SEMI FINAL #7
LIZ SE AVER FRANKE
CROW BLAC K CHICKEN
CROW BLACK CHICKEN
Scene & Heard 10-12 13-15 16-17 18-20 21-23 24-30 31-43 44-46 47
Dimestore Recordings King Kong Club Semi Final #7 The Ruby Sessions Saucy Sundays Future Phantoms Single Launch
Irish Album/EP Reviews International Album/EP Reviews Single Reviews October 4x4
Liz Seaver Frankenstein Bolt
EDITORIAL PUPPET REBELLION grace the cover of U&I Music Magazine for the month of October. They are one of the most promising acts currently playing on the Manchester music scene at present and are definitely we one to watch. We also have an exclusive interview with them in The Manc Tank courtesy of the one and only Dave Beech. In addition to their interview we also caught up with LIZ SEAVER to talk to her about her recent success with The Hit. While Frankenstein Bolts also talks to us about his upcoming album. “Postcards From The Edge” sees us talk with the excellent CROW BLACK CHICKEN where they tell us about their trip to Texas and New Orleans this summer. SCENE & HEARD is also worth checking out this month. We have live reviews of the last semi-final of season 9 of The King Kong Club. In addition to that we also caught FUTURE PHANTOMS at their single launch. In addition to that we also have THE RUBY SESSOIONS, SAUCY SUNDAYS and DIMESTORE RECORDINGS. There are also some fantastic album reviews from THE BLACK TAMBOURINES, ARCADE HIGH, KLOQ, and BLACK LIGHT DINNER PARTY. As well as EP reviews from XAVIER CARDRICHE, MAD NURSE, UGOCHILL and BLINDNESS. Some of the excellent artists that we have included in the single reviews section include CAT DOWLING, BALLET SCHOOL, ALVAREZ KINGS and FRIENDS OF EMMET. We also have other things in the pipeline that we are currently developing. Station-To-Station TV is one of them and it is progressing quite nicely. This is something that has been gradually moving in the right direction and we look forward to getting it off the ground. One of the other things that we have planned this month is incorporating our YouTube channel to celebrate International Animation on October 28th. That is going to be something very cool and well worth checking out. Phillip Ó’ Baoighealláin Editor-In-Chief
How did you come to develop an interest in music? Who would have been the artists that you listened to that have had the biggest impact on you? I’ve always sang and played music since I can remember. My mam recently found camera footage of me singing and attempting to play the guitar when I was about two. It was very funny to see it. My mam was in a band when she was younger and always encouraged me to sing and play. I trained classically on the piano from age six which definitely stands to me as now I make my living as a piano teacher. At home there was always a mixture of genres being played as I had two brothers and a sister who were all into different styles of music from dance, rock, punk to musical theatre so this definitely had an influence on my musical taste growing up. I eventually found singers and bands that spoke to me in some way, which leads me on to the artists that influenced me. The first artist that had a major impact on me was Tori Amos. I found her album Little Earthquakes when I was about 13 or 14 and fell in love with her style and voice. After that it was Irish artist Gemma Hayes. After seeing her perform solo supporting Counting Crows at the Point Theatre she really inspired me to get the confidence up to begin performing myself. Her first album Night On My Side is still one of my all time favourites. This has also been a very good year for you on a lot of levels musically. You independently released your second studio album which was then followed up by the exposure that you received on “The Hit”. That was a music based show that went against the grain of other competition based TV shows because it was based around a format which was about actual music from original artists. We will talk about that first. How did you come to be involved in the show? I had heard about The Hit while I was busy promoting my album “Turbulent Bliss” this summer like you said. It wasn’t until my boyfriend Cormac’s mam Loreto rang and told me that the deadline to enter The Hit was the next day that I sat up and took notice. I thought that the format of the show was different to any other
competition-based music/reality shows and it had a lot more integrity as it focused on the song and the songwriter rather than the artist and some of the superficial elements of the music industry. So I decided to enter a song and see what happened. Given that the current impetus for music TV shows seems to be about hype and not necessarily the music, did you have any apprehensions about becoming involved with this show? If so what changed your mind? Yes I did have some apprehensions when entering the reality TV world butI felt that as it was based on pitching original songs to established artists it could only be good exposure as a songwriter. The pros out-weighed the cons. Also I had watched the pilot for the show the year before and had enjoyed it so that was a big factor in my decision. How do you feel about it now? I’m delighted I entered The Hit. It was great exposure nationally like I’ve never had before and subsequently it is helping me introduce my own music and new album Turbulent Bliss to a wider audience. It was great to hear a song that I had written being produced and sung by a different artist and it opened up the possibility that I could be a songwriter not just a singer/songwriter. Your song “Somebody Like Me” was chosen by Samantha Mumba. That was something that took you completely by surprise. How did you feel with her interpretation of your song in the end? I loved Samantha’s interpretation of my song “Somebody Like Me”. I didn’t expect her to do a pop ballad version of it. I don’t know why but I thought that if it was picked by her that week she could make a current dance track out of it, which I also would not have objected to by the way. I was blown away by her voice, the production of it and the thought that went into it. Samantha really did the song justice. I had to watch it back a few times when I got home that night to help it sink in. Samantha is obviously going a different route with her music this time around and
I’m delighted to be a part of that. Looking back on it now how do you feel about the overall experience? My overall experience was a positive one but it definitely wasn’t all plain sailing. The TV production side of things can be long and uncomfortable sometimes but I definitely would do it all over again. The support I recieved from my local area and feedback nationally was pretty unbelieveable. People really loved the song and got behind me and Samantha. I am so grateful for all the people who downloaded the single getting it to number five in the Irish Charts in August and voted for us in the Final. Your second album “Turbulent Bliss” was released this year. That is the second album that you have independently released. How long were you recording this album? Well I released my debut Til The Day Fades In album in 2005 the year I finished secondary school. I then went to art college NCAD in Dublin. While I was there studying Fine Art I continued performing, writing and recording. It wasn’t until after I graduated that I began compiling the second album “Turbulent Bliss” properly. As it was produced independently and self funded it took longer than I would have liked. I am delighted with the end result but I probably spent the guts of five years putting it together from start to finish. I have worked with the same engineer the whole way through - Andy Knightley from Krecording - who I get on very well with in the studio. Are there any songs on the album that hold a personal affiliation for you? The album is all written from personal experience so most of the songs on the new album mean a lot to me but I would have to say “In Between You And Me” and “Can’t Help Myself”. I can vividly remember how I felt writing those songs and I still relate to them every time I perform them. That was released independently. That seems to be a reflection of the modern world, both in a good way and a bad way. How difficult can it be
releasing an album on an independent level? Was there anything that was harder and easier this time around? I don’t know anything else to be honest. I have always released music independently, booked my own gigs and done my own PR with the help and support of my partner Cormac. He is an actor so we both realise the importance of self-promotion. It definitely isn’t easy going the independent route, it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and a thick skin. I had been told by people in the business that it was pointless self-releasing the album.I pursued some labels here and abroad at the beginning but soon learned that it was only time-wasting as no one would care as much about my music as me in this current climate and if I wanted to release an album I would have to do it on my own. This time around I am older and have more knowledge of the music industry. I took a few years to really try and prepare myself for doing my own PR, collecting emails, compiling databases of contacts and getting out there and meeting people in the industry. Unfortunately being a musician these days you can’t completely focus on just making and performing music, you have to be an all-round business person also if you want to make progress. Being aware this time round of the amount of work and time it takes to get even the smallest amount of exposure was more daunting but in the end more satisfying when you get your music heard and reviewed by established papers and magazines like The Irish Times, Hot Press and The Irish Independent without the help of an established PR company. Also the introduction of smart phones this time around has definitely made it easier as an independent musician. You can keep up with everything on the move. Although it can be a blessing and a curse sometimes!
I have plans to release another single before Christmas. I am currently preparing for that. I know the Christmas market can be a crowded one but there is always room for another track I think. With the exposure I gained from The Hit I’d be mad not to try and capitalise on that. The other side if your music is the live performance. We have seen you perform recently at The Ruby Sessions and we reviewed that set. How do you see the current live music circuit in Dublin? It’s alive and thriving! There are so many smaller venues putting on gigs and promoting music nights. I think especially in the last few years musicians have seen the real benefit of going out there and gigging instead of just making demos in their bedrooms and sending them off to record companies in the hope they’ll get ‘signed’. Being from Skerries a lot of people wouldn’t necessarily associate it with a rich music scene. But at the moment there are a lot of good bands from Balbriggan, Skerries etc. Who have you seen on the circuit out there that has impressed you?
Yes my area has a very rich music scene in particular the Fingal area like Skerries, Rush and Balbriggan. So many of my fellow musician friends are in hard working bands, self-releasing music and gigging every weekend all over the country. A few bands in particular are Crafty Fuzz, Hot Colossus, Dem Fools’and Choice Music Award winning band ‘Delorentos’ What do you have coming up next that people should keep an eye out for? I have a headline gig in The Millbank Theatre in Rush coming up on the 2nd of November. It is a gig I’m really looking forward to as it’s in my local area and a fantastic venue. I have my full band on the night with local support acts also. I will also be releasing a new single before Christmas. You can check out my website www.lizseaver.com to keep up to date. I’m also on twitter @lizseaver and facebook facebook.com/lizseavermusic. I am also heading over to London for my first gig across the water at The Bedford on the 14th on Novemeber where a lot of artists have showcased in the past such as KT Tunstall and Ed Sheeran.
As it is your second album to be released independently what did you learn from the first time around that was beneficial to this release? What did I learn? I learned looking back on the mistakes I made the first time. That’s how we all learn I guess. I learned the importance of time management. It takes more hard work and time to prepare a release then you can imagine and I learned to over estimate the time it takes for things like duplication, design and especially getting your press releases and cds out there and opened! Also, my sound has definitely developed since my first album. I took more time over how I wanted my new album to sound like as I had experience of what the recording process was like. Time has definitely been beneficial to this release. There is a divided opinion about releasing music independently. Some see it as a good thing because it can give you more freedom as an artist for numerous reasons. Whereas there would be others who would consider it a disadvantage because you then lack the necessary resources that being signed brings. How do you see the process of releasing your music independently? Like I mentioned before the process of making an independent album takes time and more time. I can’t stress enough how important being prepared is when you are self-releasing. I’m no expert but I did learn that it takes a lot of dedication and commitment. What you might lack in resources you have to make up for in hard work and preparation. Another important part of being an independent musician is taking advantage of the amount of Indepedent bloggers and online music publications there are now just like U&I. They have definitely made it easier to get exposure as an independent musician and I’m very grateful for their interest in my music. The first single off the album was “In Between You And Me” which was released in February this year. What is the song about? Was it always the intention to release it as a single? Are there any plans for other releases off your current album? “In Between You And Me” is one of my favourite songs from the album for a few different reasons. Musically I’m proud of it’s production and lyrically it means a lot to me. It wasn’t until it was finished that I knew it would be a single. The decision to make it the first single released from the album was an easy one though. I had made radio edits of five tracks from the album and this song was definitely the most stand out radio friendly one.
Photos by Graham Keogh
THE MANC TANK Column by David Beech
The best of the unsigned Manchester music scene .......................................................................................................................................
One of the great things about Manchester, and I'm sure the same could be said about other cities too, is the general willingness of those involved with it's unsigned scene to help each other. Sure there's more than enough pay-to-play promoters around too but with cheap venue hire and a distinct sense of solidarity between bands and fans alike they can be avoided. One band, who, having only formed earlier this year have shot to the forefront of the city's scene, are Puppet Rebellion.
For a band who have only been together eight or nine months, it's impressive how tight they are, and their inherent ability to be to be able to switch between aesthetics, if not complete genres, is a testament to the ease they feel playing together. Tracks with more bite, such as the aforementioned 'Chemical Friends' slot in effortlessly beside poppier, more accessible tracks like 'The New Twenty' on both record and stage alike, helping to keep things fresh whilst appealing to fans of different branches of the genre. The intelligent and sharp lyricism combined with a fresh take on a well-trodden genre make Puppet Rebellion one of the most exciting acts to emerge from Manchester in 2013, and with their live shows doing nothing to hamper their reputation it's clear that the band have absolutely no intention of slowing down their ascent to the top of their game.
The band are a five piece who've captured the imagination of Twitter and bloggers nationwide with their energetic live shows and uplifting indie-pop, Puppet Rebellion are seemingly on the up. Having recently enjoyed a support slot for Catfish & The Bottlemen and with their second release of the year on it's way in the next few months it seems as if doors are opening for the band and they couldn't be more deserving. Bringing a handful of influences to the table, it's clear that Simon Monaghan and co are looking to bring some variation to a genre that can, at times, seem all too full of convention. 'Chemical Friends' the eponymous title track from this Summer's EP release, is a dark and frenetic track which is somewhat indicative of bands like Interpol or Editors whereas 'The Greatest Lie Ever Told' is a more upbeat and optimistic affair and which manages to feel anthemic in the confines of even the smallest venue, making it a highlight of the band's live sets.
THE MANC TANK All the pics by Priti Shikotra
‘Legends are made in Manchester!’
First up, Puppet Rebellion is a fairly original name. How did that come about? And does it have the political connotations it seems to?
There's a whole host of venues catering for bands of all sizes in Manchester. What are some of your favourites, to play, or indeed watch other bands?
CRAIG: It's an historical reference coined by the famous historian Shubert Engelberry in relation to an uprising in the small French village of Debaun during the long hot summer of 1611.
CRAIG: One of the things I personally love about Manchester is the sheer volume of great music venues in a relatively compact area. There are literally tons of places, which is another reason why I think the city is very special in terms of its link to music. Some of my favourites are The Deaf Institute, Gorilla and The Roadhouse.
