Friday, April 29, 2011

Trophy Boyfriend - 'Feels Like Autumn' (The Casanova Wave Remix)

Feels like summer more like. Waterford based The Casanova Wave has taken a glitter-covered hand to Dublin act Trophy Boyfriend's new single 'Feels Like Autumn' and bolstered it with a dollop of sunshine and good vibes. The original will be released as a digital download from Bandcamp on May 4th and will feature this remix as a B-side. 

Listen to both below and also check out Trophy Boyfriend's ace take on ASIWYFA's 'Search:Party:Animal'.

  Feels Like Autumn (The Casanova Wave 'Feels Like a Caribbean Cruise' Remix) by Trophy Boyfriend

  Feels Like Autumn by Trophy Boyfriend 

  Search:Party:Animal - Trophy Boyfriend Remix by Trophy Boyfriend

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Music: Patrick Kelleher and his Cold Dead Hands - 'Miracle Candle'

Having treated us to numerous covers over the past while (In Your Eyes, Angel Baby) Patrick Kelleher finally returns with concrete news of a proper new album entitled Golden Syrup. This new creation is done and dusted and set for a June 18 release by Osaka on LP, CD and Download.

Anyone who knows me will probably have heard me harping on about Paddy's debut You Look Cold LP at some point but 'Miracle Candle', the first track to emerge from the new album, signifies an intriguing shift in direction. Where You Look Cold was all eerie desolation and acoustic flourishes, 'Miracle Candle' is a souped-up electronic medley, complete with a tripped-out guitar solo at the end and a frenetic pace throughout. 

The album launch is provisionally set for Saturday 18th June in the Grand Social (with support from Declan Q Kelly and Magic Pockets) though the Body & Soul clash may see it changed.

Patrick Kelleher and his Cold Dead Hands - Miracle Candle by Patrick Kelleher

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Video: Sacred Animals - Live in Crawdaddy

The debut Welcome Home EP bowled me over initially, and a few months on I'm still firmly smitten with Sacred Animals. Veering from lush to delicate, and soothing to troubling throughout, this is music for the soul and these live performances of 'Wired, Islands' and 'Chosen Seed', courtesy of Present Tense Productions, confirm that such careful arrangements have been successfully transferred to the live show. 

Sacred Animals play Whelan's Upstairs with Low Sea this Friday. Full details.

Download Welcome Home from Bandcamp now.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Tunes Roundup: Summer Camp, Austra and Milagres

Trying to keep up with all the tip-top tunes that emerge daily is a tricky task. It's only inevitable some slip through the cracks so here's a little golden trio of songs that have been pleasing my ears as of late...

From a band whose name conjures up images of friends singing Kumbaya and toasting marshmallows around a fire, Summer Camp's - 'I Want You' is a surprisingly dark and aggressive venture into the excesses of love and lust, by way of throbbing synths and disconcerting lyrics.

  I Want You by Summer Camp

Austra were huge at this year's SXSW so I'm a little late to the game here but Jesus, what a voice. Drawing strong comparisons to Kate Bush, it's an ethereal, soaring presence that transforms a simplistic, brooding track into an operatic anthem.  Signed to Domino, their debut album Feel it Break is out May 16th.

    Austra - Lose It by DominoRecordCo

Milagres' - ' Glowing Mouth' is a slow-paced, slow-burning but mighty fine indie jaunt all the way from Brooklyn...and it's a free download too, ker-ching! 


Thursday, April 21, 2011

EP Review: Jerome's Law - Knives Of Concrete

With the massive glut of bands vying for your attention these days you really gotta have something different to stand out from the crowd. Interesting artists are consistently emerging from every pore of the island, never mind the mountain of international invention that now lies only a click away from us all. Unfortunately, such originality is simply not evident in enough quantity on this Dublin outfit's debut EP. 

