Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Video : The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - 'Heart In Your Heartbreak'

Excellent new video from POBPAH (that bloody name...) who I had the pleasure of interviewing last week.

With a host of much-loved bands clearly embroidered on their collective sleeves, the New York outfit have delivered a bolder, poppier and damn right sterling return with their second LP Belong. On an album brimming with shoegazey early 90s splendour, 'Heart In Your Heartbreak' is an asbolute gem of a track and quite frankly, breaking up has never sounded so good. 

Belong is out now and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart play Dublin's Button Factory on June 1 with tickets priced €16. 

Video courtesy of Pitchfork.

Gig Preview: James Blake

I previewed James Blake in today's Metro Herald, in anticipation of his gig in Whelan's tonight. The character who usually does them, Eamonn De Paor, is a genuinely outstanding writer to whom I could never compare but it was a nice challenge regardless...

It’s fair to say James Blake is this year’s golden boy. Fuelled by an appearance on the BBC’s Sound of 2011 shortlist, the 23-year-old’s eponymous debut album has been met with a wave of critical acclaim since it landed in February. After two diverse EPs, this was the album that saw the producer cum singer-songwriter finally make the shift from the murky confines of the dubstep genre, to the mainstream. But that’s not to say young James has sold out in the process. Devoid of the delightful indie rambunctiousness of The Vaccines or the pop sensibility of Jesse J, Blake has instead forged a path with a sound that’s all of his own and boy, is it a strange one.

A stuttering theme of frailty and desolation prevails throughout, with an off-kilter amalgamation of minimal, glitchy beats tempered only by consistently warped vocals.  You won’t find a two-minute, three-chord wonder here that’s for sure. With its distinctive piano-led opening, Blake’s cover of Feist’s ‘Limit To Your Love’ is undoubtedly the most direct route into his repertoire, while the muted desolation on ‘Wilhelms Scream’ is similarly alluring, particular once the soulful honey-dipped vocals kick in. It’s a challenging creation, and one which says plenty by saying nothing at all; with Blake’s pauses and drops creating a brooding, cavernous effect and turning the atmospherics up to 11.

It takes time for the full effect to seep into one’s pores and for many there’s no doubt that it simply won’t. Regardless, the masses have been lapping it up, with tonight’s Whelan’s show selling out in double quick time and Blake becoming the darling of the music press in the process. Make of it what you will but there’s no denying that Blake has transcended the normally stringent boundary between violent originality and mass popularity. Longevity is another issue but for now, there really is no limit to the love.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Introducing: Christina Perri

I was lucky enough to amble along to see Christina Perri, a new American pop hotshot, for Hot Press recently and if she's to becomes a smash hit sensation in Europe I want  you to be able to say you heard it here first! So here we are, good acoustic pop tunes backed by a seriously strong voice that could see her make it big - enjoy. 

You may not know her yet but with 12 million Youtube hits already to her name this pint-sized poplet has been making huge waves state-side and she soon showed why; sweeping away a select few lucky attendees with an intimate lunchtime showcase in the Clarence Hotel’s Octagon bar.

Opening number 'Bang Bang Bang' is a passionate upbeat jaunt which Perri describes midway through as a "song about revenge". For a girl of just 24 she certainly has enough personal experience to draw from, with a whirlwind marriage and its subsequent divorce already behind her. Indeed, this theme of loss and separation is evident throughout, particularly on the aptly named 'Tragedy'; a sombre lament in which she moved from acoustic guitar to keyboard with notable ease.

Perri described next tracks 'Arms' as an "upbeat little tale of letting love win" but it's her ever-excellent voice which triumphs, shifting to even greater heights on a track which bears more than a touch of similarity with fellow songstress Laura Marling. To close, the Philadelphia native delivered 'Jar Of Hearts', a song which she admits changed her life completely. Speaking to her after the show she reminisced of how a friend had sent her demo to another friend wherein it ended up on hit US show 'So you Think You Can Dance' and a rake of sales and record contract offers followed. Brimming with emotion and anguish throughout, it's no surprise the piano-led anthem struck a chord with many and it seems custom-made for the finalists of next year's X-factor.

In what was her first live performance outside of the US, Perri showed she has a clear penchant for writing emotive, love-lorn tracks and this coupled with her outstanding voice marks her out as a definite one to watch for 2011.

