THE 2013 LIVE FINAL
PLUS…. PEARSE HALPIN BIG SEPTEMBER LATE CITY EDITION LANDMARKS RED SAILS
FRIENDS OF EMMET
The Manc Tank
7 8 Scene & Heard 15-18 19-21 22-25 26 27-28
Dimestore Recordings The Ruby Sessions The King Kong Club Final Cult Called Man 2Minutes2Midnight
30-38 39-51 52-55 56
Irish Album/EP Reviews International Album/EP Reviews Single Reviews November 4x4
latecityedition PEARSE HALPIN
EDITORIAL Over 75,000 people read our magazine last month… so we want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout the year. We are not inclined to rest our laurels here and we have built upon this and added three new members to the team at U&I. We would like to welcome on board Finn Curran, Dom Marceleno and Denis Delaney. We are looking forward to progressing things with the magazine now that we are beginning to establish ourselves as an online publication. We have now taken this as our basis to launch the next phase of our magazine in Liverpool. We will be there next month to begin putting the groundwork down on realising that project and working with music on a grass roots level in the city. The November issue represents a landmark for us because we are closing in on being around for a year. What a fantastic year it has been. This month’s issue features some outstanding bands such as FRIENDS OF EMMET, BIG SEPTEMBER and LATE CITY EDITION. We have also secured an interview with PEARSE HALPIN, another Irish with a promising future ahead of him. The Manc Tank this month sees David Beech talk to LANDMARKS, while our Liverpool connections see us sit down and talk with RED SAIL. Album reviews come to us this month from STONEFIELD, LINDI ORTEGA, and RED QUEEN CONTEST among others. While there are EP reviews from PREACHERS SON, THE HEADS OF STATE, GAVIN JAMES and HOZIER. We also have four pages of single reviews featuring music from ED ZEALOUS, THE FOREIGN RESORT, JACK L and lots more. In addition to that we have also gotten behind Movember this month and have thrown our support behind a team known as “Moustache Movers()”. There is an open invitation to other musicians who would like to join the team and share pictures of their efforts with us. We will try and post a few throughout the month to keep in the spirit of what it is all about. The main focus for us this month is to continue to build on our growing success and start to put down the foundations for progressing everything necessary for launching our Liverpool magazine. We then intend to use Liverpool as the springboard to launch U&I Music Magazine in Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff. Phillip Ó’ Baoighealláin Editor-In-Chief
PEARSE HALPIN THE TRICK TO LIVING
he Trick to Living is the new album that we are going to talk about first. What is the album about?
The album is about what all my songs are usually about. This sounds a bit crazy but it’s what comes naturally to me. The songs are either about people I love or people I don’t don’t particularly like (hate is a bit strong!). The lyrics are included with the album so folks can get a proper look into my head!! Lesbianism and song writers also get a tune each!! So you kinda get a check list of what makes me tick and its book ended with the title track. I like to think of this tune as sinking into a nice warm soapy bath after the previous trauma. The under lying message I guess is that we all need a main driving force/reason in our lives or we are just treading water really. How long were you recording it for and who else was involved in the process with you?
“Your Halo”. How much of that was down to strategy and how much of it was down to having to keep something going in terms of output?
started recording the guts of the album in February of this year. I use two songs from sessions before the main sessions. This was not because I ran out of material but more that the two older tunes fitted. You hear musicians banging on about cohesion and the project as a whole and until you actually go through the process yourself it’s impossible to appreciate what they are talking about. It’s not good enough to throw the songs up in the air and see where they land!! It’s a process with a structure that kinda leads the listener by the hand through the track list. Of course people will have their own favorites but it is structured a certain way. I used a core group of musicians that i have worked with for the last couple of years. I have a backround in session bass playing and of course I am a frustrated drummer so before recording i had very set ideas of what I wanted to hear. This meant me playing a lot of bass, some guitar and no drums. The brilliant and virtuoso Martin Quinn was at the helm for it all. It only sounds like it does because of him. I am jealous he's so bloody talented! Are there any songs on the album that you knew were going to be included no matter what? When will the album be released? The only songs that I wasn’t sure if they were going to be on it were "Found It" and "Four times long". These were two of the older songs I had but they had a proper home on this album. The rest were always going to be on it. They had to because it’s so bloody expensive to record. I am not at the smashing up guitars stage just yet. Release dates are still being finalised but it’s looking like the first single late October/early November with the album a couple of months after that.
Any work I have done to date before getting signed was totally myself. Releasing "Entice Me" was basically me putting it up on Itunes and mentioning it at a few shows. The few videos I have done have also been to keep things moving along. I always thought there would be a market for my stuff but wasn’t kind of finding my way until a couple of months ago when I found my team of JumpTheMoon PR company and Carmel Mannion. Carmel has done all the work behind the scenes and I am super chuffed to call her my manager, so strategy wasn’t really the main topic until she arrived! The moment where we actually started to become interested in you for your music was the video for “Here They Lay”. That is a video with a lot of artistic merit going for it. Who came up with the concept for the video? Where did you film it? The "Here They Lay" video was all the brain child of Aidan Farrelly of Bad Apple Films. I have done two videos with Aidan now (“Your Halo” being the first). I think his story is it all came to him in a dream. No, on a serious note Aidan is a true visionary and a terrible nice
What really turned me onto music in a big way was seeing the heads on my folks the first time I played a tune for them on the guitar. It was “Two Little Boys” by Rolf Harris. That feeling of having people react in a positive way is addictive. The same reason I guess comedians find the laughter of an audience addictive. What was the first song you wrote and how do you think it stands up to the material you are writing now? The first "proper" song i wrote was a tune called Spanish Dance. It's complete shit. From what we have also seen to you as a performer is your willingness to get involved with local music based initiatives throughout the country. Things such as CavanTV, LivemicsWorld and Gigs Ireland via Dubdalk FM to name but a small handful. How important is it for you as an artist to have those resources available? But equally so, how important to be able to give back something in the process? This is a very big topic with me and i feel very strongly about it. Local music initiatives are the life blood of this whole scene. I was around the whole late eighties-early nineties scene in Dublin when bands like THE FRAMES, THE CRANBERRIES, g SOMETHING HAPPENS were c coming on stream. It was a f f fascinating time but it taught m me things that are still very rr relevant today. There are a lll j lot of tiers/levels to this g hh ‘business’. It's so cosy and sggggggg safe when you are dddddddddd surrounded by your peers. ffffff Gigs happen and all the same c crowd go to see the same gg ccccc bands...and the circle just keeps going round and round and round. Suddenly someone sticks their head up and looks at the next level up....then BANG!!! “How dare you? How could you? We are so cosy and safe here “starts ringing out. Local music initiatives nurture and encourage musicians to teach them it’s OK to strive to get up there. And in my experience these initiatives are only too delighted when someone does jump up a rung or two. Not saying this is what is happening with my music but I feel it's imperative we support up and coming artists.
‘‘What really turned me onto music in a big way was seeing the heads on my folks the first time I played a tune for them on the guitar..........That feeling of having people react in a positive way is addictive’’
You have also been signed, which we would like to congratulate you on. Tell us about that and how much of an accomplishment it feels for you to have finally done it. Yeah I recently signed with AGR TV Records which are based in Hamburg. The days of record deals as we used to know have all but gone. A deal nowadays means distribution predominantly. This is good news for artists because gone are the days where a label gives you a wad of cash to go and record in a chateau in Switzerland. The thing people forget after the glamour has gone that all this money/costs have to be recouped and that’s before the artist gets a penny. It is a much better idea to have your finished product and get the label to get it out there through any means necessary. I have signed a one album deal with the option on two more. As far as it feeling like an accomplishment it’s a bit of a weird feeling. Of course i was gobsmacked that it happened at all but the predominant feeling now is that the work is only starting. Ask me again in six months’ time. The lead up to the release of the album has been interesting. You began recording in February and you also released “Entice Me” as a single. Then in March you also recorded a video for
fella to boot. His work speaks for itself but that’s the last time iI let him blind me. (watch the vid folks to see what i mean). It was filmed in Kells and in my own house in the poker room. We have seen you play live on two occasions and we have been very impressed. In terms of what we pick up on from the performance and style we drew a comparison with Tom Petty. Who were your musical heroes and influences growing up? The Tom Petty comparison is always a very interesting one for me. My earlier funny stuff had deffo got a Petty/Traveling Wilburys/Jeff Lynne thing going on. The new stuff in comparison is light years away from it so it’s still mental that the Petty influence is still coming through. I am not complaining…far from it. I wouldn’t mind his money. I did love The Smiths growing up and still am a big Mozzer fan. Nothing influence wise out of the ordinary I'm afraid. Influences for me where The Smiths, REM, Tom Petty (well any of that stable of Jeff Lynne produced stuff really).I still think “Full Moon Fever” is one of the GREAT albums. I really loved “Jagged Little Pill” by Alanis Morissette as well. And of course Dylan. Who was it that particularly put you onto music in a big way?
And by the same token it’s ever so important to accept the fact that these groups/initiatives have played a role in your success. Any help/advice I can offer I am only too happy to give. Genuinely. This industry gets slagged off constantly with the talent show/manufactured bands but let us be honest here OK… there will always be teenage girls getting their folks to fork out hundreds of euro to get One Direction tickets. Just accept it! On the other hand musicians should concentrate on what they do best…making music. In my experience the moaners and begrudgers are the very people singing slow, depressing looking out the window crying into me cocoa type stuff. What is wrong with writing happy songs? People need to be cheered up I think and not always wanting to hear how she broke your bloody heart. If the material is good enough it will find a way.
o you think there are sufficient resources out there for grass roots level music or would you like to see more being done? Without those resources and support do you think you would have achieved everything that you have today?
Grass roots resources for musicians? Not sure really. I begged borrowed and saved all my hard earned to do all my own recording etc. I never looked for outside support or resources really. I am not qualified to comment on this one really. All I will say is getting a guitar, a pen and paper and a phone to sing into isn’t exactly the most expensive hobby in the world. As far as support and resources playing a role in my success I will say this - the biggest resource you can ever receive is the support and help of people. I would not be where I am today without investing in getting the best people to work with. This sounds a bit lame but I firmly believe it’s my secret. Get the right people and your laughing. Oh and did I mention material? That will be on my headstone -MATERIAL MATERIAL MATERIAL!!! They are the three most important words of advice I can give. What was the first song you wrote and how do you think it stands up to the material you are writing now?
You were asked to participate in the Kells Tourism Film and you then recorded “Grasp The Star” specifically for that. How were you approached to take part in the initiative and how did you come to write the song as a result? The Kells tourism thing was a direct result of me living in a small town. Someone told Lucy in the Kells tourism board that i was a local musician and i met her briefly before and she remembered me. They needed a local artist and I was available. The tune "Grasp The Star" which also appears on the album was half written when she approached me so I finished off with a cinematic kind of perspective. I think you can hear it in the tune that it’s got this grandiose Cecil B Demille type thing going on. I was very honoured to be asked and even happier when the tourism board footed the bill for the studio time to do it.
On the topic of endorsements, you also signed a five year deal with Musieq in Brooklyn back in March. With TV and marketing music on soundtracks being a trend that is currently on the rise, how important do you think that market is to an upcoming artist in the music industry today? The whole aspect of synching/licencing music is hugely important I feel. Quite simply it's a fantastic source of revenue. In a business where it's next to impossible to make any money from selling your music it's a stream that musicians MUST consider getting into. I have my publishing deal with UNIVERSAL and the benefits of signing with the largest music publishing company on the planet is the best possible chance to get the tunes synched up with TV, movies, games etc. But of course to give yourself the best possible chance you must concentrate on your material, which I mentioned already.
This industry gets slagged off constantly with the talent show/manufactured bands but let us be honest here OK.....�there will always be teenage girls getting their folks to fork out hundreds of euro to get One Direction tickets. Just accept it! On the other hand musicians should concentrate on what they do best............�making music -6-
When it comes to the name of the band how did you come to settle on Friends Of Emmet? Is there anything significant about the name? Our bass player’s son’s name is Emmet. A knock came at the door Keith asked his wife who is at the door, she said friends of Emmet. That is how we got our name. Who were the influences on you growing up?
In January things ‘this side of the pond’ have actually being falling into place for you. There was some exposure for you through “Coming Apart” appearing on Hollyoaks. Then again on Jersey Shore and, more recently, on an episode of Eastenders. That is a combined viewing audience of over 60 million people. What has that exposure meant to the band and how has it helped in terms of raising your profile? How much of an achievement do you see it?
I am the guitarist, so i was into a lot of guitar stuff, Hendrix, Thin Lizzy, Eric Clapton, U2, Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan. As a band we all like different sounds…Bowie, Coldplay U2, Kings of Leon, Johnny Cash… all the good stuff.
It’s a big deal getting on these shows, great exposure. It gets some money coming in for the band, gets your music out there. Yeah it’s a win-win for the band.
There is a consensus among Irish artists that getting away from the Irish music scene and going abroad is more or less a key step in order for your career to stand a real chance of taking off. You made that decision, and subsequent move, and it would appear that it has paid off for you.
Earlier in the year you were selected to play at Canadian Music Week in March. Given that you consider Canada to be something of a second home for you as a band how big a deal was that on a personal level to you all as a band? How did the gigs go in the end?
Yeah I think you have to leave Ireland. It’s a shame really but you have to go away and come back before any one will take you seriously. We have a small studio/band HQ in L.A and that's where we record and work on our music.
The gigs were great, we played the Opera House, appeared on TV it was great. The people in Canada are great and they seem to like our sound. So yeah, I think we will get back to Canada a lot. It is just great to get out and play your music to as many people as possible. It was a good trip all round for the band.
When did you take stock of things and decide that was going to be the next move for the band? What was the key factor in the band moving to the United States? What do you think worked out for you over there that might not necessarily have happened had you stayed in Ireland? On reflection, how do you see it now? It was a good move for the band i think, we have made a lot of head way on the music side with placements and on the business side with contacts, TV appearances. So over all it is starting to pay off for the band, but we are all from Ireland and we are all Dubs, and love to get home as much as we can. A fair assessment of the last 12 months would certainly say that it was a move that has paid off because it would appear that things are moving in the right direction for the band. How much of what is happening right now would you attribute to that move? We are starting to get a bit of joy in the States and in Canada. We were on Canadian TV twice this year which was great exposure for the band. This would not have happened if we were still working out of Ireland. It's a small market in Ireland so you really have to spread your wings a bit and get out there.
April then saw you come back to Ireland. How did it feel to play a gig back home again? How did you view the Irish music scene before you went away and how do you view it now? Were there any similarities and differences you noticed when you started gigging abroad? We were a little worried about coming back to our home town for that show. The Irish crowd will let you know it if you suck, but it was a great night i think. It’s all about the music and if the songs are strong enough you will be OK where ever you play in this mad world. That was also the beginning of a love affair between Irish radio and your music. Your music has gotten a lot of continuous airplay with all the major stations in Ireland. How important is that to you as a band? Do you think we will see more Irish artists break through now on the mainstream airwaves? It is so, so important for the band, and any band out there. You have to get airplay and lots of it. I do hope other Irish artist get a chance on mainstream radio. We should promote our own home grown music.
How much hard work has gone into maintaining that presence with the radio stations? The response has been amazing and we are very grateful for the support from all the stations, and long may it last. We just finished up a two week radio promo tour in Ireland, and we were in the U.K for a BBC session. It is hard work but you have to do it. And it’s a great buzz meeting everyone at the stations…everyone seems to like the music thank god. You released your EP “No Surprise” in May. Was that recorded in America or did you finish it off over here? The video for it was an animated affair. How did you come to settle on that approach? It was all recorded in the States. We taught it would be cool to do an animated video for that song the video was all made in Ireland and we think it really works and suits the song. Your album (State Of Mind) is set for release in 2014. Already four of the tracks have been released to over 20 countries. In addition to the UK and US, it has also been released in emerging music markets such as The Philippines, India and Mauritius. How important is having the right people behind the band to make things like that happen? It is very important, but it’s been very organic and things seem to be falling in to place for the band lately. The music industry has changed and it getting harder to make a living out of music. The exposure you have gotten from Irish radio, the TV shows and your recent BBC session would suggest that you have made all the right moves to be one of the bands to watch out for in 2014. Yeah... it’s going to be a big push next year. We hope as many people as possible will get behind us next year and buy the album “State Of Mind” which comes out in March. Tell us about the lead track “Coming Apart”. The song “Coming Apart” has a special story behind the lyrics, it about Kevin Hines who jumped off The Golden Gate Bridge and survived. It’s the story of Kevin on that day and what he was feeling. You should check out the video .Kevin is in it and has gone on to make a full recovery. He is a great friend of the band now and he is an inspiration to us all. With regards the album itself, who did you work with on the album? How long were you writing for the album? How does it feel to finally see it coming together? The songs were worked on over a year and a half. We record whenever we can and we are writing all the time. So it’s an on-going thing, but this lot of songs are nearly all finished and ready to go.
