Sunday, 31 August 2014

Dirt Farmers - Alibi For The Silent Guy

A second trip to Melbourne in the space of a day? Why not?

Australian 5-piece Dirt Farmer are a blues country-rock band with a penchant for the sound of 60s and 70s Los Angeles. Their latest single is "Alibi For The Silent Guy", a song which sounds quite a bit like Alabama Shakes both in terms of their overall sound, and also in their vocal similarities (despite the gender flip). It's also got a pretty wonderful saxophone interlude, which has more than a little Clarence Clemons to it. You've got to love a band who make much which sounds so timeless.

"Alibi For The Silent Guy" is taken from their début album "Free BBQ", which is out now.

The Hunted Crows - Sniff You Out

For the second time this week, it's time to introduce a new rock duo hoping to follow in the wake of Royal Blood's success. This time, it's the turn of Melbourne based band The Hunted Crows. They've got quite an unusual set-up compared to other rock duos, given that it's their drummer who takes on lead vocals rather than the guitarist, as can be seen/heard on their debut single "Sniff You Out", which was released last week.

It's a pretty short song, one that leaves you feeling like you've just been hit slap bang in the face with a tidal wave of rock awesomeness. Musically, it feel closest to The White Stripes at their heaviest, with their dentist-drill guitar sounds calling to mind "Blue Orchid". It's a strong starting point for the band, who have done a good job of cutting rock down to its bare essentials.

The Hunted Crows' self-titled E.P will be released on September 21st. "Sniff You Out" is available now on a pay-what-one-likes basis.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Rhodes - Breathe

The last time we heard from UK Blog Sound of 2014 Longlisted singer/songwriter Rhodes, he was busy blowing everybody away during his appearance at The Great Escape with just a clean electric guitar and vocals that couldn't possibly be from this world. Things have been going rather swimmingly for him recently, having signed to Ministry of Sound (which might seem like an odd decision, although keep in mind that this is the same label that helped to guide London Grammar to super stardom).

With a new E.P out in October, Rhodes has released its lead single "Breathe". The song is a lot more expansive than one might have come to expect from his earlier recordings and his live sets, probably so that it's more suitable for both radio and being played by a full band (as it will be done on his upcoming tour). But as always, the focus is on his vocals, which are as breathtaking and heavenly as always. Here's hoping that the song gives him is breakthrough, and if not, Sound of 2015 is just around the corner.

"Home" E.P will be released on October 19th.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

James Canty - Strangers

"For the past year I've been writing, recording and fighting off disillusionment with a sword of fire and after countless set backs, cock ups, let downs, dead ends, blow outs, whiskies, take-aways and existential debates, I am happy to say the north wall has fallen. So here is a song I'm very proud of, consigned to the depths of the abyss, a tear drop in the ocean baby yeah."

After receiving such a powerful email, there was no way that I couldn't listen to "Strangers", the debut single from Essex born, Liverpool based singer-songwriter James Canty, and it's quite lucky I did, for it's a rather interesting listen indeed. It's hard to describe exactly what genre it would be, but odd-folk would probably be the best approximation. It mixes some decidedly un-folky banjo with luscious string arrangements and wraps it up in a tale of heartbreak to create something that is both rather unique, yet also somewhat timeless at the same time. 

Dolomite Minor - Talk Like an Aztec

With Royal Blood on the verge of a massive debut album, it was only a matter of time before people started putting their hopes behind other heavy rock duos. So it's no surprise to see a certain amount of hype building up around Southampton based duo Dolomite Minor recently. They played The Great Escape, Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds Festival in the past few months, and have started to pick up a bit of airplay for their latest single, "Talk Like An Aztec".

"Talk Like An Aztec" is a mighty fine noisy behemoth of a song indeed, much noisier than one might expect to come from just two guys. It's got a heavy, riff orientated sound that calls to mind bits of Queens Of The Stone Age, Marilyn Manson and Lafaro, with a little bit of their own personality thrown in for good measure. So will they be following the same path as Royal Blood before them? It wouldn't surprise me one iota. 

"Talk Like An Aztec" will be released on 7" vinyl on 22nd September.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Marsicans - Chivalry

Here's something a bit upbeat to put a spring in your step, courtesy of Leeds based 4-piece Marsicans. The band have been building up a loyal live following in the past few months, including supporting fellow up-and-comers Catfish & The Bottlemen, so the release of their latest single "Chivalry" is an important milestone for the band.

