kodaline and The Strypes a few months after forming was really great for us. We're closing off the year with Other Voices which we are delighted with. You played Whelan’s in March this year (30th). In the weeks leading up to the gig you put a lot of work into promoting it and getting everything right for that gig.
Dan: Yeah we try to work as hard as possible coming up to gigs. If a promoter invites us to perform we repay that faith by promoting the gig as much as we can ourselves, it’s in our interest too I suppose.
second, both got good air time; actually “Crumbs In The Bed” is still getting air time, which is great. Our new single “2.15” will be out in January and we plan to give that a massive push.
Was there a particular reason for it or was it just a case of wanting to put on the best gig you could?
How important is it for you as a live band to see the right reaction from the crowd?
Jordan: Each gig is no different whether we are performing to a crowd in The Grand Social or the O2 it will be no different to us. We'll prepare just as hard and put the same energy into the performance. We know people are putting their hands into their pockets to see us so we repay in our efforts.
Jordan: For us it's all about connection. We want our music to resonate with people, we really felt like that happened at our last gig which is why we hit the studio straight away with the new material.
You also aired some new songs prior to that when you played at The Workman’s Club on St Patrick’s Day. What were the new songs that got a first live playing? Jonathan: “Down Boy” was our first single and “Crumbs In The Bed” the
How much does that lift you as a performer when you see things going in the right direction? Jordan: Well as the frontman I try to connect as much as I can with the audience, if I see they’re going with me, yeah it does give me a lift, no doubt. Our sound is quite energetic so it’s easy for the crowd to respond.
Earlier this year you released “Crumbs In The Bed” as a single and handed out free copies. Some would say that the single and album still have relevance, whereas others are more dismissive and think they have had their day. Where do you see the future for releasing singles and albums? James: We definitely do think they still have relevance, but not the same as they used to. The bottom line is, singles and albums cost money, and that’s something up and coming bands don’t have. To us, they’re a means to secure better exposure and opportunities to play bigger and better venues where people can experience our live show and ultimately, that’s what we live for. Do you think they will still prove to be a viable source of income for bands in the digital age? Jordan: With things like Spotify and the like there are definitely still avenues for artists to pedal their material for profit, but as James said above, it’s whatever leads to us performing more that we see benefit in. The live show is where we live and breathe and whatever revenue and platforms recorded music provides goes straight back into our shows. How did you come together as a band? James: Basically we’ve known each other since we were kids, and we’ve all grown up surrounded by music. The fact that we’re all into the same bands and that they’re not the
type of bands most people our age seem to be listening to meant it made sense for us to start up as a group. Who were the influences that you all had growing up? Dan: The Smiths, Stone Roses, The Specials, The Beatles, Oasis, The Jam. In terms of being a support act, you have opened for some very impressive names. Palma Violets would be one act that jumps out for the right reasons. Jordan: Yeah…it was good to play with Palma Violets. We had just formed three months prior to that so it gave us a real boost. It is good to see them doing well for themselves. I'm just 18 so I know, and the lads are the same, that we've a lot to learn so we want to keep developing. What have you learned from supporting other acts that you have been able to take away and bring to what you are about as a band? Jordan: To be honest we don't give it too much thought, when we perform we are just out there to put on a good show and entertain. We try not to pay too much attention to the paths that other bands are following. We want to go our own way. You played your first headline gig recently in The Grand Social.
Jordan: Yeah it was a great night, the crowd really got into it; we didn't expect to sell the place out to be honest. We're back there again on Dec 20 and really looking forward to it. I should mention that tickets are just €6 if you’re wearing a Christmas jumper. Do you feel as if the band is moving in the right direction now? Jordan: Yeah we tested out a lot of new songs at the last gig (in the Grand Social) and people really got into it which is why we are back in the studio now. What do you feel that is down to? Jordan: I think we are all focused on where we want to be. We all share the same goals. We have a team around us now and they all share the same belief in us which really fuels us on. You’ve now had confirmation that you will be featuring on the new season of “Other Voices” this December. That must be huge news for you? Jordan: We can’t emphasise enough how huge this is for us. It’s reward for us and for our fans that we will feature alongside the likes of Hozier and David Gray on what is a massive music event, not just here but internationally. We’re absolutely thrilled. One of the other things that we notice about what you do as a band, and also something you do quite well, is that you are very much press and media friendly. You are not averse to calling press conferences to announce big things like gigs. As opposed to taking social media for granted and relying on Facebook for word-of-mouth, you are actually more proactive in terms of handling your publicity. Jordan: Well publicity and the music go hand in hand and we acknowledge that. The media is the mechanism that will get our music out there so we appreciate its importance and respect its power. What is coming up next for GANGS? Dan: This month we playedthe Hot Press Jägermeister Sessions, that was on Dec 4th. Then we’re off to Dingle to perform for Other Voices and we have The Grand Social gig on December 20th and in January we're playing The Village, Whelan's and Bruxelles. Jordan: We plan on playing most festivals next year, our management team have some cool gigs lined up for March/ April which I can’t say anything more on but 2014 will be a good year for GANGS. Most of the plans are in place already which gives us the peace of mind we want to
ow much has folk music come to have an influence on your sound? Ed: I can’t really give you an exact pie chart now,but I suppose it's played a decent role in a way. Folk music can be about anything really. A lot of it would be about the past - hard times, good times... The whole goings on around the writer at the time and some of what's about today.Some folk songs are kind of like articles of history.
Then you have your love songs too. But we’d more tend to look at it as a style than a genre really. It would also seem to have worked its way into how you play as a live performer also. That seems to be something that we have picked up on from seeing you play live - be that The Dame District Market or just catching you at a pub gig. Not to say we would label the band as a trad band, but there seem to be some suggestions of an influence at work when you perform live.
Who were the trad influences on you growing up? Ed: Well my first trad influence from a young age would've been my uncle. He's still of the best ballad singers I've ever heard. I've yet to hear anyone sing Spancil Hill like him. But I'd also be fan of The Dubliners from a young age. Before I knew anything about music, I knew about the Dubliners. The likes of Christy Moore and The Fureys too. I suppose I’m drawn to somebody who can sing a song and tell a story. Nearly like they're sharing an experience. It doesn't always have to be rainbows and fluffy clouds. I'd be a fan of Damien Dempsey too. Your music is not pigeonholed as a folk/trad genre. It is about a great deal more. Tell us about what subject matter makes its way into your songs and music. Tom: Yeah, I suppose people have found it hard to pigeonhole us, or label us a certain type of band who play a certain type of music. We like that though – it gives us a little freedom when we don’t have to worry about pleasing a certain type of listener. We’re hoping to grab everyone to be honest...
The subject matter? Well Ireland’s an interesting place right now and honestly, it would be pretty hard not to write about it. With songs like “Rise Up” and “All Around The Town”; we’re not claiming to have the answers to any problems. We just try to write about these matters from a personal perspective, having seen how emigration and needless violence have affected so many ordinary people these last few years. We have written a few love songs too though. As a live performer what do you take away from a gig more than anything? Ed: The Experience! The craic! The whole buzz from it! The timeframe that you have been together as a band has been relatively short, yet you have really been catching a lot of the right breaks, so to speak. The first thing that we will mention is “Love/Hate”. It goes without saying that it is one of the most talked about and watched TV shows in the country. How did it feel to have your music included on the last season? Ed: Yeah, we were quite chuffed to be honest.
set of circumstances that brought that about for the band? Tom: Well we’re always banging on doors I suppose. But yeah, maybe the link to Love/Hate helped us a little in getting our foot in the door. It was a great opportunity for us and thankfully, I think we gave a fairly good account of ourselves. Does a studio setting bring anything different to it that you wouldn’t necessarily see at a live gig? Ed: I kind of thought it took away from it a bit. In fact, we look a hell of a lot better at a live gig than we do on a 42” inch LCD screen let me tell you! You have been busy this year with the recording process. In October last year, you were included as one of the bands on the Near Music Edition compilation earlier this year. That was a fine line-up of local talent including artists such as The Statics and Johnny & The Beep Beeps. How does it feel to be asked to be a part of local initiatives that are supporting grassroots level music like that? Ed: They had no choice; we live right beside them! You couldn’t get any more local than us! The Beep Beep boys are good pals!, In fact, they all are. The Statics, Axial Symmetry and Band 66 were all great guys to work with. Good craic too. But yeah, we were delighted. First ever label to be signed to. They were the first to love us and we’ll always love the guys from NearFM. “Up the Flats!”, as Dave Rigney would say.
Masterlabs. Two great lads to work with, who really understood where we wanted to go with the sound. Are there any more plans for any releases soon? Tom: Fingers crossed we might be back in the studio recording an album next summer. Another thing that happened for the band was your inclusion on RadioIrish.com which introduced your music to an American audience. How important a resource is the internet to musicians starting off today? Ed: Yeah, the whole Radio Irish stuff was pretty cool. The internet's a great tool for bands and musicians these days. It's been crazy having people from New York, Rio, Rome and Sydney contact us on Facebook and show a real interest in the band and our music. We're getting our music to people all over the world via the internet; for free too! What are the main positives that you see it being used for? Tom: Well we gig a lot, so it's handy for people to turn to Facebook or Twitter when they might fancy popping out for a gig and a sherry or two... "Oh, they're playing around the corner tonight?! Happy days!" What is next for the band?
‘‘ We’re the same hard-working band we were before, but when people see you tied to a project as successful as Love/Hate has been, they begin to take notice.’’ of a start to the journey. Two tracks from our debut EP. That's not a bad Tom: We’re fans of the show and it was actually something we’d spoken about in the past – some of the music they had been using had been top-notch. Led-Zepplin, The Dubliners, Jimi Hendrix, Planxty, Iggy Pop, Johnny Cash, The Chemical Brothers, Eric Clapton and The Pogues had all featured on the soundtrack the last couple of years. To have two tracks off our debut EP featuring was pretty amazing, yeah. Let’s just say, there’ll be a few people getting the DVD in their Christmas stocking this year. How much of a boost has that been to your profile as a band off the back of that? Tom: I suppose it has got people’s attention somewhat. We’re the same hard-working band we were before, but when people see you tied to a project as successful as Love/Hate has been, they begin to take notice. People who may not have heard much of the band previously, think “I must see what all the fuss is about”. You also appeared on The Saturday Night Show. Was that related to the “Love/Hate” connection or was it an entirely different
You also released your EP in August this year. That has also been well received by everyone. Have you been happy with the response? Tom: Yeah, considering it’s our first offering and it was only released a couple of months ago back in August, we’ve been fairly delighted with the response so far. It’s been fairly well received so far. We’re only really starting to push it now too. Hopefully you’ll be hearing a lot more of it over the airwaves soon enough! How long did you work on that release for? Tom: We wanted to get it right, no matter how long it took. There were other songs considered too, but I think we made the right choices to create a well-rounded little EP. We’re fairly proud of “Rise Up” as a debut EP. We were probably a total of 5 days recording the 5 tracks. We wanted to walk away from it without regrets. Who else was involved in the recording process with the band? Tom: We went to Ashtown Studios for the actual recording.Tommy O'Sullivan was our engineer. The EP was then mastered by Aidan Foley of
Tom: Hopefully we'll be on the festival circuit next summer on the back of a decent year. But in the meantime, you can catch us at The Grand Social - Saturday December 7th. Tickets are available for just €8 from Ticketmaster. A shameless plug to wrap things up... Check out the group’s debut EP on soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/the-rattling-kind
he name itself is one that is an interesting angle when you first hear it. How did the band decide on the name and is there any significance behind it? There was a lot of late-night inspiration in those early days when I came up with the name.
How did you all end up coming together as a band? I’ve been doing 2 a.m. Orchestra since 2000 in one form or another. But the current members came together a few years ago. I moved to Auckland and immediately met Tim and Chris through a mutual friend. Andy started playing with us a couple years after that.
You released your album “Working To Divide” earlier this year. How long were you involved in the process of making the record? Four years. I started working on it when I arrived in New Zealand in 2009. Although I had a lot of unreleased material hanging around, I decided to put it all aside and start working on new stuff. This album is the result. We reviewed the album in last month’s issue and gave it a rating of 8/10. How has the album been received in general by the media? Generally good, I think. I’m sure Google could satisfactorily answer that question. Yet you also made the decision to immediately release the record as a free download while also opting for usual channels for independent bands such as
i-tunes and Bandcamp. What made you decide on that course of action? Was it a statement or was it a decision that you reached as a band for other reasons? It is available on iTunes and Bandcamp. But to answer your question, I like the “pay-what-you-want” scheme. It’s a good method. Those who want a free download can help themselves people who want to contribute can do so. Whatever, you know? 2 a.m. Orchestra has a few hard-core fans, but we’re not famous or anything so it’s not like we can expect epic dollars from the release anyway. Besides, doing it this way I feel, keeps things a bit more pure, simple and honest. There are people that see the digital age as belonging to musicians more than ever before. In some people’s opinion now is the age of the independent label more so than ever. How significant do you feel that opinion is?
There’s no question how easy it is for independent artists to obtain world-wide digital distribution via the internet. Where do you see the future of music? With regards to the future of the music industry, I don’t know the answer. I’ll keep making music the way I want and not worry about how music is distributed. Who were the artists that you all listened to growing up and how much of their influence can you see in your own music? Would there be any tracks on the album that would stand out for you as being obviously influenced by any of them or a specific genre? Around the time of the first album in 2001, I was really inspired by Brian Wilson. As a guitar player, I was looking for new ideas, ornate arrangements with specific inter-weaving parts rather than just banging out chords. I was eager to use
a variety of instruments and liked the idea of using the recording studio as “master instrument.” Of course, the studio was mainly my bedroom but you get the idea. Which is how 2 a.m. Orchestra started. I was recording tracks before I had a live band. While these same ideas and methods persist on this new album, there is also a return to some of my teenage rock influences such as Nirvana. That’s how it sounds to me anyway.
people back in the States about it and they don’t believe me. When I first got here I often got the reaction, “dude, you’re a musician and you left LA to come to Auckland… why?” Especially young people, they don’t realize how great their country is because they’re so eager to get out and see the big bad world. Which is natural, I suppose – they just need to get out for a while, then come back to appreciate it.