SIMON: Aside from old Shubert it also is a call to arms for all people in all walks of life that are feeling controlled, manipulated and powerless. I can understand the political connotations and that’s the beauty of it because people can take from it what they want to. There are very personal reasons behind the name but take from it what you will. Manchester's obviously a city with a lot of stuff going on in terms of the music scene. What do you think it is about the city that has allowed such a scene to form? CRAIG: I believe certain cities attract certain type of people. Manchester it seems to me is a magnet for musicians and music lovers. I think this probably came about originally due to the city's rich musical heritage but I think the process accelerates when you have an increasing volume of like-minded people in a certain place. For example both myself and Paul, our other guitarist are originally from towns in the Midlands. We both moved here independently because of the city. SIMON: In the old days we were quite a poor industrial city and I think that our scene probably grew from boredom, a lack of money & the hope of achieving something more than what people had. Nowadays it’s our rich musical heritage that keeps the scene alive. Legends are made in Manchester. My own motivation is a mixture of the two. I want to be remembered in Manchester like Morrissey, Tony Wilson and people like that because I came from nothing. I want to prove that a lad from Wythenshawe with a tough upbringing, expelled from school and with stereotypically no chance of doing much with his life can achieve something through music. There is not a better place to do that than Manchester. 'Chemical Friends' was recently played at during half-time at Old Trafford. That must've been a pretty special moment. How did that happen? CRAIG: Yeah there have been a few really random things like that which have happened in recent months…which has often came about through Simon's dedication to the world of social media. It's really exciting for sure. Luckily one of our friends happened to be at the game, so we've got a live recording too. SIMON: Just from networking and building relationships. Nothing more. In the 9 months that we have been going so far it’s my proudest moment and being a big United fan one that will take some beating. You're starting to land some fairly high profile gigs, such as supporting CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN at Factory recently. Who would you most like to see yourself on a bill with? CRAIG: To be on the same bill as any of the modern Indie heavyweights like the Strokes or Bloc Party would be pretty special. To be honest we're pretty happy with the progress we're making in terms of playing gradually higher profile gigs so we're confident we'll be continuing in the right direction going into the New Year.
SIMON: I played at the Ritz in a previous band and that was my favourite larger venue. But smaller venues I like are The Castle Hotel, Dry Bar and more recently The Soup Kitchen. It is really hard to single any out as a favourite though as we have so many top venues. I want us to play at Deaf Institute, Gorilla & Band on the Wall as soon as possible as we have yet to play there. Being from Manchester there's clearly a whole host of bands that you've gigged with, who are some of your favourites at the moment. CRAIG: The Slow Readers Club (also from Manchester) are probably the ones I've enjoyed watching the most so far. They have a reasonably similar sound to us though so maybe that's why I like them! SIMON: Ruby Tuesday, Slydigs and The Marivaux! It seems as if the 'scene' in Manchester is fairly self-sufficient at the moment with support coming from all areas of the industry. How important do you think this kind of support and environment is for up-and-coming bands such as yourselves? CRAIG: I'm not entirely sure about the specific support from the industry you're referring to. I think the best thing about the Manchester scene is that there are an abundance of music venues and an abundance of people in the city attending live gigs. Ultimately you need both of those things for music to thrive anywhere. A question I ask all bands now. You've obviously played your fair share of gigs, so presumably drank more than your fair share of free beer. What would be in your ideal rider, and why? SIMON: I would like a bottle of Blanton’s Single Barrel which is a bourbon whiskey. I love bourbon (A little too much sometimes) and if a promoter really wants to build a relationship with us then he needs to get me onside. This would get me onside. You recently released an EP to favourable responses. What's next in the pipeline for PR? CRAIG: We are going back into the studio at the end of November to record four more tracks. This next EP will be a step up from the last one and everyone who listens to it will most likely become instant fans. SIMON: Mirroring what my illustrious colleague said we are proper excited about releasing the second EP. Learning how to do all this stuff by yourself with no backing is a challenge we are relishing. We have loads of ambitious plans so I recommend you keep an eye out as we are full of surprises.
POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE
CROW BLACK CHICKEN
CROW BLACK CHICKEN are this month’s featured artist for POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE. They recently took a trip the States which saw them take in Texas and New Orleans. We caught up with them and asked them about their trip. Here is what they had to say:
Why did you decide that you wanted to go and tour Texas this time around? Ray Wylie heard our music online and invited us to come and do a promotional tour with him in Texas where he is very well known.
How did the crowd take to you? And vice versa….how did you find the crowd over there? The American audiences show a great appreciation for musicians. They seemed to empathise with the blood and sweat that we put into our music. I suppose if you are passionate about something it doesn't matter if it is whether it is keeping bees, collecting stamps or making music people can understand it's our passion for what we do that drives us. For this reason they would do anything for us like lending us equipment for radio shows and letting us stay at their houses. Out of the gigs that you played in Texas is there any particular gig or moment that stands out?
Strangely it was probably the first show we played which we got the biggest buzz from. We were in Texas two days and were live on Rays roots and branches radio show playing live, chatting and to our surprise jamming with him. Everyone back home stayed up late to listen it was really an experience we always dreamed of having as a band. Did you know any of those bands before you went over or was it a case of just hitting it off on the night at the gigs?
We hit it off with many musicians we met on our trip. Brad Rice who is Keith Urban's guitarist happened to pop into the studio the day we were laying down a track with Ray. We hit it off so he joined us for a full set later in the tour. You then made it back for the Jack Of Diamonds Rhythm & Roots Festival 2013. You were the act that closed it. How did it feel to have that honour bestowed upon you?
We have always loved playing shows for the Jack of Diamonds crew and yeah it was a great honour to close the festival. Those guys have great taste in music you just have to look at the line up to the festival to know that. Blues, roots, folk…all the good stuff.
You also took in New Orleans on this trip. That is another city that has a rich musical culture about it. We have a co-op that we work with over there and we know how vibrant and alive it is.
Hart we definitely got to understand that city is still hurting but at the same time brimming with culture and music. We hope to return and play in this class little venue we were hanging out in called The Apple Barrel. We have always noticed that it still bears the scars of Hurricane Katrina all these years later. Did you notice any of that around the city or near the music scenes you played? Most definitely. The roads are in an awful state and every person you meet has a horror story about something close to them that still isn't right since Katrina. In fact the venue we played in was completely submerged in water and is only right now. Where did you get to play when you were in town? We played with Alvin Youngblood in the Chickie Wah Wah. Was that a place that you have always wanted to play? We had never heard of it. Alvin saw we were coming to Texas and asked us to come visit him in NOLA and play some blues. We met Alvin at the 2012 Monaghan Harvest time blues festival. Did any of this trip rub off on the creative processes of the band? The trip had a major influence on us as song writers. Seeing Ray play every night and seeing how he puts a song together in the studio made a lasting impression on us. Will we see any of that influence on the upcoming album? Or was that album more or less finished before you went to the States which will mean anything will be on a later release? Yeah…we wrote one new song in Texas and have loads of new ideas that might make it on the new album as well. We were listening to lots of CDs in our soccer mom space wagon thing while we toured around and we kept coming back to Ray's new record "The Grifter's Hymnal" and saying this is a real classic record. Since coming home we have a whole new perspective on our new album and want it to be a record in the truest sense of the word not just a collection of songs but a record. Did you get any of the new album recorded over there? Ray told us he had penned this cool tune about his favourite guitarist "Jessie Mae Hemphill" while we were hanging out at his house one day. We learned how to play it and managed to find a free day to record it. So yeah, that song will be on the next record Crow Black Chicken featuring Ray Wylie Hubbard. Did the new surroundings impact on the creative and song writing processes in a way that you noticed?
gigs, free accommodation and free food and drink! Very different to the majority of Irish venues! We put on borderline circus acts and play the music with serious intensity and drive. We always entertain crowds and in November we’ll be setting off on our 4th tour of Switzerland. It’s massively surreal and is always very hard to define. Spain was about relaxation, getting away, sampling something different and writing new material while giging a bit along the way. It lived up to what I’d desired.
Yes we definitely where influenced by our surroundings and even wrote a completely new song with which we performed at numerous shows while were there. The song has a Americana vibe.
They say that travelling broadens the horizons. Did the month over there lead to anything new creatively?
We are recording our second album over the next few months and hope to have it out in early 2014. We're very excited for people to hear our new album as a lot of effort has gone into the writing and recording of it. It's a much darker record than our debut "Electric Soup" but still of course retains our bluesy sound.
We only got to spend a two days in New Orleans so we really didn't get to know the city as much as we would have liked. From playing and hanging out with Alvin Youngblood
What have you got coming up next as a band that people will want to know about?
How is the new album coming along? The album is coming along nicely. We are in the mixing stages now and are almost readying it for the mastering process. It was important for us to make all the songs sound cohesive so we have been making sure that we get this stage just right. In terms of recording, production, mastering and all the other elements that are involved behind the scene have you been happy with the recording process itself?
I saw Michael Jackson live when i was 12. I wanted to play music from then on. Later on after playing in a few independent bands I got into a lot of alternative music especially from the ’90s like Sonic Youth, Pavement and Mission Of Burma. Lately though I have been listening to mostly shoegazer and dreampop acts like Slowdive and Wild Nothing. I can definitely hear their synth influences in my sound. My other love is folk, artists like Mark Kozalek, Bill Callahan, Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young. So I guess I would be very much influenced by those guys too. Where was the album recorded?
We recorded this in our own homes over the past year and a half and have been very happy with how all the tracks came together. I have a great producer working with me named Paul Juggins and he was very in tune with how the instruments should sound in certain environments. The recording process was a great learning experience for me and a lot of fun too so I'm very happy to have enjoyed it. Who have you been working with on the album? I have been working with a great team of musicians Paul Juggins who recorded and produced it and also played a lot of the synths on the record, John Mac Naeidhe (Ain’t Saint John) on bass. Dave Sheehan played percussion and Phil Coulter played electric guitar on a track. These guys are all part of the live band too. Has it been a strictly solo affair or have other people had some influence on the album? If so, have you been happy with what they have brought to the equation? I'm very happy with what all the guys above brought to the album, their own styles of playing and also a relaxing creative atmosphere, which is the most important thing for me. What artists influenced you as a musician growing up and can you see any of their style rubbing off on any of the album?
The album was recorded in a few different houses between Kilkenny and Wexford. The change of environment was based on the instruments that we were recording, and the album is being mixed in my attic studio. Did that have any impact on the writing process or was every track predetermined before you went into the studio? All the tracks were written and demoed before we began recording. When is the album due for release and does it finally have a title?
What would you attribute to the campaign being a success? I think you really have to push it especially in the social media areas. I also had a lot of people get involved in sharing all the posts I put up on the social media sites. That and the fact that I have met so many cool people at my gigs that were willing to get behind the campaign. How hard did you work on achieving it? I worked at it every day, letting people know what it was about and putting a video together (thanks Dave) for the Fundit site so people could get a clear sense and reason for my target figure. Fundit are also very good at keeping you on top of what you should be doing to promote it so that was a great help. As a resource where do you see the role of crowdfunding as a resource for today’s grass roots musician? It is such a great idea, and also gets the people who are going to the shows and following the band to be involved in the completion of a piece of art. I think its a great resource and aid to not only promoting your music but helping your record be as good as you know it can be.
It is due to be released in November and no it has no title just yet. I’m still keeping your suggestion in mind Phil!
You are also set to play at Hard Working Class Heroes this year. Having played last year how much are you looking forward to being involved this year?
You have gotten the album recorded and finished off the back of a very successful FundIt campaign. Would you have recorded the album without that happening?
I look forward to that weekend every year whether it’s as a performer or an audience member. It’s a great platform for Irish acts to showcase their songs in front of a like-minded crowd. I can't wait to play it this year!!
Because we were recording it ourselves, it would definitely have been recorded but the Fundit Campaign was more for the production end of the process like the mastering and paying for duplication etc... Fundit is great for helping artists get their work completed and released. I was very lucky to have so many kind people to help me out!
Are there any other artists that you are looking forward to seeing play?
I like to drift in and out of the venues at HWCH. I always end up discovering some great new bands for myself that way, but i will be definitely checking out Niall Colfer, Windings and Biggles Flies Again.
Dimestore Recordings Sweeney’s October 3rd, 2013
SCENE & HEARD
TOD DOYLE Normally accompanied by his band The Troubled, we caught a solo set from this folk artist who we have seen before. He opened everything up with a tinkered stride coming through on “Bad Day”. The hard gilt in the performance lands well on this one. That somewhat embraces the eclectic into a more progressive style which parts the folk tidings of it quite well. It makes for an elusive listen somewhat as the two go hand-in-hand. That effort is the followed up by “Things From Your Past”. There is a lasting and determined feel about it. the steady skip that it has converges in the rhythm and that furthers the appeal of the melodic points. The traditional and folk stylings play in impressively on it. “These Days” is a song that weathers through. The harsh tone in his voice imparts the song with a lasting character. That is placed upon it in a way that leaves a lot to appreciate. The tumble in the guitar also allows it to linger just right. He then neatly picks up everything with how “Terrorised Side” collects. The pleasantry about this translates well for the arrangement. The mindful way that it keeps hold of the timely styling returns well for the soulful elements in a descriptive way. Things show a more focused approach on “Blamed”. There is something to it that sees his delivery enhanced as he takes control on stage. The even grace of his voice assuages things to bring out the best in the overall arrangement. The sound he has is more defined on his last song “Kirbman”. The occurrence is felt on the opening which nurtures the intuitive and reflective side of the lyrics. This takes off and the competent way it does so holds the decisive moments together in the rhythm also.