The song is a highly infectious Afro-pop inflected indie-rock tune, with some lovely guitar riffs, off-kilter drum work and a memorable chorus. The obvious comparisons would be Vampire Weekend and Little Comets, with the band falling somewhere in between the two musically.

The "Chivalry" E.P will be released on September 5th.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

EVVY - You Said

Quite a chilled-out track, this one. New York based artist EVVY has just released her debut E.P this month. Taken from the release is "You Said", a relaxed yet melancholy slice of electronic pop, very much in the mould of Tove Lo's recent surprise top 10 hit "Stay High". That this song hasn't set the blogosphere alight so far is quite surprising, although in fairness it is competing with six other quite strong tracks on the same E.P, so we'll just have to wait and see if it shoots for the stratosphere.

The self-titled debut E.P from EVVY is out now.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Sea Pinks - Dream Happening

Exciting news for any fans of Northern Irish jangle-pop, for Belfast's Chief of chiming guitars Neil Brogan, aka Sea Pinks, will the releasing the project's fourth studio album next month. To preview the release, the have released a new track to be taken from the album, "Dream Happening". It follows on nicely from their last single "An Exploded View" in its jangly, nostalgic sound, and should sufficiently whet your appetite before next month.

"Dream Happening" is taken from the album "Dreaming Tracks", will be released on September 29th.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Billy Lockett - Old Man

Here's another artist from our 'pile of shame', of artists that we've been meaning to write about on the blog for ages but for one reason or another we just didn't get around to it.

In October last year, I went to see KT Tunstall in the Ulster Hall after I'd been given tickets. The supporting artist for the evening was an unassuming chap from Northampton who went by the name of Billy Lockett. I was incredibly impressed by his performance on the evening - it takes a lot to put on a performance on par with one of the world's best solo performers, but he really did himself justice. He was also a perfect gentleman after the show, waiting in the lobby of the Ulster Hall after the show to sign copies of his E.P for the many people impressed with his performance on the night, myself included.

Given how much we enjoyed his performance, it seems like a shame it's taken this long to write about him, but having built up a massive audience in the intervening year, including being playlisted on Radio 1, and with a new single on its way, there's no time like the present to invite him on The Metaphorical Boat. "Old Man" is an absolutely lovely piano-pop tune dedicated to his father, who died earlier this year. It's a highly polished song which seems perfect for daytime radio play, and the fact that it sound a little bit like the one Scouting For Girls song we're all allowed to like doesn't hurt either.

Sorry it took so long, Billy Lockett, but if you can churn out songs as good as "Old Man" in the future, it won't be until we mention you again.

"Old Man" will be released on September 21st.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Northern Ireland Tunes - Round-Up #30

We're in to August now in Belfast, which means that the summer is well and truly here. Well, we say summer, what we really mean is that the the usual Found Fossil grey skies are more of an Almost Oyster instead, at least if the Dulux Colour Scheme is anything to go by.

But anyway, you haven't came here to hear about multiple shades of grey, you want music, and new Northern Irish music at that. So here's a few new songs from here that are sure to float your Metaphorical Boat this month:

Hit The B Button! - Martial

Belfast based trio Hit The B Button! seem to experiment with what alternative rock is expected to be on their interesting debut E.P "Apartments". The choice cut from the record is the opening track "Martial", which sees the band mix subtle elements of chiptune and other electronic interestingness into the sound. It reminds me a little bit of the band Gay Dad in places, which by the way is a good thing (despite that band being seen as a running joke for bands who were hyped to the high heavens but failed to deliver, I actually have a soft spot for them. After all, you'd have to be particularly begrudging not to admit admirable qualities in the songs "Joy!" and "From Earth With Love").

Note - "Martial" should not be confused with the song "Marshall" by Wonder Villains. It's pronounced the same, but spelt differently.

Mons Olympus - Critical Mass

Formed from the derelict remains of Chocolate Love Factory, prog-rock trio Mons Olympus have unleashed upon us their epic debut single. "Critical Mass" is an 8 minute pummelling behemoth of a song, full of twists, turns and paranoia, a bit like Muse at their most bombastic and apocalyptic, albeit much, much heavier.