We recently discovered NEO KALASHNIKOVS through our music network in New Zealand, and via them we discovered your band. As an unsigned band how healthy is the music scene on a grass roots level in New Zealand?
As for recommending artists, New Zealand On-Air puts together a monthly compilation of new artists called “Kiwi Hit Disc.” They’ve got tracks up at Soundcloud and stuff – would recommend tuning in.
There’s a lot of particularly young talent in this country. I work as a mentor with the Auckland School of Rock and get to see a lot of good bands and musicians coming up. There’s a lot of government funding for artists – it’s crazy, I tell
Check out 2am Orchestra’s latest album ‘Working to Divide’: http://2amorchestra.com/
THE MANC TANK Column by David Beech
p until last year THE SLOW READERS CLUB were one of Manchester's best kept secrets. While it can't be said that they're unheard of outside of their city, the band hold a special place in the hearts of those who have been there from the word go, seeing Slow Readers Club grow and evolve in to the band they are today - an intelligent and musically sound quartet whose sound has drawn numerous and fitting comparisons to the likes Editors and Interpol.
Not only does their music seem as if it would go down perfectly in one of Manchester's sticky-floored indie clubs, it has gone down perfectly in those clubs, serving to only heighten the sense of Mancunian pride in which the band are draped. The Slow Readers Club, their debut album released last year, was filled with frenetic and angular guitars and driving percussion occasionally offset by candid moments of poignancy. More recent releases, however, such as last month's single 'Forever In Your Debt' and it's flipside, 'Days Like This Will Break Your
Heart', feel much more realised, as if the grandiose aesthetics hinted at in their debut have not only returned, but have been explored and finely built upon. There was always a maturity exhibited by the band (something attributed to threequarters of them having been in much-lauded Manc outfit Omerta) but latter tracks in their canon just hold up that little bit more, begging the question, will 2014 see the release of a much anticipated second album? It's safe to say the answer is yes. With support from XFM, NME, BBC6 Music to name but three, the support behind The Slow Readers Club is incredible and a follow-up to their self-titled is as inevitable as it is anticipated. With a wave of hype building within in Manchester at the moment around bands such as MONEY and Kult Country, it seems a fitting time for TSRC to make a push, joining such influences as Arcade Fire on festival bills, not just club playlists.
We caught up with singer Aaron Starkie for a chat about Manchester, influences, and more importantly, what we can look forward to going in to 2014 from the band. - 12 -
irst of all, The Slow Readers Club is a fantastic name, where did it come from? Thanks, glad you like it. One of my clearest memories from childhood is being taken around the senior school and being shown the different class rooms. One of the rooms was labeled ‘Special Needs’, I remember finding it alarming that you could be classified like that. I guess our name is an expression of discomfort with that notion. Your most recent single 'Forever In Your Debt' has garnered plenty of attention from smaller blogs and online publications. How important do you think this kind of media coverage is to up-and-coming artists such as yourselves? Very important, we are self-funded so don't have a marketing budget for press and radio plugging. At the moment we are promoting ourselves using Twitter and Facebook. They have been great tools for getting our music out there and getting in touch with bloggers. As you say we have had great support from a lot of independent music blogs and we have also had lots of great support from fans posting links to our videos and Soundcloud and helping to spread the word. 'Forever In Your Debt' seems to somewhat more matured, maybe more fleshed out than some of the tracks on your debut. How much do you think you have progressed as band since the release of The Slow Readers Club? And what can we expect from any forthcoming material?
other bands would you cite as influences that we might not have picked up on? Currently listening to The National, Maccabees, London Grammar, Foals, Arcade Fire, LCD Sound System. In terms of older bands The Smiths, The Beatles, Bowie, Echo and The Bunneymen, Lou Reed, The Doors, New Order, Elvis... too many to mention. What do you think it is about Manchester that has made the city such a massive place for both contemporary music, and older bands that have become household names? You have a good mix of cultures I suppose. It has a massive student population and it draws people in from all over the world. It also has its fair share of council estates, rain and misery. I think a lot of bands start making music to escape the drudgery. You would think geography would be less relevant in the internet age…perhaps it will be in the future. Do you think that being a band from
Yes probably. It’s understandable I suppose. There’s a strong image in most people’s minds of traditional Indie/Madchester in terms of both sound and image but it’s a shame really because the music coming out of Manchester is as diverse as that of any other place. Manchester's a city renowned for it's array of eclectic, if not occasionally ramshackle, bars and venues, but which has been your favourite to either play, or watch a gig at? The Deaf Institute, The Night and Day and The Ruby Lounge Finally, what can we expect from the band going in to 2014 and beyond? We are going to be releasing another single in March with a small tour, with our second album to follow soon after.
‘‘ It (Manchester) has a massive student population and it draws people in from all over the world. It also has its fair share of council estates, rain and misery. I think a lot of bands start making music to escape the drudgery. ’’
Yeah I would say it feels like a step forward from the first album. Its more intelligent in terms of arrangement. It’s quite sparse compared to previous tracks. We had a lot of synths and sequenced stuff on the first album. In terms of more stuff, we have been experimenting with different beats and sounds. We want to do stuff that excites us. We are working on some really cool tracks at the moment and we have a great working relationship with our producer Phil Bulleyment. People can expect good things! You've been playing live for a number of years now, as a result you've played with your fair share of other bands from Manchester, who have been some of the best to gig with? ‘Puressence’ are probably the best Manchester band we have played with. We have done a few gigs with them over the years and always get a warm welcome from their crowd. Similarly playing such an amount of gigs is bound to have given you some stories to tell. Care to share any with our readers? What happens on tour stays on tour… You've drawn comparisons to the likes of Interpol and Editors plenty of times before, something which can obviously be attributed to the sense of moody anthemics within your music, but what
Manchester, people already have a certain idea about you, and do you feel that you might be expected to live up to certain stereotypes?
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DIMESTORE RECORDINGS Sweeney’s 5th December 2013
SCENE & HEARD MYLES MANLEY
Tonight was the first of three charity nights that the gang from Dimestore were hosting with proceeds tonight going to The Irish Red Cross appeal for victims of The Phillipines Typhoon Disaster. There were six acts who took to the stage tonight and all of them brought something to the mix.
Getting everything underway was MYLES MANLEY. There is a particular drift in the building of “I Thought You Were On To Something” which gives essence to the song. It situates a finer point or two which come across on the rhythm. It is also a plus to hear his dignified voice bellow out on it because it shows how dignified a performer here is. There is then some real weight pushed through on “Easy To Love”. How it comes to settle into the song promisingly drags across here to give it all a distinguished touch. As the guitar toils away on this one you come to see how steely and even it is throughout the whole process. “Easy Money” came after that. The strong feel from the guitar resounds on it and the rest of the song accentuates finely. There is a firm feel to be found in the tempo. That is retained to good effect and gives off in a spatial way a secured feeling. “Easter Morning” is a delightful tune that sees the creative juices flow and collects in an efficient way. The settled way to it all allows it to hang back. This proves to be quite the turn of events because it adds something convincing to his live showing here. Things are then given an emotional heft on “Young Enough”. Brought through on the opening, there is something pronounced to it all. The hallowed signature of his voice comes to find its own here. There is a cautionary distribution of it sits well here and really fits the mood. “Dream Minus One” marks a change in direction. It is stronger in presence because it is helped by how the guitar and the flow stand out as they meet the tangibility of his voice. The content here is impressive. It is well worked out and the clarity and distinction are evident. A hint of FLEETWOOD MAC comes through on “Cold”. How appealing it is in the ornate way it hangs brings humility to proceedings. The vivid closeness in the material also gifts things an added layer which makes the dynamic of it all the more insular. He brought the curtain down on things with “I Fuck Your Wife”. Lean and referential the guitar translates well in the playing loops. It is all very compact. Yet the stray feel of the lyrics processes everything in a fine way. That is all condensed into the whole of the performance rigorously. There is also something reserved to how stripped back his set is here tonight.
............................................................................................................................ RHIANNON CLARK was next. We have never had the chance to see her play live before tonight yet we have always been aware of how good she is. Things got going with “What Ya Gotta Fear” and the way she hits the high notes to open it makes you sit up and take note. There is also the dalliance of the guitar which comes into the mix. Overall everything has a formidable calling to it and sees her lay down a fine marker that is felt in the delivery. The spry kick in the guitar is noted on “Professor”. Things are more steadfast here and there is an edge to it in places. The credence flowing in from the rhythm is speculative and a hint of noir can also be found at times on this. The very handsome showing it has convinces in equal measure here.
A long note opening and we are into “Pageant Girl”. With its seductive lyrics it a song that is enhanced furthermore as it plays out. Her voice expels upon the steady skip it has which adds to the raw cut on show. Some blues influences also leave their mark here and are picked up on. With its softer feel, “Stranger” slows things down and the poignancy spills out as a result. This concisely felt as it is done. The way it is portioned brings a resolute quality to it that finds a slight quantum of solace in the arrangement. She then proceeds to make things more animated with “Yellow Balloon”. That steadies everything. How it is handled brings a solid and catchy tune that has easy listening written all over it. Actively engaging is how best to describe “Whale In The Water”. The process as a whole here is fired up from the off. The stubborn feel comes of the whole playing. On “Take Me Back” you get a real RICK WAKEMAN feel to it all. The vitality is conveyed here but it is the psychedelic tints that draw the comparison. The terms of the lyrics factor that into the equation on account of the eccentricities and the bundled tongues of the vocal delivery. She closed out with the candid “Elephants”. This has an elegant charm that runs through it and gives it all character. In how it is portrayed the slight polka leaning gets it going. It steadily helps it along. Yet the clear feel to it all lies in her voice. It is capable of giving it style and gracious temerity in equal measure.
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BETTY SWING BAND
BETTY SWING BAND underlines what it is about DIMESTORE RECORDINGS and its reputation as an excellent night of live music. The defined 50s vibe to them is unmistakeable. The harmonies of “Alexander’s Rag Time Band” scoot through and keep it all in check. There is a timeless feel about it all. The ragtime showing here gives it a natural air and appeal. The well worked efforts of the band show again on “Elmore’s Tune”. It blesses it all with a degree of charm that is quite novel. The bass and rest of the rhythm are also steadily played through. How great it sounds is not surprising when you see what they are all putting into the live showing here. That co-ordination is again key on “Let’s Never Stop Falling In Love”. That is what gives it presence and is at the core of the song. The vocals are finely rolled through and everything is in sync. The seductive way it is all played falls into place and formulates on it all in a very fine way. “In The Mood” spells out everything that they have going for them. The way it steps out and samples the GLENN MILLAR classic is rather opportune to say the least. It pitches in an ideal way here and keeps it going all the way through.
Ensuing sentiment and hard work sees them knuckle down on “Tico Tico”. This ensures that the celebrated way it is all brought through shows. It is keenly felt in the live showing here. The background feel of the music is more prominent and the absence of a brass section forces a double check from you when you hear it play. That is what makes it all the more impressive.”Jave Jive” works it hard and the harmony ushers it all in. It slides through in a relaxed manner which is easy going in terms of style. A grandiose cut is applied on it here that fully brings out the bass and the change in direction is rather fetching. A Latin feel makes its way through on “Trust In Me” and it gives it some opulence that is realised from the seductive way it asserts. They slip into this mode quite comfortably. The face value of it fits with the amorous spirit that they find. This is what rallies behind it and again it is repeated on “Mr. Sandman”. The conviction is mirrored in the performance and transports you back to a bygone era. Their self-titled tune “Betty Swing Machine” brims with a charm all of its own. The delightful whim to it all gives it the recognition it deserves. The shapely feel to the way it shuffles gives a good account of the band and has a reliant beat shifting it all into gear. They finished up with another cover. This time “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree” gets the treatment and it is an excellent effort with nothing to find fault on.
............................................................................................................................ MONSOON SEASON came next. Their intro had a degree of smooth that was underlined by the saxophone that realises a lot in how smooth it makes everything feel. That maturity in the playing adds something additional to the essence at its core. It denotes a lot and allows “Blank Canvas” to fit in as easily as it does. This has a lush feel that is easy to warm to. The steady way that it all matures is felt in the way the playing steadily climbs. The ease at which it is played is met by an equally robust side in the live showing. With “Soul Surfer” the flute added allows things to circulate in a very neat fashion. That adds to the smart kick of it all. The volume is also contained in an approximate way on the rhythm which sees it lead the way. Musically this puts everything on a solid footing that is well laid out with a great deal of front. The wholesome effort that is “Rat Racing” finds a tactile side that purveys all of the neat attributes it holds. How it is spaced underlines this. What then remains is a clear tune that gets a lot right in so many ways. “For Music” fits the opportune style of the band. It is very clear and there is smooth to the whim it plays in on that is quite delightful. They manage to seal inn something additional with the calypso styling that slightly hangs off the undertone. Yet the refined showing of it all has a graceful and tacit feeling that hangs just right.
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With “Heyday” by the late MIC CHRSTOPHER holding shape they show what they are about with their own material. Again they hold things elegantly on “Caught In A War” and it shows. There is something comfortable about the way it all toils away that steers it through. What is commandeered by the band gets all the aspects right in the playing. The big impact to this is felt from the solid way it all comes together. It is all played with a neat sense of urgency and style that sees them tap into the wealth of potential they have collectively. They closed out with a neat rendition of “Wasting Time” by JACK JOHNSON. 54Again - they get it all right and lose themselves in the process as much as the appreciative audience watching does.
We haven’t seen RUSTY FIXTURES play for a while but we were glad to see their name included on the billing here tonight. There is a clear and defined feel about “Fingertip Walking” which gives a strong lift to the rhythm. Here the music does the talking with the shared vocals having a lot to say. The joyous bravado in the play relays well in the performance and the tinkling of the ivories adds that little bit of class. They sprawl out everything on “Boots”. The drumming is a prominent feature that sits well with the hard coating of it all. There is a smart arrangement that leans into it all to give it the needed kick. But it is catchy in terms of how it comes across and there is a burly presence to it all. The stylish handling that is second nature to them makes itself known on “Bridge St. Blues”. This makes the most of how it is arranged in an exceptional way. The funky style is a big draw here and pulls through with a chic feel about it that brings true class with it.