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Bray band BIG SEPTEMBER have had an excellent year in 2013. We caught up with Dave Butler from the band top ask him about how hard they’ve worked, the local music scene in Bray and what fans of the band can look forward to in 2014….
f you look back at this year and how it started for you as a band, it would seem that you have been at both ends of the circuit. The year started off with you playing the local circuit and The King Kong Club et al to closing out with an appearance on The Late Late Show and a headline gig at the Academy still to come. We would see it you as being an example of how things can go right if you work hard enough at it. How would you sum up the year overall? Definitely hard work is the key. We’ve worked very hard on our sound as a unit and individually as players. I think it’s always been there, the ability, but it hadn’t really shone through until Naylor joined. He gave everyone the kick up the arse we needed and has instilled a belief that we can achieve whatever we want. This year has been brilliant so far. We’ve played a few sell out shows around Dublin and Wicklow. We’ve charted twice, played around the country, got picked as the Select Irish Act for the month of August on
FM104 and have been on The Late Late Show. It’s not over yet though we still have a single to come out in November called “Tear It All Up” so there is still a lot of work to be done before we even get to the Academy in December. The year did get off to a good start as well from a creative process. In March you began recording and then in April you released “The Preacher”. Was it something that came out of that recording session or was it already in the pipeline before then? Did you know straight away that it was going to be a single or was it a case of after it had been recorded that you reached the decision? The Preacher was only written by Naylor a few weeks before we recorded it. I don’t even think it was fully finished (musically) by the time we got into the studio. We definitely had never played it live to anyone until after. A few bits were added during the recording like the vocal harmony in the second half of the verse, Scotty’s vocal at the end and a few guitar parts. As soon as we heard the finished article we knew that it had to be a single!
Where did the concept for the video come from? I don’t think Naylor likes to give away the meaning of songs too much, so I’ll try and give it a go without ruining it too much on him. The basic idea behind it is that everyone is a preacher in their own right and that they should say what they feel no matter who or where they are. We, like most people, have loads of mates that have moved away and we thought it would be cool if they held up banners saying “I’m a Preacher” in different locations around the world. The other part of the video is Scott being a preacher, starting from his house and eventually more and more people joining in down on Bray seafront. How did it feel when it charted? To be honest when it charted it was great but we felt at home. We’re a confident band and we know what we have, that’s not to say that we are the best and there’s no room for improvement. We’re always trying to improve ourselves.We always want to better what we did last so our aim was to get a higher position with our next single “Moneyman”. We did and we were delighted but now we want to improve again!
On the subject of the charts, do you think that they still have any relevance today? It’s obviously not as relevant today as it was say 10-15 years ago, but for us it is still important. We love the fact that the people who buy singles have a direct impact on the chart. We know people in the industry don’t see the chart as an important thing anymore but we as a band we would like to try and bring it back. We remember when Oasis and Blur were battling it out for number 1. The buzz that created was unbelievable! It would be such a shame to lose something that has the ability to divide opinion and bring people together all at the same time. It was also a busy summer for you in terms of gigging and festivals. Was there any particular gig or festival that you played at which stood out for you? Probably Bray Summerfest and Groove Festival were the most memorable for us because they were great crowds and great experiences for the band. But also indoor gigs like the Harbour Bar, Storm the Castle in Newcastle and especially our sell out show in Whelan’s were great craic! We have been to visit The Harbour Bar ourselves in Bray this year to review The Cujo Family. What is it about playing there that seems to bring out the best in the bands that do? The Harbour Bar is definitely one of the best bars in the world. It has a really long history and the band have a really long history there too. It was the first bar that would let us play and
definitely the place that cemented the idea in my brain that I wanted to be a musician. Three of us worked there for about 3/4 years and it has always been a place that attracts great bands. It has a grungy feel to it without trying too hard, which is brilliant. It’s been changed a bit now and it is a bit bigger than it was but it’s really small still. It creates a feeling that the crowd and the band are in it together which is what musicians love! That’s what attracts band to play there. The local music scene in Bray is alive and kicking. Along with Brayfest every summer it also seems to be producing some fine local talent and bands. We have seen The Cujo Family, Empire Saints and you guys to name just three. Are there are any other bands out that way that people probably haven’t heard of yet? Bray is absolutely hopping with bands and singers at the moment. The acts that stand out for me, along with Empire Saints and Cujo Family are Caoimhe Duane, Wyvern Lingo and Keith Margo. You can go out in Bray on a Saturday and maybe see 2/3 decent bands or musicians playing live. It just has that type of tradition. Having a big festival in your town helps, it gives you an attainable goal to reach for. Mostly though, I think the people of Bray have a lot to do with it, because they are so supportive of people who are trying to better themselves. The encouragement that we got from people years ago when we were crap made us stick with it and get better. Following the fine summer you were also included in RTE’s music week. That was a strong line-up of emerging Irish talent that was showcased nationwide. How did you find that experience?
It’s really good to be considered in a group of emerging talent. It was a really good experience, because we got to go into RTE and do an acoustic version of The Preacher to show a slightly different side to ourselves. It’s good that RTE did that because there is a lot of talent out there that should be heard. The Late Late Show is something that most people would regard as an Irish institution in its own right. Did being involved in the Music Week play any part in that appearance? How did it feel to actually play on it? Maybe music week did have a part in us playing The Late Late Show, but we have been in a few times over the last while doing bits and pieces for them so I’m sure we were on their radar. I’d say our manager Ian has been hounding them too so it’s a combination of things I’d say. It was nothing like we’ve ever done before. We’re used to seeing the crowd in front of our faces but that night they were watching on telly. The line-up of guests was really good that night and we heard before that there might be close to a million watching it…that’s probably why I was nervous! We must ring and apologise for drinking the bar dry actually! What is next for the band? Big things hopefully! We’re just back from recording in Drumlish with Ger McDonnell. We have six tracks done now. We’re playing Cyprus Avenue in Cork on Nov 7th, and our next single “Tear it all up” is being released in mid-November. Then after that we do radio interviews and close the year out in the Academy on Saturday 21st December. We plan on making that a massive show and have a few ideas kicking around about how we’re going to pull it off. The album will hopefully be out in March and we get to hit the festival scene in the summer with a bang and maybe go across the water to start making our mark there.
THE MANC TANK Column by David Beech
hilst Manchester has been emblazoned on to the psyche of mainstream musical consciousness for last 30 years, it's musical output has always teetered on the brink of being, well, somewhat bitter and cynical. Despite being a city famed for providing us with some of the most
maudlin and miserable acts in musical history, as the nights draw in, Manchester is currently enjoying bathing in some so-cal sunshine in the form of pop-punk five-piece LANDMARKS. Rather than baying to the bleak English milieu within which the band was birthed, Landmarks are offsetting the stereotypical Manchester sound by anglicising what is quintessentially an American aesthetic perfectly. Stories of growing up and growing old are all part and parcel of pop-punk predication, yet often, tales of adolescent Americana fall flat on English ears due to the differences in culture. Landmarks, however, are seeking to bridge that gap by fusing their own personal experiences of growing up in and around Manchester with a musical backdrop inspired by the likes of Set Your Goals or Four Year Strong.
Like any true pop-punk band, Landmarks are filled with a relentless tenacity and tireless work ethic that has seen them complete both their debut EP “Running On Empty” and their first tour in support of Action. However, not satisfied with that alone, the band is currently now back in Manchester writing new material ready for the New Year. Perhaps one of the most appealing traits they have is their ability to effortlessly switch between aesthetics. Songs such as “Living for the Weekend” purport a sense of youthful exuberance that goes hand in hand with sheer energy of the band; whilst “Lullaby” or “Growing Pains” exhibit a much more introspective side to the band, belying their relatively young age and suggesting that there's more to them than just another pop-punk band. Indeed, whilst Manchester will always be synonymous with indie, one can't help but think that with bands like Landmarks making waves steadily, the city is currently feeling the beginnings of a real scene formulating, something more akin to the DIY/house-show movement in The States than has ever really been felt within Manchester and the surrounding areas before now. Should that be the case, it goes without saying that Landmarks will be at the forefront, spearheading a well-deserved pop-punk resurgence that hasn't been seen in the UK for years.
Brad: I would hope so! There’s a lot of talented musicians in Manchester but you’re right, there doesn’t seem to be a strong pop punk scene. I can think of us, Civilians, Boston Manor (from Blackpool but not too far away) and not many more. Hopefully, with the success of bands like The Wonder Years and The Story So Far though that will change and hopefully we can be at the forefront of it! Adam: There’s always going to be a scene however big or small, Manchester is one of the capitals for music which is lucky for us. Diverse with its crowd in what they listen to, people are generally open-minded and the chance for something big to formulate is always possible no matter what genre or scene. McCormick: I don't think there is enough people supporting the local scene anywhere to be honest, whether it's pop punk, metal or jazz fusion. There are too many people sat at home moaning about how bored they are on social media rather than going out and getting involved. Saying that though I have noticed a lot more punk rock bands emerging over the past few years, and with the rise of the new angsty pop punk bands from the States making a name for themselves over here hopefully things will pick up! What do you think it is about Manchester that creates so many different and varied types of music? Adam: Its people’s ability to try something new, listen to something they might not normally go for and then allow that to influence their own music they write. There is never a band that holds exactly the same sound which is what I love about this place. McCormick: I think it's because there are so many venues and different niche markets…there is something for everyone. Also if you have a wide music taste you could be in one place watching an acoustic act and ten minutes down the road you could go and catch the most brutal hardcore band you've ever heard of. Obviously while it does have a fairly rich musical culture, there is a huge amount of indie bands doing the rounds within the city. What made you decide it was pop-punk you wanted to play and has that impacted on the amount of shows you can get, or the number of people you play? Brad: Well we grew up listening to that type of music so it just made sense to start a pop punk band. We wanted to re-create the feelings we got when listening to New Found Glory or another band along those lines and pass them on to a new generation, with a bit of a British element added in there. It is hard though to make a splash in a city that doesn’t have a large pop punk scene but we still get some really good shows and play to awesome crowds! Liam: I myself live breathe and eat pop punk…and have always loved it and wanted to be part of it. As a kid growing up I remember my first pop punk show (BOWLING FOR SOUP) and just thought “wow this I what I want to do”. McCormick: I think I properly got into punk rock from the Tony Hawks soundtracks playing them games as a kid. Since then I was hooked and spent several hours each day learning NoFX and Pennywise songs on my guitar. Me and Adam started our first band in 2003 and since then have been playing together. I’d rather play something I love and enjoy to like-minded people than something I don't have a passion for. Being a pop-punk band there must be other, local bands within the genre you've played with, care to mention a few of your favourites? Brad: There’s CIVILIANS, a band who released their debut EP last year, we’ve played with them and they’re cool guys playing good tunes. Boston Manor come from nearby (Blackpool) as well and their début EP is amazing. They’ll go on to big things in the future. Through Colour (though maybe not so much pop punk) are also really talented and nice guys. Check out their EP ‘Somnium’, there’s some great songs on there.
anchester is a city full of music, but it doesn't seem to have much of an established pop-punk scene. Do you think there are the beginnings of a scene formulating in and around the city?
Brad: It’s a great experience. We thought it might be difficult at first…five guys in a Ford Focus for days but it has actually been really fun. Harrow was great, we didn’t expect so many people to turn up and buy merch so that was a nice surprise. Manchester was amazing as well. Everyone came down to show their support and got into it. The boys in Actions are such nice guys as well. We feel like we’ve known them forever. Playing Battleshots after the Manchester show was definitely a highlight for me. McCormick: It feels great to be playing different cities to a fresh new crowd every night. My throat on the other hand doesn't feel great. I'm really grateful for everyone with an open door that put us up for the night though! I loved getting all the boys from Actions up on stage to sing along to a 5ive cover with us on the last night. You've been in several bands in the past, how do Landmarks differ from those? Brad: I was in an indie-pop-rock band (if you had to classify it) called Dead Kicks playing bass and that was fun for the few years it lasted. In Landmarks I have more of a hand in writing songs though so that’s always nice. Don’t get me wrong, I played a part in Dead Kicks writing but it’s cool to be able to get out what I want to say sometimes. Adam: In this band I feel all five of us want this like we’ve never before. The five of us together with our personalities blend well to and we know this could be our one chance McCormick: For the first time being in a band I feel like we have something new to offer with our sound. I love the lyrics Brad writes too. When listening to bands lyrics are an important thing for me. If I can relate to the song it's gonna make its way onto my iPod so hopefully other people feel the same way about our music. Here's a stock question I ask every band now: What would be in your ideal rider and why? Brad: Barburritos! Because me and Tom discovered recently what a great hangover cure is. Plus a copy of FIFA 14 and a PS3 because I could beat all these guys and gloat. And probably just beer. I try to avoid spirits. Tom: All I really want on a rider after being on tour is some plug sockets!
McCormick: The guys pretty much nailed it here as far as local bands go but if you're into your acoustic stuff (think Joey Cape/Tony Sly and Chuck Ragan). You should check out James F. Hattersley and Jimmy Holland. I've had a blast playing with Actions, Hot Damn, Boston Manor, Through Colour just to name a few. You've just released your EP 'Running On Empty'. How did that go down? Brad: We’ve actually self-recorded and self-released it! The drums were tracked at Salford University and we did the rest in Adam and James’s basement over the summer. It was fun yet trying at times but we love how it’s turned out! The response has been pretty awesome as well, especially your review. Thanks for that by the way! McCormick: It was really tough to write the songs, then record the songs, then mix the songs. By the end of it your ears give up and by the end of it I had no idea what was too loud/quiet in the mix. But we were broke and needed to get the ball rolling so I battled through and the guys seem happy with it so I'm pretty pleased with that. I'll never be recording my own band again though, that’s for sure! You're currently out on your first ever tour in support of the record. How does that feel? And what have been some of the highlights so far?
McCormick: Heaps of Mexican food would be awesome. Maybe Tony Hawks 2 so I can beat the guys at something. What do Landmarks have planned for the future? Any plans on a full-length record yet? Forthcoming gigs/tour plans? Brad: We have a few more shows coming up outside of Manchester and a pretty special one in the city that we’ll be announcing soon. As far as a debut goes I think we need to get to grips with our sound a little more first and build more of a following before we go into that. Adam: We’re gonna be writing a lot over the next few months and heading into the infamous blueprint studio’s in January to record a new EP. As well as that we’ve got shows over the winter and some big support slots in the New Year. Plus some big ideas to possibly invade Europe next summer. Finally, any last parting words for our readers? McCormick: If you're bored sat inside one night, go to a show. Even if you're broke there is always something free going on. If you liked a band’s set or EP you heard online, let the band know.
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Red Sails are a five piece band based in Liverpool who create ethereal harmonies and good honest music. We caught up with Jamie and Chris from the band to talk music, Liverpool and everything else that matters. Here is what they had to say:
....................................................... As a band how important is it for you to play live gigs as much as possible? Jamie: We love playing live and seeing what tunes people latch onto straight away, what works, so it's very important in that sense. I think sometimes the temptation's to play this, that and everything. But we’ve learned to try and just play the best gigs we can, rather than spreading ourselves thin. Chris: Playing live as often as possible is a big part of what we do - aside from the obvious reasons; that we essentially do what we do to entertain, engage with people, provoke thought, whatever...it's also the place where you can actually find out if ideas about music, harmonies, arrangements etc have any kind of resonance with anyone apart from us always good to find it does, perversely, finding it doesn’t can be a reassuring thing too. How much of the inspiration you get artistically comes from being immersed in the process as a live performer?
Jamie: The buzz you get playing live is totally different from anything else so it’s definitely a catalyst for some tunes. It depends on the tune and what you’re trying to put across I suppose. Chris: I don't know… it's an interesting question but probably an impossible one to answer. For a lot of people. We play together a lot, know the songs intimately, but because of the kind of players we all are there's always going to be that open thing, improvising within a tight predefined framework. That vibe you get playing as a unit obviously feeds back and inspires how you play a great extent, and when you’re out gigging that’s more heightened. Though when it comes to actually writing and pulling the tunes together I'm not sure that's one of the influences...hard to say though.
needed another pair of hands so we drafted in our old mate Ollie. So it has all been pretty easy going. Liverpool itself is a city that is steeped in a rich musical heritage. How much of that history rubbed off you in terms of the artists who influenced in you musically? Jamie: Liverpool's a beautiful city that has had some great bands - too many to go into here but no one can escape growing up without hearing the Beatles. We’re fans of the La’s, the Coral, the Zutons, Edgar Jones, all the usual suspects… Chris: I guess that mixture of local culture and how/where your other nurturing influences come from is deeply important artistically and it's probably a big part of anyone's creative side.
