Telegram – ‘Rule Number One’

Photo: David Wala

Photo: David Wala

London four-piece Telegram were responsible for one of the most exciting and scintillating debut singles of 2013, ‘Follow’.

‘Follow’ was an unrestrained savage blast of tripped-out psych-punk and the kraut-glam-psych enthusiasts are back with a follow-up ‘Rule Number One’. The pace and ferocity is upped considerably and the distortion pedals are certainly put through their paces. It’s brutal yet beautiful, as this intense psych-punk blitz is tempered by their subtle glam influences. Matt Saunders distinctive brogue aid his vocals, which ring in your ear above the scuzzy riffs and pounding drum-lines. Another phenomenal tune which effortlessly combine all their influences into something akin to falling through an endless, swirling technicolour vortex. Top stuff once again from Telegram.

You can download ‘Rule Number One’ below for FREE & you catch them in the flesh when they support Miles Kane in the Academy, Dublin on April 3rd.

Introducing: Saint Max and the Fanatics

Saint Max and the Fanatics

Saint Max & The Fanatics are Max, Eliot, Fraser, Muir, Scott and Aldo, who hail from both Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland.

Together they create a joyous little racket. A quintessentially British sound with an open door policy on influences, incorporating a whole raft of luminaries from a rich pop family; Ala The Libertines’ devil may care attitude, the bouncy ska-pop rhythms of Madness and soulful horns of Dexys Midnight Runners. These echoes are never too much to bear, rather, they are effectively stitched together with swooping vocals, frenetic choruses and razor sharp lyrics, marking 18-year-old frontman Max Syed-Tollan as a songwriter beyond repute. While spritely gems such as ‘Soul Surrender’, ‘Afraid of Love’ & ‘Glasgow’ set the agenda for their insidiously catchy debut album, Saint Max is Missing and the Fanatics are Dead, there are pensive and emotive moments between the rhythmic frenzy of this indie-punk-ska-soul combo. Emotive and stirring renditions of ‘Sadsong’ & ‘Book Review’ offer a wistful and wilful insight, and display an added capacity to his songwriting.  An insidiously catchy, plucky and utterly loveable band, who manage it all with swagger and style. 

You can check out some choice picks from Saint Max and the Fanatics below or give their debut LP a listen here.

Doxy – ‘Shoulder High In Gibberish’

Doxy EP Cover

Doxy is the new name for Policy, a four-piece from Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, who featured on here with the release their self-titled debut EP last year.

Often a name change coincides with some sort of musical change of direction but with Doxy, apart from the name, added refinement and marginally less rough around the edges; it’s much the same as before, which is no bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. The re-brand has coincided with new EP, Shoulder High In Gibberish, which retains that ’80s British indie/post-punk inspired sound. Their latest EP, like it’s predecessor, is probably best summed up as a bit indie, a bit post-punk, a bit alternative rock and a bit rough around the edges; all filled with charm, catchy melodies and smart, attuned lyrics. Name changes aside, it’s great to hear from this foursome again, who are a welcome addition to any music collection regardless of the guise they choose to work under.

You can check out ‘Gibberish’ & ‘No Kissing’ below and if they are to your liking, you can head over to bandcamp, ‘name your price’ and download Shoulder High In Gibberish in it’s entirety. 

Introducing: Oh Boland

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Oh Boland are a garage rock trio – Niall Murphy, Éanna Mac Donnchadha and Simon McDonagh – from Tuam, Co. Galway.

Formed just over a year ago, the Tuam trio’s sound borrows from an earthy mix of garage rock, indie, pop and some local guitar flavours. It’s rough, ragged and abrasive, yet Oh Boland present an utterly charming and lovable listening experience. Amid all the general abrasiveness of thrashing guitars, thundering basslines and growling vocals; every rumbling note proves their music ever more captivating and palatable, through a combination of sweet melodiousness and unusual off-kilter oddity. Oh Boland have taken up a sizable portion of my musical intake of late, and to put it simply, they are utterly fuckin’ brilliant! No nonsense, no faffing about, just top notch tunes done with style and swagger. This here only scratches the surface of their many virtues and given some of your attention, their music will do the rest of the convincing. Bands of this ilk are relatively scarce in Ireland, which is all the more reason to treasure them so.  

There’s some choice cuts below to set you on your way, and their two excellent EPs, Oh! and Ho!, are available to download free at Bandcamp

Girl Band – ‘Lawman’

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It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Girl Band. The Dublin band had a relatively quiet 2013 but they’ve kicked off 2014 with Irish, UK and Eurosonic dates, and most importantly a new single. 