............................................................................................................................ LOWER THE TONE The first band of the evening was playing only their second ever gig. This is a true testament to how good they were on the night because they really showed their worth as live performers here. “She Smiles” is a song with a good turn proven about it. A hard keel is felt, but the song itself is also blessed with a rhythm that grabs you. The candid way it fits into the play underlines how impressive an effort it is. The showy presence that they have comes through n “Young And Dead”. This takes flight and stays the course. The delivery is one of accountability. They finely back it up and it leaves a lot to admire from the volume in the delivery. The delve into the expansive again with a sweeping intro that is well thought through on “Away With The Birds”. It all lands in a figurative way and the lyrics show a lot of promise. The blues influence of the band shows no compromise and they bring it all around under that remit. There are hints of THE EAGLES on “Couldn’t Go To Sleep Last Night”. That shows in how it sounds but there is a mean streak to it that is excellently applied. The drumming shows something elegant about it all. How it eases back to lose itself in the playing is brilliantly applied. A clean tempo drives “I Can Still Remember” and while a distinct American influence shows on it, the way it independently builds shows pedigree. “Your Town” then proves to be a very nice attraction that marks them out for the right reasons. The clean sensibility to this one leads the beat in. The lead guitar has a taut togetherness about it that pushes things out in a grand way. A distinct NEIL YOUNG influence shows with their version of “I Can Change”. They place the rhythm guitar squarely into in a way that clocks precisely on it all. There is a broadness that tells on it and the hard play muscles through. Then they slow it down to close out with “Ain’t Nothing To Me”. There is a very slender tone about it that is ushered through with a clear distinction. This marks it out. The casual style is eased in and it is another aspect they manage to get right because it produces a dandy tussle in the process.
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EMPATHY Opening with a cover of “Gauge” by THE PIXIES was EMPATHY. It has been a while since we last saw then play but they have lost none of what makes them great. They lock in the synth admirably and the style draws you in for the right reasons. Then the mechanics of what they are about as a band show when it comes to “Face Down”. A lot is fastened down here from the off. The way it all operates shows some very good handling. Even though it is short and to the point, the face value of the song is there on show. With “Body Over Mind” they have a wonderful way that ties up the play. The comfortable feel comes through and the hook blends in to give the rhythm a countenance. The continuity in the tone is there to it. As a result things carry through with a fine particularity about it all. The deep weight on the rhythm to “Leif Ericson” sees them play a good card. It is all kept on track and steadily builds. The urgency comes around in a way that lets the vocal delivery find a home. There is a patient way that it all sits that drives the settled running on. Their brief set was closed out by “Surprise”. The bass develops a pleasing loom in the sound and moves across handsomely. There is a lot going for this. The arrangement and lyrics give it a footing that allows it to climb. As a result it is an inviting number that plays as intended.
............................................................................................................................ ALTERED HOURS Having already played earlier in the evening as part of HWCH2013 at The Workman’s Club, Cork band ALTERED HOURS underlined that moniker by playing their second gig of the night. They seemed to gauge the crowd and read that into their set list because they altered their approach to hit the ground running as opposed to gradually building their set. The control brings it all under their spell. Rich in a dreampop/shoegazer vein this is all turned on effectively. The song cruises along and the drumming and synth enhance an already effective tune. They show good tracking with “Dig Early”. The tracking is able to produce something dark and offbeat. The kitsch factor is high on this one and the terms it has wrap around the delivery. This makes it all the more effective in that regard. The vocals are etched into it and the song plays through as a fully charged affair that is quite distinguished. How “Smoke Your Eyes” holds is very telling. There is a sober and alluring draw that the band walk in which allows the play to gather up alongside the hard run. The shared vocals bend the stillness in the sound to complete how it all comes together. The alternative running of “Wicked Son” begins a lavish and expansive effort. The psychedelic trapping bring their game up a serious level. It shows that when they are asked to up their game that they don’t come up short. This is a calculated effort from them that is artistically rewarded. They put quite a good hustle to work on “Cement”. Refined in terms of feeling, it also displays a lean showing in how the vocals are applied. The fine tone that is set in place fires up the delivery and brings it to life. They hit it all head on yet again with “Fuck The Police”. This is blessed with a kick and comes around to lock in everything in the right way. The right things are measured and they burst forth on it here. They do so in an inspired and detailed way that portrays a tough hide about it all. Next is “Garden Of Sonic Children” which abundantly keeps everything in check. It is boldly lavish with a Latin hint in the sound fixing a flirtation between a mariachi style and something more - 54 - changes chart everything to see it go the indie. The progressive distance and they channel the right moves throughout on this one.
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CHARLIE AND THE BAND OF DEMONS The UK act instantly grab you when you hear “Take Me Or Leave Me” play. The intricate touches in the sound afford it the freedom to really let go. They vocals are sweetly dropped and this inspires it all the more. The explicit way it is all laid on, in terms of music, shows a sublime effort at work. They hold it together for “Dancing Close” to work. The loom is placed upon it and makes it an interesting track. The sense of warmth and tender aspects exemplify the way that they drive it all on. The narrow feel of it all is a striking plus point, while the bass gives it a chic feel. “My Man” is something very referential. The guitar is slick and it safely cuts across on it. The rock status is safeguarded by it, but the dalliance displayed sits well alongside the trapping of the blues stylings. That sees the mean side of it show up and come through. They then fix something extremely fresh with “Trouble”. That makes it vibrant and the hard and fast way to the rhythm really stands out. The pace is apparent which gives everything a total feel that takes over with a true sense of urgency in the process. There is something edgy about it as this occurs, yet they still manage to catch the rich rock vein of it quite deliberately. Again things are shook up when “Good Time” plays. Things are given stature and show it to be a more ambitious effort. The way that it all flies connects well with the playing. It is able to power along in a way that secures their integrity as performers. A tidy number called “Mirror Mirror” was next. The beat is evident on it and it fills up the song in a way that brings an open showing to it all. What is taken stock of here impacts in a big way. The keyboard adds something to everything that is laid on. With a lot of playing factored in it proves to be a sturdy effort capable of holding the ground it stands upon. Their last song was “Killer’s Touch”. It is something that bathes in the softness of it all. This has a soulful derivative which is found in the gentle way it comes across. What it also shows is the chemistry that is at work on it all. There is a lot to compliment the lyrics for also. The rest of their Irish tour takes in An Bodhrán, Mitchelstown, October 5th; Monroe's Live, Galway, Oct 6th and Voodoo, Belfast, Oct 7th.
............................................................................................................................ THE STONEY BROKES
They lay it on thick and fast with “Something Irrelevant” which sends it all up the right way. This is fully deserving of appreciation. The tight playing operates finely behind it all and is the making of it. The confident and assured vocal delivery also helps give it front. The concerted effort that is “En Route” is one that brims with charm. The swing about the rhythm all locates what is needed where it is needed. They make sense of the task at hand and develop the song. The ratty nature of it is handled in a way that gets you caught up in the playing as much as the band. The daunting feel from “Eulogy” presses the intention to prove a good calling in doing so. The spacing on it is evenly judged allowing it to toil away before being let off the hook. The electrifying presence they have is honed on “I’m Not Dying”. It hits the ground running. The catchy and skittish way about it all carries over in the style that it all has. The drumming produces on this one and the steady rhythm clocks in fashionably. They really put it all on show again with “Mrs Francis” and the particular way they knuckle down on it is impressive. The hard work pays off for them because the pace absorbs the intensity and energy invested in the performance. When it gets going the band force it forward which is a testament to their ability. They gather the pace and deliver it at break-neck speed on “Robin Hood”. The lingering style that it has is a joy to behold. This is what matters because it makes it an uncomplicated affair that focuses purely on the music. That is also expressed in a fanciful way that fires up the rhythm from the fraught qualities in the tempo. “Say Goodbye” then delivers around the catchy style of the intro. It hangs back in a commendable way that provides it with the necessary platform to launch. The stage presence that they have is unconditional here. That serves as a strong selling point in the performance. What is dangerously hip about “The Fear” drives it along. That produces something heightened about it that is central to that appeal. Also appealing is the hard way that the rhythm hits and this is what leaves its mark here. “The Job” proves to be a big number from the band. It is formidable and has a fancy overture to it that is cleanly cut. The referential way that it manages to sound brings around the lazy charm that also denotes substance to it all. They finished up with “The Dealer’s Hand”. Here a splendid turn of pace piles in on it. That is reeled in but at the same time there is a hard and sturdy side shown. It is very catchy and how it rolls - 54 - it to be very much the real deal. That is a trait that is lands in a way that shows heaped on considerably.
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SCENE & HEARD THE KING KONG CLUB, (Semi-Final #7), October 2nd, The Mercantile Things have gotten to the business end of season 9 of The King Kong Club. Tonight was the last of the semi-finals for this year’s competition. Up for grabs was a place in the Grand Final and the standard here tonight really showed a lot of bands who were not just worthy of a place in the final, but were hungry for it. That is something that always sizes things up when it comes to the music.
SUGAR CANE FLAME The night was gotten underway with an extremely fine turn from a band that we had not seen before called SUGAR CANE FLAME. But suffice to say, we will be keeping an eye out for them in the future. The acoustic guitar and drumming cut finely on “Not Quite” to somewhat contradict the title. The gravelly tone sits on the vocals, but what is also quite appealing is the nice comparison that their sound draws with bands such as GOMEZ. Even though it flits between an Americana sound in places, there is a lot to take in and pick up on. The second song from them was “The Rascal”. This is a sturdy tune that bellows out appropriately. They work it well and the guitar riffs breathe life into it. What is also commendable is the fashionable way that it sounds. There is a subtle curve to the tempo which falls upon it in a sensible and telling way. The third track to close their set out was “Jesus, The Devil And Me”. This rides in on a rich wave of Southern influence that gets the rock side of things just right. The delivery hitches up off the back of this. What presents is a track with a defined mean streak to it that is enriched by the sincere way the vocals are applied. What is delivered on adds a layered and textured feel to the overall.
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The second band on the night were also a band we were seeing live for the first time. AMORIC are very much a band to check out. They opened up with “Only For You” which lays on the funk before progressing to a more alluring effort. The charming sensibility reminds you of another great and underrated band of the 90s called SLEEPER. The vocal delivery is excellent, yet there is something captured in the essence of the song that is very endearing. There is something animated in the performance here that reacts well. Then we were into “Sadly Ever After”. In addition to it being a great title it plays like a great track as well. The catchy beat shows a temperament that is channelled finely. That develops an opulent side in the tempo that is imaginative and angled in cleanly. They turn on this to great effect while the raw edge it has underlines the charm offensive on show. The ambient intro comes to define their closing effort “Indifferent”. There is a patient build to it that is cleverly judged and it leads into the expansive side quite tellingly. This is somewhat expected though, but it is nothing to find fault with. There is a substantive side that is stared down in the process and sees them do what is asked of them. As a result it holds well, while also showing that they gel as a band.
THE VAN SPRATTS This next band bring something spry and catchy to their opening song “Talk Of The Town” that is loaded with pace. It clocks away in a seamless way that is well figured. The thorough terms of the song are there to be appreciated and this is what gives it a fluid roll. There is more to easily admire from their sound with “Time To Bleed”. The keel in the sound sees to that as it is factored into the rhythm. It is turned out with the utmost detail. Thee composure locks in a measured telling as it all comes through. That gives it a feisty side is helped out by the way it shuffles along. The third track from them on the night was “Don’t Have The Answers” which flies off the handle. Stupendous and tidy, the voice sits properly on it. That allows it to find the very thing it strives for. It all connects. The pomp suggests and influence of many bands of the modern age, but nothing goes unturned in the delivery here.
........................................................................................................................... THE JOURNALS
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There is a moody transparency about “Move Away” that draws you in. It moves through the rhythm before pulling away to lock in fully the harder edge it has. This cushioned delivery whiles away in a tidy way. But everything is excellently eased through on this one. What also stands it good stead is the way the bridge collects and connects. The playing is shepherded again when it comes to “I’ll Fell Happy”. It is able to accentuate things in a timely way that comes together to show it is framed quite well. The hook in the bass is a big deal here because it turns it around brightly. The lean vocals control the running as much as the play to make it a more content number. They finished up with “Part II”. Starting off with an ambient tone, it steadily climbs. This is what draws you in on it. But it is all patiently weighted in and shows a fine expansive side. The definition to it is apparent and seeps through cleverly.
BIRDS The fourth band on the night was BIRDS and they are a band with a strong calypso beat to their sound. That is something that is very much in vogue with a lot of bands on the circuit. It is expertly applied to “D’elde”. This stirs their performance. The hard run in the guitar and drumming shows a progressive side that they are also comfortable running with. On “Too Much Thinking” there is a derivative felt from the play. That shows smartly. The little bits in the undertone bring it out all the more. This then converges in the beat and makes it an interesting and solid effort as much as it does a catchy one. The harder definition of their calypso sound emerges on “Caprice”. It merges well with the morose tone before picking up. As a result there is a looping rhythm to it that connects in a way to marvel at. The colourful way that it bursts through in the delivery serves to underline this point.
........................................................................................................................... AUDIO FIRES
The last act on the night was AUDIO FIRES. We last saw them play at YouBloom this year and they were very much on the money then. That goes for their performance here tonight in The Mercantile. “Only When You Feel It” absolutely nails it from the off. The clarity in the rhythm comes across cleanly. The build and determination shows with the catchy hooks to it all. They lyrically prove up to the task at hand with an electrifying piece of work that astounds as it takes shape. The second song finds form just as much. The rhythm is again tight and tidy on “All Of The Way” and it gathers effectively. There is something steady felt as it plays out. The catchy hooks again show the investment from the band as live performers. To close out was “Don’t Let” which is quick and to the point. There is no reprieve from the band with it. They charge through it distinctly. The bass and drumming collect on it to give it as much of a lean cut as the guitar does.