How did the band come together? Jamie: Kieran and I are brothers so we’ve always been in bands together and Graham we’ve known and played with on and off for years, Chris we met through another mate and I suppose we started recording first and then realised we
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Who out of your musical influences would be artists who would be outside that consideration? Chris: That's a big list. Love the likes of The Band, Family Stone, Bee Gees. Early Bowie stuff is incredible. All those big Hammond
players too; Jimmy McGriff, Booker T, Rod Argent - Roy Phillips from The Peddlers is probably the one that really turned me onto the organ sound. Thinking about it now though, I love a lot of players but listening to Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, Ian McLagen, Greg Rolie and Allen Toussaint is kind of what's really got into me. Your live gigs this year have been a showcase of playing support slots to other bands (Bird at their EP launch in February) and headlining your own gigs (such as This Morning Call at your gig in August). How integral is the community aspect of the grass roots scene in Liverpool in relation to the buzz there currently is in the city? Chris: I'm interested in playing, writing...creating music we enjoy - I wouldn’t say I understand the influence of the community, or the grass roots bit on the city in general. I'm not saying it's not there or trying to understate its importance…Just that our priorities are our music. There's that, and we don’t get out much. Do you have any artists who you like to perform with in particular? Jamie: We’ve done a couple of gigs with Lumin Bells who are a great new band from round here. Would there also be one or two venues that you are always pleased to play at?
Chris: Leaf's become a favourite this year the O2 is a great venue as well. Though for me - Real nice to see the old Lomax opening for gigs again this year. It's so intimate, got so much heritage, great little venue. As much as you are involved in performing live gigs, you also place a great amount of emphasis on recording and writing. This year has seen you be a very active band on the studio front. Who is responsible for the song writing process or is it a combined effort from everyone in the band? Jamie: Kieran writes the most material although I chip in with a few as well. Chris has a fair few up his sleeve. Once the tunes written it kinda depends - sometimes they’re fully formed in your head, other times it’s just an idea that we all flesh out. We’re lucky in that everyone’s pretty creative and generally within one or two runs through we’ve all got ideas and parts for tunes which makes things pretty easy. How productive has the studio time been this year for you? Jamie: This year’ s been great we recorded two tunes live in Parr St studio 1 that sound amazing, but also we’ve been doing bits an bobs in our bunker and heading down to our producer Joe’s place in London. We’re also hopefully gonna sneak into Snap studios at some stage and a random barn near Essex. We’ve sneaked in the London Coliseum before now to record “Harmonium” and “Celeste” one morning before all the ballerina’s started turning up.
Are there any plans to release new material – be that a single or EPanytime soon? Jamie: Yeah we’re looking at putting a single out fairly soon we’re just trying to get a video sorted. So hopefully end of the year or early next year for that. The LP’s almost finished so just putting the final bits onto that before we start getting it all mixed. Speaking of releases, you released “Sit On Your Hands” online via Reverbnation. Yet you streamed it for a limited period. This would be a move that would be out of the ordinary to a large extent. What was the thinking behind that? Jamie: We’ve got 3 tunes on Soundcloud but we wanted to get people finding us on a few diff platforms so adding a tune on one that’s not on other sites seemed a way of drawing people in. In terms of the support that the unsigned circuit and musicians receive you have been featured on the Dave Monks show on BBC a fair bit, along with a number of other local artists. How important is having a resource such as that to artists because of the benefits getting airplay can receive? How beneficial has it been to you as a band? Jamie: Dave's been great so far in promoting any gigs we’ve had coming up and playing us regularly. We’re hoping to do a gig for him at the Cavern soon, that’s gonna be recorded for his show as well. So he's been an absolute gent with us so far! He gives all the local bands a voice out there. So he’s vitally important for bands. Chris: I know it's a cliché, but he's a bit of a champion of the scene. It's just great knowing there are people who can, and will put that kind of effort and love into trying to ensure artists and bands get heard. As an act that is currently immersed in the local music scene in Liverpool how would you describe its current state? Jamie: There’s always something going on so it’s looking pretty healthy but to be honest we just keep our heads down and get on with what we need to do rather than focusing on anyone or anything. It might seem insular or whatever but we’re not concerned in all the being seen out and about or being associated with whoever. Are there any particular bands/artists that you have seen who you would recommend to other people?
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Jamie: Stealing Sheep are boss, we’ve played with Lumin Bells a few times and they’ve got a great sound, Thomas McConnell again we’ve played with before and has some great tunes.
There has been countless hours and sleepless nights writing recording and perfecting our music, from stripping our songs right back to a bare shell and starting again to changes during the recording process. Even by making just the slightest tweak to our tunes that will have a massive impact on the outcome.
f we turn the clock back to the start of the year, your Facebook page was signified by two words on January 1st this year – “It’s Time”. Was that a signal of intent for the band or was it about something else? "It's time" was a brief message from us indicating that a change in the music scene was/is coming. It also meant the wait is over…Here we f***king are… you’re welcome!!!! You began shooting the video for “Sunday Morning” in February. How important was it to get the video out alongside the track? We felt if we were going to release a stomping debut single we must have a video to go with, that way people can get the visual aspect of Late City Edition as well as music. Then you released “Look Back Tomorrow” as a single in March. Is all the recording leading up to anything bigger? Look back tomorrow was actually the b side to Sunday Morning. But it was chosen to show our ability to write and play acoustic folk style tunes as well as rock'n'roll. But this is only the beginning. Our next single is a game changer. We have seen you guys play a lot in the last few months. We are always impressed with your live set. Everytime that we see you perform we always seem to pick up on a comparison to Ocean Colour Scene in terms of how good you are. They are obviously a band that has had a big influence on you. But apart from them are there any other bands that left the right impression on you musically? There are a lot but if we were to go into that list we could be here for weeks. Mainly just the obvious ones I suppose are O.C.S, Oasis, The Beatles, Supergrass ,The StoneRoses etc. How big a deal was it to play support to Parlour Flames in September this year for you?
In terms of the local scene, how do you see the current scene in Dublin and Ireland? Are there any bands that stand out for you? There are a few people/promoters on the scene doing their upmost best for the like of us to make a bit of progress and for themselves too. It certainly ain't the best scene in the world but the majority are trying. Future Phantoms they're good…The Statics, The Chaperones, The Mighty Stef, Resoul…they are all pretty good. You have played some good festivals this summer that were local based- The Wellington Weekender and The Jack Of Diamonds Festival being two to speak of. What do you think local festivals in the city centre like those are bringing to the scene that is of a benefit to grass roots level music? It's giving up and coming artists the opportunity to share their music with the masses…we are all for it. We also caught you live at the launch of The Wicked Chicken. How important is it now to have a live music venue in West Dublin? It's good to see new venues being opened man…try keep the scene alive. Spread it throughout Dublin not just the city. The local circuit has seen a lot of the band this year. On the one hand it is great to play locally, but does the band have further ambitions to play abroad? It's great to play local especially to our crowd that seem to turn up in great numbers every time we play, but certainly the goal is to go across the pond. It's where it's at. What else is coming up for Late City Edition that people should know about?
It was cool man. Absolute gents the lot of them. It was nice to support the legend that is Bonehead too.
Well our second single, “She Saves My Soul” backed with two b sides will be out soon accompanied with a new video. We will be putting on a couple of nights in support of that.
How did the band get together? Through a long process of Ste Mooney and myself stealing other bands members.
We have a gig in Whelans on Dec 5th with the Mighty Stef for MCD and we have a couple of gigs in the city between now and Christmas with a fairly big announcement. Just watch the Facebook page for details. We hope to go to do an album in the spring, so we are hoping to be very busy.
You have a very tight set and great stage presence. We have seen you play live five times this year and we have been left with the right impression. How much of that is down to talent and how much is down to sheer hard work?
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A NIGHTMARE ON DAME STREET V @ Sweeney’s (Hallowe’en Night) The entire month of October saw Dimestore Recordings celebrate four years in Sweeney’s in style. Each Thursday night was a celebration of it that showed in a big way why it is such an important part of the current live circuit in Dublin. We caught the showpiece night of the whole month’s festivities which proved to be an amazing night of live music. With all three floors taken over for the night, acts from France and The United States on the billing, everything was in place for a fine night of music indeed.
A NIGHTMARE ON DAME STREET V
SCENE & HEARD
Sweeney’s Hallowe’en Night The first act that we saw play tonight was American folk singer BRETT NEWSKI. The Milwaukie native brought his whole set alive with “World Is Alive”. The fine handling in the guitar adds a degree of credibility to be found in the playing. How it seems to steadily impact upon the playing here is what sees you take to it. Again something seasoned about the playing comes to show on “Through The Dark”. What works quite fetchingly here is the manner in how the harmonica comes to blend in. Things are steadily ushered through, but beyond that there is a steady feel to how it flows. That is followed through with the easy and pleasant way it all rolls through. The eventful pick up to “Corazones On Cobblestones” is an eventful one. The way it is done shows in a truly fine way. There is a lean appeal felt from the hard beat here, yet is kept close from the shepherded approach. As a result it maintains its appeal without losing the run of itself. A cover of the VILOENT FEMMES classic “Blisters In The Sun” was next. In addition to it being a fine cover it also portrays the influence they had on the artist as a young man. After that things contently come around on “Wet Pavement” which allows the distinguished hold on it all to come to pass smartly. The forceful feel in the tempo imbues it all with a sturdy showing that is very easy to admire. Seeing him comfortably find his form on stage, “The Maths” seems to find a suitable platform within his set. The lyrics put a great deal of faith into the song. The admirable feel of the live delivery underlines this and it proves to be the making of it all. The tidy little turn it proves to be commands a well weathered effort that is turned in to reflect this. A good accord is felt from his closing number “California”. How it stands up brings warmth from the guitar as it pulls the song through. There is a faster side to it that is dealt with in the hardy tumble. It all shows a fine effort that is tended to and manages to bring about what is intended from the off.
............................................................................................................................ It had been a while since we last saw this duo live, but they proved that they have lost none of their style and flair either. Opening with “Underneath The Streetlight” you do have to double check that it is only a drummer and guitarist on stage. It leads in nicely from the urgent way it opens and demands your attention. The focus in the way they deliver it all signifies a lot of promise. The heavy sound that is characterised in their style bears fruit on “Dead In The Water”. The remarkable way that is all channelled holds well in the way they turn in the delivery. Again they seem to build a great deal in with their style when it comes to their next song “Thieves”. There is a formidable panache to be found in the weight behind the playing. This sees it coast along and the hard angle to it here brings out everything on it.
THE LAST MONROES
They then turn in a sharp and catchy effort with “30 Pieces Of Silver”. The imaginative flourish in the sound serves the tempo well. What it builds in brings the panache to it that it deserves. There is a controlled presence to it all. The vocals steady into it and there is also a fine way to it from the great hang off the rhythm. Some more sterling work then follows with “Patterns”. Drifting along in places, there is a positive also found in the resonance from the guitar. The drumming is another proven quality about it. The sunken way that it wraps up everything is a big draw allowing the rise in the play to be all the more felt for it. Stowing away the build shows on “Black Hills” and the way it is carried off. It is laid on in a way that doesn’t see the band sold short. The arrangement brings the revelry to their performance. This is a well figured effort that evenly moves through the broadness of it all. The dutiful way “Dirt’N’Glass” comes in imbues the delivery with an assured stature. There is a rich roadhouse influence coming through here and the lyrics seem to embrace this in a spirited way that enhances everything. To close them out was “Devil’s Girl”. Locking things down in the drumming allows the guitar to seamlessly come across. The skip that is steadily built grounds out an even keel that brings everything to bear on the band’s terms and nothing else. It is superbly worked all the way through.
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The second band on the night that we caught in the basement was SCREAMING DEMONS OF THRASHVILLE. The urban style about the band shows on their first song “I’m In Love”. As such it relays a raw quality in the flow that is telling. The punk shades of what the band are about show. The delivery teems all the more from this. A rich bluster then travels forth on “Emptied Out My Heart”. This takes flight on the back of that showing. They also show a true awareness of what they are about as a band here. A comparison with MC5 is drawn in terms of how nuanced and appealing this one comes off. The taut roll in “Knife Fight Boogie” leaves a lot to like about the band. There on stage stands a band that can turn it on with such ease. The settled composure of their style angles in on the back of the superb way it remains true to form. The hard and grungy edge in the playing meets with a superb lift in the sound to charge it through with vigour. Maintaining the attitude and swagger is what jumps out at you when it comes to “Blood Gonna Burn”. The generous kick in the pace also sits well on this. The snappy aspects of the drumming and guitar bring it all through and the rhythm strongly emerges from this. The strung out feel about things shows again on “Skeletons Of Greed”. This is one of those songs that become a ballsy affair with great confidence. The sweet disregard to how they let their music do the talking rockets through. The conviction again drags across on “Underworld”. What it brings to their performance leathers through on the intent of their performance. It brings the intent and signals it all from the band from how everything is mapped out from them. “Violent World” leans into everything with real bite. The rock style offered here is a more matured effort that is locked down and held in place. The contorted running here is a slick affair that presents keenly. The edgy run shows as much as the others, but here it is more pronounced. With “44” everything is more ardently projected. The high octane feel is driven through on this and loaded in the right way. It is not overburdened and applied with everything where it should be. That sets off the jagged sound in it quite well. They closed out with “Chicken Spider” that richly keeps everything in check. The square way that it all opens keeps it all in check. There is also something rich and open to it all that you immediately appreciate. This is a band that is very much under the radar at the moment, but they do also possess something about them live that digs in deep.
SCREAMING DEMONS OF THRASHVILLE
............................................................................................................................ The first of two French acts that we caught tonight was SCREAMING WITHOUT YELLING. From the second “Ego” begins playing there is a great deal to appreciate about the band. The easy going style to it rides up in a very solid way. That then releases into everything in a way that is a making of it all. They turn everything on big with “Showing Off Time”. There is a true flair to it that lights up on it in a big way from the clean expression that shows through. The drumming and bass bring about the entire process cleverly. The catchy aspects off it come across just as well. The forward feel in the rhythm is what the delivery centres on with “Radio Clock”. There is also a comfortable feel to the lyrics. They show on it in a good way, but what brings it out that little bit further is the animated presence of front man MANU ARTIS. They then lead in nicely to the clean and funky with “Wake Up Uglies”. Here the clean drift engaged is apparent. A purity in the drive whips the crowd into a frenzy. The presence of the band is here to see and the catchy depth also comes through all the way here. The bridge is also excellent.
SCREAMING WITHOUT YELLING
The keen feel from the drumming is duly noted ion “Frozen Faces”. Distinguished in the way the play all leads in, the overall showing to it here is an eventful one. There is a confidence displayed. What is also a savoury essence here is the way the sound arcs across. This is done in a rather explicit way that enhances it all in a reputable way and is noted lyrically as much. The haughty feel from “Pics Of Me” fires it up from the off. That is immediate and apparent. The shake in the beat here is a joy to behold. That pensive feel gives it appeal and suits the lyrical style in how it is pressed. Their version of “London Calling” was a great way to sign off here. This was delivered just as well as everything else and left - 54 - That is always a sign that you have done the crowd wanting more. something right.
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We have seen this promising band before and tonight they were higher up the billing. That is a testament to how hard they are working but also to how they are progressing as a band on the Dublin circuit. “Black Kite” got the show underway. The spacing in how it sounds is a card that is well played. The flow is steady and shows that the band is on a level where instrumentally everything scores highly. The expansive definition gives the terms of it all a true feel. With “Need A Little” the consistency that hangs back makes for a pleasing number. That delicate threading toils away and the virtuous handling stems the flow of the song. As a result it all tumbles along in a way of consequence. Their single “The Witch” has a moving and timely pull that catches you from the opening vocal. The mood and ambience projects from the delivery and crawls along in a way that enhances the running. How it all breaks down brings the secluded terms of it all through on the break down. Some more well versed movement shows with “Dot The Shores” that sets out from the off. The unison of the play underlines the solitary sentiment quite well. This carries over and the pristine showing here is an aspect that is dotted across from the rush in the vocals.
