Not too many will remember Duncan Lloyd’s solo LP Seeing Double from 2008, which is a great shame as it happens because it was a really great and enjoyable record.
Lloyd, better known as the guitarist in Maximo Park, is back with a new side-project, Decade In Exile. Like his previous solo effort, his new project is once again noticeably different from the high energy bowler hat hijinx of the day job. While the warm fuzzy lo-fi guitar pop of ‘Patti’s Town’ could have easily slotted into his solo album, the new self-titled EP sees his natural flare for a catchy tune pushed into more experimental areas. The results of which, ‘Way Beyond the Logic’ and ‘You Might Find’, are particularly fruitful.
It’s always worthwhile when Lloyd decides to venture off to pastures new, this new project seems to have plenty of legs to it. There’s a few choice cuts below but you can pick up the Decade In Exile EP, along with some other stuff from bandcamp.
Ah, wonderful Wales. With Ireland you can put your house on it raining but the same could be said for Wales and weirdly wonderful psychedelic bands. Following along a path laid by Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and Super Furry Animals, to name but two, are Cardiff based psych folk collective Soft Hearted Scientists.
Their psychedelic-tinged folk owes much the heady days of ’60s and ’70s too. The collective’s trippy warped out and downright weird sounds are dripping with genuinely appealing eccentricity and sugar sweet melodies, grounded, only just, by musings of everyday life. A madcap of delights that if comparisons were needed, one might arrive at something like the lyrical depth, wordplay and acerbic wit of Half Man Half Biscuit, meets the off-the-wall antics of Syd Barrett and seductive sounds of Donavan or The Byrds. All in all, it is wonderful, bizarre and seductive in equal measures. These are songs which will burrow into the inner reaches of your mind.
With three albums under their belts already, they are hardly newbies but as album number four, entitled False Lights, is on the horizon it is a timely introduction to their wonderful psych folk delights.
Remember Sad Soul Circus, right? Either way, the 20 year old Dublin based producer (aka Finn Yowell) has put Sad Soul Circus moniker on the back burner in favour of his new project, ‘Robin Snow‘.
Whereas SSC was down-tempo chilled out tranquil sounds, Robin Snow is an entirely different proposition. The first offering from his new alias is ‘Daydreamer’, an upbeat funky house tune with a jazzy swing and more than a nod or two to hip hop, demonstrating the transition from the laid back late night vibe to the feel-good party tune.
Hopefully this doesn’t spell the end for Sad Soul Circus on a whole but whatever the case, it will be interesting to hear more from Robin Snow in future.
How time flies? Two years on from the release of his excellent debut, Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam, Ghostpoet has announced he is to return with a new album, Some Say I So I Say Light, in May.
With this news comes brand new single and taster of his forthcoming LP, ‘MSI MUSMID’. Seemingly based on a dream Ghostpoet had where dimsum and noodles were life-long friends who kept squabbling all the time, trying in vain to make sense of it all. As you do. The lethargic murmurings remain a cornerstone of his work, but backed by an inventive flow of layered electronics with a jazzy kind of feel.
Some Say I So I Say Light will be released on the 6th of May. It’s good to see him back with new material, certainly one to keep an eye out for.
Dutch producer Applescal released his brand new album Dreaming in Key a few weeks back. Comprised of 11 tracks, the album finds itself in an ambiguous hinterland between electronica & techno. More on the album itself later, suffice to say it’s very, very good.
For now feast your ears on ‘Spring and Life’, one of Dreaming in Key‘s sneak previews. It is a dark and bubbling slow-burner, building from these murky origins it transforms toward an illuminating but spacey climax with exuberance and punch. One can imagine it, like the rest of the record, working ever so well in a club as it does on headphones.
Dreaming in Key is out now via Atomnation and you could do a lot worse things than spending your weekend listen in its company.
Some may remember King Kong Club from their admirable attempt to release a brand new track a month in 2011, after reforming following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
To celebrate their latest Irish tour, of which began with a sell out performance in their hometown of Waterford, King Kong Company have released their latest track ‘Bagpuss’. What it’s got to do with ’70s UK children’s television series is beyond me but it is yet another no nonsense club track and dance floor filler, aided by Sue O’Neill on vocals.
You can catch King Kong Company live next month when they play Cyprus Avenue, Cork on Saturday, March 2nd & Pogo at The Twisted Pepper, Dublin, Saturday, March 16th.
Ever wondered what the greatest album to be recorded in a caravan was? Didn’t think so, but the latest effort from The Pictish Trail, Secret Soundz, Volume 2 has to be the front runner for this, the most unlikely of accolades (if there are others, answers on a postcard please).
Touted as the follow up to 2008’s Secret Soundz, we find The Pictish Trail, the alter ego of Scottish musician Johnny Lynch, in a contemplative, often meloncholic mood, concerned with life’s ups and downs. In contrast, musically Secret Sounds is rather chipper, spurred on by a glorious melange of oddball sounds, sparks of frazzled electronics and instrumental breaks.
