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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
From the one that slipped under the radar department comes Dublin electronic duo, Terriers, aka Peter Ward and Ronan Downing.
The duo impressed on numerous occasions throughout the year, yet somehow managed to be overlooked. Their debut EP, Marie Celeste, kicked off an impressive 2013, while their latest tracks ’13/13′ & ‘For You’ adding further clout to their growing credentials as classy purveyors of synth-driven minimal electronica. Their inspiration is derived from an admiration of atmosphere, the grimey disarray of Dublin city and an overall love for melody and underground bass tones. Terriers’ compositions take on much of this character, providing predominantly downtempo, elegantly produced electronic jams with an after hours, late night atmospheric feel. They’ve captured both a vibe and a groove all of their very own, in short, fantastic stuff all round. And a pleasure to finally put it into words.
Like what you hear below? There’s plenty more where that came from on Soundcloud and you can get their Marie Celeste EP for free from bandcamp. Also, Terriers play Junior Spesh @ Twisted Pepper w/ Princess & Monto on Dec 12th.
Boxed In is the new solo project of London based producer Oli Bayston, who along with the duo of Liam Hutton and Mark Nicholls, has teamed up with the Moshi Moshi Singles Club to release their debut 7” single ‘All Your Love Is Gone’/’Legacy’.
‘All You Love Is Gone’ has been on heavy rotation the past few weeks, and it’s such a massive, thriving and pulsating tune from start to finish. The bass here is phenomenal, which, underpinned by propulsive drums, sparse beats and urgent piano, drives everything along nicely as modulated guitars cut in and out at will, and topped with Bayston’s bleak, yet engaging and elegant vocals. Hopefully this is but the beginning and we don’t have long to wait too long for more from Bayston & Co. His track record to date suggests he’ll be a busy man either way, having played keys on both Willy Mason’s and Steve Mason’s most recent LPs.
‘All Your Love Is Gone’ & ’Legacy’ are below for your listening pleasure and the 7″ is out on November 25th through Moshi Moshi.
Information surrounding Cotton Wolf is pretty scant. What is known however; they are based in Wales, have received the seal of approval from Cian Ciaran (Super Furry Animals), who released their Catapelt EP through his own Strangetown Records.
Cotton Wolf’s furtive nature adds a level of intrigue and allows the music to simply speak for itself. Musically, the Catapelt EP is a very promising, downtempo, ambient and electronic excursion. There’s an exploratory feel to Cotton Wolf’s sound. Most tracks utilise a click-clack percussion, intricately pieced together with bass and all manner of sound effects and vocal samples. As a combination of bleeps, chimes, creaks and meandering synth notes push these sonic arrangements forward. It’s an incredibly impressive debut release, filled with pretty chilled but bright, beautiful, yet harsh sounding compositions at the same time. It is requiring of a good few listens for everything that’s going on to seep in (or perhaps that’s just me?).
You can check out ‘Cassette 98’ & ‘Napa’ below, two personal favourites from this incredibly impressive EP. You can also stream Catapelt here or buy it here.
Sliab Cuinciu has been, in my humble opinion, the finest new electronic producer to emerge from these shores in 2013.
The 24-year-old Wicklow beatmaker’s 8-track collection, ####, released earlier this year was pure gold; a spellbinding mix embracing all things hip hop, synth pop, disco and a wealth of electronic music, as well as soul, funk and rock. Yes, yes, all great you say but what of now? Well, the good news is Sliab Cuinciu has returned with two new jams, ‘Tricks’ and the aptly titled ‘Stay Gold’, and it looks as though there’s no chance of dropping the standard any time soon. Both tracks are smooth, cool as fuck hip-hop inspired electronic tunes, permeated entirely with a serious feelgood vibe. ‘Tricks’ bounces along some of the funkiest beats and bass you hear this side of the ’70s, it’s so irresistibly infectious. ‘Stay Gold’ meanwhile, has much more of a daydream quality, taking us on a tranquil wander through a land of ’80s synths and drums, much more indebted to the early days of hip hop. In short; two tunes as cool and refreshing as a breeze on a scorching hot summers day.
You can listen / download (free) to both ‘Tricks’ & ‘Stay Gold’ below. And if you’re liking what’s on offer, you should definitely check out ####, it is available gratis from bandcamp.
Regular visitors to the blog will be well aware of my penchant for music with a quirky, playful psychedelic underbelly, and Portuguese quartet Cave Story, are yet another case in point.
Cave Story have released an EP of three demos, offering proof of their credentials as virtuoso’s of this joyful style. The EP is a rollicking, breathtaking romp through bygone eras, bringing to mind classic band after classic band while conjuring up a modern and original take of their own. Opener, ‘Crystal Surf’ has a dark, ominous post-punk vibe whilst ‘Martin Stellar’ embraces this sound but sees the band experiment with playful keys and echoey vocals. The standout of the bunch is ‘Ghost Steps’, a stomping psych-garage number. It contains the obvious protrusion of a ‘6os infatuation with echoes of the psychedelic-era Small Faces, the Kinks circa Village Green Preservation Society and more recently, The Bees. Three very contrasting yet equally wonderful demos from Cave Story but one thing is for sure, their next move should be eagerly awaited.
You can sample some choice cuts from the EP below or pop over to bandcamp, ‘name your price’ and download it.