Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tara Masterson Hally - 'To The Flame'

"Does he see the girl I'd like to think I am? / Or does he see a fool? I Know I can..." 
It may be only the sixth track she's delivered upon us thus far but Tara Masterson Hally has already carved out an impressively distinct sound for herself. As with previous tracks (such as 'Lingering'), 'To The Flame' is an atmospheric little bundle of wispy instrumentation and yet more affecting introspection. It's meaningful and emotive and though, in times ahead, it would be interesting to see a change in pace/direction, these candle-lit gems sure fit nicely for now.

Tara Masterson Hally plays Dublin Camden Crawl this Saturday.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Girl Band - 'In My Head'

Yep, late to the party again but sure that's what happens when you're halfway around the world. I'm home now so lets just blame the jet-lag. When it comes to Girl Band it seems I'm particularly late as I've been hearing their name for a quite some time now without ever properly investigating. They've been name-checked by certain people in the know as one of the bands to watch in 2012 - so what to make of their debut single 'In My Head'? Well, if it sounds like 4 lads in a garage banging out some tunes then that's exactly what it is but don't they do it well? Aptly described by themselves as 'noisy guitar music' this is a ferocious, unpolished little burst and one which makes up for its lack of refinement with sheer, unashamed gusto. Clocking in at a mere two minutes it leaves you wanting more - a great sign for any single.

'In My Head' is out now via Any Other City and you can catch Girl Band at this year's Indiependence festival.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cfit - 'Plausible Deniability'

I had an inkling from the start but many listens later I can confirm that yes, I do love this song. Initially, I was somewhat bewildered by it. This can be attributed to either its length (a hefty 7 minutes) or its tone (unusually patient and poetic) but it's a definite slow burner and one that requires some patience to appreciate. It's a bruised, messed up tale of woe that most can relate to and I admire its honesty. I liken it to the musical equivalent of a recently crushed heart; wherein the victim - attempting to take the moral high ground - offers a contained and measured lyrical affront, before the vitriolic crescendo finally wins over.

Cfit are a band from Dublin whose debut album Triage was released last year.

Hear more from them via Breaking Tunes.
"For denial purposes, I'm not really listening. 
For denial purposes, I'm not really listening to anything.
From a lack of discipline I am barely functioning.
 For the want of discipline I am barely functioning.
Stay safe, you little psycho. You earned a difficult laugh. 
Stay safe, you little psychopath.
Are you really listening? Are you ever listening?
Show me something worth believing and I'll believe in it.
Insincerity's no good place to start. 
Come on, darling, please, open up your arteries and show me something that's worth fighting for."

Milano Sun - 'Already Gone'

These bare-torsoed chaps are Milano Sun from Gothenberg, Sweden. Their promo shot suggests a strange aversion to clothes but judging by this, their debut single, they're in no way averse to joyous, laid back hooks. This is easy to digest pop that's armed with enough finger-tapping power and sparkly little touches to make you pine for summer. Lovely stuff altogether.

Download ‘Already Gone’ for free via Soundcloud

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Cast of Cheers - 'Family' (Video and JAPE Remix)

Following the whirlwhind success that was Chariots (it has now been deleted for some reason) Cast of Cheers' return with their first single proper and it doesn't diappoint. 'Family' is an another absolute belter, packed with more of the same taut, punchy riffs and ridiculously catchy vocals (familee-hee-hee!), it's the type of track that gets your limbs flailing and lips moving. Having relocated to London last year and having recently received props from Zane Lowe, they're undoubtedly a band on the up and up. 'Family' is released on 20th February on School Boy Error/Cooperative Music and the eye-twitchingly good video - which is directed by Russell Weekes and made up of 5,000 separate photographs -  is available to view below.

Also below is the new Jape remix of the track, which offers a more chilled, elongated take on things.