Rebekah Wilson - One Day More

Anyone who is aware of the Northern Irish music scene will have came across Rebekah Wilson at some point - after all, she is probably the biggest supporter we have of local music. Whether it's being a part of the brilliant Volume Control initiative, banging on about the latest releases on her Twitter page or seemingly trying to cover every Northern Irish song ever on YouTube, her passion for the scene is something quite special.

But as well as being an uber music fan, she's also an artist in her own right, and has just released her first single, "One Day More". Quite impressively, despite being only 16 years old, not only has she played all the instruments on the recording herself, she also producing, mixed and mastered it as well. With such a prodigious talent, she is only going to get better and better over the next few years. And Northern Irish music will be privileged to have her with us.


Tatsuhiro - 時計の針が (Valentine)

I don't think we've ever had any drum and bass on The Metaphorical Boat to date, so there's no time like the present to remedy that. Belfast based producer Daniel Carville has just released an E.P under the moniker Tatsuhiro, which mixes regular drum and bass with influences mined from J-Pop. Taken from the E.P is the single "時計の針が (Valentine)" (which apparently translates as "The Clock's Hands"), which is quite an interesting sounding track indeed.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

The Persian Leaps - Pretty Boy

Even though we may soon be reaching the singularity as far as 80s/90s inspired indie-pop goes, it doesn't necessarily mean that there's nothing of merit left in the genre. After all, one of our favourite albums of the year so far has been the self-titled debut album from Alvvays, and there's still some great wee gems just waiting to be discovered.

Like the following one from Minneapolis band The Persian Leaps. Having won over the NME with their "Praise Elephants" E.P last year, the trio will be releasing their follow-up next month. The first track to be taken from it is "Pretty Boy", a nice little fuzz-guitar driven pop tune that ticks all the boxes for sumptuous indie-pop yummyness. And at a concise 2 minutes 17 seconds long, it doesn't outstay its welcome.

"Pretty Boy" is available to download from the band's Bandcamp page.The song is taken from the E.P "Drive Drive Delay", which will be released on September 12th.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Ringlefinch - Drink Alone

As far as band names go, I haven't come across one recently that is as fun to say as Ringlefinch. I'm weird like that (incidentally, the name comes from a Norwegian troll ). Thankfully, there's much more to this London septet than an orally pleasing name, as "Drink Alone" demonstrates.

The song is an upbeat, fun, yet lyrically cutting folk track, filled to the brim with banjo, fiddles and great vocal harmonies. They've also released a music video for the song, which is pretty well put together. It demonstrates just the reason why the band have gone down so well on the London folk scene - like Bellowhead before them, they're just one appearance on Later With... away from becoming nationwide favourites.

"Drink Alone" is taken from the E.P "Mass Trespass", which is out now.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

PØRTS - Race With The Tide E.P

After keeping us waiting for over a year and changing their name, Derry 4-piece PØRTS are gearing up to release their long awaiting debut album. To whet our appetites before then, the band have released "Race With The Tide", a three track E.P of songs that were recorded for the album, but ultimately didn't make the final cut.

And it's safe to say, that if these are the songs that DIDN'T make the album, the ones that did are going to be pure dynamite. The title track is a mid-tempo brass led track that has the feel of Neutral Milk Hotel to it. "Distances" is another slower song that pulls off that great trick of being both sensitive and heavy at the same time.

The highlight of the E.P however is "Second In Line". It's surprising that this song in particular didn't make the cut, as it's been the highlight of their live set over the past few years. With it's jaunty rhythm and ridiculously crowd-pleasing chorus, one might have thought it would be the song that the band would try to push as their 'breakthrough' single - one could imagine it slotting in very nicely into Radio 2's daytime playlist.

Oh well, now's probably not the time to worry about if's and but's, and just enjoy the "Race With The Tide" for what it is - a delicious prawn cocktail starter to get our pallets excited about the juicy sirloin steak that will be the debut album from PØRTS.