Opener 'Adding And Subtracting' lays its marker from the off and doesn't stray one iota. A painting by numbers alternative track, it sets a precedent for an album of solid but unspectacular arrangements, which is crying out for a burst of vitality. There are some bright spots however; the psychedelic flurry in the middle of 'Throwing Knives' is a gust of unexpected warmth, while 'Safe' and its hazy folk melody is the obvious stand out track. Such moments of originality surface all too briefly however and retreat quickly beneath the hood of the conventional. The five-piece shouldn't be disheartened though - they're clearly a solid group of musicians with good vocals throughout and there's plenty of scope for improvement. A short, sharp push beyond the traditional is the order of the day so just put down the guide book, pick up a mandolin/vocoder and write about viewing the world through a kaleidoscopic - you never know where it might take you.

The EP is available now via Bandcamp and you can also find Jerome's Law on Facebook.

Gig News: Spies headline Whelan's this Saturday

Cannot wait for this one. To coincide with the release of their truly fantastic new single 'Barricade' Spies play a headline slot downstairs in Whelan's this Saturday, April 23.

Tickets are €8, which includes a copy of the single and support on the night is from retro vibers The Pacifics and the impressively lush and intricate sounds of Tandem Felix, both of whom you can listen to below.

If you can't make it down on the night then Spies also play in-store at Tower Records on the same day from 4pm AND if you're not around at all (or have legged it off to Australia like the rest) then you can watch the entire gig from the comfort of your own home via UStream - the wonders of technology!

Listen to 'Barricade' and its equally impressive B-Side 'Weaker Body' below now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Introducing: Avalance Ammo

Stemming from the mind of one Anthony Boland, Avalanche Ammo is Kildare's answer to the high strung instru-mental-ness of trend setters Enemies and The Redneck Manifesto. My general love of all things vocal means I'm generally in two minds with instrumental acts, but laden with hooks and a frenetic energy throughout, there's enough verve and ingenuity to make this debut Animals EP worth your time. Similar to a vocal-less Cast of Cheers in parts, it's an exciting, feverish racket, with 'Owl Speak' emerging as an undisputed highlight.

Get it now fo' FREE from Bandcamp

Find AA on Facebook // MySpace

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Introducing: Spilly Walker

By now you should be familiar with David Kitt's solo work. From the initial acoustic flourish of The Big Romance right through to the beat-driven splendour of The Nightsaver, Kittser has been one of the most essential Irish artists of the last decade. Recently recruited by The Tindersticks, he's also well known for his side projects and with a burst of nepotism herein lies another.

Based on "a desire by two brothers to hang out and create music inspired by musical treats exchanged between them" Spilly Walker is a collaboration between David and his younger brother Robbie. Offering up sprawling electro tunes with a memorable burst, Spilly's tracks have a knack of working their way into your bones, with a strong resemblance to David's recent synth-infused output evident throughout.

Initially emerging a few years back, constant talk of an album release has yet to materialise, leaving fans like I to feed off the odd gig and uploaded demo. The duo played a cracking set at last year's Electric Picnic while there's fresh hope in the from of new track 'The Only Way Through Is The Music'; an instantly catchy number which is euphoric in a subdued sort of manner. 'Let The Freak Come Out At Night' has been a mainstay in Kittser's solo shows for quite some time, while 'No Future' and 'You'll Never Meet A Guy Like Me Again' (available via MySpace) are downright essential. 

Fingers crossed for a proper release soon but in the meantime there's enough good tunes to enjoy as we wait with bated breath.

Find Spilly Walker on Facebook // Myspace

 Latest tracks by Spilly Walker

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Eric & Magill - 'Gentle, Polite'


During a valiant last ditch attempt at organising my college notes I happened upon a notepad from during the year, where I had kept track of songs to be written about here. Most have since been covered but this one escaped my grasp. In truth, I've no idea where I heard it but as a breezy, hushed gem of a track it deserves to be shared. Its soothing tones perfectly reflect the cover image of a crushed pink lakeside sunset and to me, it sounds like a sentimental ode to the end of an era.

