Friday, 30 September 2011

The Mobbs - Jolly Good

You can fit a lot into just 81 seconds. Just ask Northampton trio The Mobbs. On their debut single, "Jolly Good", the group manage to fit in a massive Clash-esque punk riff, three verses and a guitar solo in their own idiosyncratic style. It also marks the first time I've heard the word 'nonchalant' used successfully in a rock song.

"Jolly Good" is out now as an MP3, vinyl, and rather charmingly, as a CD single on BB Rex.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Soviac - French

It is almost a universal truth that the French language is one of the most alluring languages in the world, which is probably the reason why Swedish group Soviac chose to name their comeback single as such.

"French" is an electro-pop banger in which the verses are sung in the most sensual female Gallic accent imaginable, leading to the simplistic chorus of "I'm in love with you."

"French", taken from Soviac's upcoming album "The Back Album", is out worldwide on October 7th, but is available to download for free.

Dead Shed Jokers - Magic Teatime

"Magic Teatime" by Welsh fourpiece Dead Shed Jokers is an interesting beast indeed. It effectively uses contrasting quiet/loud dynamics periodically throughout the song, yet does not really sound very grunge influenced, instead taking its cues from Britpop and early 00s American alt-rock.

Whether the band will continue with this sound remains to be seen, although there is an album by the band, "Peyote Smile", due out in the near future.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Paul Shevlin - The Takeover

Bangor based piano pop supremo Paul Shevlin has released his latest single, "The Takeover", which is another great Ben Folds-esque ditty that showcases Shevlin's songwriting chops and ivory tinkling prowess.

In a rather canny move, Paul Shevlin is giving away a copy of the track for free for anyone who sends a Facebook message or tweets about the song via Tweet for a Track, so be sure to get your copy whilst you can.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

GOLD - Fantasy's Dream

The incredibly hard-to-Google Halifax based fourpiece GOLD ply their trade with ambient flavoured indie-rock that is both hypnotic and alluring at the same time. The first track on their E.P, "Fantasy's Dream", mixes the claustrophobic and intimate production of the xx with the booming barritone of Morrissey.

"Fantasy's Dream" is taken from "E.P", which is available to download for free.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Caught Live - Levity Breaks/Wonder Villains/Pixel vs Nanobot

Venue – The Speakeasy, Belfast

Date – 22nd September 2011

If you’re a great fan of great upcoming music from Northern Ireland, then there is no better place to be on a Thursday night than the Speakeasy Bar in the Queens University Student’s Union. During term time, it plays host to Radar, which is a free weekly event that plays host to the best upcoming groups in the region. As a showcase for local talent, it is rarely beaten. The rather hefty crowd, made up largely of nubile freshers still adapting to student life, were in for a treat with three rather different bands.

The first band of the night were Pixel vs Nanobot. Whilst I had heard of the band before the gig, I hadn’t really listened to their music in advance, and wrongly assumed by the name that they were a rave influenced chiptune band. Instead I was treated to a high energy electro-rock trio, fronted by the lovely Shauna Donaghy. Throughout their set, their songs could categorized into two distinct types – half the songs were synth infused tunes, which the other half featured Shauna stepping away from the Korg and into a Karon O-esque ‘Diva Mode,’ for Death From Above 1979-esque bass led tunes. The band seemed to get the crowd on their side, particularly two girls at the front who seemed to go crazy to every beat.

In "Diva Mode"

It’s been over 18 months since I last saw the Derry based four-piece The Wonder Villains play live, and the group have had some success since then, having had one of their songs used as the theme tune to a BBC comedy series and supporting General Fiasco on a number of UK dates, and has seen lead singer Eimear switch from predominantly using a synth bass to an electric bass.

Thankfully, one thing that has not changed with the band is their penchant for writing pop-culture infused, feel-good pop songs. The youthful energy flows through the teenage band’s songs, which include upcoming single “Zola” (about Gianfranco), “Oh Peter” (about a character from the now cancelled TV series “Heroes), “Running In Circles” (a song loved so much by the band that it has been the b-side to two of their singles), and my personal favourite, “SpaceJam”, which was my 4th favourite song of 2010. Eimear engaged in ‘banter’ with the rapturous audience between, sharing her joy at being able to drink on stage for the first time (“I feel mental”, she informs us). The music of the Wonder Villains serves the purpose of making you feel young, energetic and most importantly, happy, and there is nothing more that you would ever want with a band.

