Sunday 29 November 2015

David C. Clements - My Dear Mother

Well, this return sure was a long time coming. The last time that Belfast based singer-songwriter David C Clements graced us with new recorded music was nearly four years ago near the beginning of 2012, although he's been active live locally in the intervening period. According to someone on Twitter, the reason for being so low-key is because he "prefers making buns." Whether this is metaphor for something that cannot be described, a euphemism for for something that can (albeit not in polite company), or that he genuinely prefers baking is unclear.

But no matter, for after an extended break that would even make Stereo MCs say to themselves "speed up, old chap", he has released a brand new single/E.P as the first release from his upcoming album. And if "My Dear Mother" is an indication of what to expect from it, that we're going to have a great album on our hands. It's a song that mixes an anthemic modern folk sound with a glam-rock stomping beat and overlain by Mr Clements' heartfelt vocals. Welcome back, David.

"My Dear Mother" E.P is available as a free download, containing the lead track, plus a few live and alternate takes of crowd favourites, as well as a Neil Young cover. He headlines The Empire, Belfast on December 21st.

Saturday 28 November 2015

Ten Fé - In The Air

Back in August, we founds ourselves instantly captivated by "Make Me Better" by London duo Ten Fé, a song that had us convinced that we were definitely on to a good thing with these guys. In the intervening period, I was lucky enough to catch the band live at a church in London in September (St. Pancras Old Church, Anglican), and was both overwhelmed and blown away with their psychedelic atmosphere and just how well they seemed to go down with the packed out audience. It was a stroke of genius to both start and end the set with those uplifting strings from "Make Me Better", and afterwards I was left with the impression that these guys have the potential to be the spiritual successors to Primal Scream's mantle. 

With the New Year upon us, and with it the period being the time when most blogs put on their prognostications for which artists are going to be big in 2016, it's a perfect time for Ten Fé to release a new single to keep them very much in our thoughts. If you were expecting "Make Me Better" Mk II however, you will be rather disappointed with "In The Air", but if you happen to be a fan of driving modern rock (like ourselves), then you will be very happy indeed,given that like a lot of new-ish rock from the past year, it takes its cues from The War on Drugs and Bruce Springsteen. It might not hit the giddy heights of "Make Me Better" (although to be fair, very few songs released this year have), but it is still a good reminder of why we should be expecting big things from them next year.

"In The Air" is out now.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

In An Instant - Come The Night

For quite a while now, Bangor based trio In An Instant have been one of our favourite new artists to emerge from Northern Ireland in the past few years, first wowing us with their demo "All Binds Fall Undone", and then stepping things up a notch with their "Light You Know and Love" E.P back in 2014. For the past year and a half though they have kept something of a low profile, with very little in the way of live dates or activity seeming to come from them. Thankfully there's been a lot going on behind the scenes, and today we are glad to see the IIA boys have finally released a new single, "Come The Night".

Produced and engineered by local demi-god Rocky O'Reilly, "Come The Night" furthers the template that the band first used on "All Binds Fall Undone" and "Something Right And Something Real" - the song starts with an electronic intro, which is then followed by the main guitar hook which later recurs to become the melodic backbone of the chorus. The verses are then relatively quiet, until we get hit with the sonic onslaught of the choruses, which are usually followed by a post-chorus which introduces a new guitar hook which acts as a counterpoint to the main guitar line. It's a very effective template, which the band have used to great effect on "Come The Night", which is perhaps their most polished, radio-friendly tune released to date. Plus the verses remind us a little bit of "Acquiesce" by Oasis, which is never a bad thing at all.

"Come The Night" is a welcome return from one of our favourite local electro-rock groups. Given the backing that In An Instant have received for this release, we hope that this is going to be catalyst that springs them towards even bigger things.

"Come The Night" is out now.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

SKATERS - Mental Case

New York based band SKATERS made an impact a few years back with their album "Manhattan", which was choc-a-bloc with fast-paced indie-rock tunes like "Miss Teen Massachusetts" and the irristably infectious "I Wanna Dance (But I Don't Know How)", gaining major airplay on Radio 1 and touring up and down the country.

Fast forward two years, and the band have departed from Warner Bros. Records to release music on their own steam, and their first offering might come as a surprise to anyone who was expecting more of the same from the group. "Mental Case" sees the band slow the pace down quite a bit, with a more psychedelic vibes going on, which calls to mind a little bit of John Lennon, some Blur album tracks, and possibly a wee bit of Mercury Rev as well. It's an interesting development from the group, which might point at the direction the band may be headed in now that they're no longer part of the major label system.

"Mental Case" is available to download now.

Monday 2 November 2015

exmagician - Kiss That Wealth Goodbye

The 2011 album "To The Death of Fun" by Cashier No.9 is a record that we were incredibly fond of, one which is simultaneously one of the best albums of the last five years, as well as being serious contenders for our favourite all-time album to come from Northern Ireland ("Eyes Open" and "Rocky" would be two of the other serious contenders). The album rode the wave of psychedelic-sounding rock years before it went semi-mainstream again, and choosing a favourite track it proved difficult, seeing as it changed every day (although two of the standouts were "Oh Pity", which gained quite a bit of traction on 6music, and "The Lighthouse Will Lead You Out", which I used as my ringtone for a good year, and even now ranks on our list of greatest outro to a song ever).

Unfortunately "To The Death Of Fun" would prove to be the band's only studio album, as the band eventually went their separate ways, officially disbanding earlier this year. However, for devastated fans of the Niners, there are three bits of good news that you can take solace from. The first piece of news is that two of the creative forces behind that band, Daniel Todd and James Smith, are now recording under the name exmagician.

The second piece of good news is that like Cashier No.9 before them, exmagician have been signed to the Bella Union record label. Bella Union is perhaps most famous for being the label of Fleet Foxes, although in recent years they have also notched up success with albums from Beach House, John Grant & Father John Misty, so having the support of such a well regarded label will no doubt give the duo the needed push to get their new project off the ground.

And the third, final, and best piece of news? The band have just unveiled their debut single, "Kiss That Wealth Goodbye". It's not a major departure from the sound of their former band, with the song following the same psychedelic blueprint that made us fall in love with them in the first place. It's a more electronic than what they've done before, and there's more plinky-plonk pianos sounds than you might expect, but it still remains a great spiritual successor to their forebearing band.

It will be interesting to see whether "Kiss That Wealth Goodbye" is going to be a gateway between the sound that fans of Cashier No.9 might expect and a new, unfamiliar territory that the duo will explore in future releases, or whether it will set the template for what to expect on the rest of the E.P. Either way, we are very excited to have exmagicians in our lives, and hope that the rest of their material can live up to our first taste of them.

"Kiss That Wealth Goodbye" is the lead track from exmagician's debut E.P, which will be released on November 20th.