New Video: White Collar Boy - Capslock (Feat. Gemma Dunlovely)

I loved White Collar Boy's Solar Midnight EP and 'Capslock' - arguably the best track on it - now has an accompanying video. It comes courtesy of the creative types at 1441, a new collective comprised of DIT students, and it features some nice time-lapsed footage interspersed with shots of Gemma Dunlovely, whose sweet vocals are present on the track itself.

Download 'Capslock' and the entire EP for free now from Soundcloud.

You can also catch WCB live on Thursday February 2nd at The Grand Social.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Music: Solar Bears - 'Alpha People'

Solar Bears' debut release - 2010's She Was Coloured In - was a stylish, artistic piece of work that evoked images of distant realms and cosmic notions, bringing the listener on a colourful, sensual journey. Thus, the return of this Dublin/Wicklow based duo is an exciting proposition and buoyed by the beautiful vocals of Keep Shelly In Athens' Sarah P, their new single 'Alpha People' doesn't disappoint. The track debuted on Pithchfork last week, with Eoghan from TPOE analysing the potential impact the site can have on the success and spread of ones music.

It's initially strange to hear such a dominant focus on vocals in a Solar Bears' track but it soon feels second nature. Solar Bears' have oft spoken about their ties to film (their name is taken from Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky) and the trend continues here. In fact, as that opening keyboard riff rolls into the opening verse it evokes visions of a rogue female in a futurisitic city a la Blade Runner...or is that just me? Either way, it's a truly fantastic track and one that demands continued listens. Despite this, you also get the feeling that Solar Bears' true talent shines best in a collective piece of work, namely their second album which will hopefully be upon us sometime soon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lightbox Fundit Campaign: Get Involved with Ireland's most promising audio-visual artists

Be it single downloads, funky new remixes or even bumper gigs - when it comes to getting musical freebies, we're a little bit spoiled for choice in this country. Now, here's your chance to give a little something back. Some of Ireland's most promising electronic beat-makers and visual extraordinaires are coming together and taking their respective treats on the road in what they are calling the Lightbox tour.

The tour will have 7 acts: Bantum, Feel Good Lost, Monto, Reid, Sert One, Simon Bird and Tenaka and will call into Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway, Belfast and Waterford over a week at the end of February. There will be interactive workshops before each gig, where people can get a feel for how the audio-visual work on offer is composed, as well as guest DJ slots from Nialler9, Jim Carroll, Logicparty and Ian Malaney.

Obviously, there are costs involved here and this is where you come in. Lighbox have set up a FundIt page where you can contribute to the tour and in return receive a personalised reward such as a special album featuring unreleased material or even a gig in your own gaff. Naturally times are tight at present but whether you can afford a little or a lot, this is a great opportunity to be part of a commendable DIY movement and give a little something back. 

There's less than 10 days in which Lightbox must reach their target so get involved and spread the word.

Feel Good Lost Showreel from Feel Good Lost on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

STL's Top Songs Of 2012:: Part Three - 20 - 1

>>> Part One: 60 - 41

>>> Part Two: 40 - 21

And now...le finalé.

20) Patrick Kelleher – ‘Broken Up Now’

Patrick Kelleher followed up his stunning debut with Golden Syrup, an album which took him and his Cold Dead Hands in even stranger and more intriguing directions. Some of these new ventures worked and some didn’t. Surprisingly however, the one which made the most lasting impression on me was the most simple one; a short and sweet little concoction that's fuelled by anxiety and unsurity.

05 Patrick Kelleher and his Cold Dead Hands - Broken Up Now by Patrick Kelleher

19) Austra – ‘Lose It'

Flourishing in the wake of last year's SXSW festival, Austra's vocal pirouettes captivated many, including myself. Just listen to that voice.

Austra - Lose It by Annie Mac Presents

18) Dog And Panther – ‘Giant Hands’

This song came out of nowhere, gripped me by the heartstrings and never really let go. A stirring, emotive little ballad full to the brim with romantic grandeur.

Dog And Panther - Giant Hands by French Kiss

17) Tandem Felix – ‘Canyons’

Another of my favourite home-grown bands to emerge this year and one deserving of much greater exposure. Taken from their Tweedledee collection, ‘Canyons’ is the pinnacle of a band whose hushed, sweeping sound came to dominate many of my late nights in 2011.

