Juice – ‘Sugar’

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The Tories are in power, a mighty footballing power appears to be on the wane and if we we’re in need of a soundtrack to this bastard early ’90s re-visitation – Birmingham three-piece Juice are likely to provide it.

A serendipitous discovery on a ramble through the interwebs, or more succinctly, while reading the excellent blog, The Metaphorical Boat. And my, what a find Juice have turned out to be, or more to the point, the band’s debut single, ‘Sugar’. Unleashed online a few weeks back, their debut single is a spellbinding indie-rock tune, navigating a perfect path between sugar-sweet pop and riotous noise. It’s got everything you could want from a song; attitude, aggression, a whirl of scorching riffs, pounding percussion, and a bubbling bassline. Not to mention the concentrated, succulent verses and a chorus that would have the shyest festival crowds singing along. Yes, there is a serious tang of early to mid ’90s British guitar bands, yet it doesn’t sound dated, rehashed or recycled. This is just a tune.

There’s no firm details of a release date as of yet but sure you can stream ‘Sugar’ to your hearts content below. 

We Cut Corners – ‘Best Friend’

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We Cut Corners will release their second album Think Nothing on April 25th (May 12th in the UK) through Delphi and having already shared ‘YKK‘ and ‘Every Thief‘, ahead of the LPs release, we now have latest single, ‘Best Friend’.

The Dublin duo’s previous two tracks showcased both their quieter and more rocky dispositions, something of a blueprint set out by their debut album, Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards. ‘Best Friend’ is most certainly the latter. A short, sharp two minute blast of seething, sneery and raspy indie-rock. In fact, this is the most hostile and aggression fueled WCC have sounded, and things are nicely poised for the album’s release in April. They have also teamed up with Kijek/Adamski again for another wonderful animated video, the people responsible for their much praised ‘A Pirate’s Life’ video.

‘Best Friend’ is out now as a digital download and there’s plenty of shows planned for April and May too (check ’em here).

Blood Red Shoes – ‘Animal’

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“How does it feel, to reveal what you already know?” snarls Blood Red Shoes’ Steven Ansell on the savage, rampaging beast that is ‘An Animal’. It’s a pretty apt utterance from Ansell, as it reaffirms what we’ve known for a rather long time, the Brighton duo are one of the best in the business when it comes to full-blooded indie-rock.

‘Animal’ is the second track to have been unleashed from Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter’s forthcoming self-titled album, which is out on March 3rd. The track certainly indicates a return to top form after 2012’s somewhat underwhelming In Time To Voices. Brilliantly raw and heavy, this is the duo sounding as big, brash, boisterous and obliterative they’ve ever sounded in the past. Hating that shitty job hasn’t sounded that compelling for sometime. 

You can check out ‘Animal’ & the accompanying b-side, ‘Wretch’, which features Drenge’s Eoin Loveless and Ian Clement.

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.  

Introducing: Gangs

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Gangs are a four-piece indie-rock band – Jordan Curtis, Dan Smith, James Connolly and Jonny Halpin – from Tallaght in Dublin. 

Their brand of ‘indie-rock’, loosely speaking of course, is inspired by ’80s bands like The Smiths, The Jam or The Cure combined with a nod here and there to more modern contemporaries such as say, The Libertines and their ilk, or mod revivalists The Rifles. Inspiration is one thing, harnessing it and putting your own stamp and style to it is another matter entirely. Gangs pull this particular feat off with considerable gusto, adding their own spirit to proceedings, this gang of four mete out some tasty tunes. They harness all their mojo from a combo of catchy guitar riffs, energetic melodies and powerful vocals; of which their two singles to date are testament to. ‘Crumbs in my Bed’ is a blast of hyperactive indie-punk while ‘Down Boy’ is more of an indie tune and less storming, but just as brash. From the outside anyway, Gangs seem to making a bit of name for themselves.

You can check out some their tunes below or catch them in the flesh when they play The Grand Social w/ longstanding BarryGruff favorites The Statics and Otherkin this Friday. More info here.  

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!