“When You Left Me” is a dignified tune that is there to see in how it flows. The soulful stirrings bring out everything in a way that equates well. How it is imparted is a big deal and the depth of the vocal range runs alongside the rhythm in a clean way. That sweeping and sunken feel that transpires as a result is rather astute in the true sense of the word. They rise up to the challenge with “Psycho Killer” by TALKING HEADS. That excellent version was followed by “Lay Me Down” and the tailored feel comes off the rhythm with relative ease on account of how it is laid out. The tidy and graceful shuffle of it all catches everything spiritedly. This is abundant in terms of how it comes across and it moves with enough verve to show how polished it is. The fervent kick on “Jungle” shakes it all up. That plays out on the back of an easy going whim. The relaxed feel here neatly allows it all to develop, while a progressive side allows the elated stylings to find their place. The hook on the bass takes off when applied and scores highly in the process. They wonderfully line out on their last song “Tom Bollocks”. It tells a lot about the band that they can call this their own. It comes alive with a real burst of energy that leads nicely into the catchy chorus. It is a big number that weighs in accordingly. As a result they get all the callings right on it through and through.
............................................................................................................................ We have always been impressed every time we have seen FOX E AND THE GOOD HANDS play and tonight they didn’t disappoint. They were deserving of their top billing once again. The trippy bass adds something incredibly stylish to “Good Hands”. The whole performance is animated here and they pull it off collectively as a band. How they carve out the groove on it here is excellent. That it is all pumped up from the off helps it in no small way. There is an enigmatic feel to “Black Edition” which sails through problem free. The positive feel on this is brought to the fore. What is accountable on this is shown from the whip from the guitar. There is something angled that shows as much forward movement as it does character. “Chinese Whispers” comes to life and the tracking of it is a consistent affair. They get down to the task at hand with the minimal of fuss. They yield a lot from the pace which fronts it , while the vocal delivery adds a lean feel that lights it all up. A scatterbox song follows with “Haberdash”. The synthesised feel here boxes clever and the freestyle moments carve out a niche on it. The clean hooks are caught with the right amount of swerve and it balances out excellently in how it all runs. Again those freestyle vocals shape the feel on “Soulafunkalicious”. That instigates a great deal that places all the effort into shaping the tempo. This is a clean showing from the band that electrifies the performance in a big way. They then show how good they can be with “Get Up And Do It Yourself”. They charge into it head first. That necessitates a raw manner to it here that serves the locked and loaded feel of it quite well. But it is the handling here that counts. It brings as much showmanship (showwomanship?) to everything else that their set has tonight. The lucid feel in the rhythm on “80’s Cop Drama” brings the intuitive feel of it all. This is a smooth operator that is very much the real deal. It is a strong number with a countered presence to match as it muscles its way through. This gets you up on your feet with nothing spared either. The slow opening of “Unfortunately” resides nicely on this. The figurative measurement in show is lyrically solid. Then it begins to pick up and the ferocity in the nature comes through with the right amount of gravitas. They did an encore with “Hypnotise” which pieces together things fashionably. The rhythm here is appetising. Again they dig deep to bring about the catchy side of everything merits appeal. The context of the lyrics is a flashy one and it is all arranged to reflect this as the band all play their part.
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FOX E AND THE GOOD HANDS
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Three years ago our parent company Twnety1Zero Media was founded and those three years have flown in. The same can be said of Saucy Sundays and it too has continued to grow in the same period to become considered one of the institutional club nights on the unsigned music scene, not just in Dublin, but in Ireland. Tonight was all about celebrating this fact with an excellent line-up of live music from acts that have graced the stage here at some point.
Saucy Sundays The Grand Social 24th November 2013
SCENE & HEARD
SHAY COTTER got things going here with “Pair Of Dice”. There is a fine step to it that focusses the play in a way that comes across assuredly. The style on show is eased into, while the compact feel to the song brings a distinction to bear on it overall. That sets his set up nicely and “The Web You Weave” is a song blessed with a good running. It tumbles along with vigour. The vocals are a refined quality too that land on it knowingly. There is a harder impact drawn out in the process to it that also holds deliberately. His cover of “Big Yellow Taxi” by JONI MITCHELL was quite sufficiently played. There is a cosy and settled opening on show to “Me & St. Jude”. On the lyrical side of things what is shown is very smart and is gracefully applied. That tides it over and deliberates from the off in terms of how both sides here combine. A violin imbues a polka flow on “It’s The Old World For Me”. The sentiment on show is followed up with an assured maturity. That runs through the tempo and evidently gathers in a kind way to form something picturesque as it is neatly filtered through.
................................................................................................................................ TICKLY TEETH is an artist that we have seen perform here before. “Millionaire of Hours” set to be the upcoming single. It is blessed with a tidy keepsake that explicitly pours out on this one. Things are honed around this point which gives it a requisite charm which glows as it streams through. A cover of the DEVANDRA BANHART tune “Brindo” brought a nice touch of class to things. A rich and fuller volume shuffles through on “Dervish Dance” which gives the beat a more pronounced texture. This effortlessly glides across on the tempo. The little hooks add character to proceedings in a way that is particularly handsome and effective. With “Creeping And Crawling” there is a diligence in the way it is all played. This conveys the overall essence of things and the rhythm is given a high degree of appeal along the way. The weighted delivery is also picked up in a way of note on this one.
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ARROW IN THE SKY were one of those bands who proved their worth on the night. They really burned the air with “Fire” (no pun intended). The crisp feel of the mandolin and guitar make sense of it all. How they are brought into the mix is a fine showing of artistry. How it is managed shows. Things are quite descript in how they are seized upon which transcends well in the rhythm. “The Girl Who Thought She Was A Bird” is a watchful and finely floated effort. This travels well from the off and the arcs rise in an inspired way which reflects this. “Time Of Need” is a more urgent offering that is rich in context. The harmonica comes to bear on it tellingly. This demands your attention and the remarkable it does so brings a degree of accountability to go with the ability shown. The blistering way it all comes out gives it the impact it deserves. They accentuate everything well on “The Low Low Valley” that merges to the stillness in the play. How this is slowly brought through is most impressive. The vocals linger on it with true poignancy and hang low in a way which evens the process out as a whole. The shared a capella opening serves “Half Glass” well. As everything makes more sense when it steps out, the way the impasse is rolled out on the delivery gets it going. There is an ease to the carriage here that results in a comfortable showing that is catchy in a very substantial way.
ARROW IN THE SKY
RUFUS COATES & THE BLACKENED TREES
We have seen the fantastic RUFUS COATES & THE BLACKENED TREES before and they always impress us when they play live. This time out they were a full band which shows how much of an occasion tonight was. The minded way “Neatly Intolerable” comes through is commandingly brought to bear. There is a coveted and humble quality going on here that is addressed in the vocal delivery. The soulful stirring comes over on it in a very inviting way. There is a spirited feel about “Sale For Now” and it plays out to this in a succinct way that determines a great deal here. The sheltered feel comes through and it is a becoming attribute that defines everything. This safely envelops the entire process and arrangement. We come to another excellent song in their set called “Footpaths Of Shame”. It is cautiously built and the piano played into it here has a pleasing part to play that adds to the overall appeal. The formation in the song is completed from the vocals. The steady attributes are called out quite impressively and the face value to everything is evident here. The clear way “Autumn Leaves” falls into place is a big draw. The structure to the song is almost like a lullaby and it is brought through with great effect. That is evident in the way it breathes on the departure to produce a top drawer effort from it all here. Their final song was “Not That Easy” and is again a concise effort. What is exacted here catches something tempting in the rhythm in a strong way. This produces an allure that is pleasing on the ear and is let out evenly alongside the darker tone balancing it all out.
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Formerly known as SHANNON AND THE SHORTCUTS, the next band up was trio THROWING HALOS. There is a gradual build on show to “Sue Me” which suitable lifts off. This is then handled and maintained in a big way which settles into everything in a very concise way. There is also something rather fashionable to how it clocks in. An ambient feel washes over on “Woah” which is poised nicely from it on the intro. Curt vocals curl around the tempo and the morose kick motions the rhythm forward. This all sits well with the sturdy feel to it all. It is all committed well and this shows in the structure, while the lazy and catchy composure also sees it well.
A rendition of “Don’t You Worry Child” by SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA allowed for the pleasantry caught in “I Don’t Mind” to follow through on. This is a sterling effort which is catchy as hell. The way it holds together is denoted by the resilient turn on the rhythm as it all falls into place. The appeal of the song is there to be found in the richness of the retro qualities. Their upcoming single “Life’s Too Short” is one very catchy number indeed that takes stock of everything. It takes it away in a very indifferent way that makes everything all the more effective for it. The delivery is excellent. In the calypso aspects the sound locks away a lot of things that come through excellently in the live delivery.
................................................................................................................................ There is a lot to admire RICHARD FARRELL AND THE LAST TRIBE for. Their music never disappoints and they proved that again with their set here. “Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down”, with its clean hooks, finely tumbles away. The gravelly tone of his voice walks everything in. When it all opens up it is noted for it. There is something spirited to be found as the rich texture rounds it all off. The charming quality to “Already Home” threads through in a way that lends a demanding weight to it all. The reverence found here is what helps it develop. It all sits right on the vocal delivery which adds a rich fluidity to the contented application. This also helps it become a long player that goes the distance. The bass is more prominent in the playing on “Weigh Down In A Hole” allows it to develop a saunter that commands a lot from the delivery. Added to the smart turn of the lyrics it proves to be a song of substance. How it materialises is clearly present. Things were closed out with “Angels Singing”. Again things circulate well and are closed down just as well. The reckoning shown from how it is all pieced together allows the gospel qualities to prove their worth. The smart sensibility from the overall finished product pulls it through in an accomplished fashion that is unmistakeable. “Change Is Played” boxes clever on the playing front. This is very slick in terms of the operation that works behind it all. It then progresses to something with a lot of funk. This works its way through smartly and deals with everything impressively.
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SHE’S A BEAUTY showed why they are one of the most dynamic outfits to be found on the current circuit. Their entire set consisted of a complete four track set without any breaks. The first of which was “In Pezo” which lead in from an accomplished intro. The progressive feel to it shows in how it opens and it drops the beat finely and effectively. That gives it a welcoming feel that is felt in the expansive proceedings that are on show. It cleanly kicks off and rocks out smartly. “Rev Up & Fuck Off” was second from them. Here there is a tidy run from the guitar that is angled in. It whips across on it with a real fever. The skip from the drumming backs it all up in a considerable way that very much hits the ground running. The choppy style in the sound lights it all up just as well.
SHE’S A BEAUTY
A more languid style presents itself with “Fine Line”. This comes to pass in a refined way and closes everything down with how it channels the right points of note. There is something minimalist at work here which realises a lot from the expansive way that it is all cut. The alternation between styles is embraced effortlessly. The last track here brings a catchier turn to everything that is very well placed. The trajectory in the running sees it right on “Cantona” and gets straight to the point. How it is closed is all about the music and the crescendo it creates underlines this exceptionally well. It is fed into it and lays things on generously in the application. The scope present here is also of a very high calibre. There is an upcoming gig from them on December 14th at Smock Alley Theatre in association with Dimestore Records that is also going to be very much a great night of music.
................................................................................................................................ Four piece MONGOOSE were a late addition to the night’s line-up but it never showed. They are an enigmatic act with something that does sell you on them. “The Bottom Line” shows how definitive they are as the double bass plays into it all. It is a smart and snappy effort which counters the charm offensive very well in how it adds volume to the texture of the rhythm. An easy going number followed that up with “Slow Lane”. There is an abstract sentiment and mood captured in the tone and emotion here. That solemnly sees things through. An amble motion determines these attributes. Overall it is all wellpaced and formulated to gift it all a positive grace that deserves appreciation. The whimsical fell of “Two Birds” sits alongside the select and withdrawn way it all stacks up. The harmony of the vocals seals of the right credentials in also. It then picks up to become a very abject offering that expresses its depth creatively. “Can I See You Tonight” is articulate and ornate, which gives things a circumstantial leverage as it is all played out. The clear way this all connects shows. It also states a lot about how good they are from the live delivery and the progression present. A lot is brought through and the nuanced way it all hangs back gives it further credibility. A “pirate shanty” closed their set out. The enigmatic display from “Bright Horizon” more than holds its own. The guitar and the cajun add to the appeal. The makings of the band are to be found on this one. There is a hard shouldering in the context of the tempo. The vocals shelled out here excellently suit the folk structure and it shows.
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We saw VANN play for the first time last year and learned that that very same gig was also the band’s first ever gig. We tipped them for big things off the back of that performance and we feel very humbled to be able to say that we got it right at the time. What stands out on “Be My Balloon” is the clever way it is all structured. A rich application of synth is applied and the rest of the rhythm hangs back before coming in finely. It serves as a good attribute on it because it gives it all a distinct retro feel which marries to the catchy chorus and hooks that are also present here. They again produce something with a good calling to it on “Never Want To Be Alone”. The neat array that sits on the rhythm comes around on this one in a fantastic way. How it is pitched carries clean on the delivery. The stylish sheen to it comes off the natural flow. It also shows how well worked it all is because it translates excellently in the live showing. The chorus immediately locates the presence in the fashionable way it is played in on “Life In Real Time”. They get a lot of mileage out of it. This is what makes it such an entertaining effort off the back of the live showing.
What comes next is a big number called “Tina” that any band would sell their soul to call their own. There is a timeless quality to admire about it that quantifies the appeal it has. The retro appeal is one characteristic that adds charm, but it is the proficiency of frontman AARON SMYTH and his vocals that truly carries it off. It breaks down with true aplomb that leaves you in no doubt about how credible it truly is. Their inspired version of DAVID BOWIE’s “Let’s Dance” got everything right. It is difficult to follow in the footsteps of someone like that but they did it justice. The chemistry of what they are about as a band presented itself on “Show Me Love”. Marked by the energy of it all the positives really pick up on it. The high synthesised style yields a great deal that articulates in a deliberate way here. They closed out with a locked and loaded feel with “Colours”. The intro teases out everything. The electro aspects to their sound reach their peak here. It also sees the lavish tone well. But there is also a solid feel from the context in show that brings a fine close to a truly magnificent set from beginning to end.