The winner on the night was SUGAR CANE FLAME and we would like to congratulate them. We will see them at the final on October 26th. The live review will feature in the “Scene & Heard” section of our November issue which is out on November 2nd.
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The Ruby Sessions Doyle’s Pub 1st October 2013
SCENE & HEARD Now running for over 14 years, it is safe to say that The Ruby Sessions is as much an Irish institution as it is a respected club night. The emphasis is placed squarely on bringing high quality musicians to the stage all in the name of donating all the proceeds on the door to the Simon Community. Tonight was an excellent line-up consisting of four absolutely amazing performances. The first of which was CHRISTINE DEADY. The voice of an angel opens up and bestows an inspired grace upon her first sing “Inspired By You”. The wholesome feel of the song is pulled through in a way that shows. Things are well thought out here, but what also stands out is the imaginative trait that is caught smartly by it all. The lovely quality she has as an artist again shows on “Sorrow”. This comes through quite figuratively. The arrangement itself does it justice by keeping it all in check. The lonesome qualities it has play in with a true sense of justification. What follows next is an absolutely brilliant song. The tracking shows as it comes in on “To Be Somebody” that the beat necessitates where it should. This provides a good investment in her performance that enriches the delivery. Yet there is a body of work on show that saves it all up to release with a stirring conviction when it does so. The clarity that peruses from “Yours” settles everything impressively. There is something of circumstance to how the languid aspects come to rest in the delivery. As a result it finds a considerate angle that is worked to give it the substance it deserves. This then moves everything along with the utmost of intention that leads to a work to truly admire. “In This Town” is a shapely tune that plays things very close to the chest. There is however a lean way about how it steps out. The compact running gives it a brisk stirring that sits right on it. How she trades on this with her performance is done in a highly effective which underlines why she is held in such high regard as artist.
CHRISTINE DEADY ............................................................................................................................ AIDAN She is currently undertaking a nationwide tour which will see her take in gigs until December. All those details can be found on her website: www. Christinedeady.com
An artist with an incredible pedigree was next to take to the stage here tonight. AIDAN is an artist who we have seen performing before and this was his first Irish gig in almost two years. “Vorkova’s Lament” tells the tale of a mermaid. Beneath the lyrics is a guitar that drops down upon things in an even way that shows. That leads it to a subtle shanty which presents the undertone furthermore in the progression. This is an astute parting that commands a lot from the performance in doing so. His next song alluded to being about the place where dreams come from and this sees “Bells Of The Morning” come around figuratively. The glances that are stolen in the song very much pick up the pace. The song is able to bear the weight and his vocal range fills out on it in a distinct way.
We then came to “Thiais Kept”. This is a rich folk song that has it’s true worth measured in a free way that shows as it comes around. The contentment about how it travels is keenly felt. That is all down to how much heart is bound to the delivery. It mixes well with the well versed aspects worked from the bottom right up. A lullaby trait arches across from how the rhythm slightly hangs on “The West Cork Song”. This creates the warmth. While the learned points in the approach gather in a noted way. Here is what gives it distinction because it shows what it is made of. The reflective sentiment that is cradled is there in the lyrical and vocal application. It is an encouraging prospect. To see out his set he played “The Port Of Amsterdam”. Here the Jacques Brel classic is treated with the right amount of dedication that it deserves proving it to be a cover version above the norm.
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We have been watching the progress of this artist throughout the year having seen him play at The Sunday Roast a few months back. Currently residing in London he has supported acts such as Pete Doherty, while he also played Whelan’s as part of Arthur’s Day which put him in the company of THE SCRIPT, amongst others. He opened with “Hold On To Me”. What is noted here is a confident sway to it all. That feeds the deliberate stage presence, while the outline of the lyrics nestle within the overall arrangement and prove to be what gives it the integral pull it deserves. “She Told Me” has an honest depiction that gives it a humble feel. However, beside that lies something raw that necessitates how it all feels. Both in the delivery and the arrangement it finds the right quality to drive it on. This gives it gusto and really makes for an outstanding effort from him here. With “Fool” everything is played in expertly. The bright loom that comes off the guitar seals that in and how it cuts through is a sterling effort all the way. What also proves to be another striking quality is how the lyrics come through on it. What you feel from it is that the guitar and the music are true extensions of him as an artist. With how it relays into an Elvis number is finely done. It also sets up “Home Sweet Home” to fittingly close out his set. This robust number that is able to call upon the running to be the making of it. This is a reliable claim and warranted for the right reasons. The playing arcs change yet they retain a consistency that results in the song growing in stature.
SAMPLE ANSWER ............................................................................................................................ TRACK DOGS The final act of the evening has all the hallmarks of what a band needs to be great. “Out Of The City” started proceedings and comes clean in the process. There is a still and static feel that is motioned forth in the tempo. That all leads to something that holds well by design. The harmony of the shared vocals defines the song while the trumpet is the cherry on top in terms of the class it brings to the play. Then we come to “Slow Start To The Day”. The way that things drag across on gets you caught up in it all. The humdrum qualities are stowed away neatly on this one. But they are also able to control the play in the manner the act upon everything. Their current single “Rainbox” came next. This is another smart number that has an attentive working conveyed in the lyrics. The vocal delivery places the emphasis on the positive aspects. The bridge here is an excellent application with everything going for it. “La Banda” is one of those songs with a rich volume in the rhythm that is textured in an alluring way. You get caught up in it quite easily. That is helped furthermore by how the rhythm is conveyed in the tempo. The timeless quality is traced out on “All Roads” which lays on a copious amount of style in the process. What circulates on it enhances the overall charm and appeal. There is a sense of wonderment to this that makes it a much realised affair that is very full on. That they left the stage to be among the crowd for it added a further degree of excellence to their set. As an encore they then joined the crowd for a second time to play “The Wrong Man”. There is relativity to the running which acquires your appreciation with the utmost of ease. The impressive way it all collects is steered by how they take it on. The hard tumble meets well with the play and how it is all laid out. That is what is able to see the song turn out as favourably as it does. While there is a lot to be said for the sincerity that shows on how the vocals gather when shared.
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Saucy Sundays The Grand Social September 29th, 2013
SCENE & HEARD AUTONOMOUS I Tipperary band AUTONOMOUS I were a band that came to our attention as far back as 2010. That was on the back of their track “Everlasting Friend”, which coincidentally was their first song. There is a rotund stature to this as much as there is an experimental approach. As a result it very much lifts off from the start, while the progressive feel about it is a nice touch. This is clearly evident when it clicks into gear and gives it the necessary drag that a song like this should have. Then they played “Stand Up And Take It”. What is evident is the neat skip that shows a sharp standard from the calypso style generated in the guitar. There is also a predilection about the lyrics that is catchy and suits the sensible running. Their third song was another accountable effort that is well tracked from the off. The slightly offbeat charm adds to the mix. The running is tight and shows a defined arrangement. The bridge yields a high retro feel that captures the necessary elements to make it work. “Stoicism, Dementia And Clap” immediately impresses. It is slick sounding which is helped by how the vocals angle around it to give it a hard calling. Imaginative and focussed, it also lends the sharp guitar purpose to change direction in the right places but keep it all on track. A more upbeat number is next with “Disabled Crow”. The new wave influence stands them good stead and makes the tempo more resilient in the process. There is a point of note about how good they tease the rhythm. Overall it is a fine body of work that connects purposefully. Things collect in a lean way with “Little Sister” and everything builds patiently. That is a good calling here. What it results in is a tune that is evenly tracked in the way it is allowed to step out when asked. Their last song was “Inevitable”. It is a slick and laid back affair with a lot to admire about how that creates the drift in the sound. The relaxed presence to the music captures what is needed and drives the song. That allows the more grandiose style to be worked in as it progresses.
PEARSE HALPIN We have seen him perform before and here we got to see him with a full band. There is a broad definition to “Entice Me” which is denoted by the body that works in the operation to it here. The tone feeds in and keeps hold of the tracking to bring the consistent side of the playing through. The delivery is something that shows good stock has been taken from the off. An acoustic number was next called “Grasp The Star”. A quiet and contented falling is bestowed upon it from the intro. That is before a hard kick form the drumming comes through giving it the required weight. The impressive way it is all spaced tells a lot also. When it comes to “Skip The Handshake” things rise to the fore with the entirety of the delivery. This is magnificently loaded with sound, but it is not overdone. That balance shows with how it is packed in to show a tidy number that muscles its way through based on ability.
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The drumming drives the intro on “Here They Lay” and has you tapping along to it instantly. This is showy and the rhythm takes control when everything comes out on it. The live delivery is what matters here. It shows the confidence he has as a performer. Here he electrifies the stage. An abundant calling is set out on “Your Story” that very much delivers on the promise it shows. Here it shows a lot. The guitar courses along, while it all resonates with a clear distinction. The commanding presence it has also enhances the appeal. Following that was “The Trick To Living” which is the eponymous title of his soon to be released album. Inviting guitar riffs gift it a dutiful American styling that equalises how it feels. The running is steady and very easy to warm to. The focal point of it is found in the warranted style it has and proves to be a song that many an artist would covet because it gives as much as it rewards.
RICHARD FARRELL Here was another artist that we have reviewed before, only this time out he was playing a solo set. Opening song “The Lakes Of Pontratrain” collects the rhythm with good fortune. The foray seals in the real features of the song. This is something that welcomes you as you listen to it. The kindled qualities settle into it quite well. An autumnal feel suitably plays across on “Yellow Brown And The Bloom”. A classification results from it that is dutiful fed in to the song from how it flows. How it is traced across tips the direction of the song in the right way. A cover of ERIC BIBB’S “Angel Singing” lays down a fine marker and it is followed up by “Smile”. Here is a song that is blessed with good presence. The guitar and vocals finely purse through in a realised way. They hold the delivery in a way that gives it a wonderful allure. This consigns the song to a level of warranted appreciation. The soft side is threaded through on “Already Home” and it travels across in a neat way. The lonesome derivative is felt from the reflective showing that is able to place the intention in a select way. That results in it being realised in a contented way. “Jazz Song” is a nice melody that catches an enigmatic pitch from the guitar quite well. That is ushered through in a carefree way and proves itself in the process. That sees him get lost in the playing. The sweeping and notable gesture of it all also holds up well. He closed things out with “A Little Freshness”. The roll to it is quite nimble and it bestows upon it as the beat tellingly gets laid down here. How curt it is all delivered is what gives it heart.
FOX E AND THE GOOD HANDS We always like to see this band play because they have never disappointed us any time we have. A new song got their set underway called “Black Edition”. It has a strong session vibe about it that suits the attentive styling on show. The musicality of it all makes it very encompassing. This is what gives it appeal. The confidence in the performance shows them to be a band that is very much the real deal. The synth stokes “Chinese Whispers” along with the bass line. Yielding a lot from the retro it is also quite opportune in how it sits back. There is a confident showing about it that steals a march as it generously lays on the funk. Speaking of which, “Soul-A-Funk-Alicious” boxes clever from start to finish and the live showing is a true standout affair. The terms of it are excellent and it is all played out in blistering fashion. Another new song from them followed called “Tackernash”. Slightly offbeat it has a stupor about it that is slowly built up inside the taut styling. It takes off invitingly and there is something officiated in how it does so that the wall of sound holds in. This is big on the music and it shows a rich blues influence cutting in from the guitar. There is a nice nasty side that gives “80s Cop Drama” bite. It comes out on the playing in a clear and focussed way. The sublime movement gives the song an allure. This mystifies the beat and closes it all down with a clear distinction. They played out with “Unfortunately”. Here the maturity in their sound opens it up. Giving it an assured manner sees them play to their strengths as a band. This is what gets underneath the song to really define it.
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ANA GOG Another band that we have seen play before here at Saucy Sundays were next. “Idea For A Love Song” plays like one. The softness in the texture formulates in a telling way for the delivery. It effectively pulls through and carries you away when it plays. The flow is also a rather opportune characteristic to it. The savoury calling in their sound finds its place on “The Old Heads”. The drumming beats in behind it with a deliberation that cleverly tracks all the aspects in a settled way. Catching it all just right it sets up “Between the Rocks” quite nicely. There is a partial feel from the deeper run in the sound. This shows an expansive side. The definition in the way it all gathers leads to a full on ensemble piece. “Assai” is mindfully traced and that running yields an amble feel that pours through. The timid way in the delivery rolls over and takes precedent. Those broader strokes give it a harder feel. The approach is interesting as they embrace a musical side with true vigour. The last song from them was “Before The Evening Comes”. The harmony lines up well on it here, as does the piano on the intro. That then leverages upon it all with warmth and distinction. This is a song that seems to know what it is all about and it projects that with the sophisticated arrangement about it all.
THE BOO BOX Our last act of the night was THE BOO BOX. “B-Jam” has an essence that riles it up by locking in the right measurement in the instrumental approach. This accentuates cleanly. The precision in the arcs freely retain the focus here. They then drop the funky on “Shotgun”. The bass and drums shelter the sound. That moves it all along on the opening and lays on a lot to make it a very attentive affair. “Break Me Down” proves to be a slick affair that produces the goods in a deliberate way. It breaks down finely and they lay on the playing in a way that sees them get lost among the music. They are very full on in terms of how much is invested and this is what gives the performance the passion it deserves. When it comes to “That Night” there is something impressive in the smart shuffle it has. The tempo hangs up the slick tone of the bass line. The guitar also pushes it all out to show a finely polished performance that is well processed. The gravitas shows with “E-Jam”. The heady aspects are well pitched and placed from start to end. This is the band showing how good they are in a highly progressive sense. “Mr Slow” has a lazy hang about the guitar that is a joy to behold. This is very fly in how it collects. It is blooded through well here and displays an expansive side that settles in the delivery. The trajectory of it all meets with the finesse in the running to bring home the goods. We then come to “People Like You” which was dedicated to two Italian ladies in the audience who are fans. There is a catchy derivative to this one that is nailed down. The way it finds its feet in the guitar riffs is unmercifully addictive. This electrifies the delivery. There is fortitude in the way that is gathers things in the communal running that is finely judged. Their last song was “Follow Me”. The bass is an excellent attraction at work here. The drumming also gives it an added kick. Collecting in a candid way that fully embraces the ensemble characteristics of it gives everything a virtuous sense, the rhythm climbs in the play admirably. That is one of the quality aspects to it that stays true throughout.