Canyons by Tandem Felix

16) Outfit – ‘Two Islands’

The debut single from this Liverpudlian lot is a dense, enthralling affair, laden with gothic touches and an absolute belter of a refrain. More please.

DD007 A1: Outfit // Two Islands by Double Denim Records

15) Tara Masterson Hally – ‘Down We Lay'

One of my favourite finds of the year. A fledgling Irish songstress whose minimal acoustic laments were lined with cathartic rumblings and a beautiful, soul-stirring voice. On first hearing I described it asmusic for the late night walk home, with only shadows for company” and nearly a full year on I still feel this sums it up best. 

  Down We Lay by Tara Masterson Hally

14) Hush War Cry – ‘Lily’

With nods to both the brooding work of Echo and the Bunnymen and the playful duo-vocals of Wild Beasts, the first track from this Cork outfit is incredibly accomplished. A tantalising debut effort.

  Hush War Cry - Lily by echoparade

13) James Blake – ‘The Wilhelm Scream’

Blake’s debut album and I never fully meshed, and only certain tracks did I truly get what all the fuss was about. None more so than on the spectral and haunting ‘Wilhelm’s Scream’. As it transpired this track was in fact a re-working of James Litherland's 'Where To Turn', which Blake's own Father produced back in the day.

  James Litherland - Where To Turn by abeano 

12) - The Gorgeous Colours – ‘Chopped Heart’ / 'It's OK To Be Normal'

With two fantastic singles this year it was a difficult choice of which Gorgeous Colours’ track to much so that I decided to join them at the hip. ‘Chopped Heart’ is sprightly and warming, while ‘It’s OK To Be Normal' is mournfully beautiful. Enjoy them both, according to your current mood. Needless to say - I'm looking forward to that new album immensely.

  Chopped Heart by The Gorgeous Colours

It's Ok To Be Normal by The Gorgeous Colours

11) M83 – ‘Midnight City’

Euphoric and intoxicating; this is music made for the late night dash into town, the city lights luring substance-lined veins closer into its jaws. 
    Midnight City by M83 

 10) Tieranniesaur – ‘Sketch!’

If there was an award for the funnest album of the year (and there should be) then Tieranniesaur’s debut effort would snap it up easily. Bursting at the seams with super vibes of the funk, pop and disco variety, it bounced out of the speakers with a strut and a swagger and on ‘Sketch'  head honcho Annie Tierney delivers the sassiest of put-downs. God help that person in question.

  Sketch! by fihyde

9) We Cut Corners – ‘Go Easy’

'Go Easy' arrived in a year which saw We Cut Corners finally deliver their debut album, winning over many with their melodic and powerful tones in the process. Not bad for a pair of school teachers. 

  We Cut Corners 'Go Easy' by The Delphi Label

8) Lana Del Ray - ‘Video Games’

Hard as it may be, if we ignore the hype (and the subsequent backlash) then what we are left with is a beautiful track from a beautiful singer. That's good enough for me.

  Lana Del Ray - Video Games by editradio

7) The Drums – ‘Money’

Effortlessly simple indie-pop that sticks to your synapses. Not every track on this list is going to alter your perspective on life; some – like this one - just make it a lot better for a few minutes.

  The Drums - Money by orchardmktg 

6) Spies - ‘Barricade’ 

Following up on last year’s top notch debut EP, new single ‘Barricade’ (and its accompanying B-Side ‘Weaker Body’) brought more of the same compelling tightness, gushing riffs and startlingly mature lyrical capacity from the Spies lads. New to the fore on this occasion however, was a far greater appreciation for an anthemic chorus - an attribute that should hold them in good stead for a prosperous 2012 and beyond.

  Barricade by spiesdublin

5) Moths – ‘<3’

There’s not much else to say about 18-year-old Jack Colleran, that hasn’t already been said. His homespun electronic beats have been written about and digested the world over and if recent developments are anything to go by, big things lie ahead. 'Blisters' is among my most played tracks of the year but '<3' and it’s chilled, summery vibes are the standout. Exciting times.