MILLION LITTLE GODS
“We Need This” is one of those songs with the ability to grow on you. The stature of it is confirmed on the opening. The grandiose way that it cleanly opens everything is very stylish. The broad and even tempo gets beneath this one and the handling brings out the graceful overture. The first live playing of “Cetacea” brings it all in from the drumming. The reverence in where the guitar and bass lead bring a lot to the mix. It all accentuates in a tantalising way. There is a spry and subtle way it all climbs that enamours the listener. Slick and showy with the right amount of pace really. Again there is something that is configured well with “Puma”. The lush and ambient texture to it flows across in a moving way. That is evenly touched out from how it plays and the vocals add to the shake-up of it all. The kick in the play is measured and the urgency takes stock of everything. The tethered opening to “Mammoth” closes their set out in style. It brings it all through in a lasting way. How the elements fall into place is excellently worked and shows. The defined tempo shows what they are about as a band. There is colour to be found in the beat but the stride it hits here is excellent and it then becomes a more celebrated number because of this.
............................................................................................................................ The second French act to play tonight was LOUDZO. They deliberate finely in “Cheating Woman”. This shows in the fine angles that shift the direction of the overall delivery. That gives it a select feel in the broad way it builds the track, This is what holds the definition front and centre. An expansive offering then follows with “Remedy” that truly holds. This is very strong in terms of how it builds. The guitar feeds in to it all to give it drive and shows a lot is going for it. The climb in the tempo then sees the band rock out. They adopt a hard edge that has a fancy cut to it with “Ashes High”. It plays in with a catchy chic that drives it all through. There is nothing overbearing about it either because that is down to the good operation of it all.
The mean lick in the guitar shows with “Shake It”. That gives it volume and brings it all together. This connects well with how it all clicks into gear. The band pulls their weight and the in sync harmony also sits well. This is an effort that very much sees them call the shots. The patient build in “Fools” leads to something of consequence. This is reined in comparatively. The sturdy and opportune drift is also a catchy aspect that is stirred in a determined way. They lay into it all on “Underdog” that then taps out to become something more fluid and consistent. The harmonica tops it off reputably. It becomes a fortunate effort from the band on account of how eager to please it becomes. There is a select way that fills out finely in a clear way.
Another number that is big on scale follows with “Slow Motion Fuzz”. The ambition of it stands them good stead. The lofty aspirations showing in how it is brought through enhance the withdrawn sliver in the tempo in a way that truly matters. This is picked up from everything that shows. Their cover of “Road House Blues” by THE DOORS sublimely got everything right. There was 54 - as everything to it fell into place and was nothing to find flaw- with relayed in the live delivery.
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The Ruby Sessions Doyle’s Pub 29th October 2013
SCENE & HEARD To get us underway here this evening was TARA MINTON. The Melbourne based artist really crowned her presence with the harp that took centre stage. But the beauty of her music was fulfilled by it being there. This was the last date of her Irish tour and the magnificence brought to proceedings showed on “Tides Of Love”. Her voice brings a lot to the reckoning on it, with the loom that the rhythm carries across bringing it all home. How it is hangs is a splendid affair. The dalliance of “Smitten” is something to easily warm to. The wholesome quality is enhanced by the pleasance pouring through. Things also pick up in a hardy way. The weight in the lyrics also seems to give off a cherished style here that plays a good card in how seasoned her performance becomes here. The dutifully played “February Forever” comes next. There is a marked sophistication in the tempo here that carries well with the solemn tone. This is an effort brimming with appeal. The wonderment of the effort here is able to underplay the longing sentiment in a way that plays into it all in a big way. Shapely song “Tower Of London” follows next. There is a formidable way that everything plays through. The definition of it is a broader affair, yet the looming quality in the harp very much seals in a gracious style to it all. Following the ornate opening, “Rock’N’Roll Romance” intricately threads through to something with a sturdy feel. There is an angst that is retained and the contrast with how her voice finely threads through on it here is mirrored in the carefree reflection in the delivery.
TARA MINTON ............................................................................................................................ OLLIE COLE With “Little Wolf” there is an eloquent fashion that is courted from the steady play. It wears through quite well here and comfortably shows. In addition to that a competent and mellow style is noted for the fractured elements in the lyrics that gradually pull you in. The catchy trait in the howling is worked to great effect with the audience participation. Taking inspiration from LEONARD COHEN is never a bad thing and that is the seed that inspired “The Wind”. This smart effort promises a lot from the lyrics and the fashionable return reflects the investment. The poetic sentiment in the observations matches up with how everything is channelled through. The barren moments in the song are equally effective.
The third song in his set was “Read Your Mind” and the guitar excellently plays its way in on the intro. It reaches out on everything in a dutiful way and delivers courteously. The delicate angle that it turns in to eases the play into a kinder flow. What remains is left assured of heart and stature all the more form that approach. With “Magnolia” the goodness again personifies. The lingering feel of the song is effectively felt from how well worked it all is. The transition follows on from a solid footing. With everything that is on show here there is precious little to find fault with. The doeful style of his closing song “Emily” anchors to the playing. The application here is matched by a good pick up. The sound of the song, and the flow, entwine smartly. What is also engaging is the lyrical content which adds wonderment to what is pondered in the charming delivery here.
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One of two New York based artists playing tonight, this was the first time we have actually managed to catch him live. But he didn’t disappoint and lived up to the hype. “On A Hill” is one of those songs that cautiously brings everything through to bind it with a fine sense of belonging. The quietened demand of the lyrics brilliantly focuses everything. The stirring and consequential way that it is done realises what the song is all about, and it is very much aware of it also. Things come down easy on “Where You Are”. The lift in the play is deftly turned on here. How it all falls into place is done with an assured merit. The song finds its way because the style it has belongs with the way it is all hurried along. The delivery itself is a mesmerising effort that finely brings the chorus into the equation. From the stature of the amazing opening line, “Most Of All” proves its worth. Shades of THE WATERBOYS seem to be felt also here. There is a strong presence accounted for in the live delivery here. The beautiful prose that is situated within it is quite a select element that holds true. The feel of the song is a pure one that sits well on it as a whole. The back story and personal attachment adds to the poignant feel of “St. Finians”. The harrowed style in the song toils away immediately on it. The strong pull about everything here finds form from this approach. What is factored in busies itself thoroughly. The harsh tone lays away a great deal on it here. His final song, Tom’s River”, is all about living in real time. The earnest telling in the back story comes through on the delivery. This furnishes everything with a tasteful insight that is instrumental to how it feels. The hold that he has over the song itself is masterful and the select way it is played sits finely on it all the way here.
BRENDAN O’SHEA ............................................................................................................................ A re-interpretation of “The Ghost Of Roger Casement” by W.B. Yeats makes for a more personal effort to open with from the last time we caught him live here on this very same stage. The beginning is finely traced out and the noted feel in the lyrics hangs upon the air here with the delivery. It elegantly tells and the inherent essence of it stems from this to show more than just a man and a guitar playing. The simplicity is the key to “You Can Like It”. In the harmony his voice imbues everything with a soulful feel. This is pocketed in a sensible way. The quality way that it all shows distinguishes it from start to finish. The resilient definition in the guitar shows well on “The Landing” and the perused feel coming from the delivery is noted for the right reasons here. The way the tempo comes to rise is finely judged. His own personal attachment to it adds much to the conviction of his performance. Everything becomes more enamoured for it.
MICHAEL BRUNNOCK The passionate interest in the life of Sir Roger Casement buoys the historical context of “Breast Plate”. There is a token feel and sophisticated quality that sets it all right. The yearning fronting it all bears finely on it, yet there is also a learned angle that gets behind it to give it a more meaningful calling. A ballad called “Down By The Araglin”. It takes to the task at hand and imbues a very rich tome upon it all. The play is caressed and it floats along sensibly. The enthralled aspects of the play carefully capture the soulful side. This is revered finely in terms of arrangement and this is what allows it to skip through pleasantly.
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THE AMAZING FEW
The thing about THE AMAZING FEW is that they are one of those bands you either get or don’t. There is no middle ground. They closed out the night here with their own irreverent brand which got underway with “Mexican Date”. Instilled within it is a fine brass accompaniment that steadies the solemn tone before things pick up. The Latin derivative sets it off in a very stylish way that reins things in. The parlance of it is an interesting appeal in it though. A nonchalant effort was then notched up with “Rick O’Barry”. An ode to the personal trainer of Flipper The Dolphin, it does have a somewhat off centre skew to it. This is something that can divide opinion, but on this showing there is enough there to warrant an appreciation for it live. The way that the performance is embraced by the band shows and they all play their part here.
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The energised style of the band shows again with “Bruce Lee Movie”. The energised style of the band does show quite well here. The swinging vibe of their effort catches the rhythm cleanly. The frenetic beat is an appealing prospect that is furthered from the shuffle in the running giving it gusto. The sting in the tail on “Sponsored” is brought through from the bass. The texture of the song is rich and colourful, while the spirit of the delivery fancifully fits to the lightness in tone. The bongos find a home in the tempo. The kitsch factor shows on “Plasters”. It is however an effort that falls down in places a bit. The cohesion is not fully there, but what is on show does suffice to keep you entertained. Their final song “Canada” works the room. There is a steady showing in the beat. This is again a marked turn from the band that is able to finds its identity in the offbeat playing. There is a sensibility that brings out the best in the mariachi aspects of the song. They were the acts, that was the music, we were the audience and this was The Ruby Sessions.
SCENE & HEARD THE KING KONG CLUB FINAL (The Mercantile 26/10/13) They call it “The Eighth Wonder Of The Musical World” and throughout the course of this year’s competition a total of 172 bands slugged it out in the hope of getting to the final to have a shot at this year’s prize. Tonight we were down to the final eight and it was all about what was at stake. We have been here throughout the competition and we have been very impressed with the quality of artist that we have seen at each round we have been too. That whetted our appetite for the night ahead here at The Village and it was night of live music that did not disappoint.
SUGAR CANE FLAME SUGAR CANE FLAME drew first blood and they got it all started with “Not Quite”. You can pick a lot of the right things out from the way it opens. What is embraced is tidy yet it also has a large degree of bite to it. The beat pounding away is furthered by the catchy beat that hangs off what they reach for. The second song in their set was “Rascal”. The opportune way that it all rolls out is one of the things that the band have going for them. It adheres to a
resilient style that pitches up quite well. As a listener you become absorbed in the process and you feel what comes off on it as well. To see them out was “Jesus, The Devil And Me”. The exchanges in the playing lay a lot on the table from the band. American roots and blues fusion it appears at first glance, but a further consideration shows it to be something that lands the choice feel in a considerable way. Added to that is the formidable blues influence and how it is traced out, which results in a thing of beauty.
MIDNIGHT UNION BAND Kilkenny band THE MIDNIGHT UNION BAND took to the stage next. We saw them at the first semi-final and they proved worthy winners on the night. The handsome spirit of what they are about wears through on their opening number “The Burning”. This shows a maturity that is party and parcel of how composed the band is when they take to the stage. The requisite definition to the comfortable weight in the delivery is comfortably eased into here.
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Their second offering is again cut from the same cloth. With “Behind The Truth” there is a comely and engaging feel that is evident. The tactile way that it is delivered here becomes something that is highly engaging. What also stands the performance good stead here is the manner in which it is all played out. It has a high degree of excellence to it from beginning to end. Their third offering here tonight was “If You’d Stay”. This is a tune that is cleverly tracked. It then seems to come around in a way that is referential. Hinting at an American in the sleight of hand that plays across on it, the soulful components of this do not disappoint either. The composure shown here on stage serves it well and that it has to be the final song from them here showcases the old adage of saving the best ‘til last.
MR SANDS We have seen a fair bit of MR SANDS over the last 12 months that we have been reviewing the live music scene in Dublin. They always seem to bring something worthwhile to what they do when the take to the stage. The guitar panning out on “Don’t Stop Me” elevates the atmosphere in the room. It is very fetching and the weight behind it channels the urgency as intended. The rest of the song comes in around this. What results and is left standing is a tune that shows the band putting one of their best efforts forward here in the final. Their next two songs were “JBW” and “Don’t Stop Me”. Both of them are fine efforts. The former holds the right amount of presence in the delivery. The flow and ebb of the song is angled in quite rigidly. The vocals hang off that and it has a free essence about it all here. Again, with their final song. It rounds out their set suitably. The whimsical way that it is pushed through is a solid and consistent trait that suits the style of the band. It seems to take stock of what is necessary and concentrates those components in the overall make up and build of the song here.
........................................................................................................................... SEGRASSO SEGRASSO got things going here with “Disused Shed”. The looming feel from the sound is excellently pitched and the rich texture of it adds something relevant. That lends the shoegazer styling of it here and intriguing and lavish front. There is also something tactile about the catchy synth that is turned on with real panache here. That is followed up by the fanciful “Cell. Ambient and truthful in how it is projected, there is an added appeal to be found in the vocals. This drags across on the play quiet fervently. The overture that is brought to the tempo effortlessly sails across on this one and when the bridge is factored into the equation, the composure displayed is rather formidable. Closing things out from them was the sombre sounding “Thread”. With its sunken feel they tap into the melancholic reaches to fully engage the brooding sense of style. That dark pitch brings a broader scope that is eased into as the song opens up. The deliberate way that it holds makes for a song of circumstance that stirs the slow connotations marvellously.
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UNDERCOVER X Groove Festival winners UNDERCOVER X were the fifth band here tonight. The gentle feed in the guitar on “Past Perfect” lays things out finely. The patient stirrings created from the spacing here fill out the approach. Added to that are the vocals which further serve to underline this point and take point in the sheltered feeling of it overall. The design of the song works well by loading the metal influences into the song in a catchy way that embraces a mainstream appeal for it also. “I Told For Her” garners something specific in the opening rhythm that handsomely plays out all the way. The stoic sense that it has works well for the method. In how it is laid on thick and fast, the progressive leanings become more tailored to allow for the singularity in the play to show what they are about. They cleanly check in again with “Device”. In the way that both the drumming and bass connect something pleasing is rolled out admirably. The harder tone fed in brings the twisted nature through and the appeal here is warranted. This is substantial in terms of the application that gives the genre they hold close a fine injection of credibility in the process.
........................................................................................................................... FIVE DOLLAR SHAKES From the very second FIVE DOLLAR SHAKES began to play, you got the sense that the band you were watching on stage wanted it. They laid into everything with “Made In China”. The loaded pace follows a clear path in the trajectory. The excellence of it all hits you with the right impact. There is a real presence about them on stage and they have the music to match. The timing and showmanship about the band is also something that has been clearly worked on. Bringing things down a little bit was “Oceans”. There is a steady grace playing through that gathers well on it. Overall it proves to be a tidy effort and how it builds here is what really matters. An expansive chagrin holds well for the sound on “Fire To The Sun”, which allows it to breathe at the same time as it all comes in. The arrangement is greatly considered and as a result the crowd lap it up. The catchy side of the tune rallies around the imaginative curve that sets it up. What is becoming of the tune shows with the second wind which catches the crowd off guard, and further shows how much they owned the stage for the three songs they were up there for.
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THE DAILY HOWL The penultimate act on the night was THE DAILY HOWL. On “To Be A Man” the harmonica that fills out on the rhythm brings a startling turn of pace that is picked up all the more from the guitar on it. There is a style about it that is brushed out and neatly comes to the fore. What also works for it are the neat little touches which are comfortably factored into the performance in a big way. They then trap in a fanciful side on “Maggie”. Something dandy is also tended to here and the form of it all marks out the approach taken. The sheen that shows in the handling brims in the overall flow. An infectiously catchy tune closed out their set. “Had It On A Hook” immediately grabs you from the bounce in the rhythm. This is a steady and nuanced effort, but it is far from a novelty. The appeal and charm of the delivery are tightly held here and result in a timely showing overall. It is because of these qualities that it finely holds and the appreciative way that it is all managed shows in the delivery here.
