Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Video: Villagers - Passing A Message

Villagers have dropped an early Christmas present in the form of new track Passing A Message which gives us another sneak peak into their forthcoming second album {Awayland}released January 11th 2013. Villagers play The Blackbox, Belfast (Nov 11th) and Whelans, Dublin (Nov 13th, sold out). But fear not, they will return to Dublin on March 21st to play the Olympia Theatre.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: Windings - I Am Not The Crow

In the early 2000's Stephen Ryan needed an alternative creative outlet from his critically acclaimed band Giveamanakick. The outstanding results eventually found their way on to 2005's self titled début 'Windings.' Since then Ryan has seen his secondary creative outlet become his main focus, moving from solo project to a fully formed entity in its own right. Fast forward to 2012 as Windings release their finest set of material to date 'I Am Not The Crow.' An eclectic 8 track collection of bittersweet sunshine pop and undulating indie rock rhythms, with a melodic alt country twist.

'I Am Not The Crow' begins bravely with the sparkling Sun In My Bones. A beautiful happy/sad creation in the tradition of Teenage Fanclub and Wilco. It builds beautifully across the duration of its eight minutes culminating in a  stunning virtuoso guitar solo that Nels Cline (Wilco) would surely approve of. Stephen Ryan's self-destructive, self-deprecating lyrics sit effortlessly above the delicately unfolding musical arrangement. Sun In My Bones is undoubtedly one of the finest opening statements of an Irish album this year.

Something Outnumbered continues the albums happy/sad feel however, this time the soundscape is darker, thanks to Brian Meaney's military drumbeat. Ryan's vocals are magnificent, once again capturing the atmosphere of the track perfectly "There's not much hope of changing and this place is becoming me So keep all the good stuff to yourself and hope all your hopes so secretly" concedes Ryan in the verse, whilst defiantly stating "they could light a fire but I'd burn if i could just stay by your side" through the chorus.

Alkaterian Are Alright signals a major change in approach by Windings. The melancholy of the opening tracks is replaced by a defiant upbeat rock and roll rebellion wall of sound. This track is reminiscent of early Foo Fighters material, with supercharged power chords belting forth, yet still retaining their melodic stability. Ryan has conjured up a memorable chorus of "Breathe in, Slow Down, Sleep in, but they won't wait for us all that long." Which ties the composition together wonderfully.

Windings turbocharged approach to songwriting continues on single This Is Conversation which begins life as an indie disco dance floor filler, with bouncy bass and cowbell pangs. Before building into a giant soundscape of distorted guitar stabs, as Ryan delivers a lyrical trifecta of chorus lines, which he rotates and again and again, before the albums second guitar solo closes the track on a twisty flourish.

Cleaner seems somewhat meek following the uptempo bombast of the previous three tracks and is perhaps, by default, the albums lowest point. While, In Need Of Some Repair is an enjoyable, spooky reprise of opening track Sun In My Bones. But the only real disappointment is that Windings have chose not to include 2011's sublime standalone single Embury Greenway on 'I Am Not The Crow.'

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: Jogging - Take Courage

Despite their excellent DIY début 'Minutes' and stunning live shows Jogging have failed to garner the plaudits they deserve, being somewhat overlooked in the Richter Collective stable of bands by Irish critics. Following the demise of the Richter Collective, Jogging moved to Out On A Limb Records with their sophomore album 'Take Courage' in tow. Indeed, much credit must go to their former label for ensuring that many of their acts left with their next batch of songs recorded and ready for release. Proving once and for all that Richter Collective was always about the music and never the Benjamins.

'Take Courage' includes all the elements that made 'Minutes' a potent Molotov cocktail of prog-punk. However, it also displays growth in terms of both songwriting and production. The songs are more focused, direct and compact with every note hitting hard and purposefully. The major flaw of 'Minutes' was the standard of production on the drums, which failed to realise the true power and density of the lines being performed. Thankfully this has been rectified and now drummer Peter Lee's patterns and fills can finally be appreciated outside a live setting.

Deadweight kicks things off with one of Jogging's signature twisty melodic guitar lines, before bursting into a hardcore chorus matched by the bleak and anguished lyrical content. But no surprise there, Jogging's disaffected lyrical content is one of the most intriguing aspects of their music. Stand Still and Horse Sense explode forth like world war two artillery fire, creating dense apocalyptic soundscapes. With Horse Sense in particular displaying how Jogging have matured as sonic arrangers.

Good Gold, is an early standout thanks to its multifaceted arrangement and killer put downs, such as "What you don't know is worth its weight in gold" it builds slowly from intertwining math-rock and hardcore riffs. before bursting into, yet another, memorable melodic guitar hook, seemingly out of nowhere. It's a bold move which pays instant dividends, as all the elements combine perfectly for the outro. Every Bristle A Bayonet is almost a ballad in comparison to the material which proceeds it. But even at their lightest moments Jogging blast most others bands out of the water with their precision angst. Skeletons, Inc. may even sneak on to mainstream rock radio thanks to its almost straightforward arrangement Whilst the melodic stylings of Piecemeal may open the doors further still.

Winter In The Theatre
closes this impressive album with one last cannon blast. Building slowly from an overdriven bass riff it gradually builds over 5 minutes into a hailing crescendo as Ronan Jackson belts "I grow weary". But while the band themselves may be disaffected the listener certainly won't be. 'Take Courage' is one of the finest albums of the year, bristling with energy, grit and determination.