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SCENE & HEARD
FUTURE PHANTOMS ‘Until I See The Sun’ Single Launch (The Mercantile 20-09-2013) The first of the two support acts taking to the stage tonight was WHITE ROADS. The exactness that shows on their opening tune “For Keeps” immediately grabs you. The guitar is situated in the sound where it should be. As a result everything that needs to negate collectively does so in a very ample way. The lyrics are well versed and also give the delivery the necessary boost. The intro to “Protection” is an amazingly built piece of work. This is loaded with zip and the sting in the tail is very specific. As a result everything coasts along confidently. The bundled riffs from the bass build the rhythm. What is concentrated in the sound shows with the choice feel projected from the handling on the bridge. A patient and gradual affair lead in from the intro to “Crocodile Tears”. The catchy side of the chorus is well managed. But behind this lies something dark and listless. This is an appealing attribute and what gives it a sense of purpose. It blends into the overall delivery quite effectively. They then played a very efficient cover of “Don’t Sit Down” by ARCTIC MONKEYS which was well worked. The seasoned and well worked version here held well with the timings coming in where they should.
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That set them up nicely for their final two songs. The first was the excellently titled “Breaking Hearts Is Just Too Hard”. The opening is a classy affair that lays it all on with the keyboard coming across spectacularly. The hard break in the tempo stresses the presence the song has. It then returns a lean feel that falls nicely into place. The snatched feel on their final track “Ari Gold” underlines how good they are live. There is a kick that gathers in a way that finely sees it through. That polished sound courses through all the way. What also lights it up is the roll that shows the catchier side in a rather exact way. This also happened to be drummer Jamie Kilduff’s last gig with the band and it was a good one to sign off on. Up next from the band will be the release of “Protection” as a single.
With “Bury The Hatchet” the song is angled in. What also cradles the delivery is the warmth of the voice of front man Alan Richardson. It is a quality that soothes across with a hard trajectory that brings a more candid input to the delivery. The rhythm is excellent and the tracking shows in how it runs. The acoustic guitar also proves a good focal point. The excellent “Emily Jane” is next. This song has a true pristine quality to it, while the easy going style is a point of merit. This leads to a fragrant flight that takes hold in a remarkable way. Things are then slowed down when it
comes to “Everything You Thought You Had”. There is a telling side to how everything hangs on the sound. This quality bides neatly to the overall running and play. It also sets a graceful tone in place that sees the heart of the song pour out. This is what makes for an exceptional piece of work when you see it played live.
We had seen this next band play at the launch of The Wicked Chicken in Tallaght the weekend before and our appetite was firmly whetted knowing they would be performing here this evening. They got everything off to a flying start with “She Saves My Soul”. This finely picks up from the off in a telling way that gets behind the delivery on all fronts. The conviction in the vocals adds rawness to how everything is cut. That was followed up by another song with a real draw called “Carnivore”. The volume necessitates and spreads out evenly in the tempo. Overall everything circulates articulately. The edgier aspects are nurtured but also maintained in a way that calls out the band but doesn’t come up shy.
“Indian Dancer” is one of those songs that laid it all on brilliantly. This was charged up from the off and fuelled the rhythm. The licks and overtures in the playing whip up a frenzy. The heart and graft are felt because it is laid on thick and fast. The vocals have a hardship that matches up. What stands is a real tour-de-force from start to end. Again they let it all off the leash when “Sunday Morning” gets played. There is no holding back with proceedings here. The vocals sweetly meet with the playing keyed in with the beat. Everything on show leads somewhere and the commitment in the delivery sees it fronted with the utmost integrity. They then closed out with a finely crafted effort called “The River”. The steely vocals and lyrics connect in how they are concentrated. This is every bit a top drawer affair. The taut roll from the drumming meets with the guitar and bass to push it forward. As a result, it builds an impasse that is mesmerising when heard.
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Neatness prevails when it comes to “Talk Of The Town”. The arrangement gives a strong drive to the opening. Everything hangs with a desirable knack. The running is something to very much admire and the application matters. They turn in a fine showing here and follow it up with another top tune called “Circles”.
They angle in the patient side of the build on “Don’t Let It Go”. A timely run results from this approach. It is what steers the song into being on their terms. Everything sealed in on the operating sets it right. The B-side to their new single was next. “Hold On” is able to angle in the guitar on the opening. The drum and bass seal in that extra bite to the even temperament displayed. The clear backing matches the delivery as the correct amount of weight muscles through in the live showing. “Just For A Day” is one of those songs that launches straight in with a catchy and precise certainty that moves the playing. The good inside step sees it take flight in a selective way that gives a lot in the delivery.
They slow it down effectively but still maintain the momentum in their performance. Having seen it performed in its original format they lose nothing with this approach. If anything, it shows how much time they have put into making sure tonight goes well. It also showcases their playing ability. Their single “Until I See The Sun” was reviewed in our last issue and we gave it 9/10. Here nothing is lost in the live showing. New song “Everything Is Wrong” shows a lot of promise. The guitar meets everything in an excellent way to heighten the delivery. An angry love song of sorts comes across when the arrangement is analysed as a body of work.
We have been watching their progress intently and tonight’s headline gig was to promote their current single “Until I See The Sun”. Following some words of encouragement earlier in the day from MANIC STREET PREACHERS frontman James Dean Bradfield at their gig in Tower Records all the signs pointed to it being a memorable gig for the Dublin band. They got things underway with “Red Sky”. There is a lot going in the way the clean break on the intro plays in. It comes around deliberately and lends a sombre tone to the sound. Things have a laid back style that is stoked from the good hold in the operation here. After that they lay into things on “Can You Tell Me?” The way they amplify the sound projects their intent in a way that pulls you in. The clear and determined direction meets well with the catchy hook that comes with the chorus.
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There is something striking about “Loving The Idea”. As a result there is an astute cut to how it sounds. The neat folly about it is followed through from the lithe hooks in the bass. The intention of the song is instantly recognised and it is also a very catchy tune with radio friendly written all over it. Another contender in the arsenal was next with “Nobody Knows”. There is a very strong showing from how they lock things in with a desirable intent. Everything that needs to come around does so in a reasoned way. It is a catchy affair with the real weight showing in the structure. Special mention must go to the standare of drumming on show here. The opening line on “Life & Love” reels you in. The abject tone is evident and is something that sits well with the volume of the song. The running is a palatable offering, but something else also presents itself for the first time. There is a hint of the blues coming through on the sound from the rhythm guitar. That gives everything the fanciful and full bodied push needed. Their encore of “Dakota” by STEREOPHONICS showed the influence that they have had on the band. They do manage to get a lot of things right on it and they also show that they know how to work a crowd. The reaction to this was measured finely to sign off in style.
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Irish Artists CARUSO
Everything You Need To Know “Bounce” opens the song and it has a goodness that commands the song. The good minded feel about the song is something that exemplifies in a very pleasing way. It is all headed up by the subtle way it all comes to rely on how it is all placed. Next is “Freak” and the rhythm is a tidy affair. Skipping along on the intro it cleverly draws you in. It puts it all about and it proves to be a decent effort that tidily comes through. The mellow way it is stripped back is there to be admired. Then we come to “Who Came First”. This steadily comes through and the patient styling of it is impressive. The handling in the operation has an earnest quality that is quite relevant to it all. An accordion plays away on “It’s Up To You (“Crazy Mrs Whelan) and the song steps out. It is light in a way but it showcases a fine degree of handling in the delivery. It finds its way and the way that it does so makes it a spirited effort. They really pull you in with “Hey Little Sister”. It is a song that you immediately warm to. The charm that it has is evident and it puts a touch of class upon the way it is carried across. We then come to “All The King’s Horses”. They give a good account of themselves in this one. Entwined is the best to describe it because it is an effort that they take the time to put together. With “Man Walks Into Doors” we see a more upbeat side to their style. There is a belief in the rhythm. The bass drives it along and turns on a purer sense to it all that pulls it all together fashionably. The process about it is noticed. The style of that seems to set up “You Get What You Pay For”. A darker and
noir rich side kicks in on this one. It has an angle that is worked quite figuratively. The serene points capture something that breaks away in the tempo in a refined way. The guitar finely and intuitively plays away on “Star”. The wanton feel of the song is effective and it fancifully filters through. The controlled side of it courts a lot of the right intricacies through. That content side gives way to “Line Of Fire” and its more upbeat running. The way that it all bides sees the song start as it means to go on. The last track here is “Try” which gradually brings it all through. It proves an excellent choice to close out the album. The pull that it has makes it a song of substance and a refined running that shows in a way that matters. The bonus tracks here are also worth a mention. “All Your Features (Disappear)” plays like a rough demo. However it is very intriguing and this cut to how it sounds closes around it all distinctly. It runs with the feeling quite specifically. Then we come to “Round The Hardway” which denotes a more ambitious opening. The expansive way it sounds comes together sparingly with the song. The essence of it is threaded through and the onset of the track cuts nicely here. The last of the three bonus tracks is “Betty Take A Small Thing” is an agreeable song. The qualities that it has are evident as the acoustic guitar ferries through the song. The pursed quality of it is felt from the demeanour of the lyrics and rhythm. - 25 -
There is a quirky feel to the opening song “All Roads (Lead To Roam)” that yields something smart. It retains a unique trait that ushers in the playing, but at the same time it drives it forward. The heartfelt integrity meets with the vocals quite well. Then we have “La Banda” which is a tasty affair. The beat to it steps out and gives off a very handsome vibe. The way it is delivered immediately picks up the song and proves quite eventful. With “Fooled You Once (Hey Ay Oh!)” it is again a very offbeat, but distinct affair that pulls you in. The way the playing neatly tumbles along scores the tempo efficiently. The way that it all lands is an exceptional trait that sees it all through. Their current single “Rainbox” is a clever and well-though out number. With the way they keep it all in shows pedigree. As catchy as it is, there is a lot that unfurls as it progresses. But the highlight is the way that the steady way it carries is retained. Broader in sound and displaying a yearning is “Slow Start To A Long Day” that gets you caught up in the slower moments of the song. The heartfelt aspects of it are easy to warm to here and they are cleverly motioned in. A lot goes for the brass effect on “Forever You’ll Be”. It very much rocks up and keeps hold of everything it needs to. This results in everything touching base where it is intended.
A clean whistle opens “Dust Devil” and then gives way to allow a very pleasing tune to come through. There is a lean way that it all comes around which is slightly leaning towards a country effort, but is also moving in a different direction that gives it a sense of identity. A timely and defined presence comes clean on “Out Of The City”. The appeal of the song is there in the way that the softer tone of the vocals drive it on and how that converges with the easy going stirring of the rhythm. They locate everything on it in a way that you easily warm to. Things then pick up with “Sun Shines Down”. The favourably way that it all lands paints a fine picture. The bounce it has settles in nicely as it breaks into a stride, while also showing how well they have taken stock of the circumstance here. As it all spills out, “Whoever The Fool” proves to be one of those songs that are blessed with the knack for finely rising as it plays. There is a true weight to the lyrics that is worth its weight in gold. The comely way that it is stirred is made good work of and it is what stands the band good stead. A slight roadhouse style is felt on “Getting Wiser”. The organ comes through on it in a telling way. But what is also defining is the way that it locks in a lush feeling that conveys convincingly to make it highly pleasing. The album closes out with “Early Late”. The delicate way that the acoustic guitar presses on the intro pays it forward. There is also a fanciful way that it is all brought about balances it as a song. - 26 -
WE TOWN CRIERS The album opens with an enormous energy coming through from the guitar on “Scream A Whisper”. The guitar very much grabs hold of the song as much as the listener and it brings an intention to match everything that is laid out here. This is a signal from the band that their album is here as much as it is for people to take note. “Grind” then follows and the choppy style from the guitar builds nicely. In some respects it lacks bite slightly, but the skittish way that it runs pushes things out with a more deliberate tint that is noted. Next comes “Hurricane” and it hits the pace in a steady and sharp way. The vocals exert to impart a more pertinent presence upon the tune. It also has a gilded style to the way it cuts through when met with the playing. Things change direction into a more relaxed territory. The easy going styling of “Need To Know” is a good draw. What results from it is a tune that is tracked in a closed way, but also finds room to breathe as much as it displays a fine musical arrangement. Smartly rolling away in terms of beat and prowess is “Weight Of Mind”. It is a tune to easily buy into in that regard, but it also whiles away quite effectively. There is a decent running about it and the sound that is produced passes muster. “Swing Beast” is the title of the album and it is included as a brief interlude here. That then gives way to “Medusa” which has a guitar splicing across on the intro. Behind that lies a
8 distinct metal influenced drive and it picks up to reflect that. It also seems to keep it all in line. It loses direction somewhat when it comes to the bridge, but in terms of being about the playing it is a mosher’s dream. We then come to “Off Beat City” which powers along. The drumming drives it as much as the guitar resonating. This in turn balances it all and allows a little bit more of an experimental approach to show on the other sounds that show on this one. With “Come Outside” they take their time to allow the song to build. Everything weighted in the sound and lyrics is what works for the song. The obvious design is there and understanding that leads to a greater appreciation of the song in its own right. Hitting hard and fast is “Original Swing”. The astute way it is all pieced together nails down the intent of the band. Appetising in the way the tempo rises on the song, there is something locked in that is able to give it a suitable presence. There is a formidable way it all muscles through. “Take You” is a more patient affair. Then it shows the band in the right light because it proves to be a candidly built number. The build is well gauged with the knack derived from it allowing the play to get under the song to elevate it superbly. The album closes out on “Switch Flicker”. There is a good bounce to the beat on it. It is a catchy enough effort but it also turns on the harder substance that they have to their music. Some synth plays in and it has a new wave arc to it in places. - 27 -
GYPSY REBEL RABBLE Take My China
A bespoke guitar opens “April Queen” and the rest of the album in the process. There is something readied about how it all flows. There is a pleasantry to it, while there is a slight abject styling on show in the lyrics. Everything settles into this one in a very interesting way. Following that is “Sail Together” and it is a shapely little number. The smart way that it cruises along is met with a delivery that has a high bounce on show. This is what gives it reach and appeal, yet the approach is just there to be admired. There is a hard showing on “The Bastard Baby Brown” that gives rise in the running. It has a temperament about it but it is also finely kept in check. It is a song that lays on the revelry. By channelling that through the song very much comes to the fore in a realised way. The fourth song on the album is “Nothing But Time” which skips along to a dandy beat indeed. The rich folk sentiment of it is felt in the rhythm and tempo as it courses along. High on appeal it is also a song that has a great sentimental throwback to it all. That is then repeated on “Returning To The Fold”. Although here there is something more coveted about the running. The shared vocals are a convincing turn, while the timeless way that it seems to drift is certainly an admirable trait that they wear well. The settled turn that “Save Me” proves to be is a true marvel on
9 the album. It has a softer approach that seems to expend in a way that also allows the music to come forth on it all. The balance between play and delivery is motioned in a complete way. The eponymous title track follows and it proves to be one of those songs that can carry the listener away. What carries across on it is nothing short of sublime. Everything that needs to fall into place does so and it does it with the right amount of dedication. The song is crafted with the utmost sensibility from start to finish. The violin courses finely upon the intro to “7 O’Clock Start” before the beat of the drum shows. There is an edge that is taken stock of with the tempo and it is done in very telling way. This sees a more sullen tone present itself but it also shows a broader approach musically in the album. How that settles into “Secret Tea” is something to admire for all the right reasons. The amble shuffle presents in a tidy and reverent way that slips away efficiently. The closeness of it is something to contend with. The last song on the album here is “Blue Water Consistency”. How it opens maintains the standard for how it continues. The soulful way that it all bellows out, not just closes the album, but also completes it in a fine sense. When compared to the first song it underlines the adage of starting as you mean to go on.