  <3 by MMOTHS

4) Clock Opera – 'Belongings'

This delicate, piano-led lullaby surges, morphs and blossoms into a mesmerising  rhythmic flurry…and then you realise you haven’t blinked in 3 minutes. Such a beautiful track.

Belongings by clockopera

3) The Horrors – ‘Still Life’

The sound of a million epiphanies played out by way of a warped, yet euphoric beat. A seminal and life affirming piece of music.

The Horrors - Still Life by The Recommender

2) Wild Beasts – ‘Reach A Bit Further'

The pinnacle of an album where Wild Beasts confirmed their status as one of the most interesting, unique and quite simply best bands in the world. The manner in which the twin vocals tease and toy with each other is simply magnificent. For full effect savour the acoustic version from Paris, c’est magnifique.

Wild Beasts / Reach A Bit Further by Constellations Festival

Wild Beasts, garage session from Télérama on Vimeo.

1) Jape – ‘The Oldest Mind’

The most pertinent example yet as to why Richie Egan is among our most talented and treasured artists. Lyrically it is astute and cerebral, musically it is inventive and challenging. I ached over how to do an album like Ocean Of Frequency justice; re-writing and re-formatting the review numerous times before leaving it in a regretfully growing 'to-do' pile. In short OoF is incredible. It is a bold piece of work that stretches the Jape modus operandi in captivating new ways and rewards the earnest listener with an array of intriguing and absorbing sounds and textures. This track, and this record, mark a magnificent pinnacle in Jape's evolution, and you get the feeling that yet more exciting experimentation and barrier breaking work lies ahead. When you consider the group's humble, acoustic-centred beginnings such an evolution is all the more commendable. In saying that, they can still do the simple thing well – check out the superb 'Lying On A Deathbed’ as reference.

  Jape - The Oldest Mind by theyounglion

Monday, January 9, 2012

STL Top Songs of 2011:: Part Two - 40 - 21

Following on from Part One - here's the second batch of my favourite tracks of the year - enjoy! 

40) Jerome's Law - 'Albedo'

  07 Albedo by jeromeslaw 

39) Last Days of 1984 - 'River's Edge'

  Last Days of 1984 - River's Edge by echoparade 

38) Love Inks – ‘Blackeye’
Love Inks - Blackeye by WorkItMedia

37) Bright Eyes – ‘One For You, One For Me’

36)  The Dying Seconds – ‘Mora Minn’
Mora Minn by thedyingseconds

35)  Come On Live Long – ‘Elephants and Time'

Elephants and Time by Come On Live Long

34)  Squarehead – ‘Axes Of Love’

07. Axes Of Love - Squarehead by Republic of Music

 33) Goodtime – ‘Behind This Sun’

Behind This Sun by GOODTIME

 32)  Radiohead - 'Codex'

31) Summer Camp - 'I Want You'

I Want You by Summer Camp

30) Gotye – ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’

  Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra) by Gotye

29) PJ Harvey – ‘The Words That Maketh Murder’
PJ Harvey - The Words That Maketh Murder by Vagrant Records 

28) Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘Shuffle’
Bombay Bicycle Club "Shuffle" (radio edit) by GrillMarketing 

27) Wu Lyf - 'Cave Song' 

26) Hello Moon – ‘The Calculus Affair’

The Calculus Affair by Hello Moon

25) Land Lovers – ‘The Cinema Bell’

02 The Cinema Bell by LandLovers

24) White Collar Boy – ‘Noah’

  Noah by White Collar Boy 

23) Tune-Yards – ‘Bizness’

BIZNESS Tune Yards by CristinaBlack 

22) Cashier No. 9 – ‘Goldstar’

Cashier No.9 - Goldstar by Pachinko Records 

21) Active Child – ‘Hanging On’

Active Child: 'Hanging On' by Ragged Words