The Wonder Villains: fun personified

The final act of the night is Levity Breaks, who are launching their debut single, “The Floor.” One of my friends described their anthemic rock songs as “music for getting four yes votes on the X Factor to,” which I feel is an apt description of the Editors esque rock that they showcase on the night.

Levity Breaks, doing their thing

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Twilight Sad - Kill It In the Morning

Scotish indie trio The Twilight Sad will be releasing their 3rd studio album in February 2012. In anticipation of this, the group have released the first track from their album, entitled "Kill It in the Morning." The song sees the band expand into unfamiliar territory, with a stark industrial production calling to mind the work of Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails, whilst still maintaining the band's trademark whistful melancholy.

The band have also made the song available as a free download, which you can obtain below:

Post War Glamour Girls - Spitting Pearls

There is a brooding charm that shines throughout the work of Leeds based fourpiece Post War Glamour Girls. On their upcoming single, "Spitting Pearls", the band seem to channel a similar energy to fellow avant-garde rockers Wild Beasts.

What seperates them from them however (aside from refraining from falsetto), is a demented sense of menace that builds as the song progresses into a cataclysm of rage towards the conclusion. The sounds of Post War Glamour Girls might be a bit of an acquired taste, but it one that you would savour again and again.

"Spitting Pearls" by Post War Glamour Girls will be released on Monday 10th October on Sturdy Records on download and limited edition 7", along with double A-side single "Ode to Harry Dean".

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Ash/Divine Comedy/Undertones Alzheimer's Society Benefit Concert: November 3rd 2011

Earlier today, Tim Wheeler of rockers Ash and Neil Hannon of chamber-pop group The Divine Comedy held a press conference to announce a benefit gig for the Alzheimer's Society, which will be held in the Ulster Hall, Belfast on November 3rd 2011.

What makes this concert very special, aside from the fact that proceeds from the concert will help to support the Alzheimer's Society, is that three of the greatest bands to come out of Northern Ireland in the past 35 years, Ash, The Divine Comedy & The Undertones, will each be playing one of their classic albums in full.

Ash will be playing their debut album, "1977" in full as a trio. The album was first released in 1996 when the band were still in their teens, and features classic songs such "Oh Yeah" and "Girl From Mars".

The Divine Comedy, featuring Neil Hannon on piano plus a string quartet, will be playing their second album (or third, depending on who you speak to), the concept album "Promenade", which features tracks such as "Tonight We Fly" and "The Summerhouse".

The Undertones will be playing their debut album, their self-titled punk classic from 1979, which features songs such as "Here Comes the Summer" and the legendary "Teenage Kicks."

Opening for the bands on the night will be up and coming local singer/songwriter John D'Arcy.

Both Tim Wheeler and Neil Hannon have been personally affected by Alzheimer's, with Tim's father succombing to the illness earlier this year, and Neil's father is currently living with it, so it is a cause that is close to both musicians' hearts.

The tickets for the concert will go on sale this Thursday, and are priced at £22 and £20, and will directly benefit the Alzheimer's Society. If you are unable to attend, but would still like to contribute, there is a Just Giving page, where you can make a small donation to the cause.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Sam Gray - Brighter Day

After working in radio for a certain amount of time, you get used to tuning your ears to what sort of music would be suitable for certain types of audiences. BBC Radio 2, for example, is sometimes nicknamed "Safe FM" by some of my friends,due to its propensity for playing safe, inoffensive music, radio friendly music that whilst pleasant, doesn't necessarily push any musical boundries. After all, they are the only radio station in the country that still playlist Cliff Richard.

Which brings me nicely onto singer/songwriter Sam Gray. When I first heard his song "Brighter Day", my first instinct was that this would sound absolutly perfect on Radio 2. And sure enough, I later learned that his previous single, "Cartwheel Queen", was playlisted on the station. With its retro production and ridiculously upbeat pop lyrics, the song seems to act as a male counterpart to the work last year's retro/present breakthrough artist Eliza Doolittle.

"Brighter Day" will be released on 16th October, with an album to follow later that month.