‘Lawman’ is a real beast of a track. Over a sprawling six-minute industrial stomp of gut-wrenching and desolate post-punk rock, the ears a battered into submission with a fuzzed and filthy caustic cacophony of sound. The Dublin four piece have rarely been anything but exhilarating, in the flesh or on record, and ‘Lawman’ is in keeping with tradition. In short; this is a stunning tune and it’s good to have them back. 

‘Lawman’, Girl Band’s first ever 7″, is released on January 10th via Any Other City Records on a limited run of 300 records. Turn up the volume and check it below. 

High At Five – ‘Soft Lad’

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High At Five popped up on the radar in the early part of 2013, impressing with their debut track ‘Soft Lad’. An initial post was put on hold with the promise of an EP which unfortunately never surfaced.

Alas, while checking in on the progress of these five young lads from North Wales, sadly it was discovered they have decided to part company and go their separate ways. While this may have all started to sound very obituary like, whatever the fate of the band, they were in the game long enough to share ‘Soft Lad’ with us. In short; it’s a top notch, spikey post-punk indie tune, lurching forward at a frantic pace and offset by some deep baritone style vocals. All in all a cracking tune. ‘Soft Lad’ would be a fitting tribute for any band to leave behind.

You can stream ‘Soft Lad’ below or download it for free from here.  

BarryGruff’s Albums of the Year 2013

BarryGruff Albums of the year 2013

It’s that time of year once again when every music blog, website and magazine busy themselves with list making activities, and this blog is no different. Due to other commitments this year, especially the second half, it was rather difficult to keep on top of album reviews for the blog. Saying that, I reckon I’ve listened to as many records as any other year without finding the opportunity to share my thoughts on many of them.

Without further ado, here’s the BarryGruff ‘Albums of the Year’ for 2013.

25. Crystal Stilts – ‘Nature Noir’

24. Appelscal – ‘Dreaming In Key’

23. Trwbador – ‘Trwbador’

22. Mr. Huw – ‘Cariad Affaich’

21. King Krule – ‘6 Feet Beneath the Moon’

20. Channel Swimmer – ‘Alphabet’

19. Valeria June – ‘Pushin’ Against A Stone’

18. Veronica Falls – ‘Waiting for Something to Happen’

17. Arctic Monkeys – ‘AM’

16. Public Service Broadcasting – ‘Inform – Educate – Entertain’

15. Marika Hackman – ‘That Iron Taste’

A collection potent songs of enigmatic beauty, That Iron Taste is a gorgeous and charmed introduction to the delectable talents of Marika Hackman. It is done so with a striking vocal delivery, sounding both wise and beautiful, imbued with a telling level of touching emotion. She channels something beautifully rich and dramatic in telling these rather dark poetic stories. Absolutely no substandard happy-clappy folk pop nonsense on show here, on the contrary, her debut (mini) album is quite frankly a haunting, numinous experience.

[Stream on Spotify]

14. The Pictish Trail – ‘Secret Soundz, Volume 2’

Most likely the greatest album to be recorded solely in a caravan, Secret Soundz, Volume 2, is the second LP from The Pictish Trail, the alter ego of Scottish musician Johnny Lynch. Throughout the LP, he’s in a contemplative, often melancholic 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. A magnificent record; warm, inviting and full of charming quirks from an exceptional talent.

13. Biggles Flys Again – ‘Remember Saturday’

Ireland produces plenty of great bands but where it falls short, of say our Welsh neighbors, is when it comes to indie bands of the weird and wonderful variety. In Biggles Flys Again, the moniker of Conor Deasy, we’ve got a domestic talent flying that flag. Biggles’ debut album Remember Saturday displays real talent for 3 minute pop gems. It is brimming with enchanting and whimsical good old fashioned pop songs, filled with sinuous melodies and organic arrangement. This is pop in the old fashioned sense, played by a band, and with an assured sense of style.

[Stream on Spotify]

12. Akala – ‘The Thieves Banquet’

Since the release of his debut in 2006, Akala has proven himself as one of the most articulate, intelligent and talented MC’s around, a trend continued on his fourth LP. A potent wave of righteous fury crashes through The Thieves Banquet. The world is beset by many problems, varied and plentiful they may be but Akala manages to take plenty of them head on. He remains passionate, focused and sharp when tackling everything from a sense of powerlessness to change things, to berating imperialism,  slavery, capitalists, 3rd world dictators and the clergy. A very fine record indeed.

[Stream on Spotify]

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