New Video: The Minutes - 'Black Keys'

For all the burgeoning electronica (Moths, The Casanova wave), driven indie (Spies, Bipolar Empire) lush acoustic numbers (Villagers, James V. McMorrow) and general oblique mentalness (Patrick Kelleher, Adebisi Shank et al) what's been lacking (to my ears) from an admittedly amazing Irish current music scene is a balls-to-the-wall outfit that I can identify with - someone with swagger, gusto and tunes in equal proportions and Dublin three-piece The Minutes are making a strong claim for that title.

They've been doing the rounds for quite some time now but 'Black Keys', their debut single on Model Citizen, suggests big things and follows in the vein of last year's equally excellent 'Fleetwood'. Check out the stylishly aggressive black and white video below and buy the single now via iTunes. 

New Music: The Return of Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes return with a new 12-track album on May 3, entitled Helplessness Blues. In typically modern fashion a couple of cuts from the album have already appeared online with 'Battery Kinzie' and the title track promisingly sounding like upbeat bristling folk anthems, with comparisons veering from Simon & Garfunkel to Belle & Sebastian. With the sun in the sky and summer fast approaching, now's the perfect chance to get re-acquainted with your favourite band from 2008. 

Fleet Foxes - Battery Kinzie by One Thirty BPM Courtesy of One Thirty BPM.

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues by subpop

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Music - White Collar Boy

Having introduced him a short while ago and been majorly impressed by his initial batch of home produced recordings, Dublin's White Collar Boy has thrown a couple of new tracks into the mix. 

'Here We Go Again' is a euphoric, instrumental number, while the wonderfully titled 'Angel Headed Hipsters' has a lush, chilled out vibe as it meanders along for an enjoyably spacey six minutes. 

'Angel Headed Hipsters' will feature on White Collar Boy's forthcoming debut EP, which is set for release early this Summer.

Check out the STL review of the initial batch of tracks and sample the new ones below:

  Here We Go Again! by White Collar Boy 

  Angel Headed Hipsters by White Collar Boy

Introducing - Dog & Panther 'Giant Hands'

It's funny how life works. A recent work placement has left me writing about music on a daily basis, casting the pseudo-cathartic role once played by this here blog redundant and thus, this page intermittently barren. Regardless, the good will out and there have been a few songs over the past few weeks which are crying out to be shared. Firstly, I introduce to you Dog & Panther

Well, not so much Dog & Panther per se but their track 'Giant Hands'; a wondrous little creation which nestles nicely between the heart strings in a shy, endearing manner. Brash it most certainly is not and if played in the background, it's possible that it may drift by without much notice. Upon closer inspection however, its appeal heightens - a charming romantic serenade with the most striking opening verse I've heard in yonks. There's more than a touch of Death Cab For Cutie of the entire construct as it develops into a confused, insecure tale; embellished with off kilter percussion, varying riffs and some whistling - what more could you want? What's even more astounding is the 'making of' video which accompanies it and simply, has to be watched. It shows the Michigan based outfit develop the entire track from random ideas (including banging on a pillar for a drum beat) to the fully fledged song which your ears are now thanking you for playing - essential viewing.

The track, the making of and the lyrics are as follows:

Dog And Panther - Giant Hands by French Kiss

you'll never be
free from me
you're far too nice
your heart is twice
the size and breadth of mine
you won't be here forever
but right now i'm what you need
there's not one for everyone
but this is the closest you'll ever be

and it scared you how tightly i was holding

and it scared you to let go
you never told me i was pretty
you just drove the wrong way home

dripping holes

cells resolve
we will never be friends
the matter folds

your skin and pores
you know more than you pretend
if ever said
love's greatest spent
love is fear under a veil
giant hands
on water dense
we will never be friends

and it scared you how tightly i was holding

and it scared you to let go
you never told me i was pretty
you just drove the wrong way home

and it scared you how tightly i was holding

and it scared you to let go
you never thought that i was ready
you just lied to make me whole

don't give up on me

your eyes are here for now

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Video: Strands - 'Chow Bell'

Another sweet stop-motion video, this time courtesy of Strands, the solo project of Steve Shannon of Halfset fame.

