Saturday, 28 January 2017

Northern Ireland Tunes - Round-Up #37

It has been quite a while since we've done one of these, but we've been absolutely inundated with interesting new songs from Northern Ireland in the past few weeks that we couldn't just leave them floating around on the interwebs unloved, so we have pulled some great songs together in one lovely post. Enjoy - 

Invaderband - Not Alan Rickman

Invaderband is the project of Derry based Mancunian artist Adam Leonard (formerly of The Owl Service), and features a host of local musicians in the band, including Chris McConaghy of Our Krypton Son.

Their self-titled debut album has just been released, and is a great collection of garage-rock tunes with a spiky, off-kilter sense of humour. Our highlight from the album is most definitely "Not Alan Rickman", a song build around a deceptively simple yet effective guitar riff which pays homage to four of the late actor's most famous roles in under 2 minutes.


Porphyry - Rip Current

And we stay in Derry for Porphyry, the near unpronounceable project of self-professed freak-folk & synth lover Daryl Coyle. His debut single "Rip Current" is a bit of a cerebral one, and one that very much defies characterisation, being very difficult to tie down to just one style. There's elements of Zero 7's chilled-out acoustronica, there's bits of post-grunge self-appraisal, and the outro goes into full electronic noodling mode. It's an interesting combination of styles, although one suspects that it might be somewhat of an acquired taste. It precedes a debut E.P, "Ursa Minor/Coming Home", which is due to be released on March 1st.


Oisín ó Scolaí & The Virginia Slims - Intoxicated Waitress

The Derry-based folk collective Oisín ó Scolaí & The Virginia Slims have just released "An E.P Full of Water", a collection of songs that cover many different facets of the folk spectrum in all its forms. Our favourite track from the E.P is "Intoxicated Waitress", a tender, string-swept acoustic tune that seems to be something of an homage to fellow Derry musician Soak. A lovely little tune.


Electric Octopus - Disenchanted Creative Response

And finishing us off this week is something a bit different. Electric Octopus are a Belfast based trio psychedelic-blues band, and have seemingly became something of a big deal among aficionados of the sub-genre over the past 12 months, even if they remain under the radar in their hometown. Their debut album "This Is Our Culture", has been a surprise success, with over 700,000 streams of the album on YouTube, and a horde of supporters on Bandcamp.

Such has been the success of the album that a new pressing of the album came out a few days ago, so there's still some steam in it yet. Taken from that album is the stoner-rock opener, "Disenchanted Creative Response", which although it is nearly 20 minutes long, is a very rewarding listen if you've got the patience for it.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Shimmer Band - Jacknife & The Death Call

Here's a band we've been following for quite a while but haven't had the chance to write about on the blog to date, although if you follow our bi-monthly Spotify playlists, you'll have come across them a few times.

Bristol group The Shimmer Band first came to our attention last summer after hearing their song "Freedom", a song that contains everything we love about about early 90s British indie in one easy-to-swallow single, on Steve Lamacq's show on BBC 6music. We also liked "Sunkick" which they released at the tail-end of last year. Although it didn't have the same immediate impact as "Freedom", it showed the band relying less upon paying homage to the past, and more towards carving out their own sound.

This leads us nicely onto their latest single, "Jacknife & The Death Call", a song that combines the immediacy of the former with the more personalized sound of the latter. It's a heavy electro-rock indie track, with elements of hip-hop production, which calls to mind the sound of Kasabian, Does It Offend You, Yeah?,  and perhaps most surprisingly to these ears, a more fuzzy, darker, frenzied version of Elbow's "Grounds For Divorce". They're on tour with hotly tipped mischief-makers Cabbage at the moment, so the future does look bright for The Shimmer Band.

"Jacknife & The Death Call" is out now.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Tiernán - Overthinkin'

We come across the music that we write about on The Metaphorical Boat from a wide range of sources. Since we began, we have written about music that we've discovered through our emails, seeing a band live, being played on the radio, on social media, being recommended by a friend, through "accidentally" overhearing the mother of a member of a band bragging to a security guard in work about the awesome band her son is in playing their first ever gig and about how great they are*, a recommendation from other music blogs, scouring Bandcamp/Soundcloud, and coming up on our Spotify Discover Weekly playlist.