'Gentle, Polite' is taken from Eric & Magill's All Those I Know album which is available for free download now via Bandcamp.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Interview: Declan O'Rourke

Earnest troubadour Declan O'Rourke is back with another album intriguingly named Mag Pai Zai. I caught up with him for a few quick words with the Metro last week and though I haven't heard much of the new album, he'll always have my respect for songs like 'Sarah' and 'Galileo'. 

What exactly does ‘Mag Pai Zai’ mean?
It’s a play on words. One of the songs is about these two brothers in New York who hoard everything and there’s a line that says 'He saw the whole wide world through the magpie’s eye' and I thought it sounded nice…and oriental.

How does this album differ from the previous two?
I think it’s a little bit more mature. I’ve always produced my own stuff so I know what I’m doing a bit more in the production side of things. It’s warm and sounds a bit more uniform - I had a lot of fun making it and it was quite an easy process.

You suffered from writers block in the time preceding the album’s creation - that must have been a challenge? 

I had to take it for what it was. I was probably trying to refine my approach a bit too much so I had to stop stressing over why it wasn’t working or what was wrong. It was a great learning curve about how I can motivate myself to do these things and an insight into the key that turns the lock; I learned a lot and it won’t be happening again too quickly that’s for sure.

How did you snap out of it?
It’s very hard to describe, I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t writing and it was about discovering what inside me was stopping me. You need a part of yourself looking back on the process and figuring out how your brain works. It was an interesting time - it wasn’t a lot of fun, it was quite scary actually, but it was all the more sweet when the release came and it was like ‘Yeah I know how to do this!’

Do you have a distinct method of song writing now?
You try to tell yourself all of these rules on how to do it but you just have to let yourself be free. You have to let your brain have some fun, let your imagination run wild and not be so critical of yourself - I had to act unlearn a lot of stuff.

You left a major label to form your own – why?
It just didn’t get me any where that I didn’t think I could get on my own. I have no control over the other records, so I do now and there’s also the propensity to make more money.

Do these big labels deserve the criticism they get?
They have a lot to answer for. They serve a purpose to a point, especially money wise but if it’s a case of them being just a bank then you’d get a far better rate on a loan from the bank. If you get a loan from the record company they own the records and you get a small percentage of the money made, so it’s kind of ridiculous. Functionally, they do have an infrastructure in place for getting it promoted but in the age of independent music, unless you’re in the top tier they’re not going to spend that much or take risk on you anyway. They also kind of kill individuality which is a huge drawback.

What’s the biggest challenge of doing things on your own?
Money. It was tough and it took longer than expected as we had to stop at certain hurdles and wait until we had the cash to jump over it but we got there and hopefully this one will pay for the next one!

So was this latest album produced on a shoe-string budget?
It was intended to be but we didn’t scrimp and we ended up paying whatever we needed to make it sound right.

You’re soon setting off for your first full-band tour in three years; do you prefer these to the solo shows?
I really enjoy playing on my own but I like to chop and change it. It makes it exciting for those going to the gigs and it’s also nice to present the songs in different ways. I’m really excited about playing on this band as the guys that played on it are really great musicians that I clicked with and they added something really special.

 Was one of these musicians Paddy Casey? I heard rumours of collaboration?
Not quite, I just recorded one of the instrumental parts in his house but we’re great friends. We bounce ideas of each other and there was a couple of time where he came in and helped push me in the right direction, and I think we do that for each other. It’s good to have a musical head who can come in with a fresh pair of ears and suggest something.

And who would be your dream person to collaborate with then?
Cheryl  Cole. I’d like to produce her doing some nice songs as opposed to her usual pop crap.

New video: Squarehead - 'Midnight Enchilada'

The promo video for Squarehead's latest single 'Midnight Enchilada' sees the lads acting the maggot on the pitch and putt course as they're followed by some mysterious red dude...full marks for originality anyway! The song itself is a perfect few minutes of sunny fuzz-pop from a band who are bound to be huge when they're debut 11-track album lands later this year.

Squarehead play RAGE tomorrow @5.15pm as part of Record Store Day.

Squarehead 'Midnight Enchilada' from Rupert Morris on Vimeo.