Opening with the bright and bouncy, instrumental electro ‘Secret Sounds #6’, this introduction is a bit misleading, it’s with ‘Sequels’ that the album kicks into gear. The oddball sounds and electronics remain but what’s clear is, they are not the focus here. They are but a platform, with Lynch’s wonderful singing voice firmly in the foreground. The premise firmly established, the album gently cascades through folk-influenced balladry and warm electronics of ‘Of Course You Exist’, ‘The Handstand Crowd’ and ‘Michael Rocket’. It is a real bag of tricks but never losing of the balance between curiosity and melancholic it is interspersed with equal doses of both.
Although a sequel, one doesn’t need to need to be acquainted with it’s earlier sibling. As a stand alone record it is magnificent record; warm, inviting and full of charming quirks from an artist of genuine exceptional talent.
Primal Scream are set to return with new album More Light, their 10th album and first in almost five years, which will be released on May 6.
Bobby Gillespie & co. spent most of the past decade serving up pretty mediocre records, although spattered with some quality individual songs, they just seemed to lose their way. All that aside, ‘2013’, the first cut from Primal Scream’s forthcoming record is excellent. Driving along a warped saxophone, beats and stunning guitar work from Kevin Shields, it serves as a sort of ‘state of the nation’ address. Gillespie hisses and barks, denouncing everyone from “Thatcher’s children” to the “chairman of BP” while berating the fact that “every generation buys the lie just like the one before!”. There is obviously more, just give it the 9 minutes attention it deserves.
Hopefully ‘2013’ isn’t a false dawn, but judging by this 9 minutes of untamed political anger, Primal Scream may have rediscovered their way and not before time.
Chemistry Lessons are an electro duo from the Welsh Valleys, now based between Cardiff and Bristol.
The duo (of Gareth Burke & Mavis) have been involved in other musical projects for the best part of a decade, but it was in the summer of 2012 that they decided to get creative with distorted synths, drum machines and some cheap organs from eBay. The fruits of this creative spurt see a blend of big boisterous beats, flamboyant synth riffs and 8-bit electro sounds working in tandem to create something that lies between the realms of French electro, latter day Prodigy & a kid with a Gameboy. ‘Kobi’ in particular, is a wonderful example of what they are all about.
Chemistry Lessons are currently putting the finishing touches to a new EP. Until then, there are a few choice cuts below (including the aforementioned ‘Kobi’) which serve as a rather neat introduction to the world of Chemistry Lessons.
Tyneside producer Pete Beat has apparently been knocking around for a number of years under various different guises, under which he was more concerned with breakbeat and house styles.
On his new EP, Doctor Doctor however, there is a new beginning of sorts, embracing what he calls himself “80s tinged electro pop”. This new change of tact is one that works if ‘Borderline’ is anything to go by. The standout track from his new EP, ‘Borderline’ is a majestic piece of electro pop with sweet harmonies slinking along bumping, funky beats with slumbering subdued vocals combining to create this tidy and utterly lovable track. While I’m not so taken with its companions from the EP, ‘Borderline’ deserves to be singled out for praise in its own right.
‘Borderline’ is taken from Pete Beat’s Doctor Doctor EP, which is released on 19 March 2013.
SlowPlaceLikeHome excelled himself last year with three excellent EPs. he young man from Donegal is picking up where he left off, starting 2013 with news of a brand new EP entitled Romola, coming in March.
The first track from the forthcoming EP is ‘Cathleen’s Fall’. It is heavy on the bass and repetition, with illuminating little spurts of sound filtering in here and there, adding to the airy whoosh, melodic hook and rhythmic push toward a sparkling climax. Sit back, close your eyes and behold this absolutely wonderful track of supreme beauty. On this evidence and that of the previous EPs, Romola is one to keep an eye out for.
You can give ‘Cathleen’s Fall’ a listen below as well as all his previous work over on SPLH’s bandcamp.
Scottish trio Galoshins are a rather curious proposition. Taking the unusual step of releasing their two debut EPs simultaneously, it sort of sums these guys up, there is nothing orthodox about this trio.
The two rather intense EPs are bursting with ideas and provide an excellent, if somewhat incohesive snapshot of what they’re all about. Loosely, it is furiously buoyant whirlwind of organ fueled psych-punk but it is near impossible to pin them down. Although it does at times bring to mind something of early Futureheads meets The Things and Sluts of Trust. Whatever you want to call it, their off-kilter approach to rock ‘n roll maybe unhinged but never boring. Opening track ‘Shake Up’ sets the tempo, a hyperactive fervour with an exhilarating combo of serrated guitar, organ and vocals delivered with a strong parochial Scots lilt. It is a striking introduction as they career headlong through each track of an ever impressive, cacophony of furious unorthodoxy.
Anyone bemoaning the lack of character or flavour to guitar music at present would do well to take note of Galoshins. Their EP1 & EP2 are out now through Armellodie Records.
[Image: © Michael Gallacher]