Channel Swimmer is the alias of Birmingham based Welsh beatsmith, aka 25-year-old Mathew Mayes, who, only a few months back, released his audacious debut record to the world.
A culmination of five years work, Alphabet contains 26 tracks ordered from A–Z, and clocks in at a nice 1 hour and 45 mins. Daunting as that may sound, this lavish exploration through through genres, styles and eras, doesn’t for one moment enter the realms of tedium. In fact, as soon as you hit play on this meticulously crafted record, you will be lost in a sea of breathtakingly lush layers, choice samples and snappy beats, which maintains a shimmering warm glow throughout. Alphabet is one of those records which manages a real sense of familiarity without having heard it before. Touching on feelgood territories usually associated with the likes of Washed Out, The Go Team, late ’90s David Holmes and our very own, The Expert, he’s created a sound which oozes nostalgic feelings for all manner of hazy summer days and nights. Channel Swimmer spent his time with this one, letting things simmer until things were just right.
There’s some choice cuts below but looking past that, you can pick Alphabet from bandcamp now, just ‘name your price’ and away you go. Dive in!
It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling lists, lists and more lists. Last year I asked bands and artists who’d played ‘BarryGruff Presents’ shows to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2013′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2013′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. After another successful year of shows, why break with tradition?
Right, that is enough from me, over to DJ Robbie Coffey and his picks from 2013.
Favourite song of 2013: Busta Rhymes feat. Q-Tip – ‘Thank You’
This song probably had an advantage over the others on my shortlist as it only dropped in early November, so it’s fresh in my mind and I haven’t completely worn it out yet! That said, I don’t see myself tiring of this anytime soon. Q-Tip and Busta are legends in my mind and they’re on top form here. Kanye West and Lil Wayne bring fuck all to the party and the video is shit but don’t let that put you off, this track is monumental! Taken from the Q-Tip/Busta mixtape ‘The Abstract and the Dragon’ which should be available any day now..
Favourite album of 2013: Mount Kimbie – ‘Cold Spring Fault Less Youth’
I’ve been listening to a lot of Mount Kimbie this year. I finally got around to their 2010 debut Crooks & Lovers, which is fantastic. I found Cold Spring Fault Less Youth to be a bit more accessible than their debut. This is probably partially down to the addition of vocals to the setup. For the most part these are handled in house however two tracks feature King Krule (‘You Took Your Time’ & ‘Meter Pale Tonne’). Both of these collaborations work really well, in a haunting kind of way! Anyway, if you have 40 minutes to spare I’d recommend that you let this album into your ear followed by Q-Tip (& Busta).
Favourite Remix of 2013: Justin Timberlake – Suit & Tie (Four Tet Remix)
It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling lists, lists and more lists. Last year I asked bands and artists who’d played ‘BarryGruff Presents’ shows to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2013′, ‘favourite song of 2013′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. After another successful year of shows, why break with tradition?
Right, that is enough from me, over to Keith from of The Dead Heavys and his picks from the year that was 2013.
Favourite album of 2013: Of Montreal – ‘Lousy With Sylvianbriar’
This album’s only been out since October but has already clocked up more listens than any other new release this year. Its quite a simple record (especially for Of Montreal) with a small band cutting it live to tape but the songwriting is just fantastic. Great melodies paired with some seriously dark lyrics (a- la ‘Forever Changes’), makes for a great listen.
Favourite song of 2013: Unknown Mortal Orchestra – ‘Faded In The Morning’
Great tune from a great record. It somehow manages to be lo-fi, funky, psychedelic & rocking at the same time. Also has a great hook running through it.
Favourite Remix of 2013: Jagwar Ma – ‘Come Save Me’ (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
Love the original track which has got a Phil Spector meets acid house vibe on it. The Weatherall mix drops the spector type beat and turns up the acid!
Favourite Irish song of 2013: O Emperor – ‘Contact’
Amazing band who really let loose on their new album. Great attitude & vibe to this track with so many different riffs going on throughout but never a not wasted.