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The final act on the night was THE ESKIES and you can’t argue with their pedigree. From the maudlin feel of “Heave Away” you immediately see that they are up for it here tonight. There is a given restitution to this that steers the fanciful placement of the rhythm expertly. That believable conviction allows them to pull it all off in the live delivery. Their next sing “Wild Wild Heart” truly romances the listener. The contentment in the rhythm gives it heart. It is matched with the right amount of sentiment that is laid on. This is a composite affair that provides enough bite to everything it sets out. “Eloise” is a beautiful number that condenses the context of the lyrical content superbly. There is a bounce in the step and tempo which makes for the great little number it becomes. What also stands out here is the way they command the stage.
There is a settled turn to the rhythm that conveys an urgency as the rhythm is sharply brought around. Without missing a beat they launched into “Tear Along The Line” and this is very impressive work. The rounded feel to the style they have comes across in the playing. What comes to pass finely does so. Yet there is a leaner feel to it all. The polka fashioned here tidily adds bristle. All in all, in how it takes flight you are instantly drawn to the band because they show what they are made of in the process, With “Down, Down” they again bring a polka influence to it all. That Eastern European flavour picks it up in a lean way. They settle into it and it is given a fine sway that weathers well. It has something considerate about it that matches well with the fine intent and purpose laid out on it.
Again there is a dandy skip to everything on “Down By The River” that steps out finely on the playing front. This rises cleanly in the tempo first and foremost, but the handling is more than enough to see it through. There is an investment in the performance from the band here that wows you with how the intensity of it is focussed. The defined effort that is “Who’s Crying Now” is a catchy number. The pace on the delivery gives it a great deal of front. This is picked up on by the band and how they handle it all is exceptional stuff. The charged dynamics of the delivery warrant any and all praise. A jive is brought upon proceedings with “When The Storm Came” and it lands on the first note. That contends the direction of it all and sits well with how it plays out.
“Fever” follows and shows them to be up for it as they tear through it with a real magnitude. There is a clever lilt in the rhythm that competently rolls across. How it meets the running creates a true tour-de-force that is rounded on in a very big way. They bring it on “Jailhouse Son”. There is no other way to describe their final song other than saying that because that is exactly what they do. This is let off the leash gradually and when it does it shows no mercy. The mean streak in the song course through finely, yet in how it is teased through showcases a lot of slick qualities as well. That then brought the curtain down on a fine night of local music and we can’t wait for their fourth birthday party next year.
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The Ruby Sessions Doyle’s Pub 3rd December 2013
SCENE & HEARD
The first artist to play here this evening was the wonderful OWENSIE. He got things going with a new song called “Scary Eyes”. The back story he told about this added to the experience. How it plays brings a great deal from the sunken feel that is tracked in a way which brings something to the ambient tone. That definition then pulls away and the lyrics meet something fine in the live delivery which carries through with distinction. This reverence is an impressive quality overall which he makes good use of. The spry feel from the spacing on “Distance Of Your Love” comes in candidly. It is an aspect that is finely caught and pursued. What it leads to is a complete and competent feel from the gentler aspects that play away here. “Why Won’t You Pick Up (Her Baby)?” is the working title of his third offering. It is tenderly worked in and that leads to a neat lull gathered in the song. This in turn beckons out the more serious tone in the lyrics and doesn’t go amiss. How it is projected shows the more able bodies feel about it all. His last number steps out in a specific way. The cautious feel to “Cat And Mouse” pushes out reasonably well. That gives the rhythm a gathered presence which comes upon it to display how well thought out it is. It is also able to identify well with all the elements laid out for it and cleverly appears to chase them down.
OWENSIE ............................................................................................................................ An intricate feel comes over “I Am Not Afraid Of Dirt”. The monosyllabic tone comes over well here and it adds something determined to things that matches the offbeat nature quite well. In turn it results in a nuanced style coming through that is not too shabby. Her expressive attempts show on “Mannish Hands”. The artistic motivation is harnessed and channelled, yet somehow it misses the mark at times. That fact aside, the marionette features animate her live performance and garner further appeal that makes it hard to pin down. What is evident though is the originality and sense of identity being brought through.
Her next song, “Bright\Moonlight” visits a dark place. This is fully explored in the lyrics and the structure overall. It hits you on the rhythm and tone in a way that shadows the play to give it a more foreboding feel which adds appeal. It all closes in around this on the sound and carries through splendidly. She then embraces a synthesised sound with “Care$$”. There is a considerate way that the apparent sexualisation of the song is brought through. That is what gives it the prominent sense of awareness that it has. Dark in terms of subject matter, it all makes for a bigger offering than a first listen would suggest. The electro is laid on very clearly on “Tá Tú Ag Teastáil Uain”. As a result it charges everything up in a way that pulls you in. The broader context here is supported by the as gaeilge lyrics which give it a sullen and seductive chagrin which sees it march to its own beat.
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The marked departure from the traditional set-up of The Ruby Sessions was probably exemplified by this next artist. The fresh vibe of “The Edge” defines everything and brought the right reaction from the crowd. The original way that it all flies assures everything in an original way here which is dropped in a way that sees him bring his game to the table on it. The freestyle showing here legitimates the flow to everything. There is a bigger feel to be picked up on from “Steve Jobs” which announces everything in a truly fine way. There is a robust testament to the overall appeal. Sharp in terms of how it pushes out the beat, there is also a lot that demands appreciation from how he locks down his live delivery on this one. With “Losing My Mind” he again collects everything in a more opportune way. That is shown on a number of fronts here and it resides well. Here things are turned on in a considerate way that is matched by how things are panned out in the lyrics. A lazy and laid back effort was next called “While I’m Driving” which is dropped in with aplomb. It is clearly pulled along by the carefree tone. That seems to steady the accompanying beat and locates a great deal in how the lyrics seem to front it. A more fired up number was to be his last tune of the night. For “Designer Shoes” he was joined by MIRRORMAN from NANU NANU and it all breaks down formidably. The even acumen shows in terms of how this is pitched. Scored by a deserving backing beat, there is an attentive detail to how it is all stoked. That then levels out in the way it all sits which is keyed in well to give it a more token feel.
Tonight’s Ruby Sessions saw hosting duties passed over to NANU NANU. They have been an act have on our radar for some time to see on the live circuit. Having seen them here tonight at Doyle’s, even though it was off the back of a four song set, we saw enough to see what the hype is all about. “Skin” concentrates the efforts in the opening ambient overture to co-ordinate the production into something expansive. While the sultry allure of LAURA SHEERAN’s vocals also wrap around it vividly. This is a track that is deliciously rich in terms of texture. The snatched feel from second song “Seahorse” rounds it all out in a telling way. The stage presence is also there with this one. There is something transparent in the appeal here, while there is a slight oriental feel in places that develops the luscious side of it figuratively. “The Gift” is a song that they rarely play live. A clear zip carries through from the opening. It hangs back also and that lingering hold slows the pace down finely. That is conducive to it all here. The exacted way that is it imparts itself delivers a lot from them. The ample and urgent way that the tempo brings the necessary weight shows an attentive side to it all. They were then joined by STEVIE LIRIKS for “The Drop”. This is a contender for best track on their album “Unit 1”. Here all the full on aspects are on show. The opening is excellent and it proceeds from there to besiege the audience. There is no mistaking that this stomper of a tune is playing right in front of you. It lays on those qualities thick and fast and is played in such a solid way that you are just blown away by how good it is live.
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BIOT @ Gypsy Rose Fallon Byrne, Face Melter Music
he second night of BIOT’s mini Dublin tour sees the Spanish three piece taking to the stage of the Gypsy Rose Rock n’ Blues Club. Support on the night comes from Irish bands Kerouac, Syllian Rayle and Silveredge and as with all Face Melter Music gigs, the atmosphere and sense of camaraderie is great. The last time I saw front-man Adria was on a huge, sun drenched stage at the Taubertal Festival in Germany with his previous band, Cyrene. It seems slightly surreal to see him onstage in Dublin on a freezing cold November night still performing with the same infectious energy and enthusiasm he displayed in front of hundreds of festival goers. Their first song of the night ‘Idees’, kicked things off with a fine burst of energy. Adria and bass player Rodrigo are off like a shot, rolling on the floor, high kicking and thrashing around the stage with unusual gracefulness. It’s hard to pin the band down to any particular genre, although they describe themselves as post-rock. Their influences are apparent not only through their music but both front men are wearing Muse t-shirts and have blended a Deftones riff into their own song ‘Ocea’. Their diverse collection of songs ranges from the post-hardcore heaviness of ‘Restes’ to the electronic sample filled ‘Horitzons’. Some would see this as a negative,
but when it’s done as well as BIOT have managed to, it only adds to their appeal. Drummer Guillem’s effortlessly rhythmic yet hard hard hitting style brings Abe Cunningham of Deftones to mind. Despite sharing the stage with two of the most entertaining frontmen I have seen in an unsigned band, Guillem never fades into the background. Watching these guys perform really is something to behold. They seem to ooze a confidence and flamboyancy that could only come from a Catalan band. It would be easy to alienate an Irish crowd with such boldness but the feeling of support and warmth in the room is very apparent (at one point the sound engineer even appeared onstage with a round of shots for the band). Not only are BIOT great showmen, their technical and creative abilities are impressive too. The dynamics between the three create a broad sound full of hooks, harmonies and breakdowns. Rodrigo acts as second front man as well as a bass player, even pulling off rapping in English through ‘Ignorancia’, a Rage Against The Machine style song. The crowd cheer on his declarations of gratitude and by the time the final song ‘Cendres’ kicks in and Adria is playing his guitar with his teeth, BIOT have well and truly conquered Dublin.
b u l C s e u l B ’ n k c o R e (22-11-2013)
Irish Artists RED KID
Review by Jamie Kelly RED KID are a five piece band from Dublin. The first track on the album is the title track – “Rocket Ship”. From the first note one thing that is evident is the high production value of the music, which is always a great way to make a good first impression. The song develops a lot of energy and momentum as it goes on. The second track “Kings Of The Universe” is a superb track. It kicks in with some funky bass and fast paced vocals. This instantly creates a buzz for the song. It’s ridiculously catchy and I found myself involuntarily bobbing along to it as I was listening. The chorus is also fantastic and instantly turns into something that can only be described as an anthem. The vocal work here is second to none. Next is “Too Young To Die”. The song starts off with some funky rhythm guitar, closely followed by a melodic lead section. After the short intro its straight into action as the vocals burst in and bring it to life. The transitions between the verses are very smooth which creates a fantastic flow throughout. The lead guitar melody heard at the start comes back in creating a real hook. “Saturday” is excellent. The musicianship heard on this is second to none as the band gel together to perform many starts and stops throughout. The vocal work is again like the rest of the album - very, very high. This also has a very radio friendly feel to it. We then come to “Soup”. The guitar work here is brilliant. It’s very enjoyable to listen to. The vocals are again brilliant, a trait seemingly becoming ever more consistent throughout this album. “No Reason” follows this, the sixth song on the album. My favourite part here is the chorus. The flow of the words and melody in which they are attuned to is fantastic. Everything breaks down in the middle only to build back up to an energy filled, triumphant ending.
10 With its brilliant parts, “Gaberlunzie” stands out. The guitar melody repeated throughout is extremely catchy and personally, makes the song for me. It’s a real hook which intrigues as you listen. Near the end there is a brass section that comes in to add another dimension. We then come to a more toned down effort in the shape of “Fake”. The lyrics are great and tell a lot more of a story than those previous. It makes the album a bit more dynamic and complete. After all it is important to have different styles of songs on an album at this level. From the quite, slow paced notes of “Fake”, we are dumped straight back into overdrive with punching guitar chords and an immense vocal performance on “Luana”. The guitar solo in the middle compliments the melody brilliantly. It then builds up and ends on a bang. The penultimate track on the album is called “Pretty Bird”. This is very fast paced and, like the rest of the album, very catchy. One element I found to stand out was the percussion. The drums really create atmosphere. The vocal melody again makes it very much an anthem. The album closes out with “Paradise”, and what a track to end on. The upbeat melody creates a very happy atmosphere that brings everything to a great close. All the best parts heard throughout the album seem to all culminate on this track to create a fantastic finish to a superb album. I really enjoyed listening to it, and I would recommend sitting down and listening to it from start to finish.
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No Way To Know Why
Review by Jamie Kelly
The first track on the album “Footsteps” is a relatively low key affair, but is still filled with energy. This song has a very catchy chorus and guitar melody; a key element of the album’s success. It lays down the foundation and sets the standard high. We then come to “Cut Away” and its relaxed vibe that progressively builds up into an immense chorus. The key traits to the album’s success are evident when listening to this as you really begin to hear the radio potential. “Let Not People Be Your Foundation” is again very progressive. Like all the tracks so far, the main climax of the song is a real hook that is satisfying to listen to. It contains very strong vocal melodies near the end that really draw you in. “Hurts You Too” comes after this. It starts off quietly and has a quirky feel to it. This adds a bit of dynamic to the album’s range. It builds up to a guitar solo which again is very easy on the ear. Coming after that is “Rival” which also has a nice rhythm going for it. The guitar running in the middle adds another dimension to make for a great overall offering. With “Stand Strong” things create a bit of a psychedelic atmosphere at the start using some interesting effects. The way the vocals and guitar swing in and out at the start really gives off a sense of completion from the
9 song. With some fantastic parts overall this was one of my favourite tracks from the album. This has a ‘country’ sound to it. It’s a song about women/relationships. This is one element of Fallen Rule that I have become very fond of: their ability to input so much energy into their music regardless of the style of song. Track seven is called “Waiting And Watching” and is a great display of their writing ability. There is a real sense of completion that shows it deserves inclusion. I particularly enjoyed the small orchestral input into this song, it really adds to the song. “No Direction” brings things along with an uplifting atmosphere. It is the first on the album to have a strong focus on bass and drums, which gives a fresher sound and shows their ability to expand the avenues of their music. The lead single off the album “Understand” shows why. This is a fantastic tune that is well written and high on appeal. It gives all the justification for the reputation they have built up. The real hook is the backing vocal melody in the chorus. It leaves you humming it to yourself all day. It becomes obvious after listening to it that radio success was inevitable. Things close with “333”. It is an extremely powerful song, bursting with energy. It ends the album with a bang which reinforces the point that these guys are a quality band producing quality music. - 29 -
Nothing Good Gets Away The album takes off with “Novelty” and the impressive way that it charges into things doesn’t fall short. What presents is something with a carefree style that churns away with little regard. This is done to great effect and sees them put their best foot forward in the process. With “6.0” everything is marked out on it in a way that is evident from the intro. The way that it travels coasts along and there is a lot of good intention pushing it all the way here. It is a pleasing number that displays a catchy hook in the sound, but the substance is also there to back it all up. Stirred by the riff on the opening is “Runaways”. The way it comes together holds court while also yielding a fine retro turn that is remarkable. The steady way that it builds is an excellent turn. The vocals wallow on it adding to the experience. A lot is brought to the mix by a song of true reckoning. They get it all right with “I Want”. What is posited in the hallowed way it runs proves a fine attribute all over. The rhythm is neatly procured while the softer way that the vocals are hushed in adds a layer to what the album is about. That slight shoegazer appeal comes their way again on “Laugh Along”. Carried through on the album in the way it is, there is something in the detailed way it is done that sees them take stock of everything in a precise way. “Atomisation” changes the direction. How the guitar motions the rhythm forth has a lot going for this. Catching a very relaxed turn in the process, they merge a harder style to something with a broader appeal. The coveted way it holds together pushes through with a measurability that leaves its mark. Brought in with relativity written all over it is “Jittery”. The languid feel of it comes off from the opening. The vocals etched out here suit the docile way it is all styled, which is why it comes across in the appealing way it does, even more so when things pick up on it. The considerate way “Pliable Me” settles the song is finely applied. The drag in the rhythm is something that it profits from. It all has a particular way to how it all sits that is noted. “Ruse” hits it all with a charged up running that it doesn’t skim on. It is not a full in affair and instead pushes through with something that combines a reserved touch with something retro. That points it in the right direction and it follows through with aplomb. The album closes out with “Moonraker”. Things have a broader feel as it opens. The expansive nature deals it a secluded hand which is played very well. The laid back feel it has accentuates everything to close the album out in the way it deserves.