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Irish Artists THE SCENES
The title track opens the EP and it all falls into place. The beat holds a steady grip upon the playing. There is something availed of to it overall and in short it makes it an amicable effort. Albeit it one that does come up light in places, but it does decisively carry through. Things are felt harder on “Fish Out Of Water”. The hook in the guitar drives it on and carries it through determinedly. The choice way to it all finds them in a territory they are comfortable in. A lot falls into place on “Panic Avenue”. It signals something about them in the way that the catchy way steals a march in the beat. There is a very American feel to it also and that is something that is picked up on from the running of it here. The last inclusion is “Saints And Satellites”. It displaces a lot of effort but it lacks the direction that it should have. There is a weaker portrayal about this one and it is underlined by it lacking the clarity of the rest of the EP which is where it falls down.
.......................................................................................................................... WEAR NO DISGUISE What If
There is a neat and showy stature to the opening track “Balmy Bliss” which creates a pleasing and languid effort. The neat volume coming through in terms of the play presses ahead quite nicely. That adds to the charm and appeal here. Second track “What If” encompasses a piano in the sound that is a keen touch. It seems to bring it all around. Yet the weight in the tone sits well with the structure it finds itself operating within. Again the broad tone and definition is tailored to bring about the song. The sombre feel from it then makes sense form the courteous way that the lyrics pass through. The vivid and prepared way that they fit with the tempo is telling. The EP is closed out by “Carry A Spark”. This plays cleverly and the cherub feel from the beat characterises the neat and showy way that they manage to get beneath it from the intro. That sees it fall into place in a knowing way. That is a savoury quality that is prised open when the vocals come into the equation.
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CONOR QUINN AND THE WHITE CHALK
This is fired up from the very second you hear “The Architects” play. It breaks through in the rhythm, yet the compact feel from it also channels the right qualities in the delivery. That picks up the pieces and fits them together here. Dead centre is the best way of describing how “Wolf Watching opens because it is able to hold back in a defined way. The softer lush that gives rise to the actualised aspects that it needs to. “Fade To Grey” is another languid number. The tempo peters through here while the piano gives it a broad definition that gets behind the playing. The subtle way that it all carries through here merges delicately to bring the flow of it all together. There is another subtle carriage about things with “Atlantica”. It draws a lot of the right measurements into the mix and as a result it is somewhat intriguing. From that seeped effort comes “Carnival Of Lights”. This seems to react cleanly with how it is all ushered in because it picks up the pace. The way that the tempo is locked in electrifies. It comes together in a way that they clearly and cleverly run with all the way through.
.......................................................................................................................... CROUPIER The Visor
The best intentions are on show with how creative “Power Up” displays the right qualities that the band has. Abundant and crisp it is able to demonstrate a lot of incredible effort in the way they manage to get behind the playing on this. The drive it has collects in a telling way. Again there is a lot to say about the leanings in their sound on “Chandelier”. This seems to be more expressive and the development of a calypso tone in the way it is done underlines this quite figuratively. The demanding way that they push it all ahead garners a lot to appreciate. “Columns” is the third track on the EP. It is another effort that has a calypso element that meets with a very expansive side. The way that it all collects shows a bright and colourful run to it that proves a smart and definitive calling from the band in the process. Musically astute it also hangs in a way that is very absorbing when you listen to it. Things take a more sturdy direction with “Defector”. This is again a case of the group being fearless in their endeavour to push the boundaries of what they can do musically. What shows on this is an effort that manages it well and also proves their innovative credentials at the same time. The last track here is “Myriad”. An oriental feel is picked up on in the intro which then begins to build smartly. The scope of how appealing it proves to be is undeniable as the rhythm very cleanly rises.
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International Acts ARCADE HIGH
Review by Jamie Kelly “Pixel Passion” is ARCADE HIGH’s second full length album. It was inspired by a combination of 80’s dance music and early 90’s video game soundtracks, which has resulted in a very ‘retro’ sounding electro album. Throughout the album it feels almost as if you are playing through a game, as each track creates such atmosphere and an extremely distinct image in your mind. It is as though you are travelling through different themed levels in a game. I can truly say that for anyone who was even slightly familiar with video games throughout the 90’s you will really enjoy this album from start to finish, as I did so myself. From the first 10 seconds of “Pixel Passion” the ideas and influences for this LP are instantly evident as the listener is immediately dumped into a pixelated, 8-bit world of 90’s arcade style music made up of various sounds and noises we all became familiar with through the early generation of computer games. A great opening track that really sets the tone for what follows. “One Year Ago” starts out with a really catchy melody which creates an almost triumphant atmosphere. The song harmoniously swoops in and out creating a good natural rhythm reminiscent of the sounds heard throughout gaming arcades in the 90’s. “High Score Summer” is my favourite track on the album. Early on into the song it bursts in with a bright, uplifting melody which creates an atmosphere which can only be described as summer. The song creates an image in your head full of sunshine and general happiness. I found this very inspirational to listen to and makes a great addition to this album. “Without You” (feat. Hannah Edwards) is definitely the most relaxed song on this album. The soft but powerful vocals of Hannah Edwards really compliment every element. Her vocals make everything almost like ‘indie-pop’, which gives the song a very radio friendly appeal. I also think it would appeal to a wide range of audiences and with the right work and publicity it could be a massive hit. After such a chilled fourth track, ‘Outrun This’ bursts in with a hard hitting 8-bit synth-bass line. Suddenly the album becomes intense and
the feeling of being taken on a journey with up’s and down’s becomes a reality. A lot like the structure of any pre 00’s video game. My favourite part to this is around the half-way point, where they use the noise of an arcade game running out of money, and obviously then the sound of having to put in more money, as a bass drop. It’s brilliant and is one of my favourite parts on the whole album. “A Moment Of Clarity” is another more relaxed effort. This is very translucent, and has a floating rhythm to it that makes the whole song quite relaxing to listen to. It definitely does the name justice as it does give ‘A moment of clarity’ to the album, as the intense sounds of ‘outrun this’ ring out. I think ‘Running To You’ is the closest that you can get to a love ballad within this genre. The song is very minimalist with one vocal line – “you’re still the one I run to” repeated throughout the song. While quite repetitive, near the end a sweet synth solo kicks in and changes the whole dynamic mix, widening its musical spectrum in the process. “Up Down Left Right” is quite a strange song, but could certainly be a big hit on the dance floor for ARCADE HIGH. I can imagine this would really get people off their seats and with the correct volume, get any party kick-started. There is not much change throughout the song but it’s still a solid tune that has a lot of quality elements that are heard throughout the first half of the album. “Night Of The Geniuses” starts off with some mysterious tones, creating an eerie atmosphere. With a great melody combined with some random video game noises, this is sure to go down well with anyone that has enjoyed the first eight tracks. The bass line that comes in for the last part is quite funky and leads to a close. “Look Into My Eyes” is the last track on the album. What a tune. When you listen to this, especially if you’ve just listened to the whole album, it makes you feel like everything is now okay with the world and that whatever mission you have set out on is now accomplished. It is a truly triumphant piece that brings the album to a great climax and a fantastic close.
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THE BLACK TAMBOURINES
Review by Jamie Kelly
This self-titled album from THE BLACK TAMBOURINES is one of the most exciting pieces of music to arise from the UK in 2013. “Out Cold” is a great intro song to the album. It comes in very hard and forces a certain energy upon the listener. It really sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Ghost At A Party” has a really great drum intro. The solid beat sets the high tempo and tight musicianship that is then sustained well throughout. The vocals really take shape in this track and give it a distinct sound. I can really imagine “High Fives” being a great song to get the crowd off their feet. It is a very high energy song, right from the get go. It again creates something distinct and quite exclusive to the band. “Elsewhere” really reminds me of the Anarchy years in the UK. The song is very catchy and very loud! It is a bedroom anthem that I’m sure will see a lot of people singing into their hairbrushes. “Black Out” is again like the rest a really great song. It is quite intense, with a high energy that seems to be a trend throughout this album. It has a really ripping guitar section and some great psychedelic lead parts throughout. “Bodies” is the only song available for free download from the album. It is truly brilliant. The extremely catchy sound is very radio-friendly and could be the next big hit. The backing vocals accompanied with a smooth bass-line are the real hook. It definitely seems to be the gem of the album. It gives a great example of what The Black Tambourines are
all about. “What I’ve Done” is quite a catchy song as well, the vocals and lead guitar really complement each other throughout this song, the repeated words “what I’ve done” give the song a distinct and memorable sound. “Crosseyed” is one of the weaker songs on the album. The lyrics are quite repetitive which makes it seem abnormally short. The lead guitar is really what this is all about. There is a great run half way through that really was the highlight for me. ”Lemon” hops straight back into the energy wave left by the first few tracks on the album. It is 1:12 of madness, pure energy and a nice blues-ey/ surf guitar run thrown in at the end. “Far Out Boy” is another high energy song. It actually has an early ‘Ramones’ kind of sound to it, which I thought was a giant plus. Overall it doesn’t change much, which is very typical of this genre. I found the chorus to be really catchy. I also thought that this was a great song to have near the end of the album as it keeps the energy levels high. “Back there again” is the last and longest track on the album. It complements the rest of the album and stays within the boundaries of their distinct sound. It is toned down a bit on the energy levels compared to the majority, but I think it is good for them to finish with a slightly more chilled song as it gives the album a good dynamic mix while still maintaining an overall feeling of high velocity energy. - 32 -
BLACK LIGHT DINNER PARTY Sons And Lovers
The blistering way that the synth comes across on “I Was Right” instantly secures your interest. The rich texture commendably underlines their ability to deliver tunes with a true flair. That is shown again with “Older Together”. While only two tracks in this album is already shaping up to be deserving of a place in the collection of any aficionado. The blissful awareness that is shown in how it is arranged seduces you unapologetically. “Light Around” opens with an assuming instance that sits quite well. The tempo has a knowing candidness that leads somewhere as the song begins to take shape. This shows the finesse playing away underneath. Things step out on the band’s terms with “Leave It All”. This gives the track identity as much as it does drive. The fanciful and fluid rhythm gives it the balance needed. How it connects is highly accountable and showcases buoyancy. “Gone Postal” also shows a broader approach in the arrangement. That direction allows the expansive side to be embraced from the more experimental approach shown. When “Lift Away” comes into the equation the charm they have in their sound is apparent. The quality staring back at you eases the sound across. The sway from how things are closed in is highly appealing, while there is great deal to be said for the catchy hooks in the
9 vocals and how they connect. With “We Are Golden” it hooks you from the intro. The patient way that things fall into place steers everything. Again they deliver a lot creatively, while the catchier side of things and the handling get a lot right in the mix. The tasteful cursive side running here parlays the essence of the song respectively. They settle down to everything on “All Around Me”. The focus is immediately felt. The catchy beat threaded through from the synth, settles in with the new wave sensibilities. There is something proven to how it is arranged that gets underneath the play to make more receptive. There is something rich and distinct to the beat on “Gold Chain”. It displays a rich retro feel while the vocals impart with good grace also. But it is a top tune. After that comes “Small Boxes”. Lifted from the promising piano based opening, the harder aspects in the sound come in and round out everything. When they meet with the lyrics the ambient elements are finely pushed out. The treatment of the song is evident leaving a top tune to admire in the process. Closed out by the eponymous track of the album, “Sons And Lovers”, they invest a lot in the track. There is something dedicated in how it weighs in. Everything matches the tone of the song. This proves to be the making of it all as the compact way it plays gives it a veneer to match that is high attractive. - 33 -
Begin Again They get down to business with “True Crusader”. The synth is a rich and textured affair that lights up when you hear it play. There is an instant appreciation to it in that regard, but the approach changes when the vocals come in to the equation. A lot is factored in that falls into place as intended. The industrial influences in their sound show effectively on “Chainsaw”. This has a strong European stock factored into the running order. Closing in the synth around the guitar finely drives the song along inn a clear way. The sharp feel of it is noticed. They then get into what they do best with “Jenny”. They follow through with the intensity of their style. As a result they keep the heightened running of it very much in check with the resulting tune carried off with the right amount of edge. The ambient side of their sound is shown on “Setting Sun”. The dramatic interlude in the loom is fed in equivocally. It settles it all as the finer points slide through and under. It is a song that rewards you for listening to it all the way through. There is a catchy beat that sees in “High”. Characteristically influenced by a 90’s vein it that it hits well. What results is a free and striking tempo that makes everything in the delivery effective. The catchy aspects of the sound are angled in on it to keep it hitting hard and fast. “Crash” is one of those songs that courses along.
