SertOne is without question one of Ireland’s most promising producers, both prodigious and prolific. It is strange to still refer to him as ‘promising’ such is sheer dearth of material already under his belt, but with each release comes promise of even greater things to come. One wonders where will he go to next?
For now at any rate, it is back to the future. Released digitally last year, Shapes in the Sky has now thankfully made it’s way onto 12″ vinyl. The EP itself is fantastic; head-nodding beats, slick samples and hip-hop influenced grooves are met with swagger and confidence, to produce some serious funked up jams that will bounce around your head all day. The 12″ is out now and comes with quality exclusive remixes from Danny Drive Thru, Lemonada and SIGNAL, which you can sample below.
Shapes in the Sky is out now on 12″ vinyl through Melted Music & can be ordered from here. For the record (no pun intended, my copy hasn’t left the turntable since it arrived this morning.
We Are Animal played their debut Irish gig on Saturday night with The Joy Formidable, whom they are currently on tour with. The show in The Academy was top class, as the 5 men from Wales pounded through a set of dark distorted experimental indie-rock (loosely speaking of course).
To celebrate the tour, We Are Animal have released new single ‘Royal Wolf’, which is available as a free download from their website. ‘Royal Wolf’ is dark yet alluring, as a combo of buzzing guitars, distinctive vocals and rhythmic groove suck you in. You can check the video above.
While other artists in Newbridge have gained note and notoriety as prying eyes (and ears) look in amazement and steady stream of quality music emerging from this town, one man in particular has somehow managed to avoid this gaze; Appo. The gravelly voiced troubadour (real name David Aspell) has remained one of Newbridge’s best kept secrets for quite a long time.
This narrative might be about to change with news he is currently recording a debut release (an album as far as I can gather). This excellent news also provides a perfect excuse to share some recordings from an impromptu session late last year (recorded in Newbridge by Stephen & Ciara Connelly).
Like has been said before, Appo is a wonderful songwriter, who’s powerful blues/folk is a work of genuine veracity.
This week sees the release of Only Real‘s debut double a-side ‘Backseat Kissers’ / ‘Blood Carpet’. The young Londoner (real name Niall Galvin) has proven quite the card when it comes to über infectious feel-good indie-pop, with both these tracks adding further weight to this rep.
‘Backseat Kissers’ (which I’ve featured before) is a catchy laid-back homage to backseat fumbling. ‘Blood Carpet’ is an usual mix of woozy atmospheric and off-the-wall freestyling, featuring Only Real’s trademark fuzzy vocals, snappy drums and loungey guitars. Very much the perfect companions for each other.
The quality of output from this guy has been impressive. He has found a rather exceptional sound and space on the musical landscape and I for one can’t wait to hear what comes next. Until then of course, you can pick up the 7″ vinyl from ASL or digitally from all the usual haunts.
The Maginot Band are a Scottish 6 piece who, from a cottage in the far northerly reaches of Caithness, write music best described a “indie organ pop psychedelia”.
Their words, but a pretty apt description. The Maginot Band released their debut EP, Peace & Quiet late last year, which has been quickly followed by double a-side, Veiled Clock/Sombre Fayre. Both tracks capture their carnival of sound, which is not unlike the quirky indie-pop eccentricities of The Maccabees or Mystery Jets. ‘Sombre Fayre’ in particular, is rather spectacular. Opening tentatively it shifts in pace and mood, from the melancholic to the bright, with racey guitars and athemic keys and vocals leading toward a raucous conclusion. A thoroughly enjoyable and likeable band and collection of songs.
You can download their double a-side Veiled Clock/Sombre Fayre for free from bandcamp.
Bill Ryder-Jones, formerly of The Coral, is stepping out as a songwriter in his own right with his debut LP, A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart.
‘He Took You In His Arms’ is the first taste of what to expect from the forthcoming album. It’s a gentle, touching slice of melancholy with a heart swelling melody. It is in fact, the most beautiful song of 2013 so far, one that will be hard to surpasses throughout the year. Ryder-Jones is sounding very much at ease with himself and his talents. The album was recorded upstairs in Ryder-Jones’ mother’s house in Liverpool, with two members of the great By The Sea making up the backing band.
A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart is out in April through Domino imprint Double Six Records. Until then, just open your heart to ‘He Took You In His Arms’.