Opening with “A Wake Up Serenade” things have a specific feel to them. The adequate way that they run with everything is there to be picked up on. How it is angled does press through in a way that attempts something mainstream. That is there to be found and it serves it well because it steadies how things open. They pick up on “Advocate” in a very distinct way. There is something tidy in the way it is paced and delivered. The catchy riff in the guitar does play its part, while it conveys a sturdy sense in how it is worked through. The third track here is “Egocentric”. The light classical touches in the undertone make their way through when it picks up. There is an urgency found in the rhythm here which balances out in an even way as it all gets carried through. The style of things changes somewhat on “The Brink”. Again the classical overtures bring something to the sombre way that it all sounds. With the way that the drumming hangs back it is all served with an easy going feel that comes around with the right amount of direction that is very kind to this one. On “Wizard Of Ill” they begin to show a progression. It has a spent feel from the stoic opening that is an interesting trait. That sense of bravado in what they are attempting doesn’t fall short because it is a consistency maintained which gives it flow and ebb in a telling way. They then revert back to type on “Windows” which blends their rock style with the classical. The result is something which is reflective of the alternative style they want to achieve. Here it works in part but when compared to how the middle of the album had progressed it feels slightly out of place. “Great Escape” is a very cool tune. How the tempo gathers on it is appropriate to all the delivery. Things fall into line on it and the big number that it becomes is commendably delivered. There is nothing they sell themselves short on here or attempt that is beyond their reach. Things have a broader feel to them on “Simple Problems”. It is a broader number that weighs in finely on account of how it is laid out. Sombre and sullen, the fine way that it all manages the approach here has a certainty to it that it employs to good effect. The album closes out with “The Tourists”. Again the broader feel of it is down to the pensive approach. This is taken stock of in the manner it opens before it speculates things by delving into something with an alternative feel to it that makes the most of a progressive approach. It culminates as intended.
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VON SHAKES Bohemia
The firmness of the sound comes through on “Robinson Crusoe”. It aligns everything in the rhythm in an exact way that is quite exhilarating to hear. The superb way that it all gets brought around and through has a subtle showing to match the catchy side. “Talk And Crawl” hits the ground running and hangs back with a sense of authority to proceedings. There is an undisputable veneer to how it all clocks in that is blisteringly applied. It seems to connect in a telling way and this drives it on. A guitar riff that is sharp enough to cut glass announces “My Side”. It then moves from that point of origin and what is gained in the playing shows. The excellent way everything is called out here gets so much right that it is impossible not to admire the band for their efforts here. They punch hard on “Bali II”. The clear cut way that it all flies off the handle is assured. The tantalising way that it is brought through is matched by the vocals. In how everything combines here the best qualities of the song centre themselves. How “Pale” hangs back is excellent. Something in the taut delivery justifies everything that is turned out on this one. The eased manner of the song denotes something grounded from them here and they close around it with an obvious charm. They show what they are about on “Control”. This is another song that is let off the leash but backed up by some excellent music. The catchy way it weaves through is brilliant and that leverages a lot of the right things in the process. “Your Own Holiday” creeps through, but it exemplifies a lot. The courteous cut in the rhythm is there to be admired and the steady way everything climbs in the play is excellently applied. It does hit hard and fast, but it lands those punches where they count. Again there is a steady drift at work on “Headaches” that sees the band get down to business. It has a steadfast appeal that is released with an aperture to be found in the tempo that denotes a mean streak. That is again repeated on “Sit, Wait And Pray”. The distinction carries through from the very first chord. What is comprehended in the build here sews the seeds for a fine tune to grow. Fluid and confidently played in is “Last Day On Earth”. The vocals have a distinction to them here, while the contorted feel from how the pace gives it lift shows. It then seems to hang back and a solitary sense comes over it. The flit between both styles works very well here. A beautiful guitar riff locks in on “That & This” which brings something of comfort to proceedings. It is then able to give it the platform from which it is all built. The full on way it all comes through benefits from how everything is pocketed in a big way. The album closes out with “Away From Here”. Ambient in how it opens, the vocals play in off this in a commendable. A lot is realised here as it all takes its time to build. Nothing feels out of place on it and you feel that the patience is rewarded here.
Rolling With The Times Neatly played in is first track “Together”. There is a pleasing feel to it that embraces folk elements and a troubadour styling. It does have a neat kick to it when it picks up and it is easy enough to admire. On “Arms To Hold You” it all steadily plays out again. The blues influences behind it are there to be found. The lyrics though don’t have as much depth as is needed here. For that it somehow doesn’t measure up because they are too light here. Things do shape up though on “Summer Girl”. The acoustic guitar and the Parisian feel are very effective. Again it has a weakness to be found in the content because it is too light when the lyrics are considered. “55” sees them begin to step up to the plate. This hangs off the harder feel and the weight in the lyrics fill out on it. It sees them move towards a country element and it is where their strengths seem to lie. Again that is the case with “Gamblin’ Man”. This is more like it. Raucous and full of zest, the accordion brings something steadfast. It comfortably takes off and the way it is motioned is very well done. They sink their teeth into the rhythm on “Alone Again”. The lonesome and reflective qualities of the track combine on it all. How it fixates is very causal and this is a song with a determined feel to it. The even temperament on “Mask” stows away on it all with real class. The even way it endures keeps things on course. It lights it all up and the loose way that it all hangs steers it through warmly. With “Wonderful Life” there is a dandy skip to it, yet it also has a strong folk influence at work in the rhythm. This is what gives it all a good calling. The robust way that it develops a stride is configured in the running. “Need You” sifts through. It is a duly number that has a reflective nature and it plays like that all the way through. The sense of detachment is evident on it here and it dispels it all in a commendable way. The latin flavour of “Something Spanish” embraces this. The very clean way that the tempo is motioned is extremely catchy. It stirs everything and it is an excellent track to close out on. It makes the most of what it has and then runs with it to great aplomb. It is a fine effort from them and shows how comfortable they can be with work like this.
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Irish Artists LAURA ELIZABETH HUGHES The sense of abandonment comes through sweetly on “8:7”. It holds in a minded way on the song, but it is her voice and the elegant way that it partitions upon things here that bring out the best in it. Stark and inspired, there is a sharp way that she rolls the lyrics off here that finds a calling in the stirring rhythm of it all. We then come to “Paper Thoughts” and this is another offering that embraces things on a fine note and keeps hold of it. An elegant turn with a degree of sincerity that concentrates the immediate tone of the song in a distinct way takes prominence. That is what ably guides the tempo of it here and keeps it all on course. The next song here is the beautiful “Who Is That Stranger?” The withdrawn nature of it is conveyed in every aspect to what is on show. The sheltered feel that is coaxed from it nestles well in the rhythm. It lends a determined showing to it all that enriches it from the off and maintains it all the way through. The fourth track here is “Recall” which is neatly kept in check. Her voice echoes out on it and brings out the purity of the song. In how it is all caressed there is a diligence to it that is inspired and majestic. The way it falls into place exacts all the best qualities out of it.
.......................................................................................................................... CULT CALLED MAN Shoot Me (It’s Just TV)
There is something notable to “Kaius Kassius” and how it plays out. A style is embraced that denotes a progressive style at work, yet it is also shouldered by a diligent side which concentrates the delivery in the tempo in a sincere way. The weight that is applied allows the musicality of the song to preside over things without any false pretence. As a result the natural ebb and flow remains intact. When the playing is taken into consideration on “The Walkyr”, the finer points of the track necessitate on it in a telling way as they are brought though. What is also impressive here is the smooth feel that comes off the vocals. What they bring to the table adds as much appeal to proceedings as does the excellent way it is all played through. “Ya Tak” is a more sombre effort that is brought around on the opening in an inviting way. The weight of the song is evident in how it is all tracked. What is brought through from the musical display here embraces an alternative and progressive styling which yields more than the sum of its parts here.
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Resonating off the back of a charged up guitar and fluid rhythm comes the first track “Distant Shorelines”. The desirable way that it all plays through here contributes an incredible amount towards what makes it work. In how it all clicks into gear on the play is met with the lyrical credibility that it deserves. The seasoned way that it all collects here offers a great deal and it works that into the equation in a telling way. “Mint And Lime” shows a different style with the focus being a more ground out effort. None the less it is as exhilarating as the first and the running denotes a more sullen tone that has a shoegazer feel to it in places. The expansive feel of it in other places draws a SMITHS comparison on account of how shapely and concerted it comes across, yet the excellence of it all kindly falls into place by design. The third track here is “November Sun”. Again there is something of real substance called out on this one. With how the play is angled in there is an intrigue to it that collects in way of merit. The bass that hangs off it on the opening sees it right and the consistency of it all is threaded through with a deliberate feel that holds firmly.
.......................................................................................................................... MILLION LITTLE GODS “Mammoth” patiently builds before cutting to the chase and bringing through a lot of the right things musically. The lean way that it lingers lights up as it takes flight. There is something in the playing that has a sifted feel to it that is able to close around it all in a telling way. On “Need A Little” the play sees itself right and the languid way the rhythm falls into place is there to be admired. A lot of things go right for it here and the vocal application toils away as much as the arrangement here. There is a leaning towards a calypso meets rock style which picks it all up in an effective way. It sees the band step up to the plate and they don’t sell themselves short on it either.
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What is played through on “Puma” moves it all in a token way. Steadily laid out the cut to the song is sharp. It has a retro quality that the synthesised aspects cleanly display which also shows a broader expression at work. This stands the band good stead and is very precisely brought around. Things close out with “The Witch”. It has a tethered feel about it from the opening that warmly closes around everything. It is guided in finely and the grounded way that it all comes through pushes things through in a pertinent way, which turns on a catchy style at the right moment as it closes out.
Lyric for the Lost
Review by Wynona Grant This is actually the first time I came across Strabane's elegantly impressive Singer/Songwriter, Paul Tully. I was immediately won over. “Lyric for the Lost” embarks on a gentle, tranquil journey starting at “Reign Down Your Love On Me”. This track interacts an easing guitar strum tangled in soothing vocals. Without painting all Singer/Songwriters with the one brush, the melodic-driven rhythm whispers a Gavin James influence- whether intentional or not! “Go Your Way (I'll Go Mine)” took me by surprise. Talk about taking things up a notch! Erupting with energy, this track arrives on the scene with a more full-band texture, as well as a more rustic vocal approach. As good as this track is- and versatility is always welcomed- I do prefer the chilled Tully vibes. 'Stop” is my stand out track of the EP- no doubt. These 4 minutes 23 seconds just stood out to me above everything else. One thing that sets a top artist apart from an average Singer/Songwriter is feeling. If they feel it, you feel it too. And wow, Paul Tully felt 'Stop'. A timid acoustic sound, flourished amongst gentle piano and orchestrated strings etching in and out. Closing track, “Setting Sun” is the first eye-opener we're given of a slight folk-ish blend to Tully's sound. Quite an upbeat, feel-good track, remaining mellow on the core. It's great to see the catchy elements of music aren't left behind for his gentle sound.
Paul Tully almost has it all, and I can't wait to watch his journey unfold.
.......................................................................................................................... SIVE Turn Down The Silence
The stillness which comes to take centre on the opening tune “Turn Down The Silence”, yet it gives way as the folk side of things comes through. The canonised feel of the song is finely felt alongside the pacier way that things pick up. That deliberates upon it here in a very fashionable way that is accentuated further on account of her fine vocal application. Then we come to “Wingless Bird”. Again there is a calling to it that gifts everything a natural procession while also displaying a fluid movement alongside the intuitive way it is delivered. It whiles away in a very appreciative way that brings additional warmth from how it gathers.
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How “If I Had A Home To Go To” coasts along displays a certain degree of charm. Yet behind that is a song that has a sensible feel in the playing, while the haunting way the vocals are pitched cut across it definitively. The wondrous sentiment of it catches things in a sophisticated way which is brought through with clarity. She signs off with “Maude”. Her voice hangs off it and imparts it with a still quality. The taut way that the folk side of things meets with a broadened sense gives it some additional appeal. It is an embracing listen and the story told in the lyrics admirably finds solace within the overall structure of the song.