8 There is a smart and raw quality to it that is locked down. Characterised by how it moves it is able to merge the synth and the rock side of their style effectively. “Bleed” yields a high retro feel that acutely steps in from the intro. The retro aspects give it a solid footing and it also has a flight that makes the difference. The way it cuts in on the track showcases something fashionable that is very much in vogue when listened to. That is evident again on “Step Up” but is more focussed. They grow into the sound here. How rich the synth is applied gives the song stature. Finding its groove sees it use all of this in the approach to great effect. “Zero 1” follows and it’s a more ambient affair on the intro. There is a slight expanse before the guitar cuts in. Behind that is the organic elements in the sound and they connect in a very acceptable way here. The lyrics also refine the song and play as much a part in firing it all up. “Begin Again” is the last inclusion. What is asked of the band is very much answered. This lights up and the abject way that the synth comes to be present on the sound is what gives it what is needed. There is also something retro accounted for that captures the essence, but it yields the right result from the approach. - 34 -
THE REIGNING MONARCHS
Black Sweater Massacre Every track on this album is short and sweet. There is a great deal of playing ability to each inclusion though which is why it proves to be a standout album. Opening number “It Might Be Perfect Right Now” develops a swing from the guitar that guides the track. The way that it seems to hang back delightfully showcases everything there is to admire about it. “Black Sweater Massacre” then follows. This proves to have a god calling with how the drumming and guitar effortlessly roll out. The clear and hard keel in the sound is neat and catchy, with a spry kick matching up nicely with the additional flourishes. They then produce a nice little number with “Murder Your Summer”. The rhythm seems to breeze by on it. There is a catchy and steady tumble about the whole thing overall. Next we have “Steakhouse” which seems to capture a more momentary sound. There is a loom and expanse presented. While the brass and jazz elements seem to caution the way the tempo comes around. A more lavish number is next with “It’s Always Going To Rain”. Again the weathered guitar that is a signature in their sound shows. There is a lot more on show here and they begin to demonstrate a more stylish approach that seems to embrace some more abject direction musically. There is a skittish feel to “Thuggery”. The pace seems to follow a trajectory, but in terms of it
8 being loaded and full on it is also a tune that keeps within a laid out structure. This is done quite well and shows for the right reasons. How the play rises on “Swamp Thing” clocks in smartly. The hard running of the guitar shows an appreciation in the handling, while on the whole it is a process that seems to convey a band being lost in the music. The brilliantly titled “Frankenstein Ska” is a top class tune. How it embraces everything in the ensemble gets it right on so many levels. The front shown in the delivery is a smart derivative that coasts along without anything holding it back. “Moto Guzzi” has a 60’s lustre to it. The jazz sensibilities of it are richly thrown in for good measure and they are very much the making of it all here. Returning to the sharp sound that denoted the earlier tracks on the album is “Roll The Tanks (Swea-Tah Up!”). It is also the first track on the album to include a vocal. The charged up rhythm is met with the right amount of pace. In short it fires it all up while also giving it enough time to languish when required. Penultimate track “Tanya Donnelly” embraces the dandy skip in the tempo quite explicitly. The candid way that it runs has a high appeal that sits well with the haughty reverence that careens through. The album is closed out with “Blood Red Moonflake”. Here the taut guitar has a say in the way the rhythm is built. What is locked in is very effective and they produce something that pushes out all the right essence from the off. - 35 -
The Golden Age
Review by Wynona Grant Forget modern day Indie and Pop-Rock songs blowing into the mainstream and being replaced by Folk on the underground scene and so on- the music scene seems to be a bit repetitive lately, don't you think? Well, fear not; when Joel Sarakula is firing out albums like 'The Golden Age', everything is refreshed. Kickstarting with 'I Will Deliver', the album takes a dive into an upbeat 70's Pop sound but develops a nice tint of the likes of Franz Ferdinand. Strong and prominent bass lines really define this track with electric guitar riffs peaking in for the chorus. 'The Lows' takes on a more mellow tone with a steady consistent beat. Nicely relaxed vibes float around this track, showing a fantastic vocal range and sort of reminiscent of a slight Bob Geldof/Boomtown Rats essence.
Waltzes for Lilliputians
True and relatable lyrics are very much perfected on this album, especially in tracks 'Present Tense' and 'Shadows', the latter of which is the best song on the album in my opinion. 'Present Tense' excels lyrics which speak about the passing of time and the progression of age and generations, while gliding on an impressive melody. 'Shadows' is probably the most heartfelt track on the album, with real emotion shining through the lyrics.
Review by Wynona Grant For a first full-length album, Italian duo SignA (Stefano Schiavocampo and Massimiliano Gali) have indeed pulled off something with a fantastic abundance of tracks. 'Letter to Any Other' opens on a long instrumental journey to smooth, echoing and almost distant vocals. The entire track lays on an acoustic sound but almost battles with a distorted echo of vocals which shadow the instrumentals.
The album is concluded by 'Who's Gonna Love You Now'. This track combines all the admirable elements of the nine previous tracks but polishes them with fantastic male/female harmonies. Taken over by a slightly more gentle rock sound, it's a wonderful track to close off this top notch album.
Tracks like 'Morrowards' showcase the real folk influence and elements in SignA's music. Having toured extensively across Germany, Sweden and Denmark, and with live experience gained in Milan, Berlin and Dublin, it's evident that many different sounds and qualities shape their definitive sound. 'Bright Ideas' is a track of a sincere mellow nature which executes quite a calming atmosphere. The plucking of guitar strings hiding behind flawless harmonies from the two Italian gents. 'Old Man' is probably the most mellow of all the songs that are included on the album. It moves away from the synth and just falls back on acoustic and husk-like vocals at the centre. Title track 'Waltz for Lilliputians' takes on the role of being second last track, and provides an entirely instrumental chapter to the album. Grasping such a gentle and peaceful sound with chords and drum beats, it acts as a great â€œwind-downâ€? song.10th and final track, 'Where The Crickets Dig' is the longest track on the record, with eight minutes on the clock. This timeframe gives the track a massive span to wrap everything SignA are about. The entire album seems like a journey; with more upbeat, feel-good material towards the beginning before gradually cooling down at the end. It is a fantastic record to re-ignite what the genre of Folk is all about.
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DAMN TERRAN The album signals the intent with “Provokasia”. This hits hard and fast with no let up. The harder feel of the sound turns throughout it and as a result a rich and atmospheric production presents. This lets you know what you are in for in a good way. “Lost” develops a catchy loop and the way that the guitar drives the sound on it shows the intent of the band. The way it is all focus is able to keep up with the leaner feel and run to it. The vocals are fed through and keep the raw style of it all intact. Again there is real presence showing on the urgent way “Simon’s Song” is played. The hard way that they hang the play out on it necessitates the raw attributes to leave it all very much on the right side of edgy, but also keenly embracing a progressive side. On “A Killer” you are very taken along for the ride. This is dark and unapologetic, but they also push through something very defined. The way the rhythm rolls out on the guitar coupled with the lyrical delivery sweep it all through. They then produce a catchy and mean effort with “Wrong Things”. By contradiction they seem to get a lot things right on this one. This is easily a song that shows them getting behind it in terms of playing, while also stressing a true sense of identity in the process. The resonance in the wall of sound that is “Rebels” is located on the intro. The attitude and ballsy way that they lean into it here is able to legitimately
produce something to admire for remaining true to what it deems to be the measure of its own worth as a song. “Pills” is just what the doctor ordered. This is played the way music was intended. The way that they embrace it feels very natural and the curve in the sound is able to show that here is a band with a sense of purpose to what they are trying to achieve here. They lean into it and it shows. The catchy riff on “Downtown” pulls you in. The awry way it all runs turns on the style while also holding the band’s own stamp up for all to see. The wheels are very much in motion as it jostles for appreciation. They let it off the hook with “Burlesque Dancer”. The hard style of it resonates in a way that sees them throw themselves into the process as a whole. The spirit of the play characterises what they are about as a band. “So Ordinary” cuts up on the inside. The way that it deviates from a slower handling on the intro is well gauged. There is also a deeper tone that converges in a full on way that is passionate and convincing in equal measure. The same goes for “Uncanny Valley”. Yet there is a more shoegazer style worked into the rhythm. That is high on appeal though as it allows the harder rock side to come together sweetly with it all. The steadfast way it rolls is very much the real deal. The last track here is “In Your Dreams”. The drumming and guitar clock in harshly on it. The way it all comes around is forceful and ever present. A lot can be said for the way the lyrics cut across. Simple, yet highly effective. - 37 -
2 AM ORCHESTRA Working To Divide
“Heads And Tails” opens the album and it has a proven running about it. The resonance in the rhythm commendably pushes it all the way. The way that it all rides up settles in and the point at which they find their feet ties you to the song. The way that the vocals ooze in on “Ain’t Got The Fight” nicely fits the charm that the song has. The rhythm gets around and under the overall delivery and that is what gives it the weight it needs. A fine piano and change in direction brings “Believe In Me” through. There is however something thorough that governs the way it is all played. There is an ease and comfort centred in the sound, yet it is also capable of pulling through with that charm very much kept intact. With “Six Lines Of Ash” they seem to delve into a more nuanced sound. The melancholic calling of it is stared down with the lyrics venturing into a territory that is quite selective. The bustle from the bass and the other hooks in the sound does embrace that niche quite evidently. They then move away from that with “Unstuck”. The clean way that they have about them on this one allows them to figure out a lot of things. Hard and fast in one respect, it also cleverly comes around to further the appeal of the song. Then they seem to lay back on “Have It Your Way”. As a result the sound is more contrived and slowly eased into. The dark feel of the sound seems to match the habitual way that it drifts.
8 Things do however hang in with a harder impression as it progresses. They fall away on “Fire Escape” with a song that is able to develop a carefree rush to it all. The way it is all built relies on the approach, yet how it all collects is very engaging. The purpose of it is evident and builds the song in a telling way. “Karmic Wealth” is definitive and shows the identity that they have. Built around a hard gild the song has a way of finding its way. That is sown into the decorum of the rhythm here. As a delicate and intricate sound comes through we are presented with “Fortune And Glory”. It plays out with a sense of direction and purpose that smartly comes together. They go for it on “The Garden”. It situates on the playing in a way that takes stock of the performance. The way it pulls through proves to be a good turn that leaves its mark. The way that the pace and vocals cut across convince fully. A more lithe sound that embraces an upbeat and funky turn sees in “Living Longer”. It is able to give the song the good sense of mind to turn smartly. The smart shuffle in the tempo justifies that assessment. Weighing in to close out the album is “Working To Divide”. The endearing way to it holds up quite well and the way that the play circulates proves to be the making of it all. - 38 -
International Acts BLINDNESS Last One Dies
Review by Wynona Grant Opening with a synth-boosting intro, title track “Last One Dies” gives everything here a punch. There is a real electric vibe fuelling the track, mixing an upbeat Indie style with a more old-school grunge foundation. Giving the EP a powerful attitude to follow through on, it acts as a catalyst and a wonderful opening track. Flowing into what appears here as a more mellow track, 'Humming Song (Intentions)' takes a real soothing, steady beat of electric guitar laying on drums. Eventually, a rustic, heavier shadow scurries across the track to give it that rawness we expect to hear from Blindness. Third and final track, 'Serves Me Right' is the definite stand out track for me, illustrating a dominant bass line through the entire three minutes. The vocals are very much centred to this track also, and the instrumentals really benefit from this. This EP, though slightly bland in places, is definitely worthy of multiple plays. That is on account of the well written, power-filled tracks with diverse elements spread amongst them.
.......................................................................................................................... Magic Man You Are Here EP Review by Wynona Grant
This 5 track EP from Pop Punk/Indie group Magic Man is one bursting of energy. It kicks off with 'Texas', a punchy upbeat track forcing you into a foot-tapping and head-bopping mode. It almost has a Two Door Cinema meet The Coronas vibe to it; and it actually works incredibly well. Keeping with the place name process, follow-up track comes in the form of 'Paris'. Taking a less abruptly powerful angle to their sound, they still deliver an energetic sequence of chords and keys underneath the expected “poppy” vocals. 'Every Day' is the definite stand-out track for me, both as a result of its melody as well as its intricacies. Developing a satisfactory level of synth sounds peaking through the track, Magic Man portrays massive potential to make it in today's industry. Closing track 'Waves' is possibly the most generic sounding of the EP. It's the sort of track that will see people rocking out to its electrifying melody, but could also be heard at some dance-orientated rave night.
