Simple Kid – ‘Snakes and Ladders’

simple kid 2014

In early 2011 Simple Kid announced through his official website that there will be no further music nor tours by Simple Kid. Despite this announcement, a new single, ‘The Road’, slipped out well and truly under the radar in the Spring of 2012.

Since then? Nothing. Well not quiet it seems. In November of last year he did it again, with out any fuss or anything really, Simple Kid slid a new song under the radar, called ‘Snakes and Ladders’. The track, commissioned by the BBC as part Radio 4 series  ‘Forever Young’, suggests the synths, beats and electronics of ‘The Road’ have been put to one side for the time being. Preferred instead is that recognizable and grainy SK alt-folk sound, as he and an unknown female vocal companion lament the precariousness which is all to real for so many living through the throes Capitalism’s latest crisis. The songwriting is clever yet subtle and the song in general is superb. 

Whether this is it, or we shall be intermittently treated to the odd track here and there or, by some stroke of luck might see something more substantial is anyone’s guess. Only the kid knows that for certain.

Hat tip to former Vagabond Dave Phelan for this one.

Marika Hackman – ‘Deep Green’

Marika Hackman by Pip for Dirty Hit Records

If anyone out there harbored any doubts concerning Marika Hackman‘s talent, new offering ‘Deep Green’ should dispel them once and for all.

New single ‘Deep Green’ follows on the heels of last years mini-album, That Iron Taste & Sugar Blind EP, and she has conjured up another wonderfully ghostly and dark folk song. ‘Deep Green’ manages to retain the haunting, fragile beauty and  predilection for the morose and gloomy, that marked her earlier releases, whilst delivering something altogether more intense and ghostly. Driven by haunting wails, tribal percussion and a rather unnerving sample in the background; Hackman’s quietly foreboding tale unfolds, with her fragile voice still her finest asset. There’s tranquility in this spectral landscape she creates, but it’s a broody calm fraught with neurosis of deep green water. There’s a dark allure to this one, and one that’ll have you hooked. 

‘Deep Green’ is taken from the forthcoming Deaf Heat EP, released on April 14th through Dirty Hit. 

BarryGruff Unplugged: Paddy Hanna + Wayfarer :: Saturday, March 1st :: The Liffey Studio, Newbridge

Paddy Hanna Newbridge 2014

BarryGruff Unplugged #3: Paddy Hanna + Wayfarer | March 1st – The Liffey Studio, Newbridge –  Doors: 7:30pm | €5/€7

Following the success of previous BarryGruff Unplugged shows, we’re back with round #3 on March 1st. Part three looks an exciting proposition with Paddy Hanna and Wayfarer joining us in the intimate surroundings of The Liffey Studio.

The show is €5 if you book in advance or €7 on the night. The cheap list is limited so if you would like to reserve a spot, email your name to: barrygruff[at]gmail[dot]com – with ‘Cheap List’ in the subject title.

:: Paddy Hanna ::

Probably best known as lead singer in Grand Pocket Orchestra and drummer in No Monster Club, this year however, Paddy Hanna has stepped out on his own, releasing his debut solo album ‘Leafy Stilleto’ and attracting rave reviews in the Irish media since its release in January. The young man from Dublin is in a somewhat more laid back and relaxed mood than before, creating a warm and well-structured collection of gorgeous indie tunes. He was brilliant at Electric Picnic and since then we’ve been working hard to bring Paddy Hanna to Newbridge, and delighted we finally got our man.

:: Wayfarer ::

Wayfarer are folk duo Sam Devlin & Rachel Boland from Co. Kildare. The name might be familiar, having played a few BarryGruff shows, wooing audiences in the process, with their beautiful country folk sounds and alluring harmonies. They have been busy working on a forthcoming EP but thankfully found time to squeeze in a much welcome Newbridge show.

Introducing: The Adventures of Bert & Henry

The Adventures of Bert & Henry

Bert and Henry are two galloping troubadours from the ragged Welsh coast.