GREG CLIFFORD Confessions EP
This three track offering opens with “Confessions Of A Man”. It has an opportune skip to it that is finely brought about from the lyrics. Noteworthy for the production values that are on show, there is a scope that is attempted in the musical ambition which is displayed in the level of input that leaves its mark on the overall arrangement. It all results in a tune that holds up quite well. “Take Off Your Mask” feels more sensible from how it is pushed out. The application here brings everything about in a reputable way. The steady vocals meet well with the angled drive that asserts itself in the delivery. The way that it puts itself about here is excellent and a really impressive listening experience. The EP signs of with “Wandering Man”. Again the direction that the song travels in meets well with a broader scope. In the comfortable manner it is all applied it sees everything right. There is an urgency that develops in the progression which sees it step up a gear. When it comes into the mix things do take off and they are finely kept in check. Overall this is a very polished effort which delivers on everything it promises.
.......................................................................................................................... THE FALLEN DRAKES Anymore Cinema
The piano on “Anymore Cinema” slips contently across on it. The finesse of what the band is about is also cleverly displayed here in how the content and context meet. When this all comes together it imparts it all with a clear sense as it lights up. The big production values play their part and that is nothing to find fault with either. There is a face value to “The Ones That Got Out” that is evident. It resides smartly with the timely feel of the song. As things step out they deliver an effort that has a lot going for it. The steady feel of it all moves in tandem with the overall arrangement. It is all done in a way that shows the manner that the band’s style and sound are now progressing in.
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Next is “Final Hour” which holds its own as much as the rest of the other tracks on the EP do. The soft nature of the song hangs back on it here. There is a refinement felt from the delivery here that eases across in a graceful way. The settled tone of it all is a big draw and you feel the emotional heft in the brittle aspects that are on show. The final track is an acoustic version of “Anymore Cinema”, yet it concentrates the music and traces it out in a way that is very sublime. This gives it an accentuation that draws a comparison between both versions and gives it a different sense of identity that is very telling. How it is all brought around underlines this point.
LEGION OF APE That’s It
Review by Jamie Kelly Legion of Ape are an upcoming band based in the Dublin area. Their live shows have produced a buzz surrounding their music so it wasn’t long before an E.P was on the horizon. “That’s It” was released in early November and has been a great success as it sounds fantastic. The first track “Battle Of The Clams” is a fantastic opener that instantly lets you know what the band are all about. They are also so much more than catchy riffs with cutting vocals. This song is full of energy and sets the tone for the tracks to follow. The second track is “King Corpse”, and it is again full of energy. The song has a very catchy chorus with pleasing riffs throughout. The breakdown near the end before they burst back into it all signifies this. The ‘muse-esque’ “Patriotic Duties” comes next. This is a very progressive number that hits hard throughout. It is a great addition to this selection. The last track is “Formidable”. Like the previous this one is very progressive in terms of how it is styed. There is a real distorted-chug tone on the guitar which sounds immense and adds a lot of power. Overall a great EP and listening is highly recommended; it is one that would take pride of place in anyone’s collection.
.......................................................................................................................... PIGSASPEOPLE Idles & Us
Review by Jamie Kelly The first track “Vicious Speaker” doesn’t waste time and drops straight into overdrive as it comes in with a meaty guitar riff accompanied by some high paced drums and vocals, very intense track with a high level of musicianship. It is a little bit more than just a great opener. “Postcards From Waco” is again quite heavy. It starts of high paced until breaking down into a face meltingly heavy guitar riff. Their combination of chugging guitar riffs and technical drumming works well.
Everything on “Vaults Are Violent” starts off a bit more chilled than the first two. For the first time the real focus of the song is on the vocals. The tempo is quite slow throughout the first half as it all builds up to an epic climax. After it breaks in, we’re back to intense music which will doubtlessly get anyone’s blood pumping. The next track is called “Caprice”. It starts off with some psychedelic guitar accompanied by some temperate drumming. Then things progressively get heavier and louder until eventually erupting into everything. For a three piece they really can make the speakers shake. The last of their four tracks is called “The Art Of Leaving Your House”. This starts off with some more epic distorted riffs. It combines all the best traits of the band to really make this song an anthem in its own right. On the basis of this we hope to hear more from PIGSASPEOPLE in the near future.
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SEA PINKS Exploded View
Review by Wynona Grant
Belfast-native, alternative band, Sea Pinks seem to have captured a very slight grunge feel in their latest release. Lead track, 'An Exploded View' bounces on a rustic Indie texture. With flowing electric guitar riffs etching in and out, this track alienates any essence of a calming foundation. Holding a slight sense of vintage Punk influences from the likes of The Clash, the EP progresses onto tracks like 'Magpies Eye'. This track holds a more moderate electric sound, toning it down with more shared bass and drums. Final track comes in the form of 'Pretty Pass'. All the more generic sounding of the four tracks, it combines an upbeat, steady rhythm coinciding with vocally smooth verses and choruses.
A nicely structured EP with quality content- can't ask for more, really.
.......................................................................................................................... HARRISON & THE DEVIL Cat Matters
“The Badger & The Bird” saunters along. The clean way it drifts has an amenity that acts as a calling card. The way it is traced through on the rhythm is a trait that acclimatises all of the play toward something smooth. The way it hangs aback adds substance. With “Likely Lay” there is a neat parlance about the catchy side. It leans the band towards a stylish number yet also sees them go all out and embrace the raw side. How that configures shows in the way it all locks it in.
“Bones” sees them trace things out with a more lucid opening. There is a defined feel to be noted from the bass line that plays through on it. The even way that it all shows here is evident. It takes its time to build and as a result a lot manages to get underneath the play here. There is a comparison with RADIOHEAD to be made on “Psychopomp”. You feel that they are pushing things musically while at the same time embracing an innovative turn. The conveyance here lights it all up in a distinguished way that curtails the digression finely. A live recording of “Up Above The World” then closes out. This is worth waiting for because you would be interested to know if they cut it live. The answer is yes. The folk style burns bright on it here but it is reeled in. The unrelenting way that it operates sits well with the sunken feel that it all has.
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International Acts THIS SILENT FOREST Indivision
The first track here is “We Are We Were” and the defined way it opens characterises a lot of the right qualities that the band has about their music. It hides away before things are steered by the excellence in the vocals. The soft tone of the song carries through and it all condenses things into the production in a way that shows. With “Give Me An Answer” the rock side of things presses ahead. It holds in an assured way, while also bringing through a catchy resonance on the guitar. In doing so it gauges it all quite well here to allow it place the right elements into the equation in it. This is brought around in the operation. When you hear “Drowning Man” the opportune way that it takes off gets it going. The straight feel to be found in the rhythm has a contained and curt turning that is excellently administered from the off. This gets underneath it and gives it drive. Then we have “The Arsonist”. It has a steadfast feel about how the tempo is motioned. It is able to digress a lot and it shoulders these qualities in a specific way. The neatness comes through on it and proves to be the making of it all.
8 “Get In Line” has a lighter feel. It is built from that and the pick up on the pace is a gradual one. The clean way that it necessitates here focuses all of the play in a diligent way. The arrangement is also impressive and denotes the high production value behind the album here more so. As “Root To The Seed” waits patiently in the wings. The solemn premise of the tune is a given from how it is laid out. It pertains to this in a stern way and it gives something hard to it all. The rigid structure evens out the flow of it to accommodate the steadier side of it all. Set out in the same way as the rest of the album is “Model Couple”. It has a patient offering on the opening before placing an emphasis on the musicality. The result is an uplifting tune that has scope and balance to it which accommodates the bigger and more expansive feel to it. The last track here is “Winter”. The guitar and drums bellow out on it and the minimalist styling paints something distinct. The even side of the song is there to be found. It concentrates a lot into gathering the music here and it shows. It is a fine body of work that is cleverly processed all the way through. - 38 -
Grabbing A Crocodile The eponymous opening track here grabs you with how sharp the guitar riff on it is. The way it manages to split the air in the room when you hear elevates it above shoegazer territory into something much more rock oriented. The way it hangs back alongside the hard style gives it a refined cut. The pace of “See Me Hear Me” is immensely well placed. When it cuts out somewhat the track steadies into something with a clear trajectory that is seen right all the way. It handles in a way that is tantalising to listen to. Concisely arranged and delivered to reflect this, there is nothing but admiration to be felt for this. “I’m Bleeding” has a carefree attitude that is there from the off. The way it all tumbles along has a feel to it that shoots straight as it fires the proverbial bullets at the breeze. That is what makes it a scintillating and catchy listen. Controlled and angled in to reflect this is “Magic Weird Jack”. The amount of coolness that it has going for it is there in how the rhythm gives it drive. The relative ease and hard edge to it contrasts to add to how stark it feels as it comes through. “Roswell, NM” is another lightning quick effort from them that shakes things up. The underground feel to how they sound and play is more pronounced here. Hence the reason why the raw feel to
10 this one comes through more effectively. The blistering way that it all travels doesn’t miss a trick here. They limber up with a more spiritual track for “Dazed Dream”. Here they embrace a psychedelic style and it rubber-stamps just how excellent they are as a band. This lays it on and the manner in how it is all realised is very effective, while also retaining their identity with how it leverages a rock style towards the output. On “You Got The Eye” they hold true and locate something reverent in the temperament. That shows in the way the title is delivered. There is a swagger and attitude in the vocal as it is called out. This is a top drawer effort that lays on the playing thick and fast but doesn’t overload it. The scatty play on “I Want Her” explodes into life. Here a punk style that could hold its own against such contemporaries as THE RAMONES et al comes into the mix. This is another example of an excellent band showing what they are about by letting their music do the talking for them. With “No Man’s Land” the hard roll of their sound comes to the fore from the off. The playing shoulders a great deal of hardened rock yet it is also blessed with an edge. The way things hang off the play here is very robust and it is what directs the tone of everything. The final track is “Get Me Out Of Here” and it is a track which embraces a shoegazer feel, yet presses ahead in a way that mirrors the album as a whole up to this point. Considered on all fronts, there is something to the way it plays that astounds. There is nothing out of place here and the fine way that it toils away is par for the course and the considerate way it is all traced out shows that they a band very much in their element. - 39 -
Review by Wynona Grant This debut, self-titled album from Austin five piece, Black Books, comes as a really impressive alternative mix. “Favourite Place” takes up the position of introducing the album. Quite a steady, repetitive song in itself, it manages to put across a catchy energy. With lyrics like “I couldn't breathe, you're exceptional” ringing around your head after just one listen, it does its job extremely well. A more post-rock sound is picked up in “Maria”. Echoed vocals gliding on transient guitars, until the tempo is mellowed out on “Something To Remember”. A wonderfully chilled out, crisp track to break the cycle of the album. A slight Killers meets U2 idea came to mind. “Take Take Take” has a similar attitude. I'm really liking this relaxed Black Books- it works. Everything in this track seems to flow nicely and in sync. The end of the album is, by far, a symbol of everything I love about this band. “Paradise” just shows the impressive vocal range of the band's frontman while the music runs elegantly behind him. “Out the Door”closes the album off with a mere Kodaline vibe. Vocals reaching wonderful heights while the music takes nothing away. Not that the “music” should ever just be an accompaniment for vocals, but Black Books weigh it out brilliantly on this track. Superb album!
Review by Wynona Grant Four-piece Leicester natives, Furies, consist of Rock, Indie, Grunge and Metal, all churned into one forceful, emotive sound. Their latest album, “Death Valley” is a perfect example of this. Following the introduction, “War In The City” comes upon us. Starting with quite a heavy form, the chorus allows for a little more melancholic flow to take over the track. The guitar riffs scream grunge, the weight of the sound illustrates the metal influence and the vocals (for the chorus anyway!) are relatively lightweight and Indie-like. “Ignite the Soul” for me, is the track of the album. The vocals are the immediate focus for the first half of the track, until the more power-filled drums take their toll. “The Fear” follows closely behind in my books. Quite a swiftly moving track with outbursts of screams taking you by surprise during the chilled verses. The first time the Grunge element of their sound is crystal clear is in “Ride”. Portraying a real Nirvana light in the guitar element of the track, it comes off as an early 90's influential creation. “Lights Out” is that one track that lets the album down, unfortunately. With an almost too “try-hard” atmosphere in the force of the vocals, the instrumentals are left not fitting or matching up. Just when everything was going so well!
The album ends on title track, 'Death Valley'. The unexpected addition of strings was striking, to say the least! It didn't last long, however. Once the song really kicks off, it became obvious that it acts as the perfect conclusion to wrap up the point of the 10 previous tracks. Good job, Furies!
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CAST OF LIONS
Eyes Wide To New Places The opening track on the album is “Astronauts”. With the graceful feel of the piano the expanse is noted, yet when the synthesised characteristics come into play things become more formidable. It develops an assured streak that brilliantly pushes through in a telling way. Again they angle something catchy into proceedings on “Sticks & Stones” which embraces the synthesised style in a spirited way. It brings it all through with a degree of maturity. Things move furthermore on “Bucket & Spade”. The slick buzz generated in the play here is excellently pressed ahead and they dig deep on it, but it also has shape and composure that feed into it with an excellent showing. With “Night Worries” the scope they intend is present. They are at home with the electronic elements which come through here in a commendable way. It adds vibrancy to everything and the space it occupies makes the most of the moment. Then they move direction on “Softer We Fall”, which is to be expected. It holds its own and the consequential way that it all plays out has the right amount of substance to it. “Jigsaws” pieces everything together. There is nothing skipped on and they raise their game here.
