Simple Kid – ‘Snakes and Ladders’

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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. 

Best of 2013 w/ Stephen Connelly of Sea Area Forecast & Knoxville Morning

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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 Stephen Connelly from Knoxville Morning and Sea Area Forecast, and of course an intrinsic part of the BarryGruff shows, to share his picks from 2013.

Favourite Album of 2013: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘Push The Sky Away’

Cave saved ‘Body & Soul’ festival for me this year. More laptops than people. In the midst of a heavily electronic based festival, Cave storms the stage and knocks everyone on their arses. Reminding those that might have forgotten that live rock ‘n roll doesn’t fuck around. Great hearing the classics but it’s his new songs that stood out for me. A beautiful spacious sound that hasn’t appeared on any their previous albums. My love for The Bad Seeds stems from the darkness of Caves lyrics mirrored in their music. ‘Push the Sky Away’ does this but on the opposite scale using minimalistic approach. The loss of guitarist Mick Harvey has left a huge gap, in turn though allowing Warren Ellis to run a muck with his soundscapes which I’m all for. As far as the lyrics go, Cave has never been so on the ball. Stand out tracks for me -‘Higgs Boson Blues’, ‘Mermaids’ and ‘We Real Cool’.

Other albums you might learn something from. I haven’t, but you might: Waxahatchee – ‘Cerulean Salts’, The Depravations – ‘ Onwards, Westwards’, Death Grips – ‘Government Plates’, The National – ‘Trouble Will Find Me’, Bill Callahan – ‘Dream River’, Perfume Genius – ‘Put Your Back N 2 It’.

Favourite Song of 2013: Mogwai – ‘The Lord Is Out of Control’.

Surprised myself with this one but it was a toss up between this and a couple of King Krule jams. I’ve been watching a French show called ‘Les Revenants’ that has an incredible eerie soundtrack by Mogwai. This is the only other song I’ve heard by them and it’s amazing. Even the video alone is stunning.

Favourite Irish Song of 2013: There’s too much good shit happening to pick just one…

Oisin McCole – ‘Not For Your Heart’

I should be sick of listening to this song by now but it still sounds fresh even after a bazillion plays.

Oh Boland – ‘Mouthpiece’

Seen these guys play a fair bit over the last year and their live shows always deliver. Energetic garage pop rock from Tuam of all fucking places. Their onstage enthusiasm is everything I love about live music.

Rory Hughes – ‘Woe Is Me’

Just listen to that voice. Incredible!

 

Wayfarer – ‘Dusk On The Green Bus Line’

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Wayfarer are a folk trio – Sam Devlin, Rachel Boland and Dan Shanahan – based in or around the Newbridge area. 

The name may seem familiar, apart from the famous eye wear, Wayfarer have played a few of the BarryGruff shows, wooing many an audience member in the process. Anyway, the past while they have been busy in the studio working on their debut EP, of which ‘Dusk On The Green Bus Line’ is a first taste. It is a rather lovely, nay beautiful sounding country folk jam, with a real late night / earlier morning ponderous vibe going on. The lead vocal and harmonies are especially alluring to the ears, and equally memorable. There’s no firm date for the release of their EP but ‘Dusk On The Green Bus Line’ is more than enough to tide us over till then.

You can stream/download ‘Dusk On The Green Bus Line’ below. 

BarryGruff Unplugged: Oisin McCole + Sive + Phil McDermott :: Wednesday, December 18th :: The Liffey Studio, Newbridge

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We’d an amazing time doing the first ‘BarryGruff Unplugged’ earlier in the year, easily our best show to date. To sign off on 2013, we’re doing another unplugged show in the wonderfully intimate surroundings of The Liffey Studio, with Oisin McCole, Sive and Phil McDermott performing for you;  three exceptionally talented musicians.

It’s all happening next Wednesday, Decemeber 18th in The Liffey Studio, 1 Main Street, Newbridge. Door are at 8pm. It’s €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, just email your name to barrygruff[at]gmail[dot]com – with ‘Cheap List’ in the subject title. More details & info below. [RSVP]

:: Oisin McCole ::

Oisin McCole is an outstanding and undeniably talented folk singer and songwriter, yet he has managed to remain rather illusive outside his native Dublin. McCole’s lo-fi blues / folk blend is refreshingly humble and entirely devoid of ostentatious. His songs are beautifully written and constructed, never sounding contrived or over-produced, and posses an incredibly intimate sound and personal touch. These are folk songs from a seriously talented songwriter, deserving of far greater attention – something his two recently released EPs, From Here The Mountain & Winter Is Coming, are testament to.

:: Sive ::

Sive is no stranger to Newbridge audiences; having been wooed on many occasions by their always impeccable live shows. The brainchild of Naas musician Sadhbh O’Sullivan, ably assisted by her band, they draw from a wide variety of alternative rock, jazz and folk influences. Sive’s gorgeous sound comes from a combination of these influences being fused with excellent musicianship and charm, and her voice, which is simply exquisite. 

:: Phil McDermott ::

Phil is a talented young songwriter from Newbridge who has only begun to cut his teeth so to speak. Relatively new to the game he maybe, but he’s already got a fine bundle of material in his arsenal. Hopefully in the new year he takes the next step and heads to the studio to record some of his music.