From the humble origins of one man and his laptop, the musical life of Galway based Lost Chord has been one of fusion and evolution as they carefully pieced together what is now a tight and formidable five man ensemble. This organic coming together of differing styles and influences in a creative melting pot is obvious throughout their debut EP, displaying comparably the constant mashing of genres with admirable depth and diversity.
Ignore the self-deprecating title of There is No Lost Chord as it’s clear from the off there certainly is and they are comfortable in any quarter, be it jumping from the urgent and frantic post-punk ‘Cheats’ to the melodic, cheerful and hook laden ‘You Do Not Do’ and ‘Up North’. Lyrically it’s brimming with bohemian tales of lust, infidelity, trepidation and well-meaning perversion, while the instrumental ingredient endeavours to convey in tandem those and similar sentiments. The angry and menacing ‘Records not Fear’, an eloquent attack on the industry of fads, cool lists and the fear of missing the boat heralds these skills to the fullest for all to hear.
While these guys like to mix it up style wise they can be most easily classified as ‘indie’, in its purist form that is, which after all is about doing your own thing without the suits of the majors corrupting musical integrity. It’s a result for their first offering and it will be interesting to see where they go from here, up next is the Dublin launch of the EP in The Twisted Pepper on April 10.
I fortunately stumbled across this Siriusmo Mix on one of my favourite music blogs redthreat today and thought it was worth sharing with you. The mix is from Shir Khan’s Radioshow at Fritz: 23/3/2010 and it’s full of top quality tunes from the likes of Boys Noize, Erol Alkan, Les Rythmes Digitales, Squarepusher and loads of other gems that I’d been unaware of until now, always a sign to an excellent mixtape.
For the full tracklist —-> Go Here» thanks to redthreat
In the midst of my joyful discovery that Mystery Jets were playing Dublin I completely forgot about Band on an Island launching ‘Back Disco’ in Crawdaddy on the exact same night, it appears the curse of the Mystery Jets may have struck again and a rather tough decision is before me as there is no chance of catching both sets.
Band on an Island have been around for a number of years now and have gone through a number of personnel changes but are easily one of the best folk rock bands in Ireland today. The fusion of unlikely influences allows the band to jump from dark and angry tracks about frustration, often with anti-establishment undertones, to beautiful songs about the places and people they love from the town they grew up in. The bands real forte is their live performances so impressive are they that this year has seen them perform blistering sets supporting fellow Newbridge legends Luka Bloom and Christy Moore. Their last single ‘The Burning Shoulder’ reached #33 in the Irish chart, what are the chances of a repeat performance this time out?
‘Back Disco’ is taken from the superb Sound Sweep and is accompanied by the brand new B-side Chelsea Bards and is released on The Firstborn is Dead label and is available on 7″ vinyl and from itunes. You can read an interview I did with the lads earlier here
Following the demise of Milburn few would have been surprised if lead singer Joe Carnall withdrew from music altogether, simply packed his bags and took up the place he was offered at Cambridge. However he has proven to be made of tougher stuff than that, taking a place at Sheffield Uni allowing him to concentrate on his new musical project The Book Club. Initially a mere simple desire to write some new songs but as friends got involved in fleshing them out it was decided to take things more seriously, hence The Book Club were formed.
There are some similarities with his previous work i.e. his distinctive vocals and guitar playing but this isn’t Milburn part two. There is real lyrical progression and maturity displayed here in dealing with issues of greater substance than going out drinking and chatting up girls. At a first glance it appears the break from music has allowed him to hone his already notable talent for social commentary and story telling. There is also a greater political tinge sneaking in to the proceedings with tracks on the band’s debut EP dealing with the recession and the Hillsborough disaster, perhaps hanging out with Billy Bragg had a greater effect than most thought.
While unsure about the name of the band, I’m pretty excited about the few tracks I’ve heard and hopefully something really good comes from this.
The Book Club released their self-titled debut EP on March 19th and are currently touring the UK which includes my old haunt, Wrexham’s Central Station. You can get the rest of their demos from their MySpace.
