Introducing: The Rifts


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. 

Sisters – ‘Hush Hush’


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.

Crystal Stilts – ‘Sticks & Stones’


Brooklyn’s Crystal Stilts returned with their latest, and third LP, Nature Noir, back in September. While the new album doesn’t reach the lofty heights of their previous two records, Alight of Night and In Love With Oblivion, it’s still a fine and solid record. 

To celebrate their UK tour, Crystal Stilts are giving away ‘Sticks & Stones’ as a free download. ‘Sticks & Stones’ is one of the finer moments on Nature Noir; gentle, dreamy and wistful and it offers some respite from what is quite a dark album. Oddly enough there is no Irish date while they visit our neighbor’s shores. The last time they were in Dublin it was a superb show, maybe they’ll be back in this neck of the woods in the new year?

For now though, you can stream / download  ‘Sticks & Stones’ below. Or check out Nature Noir here.

BarryGruff & Co Present: Discord #1 :: Saturday, Nov 30th :: Flanagan’s, Newbridge


BarryGruff & Co Present: ‘Discord’ #1 w/ DJ sets from BarryGruff & Cormac Brady :: Saturday, Nov 30th :: 9pm :: Flanagan’s Newbridge  :: Free In.

You might already be aware from all my incessant tweeting and the like, Myself and Cormac Brady are joining forces to run a DJ night called ‘Discord’.

The first one is taking place this Saturday (Nov 30th) from 9pm in Flanagan’s, Newbridge; with myself & Cormac spinning the tunes for the opening night. Anyone who’s witnessed one of señor Brady’s sets before knows how bloody excellent he is. Expect to hear loads of great hip hop, electro, indie, alternative, ska, dancehall & more. We’re both really excited to get this one off the ground and hopefully this is the first of many nights in Flanagan’s. Hopefully we’ll see you there.

Free Entry. RSVP here.

Novella – ‘Follow’


Hazy pop trio, Novella released their latest EP Murmurs last week. Recorded in a one day session with Jack Cooper of Mazes fame, it contains four tracks of grungy, DIY sounding pop rock with psych inspired big sounds, deep melodies and lush vocals.

If there was ever one track to capture what this London all-girl outfit are about, it’s ‘Follow’. Opening with a protracted two-minute instrumental before building up to its climax with lush vocal, interwoven repetitive guitar riffs and tidy drum beats. With a debut album in the works for next year, imagine what Novella can do over the course of a whole album, if this is what they are capable of with just four tracks. These three girls are definitely ones to keep an eye out for in the new year.

You can check ‘Follow’ out below or try the full Murmurs experience on Spotify. It’s out now on cassette via Italian Beach Babes.

Burning Ferns – ‘Sand’


Burning Ferns are a four piece – Anthony Gray, Nathan Abraham, Brychan Todd and Slim Short – from Newport and have been together for a couple years.

‘Sand’ doesn’t arrive alone, it’s taken from the band’s brand new album See Saw Seen, and it’s pretty typical of what else you’ll unearth on the LP; power pop with a psych and ’90s britpop underbelly. ‘Sand’ exemplifies Burning Ferns’ sparkling talent for penning the most seductive of jangly, power pop tunes. It’s a gorgeous song; warm, inviting and slightly fuzzy. The swelling chorus, beautiful vocal harmonies and up beat melodic tune compliment one another so perfectly to produce a damn lovely song. One that drags you in, and keeps you coming back for more time and again. Marvelous!

You can give ‘Sand’ the once over below or pop over to Spotify for the full See Saw Seen treatment. 

Tennis – ‘Mean Streets’


Husband-and-wife duo Tennis have breezed back into our lives with a brand new EP, Small Sound, which follows on from Young and Old, one of last year’s finest albums.

The lead track from Small Sound is ‘Mean Streets’ fits easily into their back catalogue. Unsurprisingly then, it’s yet another sweet, honeyed indie pop ditty, infused with so lighthearted dreaminess. Amid all the compelling sweetness there is just enough punchy percussion to get those toes tapping and bodies swaying. A charming return from a pairing who specialise in easy on the ear, gentle, ’60s inspired sounds. You can never really have too much of this duo in your life. 

You can give ‘Mean Streets’ the once over below and Small Sound is out now via Communion.