Friday, 24 February 2017

PATHS - Right Beside You/Last One Standing

It's barely been a month since we first wrote about PATHS, the electronic solo project of Northern Irish music mainstay Jules Shaw. Her first single, "Neoprene", has gone down incredibly well, picking up a smorgasbord of love right across the spectrum, getting played on Radio 1 and being picked up by some lovely other blogs.

Since then, we've had the pleasure off seeing PATHS' first gig, which took place during the Output Festival in Belfast at Aether & Echo. The music comes across really well on stage, with the loops and guitars complimented by a visually impressive light display (which we later learned took several months to program in anticipation of this gig), and it seemed to go down well with the crowd, which is always a good sign on a debut gig.

Given the warm reception received since its debut, it looks as if PATHS is hoping to strike whilst the iron is hot by released a brand new A/B side single mere weeks after her first single debuted. It's a bold move, but given the strength of the songs to come out of it, a pretty nifty one.

The A-side of the single is "Right Beside You", a song that PATHS says is about 'digital distraction'. The song is built around an off-kilter woodwind sample (or possibly string? We're not 100% certain), which is complimented by layers upon layers of harsh synth sounds over a triplet-beat.

However, it is the B-side of the single that we are most excited about, "Last One Standing". When we saw PATHS live, it was the song that really stood out in the set, and we're really glad that a full recording has come out so quickly, as we believe that it's going to be the song that's going to help PATHS make the next big breakthrough in her career.

Why? Because it's so darn infectious, that's why. When we find ourselves humming the main riff of a song for hours after we hear it for the first time, we know that we're on to a winner. There's a few tropical-house elements floating around "Last One Standing", and as well has having a few 80s influences thrown into a modern sounding production (those drum rushes at 2:49 are to die for). It's a pity that it's being classed as the B-side of this release, as it is our favourite release from PATHS to date, but we're confident that once a few more people catch wind of "Last One Standing", it is going to blow up in a massive way.

Both "Right Beside You" & "Last One Standing" are available to download/stream now from all the usual outlets.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Childcare - Kiss?

We're well aware at The Metaphorical Boat that many of the artists that we write about on this site don't derive their income solely from their musical exploits (although if we had our way, we would ensure that was the case, but that's another story), and that many of them work in other jobs to either subsidize or pay for the music that they create.

What is less common however is for said artists to put the fact that they work in another career at the front and centre of their musical work. That's what Ed Cares, who outside of music works full time as a nanny, did when he formed the band CHILDCARE. They've released a few singles over the past few years, and have supported Bastille on tour, although it is with their latest single that they've really grabbed us.

"Kiss?" was written after an incident Ed experienced whilst picking up the children he looks after from school, when an attempt to greet one of the waiting mums didn't go exactly the way he planned. The song features a great male/female vocal interplay over a poppy indie-rock beat, a great song about a moment of sheer awkwardness.

"Kiss?" is out now, and the band are due to play at The Great Escape in Brighton in May.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Jon Solari - Sistine Chapel

Having followed the local Northern Irish music scene for some time now, it is not rare for us to see bands come to their natural conclusion, before splintering off into many numerous different projects, many of which of a solo nature. We've written before about the band New Ancestors, and more recently about how one of their members turned his music towards recording as Brash Isaac.

Now, another member of that band has gone down the solo route, although in Jon Solari's case, he's decided to record under his own name. "Sistine Chapel" is the first song released from him, and it's a great little introduction. It's not a million miles away from the raucous folk-rock that he was making whilst working with The 1930s many moons ago, but with added polish and with a really strong chorus to boot.

"Sistine Chapel" is taken from the E.P "Guilt Trip", which is out now.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

OUTLYA - The Light

We at The Metaphorical Boat were fans of the group Port Isla from the moment that a "Sinking Ship" first appeared on our radar in 2012. They released a few great singles after that, as well as impressing us at The Great Escape in 2014, but in recent times the band went quiet, and for all intents & purposes, Port Isla have been permanently docked on the Bay of Musical Break-Ups.

Thankfully, it looks as if a few shoots have sprung out of its carcass, as Will Bloomfield has formed a new band, the trio OUTLYA. They've got some weight behind them already, sharing the same management company as James Bay & George Ezra, and have just released their debut single, "The Light".

The song shows their intent right out of the gate, with its expansive sound sounding like Coldplay at their most anthemic ("Violet Hill" would be the nearest touchstone in our heads). It's a great opening statement of intent, and given its early buzz (the song made its way onto a rather influential Spotify playlist on its day of release), it could see OUTLYA achieve the success that Port Isla never got to enjoy.

"The Light" is out now.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Chordblossom Kickstart Competition 2017

Our good friends over at Chordblossom have launched their annual Kickstart competition, which is open to Northern Irish bands and artists, and has a great smorgasbord of prizes up for grabs for acts who are starting off on their career. If you're eligible to take part, we would encourage you to submit an application, as we have seen how beneficial it has been for those artists who have taken part.

Press release follows:

We are pleased to announce that our highly anticipated competition for local bands and musicians across Northern Ireland is returning for 2017.

As usual, we will be offering the eventual winner of the competition, the opportunity to "kickstart" their year with an impressive package of prizes including a single recording, music video and festival slot up for grabs.

For 2017, we are pleased to be partnering with Help Musicians NI to launch the competition. Help Musicians UK is the leading UK charity for professional musicians and offer support and advice to musicians at different stages of their careers. They launched themselves in Northern Ireland last year and we feel that their expertise will be of a real benefit to the musicians taking part in Kickstart. 

Our winners from last year, Brand New Friend, went on to have an incredibly successful year with their music being played on Radio One and BBC 6 Music, their debut EP receiving critical acclaim and obtaining a number of significant support slots throughout the year. Other notable winners of the competition include SOAK, Lauren Bird and In An Instant.

Prizes ► 

 Professional Career Advice - Courtesy of Third Bar Artist Development

► Single Recording - Courtesy of Millbank Studios

►  Video for your Single - Courtesy of Dog Kennel Productions

 Festival Slot - Courtesy of Stendhal Festival of Art

 First Play of your Single - Courtesy of Electric Mainline

 CD Duplication - Courtesy of Wilson Creative

 Single Artwork - Courtesy of Studio McCooke

 Professional Photoshoot - Courtesy of Ciara McMullan Photography

 Single Launch Gig in Belfast - Courtesy of Chordblossom

 Support Slot in Portrush - Courtesy of Atlantic Live Lounge

 Support Slot in Derry/Londonderry - Courtesy of Bennigans Introducing

How To Enter ► 

You must be a musician or band originally from Northern Ireland and have not released a full length album. If you meet this criteria please send an email to with the following information:

- Band/Musician Name
- Hometown
- Influences
- A Social Media Link

- An MP3 of your best track

Timeline For The Competition ► 

- Monday 6th February 2017 - Competition announced and entry opens
- Sunday 26th February 2017 - Entries Close at 8PM
- Monday 6th March 2017 - Top 20 Announced
- Monday 13th March 2017 - 4 Finalists Announced
- End of March (TBC) – Showcase Gig  & Winner Announced