The duo play acoustic pop songs with a rootsy, blues and folk underbelly, and they do it very well. Their music’s got a real charm to it and an earthy, kind of organic feel to it. Bert & Henry’s adventures, for now at least, are confined to two songs, which is just enough to get a feel for what this pair are all about. ‘Mary Ann’ utilizes an array of acoustic instruments, gentle strum and lovely vocal harmonies, airing a broken hearted tale in a more traditional folk fashion than it’s companion, ‘Not Waving But Raving’. The latter veers further left of field. It’s a powerful, stomping bassy country blues tune that’s fed through a vortex inhabited by Captain Beefheart influences, with a twist of The Small Faces, when they were knocking out their unique brand of late-Sixties Cockney psychedelia. Both tracks don’t take themselves too seriously either, and have just the right amount of off-kilter oddity and quirkiness.

That’s it. Simple. Now it’s time to check out ‘Mary Ann’ & ‘Not Waving But Raving’. Both tracks are below and available as free downloads. You can’t say fairer than that. 

BarryGruff Presents #17: Padraig McCauley + Rory Hughes :: Friday, January 31st :: Flanagan’s, Newbridge

barrygruffpresents17

So, it’s been a while but were back in Flanagan’s to rip it up with ‘BarryGruff Presents’ #17 on Friday, January 31st. We’ve got the superbly talented duo of Padraig McCauley (The P Affection/Disconcerting P) and Rory Hughes performing on the night.

It’s sure to be another great night, so come along and enjoy the music. It’s FREE in as usual & kicks off at 9:30 pm. [RSVP]

:: Padraig McCauley ::

Padraig McCauley of The P Affection/Disconcerting P is no stranger to a BarryGruff show and should need little introduction. McCauley is a superb songwriter, singer and performer, if somewhat under-appreciated by many. This is in fact his fifth, yes fifth, BarryGruff appearance and while that might be some sort of record, it is a rare chance to see him play a solo set filled with tracks new and old, from a rather extensive body of work.  

:: Rory Hughes ::

Rory Hughes is a young musician from Dublin. He writes folk and blues tunes. Tunes that are good with a deep-rooted storytelling style. While some of the records, done himself with basic equipment, are rough and don’t do the songs full justice. However, if ‘Woe Is Me’ doesn’t stir something inside you, well, there might be something wrong with you.

Best of 2013 w/ Sadhbh O’Sullivan of Sive

sive

It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling lists, lists and more lists. Last year I asked bands and artists who’d played ‘BarryGruff Presents’ shows to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2013′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2013′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. After another successful year of shows, why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to Sive’s Sadhbh O’Sullivan for the last in the series and her picks from 2013.

Favourite album of 2013: Villagers – ‘Awayland’

When I was going through some of the albums I liked best this year and trying to pick one favourite, I just kept coming back to this one. It was one of those records I listened to on repeat after I bought it and every time I heard it something new seemed to catch my ear. I love the arrangements and the attention to detail; there’s so much to be found within each individual song. The songwriting itself is obviously really strong too, and I love Conor O’Brien’s style of lyric writing.

Favourite song of 2013: Agnes Obel – The Curse

Agnes Obel’s new album was another one of my favourites of the year. I could have picked almost any song from it as my number one, but when I saw this live video of The Curse it really blew me away. The looped strings, piano parts and vocal melodies come together to create something really beautiful.

Favourite Irish song of 2013: Ann Scott – ‘Stripes’

I’ve been a fan of Ann Scott since I first heard her music about 6 years ago, and her new stuff hasn’t let me down. This song is a perfect example of her ability to build a simple but effective musical backdrop for her voice to sweep over. She always manages to produce a sound that is quite dark and haunting, but really pleasing to the ear.

BarryGruff’s Irish Songs of 2013 (Mixtape)

bg2013

There’s been some really great stuff released this year from Irish acts and as has become customary for this time of year, I’ve put together a compilation/mix of my favourite tracks from throughout the year. 

There’s some old friends and some new, hopefully you enjoy the tunes as much as I, and  without further ado, here’s my favourite Irish Songs of 2013. Tracklisting is after the jump.

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