........................................................................................................................... BIRDS The last band to play here was BIRDS. The wild card of the night, their opening song “Caprice” has a steady resolve to it. This carries across in the tidy way that things build on it. Factored into this is a calypso styling which invigorates it. The vibrancy that is a work here is a calculated move and one which pays off. The askew and new wave feel about it is the reason why. Fancifully taking flight is their next song “Too Much Thinking”. The play progresses and shoulder the rhythm to result in a commanding performance here that yields the right amount of presence for their effort. The display of playing ability that the timing creates in the beat sits nicely with the expansive prog rock that slightly underplays everything. The loop in the sound of their final track “Glass Hands” flashes across in defined arcs. As a result it all becomes very engaging in the process. The staggered aspects of the playing relay here quite well and they provide the sing with substance. What is yielded here is a stylish and thorough turn that finely marks it out as a tune worth tracking down. There had to be a winner here tonight. Such is the nature of the competition. That fine honour went to THE DAILY HOWL. We would like to congratulate them on their win because it was well deserved on the night. As one of the sponsors of this year’s competition we will be featuring the band on the cover of the December issue of U&I Music Magazine which comes out on Saturday, December 7th.
aving graced the cover of our July issue we finally managed to see a full set from this band. We have been looking forward to see them live for some time and it was a real pleasure to watch them do what they do best here tonight. Launching into things with “Modern Times” allowed them get down to business with the kind of authority you expect from a band who know what they are about. Turning hard and fast, it shows with the determined feel in the tempo. It opens in the right way, in particular when it comes to the temperament that drags across on the guitar. There is a tight showing again with the clear hooks angled in on “Signs”. This is a sweet affair clocking in with a formidable feel. This is influential to how the rhythm steadily builds that is let off the hook in a fine way. A catchier side bears fruit with “Bachelor’s Walk” and it all falls into place. The vibrancy shown from the solid and consistent running is finely laid out. Everything that comes around is there by design. With “Wasters & Haters” they again trace the smooth with the appreciation of the blues denoted in the guitar here. The sublime touches make for an elegant and graceful turn which benefits from the level grounding in the lyrics. The delivery prevails from this.
They continue that rich run of form with “Carry On”. The desirable kick built into it is what drives it on. There is a taut and compact process carried all the way and the energised pump in the sound displays their live conviction. When they played “Under The Sun” you got the sense from the telling weight that this band has more to offer than would first suggest. The pace picks up in a way that is keenly felt. With the leaner feel about it you are taken aback by the cause and effect of the arrangement. That it is also a catchy number is an added bonus. They then showed what they are about again with “Shine On”. This is a soulful number that the guitar cruises across on. It wraps around the process cleanly and the spacing shows a clear direction. The broader sense in the play gives the song a deserved prowess with how it connects with everything. They were then joined on stage by DAVE KEENAN and SEAN MCKENNA for “Rotten Apples”. This is a tune that really that makes you sit up and take note. A tight showing pumps up the delivery. The vocal delivery is a commendable trait generously laid on but the camaraderie on stage also adds a little touch of distinction. A grander feel is evident on “Lullaby Lane” that they settle into easily. There is a considerate grace about it that allows it to pick up. The neat way it develops a parlance gives it a transition. What starts off with a kitsch 1970’s New York stride develops into something with a 90’s scope. This is what impresses most about the running. They brought the curtain down with “London Town”. The drumming is felt here, yet the guitar resonates with a pumped up delirium. The fundamentals lend the brisk feel in the tempo what is needed. From this approach there is a menace to the stride that they bring about with a determined control from the very second the first chord is struck.
2MINUTES2MIDNIGHT @ The Academy 2 (25- 26 -
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CULT CALLED MAN This band played at State Of Rock and we were tipped off that they were worth checking out. Having seen them play live they do have something interesting about them to warrant appreciation. “Cius Cassius”, with its funky derivative, hangs in a particularly animated way. That gives it an offbeat charm that is completed by how the delivery is fleshed out. Added to that is expression in the Avant Grade style that adds an extra layer. They followed that up with “The Walker”. Here the tidy shoegazer feel adds value to the wonderful laid back style. The able bodied control centres something round the running that passes through the lyrics in a creative way. The calypso tempo allows it to step out in a lively way that enriches the listening experience from this approach. They walk in “Ya-Tak” with the piano, which in turn gives it a patient quality. This is seasoned with an operatic sentiment balancing it all out. The guitar comes in and the direction changes. As a result the definition broadens and everything is given a fraught feel that figures well.
Photos by Dom Marceleno
The fortitude on “The Kids Are All Whores” makes a point of bringing flair to the tempo that sits well with the organic style. The firm application makes the raw side of the arrangement a high point of note. This presses a more desirable feel to the output and adds to the mix in how it projects the etched and candid feel of the track. That delectable number is suitably followed up by “Mr. Wednesday”. Embracing a calypso style, the shared harmony becomes a nice touch on the opening. That changes direction in a skilful way that seals the flow of the song in a lateral way that makes the timely feel of it more admirable. They also bring out a kitsch factor that is praiseworthy while keeping everything in check. Their version of DAVID BOWIE’s “Moonage Daydream” impressed finely. The timings to it all convince throughout the delivery.
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CONTRIBUTORS WANTED With a monthly readership of over 75,000 monthly U&I Music Magazine is one of the fastest growing music magazines around. We are looking for contributors who can add somthing to what we already have and what we are about. We are not looking for just anybody. We are looking for people with a genuine talent for writing and a real passion for music to join our team. This can be in the form of writing about live music, features, interviews,music reviews or as part of the editorial team. Due to the nature of our other media projects currently being developed we are looking for people with backgrounds in multimedia and digital media as well. Being involved with U&I Music Magazine represents an opportunity to have a valued input in what you are working on. It is also an excellent working environment that would give anyone interested excellent experience as well as a reference. These positions are on an intern basis but could lead to a position of further responsibility. Interested parties can e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Experience preferred but not essential
Irish Artists It Was All A Bit Black & White Retro Futurism
Review by Finnian Curran Consisting of Matt Sutton on guitars and synth and Mosey Byrne on drums, It Was All A Bit Black & White have proved that Post-Rock is still alive in Ireland. Their debut album Retro Futurism follows the release of their EP “I Advocate The Piracy Of This Record” in May if this year, and it does not disappoint. The album, recorded in Hive Studios, Wicklow with the help of Eoin Whitfield comprises twelve original and fascinating tracks. The hard work put into this album from the Galwegian duo is obvious from the outset. The artwork for the record is truly amazing and virtually indescribable. Sutton says that it’s inspired by the Avant-Garde Era. It’s filled with many geographic deco patterns and its centre is “a set of doors opening out into this romanticized utopia.”One of the many positives, and most enjoyable aspects, of the record is how intricate and detailed each track is. IWAABBAW have toured with the likes of LITE, Maybeshewill and Not Squares but it won’t be long before this band will be the main act of the night. The opening track, “Artz und der Bleisfit” is a compelling listen. Its haunting atmosphere can make even the most aware listener paranoid due to the ominous aura of the track. Through the use of loop pedals, Sutton layers the guitar and bass slowly for the first two minutes and you actually don’t hear Byrne’s input until the end of the second minute. The track finally gives forth into an exhilarating listen. The title track of the album is the next, more rousing track, in my opinion. It delivers a more meaningful and deep propulsion. Forceful riffs prevail throughout the track until before moving when the synth finally comes through. “The Electric Mayhem” is by far the best track of the album. Its catchy disco-like beats reel the listener in from the start and culminates
with heavy guitar riffs and berserk key playing.
“You So Kind” is one of the strangest, but more melodic tracks of the album. It’s caught somewhere in between Japanese Traditional and Irish Rock but manages to create a more soft approach to the album than any other track. “All Wretch, No Vomit “is the final track of the album. It’s quite similar to the opening track due to its eerie atmosphere and strenuous build up. The track boasts something along the lines of contemporary metal and is an epic conclusion to an exciting album. IWAABBAW once again thrill with crashing drums and repeated riffs that can only get the heart racing. Retro Futurism is available from their Bandcamp for just €5. That is a steal in my opinion as they’re one of the most exciting Irish bands of the year.
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Red Queen Contest Review by Finnian Curran
Red Queen Contest, the four piece Alternative Rock outfit from Navan, released their outstanding self-titled debut album in October. The band, including Cormac O’Keeffe, Paul Clarke, Paddy Smith and Barry Fitzgerald, previously released music as The Dolldrums but re-convened as Red Queen Contest in 2010. It’s easy to see the influences that other bands have had on Red Queen Contest. The album draws similarities from acts such as The Editors, Bell X1 and even Blur. As well as this, their producer Adrian Garry has previously worked with Bell X1 and Delorentos. The vocals are shared between O’Keeffe and Clarke who complement each other superbly and even when the music is a little bit heavyhanded, there’s usually notable vocals that save you from the musical abyss (which doesn’t happen often on this record.) The rhythm section of the band is equally as formidable with Fitzgerald on the drums and Smith playing the bass.The most enjoyable aspect of the album is its varied sound and composition. About half of the album consists of audacious indie rock songs while the rest of the record is mostly made up of tamer songs with a mix of slight electronic and acoustic sets as well. Opening the record is “Now (Before It Gets Old)” which kickstarts it to life. With some of the best vocals and lyrics of the album, it’s difficult to see this not being a hit. I can definitely see this being a crowd favourite at gigs mainly because it’s so catchy. “Back To Your Door” provides a nice respite as it’s the most notable acoustic number. It’s the most calm and relaxed three and a half minutes on the album and separates the two best songs on the album: “Rosalee” and “Eiderdown”. “Eiderdown” is without a doubt the best song on the album. With catchy hooks and easily recognisable riffs, one can definitely imagine Red Queen Contest blaring this out to a packed venues in years to come. The band themselves have said that it’s their favourite track and it’s easy to see why they’re so proud of it. “Houdini Hexes”, the penultimate track, bears a huge resemblance to Muse not only because of the notable riffs and Matt Bellamy-esque vocals, but it also has an eerie flow about it. I’m not saying eerie is bad, this is a great track. Its final thirty seconds serve as an intro for the final number of the album “Bee Stings”. “Bee Stings” is a fantastic outro to the album. I found it a little bit similar to Nirvana’s Marigold at times as it goes from a slow, melodic rhythm to a song with loud, crashing drums and great vocals and a huge depth. Aside from this, “Bee Stings” shows the raw potential songwriting skills that the band possess. There isn’t one bad song on this album and it’s such a strong, confident display from the Co. Meath rockers. It’s definitely one of the most thrilling rock albums I’ve listened to in a long time. The album is available to stream for free at their Bandcamp or you can purchase the album there as well. A digital version of the album is available for purchase for €8 or if you prefer a CD version it’ll set you back €10.
THE BARLEY MOB
There are two ways an Irish reggae act can go with their music- they can produce something of a novelty or they can produce something of importance. In this case it proves to be the latter. Opener “Everybody’s Music” immediately sees the appeal and substance on show. The lyrics convey an optimism that connects with listener through the medium. The pleasantry of “Road Tune” displays a broad expanse denoting something comprehensive at work. The poignancy fits. There is a lot to appreciate in the reflective sense carried through in the overall delivery. Next is the colourful “She’s Falling”. This has a select skip and bounce in the tempo that draws you in. There is a virtuous heel about it that plays its part well. Again the right ingredients show in creating a tempo on “Medicine Man”. This has a spirited run that shows the right amount of credibility. The roots and the influence of the genre are apparent. They condition the running with everything necessary and expected. The opening to “Nothing In The World” signals an intent that is capitalised upon. The rhythm has a steady rise that climbs with a formidable intent. The style is something that the band eases into and the comfortable feel to how it plays out is down to this. The tidy skip to it also sees things right. “You’ll Never Be Lost When You’ve Got Music” is a truly excellent tune. A contender for the centrepiece of the album, the central way that the lyrics and their message are freely let out is a joy to behold. This has an apparent consideration and it is songs like this that elevate the band to a status to be taken seriously. “Peace Of Mind” follows that and is a more soulful opening that builds fairly. The relaxed tone of the vocals hangs delicately all the way through. What it searches for is found in the deliberation neatly tying up all the ends here. Again they ease into things on “Bubble Song”. The vibrant touches in the style come around fancifully. The appealing flight in the sound here matches up well with the poignant and reflective nature in the lyrics. It proves a fine turn that is instilled with quality throughout. With “The World Today” there is a positive and encouraging message to the song. It embraces the philosophy of what reggae is about. Added to that is a fine display of musical ability. With the combination of both aspects it makes for a great song and it plays like one. The calypso styling richly brings out the best in “Stand Up, Rise Up, Big Up” which tellingly holds. It proves the song’s worth in terms of everything that is taken into consideration. It is a mesmerising tune that is another standout on the album for what it brings to the mix. They close out with “We Go The Distance”. From the sparse way it opens it cleverly brings the while song full circle in the progression which sees it do exactly what it says on the tin.
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PEARSE HALPIN The Trick To Living
The up and at them attitude of the opening track “Skip The Hand” keeps a firm grip on the overall running. There is a controlled feel in the tempo that skips across steadily here. The running of the track is also helped further by the way the lyrics rolls through with an established weight that tantalisingly draws you in. Again there is a lot to admire about “Here They Lay”. The hard style of it is dropped in on the rhythm, yet the cursive way that it flows instils this with a purposeful drive. The evident way it is embraced here lets it all run freely all the more for it. Some more of the same with “Your Story”, yet the guitar is angled in a way that gives it a harder feel and run. The content way landed here is an impressive turn that shows. Neat snatches in the play also bring out a more proactive about how it all rises. An alluring effort comes next with “Entice Me”. The way the arrangement is dealt out here deliberates on the song finely as it everything comes around. The tempered way that it all gathers corners everything in a figurative way. Picking up things from the off is “Found It”. Yet it seems to hold back and that control over everything here is what brings it all through. A gradual beat develops in the guitar that is also handsomely applied.
That fine effort then leads nicely into “Grasp The Star”. The lithe way coming through from the acoustic guitar builds elegantly into a broad number which lights up when everything falls into place. You also get the sense of an artist who has found calling with a song that defines him as an artist in the process. This is what holds it together.
Again we see a change in direction. This time out it is the tumble on “Four Times Long” that denotes it all here. There is a fine appeal about it from the off and it has a humble quality to it that is very engaging. The bespoke lyrics also leave a lasting impression. A sense of something foreboding sees in “Yeah Yeah”. It seems to connect with the steady handling of the delivery. The entire process is stoked cleanly and it lights up readily in a big way. Big things show through on “Your Halo” and it seems to come around in a way that is easy on the ear. Yet a closer listen shows it to be a song with a more defined approach working behind the scenes. The graceful overtures on show in the rhythm lead to a more progressive tune that is neatly felt out all the way here. The title track of the album closes things. An impeccable pedigree holds a bygone quality and characteristic firmly in place, and also imbues that influence cleanly upon everything here. - 32 -
NEON TETRAS Sit Down Sky
From the very second that “Gorilla Bar” pitches up you are intrigued before the vocals blow you away. The derivative set out in the song is a concentrated and energised effort that lifts off and maintains the trajectory all the way through. With “Rubber Duck” things again open softly. The full on force of the play marries well with the conviction in the lyrics. The running is catchy as well but the raw sense of the whole song is what it is more noted for. With “Bastard File” things even out more with a broader structure to everything that presents itself clearly. The way that it all drifts sends it all through before the rhythm and overall delivery drag finely across. A stationary and cautious build leads in “Meme” which has an inquisitive burl toiling away in the tempo. This is undeniably acknowledged in the approach before things develop a more robust running. Tumultuous in a measured way it is a fine effort that steps out accordingly. “Only New Song Ever” careers along on the intro. The steady way it is handled is very much approved of. With the feverish churl in the guitar it all comes around and is a broad piece that carries through commendably, and the edgier sides of the style hang off it imperatively. “Skip” marks a
8 little bit of a closer style that sits well. The lyrics are very considerate and allow the album to arrive at “Fracture Faded” efficiently. The guitar motioned through adds a zip to it that constructs all of the arrangement. Angling in the right efforts sees it reach a lavish run that cuts sharply. “Out Of Hand” is one of those tunes that display the influences of other bands. The experimental style of it fits well to their progressive slant, yet it pitches everything finely. The guitar is what brings it to life. They then lean into “Make It Work”. The drawl in the vocals and tempo are what click into gear here. The shunted fell about how it all runs capitulates squarely on it all to leave the forceful grit at the front of the playing. The steady drive on “903 West” sees the tune take shape. A dark feel is cast over it in terms of sound. The way that it all stows away permeates in the tempo and gives it a distinct curl that breaks through on it. The last track is “Willow Park” and it is an excellent effort. The charged up feel from the rhythm muscles its way through. Yet there is a flattering urgency to back that all up. The assured flow of the vocals also brings something distinguished to it and this is a song that leaves a mark. - 33 -
Irish Artists The Heads of State
Review by Finnian Curran The Heads of State are an Indie/Folk band hailing from Donegal who’ve recently released their four track EP entitled These Times. The record was recorded in Attica Audio studios with the help of producer Michael Keeney who’s worked with stellar acts such as Duke Special and Foy Vance. The quartet consists of Tommy Callahan on lead vocals and guitar, Gary Doherty on bass and vocals, Orri Mcbrearty on mandolin, guitar and vocals and Paul Tulley on keys and vocals. The band have had an exciting summer which includes sets at Castlepalooza, Hard Working Class Heroes and also includes a set at the Body & Soul main stage at Electric Picnic. They’ve recorded some home material in 2010 and their track “Hands Dirty” was included on BBC GAA Championship coverage in 2011. Lead Single “Days Long” is a fantastic opener to the EP. With memorable lyrics and Mcbrearty’s excellent mandolin skills, it can be described as similar to The Lumineers. It’s a very catchy song and Callahan’s excellent vocals, somewhat similar to Marcus Mumford, make the song a little bit emotional. “Gone” is the second track of the record. With once again, outstanding lead vocals and an upbeat rhythm section it’ll clearly be a fan favourite at gigs. “Carry Me On” is definitely the best track of These Times. With emotional lyrics like “how can it mean so much, when you feel so numb” and “pull yourself together now, for there’s better days to come”, it’s hard not to feel moved by the track. The finale of the EP, “Loaded Dice”, is a testament as to how well the band work together. It’s more an acoustic track in comparison to the rest of the upbeat songs on the EP songs yet they still manage to captivate the listener with even more moving lyrics than Carry Me On. Without a doubt these guys are ones to look out for in the coming future and I, for one, am very excited for their debut album.