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Although it contains well written lyrics, it's not the sort of record that is lyrics-dependent as it just had so much more appeal in the instrumental aspects and music in general.... And if that's a complaint, then it's a damn good one!
Motherhood Murdering EP
Review by Wynona Grant
This dĂŠbut EP from Motherhood is one damn impressive first record. The pop riff that unfolds in opening track 'Blood Blush' makes the track incredibly catchy. Accompanied by almost transparent vocals, there is a real progressive feel to its sound. A slight essence of Foster The People seems to shine through many tracks on this. Third track 'Taylor Mountains' really stood out for me. A gentle piano highlights the mellow vocals exerting well written lyrics. As a result it becomes a pure, smooth following track in general; it definitely nominates itself for the best song on the EP listings. 'Otherman'- which is the final track essentially wraps up everything there is to love about Motherhood in a neat bundle of catchy, easy-listening material. This track really does finish off a fantastic offering with a burst of pride, and I really don't see a reason to award this anything less than the good mark it earned.
.......................................................................................................................... The Bingers Land Lobster EP Review by Wynona Grant
Have you ever imagined what Nirvana would have sounded like if they collaborated with The 1975? Don't worry, now you don't have to... The Bingers are here! A rustically hard-hitting melody of grunge-powered guitars takes over the title track of this EP. Almost too overpowering, I felt the track could have done with more vocal recognition. The following tracks on the EP follow the same style, with 'Burnout' holding a very slight Country-Rock tint. The guitar picking laying behind the harsh vocals does tend to tangle in well and create a more vintage sound. 'Cheetah High Heels' takes on a real Nirvana edge in terms of the guitar but just fails to follow through on the depth and sanity of the vocals. Almost falling into a noise-filled mess, this track is brief and to the point before flying into 'Young With You'- the better song of the EP.
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Overall, this EP lacks complexity massively, and just doesn't cut it against the standard across the board in the music industry today.
BIG TREE My, How You’ve Grown
Review by Jamie Kelly
Recorded in June this year this is their fourth EP and has hopefully provided them with the breakthrough tracks to bring them to the next level. “Believe” is a very powerful song. It brings all the elements that make up Big Tree and throws it all into one song. It sets a very high standard for the rest of the EP to follow. “Wonder” is my favourite track here. I think this song is very complete and well-rounded. It contains all the essential elements that are needed to bring the song to the attention of the masses. The distinct backing vocals really bring a hook and engrave it into your memory, making it an almost instant hit that stays with the listener for the whole day. “San Francisco” is a great song. This is very easy listening at its best. I like how in “Wonder” the focus of the song is very much on the vocals and the rhythm but it also focuses a bit more on the guitar. It makes things more dynamic and whole as a collection of songs. “Like a Fool” is very chilled and again focuses on different parts of the band compared to the other three tracks. I like the way the vocals are telling a story as it gives a very different sound, but then the small vocal solos in the chorus remind you what this band are about. These small vocal melodies give all their songs a very distinctive sound. “My, How You’ve Grown” Is full of emotion! The atmosphere in general makes fora great song, but maybe wasn’t the best choice to end with as the happy uplifting vibes given off by the first four tracks is kind of diminished by the power of this one. This EP is a really great collection of songs. I found the songs to be very easy listening and pleasing to the ears in general.
.......................................................................................................................... 18 ARCHES Undefined
Review by Jamie Kelly Released back in February, this Newry band have been working to forge a hold on the music industry for the last couple of months. The first track “Will You Be My” has a high level of musicianship and gives a good overall example of what 18 ARCHES are all about. Although being slightly repetitive, the song has some really great moments and opens the E.P with a lot of positive energy and fast momentum. “Walk Away” comes in with a nice chunky guitar riff and real depth. The vocals come in and bring another element. There are some great lead parts throughout, and, overall, this song is probably the best from the four.
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“Hit The Brakes” is quite the anthem in its own right. It has a really good tempo to it, and a good powerful chorus that everyone can join in on – “pack you’re shit and go”. “Without You” is quite stereotypical of this genre and fits its place to complete this EP It’s a song about being better off “without you” etc. Overall the song is pretty good. It has good changes in tempo and velocity that make it a good end to the EP.
The opening track on is the fully loaded “Just In Time To Be Late”. It proves to be a well thought out affair. The way that it loses itself in the playing is a truly mesmerising affair that has to be heard to be believed. There is not a foot put wrong in the process and the retro feel about it is also delightful. “Gentle Idea Of Life” is something with a more cautious and guided approach. The lithe way that the guitar dances across on it seals in the right balance needed for it to be considered in its own right. It is motioned through in a very convincing fashion. The style changes to something hard with an edge to it on “Day By Day”, but it is riled up from start to finish. That definition is an attractive prospect about it and there is no doubting that. On “Reason To Stay” it all seems to sit up of its own accord. Here what is accumulated in the playing is cleverly taken stock of. The result is a truly enigmatic listen that showcases why there is a lot to appreciate from his approach here. “Daughters” has a fraught tone that is brought about quite shapely. The way it is projected in the opening gives it a thoughtful sway. It is very broad and the way that it is all tailored truly opens the whole track out. The final inclusion here is “Love And Grace” which again seems to blend two genres. On the one hand is a guitar driving it along to suggest a rock influence, whole on the other is a deeper synth based style. The fusion of the two is blissful to hear and the way that it all holds together is spellbinding to an absolute tee.
.......................................................................................................................... STEF CAMPBELL Bad Girl Boots This hits the ground running with “Bad Girl Boots”. There is a shapely tumble to it all that sweetly comes around. The country styling doesn’t let up and the way that the playing leathers through rolls over with a considerable appeal to it all. That shakes it up and the finesse in her vocal application also kicks it along steadily. The wonderful way that she glimpses the playing on “If I’m the World” is something that puts a kind turn upon it all. The fine way that the rhythm is rolled thorough is quick to garner the right qualities and invest them inward to bring out the best in it here. The final track is “My Front Door” is an easy enough effort. What stands it good stead is the way the folk influence of it imparts upon. The vocal is a delivery that also shows a particular effective trait that works also.
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XAVIER CARDRICHE In Due Time
The Brooklyn artist’s EP is one that plays to the strengths that he has as an artist. It also proves to be an interesting listen if you consider it to be an effort comprised of two halves. The eponymous opening track commands a lot of admiration. The way that he sits behind the playing gives it all a timely and warm stance that wiles away pleasantly on this one. This is a song that very clearly pays its dues. A different direction takes off on “Busking On The Thruway” but it gives it a strong sense of get up and go. The relative and easy way to it all gathers in a defined way that takes stock of the task at hand. The handsome approach serves “The Riddle” quite well. It figuratively gives it all a concerned feel that dispels the calmer points in the playing in a telling way. The lyrics convey this point distinctly. It makes the most what it sets out to and does so quite well. There is a lot to admire from the hard way that “Ball + Chain” comes together. From the opening the appeal is evident. It sees it all through and fixes on the entire process deliberately. That makes it a keen effort overall that comes up with what is asked of it. A live version of “Be Mine” is the first of two live tracks included that were recorded live at Kitty’s. The audio quality is given careful and due consideration. As a result it is able to finely get under the play while the second inclusion is “Talkin’”. The harmonica filters through to give it a listless feel. How it is played in shows a lot with the bass playing on this track driving it forward. A remix of “Ball + Chain” is a welcome inclusion. There is a lot that distinguishes it and the voice is given more clarity in this version. For that it all stands out for the right reasons and makes it weigh in finely in the process. A demo of “In Due Time” is the last track included. It slowly sows away a very abject tone that pertains to identify with what the story that the song tries to tell. It is a defining effort and one of true artistic merit.
.......................................................................................................................... MAD NURSE The Rip The opening track “Violent Dreams” pushes things out. The shoegazer styling gives it purpose. There is also a clean running to the rhythm here that is quite the efficient turn when applied. It eases its way through. “Remains” is another track that seals in those qualities yet again. This time around there is more weight and authority hiding behind the way that it all collects. It builds steadily and that is what proves to be the telling point on it all here.
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The sound develops a more upbeat skip on the intro to “Seven Shreds” which in turn settles into something that is full on new wave all the way. The way that the rhythm is released on this one is deliberated and the force that it hits with nails it all down pat. The EP closes out with “Future Perfect”. There is a graceful application in the dutiful way it toils away. That is a descriptive feature that turns in smartly on it all the way through. Yet it also holds in thorough way to get underneath the progressive way it moves as it plays.
MODEL AEROPLANES Crazy The song follows through and there is a desirable feel to it. The clever way that the calypso elements in the sound covet a lazy position in the sound before merging with the harder rock points is well handled. There is a comfortable and lush tone to the vocals which adds to everything, but it is the indie style of it which really makes it a fine tune.
.......................................................................................................................... BABY STRANGE Friend
This is a song that has tune written all over it. There is something smart that is gauged about it all. They ride in on this with the utmost integrity. It shoots from the hip in terms of how raw it all necessitates, but the edgy kick to it is eventful and brings out the best in it.
.......................................................................................................................... WHITE SUMMER Head In The Sand The guitar that rolls across on this one is clever and catchy. It is so groovy and the way that the rest of the song carries together really gives it the appeal it deserves. There is a lot to relate to in the way that it all peels away that leaves you breathless in appreciation. Get on this is our advice.
.......................................................................................................................... EARTHSHIP Anyway The jazz fusion on show here is truly impressive. It gives everything a good calling while also necessitating something delightful and innovative in the process. There is a sweet manner about the way it all articulates with the little retro kick form the synth proving to be a good call on it.
.......................................................................................................................... FOXGLOVE Shields Of Fire Quite distinct in terms of how the voice haunts the track. The piano plays seamlessly in to give a broad stirring to it all. The way that it locates the right things shows a certain degree of measurement about it all. It finds what it strives for and the warmth closes around it in a way that smartly carries through. - 44 -
SISTERAY Take It Away This hits you with the lean break from the beat. Yet what also comes in to the reckoning is the catchy hook from the guitar. It is an infectious and upbeat trait that it able to tame the wild nature of the song quite effectively. This is a well figured out tune that takes you away with it from start to finish.
.......................................................................................................................... CAT DOWLING Somebody Else
The heavenly way that this song braces itself in a definitive way that sets it all up. Here the hard cut to the rhythm neatly plays in. While the other graceful trait to this one is the way the lyrics and vocals marry to the delivery. This is a truly excellent effort that deserves a lot of praise.
.......................................................................................................................... BALLET SCHOOL Heartbeat Overdrive One could be forgiven for thinking they had stepped out in a disco c.1983. That is on account of how highly retro this proves to be. The synth is an absolutely gorgeous application in the rhythm. How it crosses over and influences the running of the track is what gives it heart. The sultry allure of the lyrics also has a credible delivery to back it all up.
.......................................................................................................................... INDIGO BEACH Stolen By The Sun
How they catch things in the opening gives way to a laid back rhythm that is high on appeal. The charm of it cannot be denied. It matches that approach with a vocal that lights up the song. It has a feeling that it seems to belong in the way it breaks the song down before breaking into the harder moments of the delivery. It is a solid effort all the way through.
.......................................................................................................................... FRIENDS OF EMMET Coming Apart This is a solid offering. The way that it develops a canter holds up well on it. This sees it go the distance, but the tight way that they keep hold of everything allows it to remain on course. The harmony is a detailed process that gets so much right. The glow from the endearing way it all runs is a clear and consistent showing.
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ANIMAL BEATS Cheap Carnival This has a lot to the way it drives along. Here the sensible styling of it is a consummate affair. The way that it all distinctly comes together holds well. The catchy side of the beat is fed in from the guitar riff that is central to the rhythm. Makes you take notice of the band for their music.
.......................................................................................................................... LECTRALIPS NSA
The way that it guides in is quite charming. The way that it gets down to business pushes the catchy side of it through. There is a deliberate way that it is all tipped over. The organic stylings of it are very effective. They seem to land something definitive in how it elevates the catchy and chic side of the track. This is why it is brimming with excellence.
.......................................................................................................................... ABLE ARCHER Patches This is brought about quite deftly. The subtle way that it all sits purposefully is delicately poised. As a result they seem to find the licence to step out quite freely on it all. The fine way that it all holds is there to really see and admire. The strength of the song is built on this.
.......................................................................................................................... THE HUSH Hanging By A Thread
Armed with an elusive element that keeps it all close, this seems to unravel as it plays. The steadfast way it is all opened and when it all collects there is a decent effort on show. The way that it hangs serves it well. Therein lies what it is all a bit. But what is also able to work alongside that drift is the way the vocals paint the mean side of it when required.
.......................................................................................................................... ALVAREZ KINGS Postcards From Berlinâ€? This is a clever piece of work. The soothing qualities of the song denote the quality that ties in on the arrangement. The knowing way that it is all applied allows it to slip comfortably into gear. When it does that the very best in the song is there for all to hear. This is why it so appealing.
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The U & I 4x4 is the editorâ€™s pick of four videos selected from our various music networks. These recommendations are then featured as a dedicated playlist on our official YouTube channel. The October 2013 4x4 consists of the following artists: (with the respective music network indicated in brackets)
Darren Sylvester -
"Dream Or Something Like That"
(Australia) The David Nelligan Thing -
"Who Is Sylvia (By William Shakespeare"
(Ireland) Million Little Gods "Mammoth" (Ireland)
The Judes -
"Lets Fall In Love Again"
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Interviews with Puppet Rebellion, Liz Seaver, Frankentein Bolts and Crow Black Chicken. SCENE & HEARD with semi-final #7 The King Kong Club...