Dublin based producer GEM_DOS announced himself in some style last year with his superb Trials EP, and he’s kicked off 2013 in similar fashion with ‘Cuffs’.
Now based in Dublin the half English, half Irish producer grew up in south-east London, spending his formative years listening to Drum and Bass and Electronica. The latter of which real shines through on ‘Cuffs. Built around a simply huge bassline and a canny use of drum and bass, he never misses a beat, sustaining the rhythm and protracting the promise of greater things to come.
‘Cuffs’ is a track of sheer seductive brilliance, which retains, like his previous work, a slight Orbital character. You can listen to/download ‘Cuffs’ below and see for yourself. You can also download his debut EP, Trials, for free here.
Two of Wales’ best acts right now, The Joy Formidable and We Are Animal, on the same bill for €15. You can’t go wrong, right?
Okay, it is a bit late in the day but if you’re looking for something to do this weekend in Dublin, I can’t recommend this show highly enough. I got along to the Liverpool leg of the tour on Tuesday in The Kazimier and it was immense, simply immense.
If you’re not familiar with the acts here’s a short explanation. The Joy Formidable? Soaring riffs and rampaging guitar heroics meet to form an emphatic and epic wall of sound; a masterclass in how indie-rock is supposed to sound. We Are Animal on the other hand are a curious bunch, sometimes dark and trippy, buzzing guitars and distinctive vocals are set to a rhythmic groove. If Tuesday’s show in Liverpool is anything to go by, this shouldn’t be missed.
The Joy Formidable & We Are Animal play Belfast’s Limelight tonight & The Academy, Dublin, tomorrow night (Saturday). Doors 8pm/€15.
We’ve been on the receiving end of a deluge ‘new folk artists’ in recent times. In reality, by and large, they have been purveyors of substandard happy-clappy pop, with a few notable exception of course. Marika Hackman is one of the latter and a welcome respite from the mundane.
Hackman’s songs are potent and beautiful, her voice is strikingly, powerful and pure. With the release of her mini album, That Iron Taste, only around the corner (out February 25th), she has unveiled two intimate acoustic videos for ‘Bath Is Black’ & ‘Mountain Spines’ . Both of these tracks feature on the forthcoming release but more importantly, they are two astonishing songs in their own right. An introduction, if one were needed, to the wonderful talent of Marika Hackman.
Check out ‘Bath Is Black’ & ‘Mountain Spines’ below. That Iron Taste is out on February 25th through Dirty Hit, one for the diaries.
The great Billy Bragg is set to return with his first studio album in nearly five years, since Mr Love & Justice. The new record entitled Tooth & Nail will be out through Cooking Vinyl on March 18th 2013.
To coincide with this news there’s a treat, ‘Handyman Blues’. Serving as a taste of what’s yet to come with album, it is a slightly downbeat, somber lament about an inability to perform the simplest of DIY or ‘handyman’ duties, and his love for the written word. It is a rather lovely song, if somewhat slightly tongue-in-cheek.
You can listen to ‘Handyman Blues’ below or head over to Billy’s website and get the track for the cool price of an email address.
Hot on the heels of Teleman‘s debut single/video, ‘Cristina‘, comes b-side ‘In Your Fur’.
Be assured that b-side does not denote a drop in quality, in fact, it’s another exquisite pop song. ‘In Your Fur’ illuminates the former Pete & The Pirates trio’s more warped psychedelic side with a rich blend of guitar, drum and synths, the perfect backdrop for lead singer Tom Sanders’ distinctive and bittersweet vocals. An absolutely wonderful little ditty.
Hopefully we hear a lot more from Teleman throughout 2013 and beyond but for now, ‘Cristina’ & ‘In Your Fur’ are on Moshi Moshi.
The Pictish Trail is set release his second album Secret Soundz, Volume 2 on January 21st through Fence Records, which he heads up with Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote.
The album was recorded in a caravan on the Scottish island of Eigg, and with the release date only around the corner the Scottish alt-folker has given us a sneaky glimpse at what we can expect. ‘The Handstand Crowd’ is a wonderfully melodic and beautiful lead single; the vocal is a tender and the folk-inflicted with a slight electronic haze. A fantastic lo-fi folk gem, just what you would expect from The Pictish Trail really.
Secret Soundz, Volume 2 is coming on the 21st January but before all that you can listen to ‘The Handstand Crowd’ and earlier single ‘Michael Rocket’ below.