The "Race With The Tide" E.P can be downloaded now for a reasonable price.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Viola Dust - You're Mine

The debut single from Newry based 5 piece Viola Dust, "The Big Hop", seemingly came out of nowhere to blow us away, with its sleek electro-pop sound sounding absolutely incredible for a band's opening salvo. Unsurprisingly, it picked up a lot of love, gaining airplay on 6music and XFM, as well getting a lot of blog lovin' along the way. Surprisingly, even in the wake of all this attention, the band have been somewhat hesitant to give us more information about themselves online, bar the basics, although it is our understanding that some of the members were formerly involved in the band Elspeth (whom we featured on the blog a few years back). Perhaps they just prefer to let the music do the talking?

The band have now released their second song, "You're Mine", a song that proves that their last song was not a fluke. The song's a lot more R&B inflected than their debut, but there's also elements of acts such as Prince and Passion Pit chucked into the glorious mix, creating a sleek track of electro-pop goodness. If Viola Dust are happy enough to let their music do the talking, then you'd better believe that we're happy enough to listen.

Mojo Fury - All In Awe

The second album from Lisburn based trio Mojo Fury, "The Difference Between", seems to have gone down relatively well since its release late last year, with glowing reviews coming in from many quarters for their own unique take on alternative rock. To say they're well regarded locally would be something of an understatement - if I had a pound for every time I heard "Origami Bird" being played by a DJ at a local gig, I could buy a fair few Battenbergs.

The band have announced that the next promo track to be taken from the album is "All In Awe", a song that's probably not as heavy as one might come to expect from the group, but still a cracking, piano-led track. They have released a pretty slick video to accompany the track, which you can find below, although I must admit I had to watch it at least three times before I worked out what was going on. But on the plus side, it meant I got to hear "All In Awe"  at least three more times. Yay.

"The Difference Between" is out now. You can next catch Mojo Fury live in Belfast on Wednesday the 24th of September in Voodoo. Support comes from FLAWS and Abandcalledboy.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Go Wolf - Talk To You

It's time for another update to the "aren't things going rather swimmingly" tale of Belfast trio Go Wolf. Their last single, "One More Night", became an instant blog favourite, picking up tens of thousands of streams in the process. They then solidified their bass by inking a record deal with ridiculously cool Brooklyn-based label Ooh La La Records. And now, they're got another song prepped for us, one that will admonish us for not getting up and dancing along.

Premièring on Consequence of Sound earlier today, "Talk To You" is perhaps the sleekest track that the trio have produced to date. Underpinned by a dreamy synth riff, the song sees the move away from the Phoenix-ish comparisons of prior singles into something that is much more their own sound. They've been laying the groundwork for themselves over the past few months - could "Talk To You" be the moment when the structure nears its completion?

"Talk To You" will be released on August 12th.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

King Kartel - Gunslinger

The bands who came to make up the so called 'landfill indie' movement circa 2007 may have taken a complete battering over the intervening years, but in spite of all the complete guff that came out of it (I'm looking in your direction, Holloways), only the harshest of critics would claim that there was nothing in it that was enjoyable at all.

This brings us on nicely to "Gunslinger" by King Kartel, a Newry born band who now find themselves situated in Manchester. The song, which has more than a hint of The Fratellis' laddishness about it, is the sort of song that would have infected indie discos in the mid-00s whilst simultaneously being used in the soundtrack of the first series of that horrible TV show Skins had it been released a decade ago. In 2014 it might sound a little out of place, but there's no doubting that it's an enjoyable little nugget of a track. Maybe there really are things worth salvaging from the scrapyard.

"Gunslinger" will be available to download for free from 18th August.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Cloud Castle Lake - Sync

After hearing the first minute of "Sync", the first single from trio Cloud Castle Lake's debut E.P, I thought I'd written the corresponding review in my head that very moment. With the searing falsetto of Daniel McCauley, mixed with the atmospheric horn sections, it was monumentally clear -

Cloud Castle Lake are the Irish Sigúr Rós.

However, those crafty Dubliners obviously saw this coming, because after the first minute, the song changes tack completely, with the rhythms suddenly becoming more dance friendly, and the horns that had previously been atmospheric suddenly became triumphant and funky, all whilst still retaining the same earthy approach to the sound. As such, I had to amend my initial assessment slightly -

Cloud Castle Lake are the funky, Irish Sigúr Rós.

There. Problem solved. Now be sure to take a listen. I very much doubt you'll hear anything else like it today.

The debut E.P from Cloud Castle Lake, "Dandelion", will be released on September 22nd.