Wednesday 12 February 2014

Northern Ireland Tunes - Round-Up #23

Don't you just love February? By the end of it, you'll be one month closer to spring time, one month closer to the summer, and one month closer to your birthday (provided your birthday isn't in February, of course). And if you don't love February then hopefully this will help. Here's a few tunes from Northern Ireland which are sure to float your Metaphorical Boat this month:

Alana Henderson - The Banks of The Roses

Alana Henderson has taken time away from her original cello-led compositions to record "Windfall", an album (extended E.P?) of folk songs from the north of Ireland reinterpreted with more contemporary arrangements. The first track on the record is  wonderful version of "The Banks of The Roses", a song that really shows off Alana's voice. I'm looking forward to the release of more of Alana's original material, but for now the tracks on "Windfall" offer a wonderful diversion.


Patrick Gardener - He's Not Right For You

Magheralin teenager Patrick Gardener seems to have been picking up steam in the past few months. He's been tipped by The Guardian, picked up airplay locally, and just this week his song "He's Not Right For You" was featured on Tom Robinson's BBC Introducing Mixtape. And it's no surprise why he's coming in for such praise - "He's Not Right..." is a wonderful song that sounds both timeless and solidly produced. I'm somewhat ashamed that it's taken so long for me to come across him (the E.P this song was taken from, "Save Myself", was released back in 2012).

He's also worth following on Twitter. His timeline skirts the fine line between genius and downright bonkers.

Surfhouse - Take It Back

Now here's something you don't come across very often - an Antrim based baggy influenced band, which is what Surfhouse are. The trio are still in the early stages of their career, and still have some room for development. Case in point - one of the songs on their debut E.P actually samples "Loaded" by Primal Scream. Talk about wearing you influences on your sleeve.

That doesn't mean they don't have heaps of potential, as their instrumental "Take It Back" evidently shows. It's a wonderful mix of dance-y break beats and greater guitar work, which is a real early 90s authenticity to it.


Amanda St. John - Big Strong Man

Jazzy rockabilly is the order of the day for Belfast based singer/songwriter Amanda St John. Her new single "Big Strong Man" has already picked up daytime radio play on Radio Ulster, and it's not hard to understand why. The song is a fun little ditty which, in a world where Imelda May and Caro Emerald can make a healthy living off similar music style, should go down very well indeed. She'll be launching the single at The Harp Bar in Belfast on March 2nd, ahead of its release the next day.


Candy's Eyes - For The Birds

And we finish off the round-up with something a little bit on the nutty side. Elizabeth McGeown was formerly the vocalist in well respected electro-poppers Uber Glitterati. She's now reinvented herself as Candy's Eyes, which she describes as striking "a balance between acoustic folk and jazz".

It does not strike the balance very well,  is no bad thing when you come off with such eccentric offerings like "For The Birds", a demented little ditty which mixes a calm acoustic backing with quasi-operatic vocals and sinister organ sounds. It's a very acquired taste, but if it's your thing it is one you will truly savour.

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