.......................................................................................................................... PREACHER’S SON Jericho
The title track opens resoundingly with a tidy guitar rhythm. That cajoles the rhythm steadily around and the drumming smartly brings it all together. When the slower feel is cast off it results in a steady flow and ebb that dutifully follows and suits the overall arrangement. A remix of “Come On” comes next. This holds on the EP and it is a good inclusion. The radio edit of the fine “Should Have Been Gone” comes next. The reverence in the taut rhythm marks out the calling of the song here. It is suitable for the title track and makes a good companion piece here.
Things close out an acoustic note. The first track to follow is “Unbroken”. The lonely sentiment of this captures the tone and essence in a referential way. Tailoring the wily and dutiful, the ease with how it duly rolls out is taken stock of in a neat way. Again this figures well on the acoustic version of “Jericho”. A patient and more rounded feel come off with the roll and tumble turned in on it. The hard impact is still maintained and the simmering quality of the tempo keeps it all in check.
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GAVIN JAMES Remember Me
The opening track here plays quite well. The strength of the song is there to be admired. The lyrics show a well thought out design. There is a considerate way that it is all brought through and the artistic distinction of the sentiment steals it all away. It is a great tune with a kick to it in the breakdown that comes to bear on it. A lusher affair follows with “For You”. This is defined by the tenderness of the song. The sentiment of it is enhanced by the fortunate way that the tempo is pushed out as things are slowed down. Again a tune with a lot of worth to be found in the lyrics follows with “Lucky”. The attentive way to the detailed lyrics imparts resolutely upon proceedings to display a range in the array. The guitar playing in bides its time. It also seals in the select features when and where needed. “Carolina”, albeit a demo, closes the EP. This again finds something of substance within the substance. It is a defined effort that conveys a hearty sentiment in a way that doesn’t over sell.
.......................................................................................................................... KEITH CULLEN With Eyes Open
The dalliance from the vocals sits well with the steady way the song carries through on the eponymous opening track. The tempo of the rhythm guides everything quite well. While it is also curtails the right elements in how the lyrics come through. Easing into things again with “The Walls” sees him follow up things. There is a progression to it that reasons out on it. The consistency of it is there and that is what keeps the expansive side of it on track.
Selective in the way the piano envelops the tone, “Superhero” is an inclusion here that pushes things a bit more. There is a more deliberate attempt showing here. That it is included on the EP and not as a standalone track is surprising because it has enough about it to stand it good stead were it to be a title track or single. Again the piano is what stirs things on “When I Hear Your Name”. The song itself is felt out. The arrangement gives it scope to allow the bigger movements and terms to come through on it all. The last track here is “Losing My Way” and it picks up the slack. The running to it judges the pace quite well. It has a short enough running time so as not to drag it out to much which is a good thing here.
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PUNCH FACE CHAMPIONS
This release from one of the best progressive acts on the Dublin circuit at the moment doesn’t disappoint. “X” asserts everything about the band from the opening track. Pummelling away with the guitar and drumming, the gutsy way it carries through is immediately felt. This is able to outline the intent of the band firmly. Following that is the equally assertive “IX”. This time it carries off with a catchier beat from the opening. The slick way that it is all curtailed is what draws you to it. That basis alone then transcends to show some very detailed and skilful management on the track. “V” motions everything through with flair. This injects colour into how it sounds, yet the thoughtful and educated way that it is all embraced shows in a very defined way. The projection in the expansive side firmly meets with the pace applied to really drive it on all the way. Again the resonance from the guitar feels its way through on “VIII”. It holds considerably and turns it all on with style. The significance of the way it is all relayed is apparent and well checked. Closing number “III” bestows the ensemble traits of the band. Opening with a more looming style, the vocals add to the blistering effort that it is. As a result it all closes out stylishly.
.......................................................................................................................... MINIATURE JACK “Tear It Up” is one of those songs that apply the right amount of pop sensibility to proceedings to make it work. The running to it collects finely. The pitch from the vocals weighs in and gives it what is needed to stay the course. There is a rush in the sound that lights up “Follow Me”. The sturdy kick in the tempo is an admirable trait. With how it is traced out the tracking on show also comes to the fore. The part that it plays in stirring the edgy characteristics transfers the appeal across.
There is a majesty that comes off in the awning in “Sugar Rush”. It is all pushed down and outward as well. As a result the warmth of the song stands it good stead. What also works here is the way that it all collects and the sweeping tempo works for it also. A catchy bass and drum beats away on “Coming For You”. This is a tune that is steady in its feet. The opportune shape to the sing seems to curtail something solid in what it catches in the play. There is a neat resonance about it all that is brought through with good intentions.
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Take Me To The Church
An approving and absolute tune, “Take Me To The Church is a commanding effort. The gospel overtures cement the appeal and shine a light on an artist with an incredible amount of potential. It is a very sharp effort that is realised in no uncertain way. Coming through again in terms of the appeal in how it sounds, “Like Real People Do” again proves his artistic integrity. The becoming aspects of the song evenly present in the sweet nature and transition of the song. The even finesse coats it all in a replete stature that cradles the emotion of the song sweetly. “Angel Of Small Death & The Codeine Scene” calls it all out. The referential way that this picks up excellently brings it all through. It is fleshed out and the heart of the song retains a fertile style, yet at the same time a raw characteristic cuts across on it with a high pedigree that you very much admire it for. A live version of “Cherry Wine” closes it out. There is a tidy ramble to the rhythm that is rather fetching. We have seen him live, and reviewed the gig, at The Ruby Sessions. The purity he has as a live performer comes through on this as well. The open feel to the song is a steady and appealing one that adds to the allure.
.......................................................................................................................... THE MIGHTY STEF Iveagh Flats The opening track “The Nightwatchman Of The Iveagh Flats” seems to boss everything. Imbuing the spirit of the song the immediate presence of the song grabs you. The stark and grandiose style turns on finely here. In return the scintillating way it all flashes across takes you away with it. Then second track “Vampire, Hold Me Tight” builds upon what is laid down on the opener. A blistering guitar stirs through on it and the wired feel in the running expands the rhythm. It is a neat and classy affair from the off. This will convert the unconverted and there should be no fuss from them either because it is a fantastic effort that vents quite formidably.
The third track here is “The Hardship”. It is also a long player that goes the distance. The grand style of it comes through and the expansive feel in the arrangement finds a suitable home that cleanly carries the song all the way through. Playing like the bastard child of Neil Diamond and Scott Walker it is a fantastic track that shows mettle from beginning to end, but at the same time it is commendably all played out.
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THE WHEREABOUTS TwentyThirtyThree
“Fever” is a song that is seen right by the rock’n’roll style that it is schooled in. The tempestuous rise is well received upon listening. The catchy way that it skirts along brings out the best in it and gives it a medicated appeal that is very refreshing to hear. “Versions of Hippy Hippy Shake” and “In Spite Of All The Danger” keep things in check. They also show the influence of that particular period of music and that shapes the appeal of the band. Rocking out with more authority is “One After 909”. The strong way that it charges along sees the band coast through with a real flair. This has a slick and confident streak to it that picks up straight away. All of the song is brought under the control of the band and listening to it shows that the nostalgic traits do serve it well. The bluster on show with “Shakin’ All Through The Night” takes your breath away. This mixes it up in a very big way. The catchy riffs in the guitar and bass that meet with the vocal and drumming bring everything around on it. This is a quality tune from beginning to end. The final track is “TwentyThirthyThree” and it again showcases the ability of the band to bring around a quality tune with a mindful cut to it. The sharp way it runs finely underlines that point. This has a refreshing turn of style about it that lends it the appreciation it deserves.
.......................................................................................................................... DECO GREENE Breathe There are gospel qualities coming through on the title track that are quite interesting. The heart of the song is down to the arrangement. The flow in this steadies and it seems to govern the release of the softer aspects. It holds quote well and the piano stirs the tenderness just right. “Release” is the second track and it gives a good account. Again it sits inside the piano arrangement and that keeps it intact. It doesn’t have the consistency to it in places, but where it gets it right does convey as intended. When it comes to “Love Crime” it all comprehends what is required. The reverence in the song is there to be found. It is able to get under it and push it out.
The fourth and final track “D.I.Y.” is possibly the strongest one. The way that it falls through is quite proactive when the rhythm is considered. There is a telling roll about it all and it tides well. What is crafted here is a meticulous effort that makes the most of the opportune flight that it happens upon.
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International Acts STONEFIELD “A hardy roadhouse sound ploughs into you in a watchful way from how educated it is angled in on “C’mon”. This is a balls out affair that figures finely with the bluster in the sound. It has a real shake to it that is unbridled excellence throughout. “Love You Deserve” calls out a finely played out number. The electrifying way that it lights up is rounded on and what is left standing is a top tune that takes no prisoners. The taut values on show gather well with the arrangement and it is a mesmerising effort. The vocal harmony that opens “Put Your Curse On Me” gives way to a loaded affair. Rocking up the song is an assured effort with a true presence that rattles out everything with a clear panache, but the idealised way it builds into an expansive number is what sets it free. A fine guitar plays out on “Over And Over”. Again it denotes a fine roadhouse influence emanating from the sound. There is a cool swagger in the playing that gives it lift with the way it is caressed throughout. Things develop a plausible catchy drift with “To The Mountains”. The added texture in the way the lyrics fit around it all add to the kick and free style of it all. Hitting it from the off and signalling the intent of the band is “Diggin’ My Way Out”. The collected way that it all hangs showcases a true playing ability in
9 the process as much as it does a fine display of musicianship. We then come to “House Of The Lonely”. This is another fine effort that takes you along for the ride. This speaks volumes of how good this band is. The slick way it travels underlines the intent of the band, but it is how the arrangement seems to focus everything. The production values are also evident here. With “To Whom It May Concern” they leverage something in the timely way it comes around. This holds in an honourable way that eases out the determination in an opportune way that freely tells. There is a lazy style to “Baby Blue” that is a joy to behold. The collected way it gives rise with the rest of the song is something that the playing revels in. You get a feeling that the devil owns this one and it takes pride of place too. It is coolness personified. They wrap it all up with “Keep On Rollin’”. There is a proactive side to it that burns brightly. From the awning feel in how it opens it then builds into a really big number that closes the album out with the style and class it deserves. - 39 -
LOON LAKE Gloamer
A tasty intro in “Tonight” then gives way to “Love Gets Done”. The skip and revelry in the guitar cruises across figuratively. This builds the basis for the track and it has a revered touch about it. The momentary way the vocals eek through is fairly judged. A departure occurs with “City Lights” that blesses their sound with a steely resonance. That is achieved from the synth based sound which scores highly to produce an organic sensibility that runs finely through the whole song. It gives it all a basis from which it bears fruit. The catchy “Cherry Lips” follows. It is impossible not to be caught up in this one. This shakes its tail feathers smartly. There is a clean showing that equates to show a tune with everything joined up on it from the second it begins. They then pick things up and step out with “On Fire”. Again the synth is a strong feature that gets things going. The way the tempo levels out is appealing. The catchy running is smartly applied and it plays through with minimal fuss. With “It Was Only Love” there is something eventful in how the rhythm wraps cleanly around everything. The way it drops the beat into the mix is fancifully done. The tone of the song is set out from this and they keep it all together with a good reasoning falling by the way of it all for the right reasons.
8 A tranquil opening is what greets you on “Bones”, yet it also has a hardy side going for it. It is steered quite well and the plush feel of the song sits well with that approach. The sunken way that the tempo drifts is appropriate here. How “Love To See You Smile” picks up denotes a tune with an affirmative quality down pat. The ornate way that the rhythm collects on it meets well when the pace picks up. There is a fluid feel about it all that you easily warm to. “Spain” is a brief prelude on the album but enough is shown that makes you take stock of it for what it brings to the overall value of the running here. When the main version follows the change in direction is apparent. It doesn’t lose anything really if you don’t dwell on the decision for the inclusion as a prelude. The finalised version is an astute number. The way the stride is confidently reached here shows resilience and the light way that it plays gives it some token appeal here. The lazy feel comes to the fore on “High”. It doesn’t seem to have the realised stature the rest of the album has had up until this point. However, it does have a clear definition. The synthesised style is embraced giving it a shot it in the arm. How it builds is what stands it good stead. A lonesome tone sets out on “Parties” which is quite privy when considered fully. The projected warmth in the arrangement comes through. Things pick up in a lithe way that handles well in how it is threaded through. The glide in the guitar on “Carolina” gives it an evident appeal. The precocious way that the playing is doctored sees the band play to their strengths. The last track is “Goodbye Forever”. It is a stirring number that is set up to close out everything. The vocals bottom it out with the hushed way they are pushed out, while the hold in the arrangement transfixes the tempo to suit. - 40 -
LITTLE SCOUT Are You Life
The eponymous title track opens proceedings here. What it does is engage you with its distal and reserved feel. Yet the substance that is carried off is also innovative. The requisite feel about it chases down things with real aplomb and distinction. A more assured authority is ushered in on “March Over To Me”. It holds true and the listener is taken aback by how much front is put on show here. This is a signal of intent that makes you sit up and take note. The curvy way that things run through is exceptionally applied. Blessed with a retro charm is “Flash In A Pan”. This denotes the distinction that the band has with a certain retro charm to it that gets everything right. Soulfully played in is “Go Quietly”. An active and sharper side is carefully pursued here. The bass drives it on yet there is a shoegazer quality that stares out on it in an admirable way. This collects everything in the focus of the delivery to bring it all neatly home. “We Used To Know” has a fraught and delirious appeal that centres everything. The knowing way the song retreats into this offers the finesse the opportunity to be channelled through. The clever way it handles and holds takes you away with it all the way here. Again the laid back appeal of their sound is turned on with “Ten Taxis”. Things sync up on it and there is a fluidity that matches the turn in the style. The looming and dreamy margins that flit across are very desirable and flesh out the movements further. A singular holds on “Heard It All Before” that everything then becomes built around. The steady and fluid shoegazer style to this is excellent. The measured approach in the delivery is appealing and it gives it a closer feel when the chorus kicks in that elevates to something of true distinction. That purity and parlance is mirrored in “Day” to great effect. The haughty way that the tempo drags across on it here takes you away with it. The weighted way it hangs back is considerable matched by the pick up when required. There is an oscillation shown with how “Take It Back” brings everything around. The collected way things settle into place here very much bring the whole process to bear with a steady build. There is a fashionable appeal about it all that hangs with a pure deliberation all the way. After that the album closes out with “Don’t Teach Me To Sing”. It has a proven and timely quality to it that traces everything out in a longing way from the off. The doting that clearly offers up in the transition lies well with what is intended in the travelling of it all. A watchful temerity keeps everything focussed here that is signified by the depth of the overall running. It has a proven and timely quality to it that traces everything out in a longing way from the off. The doting that clearly offers up in the transition lies well with what is intended in the travelling of it all. A watchful temerity keeps everything focussed here that is signified by the depth of the overall running.