It seems like a very long time ago since Death In The Sickroom introduced themselves with a series of fantastic demo’s.
Almost two years on, now signed to Reekus Records, the young Dublin quartet are prepping the release of ‘Tonight’, one of the aforementioned early demo’s which greatly impressed. Accompanying ‘Tonight’ is new track and b-side ’Brick to the Face’, which reaffirms their credentials for sparkling indie brilliance. The two tracks are penned for a full and proper release in early 2014, hopefully only the beginning of what is a big, big year for Death In The Sickroom. It’s always nice to see a band growing and progressing, they’ve got the jangley indie-pop sound down to a tee.
You can stream ‘Brick to the Face’ below or you can recap on the early demo’s here too.
Earlier this year Fold caught our attention with their stunning rework of Public Service Broadcasting’s ‘Theme From PSB’. A few weeks back, the Leeds based four piece released an EP of their very own, entitled Salvation.
Salvation sees a pairing of their unique musical stylings with the poetic lyricisms of Mr. Gee. This is a compelling collaboration of experimental downtempo, hip hop and trip hop grooves, smoothly and intricately incorporated around thought provoking politicized poetics; calling into question the behavior of politicians, the political system itself and the treatment and public perceptions of immigrants among other topics. Superlative in its entirety, Salvation is one of the most compelling and distinctive releases of the year, yet all records must have their standouts. In this case it is the title track, ‘Salvation’. A warm aural feast of soft drum rhythms, trip hop grooves and dubby layers, peppered with uplifting brass samples which are smoothly intertwined around Mr. Gee’s ponderous lyricisms. Marvelous stuff.
The EP is out on now on their own FoldFM label. Try the choice cuts out for size below, or pop over here and pick up a copy of the EP for yourself.
The Rifts are a four piece - Matt Thomas, Lewis Stubbs, Chris Platt and Tim Shotton – from my old stomping ground of Wrexham, in North Wales.
Formed last year, these four guys, all 18 years of age, are a powerhouse of indie-rock tunes, something their recently released debut EP, Between These Times is a testament to. The opening three tracks - ’Fly’, ’He Said, She Said’ and ’Fire In Your Eyes’ – are a full on, uncompromising and clattering onslaught of indie-rock fury; driven by pummeling drums, choppy punk-funk guitars, frantic rhythms and dashes of boisterous energy. Impressive as the opening salvos are, it is closer, ‘Between The Times’ which is the EP’s finest moment. Slowing the tempo slightly, it’s a grungy, ’90s garage rock sprawl, and a thundering four minutes of sharp edged riffs, menacing melodies and buckets of righteous fury. A touch of Pavement meets Idlewild circa 1998 if you will, which is no bad thing at all. These most promising of beginnings suggests rock’n'roll is alive and well, and living in North Wales.
You can check out two choice cuts from The Rifts below. If they are to you liking you can grab their debut EP, Between These Times from bandcamp now. Oh and it’s FREE.
Originally from Limerick but now based in London, Sisters are the trio of Niall, Aoife and Andrew, who we’ve been castling a watchful gaze over since they first surfaced midway through last year.
Early demos from the trio set the standard and they’ve been in fine form ever since, repeatedly impressing with one fantastic jam after another. Saying all that, their brand new single ’Hush Hush’, is on a whole other level. It’s three minutes of hypnotic, melodic and fuzzed up indie-rock. The combination of guitarist Niall’s rough vocals and rhythmic riffs with the silky, honeyed vocals of bassist Aoife just works ever so well. It swirls, it soars, and it drags you through a hypnotic and dreamy world where pummeling grungy riffs can be best friends the most heavenly of harmonies. ‘Hush Hush’ is a stunning way to sign off on 2013 and hopefully they continue this upward trajectory in the new year.
‘Hush Hush’ is released 2 December via Just Off Pop Records. You can stream ‘Hush Hush’ below, or watch their DIY video with footage from their recent tour with Big Deal.