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Video: Wild Beasts - 'Albatross'

This new one from Wild Beasts is growing on me with every listen. Initially I expected more from a 'comeback single' and was underwhelmed by it's lack of aggression but its subtle beauty has now managed to work its way into my pores. Sumptuous and reflective, its soothing tones are matched by an equally beautiful, avante-garde video where the band watch over a set of female dancers...

New album Smother is out on May 9 and Wild Beasts play Forbidden Fruit this June Bank Holiday weekend.

Introducing: Tara Masterson Hally

With Moths and White Collar Boy emerging as young talents in the respective electro/indie fields, here's another rising female starlet to keep an eye on - Tara Masterson Hally.

Both sparse and delicate in their own way, 'Down We Lay' and 'Cyclic' are two beautiful tracks; with a soothing, luxurious voice easily filling the spacious landscape. The angelic backing vocals on the former are a particularly inspired note and with lovely flourishes throughout, this is music for the late night walk home, with only shadows for company.

Check out her Facebook and SoundCloud for more information, and listen below.

  Down We Lay by Tara Masterson Hally 

  Cyclic by Tara Masterson Hally

New Music: Spies - 'Barricade'

STL favourites Spies are back with a new single. The follow up to the Dublin outfit's sterling debut EP, this two track release is of a similar standard - dark, brooding and bloody brilliant. Weird talk of a 'sister putting poison in your gin' precedes a smashing chorus on 'Barricade' and though more complex than their earlier work 'Weaker Body' is equally as polished and rewards repeated listens with inventive word play and a surging finale.

Spies play Whelan's on Saturday April 23 and having been left all a-flutter by their recent show in The Workman's Club I can't recommend getting in on it enough.

The single is available to download now via BandCamp and the physical version will also be in all the cool shops from April 23, as well as at the gig. It's worth it for that lovely cover alone.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Move over Jedward - Patrick Kelleher does Eurovision

Well...not quite. Ever the eclectic Patrick Kelleher has taken a step into early '90s power balladry with a cover of Niamh Kavanagh's 1993 Eurovision winner - 'In Your Eyes'.

Sounding decidedly more heartfelt than piss-take, a light touch of those quintessential Paddy K effects turns the dramatics of the original into a grainy acoustic lament. And the twelve points go to...

Check out the original below while you're at it.

  In Your Eyes (cover) by Patrick Kelleher

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gig Preview: Bell X1 in Vicar Street

As per today's Metro Herald, a snappy preview of Bell X1's upcoming Dublin gigs. 

A lot has changed since 2005. With the Celtic Tiger still roaring and house prices soaring, Kildare natives Bell X1 released Flock, a radio-friendly gem of an album which catapulted the band into the mainstream’s psyche. Having already featured on hit TV show The OC, all signs pointed to a career based on the insatiable pop-power of ‘Flame’ or the lush emotion-laden balladry of ‘Eve, The Apple Of My Eye’. Fast forward to 2011 however, and we find an altogether different prospect before our eyes. Rather than milk their past success, the band have pushed themselves in bold, new directions, veering off their expected path and reaping interesting results in the process. 

New release ‘Bloodless Coup’ is their most far flung yet - detailed, mature and atmospheric by the truck load. Its ingenuity is encapsulated by stirring opener ‘Hey Anna Lena’, where minimal, morphed beats are placed either side of a surging swell of a chorus, sounding like an embrace from a long lost friend. That’s not to say they’ve shunned their pop responsibilities for good though - ‘Sugar High’ is an instant hit of electro-funk goodness, while lead surging single ‘Velcro’ is an undisputed anthem at its core. As ever, Paul Noonan’s warm vocals dominate proceedings and the crystal clear acoustics of Vicar Street will serve as the perfect venue to showcase their commendable progression. Far from TV soundtracks it may be but having taken the road-less-travelled, Noonan and Co. should be applauded for keeping the flame lit in their own peculiar way.

Bell X1 play Vicar Street Tonight and Tomorrow (Sold Out). Tickets are priced €37.80. Check out the rather gorgeous 'Hey Anna Lena' below.