LINDI ORTEGA Tin Star
Glowing with charm and appeal is “Hard As This”. The running of the song crafts something hearty from the tempo that comes to rest upon the song in a very fetching way. The inspiring way things fall into place bequeath it and allow the intent to be fully realised. Again the pick-up is striking and takes it all the way on “Gypsy Child”. It steals something with how it keeps the skip in the step alive. The free way that it travels is enhanced by the raucous vocals making their way through. With “Tin Star” the lonesome qualities of the song beset everything. The poignant way that the lyrics fit with the way the tempo is traced out is what locks in the essence of the song. This is a song that borders on perfection because of how it projects the soulful characteristics into the song with majesty. Taking stock of the country influences is “Voodoo Mama”. Her ability seems to take stock of everything here and she really comes up with the goods. There is a sturdy showing to it that never lets up and it sails through all the more for it. The timeless quality resides well on “Lived And Died Alone”. The resignation and damnation of the lyrics settle finely across it. But the sullen breath that is drawn from the delivery breaks your heart when you hear it play. This is a beautiful track from start to finish. Her sound welcomes a slight beatnik feel on “I Want You”. The tempo is something that is highly desirable and it is a fired up effort. It hits with you with everything and rightfully so. This is another solid effort that forms up with definition and pitches accordingly. There is something requisite to how the guitar dallies across on “This Is Not Surreal”. Coupled with the reflective lyrics and the distinction of her vocals, the song truly does wear its heart on its sleeve. This is hauntingly considerate and moving equal measure. A sublime effort again follows “Something For You”. It holds everything in a way that demands an admiration. The feeling of the song is also projected in the delivery and you get carried away with it. It is a truly moving effort. The skiffle feel on “All These Cats” sees it come to life. The rhythm stares down everything and continues to bring out the proven feel of the song from start to finish. Things take a more choice and descript feel on “Waitin’ On My Luck To Change”. The railroad styling of it gives it a slightly grander feel and the whimsical way that it all plays out is a delight to hear. The final tune here also embraces the piano to flesh out the sound. Here though things are more reflective. There is a courteous and poignant approach adopted. The acceptance of inevitability is what gives the song its direction, but it develops the song in a truly telling way.
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Therapy For The Damned Smartly ferrying through the running is the first track “Therapy For The Damned”. Here the referential prospects of the band are laid out. Things hang steadily and the ebb and flow of the song manages to display a steady tune that plays out spiritedly. What gets “Apathy & Charm” going is the heady way that it is structured. That is accounted for in the liberated feel from the hard angles in the play and how they comprise the running. What is another piece of pertinence here is the powerful vocal arrangement demonstrated. Again this relays into “No More, No Less”. A fine and laid back opening draws you in. The composed way that it relaxes into everything here is deserving of appreciation and is indicative of what holds true through the album. This thorough effort powers along and brings you along for the ride. “House Of Cards” wiles away, but it is not a meandered ponder. Indeed, it is far from it. The eventful way that it all depicts the countenance in the tune very much promotes the affluent style of it quite well. A very spirited effort indeed and it sets up the more softly applied “Olive Branches”. The imposing feel of the guitar finely skims across and the referential hang off the lyrics capitalises on this. The moving way things tenderly tick away is integral to it here and shows. Another effort that hangs back follows in “Serenity’s Ghost”. It is lovingly played and becomes a tune of consequence from how it is handled. There is a whim to it that spreads out and brings out the necessary qualities in a matured fashion that is very privileged. As “An Eye For An Eye” begins you immediately pick up on the lofty ambition that it sets out to achieve. That is complimented here in the way it composes itself as it plays. The profound feel of it doesn’t pass unnoticed and it gracefully plays through, somewhat formulaic, but done with a fine sense about it all the way. Courteous in terms of how it sounds is “Eye For An Eye” is a track that actually has more to it than a first listen would suggest. Beneath the fleeting elements is something that is credibly locked down in the playing exchanges. “Medicinal Venom” takes you along with it. Weighted flashes in the playing courteously bring something of importance to the equation, but it is the musicality that takes centre here. This is an ardent effort that spreads out commendably in all corners. On “Stranded (In The Devil’s Corner)” you are very drawn in from the beginning. Matching the enthralling intro is a competence blues rich turn that delights in how it embraces things. The matter of fact way it is carried through here is clear and distinctly worked to great effect. The last track here is “Samantha Was A Drinker” and it contently brings it all to heel. What is held off is then brought in when needed. It results in a song of consequence that diligently equates into a song of wonderful ideals.
FRIENDS ELECTRIC Surrender
From the very second “Fireworks” kicks in this album hooks you. Displaying a cursive electronic sound the rich texture of what presents is very becoming. The nuances in the delivery elevate it to a status to be appreciated for. Catchier song “Silver Moon” follows and maintains the steady keel in the sound. Embracing a pop overture suits it here. The distinct movement of lyrics and tempo carry things through denoting the essence quite clearly. Again the running in the sound sees “Golden Blood” take flight. It has a languid turn about it all but it cosies around something that is finely caught in the arrangement here. The piano gives it a deep distinction that marries well to everything that is laid out for it. When we come to “Adventurers” we see a grander sound come through. There is a vibrant touch to the 8-bit synthesised sound running through. It finds something that bonds to the overall arrangement quite well and the vocals are finely cut here. Overall it is rather choice and displays a sliver in the tone that is wonderful. Opening sharply and maintain its composure is “Ordinary People”. The tempo flits to and fro, yet it also hangs with a fine sense of deliberation. This is steadily brought to the fore and it is a truly fine effort. A more elusive and lavish turn gets underneath “Something You Should Know”. It develops a blissful aura in the sound that clicks into play in a sublime way. Tracing out things finely it then picks up as the song takes flight. This gives it a good pull and the fraught way thing convey warms you to it in a big way. Neatly opening and hitting the ground running is “Everything You Are”. It is carried off with a vigour about it that neatly centres the tempo and focuses all of the sound as everything is brought around. The neat way it does it enhances the scintillating electro aspects in the sound fully. The handsome drum machine carries over on the intro to “Let it Out”. The pleasant way that the vocals seem to flow finds the listener caught up in the experience finely. The slick way that it channels all of the catchier side of the play shows the stylish capability of the band. Then it is followed up by “Puzzle Pieces” which is another enigmatic and catchy number that bristles with charm. The looming beat burns brightly all the way on this one and it has a clear direction that chases all the right points down on it here. When the album comes to “Surrender” it opens in a very expansive way. This is something more ambitious from the band and doesn’t sell itself short either. It is a lavish affair that finely works through everything that the rest of the album does. This time around it takes on its own identity and it earns its inclusion on the album here.
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Hitting hard and fast is opening track “She Hates”. Embodying the angst of the song and directing the vitriolic side on the styling results in a song that draws your attention to the band. The leaner feel about the tempo is fleshed out smartly and gives it gravitas. Tidily brought around “White Noise” follows and is a resolute affair. Engaging to hear, there is something smart deposited in the running. The spacious feel in the beat rounds on it and gifts the new wave sensibility it toys with a sense of purpose and singularity. The dark aspect of the sound shows with “Scarlett”. The lyrics denote this and how things hang back get under it in an assertive way. It also projects a raw necessity in places that is quite edgy. It brings an extreme side to the mix from them. The pounding beat on “Going Down” opens it all well. The clean way it is brought through matches with the running. The drawl in the sound is something that contends well with the overall design on show. Having a great title, “Under My Skin (My Favourite Sin)” is a more reserved affair. The opening gradually builds to a gothic texture that relinquishes nothing in the process as it takes off. “Apocrypha” is in the same vein. This time the synth closed in around the sound pulls you in. The seductive traits come through very gracefully here.
8 They then change direction and pound away on “Home”. The accord of the song doesn’t necessarily hold throughout, but what it gets right does show. The urgency in the running plays the part well, while the chorus brings it together. This is a good effort and deserves to be seen as one. A signal of intent is met with on “The Ones”. It breaks out as a voice for the disenchanted and it is a solid piece of work all the way again. It shows the band paly to their strengths and that they are in control of things. “Dead Town” weighs in. The tempo is laid down and the vocals are designed to cater to this you feel. The subtle way that the noir aspects play their part in the lyrics doesn’t go unnoticed either. The bass line on “The Knife That Binds Us” sits well with the sullen feel that the song runs with on the opening. It has a reverence that meets angst which results in a song that again epitomises the emotional heft that is traced through from the melancholic nuances played in. But it sits well. We then come to “Long Winter”. The opening is a broader and more defined affair that links finely into the yearning that circulates cleanly throughout. The showing is a thorough affair and it adds an added appreciation for its inclusion in the set list here. The final track is “Brasil” which reverts back to the darker side of their sound. It also seems to take to incorporating a flamenco influence. With how it cuts through when merged with the electronica stylings here the result is quite impressive. - 43 -
THE GOOCH PALMS Novo’s
Review by Jamie Kelly The Gooch Palms are a two piece band from Australia and have really set off with their debut album “Novo’s”. They have built up quite the reputation in Australia and have become one of the ‘must see live’ bands in the country. The first track “We Get By” is a great opening song to the album. It drops the listener straight into their very own distinctive sound, with tantalising guitar riffs, simple beats and catchy vocal harmonies. “False Identity” is quite repetitive, with little amount of change throughout. The vocals again make the song very catchy, a trait evident throughout the whole album. “Hunter Street Mall” is a great number. The song gets off to a good start with a nice fade in from the drums. I think it really has a place on this album. “Loudest Mouth” is another great number. The female vocals that are on this track really bring a new mix to proceedings, bringing a new dynamic sound. It gives great character to this collection of songs. “You” is quite the ballad in its own right. It has a comfortable rhythm, and is very easy listening. It’s very enjoyable to listen to and again really deserves its place on the album. “The Slide” lifts the tempo of the album from the previous track “You” and brings back the energy felt from the previous offerings. The duet of vocals on this track work exceptionally well. It almost makes it like the two singers are having a conversation. ”A Sun, A Moon” is the next track on the album. Again I found this track quite repetitive, with perhaps a lack of change throughout in tone rather than structure, although it is still a good song, I think it has more potential. Their next tune “Hungry” is a lot better. It is very ‘Ramones-esque’and fast paced which I think suits their style of the music a little better. Then we come to the title track of the album “Novo’s”. I thought this song was refreshing in comparison to the rest of the album. It has a lot of different sounds in it and keeps the listener interested. I think the end is where it gets messy. This didn’t turn out on the recording as high energy as they wanted it to be. The last song on the album “Don’t Cry” has some impressive singing throughout, and brings the album to a good close. Overall I thought this album was good, but lacked change. The songs are very alike which is where it falls short.
COMMITMENT BELLS Time Will Fix It All
Nashville band COMMITMENT BELLS were a band that we were recommended recently from our co-op over there. “Invention” is the opening track to the album. From the first note every element within this song is perfect. The chorus riff on the guitar is my favourite part. It gives the song such a recognisable sound and could very easily make it an instant hit. “Double Secret Agent” is the next song and carries through the same quality as “Invention”. The musicianship is at a very high level in this. The way the vocals and guitar melodies bounce off each other is fantastic and gives the song a real presence and feeling of completion. The next song “100 Beers” is very much a vocal affair; it opens with a nice bit of twang on the guitar, but almost instantly is overridden by an intense vocal melody that carries on for the duration of the song. With “Jimmy Stewart” the tone down is a bit more relaxed. The words are quite powerful as they tell more of a story than the rest of the tracks. The song really adds another dimension to the album and creates an atmosphere. The following track is called “Fire In The Kitchen”. With a very emotional sound to it, the backing vocals really create a huge atmosphere within and make it more and more emotional. The guitar solo near the end is great. It actually sounds like its being played with a lot of emotion. I think it’s a very important element for it makes it sound very complete. “Summertime Bees” is the final track. It has a summer-y feel to it, evident in the name. This song sounds very triumphant, and is a good track to end on. It brings in the various elements heard throughout the previous tracks, which is always a good trait for an ending song. A most satisfying end to a fantastic collection of tracks!
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SAN CISCO Awkward
Rich in a retro charm is first track “Beach” and instantly hooks you. It is very broad and the expanse builds in a deliberate way. The catchy side of things accounted for in the chorus denotes style and substance. Smartly coming into the equation is “Fred Astaire”. A joyous pomp is fed into the tempo that takes off in the delivery. The consequential way the song changes direction brings it round in a worthwhile way. Then comes “Awkward”. Again the spry way reaches for things here. The catchy shake in the beat and the clever nuances in the playing form the basis for the delivery. Things take a slightly breezy feel on “Hunter” that is stoked finely. Things are landed with real feeling in the delivery, yet there is something lightly gathered in how it steps out. Tipping an expansive side in to the mix works wonders here. Again they step it out cleanly and chase it down easily with “Wild Things”. It equates smartly with the shared vocals. What ensues is a tune of real momentum which runs in a knowing way. Flying off the handle is “No Friends”. But it is also reined in. The balance between both lets it go about its business with relative ease and what transpires is reflected in how appealing it comes to be.
9 Embracing something that has a Japanese pop feel to it is “Lyall”. It has a blistering turn of pace resulting in a catchy and steady affair. The kooky appeal is added from the backing vocal. The guitar that purses through on “Metaphors” happens to give it credence, The drumming stirringly flits through on it in a circumstantial way that adds to the contention of it overall. Splendidly coming around is “Mission Failed”. This has a mass appeal and the retro style of the synth locks in something quite figurative. It has an intrinsic value in the retro elements which finds its calling on this one. The hearty side of what they can do shows on “Stella”. In terms of having front, it is evident here. How it comes to bear on this one sits well with the way the vocals etch out on it. There is a noted progression in the album here in terms of texture and tone as well. That is shown in a more apparent way on “Rocket Ship”. There is a slight leaning in the tempo that denotes a Latin influence. The shuffle in the rhythm here adds to the fluid flow and enhances it at the same time. “Nepal” becomes the denouement and it yields a timely turn from how it plays. There is a lean feel that suits the synthesised elements quite tellingly. What it adds to it is a sense of flair brought through. The outro is added a side note more than anything, but it sends off the album quite fairly. - 45 -
Serendipity Find Me Our Florida based music put this singer/songwriter on our radar and her album is one that gets frequently played in our office. The noted way “Flying Blind” opens proceedings underlines this point. There is a dandy tumble that pleasingly comes off with an edge and sheen to it all. The consummate feel imbues the overall running with a belief in its own reckoning. “Friend Like You” is another tidy and resolute affair that floors you when you hear it. The hard tone is projected while also retaining a small sense of stature that fortifies the sweeter placing in the arrangement. Her voice is also a telling trait that envelops it with real aplomb. The guitar wiles away on “When We Fight”. It fits with the still and reflective nature of the tone. It pulls away with a telling distinction that serves it well. The reasons for appreciation are evidently present. How “Thicker Than Blood” falls into place steps out quite deliberately. The surface of the song handles well and the bright way that it opens out shows. There is a lot to consider about the tracking here and it relays excellently in the overall running. Keeping in tandem with the steady and sure way things roll comes “Do You Ever?” This is also high on appeal that takes you along with it. The substantial way that it
10 seems to develop a stride with the vocal delivery fires it up fully. It is a wonderful effort that is crafted as such. Things take a maternal flow on “So Scared. The tempo seems to branch out patiently and how it curtails all of the delivery here is finely achieved. This is what allows it the platform to envelop the taut sound into something of consequence. A more upbeat and content song is what greets you in the shape of “Some People”. That minded approach is reflected in the lyrics. How it sits is an absolute joy to listen to. The piano paints a thrifty feel in the tempo that is highly appealing and the way everything collects is magnificent. The eponymous title track follows and it is another effort that displays the graceful quality if the rest. A good calling is grasped from how it opens. The feeling rushes through in the lyrical display. The sentiment centred in is what allows the song to build in a shapely way that commendably rises from a fine point of origin here. The last track is “Can’t Catch Me”. This is a neat and gentle affair that finely follows through in a promising way. The way it all comes about and through here lets things catch an imaginative curve that brings out the best in it. - 46 -
THE PERYLS “Paper Bird” floats across and the patient way that it is all stoked amplifies the bespoke qualities. The amble way that it runs through evokes a determined keel to it all. The vocals are a spirited addition that lights it all up in an attractive and serious way. Spry and rigid on the opening is “Legs”. A tumble gracefully builds in the tempo that is stark. It gets under things in a sullen way and the angled feel in this one is a boisterous one that traps in the finesse. The voice turns on the opening finely on “Pins And Needles”. The whiling away of the song embraces the slip in the tone astutely. Characterised by a sly 60’s melancholy it also shows a vitality that heartily stokes it all through. “All These Years” merits an appreciation. The longing way that it brightly fashions things into the ong is a thorough showing that bears fruit. The hold that the vocals create as they come to pass on it is dutifully felt. The likeability to “Elephants” rests in the reliable and sublime way it brings everything around. The warmth of impressively comes through. The guitar laced in the song is gently followed up with other percussion elements which enable it to broaden. A competent song follows with “I Love Only You”. The refrain felt in the lyrics matches the arrangement. There is a volume that shows in the running and it has enough going for it from this approach to keep the song on track. “No Place Like Home” carries off from the introduction. More is involved in the playing to bring home the effectiveness of the derivative. The cautious hold from it candidly shows. It is all weighted in quite fashionably and the lighter qualities of it show.