And to that list, we can now add one more source - my mother. After hearing a song on Ralph McLean's show on BBC Radio Ulster, my mother (whose favourite musical acts, for context, are Daniel O'Donnell & The Bay City Rollers) insisted that I track down the song and listen to it, as she thought that the song was really good, and something that I would enjoy.

Well, having tracked down the artist and song, she might have been on to something. The artist in question is Antrim based 17-year-old singer/songwriter Tiernán Heffron, who records music under his first name. He's been recording YouTube covers since he was 12, and has recently branched out into original compositions.

"Overthinkin'" is the song that my mother loved from him, and is a jaunty little acoustic-pop song with jazzy overtones about spending too much time pondering, which seems to have been influenced by Ed Sheeran & Bruce Hornsby among others. It's a nice little song, and although we still think Tiernán's got a bit more work to do before he's fully formed, there's enough here to get us excited at what he does in the future. Thanks mum!

The "Overthinkin'" E.P is out now.

*This actually happened.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Ten Fé - Twist Your Arm

We are barely a week into the brand new year, and already out of the starting blocks we have a song that stands a really great chance of being our favourite song of 2017. Although that's probably not too surprising, as it a song that comes from the artist responsible for our favourite song of 2015 (and our current ringtone), Ten Fé.

The song in question is one that we've been looking forward to for some time. Having seen them play the song live at The Great Escape, we had a feeling that when they finally released a studio version of "Twist Your Arm", it would become a real favourite, and gosh darn, those boyos went and made sure we kept that promise to ourselves.

We've said before that given their versatile sound and live presence, we imagine Ten Fé to be a modern day successor to Primal Scream, and "Twist Your Arm" is one of those songs that helps to cement that belief, as its dancey, droozy sound sounds like it owes a debt to songs from their "Screamadelica" album, "Come Together" in particular due to its use of a gospel choir. We're also getting some David Bowie "Memories of a Free Festival" vibes, and for some reason that we can't put our finger quite on, a little bit of Simple Minds as well.

"Twist Your Arm" has everything we wanted from the studio version of the song, and it has really whetted our appetite for the album when it lands next month. With such a long list of great songs that we've loved from them over the last 2 years, Ten Fé are going to have a real classic on their hands.

The debut album from Ten Fé, "Hit The Light", is out on February 3rd.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Maggie Rogers - Alaska

Today's artist and song comes highly recommended from Robin of our favourite non-us music blog, Breaking More Waves, who put it at #1 in his favourite songs of 2016, although given the artist in question has been so highly tipped on many "Ones To Watch" lists, it may end up cropping up on quite a few 2017 lists as well in 12 months time.

Maggie Rogers is a Maryland singer/songwriter who started out as a folk musician, but eventually started to explore dance music following a sojourn to France, the capital of repetitive beats. She then eventually won over "Give It To Me" hit-maker Pharrell Williams, before spending the rest of the year winning over just about everyone else with her sophisticated pop sound. She's on the BBC Sound of 2017 longlist, and although at the time of writing the top 5 haven't been announced, her name is very likely to feature.

But let's get straight to the song in question, the song that shares its name with a state that many people erroneously believe that your humble captain spent a year living in, "Alaska".* It is a song in which you can hear how the synthesis of folksy origins melds with the more electronic elements with a certain level of grace. It calls to mind the music or Lorde, albeit with a more organic sound. She's made a video for the song as well, which is pretty engaging.

Although "Alaska" hasn't grabbed us at first as much the hype may have suggested, it's still a rather nice song, and there's no doubt we will be hearing quite a bit from Maggie Rogers in 2017.

*As touched upon fleetingly on this blog before, prior to starting this blog, I spent a year living in the state of Nebraska. However, whenever I tell anyone of this fact, the first question I always get asked is "isn't it cold up there"? At this point, I normally have to point out that Alaska and Nebraska are in fact two separate states about three thousand miles away from each. Although how much of this is down to ignorance to the existence of Nebraska and how much of it is due to my refined Belfast accents' mangling of American state names is not something I have yet tested to date.