I’m not normally one for bands getting back together because for the most part there generally awful and motivated by ego and the promise of a quick buck. There have been some notable exemptions to this rule such as blur last year and I have something of a cautious good feeling following the discovery through the Guardian, The Libertines are set to reform for a headline slot at the Reading and Leeds festival in August. Pete Doherty and Carl Barât have apparently put aside their differences for headline show. This will finally end years of rumours and speculation of a reunion since the split in 2004. It remains to be seen whether or not this actually works out because even back then it was rare for Doherty to make the gigs regularly.
Needless to say I am excited, Up The Bracket was in my opinion one of the best albums of the last decade and of critical importance to the rebirth and rejuvenation of the UK indie/rock music scene. Neither Doherty or Barât has really reached the heady heights of The Libertines since they went their separate ways with Babyshambles and Dirty Pretty Things, although Doherty’s solo album with Graham Coxon did come close. With talk of future gigs and possible new material it’s surely an outside bet that these guys will be at Electric Picnic, isn’t it?
On the day that sees George Galloway’s ‘The Mother of All Talk Shows’ have its last broadcast before the general election in Britain (what will I do with my Sunday mornings?) some good news has thankfully arrived here at barrygruff towers. My mate and blogging extraordinaire Nialler9 has won his well-earned and deserved fourth best music blog award in a row at the Irish Blog Awards in Galway last night.
To celebrate no champagne or the like but here’s a tune from the memory banks of Ciarán Dwyer.
‘Ghouls’ is taken from Boe Weaver‘s self titled debut which has been playing away here non-stop at barrygruff towers. They make strange, exotic and heavy instrumental music with lashings of fuzzy northern soul, psychedelic surf rock, Krautrock jams and sound hugely influenced by spaghetti western and horror b-movie soundtracks. The album itself is something you’re not likely to have heard before, I will give it the justice it deserves at a later date but for now feast your eyes and ears on ‘Ghouls’, the video of which is magnificent akin to a psychedelic cocktail of Trigger Happy TV and Super Extra Bonus Party.
Second albums and their difficulties are well documented in the music world and they don’t come much more difficult than this. Four years ago The Sunshine Underground released the very promising Raise The Alarm which was well received by critics and punters alike but just when it looked like they were destined for bigger and better things the disappeared. Much has changed in their absence in particular the New Rave scene which they were lazily pigeonholed into is effectively dead, so how does the album fair out?
Nobody’s Coming To Save You is spearheaded by their renowned fervor in a number of distinctive barnstormers full of synths, beats, swirling guitars and the familiar and opulent vocals of frontman Wellington with ‘Coming To Save You’ and ‘Spell It Out’. By the time the midway point is reached with ‘A Warning Sign’ it certainly feels like it has been worth the wait as the ferocity and intensity both musically and vocally appears to have no let up at all.
However as we enter into the final stages of the album things become less cohesive as suspicions that their heart and roots always lie in more traditional rock are confirmed with tracks ‘The Messiah’, ‘Change Your Mind’ and ‘Any Minute Now’, all of which are heavy on the indie rock side of things. While they are delivered carefully and with all the confidence and attitude we have come to expect from the likes of Kasabian or Oasis something seems a little out-of-place as a result.
Nobody’s Coming To Save You has to be welcomed as it heralds the return of one of the most promising acts back into the fold. While it delivers a lot particularly vocally, it feels somewhat like an album that has been caught between two stools in an attempt to try and deliver some change, once that can be resolved they could potentially be firing on all cylinders. Roll on album number three, hopefully we won’t have to wait another four years.
Happy days! Amidst all the discussion surrounding the Electric Picnic line for 2010 which I will deal with at later date, I have just discovered Eel Pie’s finest, Mystery Jets are playing the Academy on Friday April 17. They have always stood out in what has been in recent times a largely bland indie ‘scene’ due to talent, eccentricity and peculiarity making them one of the best bands around. While their debut was ambitious it was a little lack lustre but the follow-up Twenty One on the other hand was absolutely fantastic. I saw these guys way back in 2004 (for £4) supporting Bloc Party in a club in North Wales and they stole the show that night, but alas since then they have proved for one reason or another to be very elusive until now.