7 On “Go With God” there is a more hopeful attempt produced. The keen way it is all traced out stays the course here. The trying way that it travels nestles within the graceful and tactile way it is all bound. They step it out more with “Amsterdam”. The more funky pronunciations show. The direction of the album slightly changes with it, and the sultry way that the song glosses over everything is a fine application. This gives the song an appropriate movement that captures what is necessary and it all breaks down quite well. There is a very pleasing feel about the running on “There They Were”. There is also something morose that stares back at you from the song. The lyrics and their reflective tone bring it home, while it has a delightful merit that evidently lights up on the song. Wrapping around the tempo in a very fetching way is “Drive You Mad”. Tenderly playing out proves it to be a well versed effort that releases a lot in the running and holds it well. A sleight of hand plays through on “Man In Hat”. It keeps a slightly off centre style that is very alluring on it. There is something in “Notebook” that sees the band pay their dues. The stoic nature of the running catches something that brings it all round, yet has a hard angle worked in that notably passes through it all. When “Stuck In The Mud” comes through the 60’s influence again becomes prominent. As do the soulful overtures. The bass and the guitar break through on the play to pass off with true panache, as does the vocals and how they are applied. “Piece Of My Pie” is a nonchalant effort that drags up a nostalgic leaning. The vocals and their charming weight reminisce and bring the innocence through on the song. The album finishes with “Maybe I’m Wrong” which is an excellent song. There are a lot of the right things that present on it. The lyrics are a strong point and the overall effort that it comes to be slips into its own comfortable way which shows in the tracking.
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International Acts Hector and The Leaves Problems
Review by Wynona Grant Hector and The Leaves is Brighton singer/songwriter, Tom Hector. Producing quite an upbeat melancholy on his 'Problems' EP, he has potentially found a gap in the market, which he is more than ready to fill. The opening on title track “Problems” is an upbeat, piano and drum with prominent expression. Deeming the vocals of an almost eerie nature, this track works well at blending a taste of vintage with a modern clash of sounds. The second track on this EP comes in the form of “Goodbye” and again takes the musically upbeat turn, but mellows it out with the dark vocals. Tom emanates a lyrical presence in an almost absent way with his ghostly vocals laying on an energetic melody. Third and final track, not to mention the fact that it stands out as the best on the EP by far, followed suit in terms of the moot reflection. “'I'll Be Leaving (Soon)”captures a really impressive harmony and gang vocal element to Hector and The Leaves' sound. An almost Simon & Garfunkel sound I’d mellowed out to a Beatles quirk on this EP, forming a fresh mix of melodies and masterfully equipped tracks.
7 .......................................................................................................................... Mercury Skies Falling Up
Review by Wynona Grant Mercury Skies are an Indie/Rock band hailing from Essex. Their 'Falling Up' EP speaks for itself. This 5 track EP kicks off on a slightly weird, unexpected note, but wow, it's good! Title track “Falling Up” flows into a long instrumental intro, screaming Pop. Giving off an impression of a cheesy Pop record from the word go, you'll be pleased you stuck around for just a minute longer. Turning right around, the track transforms into a soaring Indie track flowing on electric guitar riffs sharp vocals. “Camera Kicks” has more structure as a song, but holds the same Indie/Rock qualities as the previous track. Almost reminiscent of a blended Deaf Havana and Kids In Glass Houses, their sound is punchy, energetic and loops a sense of freedom.
Stand-out track on this EP is “Alive”. Potentially the most “rocky” on the record, it flourishes on the guitar riff towards the end, pumping a spark into the overall workings of this band and their sound. Taking it down a notch, “New York” is the mellowest track on the EP. That song on an album you're always thankful for on a bad day- there's always one! Still maintaining the catchy nature of the Indie sound, it comes across more chilled and calm, with a more acoustic sounding guitar strum over the usual electric riff. This is an almighty top album from the Essex Indie Rockers.
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TELEMETRY ORCHESTRA Out Of Nowhere
Review by Jamie Kelly
“Silvertounge” is the first track on this E.P. It instantly matches its description as a convergence of vintage pop and psychedelic sounds. It’s a great song with a fantastic atmosphere and sets the bar high for the rest of the E.P. “60’s” is the following track and is again very psychedelic but a bit more vintage pop this time around. Everything is a bit more upbeat; the synth that can be heard throughout is very suited to the genre but gives them their own distinctive sound. I found this track to be very relaxing to listen to. The next track “Billy” is quite strong in sound. The track opens with some high class female vocals that carry on throughout. They create an atmosphere different to that of the previous tracks which adds another element to this E.P. After “Billy” we come to the title track of the E.P “Out Of Nowhere”. This track has a bit more of a commercial sound to it, which I think is appropriate considering it is the title track. It’s a lot more radio friendly than the rest of the E.P. The next song “Hover” is quite strange, in a good way. For anyone that listens to this through headphones you will be treated to some great use of panning from left to right/right to left. The following song “Trafalgar” is quite different to the rest where the focus is mainly on lyrics as opposed to the psychedelic atmospheres created by the previous tracks. Overall I think it is a good track, and a good one to end on too. This E.P has some great music on it and I would definitely recommend checking them out.
.......................................................................................................................... ULA RUTH Restless Nights
Review by Jamie Kelly The first track, “Restless Nights”, is a short intro which gives off a relaxing vibe. This vibe doesn’t last long though as the first song -“Let Down” bursts in. This is their most well-known, and arguably their best. It is high energy throughout and creates a good atmosphere for the rest to follow. The next song “Shake It Off” is again very high energy and very well written. I really like this one, especially the breakdown in it. It is all very well put together, and the song sounds complete with it. The next track is called “Loser”. It has a very catchy chorus that really makes everything. The vocals are very impressive, both the lyrics and the actual singing. The guitar solo adds a bit of dynamic range to the song.
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“Runaway” is what follows. This is full of energy and emotions, which definitely adds a lot to this E.P. Again the vocal performance on this was very impressive. The next song “The End” is definitely a lot softer than the previous tracks. It starts off with a soft intro before gradually building up into full flow. This song is quite powerful and creates a gloomy atmosphere. The final tune here is called “Too Late Tonight” and what a great song to finish on. Like all the others on this E.P this gives off a lot of energy and power. The vocal melody at the start is a real hook and could be a big radio hit. It has a very good range within and is well put together. Overall I thought this was a great E.P, it gives off good vibes and definitely possesses a distinctive sound.
Out Of Time and Into Space Review by Wynona Grant
RXY is a London based singer/songwriter producing a synth-induced Pop aura. Her début album 'Out of Time and Into Space' is an inscription on just that... Lead track, 'Dystopia' sets the album off on an out of the box Pop platform. Nothing like the modern Pop culture of music's mainstream artists clogging up radio channels and TV stations, RXY brings depth to the genre. Easing into the slow starter, instrumentally impressive “Dimensions of Doubt', the album proves that it holds quite a varied mix of a unique style. Tracks such as “Icarus Pt.1” and “Everyday” demonstrate the more mellow aspect to RXY. Maintaining a Pop basis and staying true to the genre in its entirety, they take a step back from the fierce, forward bursts we see throughout the rest of the album. Stand-out track of the album leaves us waiting until the very end of the album“Tedium”. This acoustic track works surprisingly well to conclude the album, following the electronic sounds and synth memories. Often when we think of Pop and Acoustic, we place them at opposite ends of the spectrum, but RXY certainly succeeds in bringing her Pop secrets to an acoustic form.
.......................................................................................................................... STEPHEN HAY For A Moment The delectable funky derivative on his opening track “Sibngledom” catches something imaginative. It runs with it and the pop sensibilities of it do flourish on it. Yet there is also something well considered and fleshed out in the arrangement that brings an appreciation for the slick and catchy way it drives it all. “Busy Life” again seems to reach for a lot. The expression in the musicality comes to pass on it in a way that hits you. A slight hint of dubstep behind the broad and defined texture makes for a tidy rhythm here. It is an easy listening effort that stokes this approach in a figurative way. The countenance shows and it is an enhanced listen because of this factor.
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“Look Up” is another song that puts an awareness and perspective upon the neat little number it becomes. The piano and the rich flow makes for an affectionate tone, yet it also handsomely holds its own. Here the strengths are marked out and laid down in the appeal of the song overall. The piano and session feel of his sound matures on “Letting Go” in an inviting way. The finesse hangs back and draws out the right amount of credibility in the vocal delivery. This gets a lot right and the clear way it all weighs in ushers in a delightful number in the process.
HIGH HORSES Hours
The ambience that collects in the opening track “Intro” sets out something that has a grand design basis to it all. The expansive way neatly followed through keeps the flow of the EP in focus. The ebb to the synth is finely applied on “In Colour And Grey”. There is a new wave style to that curses through when the guitar is applied. It is an urgently felt effect in the track here. The lonesome way that the vocals are portrayed on “A Thousand Eyes” hold onto the disenfranchised temperament called out in the lyrics. This is capitalised upon to good effect and the running gains from it. It lines out and falls into place where it all should. “Take It Away” patiently plays away. The synchronised moments in the play deliberate on it. What also holds in the right way are the electronic aspects in the sound and they very cleverly add another layer to the mix. The final track here is the title track. There is an organic and stationary feel to the way that it all builds. The grandiose tone from the opening serves it with a solemn texture that coldly holds. It stares it all down and the dark countenance to it is well appreciated.
.......................................................................................................................... CALLING ALL ASTRONAUTS Red Flag
The opening track pulls you in. The retro style to it is exceptionally applied. It figures well on the running here and rides high on it all the way. There are smart directional flicks from the rhythm that illuminate it all and add volume to an already textured affair. The industrial rock side of what they can produce shows on the other extended remixes. This is where things fixate different approaches and garner significant results for it. Four are included here which kind of makes the concept if it being considered fully as an EP something that is open to debate.
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THE FOREIGN RESORT Dead End Roads A great feel to this one shows. There is a loaded and fine drift in the synth that pushes out the new wave sensibilities of it finely. It sharply cuts when the pace picks up in the application. The organic turn in the sound gives it a stature and a retro angle that is delicious to hear
.......................................................................................................................... ANIMAL SHADOWS Spring
Cleverly playing to the ambient and lush tone, the track itself gathers in the momentary tone. It does gauge a chillwave factor and the patient build does adhere to that formula. This does finely curtail those features in how it is styled, giving the distant and withdrawn nature of it a platform.
.......................................................................................................................... ED ZEALOUS Thanks A Million
This immediately peaks and the retro feel is well threaded through. Abundant and energised it is a track that is hard to ignore. The catchy and smart running in the beat sees it grow in stature. The assured flow in the rhythm here gathers ever so well.
.......................................................................................................................... STEEL EMPIRES Seduction
Twisting a steady synthesised sound into something of substance, this track really flows quite freely. There is a snap in the beat from the drum machine. Everything about it connects in a measured way and the running of it here is very well maintained. The ensuing essence of the song pours forth richly from the approach taken.
.......................................................................................................................... THE LOOSE HEARTS The Wheel This song from the Liverpool band approaches it all with the right intention. The guitar creates warmth that connects well with the fluid motion of the rhythm. A sleight of hand in the formation adds a distinction in the guitar, while the vocals prove to be up to the task. An overall tidy and neat affair that does exactly what it says on the tin- it keeps everything rolling. - 52 -
SPIES November Sun This is excellent and as a testament to what the Irish music scene is currently about. The stature of this cannot be ignored. The graceful doctrine in the playing drives it on, but what sets it apart from being considered pretentious is the deliberate way that the vocals bend everything to the will of the band. This is refreshingly sharp all the way through and denotes a real identity in the process.
.......................................................................................................................... GLIMMERMEN This Town
This has a select feel to it all the way. The tone of the song seems to flirt with a Latin grace that the guitar clings too. The fine way that it develops things into the context that they are then delivered beholds a fine display in the overall orchestration. The pleasantry to it passes off the reflective context of the lyrics in a steady way.
.......................................................................................................................... JACK L The Great Wall Of China The smooth transition in the lyrics accompanies the timely way it is all constructed to build the definition that it needs. When it all opens out what is worked in behind the scenes comes through. The expanse that meets you in the listening experience here is enhanced with the bridge and it provides it all with a formative presence in the process.
.......................................................................................................................... I KNOW LEOPARD She
This steadily builds and when it opens up you immediately appreciate it. There is a lot to be find merit with here. The way it is all carried off is a sheer joy to listen to. The fortunate and privileged way that everything is shaped is brought through; while the little directional changes add something considerate to it that has a true bearing upon everything.
.......................................................................................................................... THE OPEN FEEL Wake This Dream The new wave style in the rhythm breaks across cleanly. The settle way that the electro comes through on it is impressive. There is also a lot yielded in the vocals which tie to it in a way that evenly breaks down as much as they break through on the song. The consistent and fluid way that the tempo is motioned meets well with the seductive suggestion felt from the running. - 53 -
THE WYTCHES Robe For Juda This has a very lucid tone that meets with a hard rock element. The progressive way that it all leans moves it forward into a rich and lavish tune with psychedelic treats. The ideals of the running also retain something of noted substance that leaves a listener appreciation it all the more.
.......................................................................................................................... GEMS Medusa
There is something about them that is able to produce time and time again with everything that makes up their output. What is cornered on this one brings a frailty to pass in an affluent way. The texture in the synthesised elements carries through with a large degree of integrity. The crossover in style also regulates the entire delivery in a way that is extremely innovative and attractive.
.......................................................................................................................... SOUTHERN SUNRISE Elspeth The guitar adds a pep to the running here. That is consistently maintained. The charm of the song makes it easy to appreciate. But this goes beyond being a novelty. The way that it all picks up clearly comes through and the level way that they run with it all hits the ground running. The contained manner that is set out for it is something produces a good effort by sheer design.
.......................................................................................................................... THE CITY WALLS Spanish Bride
The running here spreads out neatly. The voice that purses through on it is also an asset to the delivery. It serves it well and gives it all a more delightful tendency that fills out on it quite distinctly. There is also a clean feel to how it holds back which is evident in the way it cleanly hangs in the background. Those lingering qualities add a nice touch to it all everywhere they are applied.
.......................................................................................................................... FLIGHT BRIGADE Graduation Day In the marriage of the guitar and drumming there is a spirited run to everything that leads into the finer points on the song. A broad scope presents on the playing side of things that is rather coveted and the fascinating way that it is all managed reflects all of this. Slightly leaning to a shoegazer style when it progresses it is kept aligned from how formidably catchy it becomes when needed. - 54 -
ELECTRIC MAINLINE All Too Much Merging an electro sound with a new wave style produces the shoegazer tone in the rhythm. The ambient and lucid way that it all hangs in the background with the lyrics sets a precedent from the track that makes you sit up and take note. The withdrawn flashes in the sound add to the style that is outlined for it.
.......................................................................................................................... THE SHOOS Hook, Line & Sinker It comes around in a very pronounced way. There is a grace to how it all circulates. The lyrics line out and give a good account when it takes flight. The hooks in the tempo are cleanly delivered and placed upon it in a way that is able to see them come up with the goods when it needs to come good.
.......................................................................................................................... ESB feat. PERRY BLAKE Missing Person There is an even flow in the synthesised aspects here that draw it out finely. The steely way that it all comes around and hangs is nicely applied. The formation and basics of it all come across in a way that is easily handled. There is a continental feel about how it sounds and it is given the room to breathe.
.......................................................................................................................... SOVIET X-RAY RECORD CLUB Magnetic North
This is driven by the lavish and clean overtures in the tempo. They branch out on the playing and produce a defined sound that is very stylish. The hang from the guitar riff is a catchy affair that is on a par with the drumming that beats at the heart of the song. It gets to the core of the song and generously embraces the spirit of everything going on.
.......................................................................................................................... SLEEPY DREAMERS Bike Song This picks up squarely and produces a catchy beat. Then hangs back and what they engineer in the playing branches out cleanly. The stirring way that the loom in the sound meets with the right amount of credibility brings the calypso element of it to the mix quite smartly. It is a very mindful and careful effort that gauges these things formidably.
- 55 -
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 November 2013 4x4 consists of the following artists: (with the respective music network indicated in brackets)
Bright Young People "Liberties"
Orla Gartland "Roots" (Dublin)
Sleep Thieves "Sparks"
Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds -
"The Long Way"
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Published on Nov 19, 2013
The November issue of U&I Music Magazine features interviews with PEARSE HALPIN, LATE CITY EDITION, LANDMARKS, RED SAILS, FRIENDS OF EMMET a...