According to the blurb the video consists of stop motion imagery of a wide assortment of vintage audio cassette tapes. All the imagery was either scanned with an Epson 4490 flatbed scanner -or- shot with a Canon 7D, then Photoshopped and sequenced to create this montage.

~~Rewind~Press Play~Enjoy~~

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bewilderbeast - Slow It Down EP

Want some glistening chillwave jams? Course you do, so check out Bewilderbeast, a new two-piece project from York. Their debut Slow It Down EP is a collection of dreamy, airy tunes which merge into one long, tranquil embrace...and yes, that is a compliment. 

Get it now from their bandcamp.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New Music: Wild Beasts - 'Albatross'

Oh yes. After the rip-rollicking ride through medieval mental-ness and wanton lust that was Two Dancers, Wild Beasts are back.

The first track to emerge from the new material is a track called 'Albatross' and though immediately recognisable it's clear things aren't quite as 'wild' this time off. 'Albatross' arrives as a more tranquil affair altogether - lush, with a sumptuous spine, and delicately dressed in typically high pitched vocals and matching quiet swoons. In truth, I kept waiting for it to kick in but on repeated listens I've come to appreciate it as a more reflective, soothing number; a dipped toe into the new album which will surely boast the usual flurry of oblique references and triumphant tunes.

The song will also be free to download from the band's Facebook page from tomorrow.

Wild Beasts play this years Forbidden Fruit festival at IMMA, Kilmainham.

 Wild Beasts - Albatross by DominoRecordCo 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Introducing - Leaders of Men

Leaders of Men are a new five-piece from Tallaght in Dublin. These lads certainly have pedigree with most members having been involved with numerous other local bands throughout the years including The Cades, who played Oxegen 2008 in their heyday. 

With a new demo many over-zealous bands succumb to the lure of arriving all-guns blazing, trying to rush too many ideas into too little a time. Not so here however, and opener 'Happy Here' is initially a subdued, slow paced affair. The opening crystal clear vocals are carefully wrapped around brooding textures and atmospherics, before a thundering kick-in-the-face moment arrives midway through, and the whole lot climaxes in a memorable head-bopping outtro. 'Up Against The Wall' meanwhile, is similarly slow burning but with a more sinister undertone. A shuffling drumbeat and cleverly layered guitar effects mask the sombre lyrics at play to create an equally rich, ambient mix in the vein of The Walkmen's more reflective moments.

It's always hard to tell with demos but these two tracks are accomplished, mature and memorable in equal proportions, in a package which bodes well for future releases.

Judge for yourself by downloading the tracks below and catch them live when Leaders of Men play The Workman's Club on Saturday 12th of March with support from Joe Price, Gypsies on the Autobahn and Late Fragments. Click here for full details. 
  Leaders of Men by damaged_audio  

Introducing - The Casanova Wave

I've been meaning to do a post on The Casanova Wave for a while now and what better time than with the sun currently shining over Ireland's normally dismal skyline. 

The Casanova Wave is the solo project of Waterford man Brian McCartan who produces a sprightly mix of jangly, glitter-covered electronica through a clever combination of synths, guitars, drums and just about everything else. McCartan's creations are a positive blend of chirpy beats, sounding like hand claps and smiley faces, with a tremendously danceable element throughout. In short, the perfect soundtrack to a sunny day.

I recently caught the live act at the Cock and Bull 5 in the Grand Social and I'm glad to report the warmth present on the EP was just as effective on stage. 

You can catch The Casanova Wave at Workman's Club, Dublin on Sat March 19th and Vantastival in Louth on May Bank Holiday weekend.

Listen to the album below or part ways with €5 and it's yours for download over on Bandcamp.

// Myspace // Facebook //

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hidden Irish Indie Hits #5 - Revelino

Latest track in the HIIH section is a stunning track from a band whose debut album was voted the 47th Best Irish Album ever by Hot Press. 

Despite much national acclaim and a mention by the infamous John Peel, they disbanded soon after, though they did surface in 2000 with a new album. 

'Happiness is Mine' is taken from their aforementioned 1994 eponymous debut with a sound comprised of grungy early 90s and some more melodic softer moments. A true 90's Irish indie anthem.

Check out:
HIIH #1 - Conor Furlong

HIIH #2 - Kharma 45

HIIH #3 - OrphanCode 

HIIH #4 - The Marshals