9 The fine way that it all comes to bear here leaves a fine song standing that compromises on nothing and places everything appropriately. “Candle” is one of those songs that hits you and impresses you at the same time on account of how good it is. The flow here is excellent, while on the whole it falls into place with a keen eye on how it is designed you feel. When you hear “Paint” the settled feel and tone of it denotes something dark on the intro. This is played on and it is able to sit well with how it all opens into a broader spectrum. They play to their softer side on “Cement Tree”. The attributes of the song come together on it in an exact way that manages the tender running of it, while the lyrics are comfortably guided alongside this. But it is a big tune with depth. The ethereal way that “Dream Shaper” is figured has a convincing feel to the running. The rhythm fills up on it and allows it to find form in truer way to the rest of the album. It steadies and rises in a way that catches things sweetly. That followed by “Masks” which is a more ambitious attempt from the band that you always felt was coming. It is big in terms of composure, but it has a settled feel that commands everything on show. The final track here is “Hush, Hush World”. This is big on scope and is brought through to reflect this. It is an ensemble piece which merges different aspects of electronic and synth to great effect. - 41 -
THE COLOURPHONICS Cooler Than Kung Fu
Magnetic and stylish is how opening track “Just Mad” articulates. The running is very coherent and sharp. The fresh and vibrant way that it lights up the song guides it all in with a clear distinction. It is catchy and lean in very equal measures which venture forth. Then we come to “Out Of Here” which has a meta feel to it. The steady way it is all brought to bear gives it all a composure that is underpinned by the saxophone. The catchy side is locked down and the energised keel is an excellent showing here. With “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff” they manage to push things through. The clear and funky styling is what gives it appeal. The fine running endears and the consistency to it is apparent in how it picks up. The title track is a blistering assault which despite its eccentric title also showcases the playing abilities of the band. It gathers nicely and the configuration of it all hangs in the right places to show how well measured the overall operation happens to be. Then “May” and its candid roll is a song that grows on you. It has a distinguished charm which comes to bear in a fervent way. Synthesised beats cut through on “Sit Back” and the effective way that it all runs is admirable. The solid way that the vocals are pitched also mark it out for the right reasons. They corner everything necessary and that is why they revel in the playing so much. You then find “Look Around” on the album after that. It is a song that conflicts with the rest but for some reason it sits well here. The commendable way that it is all laid out gets so much right in the playing. Hanging off the back of the ardent touches allows it to stand out. “Impossible To Tell” collects well. Showy and abject in terms of definition, it has a conjecture in the rhythm that is finely put to good work. The cut to the song angles the right things in proportion here and it shows. Then we come to “Would They Be Proud?” and the lithe skip in the beat is apparent. This comes through with a neat parlance which gets it to work alongside the relaxed skip it all has. How it flies here shows a productive tracking that is put to good use. The last track “Don’t Do It” makes use of the fortunate aspects of the sound. What it brings though on the song owes a lot to this. The departure in the progression is excellent when considered against the point of origin. That it lays a lot on in terms of musical ability serves to hammer that point home.
STEFFALOO Heart Beats
Her previous album, “Would You Stay”, was reviewed in our very first issue and by chance her new album is also featured in our December issue this time around. The electronic influence on this album marks a distinct departure from her other work and this is immediately evident on “Made To Love You” The showy way that it is all handled sits well with the static qualities that are drawn out on it by bringing a more closed feel to how it is all styled. Then “Eyes For You” denotes a more ethereal feel. The spacious nature here underlines this, while the definition that seeps through is patiently built and applied. When you hear “Lovesick”, it does leave a lingering impression. The lighter qualities of it are conveyed in a steady way that embraces everything in a tidy way, yet also catches something clean and catchy in the hook. This is relayed in the vocals finely. A more expressive feel is noted on “You’re Not There”. It is pressed through in a fuller way that neatly finds form in the playing folds. The way it levitates the sound is also very worthy of appreciation. The isolated feel of “Shoulda Known Better” hangs back in a diligent way. It expresses itself in an articulate way that is motioned in a very steady way. “Young” repeats the trick. The sound looms in a particular way which displays the volume and texture in the transition. Things pick up on it here in a more grounded way and are relayed as such. That makes it slightly referential all the more for it. The tone of “Sweet Talker” is excellent. Here what shows is the finer way things collect. There is something to be admired in how it stows away, yet her voice finds its way through on it in a trusted way. The listless way it all plays denotes a freedom in the expression. Then we come to “Don’t Wanna Cry” which is very dark in tone. There is a mood that comes to settle upon it all which serves to underline this. It is fed through though in a deliberated way which adds an additional tangibility to it. Then “Come Talk To Me” is the mirrored contrast to this. The fluid turn on show here is an experimental one which holds well. Though in some ways it is hard to determine what it is about because it loses itself in an Avant Garde styling that won’t be for everyone. “Miss You” conspires to have a lucid feel about it. The empty sense of feeling is projected from it doesn’t go unnoticed. It adds to the ambient flow that it all has. Then we come to “When I’m Happy”. The bucolic feel of it sets out something that is motioned in a descriptive way. “Sunshine” closes things out. The lush form here is alluring and endearing in equal measure. It results in the finer way it runs to gather in a way that gives it the running it deserves.
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MADE IN JAPAN Tame All Those Thoughts
There is a set tone about “Community” that equates rather finely in terms of how it brings everything through. The consistency in the volume here is evident and it shapes the whole process of it all. “History” sees them stack a lot of the right traits into the music. The soulful reach of the vocals pursue everything in the delivery. How it garners on the song gives it a sense of purpose as much as it does direction. The haunting stillness of the rhythm flows beautifully also.
8 circumstantial way it all merges with the delivery bodes well for the band. It is excellent all the way through.
After that comes “Hibiscus” and it is another elective turn from them. Solid and consistent in terms of movement, it keeps the open feel of the song very much on track with its flirtation with a shoegazer appeal. But the appreciation here is all warranted.
Aided by how sturdy the pace picks up on it is “Follow The Fool”. This is very experimental and pushes out as such. The sense of abandonment happens upon it by design in a very figurative way which shows in how the vocals add to the mix. “In Between Fixes” legitimates all of the right elements in the right places. This takes everything and runs with it.
With “I’ll Try” there is something reflective in the arrangement which adds to the grandeur of everything. This is gauged and the
“Tacet��� is an interlude which sets up the album to close out with “Low”. The efficient way that it all flows stirs everything and the motion of the rhythm characterises a great deal of the right qualities which are relayed in the ebb and flow. The distal way it all feels is down to how it resides, while the comfortable way it hangs back is very referential here.
Following that ensemble piece is “Always Here” and it has a sturdy side that it takes in its stride. The exceptional way that it all presents itself is there to admire. It coasts along off the way that it all hangs. What it allows for is a specific turn to round it all out.
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International Acts JUMPSHIP ASTRONAUT Lights Burn Out
Review by Wynona Grant Executing an Electronic/Dance style in their music, five-piece, Jumpship Astronaut have kicked things up a bit with their latest five track EP, 'Lights Burn Out'. Opening track 'Romanticize' belts into the sound with some hard-hitting synth and instrumentals. The vocals are smooth and contemporary. A real authentic vibe is heard through these guys' sound. Follow up tune is 'Something to Outrun', another upbeat, party-suited track. It actually embarks on a more Rock journey, leaving their electronic sound to slack a little. The mix of sounds throughout this EP blend into a sort of Pop-Rock muse. 'Return captivates a free-flowing, groovy melody in tune with crisp vocals rolling out well written lyrics. To be honest, I really enjoyed this new tint in Jumpship Astronaut.Final track, 'Ghost' came impressively close to 'Something To Outrun' for the spot as track of the EP. Eerie backing vocal responses shine through and the entire track insists on a greater depth than previous ones.
8 .......................................................................................................................... Top notch mix from this clearly versatile group.
SOVIET SOVIET Summer, Jesus
Review by Wynona Grant Opening on a British Rock sound, sort of screaming a post-modernist, industrial revolution movement through its crowded sound, “Contradiction”, perhaps set out to achieve a Rock identity. Instead it resides at a mess of noise and chaos. At this point, I hoped the remaining five tracks had something more to offer... Did they? Not really, no. “Human Nature” kicked off with a promising bass riff, but that was merely setting up for a repeat of what was thrown at us in “Contradiction”. Now, I know personal preference of genre probably has a lot to do with this, but the cluster of sounds built up in this second track just didn't cut it for me.
When 'Warmata' eased its way in, my hopes climbed back up; “Oh, maybe this is the one mellow track of the EP”- it wasn't. I understand that Rock is Rock and that's great, and we can enjoy that, no problem. But let's not blow it out of the water and substitute talent for noise. There is talent here, it's just going to waste. Final track, “Aztec Aztec” is probably the best track on the list here. Maintaining a rhythm-following tune, it shadows a better vibe than previous tracks. You win some, you lose some... I guess.
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THE JONES RIVAL Review by Jamie Kelly
Sydney band THE JONES RIVAL put this EP out at the start of November. The first track on the E.P is called “Cults”. From the first note their distinctive sound is apparent. The song has a great chorus, repeated throughout that is very catchy. The second track is entitled “Busted” and is the lead single. It’s not hard to see why after listening to it. The guitar riff that plays throughout here is superb. I think the real hook in the song comes in on the guitar solo. This is what really brings it all to life and creates a distinct melody that catches the listener. The next song is called “My Aim”. The song starts off with a short intro, reminiscent of the ‘Jaws’ films. The chorus contains some great vocal work that really stands it good stead. However I did find the song to be quite repetitive. The fourth song is called “Ketamine”. The bass line that starts off things here is really catchy. Again great vocal work makes the song sound very full and complete. Things break down in the middle, only to climax into a shredder of a guitar solo. This is my favourite song on this. The chorus is what gives it a strong playback value and makes it very radio friendly overall. The final track “Broke Up” is a bit more chilled than the rest of the songs as it lowers the energy levels created in the previous tracks. This adds to the overall dynamic and gives it a wider spectrum of appeal. Overall this debut gives off a distinct sound that is instantly recognisable.
.......................................................................................................................... KEETON Stumble On Love Review by Jamie Kelly
“Stumble On Love” is the fourth release from the Texas artist. He has yet to disappoint as this has kept up the high standards of previous efforts. The eponymous “Stumble On Love”, is a great track. The sound is really complete, which is obvious when listening because of the high level of musicianship on show. It sets a high standard for the rest. The second track “The Prayer” brings with it a more relaxed vibe. The song is progressive and builds up to a catchy climax, which again maintains a high standard throughout.
When we come to “Gone” a great story is told which sees everything right throughout the play. That it is a ballad makes it a great addition as it gives off a wider dynamic sound. The final track is “Wine And Water”. This is very powerful and shows a large degree of might, but the ballad elements lend it something more distinct. This powerful vibe is evident throughout and fare well on it from start to finish.
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POSTCODE The Zebra
Our music network and how extensive it is brought Isle Of Man act POSTCODE to our attention recently. The first track off the EP “Reds” has a handsome feel. There is also something rotund to be picked up from the running. It is very pleasing and the vocals seem to enhance the lingering qualities of the track in a tasteful way. “Fairy Hill” comes next and is a more bucolic offering. The steady way that the play is stirred creates a tranquil hold. From this the entire process runs quite effectively and the lucid turn in the style brings out the right feel of it all. The direction changes with “Pavilion Song”. It is more charged and energised. The guitar tumbles away on it with a distinct hold, while the running and delivery plant something edgy in the way it is all fronted. We then come to “Envy”. This is a track that really embraces the shoegazer style that band has. The lush qualities peruse their way through in a slick way. The cool essence of it all finds its true calling from the way it is felt through. They then revert back to the earlier style of the EP with “Tregonwell”. Expansive in terms of context and texture, the savoury feel of it comes through with a distinct settlement in the tone. The relative ease shows and as a result it all comes together fashionably. Flitting ahead from the opening is “Sunfield”. It seems to fit the other side of the band’s style. The edge it has mirrors the previous track, with the appeal of it found in the delivery and the contrast. The catchy hook in the tempo is also something that sweetly pushes through.
The final track is “Goodbye Minehead”. Again it looms in a way that is inviting. The drift of the sound draws you in and the inviting sensibilities are brought home from how well pieced it is. The endearing allure procured is an excellent feature and an excellent calling to close proceedings on.
.......................................................................................................................... HALF CROWN EyeSpy “She’s Got Eyes” is the first song. There is a fissure to how the rhythm comes through here. The hard way that it rushes through here allows a tight hold to come over it all. The fine bounce in the step is also a nice turn on here which adds that little bit of extra. With “Spark Up” things come to life immediately. This has a shapely feel to it and there is also an anthemic quality that is embraced by the way the rhythm comes through on it. This is a good calling from the band and the manner that the tempo clicks into gear on it here allows them to appropriate it and keep it feeling more real.
“EyeSpy” is something that has a harder feel that asserts itself from the off. It darkens the tone in how it materialises here. The other plusses to be picked up on are the way that it hallows out a defined tone from the start. As they close out with “Wonderland” they take a more reflective stance. That is displayed in how the lyrics impart upon it all. The tethered feel of it all is finely brought through and it adds a distinguished roll to proceedings. It toils away figuratively and does stand the band good stead in the process.
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BLACK IS BRIGHT Dust
Given a listen this turns out to be one of those EPs that you uncover and realise it is an underrated gem. The experimental approach and the wonderful way that it sits with the shoegazer sentiment of “In Time” realises a lot of what it sets out to. There is a sublime feel to it and the way that it comfortably stares down the breezy moments in the play is commendably done. An undeniably fashionable feel comes through on it as a result. A looming guitar collects tellingly on “Hangman” and it seems to give it all a light tilt. That in turn evens it all out. While the soft way that it sways also turns things on with a classy feel, while the lazy streak is pushed out on its own terms. “Dust” sees the sound develop further. A darker tone seems to gather and the synthesised beats add to this presence. The new wave structure that it develops encroaches upon it all, yet it is welcomed with open arms for how it is all brought through. Even and rich in texture it emphasises the admirable qualities that the band are capable of embracing in a telling way. The results are evident here. With “Amiupdown” there is a disenchanted appeal to the running. This is gauged well and there is a sense of catharsis that comes through on the ebb and flow of this one. The expansive overtures that it entails also add something extra to the listening experience. Last track “Headroom” comes around on the back of some fine playing that accentuates from the off. Hard and well-heeled in terms of the way it gathers, there is a scope to it that showcases the tantalising appeal of their shoegazer style. It angles in everything with a gritty feel that charges all the way through on it, yet maintains the operation in a distinctly reticent way that is intriguing.
.......................................................................................................................... SCREAMING WITHOUT YELLING We saw this French act live at Dimestore Recordings on Hallowe’en night and reviewed them live last issue. Their EP lives up to how good they were that night. The opener “Ego In Their Puddles” takes off with a charged feel to it that comes around in a way that takes note of a lot. The sturdy way it keeps hold of it all catches a vibrancy that reflects well with how it interjects with the lyrical content and vocals. The snatches of guitar here are also a neat selling point. “Wake Up Uglies (And Change Your Mind)” is another controlled effort that asserts the identity of the band. The ease in their style projects across on it with an enigmatic resilience to it all. It centres things and as a result a steady tune is left standing. The clean rock leanings get on with everything and that is all relative to what it has going on.