Video: Runaway GO - Jump Start

Jump Start is the latest single to be released by Belfast popsters Runaway Go. The band undertake a nine date tour of Ireland in support of Jump Start starting November 2nd in The Workman's Club Dublin. If you like what you hear check out http://runawaygo.com for more details and live dates.

Video: Sweet Jane - I Wanna Be In Love

I Wanna Be In Love is the first single to be taken from Sweet Jane's second album. It's also the first indication of how the band will fair since lead singer Lydia Des Dolles left the group to be replaced from within by Danda Paxton.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Video: The Fallen Drakes - Treatment

The Fallen Drakes have released a cover of  Treatment by Labrinth to tied over their devoted fan base while they record their debut album. The track even received Labrinth's approval via twitter with the composer citing it as "a very honest rendition of my song". The band have utilised Twitter to gain a massive fan base and are constantly in the Top 5 Follow Friday chart for Ireland, even picking up star admirers such as Gary Barlow along the way.

Video: Little Green Cars - John Wayne

We first came across Little Green Cars at last summers Forbidden Fruit festival where they gave one of the standout performances of the weekend. Since then the band have signed to Guillermo Ramos, subsidiary of Major label Island, and have recorded their debut album 'Absolute Zero' with Markus Dravs (Bjork, Arcade Fire, Mumford and Sons).Fan favourite John Wayne is the lead single to be taken from the album watch the video below. Catch Little Green Cars in Whelans on November 8th.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Video: We Cut Corners - Yet

We Cut Corners release yet another single from their Choice Music Prize nominated debut album 'Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards' Yet is by no means the strongest of the singles to be lifted from the album but, you can hardly blame the duo for trying to ride the wave of hysteria for a little longer before they embark on proceedings for the traditionally difficult follow-up album

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Paddy Casey - The Secret Life of

In 2007 Paddy Casey released the rather lack luster 'Addicted To Company' as the tide turned against the bloated singer/songwriter scene with the youth of Ireland choosing to immerse itself in the virgining post-rock and electronica scenes instead. Casey and co quickly disappeared from public view and it seemed his creative well had run dry just like the singer/songwriter scene that bore him. A far cry from 1999 when Casey released his impressive début 'Amen (So Be It)'.

Fast forward to 2012 and Paddy Casey is set to make a somewhat surprising return to the music scene after a five years hiatus with 'The Secret Life of...' As the title would suggest Casey has been through a metamorphosis of sorts behind closed doors with the dreaded acoustic guitar taking somewhat of a backseat, though it does make an appearance from time to time. The album has the air of an artist indulging himself in his guilty pleasures, whilst simultaneously trying to carve a niche for himself in a radically changed musical landscape. As a result the material is eclectic and the results are mixed to say the least.

When Casey plays it safe harking back to the good old days on tracks such as Tell Her and Close Your Eyes the material falls predictably flat. But when Casey is bold and pushes himself outside of his perceived comfort zone things get much more exciting. Even when things go horribly wrong on the cringy That's Just The Way It Goes you can respect Casey for offering some social commentary though by comparison the track is a poor man's Fortunate Son. The meandering lullaby There Is Light attempts to create an ephemeral soundscape but ultimately it's X Factor bland. Indeed far too often there is a safe Saturday night prime time boy band sheen to the material.

Wait is one of the tracks which falls comfortably into the latter category however, on this occasion it's a whimsical radio friendly masterclass which harks back to pops heyday. Rise and Shine is a twee but enjoyable sing along Beatles throwback. While The Love Harmonica sees Casey successfully delve into swamp blues. Show Me Yours will surely be a single thanks to its radio friendly melodic Steve Wall style chorus.

In the end The Secret Life Of Paddy Casey isn't that different from the widely known life of Paddy Casey except it's slightly more upbeat. If this is the best collection of songs Casey could pen after five years of solid writing then it's a very paltry return. But if it's the first batch of songs he's written after a long break then it's conceivable that Paddy Casey could be firing on all cylinders next time round.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Video: The Casanova Wave - How The Beat Was Tempered

Following collaborative singles with the likes of Katie Kim and Sleep Thieves earlier this year The Casanova Wave have chosen to release How The Beat Was Tempered as the latest single from the 'Joy Of Being' album.The track itself players like a  tropical tinged lounge remix of Robot Rock by Daft Punk.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Video: Jape - Scorpio

Scorpio is the latest track from Jape's choice music prize winning album 'Ocean Of Frequency' to get the video treatment. The track has long been a fan favourite and is sure to get people moving on indie-electro dance floors the world over.

Video: Two Door Cinema Club - Sun

Two Door Cinema Club return with the video for the second single to be taken from their latest album 'Beacon'. The video for Sun sees TDCC enjoying some good times on the pier on an overcast day with added dancers. The top comment on the video is currently  "Tin Tin sure knows how to rock!" and we have to agree as TDCC have delivered another feelgood bass driven track.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Video: Jogging - Horse Sense

A raucous live performance of Horse Sense by Jogging recorded in their rehearsal space the track is taken from the band's critically acclainmed second album 'Take Courage' and it's easy to see why many consider Jogging to be the best three piece rock band in Ireland today.

Jogging // Horse Sense from Sean Zissou on Vimeo.

Video: Bats - Wolfwrangler

Bats are back with a new single Wolfwrangler which will be quickly followed by new album 'The Sleep Of Reason'. It's a good news bad news situation. Whilst new material from Bats is always welcome the release of the album is also tinged with sadness, as it will be the last ever release on the Richter Collective label. Signaling the end of a beautiful era of Irish music.