I’m Belfast bound today and it got me thinking about the rich cultural and musical heritage of the city. I’m not going to bore you with a long-winded article about cultural history or differences that exist in the city as I’m pretty sure we’re all aware of this and it sounds more like a module to be tackled on an undergraduate degree course. Both past and present there has been a steady stream of great bands and musicians to emerge from the city but for me it will always be what it brought to the world of punk that makes it special.
In the late 70’s at the height of ‘The Troubles’ very few musicians would dare journey to Belfast or elsewhere in the North of Ireland with the exception of Rory Gallagher that is. This must have fed the musical despair and anger which led to one Belfast band in particular, Stiff Little Fingers setting the world alight with their debut album Inflammable Material. One of the key elements of their music is like all the great punk bands they looked at the socio-political environment they lived in and challenged it, in their case it was writing non-sectarian songs about the Troubles not just causes far away like the classic ‘Alternative Ulster’ and bloody curdling ‘Suspect Device’ to the brilliant much-needed and humourous ‘Barbed Wire Love’. The album became the first to be distributed by Rough Trade records and was the first independent album to chart in the UK when it reached number 14 in 1979.
Inflammable Material is still worthy of attention years later and their brash and angry punk is still as rousing today as it was then (I can imagine) especially if your lucky enough to get their material on vinyl. Lest we forget that Belfast is the city of Good Vibrations record label and store founded by Terri Hooley in the early 1970’s which is responsible for bringing Derry’s The Undertones to the world too.
Having already established a redoubtable reputation for their explosive live sets at home and abroad, Wounds take aim at an unsuspecting public with Debut EPDead Dead Fucking Dead.Wounds are possibly one of the most surprising acts to emerge from Dublin’s murky underground in recent times, assaulting the senses with a potent brand of hardcore punk fuelled by manic drums and dangerously addictive riffs. On a first listen it heralds memories of hearing The Exploited for the first time as a teenager.
The EP explodes out of the blocks with ‘Trees’ and ‘Ugly Mouth’ setting their stall out that they mean business with chugging riffs and furious drums accompanying shout-out-loud choruses throughout. They build up momentum and energy each time like an unstoppable juggernaut to reach an almost explosive crescendo with highlight and penultimate track ‘Pyramids’. This caustic racket leaves the rest of the songs seeming relativley tame by comparison due to the sheer strident and incendiary nature of this caustic racket.
This is a band that demands your full attention, to be honest it would be very hard not to comply as this EP is captivating from start to finnish. These guys are well worth the ones to watch tag which has been bandied about by sections of the musical media in Ireland and elsewhere, they can add another voice to that call from now on.
Wounds – Pyramids
Dead Dead Fucking Dead is released on March 29th. Wounds will play Dublin’s Odessa on April 9th and Psychofest in Twisted Pepper on April 24th.
What the hell are they putting in the water in Sheffield?
Over the past few years there has been a steady stream of talent emerge from the post industrial city of Sheffield, current favourite Toddla T certainly deserves much more attention. He has been making a name for himself for a while now but 2009 was a big year for T which saw the release of album Skanky Skanky and his own Fabriclive 47, both showcasing his ability to effortlessly shuffle through genres and styles at a reckless pace while rattling soundsysystems with his electro dancehall riddims.
Why are you telling us this I hear you say, because if you haven’t heard him yet it’s time you did and I have come across a few free remixes for you. It certainly looks as though he has picked up where he left off with latest remix of Dancehall Queen Lady Chan’s ‘Sticky Situation’. It’s full of the electro riddims and thumping bass which have become his signature, coupled with Lady Chan’s husky voice and flow makes for a track capable of blowing up any dance floor. The other two mixes are of the same high standard and The Metros is a particularly fun, catchy mash-up of the original adolescent indie with a touch of reggae, electro beats and looping MC-ing. Here’s hoping that rumours of a new album this year are founded.