Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Rams' Pocket Radio - Reservoir

It's always lovely to hear new music coming from Peter McCauley, aka Rams' Pocket Radio, who we've been writing about on the blog more or less since we starting with the whole music blogging thing (including featuring him as one of our Tips For 2012 back in the day). His debut album, "Béton", picked up quite a few plaudits, including a nomination for the Northern Irish Music Prize, and just this month he released a new single for us, "Reservoir".

Unlike the more piano-based sound you might have come to expect from Rams', "Reservoir" sees keyboards and electronics take on a more prominent role than before, which some people have compared to the sounds of "Kid A"-era Radiohead, although it still contains the earnest songwriting and dischordant pop elements that we've come to expect from them. Plus the lovely string section that comes in halfway through helps to retain a sense of earthiness to the proceedings.

"Reservoir" offers an interesting development of the sound of Rams' Pocket Radio, and might give us a few hints as to what we can expect when album #2 eventually drops.

"Reservoir" is available to download now.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Pleasure Beach - Go

This is the story of a 21st century mystery. It isn't a mystery on the same level as the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, and it sure as heck won't be remembered in the years to come (I'd actually be surprised if you remember it the moment you click away from this page), but it's a mystery nonetheless.

Last week, the band Pleasure Beach appeared on my Twitter feed, announcing the release of their debut single, "Go". This came as a surprise to me, as it wasn't a sponsored Tweet, and I had no recollection of ever following a band of that name. So what happened?

My first thoughts was that for some reason, Twitter had decided, in their infinite wisdom, that Pleasure Beach were a band that I absolutely, positively, must have to follow, because their music will change my life in ways that I couldn't possibly imagine. There's would have been some precedence to this, as the same week Q Magazine had been added to my Twitter feed, despite the fact that a) I hadn't followed them, and b) am not middle-aged.

But even so, I thought it would be unlikely that a new band would have the necessary financial power to get a multi-billion company to exploit their algorithms on their behalf, which led me to my second hypothesis - were Pleasure Beach formed from the ashes of another band that I had followed in the past? Having learned that the band were from Northern Ireland, this seemed like the obvious conclusion. However, after going through some of the bands that we'd covered in the past who'd split up whose sound could be comparable with that of the new band (some of our possible contenders included The Alice Kona Band and Amateur Historians), and with none of the increasing number of blogs who had written about the band able to shed some light on it, I gave up my sleuthing, leaving the outcome of this case open.

Or at least until last week, when the wonderful people on BBC Radio Ulster's Across The Line were able to answer the question that had been plaguing me for hours - the band is a continuation of Yes Cadets. They were a band very close to this blog's heart - we even wrote about them the very first day this blog was active, and given that we hadn't heard about them since they supported Public Service Broadcasting at the tail end of 2013, we thought that they'd probably called time on the band. And so, the pieces had finally come together.

Now that our mystery is solved, we're delighted for two reasons - firstly that they're still making music, and that if "Go" is anything to go by, the music that they're going to make as Pleasure Beach going to be of a very high calibre. Compared to the more electronic/indie sound that they made as YC,  as Pleasure Beach they are making electronically-tinged Springsteen-esque American rock, not too dissimilar to what The War of Drugs have done to much aplomb. "Go" has already started to get a lot of people excited about the band, and now they can add one more person to the mix.

Just let me know the next time you decide to change on me, please?

"Go" is due to be released on May 25th as a Double A-side with "Absentee".

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The School - All I Want From You Is Everything

As a great fan of all things twee and indie-pop, it's always a delight to come across a band in the genre that I hadn't heard of before. Up until last week, I hadn't heard of Cardiff based septet, The School, who to date have released two studio albums since forming in 2007. However, after hearing their new single, "All I Want From You Is Everything", it is fair to say that I was sold immediately.

The song is three minutes of indie-pop loveliness, which wraps itself around your ears like a comfort blanket of pure aural bliss. If you want a hearty slice of dreamy, uncynical jangly pop, you can't go far wrong than this.

"All I Want From You Is Everything" is taken from The School's upcoming 3rd album "Wasting Away and Wondering", which will be released later this year. It is also the lead track of an E.P of the same name, which is available to buy now as a limited edition 7" white vinyl*.

*I just want to take the time to note that if you do decide to buy the E.P, you're likely to receive it very quickly. I ordered my copy of the E.P on Thursday afternoon, and within 18 hours it had made the crossing across the Irish Sea and landed on my doorstep, which has to be some sort of record. It would have taken me longer to download it from iTunes, although that has more to do with how unstable that service has been recently. So bravo, up with this sort of thing, etc. 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

All Tvvins - Thank You

All Tvvins* is the project of Conor Adams and Lar Kaye, who over the past few years have been individually involved in a number of Irish bands, the most prominent being The Cast of Cheers and Adebisi Shank. Following a year building up their reputation, including a slot supporting Arcade Fire, the band signed to Warner Music, dropped their first single on us a few weeks back, picking up a lot of love in the intervening period.

And if you've heard "Thank You", then it should come as no surprise, as it's an absolutely fantastic song. Channelling the '80s rock-but-updated' template that brought The War On Drugs to international success last year, "Thank You" is a driven, stadium ready anthem-in-waiting filled with more than enough hooks to please even the most masochistic Cenobite.

"Thank You" has all the hallmarks of the first sign of All Tvvins' inevitable super stardom. With major label backing, and more tunes in their arsenal like this, they are going to be an insatiable prospect over the next year.

"Thank You" is available to download/stream now.

*pronounced "All Twins", because as Alvvays taught us, w's are so post-Latin.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Silences - The Sea

Armagh based group Silences have been on our radar since way back in 2012, back when it was still the solo project of Conchúr White. Since then, we've seen Silences expand into a five-piece band whilst delivering some great music, with their "Nevernames" E.P and single "Sister Snow", all whilst quietly bubbling away, building up a solid ground beneath them as they move up to the next level of their career.

And move up they have done, at least if their new single "The Sea" is anything to go by. Although the band's songs to date have been quite accessible, this new single seems to have been written specifically to win over as many people as humanly possible, and there's no doubt that they've succeeded. The song is a wonderful example of 'emotional indie' in the style of Kodaline (which is a compliment, by the way), with the song building up slowly into a satisfying and powerful denouement.

Although this blog tries not to break into hyperbole and grand predictions (seriously), on this occasion, I am willing to go out on a limb and do just that - "The Sea" is going to be massive. Whether that means relatively massive (ie picks up a ridiculous amount of online love massive), or massive massive (i.e breaks into the charts massive) remains to be seen. But one thing is clear - "The Sea" is the moment that has made it impossible to ignore Silences. They are going places.

"The Sea" will be released digitally on May 7th.