Things immediately take off on “Showing Off Time”. The pace to it sees it hit the ground running before it then hang back. How it is managed balances a lot. The prowess of the play lends it a slight pomp but it never strays off course. Instead it is directed and the way it is all maintained here shows a well thought out effort that doesn’t disappoint. We then come to “My Cat Is Weird” which has a more sinister calling to the rhythm. The darker sense that stirs it in the way the synthesised beats hang back make for a very impressive listen though. That is asserted in a way that adds some additional weight and turns it all around for the band here. The fifth track is “Screaming Without Yelling”. With its retro feel it shows a proven pedigree. It fronts everything here and the smooth way that it is carried across muscles through on the playing clearly.
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“Ephemera” finely calls out everything. There is a delicate feel as the vocals fall into place on it. The manner in how the tempo is projected also imparts it with a clear method. The concise feel of the expansive offering that it becomes when it projects contrasts sweetly with how it all lingers. It shows why they have gotten everyone talking about them for their music because of how it holds up. The title track comes next and the dark overtone fits it like a second skin. The way it catches things as it lights up is a very impressive showing indeed. The timeless feel from the retro fitting of it acquires a specific place that is deserving of all the praise that comes its way. It all has a clever feel about how it is constructed and this is relayed in the delivery excellently. “Sinking Stone” embraces a more deliberate feel as it is all brought through. The stationary way of the vocals and rhythm holds on the delivery which allows the expansive side of the song to open it all out finely. There is a reverence to it that sits well with the opportune calling of it that travels across with a true distinction and calling. The fourth track, “Pegasus”, is another excellent effort. The warmth of the track turns you onto it all in a big way. What is thrown down in the operation here smartly brings everything through. The deliberation matches the casual appeal of the delivery, yet at the same time there is an ambience displayed that connects with the tone and tempo of it in a brilliant way. As it does so there is an unmistakeable quality in the relative ease and style that shows how polished the EP is as a whole in the process.
.......................................................................................................................... SOUND STRIDER Intrepid Travels This is what music is about- embracing the potential of sound and that is what we get with this EP. The first track here “The Stakes” denotes this. The garage influences of the play cut into things and interject, and while it merges with a dubstep influence, it does however hold up. While not necessarily an exhilarating effort it does manage to steadily fuse the playing arcs as different directions take hold. There is a more robust feel to the synth on “Menlo Park” and the roboticised feel from the sound blesses it all with a true dynamic. The casual feel from the way the beats are processed here generates a lot of plusses in how they are garnered. Solid footing from the off helps to carry it through and the trance aspects in the showing deliberate in a sparse way.
A more tranquil leaning sets out on “Childhood’s End”. The scratch and freestyle efforts catch something that musters a good deal to things. An illicit and tactile feel seems to come across on it that the garage influence at work merges finely with. It has these little sublime touches in the directions that embrace a slightly unconventional approach to fine effect. With “Limit?” there is a vocal lyric dropped on proceedings. It flits in and out while a telecast also juts out on this one. The tone to it is about a more experimental approach, yet it is not as consistent as the previous offerings. It does however attempt to push the envelope with how they test things on a musical level and they prowess is there to be seen. But it lacks something that it is hard to pin down here. “Betoniere” sees things out. From the off there is an offbeat sense and it doesn’t translate well. If anything it lacks direction and only really comes into anything resembling a steady beat half way through. For that it loses out, although there is a more European feel to how it sounds, but it lacks that texture that it needs.
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WHITE SUMMER What I’ve Been Waiting For
There is an instant feel for the EP as soon as “Black Cobble Road” begins. The catchiness of the hooks kicks in and a cool veneer comes to bear on everything. The revelry in how it projects this is instantly gratifying and shakes things up in a big way. Consistency is the key here and this is laid on in spades, with the substance to match the style evident. Again they angle something catchy with a rock side to it on “Chugg Fuzz”. There is a boldness that resounds from the playing here that displays an edgier cut and there is no short changing the listener here. It steadfastly builds and the purposeful way it moves is enriched by how it is delivered. On “Head In The Sand” things have a very specific run to them, with the guitar riff a sheer joy to behold. It is one of those licks that any band would sell their soul to call their own because it is what brings the track to life. The vocals also cradle the song before breaking away to a harder impact as it all progresses. But this is a song that brings everything together and leaves you wanting more. Things are closed by “Lone Desire”, which sees the band prove their worth from what is on show. How the playing is driven on showcases the mettle and worth of the band. Hardened by the guitar it clocks in smartly and holds court from the beginning all the way through to the end.
.......................................................................................................................... RUBBLEBUCKET Save Charlie
The slick calling of the band is evident on the first track here as soon as it begins to play. The clean way “Save Charlie” eases into things displays a confident streak which fully pours out on this with a clear distinction. This wraps you around its finger with such ease that it is impossible not to admire it. The tempo is structured in a clear way which exemplifies this and shows the capability of the band. After that comes “Patriotic” which has a dalliance to it that corners a lot of the right qualities in how it brings everything around. The brass section on it is an added touch which adds a distinction to proceedings here while allowing the integrity to also take pride of place here. Then a cover of THE DOOBIE BROTHERS classic “What A Fool Believes” earns its place on the inclusion here. It is then followed up by the brief “Six Hands”, which given the short running time is more of an interlude.
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Three remixes of the eponymous track are included. The first is by BIG BLACK DELTA which squarely fits everything in while also denoting a retro chic that is impressive. The version by FUN SECRET seems to enhance the DOOBIE BROTHERS classic and mixes it up well. It mashes different beats into the delivery which put their own stamp on it. The third is a remix of “Save Charlie” by CHICO MANN. A fine disco feel seems to come off this one and the neatness about it is easy to relate to, while the concentrated flashes of synth give it an added flavour.
THE DELTAHORSE There is something inspired about this Berlin outfit and it is apparent in how “Hey Yuri” opens. There is a rich vein in the playing that picks up exceptionally well alongside the unrefined edge it holds. A steady guitar buzzes across on it here which configures the rhythm fully. It results in a shallow and elusive track which runs accordingly. That is then followed up by “Willy Brown” which electrifies the air. There is a smooth side to it, yet it extends to embrace a darker and more warped tone. This gives it a new wave feel while also having a sleight of hand running on it in the tempo which gives good piece of mind to the catchy side that is steered through here.
“The Guy Who Walks Away” seems to extend the previous song. Again the catchy tone tumbles away in it here and it brings it all to life. The slick way it seems to push through also has finesse as it muscles its way through, yet there is a carefree confidence to it that is picked up on. Directed by this the volume of the brass catchments in the play traipse across it in a highly appealing way. The last track is “Breathing Away” which works things in from the relaxed sentiment that the tone brings. It has a lazy roll in the playing that generates a lot of the right things. From this the progression builds and it is a safe point of origin, yet there is a scope that presents itself at the same time. This opportune song ticks all the boxes and if they keep producing music like this they could be one of the breakthrough acts of 2014.
.......................................................................................................................... SEYCHELLES Paraísos Fiscais This recommendation from our Brazilian based music network really got things going in our office when this EP was sent to us. “Mr. Harrison” has a laid back style that is very kind to it, yet at the same time it display an enigmatic approach that turns you onto the band in a big way. With the way the rhythm loom large on this one they bring a lot to the table and you feel that the best is yet to come. With “Indio Da Ameríca” the bravado of what they are about hangs nicely. Taking something tame yet also embellishing it with a definition in the play, the fluid movements in the tempo here are excellent. The static loom it has permeates from the off.
“Baby Punk” is a more removed offering. Embracing a tone that is dark, there is an experimental feel to everything that pushes the boundaries. As a rug pull it is a good trick and it displays a lot of alternative play, yet it does feel out of place. The flamenco style that they have creates a dalliance on “Paramos De Lutar”. Patiently nestled in the rhythm, it fits swimmingly with the even keel to the texture overall. It brings warmth that travels well and the last track here, “Paraísos Fiscais”, comes in off the back of it finely. The charged keel from this one embraces everything in an assured way. It carries the track through and the lean way it runs doesn’t go unnoticed. It is effectively tracked and it retains that in the overall delivery.
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DEATHCATS The Raddest
This Glaswegian outfit have a crisp and fresh quality to them that is brought to bear in a very clean way. “I Wish It Was Summer” and the way it imbues the song with charm is excellent. It shows a band comfortable with their style. Something raw pours through on it that is showy yet also locates a charm all of its won which is met with the music to back it all up. They elect to turn things up a notch with “Surfing In My Head” that fills out cleanly. The robust running is well thought out and they process this into the rhythm. It is showy and manages to pack a punch, while also having its wonderment concentrated in the full volume of it all. The 3rd track “Cowabunga Surf Jam” conspires to chew it all up. The fabric of the song hangs back and it all displays a carefree style that is met with substance. It cleverly formulates here; the result is a track brimming with life. The texture is what steers it through and in the solid display they approach it all as a band in charge. The final track is “Trash Talk” and is a side note. It is not intended to be anything more. An interesting side note is that it has also been released on cassette which gives it all a slightly novel value.
.......................................................................................................................... BONSAI FIVE Hypnotised
With the glide and glint in the sound, “Keep Keeping Me Down” lands thick and fast. The way that it is all gathered denotes a truly exceptional piece of work that is determined by the way the rushes in the play travel so well across on it. The suitable way it is all maintained is there to be found. The calling of the vocals and the deft touches from the guitar add character. With “Leopard Skin” they bring a more psychedelic fitting to the sound. The drumming that finds form is there to be congratulated. The beat circulates while there is a lot of substance to the playing. These all combine in the running to give it the backing it deserves, but it shows how good a band they are in the process.
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The third offering here is “Afterdark”. This is a catchy number with a spry spring in the step. It gets straight to the point. While in the even way it drifts along it curtails all the elements and directs them towards producing something of importance. It rubs it all up the right way too.
KIIRSTIN MARILYN The Struggle The solid feel of the synth gets behind it all. As a result it imparts it with a straight feel that denotes the consistency at work. There is a focus in the pick-up which sees it all right and her vocals lean into it with a conviction that finds its calling with how it is applied here. The lyrical content also brings something consistent to everything that it outlines.
.......................................................................................................................... LITTLE WAR TWINS Mother Pulls The fervent feel from the rhythm is what gives the song presence. The curt effect of the vocals also move though it in a telling way. It takes flight in a way that has a token feel to it all, yet the charged way it lights up here is also noteworthy. This is a good track to have on play because it sees the band pushing things in a fine way that all centres where it is intended.
APOLLO JUNCTION Daylight
The synth comes to bear on this one in a very distinct way. Bringing that through the rounded way that it all collects is very efficient. The relaxed cut from the running here also stays the course and invests a lot from the band into the finished product.
.......................................................................................................................... ED ZEALOUS Telepaths
We have become big fans of this Belfast act and throughout 2013 the consistency in their output has not gone unnoticed by us. This is another exceptional offering. The clear way that they tie it up with the electro aspects bless it with a presence that is delirious. The consistency in the texture is evident also, while they manage to process the lyrical content into the projection in equal measure.
.......................................................................................................................... SLOWDANCE Syliva/Trio
This excellent Brooklyn outfit turn out an inspired two track single. “Sylvia” denotes a distinction from the lavish way it all brings a keel to run alongside the new wave style it has. This s excellence personified and it is an immediate grower. The second track “Trio” also legitimises the contender abilities of the band in a big way. The finesse of the flow meets the French lyrics and the seduction is complete. The stellar way it all lingers just exudes the class they have in abundance.
.......................................................................................................................... UMMAGMA - Rotation
Blessed with the context of the synthesised sound, it absorbs everything about the listening experience as it all comes through. The incandescent way that it rises shows why this Ukraine/Canadian duo have a lot to offer and this is cut from a very fine cloth indeed. The steadfast way that it is all motioned brings an unconditional song to the fore in way of note.
THE DELPHINES Strut An excellent track from beginning to end that is handled with due care. The scatty feel off how it all runs shows a band very much in the driving seat. The hard edge in the running sits well with how it develops a raw cut that is endearing. Yet they focus things in the play to bring it all through.
.......................................................................................................................... TANDEM FELIX How Strange The Weather There is a fervent feel to this one which implicitly pushes out everything from the beginning. That expansive side pushes through on it with a level of caution that allows the experimental approach to candidly focus everything. The manner that things are flaunted gifts it all an additional texture that follows through in a deliberate and telling way.
9 .......................................................................................................................... GREEN LINE OPERATOR A Monster I Made This is a very fine effort. The sharp way that they deliver it all hangs nicely on how the rhythm is traced. The result is something which travels well. It has a meander to it that is very pleasing to here. What also warms you to the band here is the way that the lyrical content sits so well on it. Everything that is placed here adds to the placid turn that it comes to be.
.......................................................................................................................... BIG SEPTEMBER Tear It All Up
Another excellent song from this Bray band and the way it all comes through on this one is excellent. They chase it down on the opening before launching into something with an apparent charm to it all. The guitar is angled in on it here in a way that catches an imaginative trait while at the same time bringing through the finer points of the track with a clear distinction.
.......................................................................................................................... JOY VALENCIA Stars This is evenly pitched and the tranquil hold on the opening sits well as it unfurls from the expansive opening. There is a lot to admire from how formidable it becomes with the application of the synthesised elements in the sound. How it is produced cuts through on this one but it allows the music to sit at the front with the arrangement very much backing it up all the way.
.......................................................................................................................... BOXPLOT Chase The Sky
Careering through with a sharp and tempting feel to the rhythm allows the song to get off on a good footing. The way it grips everything sees their style of rock find form in a very compatible way. This contributes a lot and allows them to charge into it all with a clear abandonment at certain times. Yet beneath it all is a fortitude that shakes things up with a clarity that they run with on all fronts.
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The U & I 4x4 is the editorâ€™s pick of four videos selected from our various music networks. These recommendations are then featured as a dedicated playlist on our official YouTube channel. The December 2013 4x4 consists of the following artists: (with the respective music network indicated in brackets)
Big Scary -
Alice and The Glass Lake "Higher" (New York)
The Relays -
"Last Night She Said"
Hypno Puppet -
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