Monday 29 February 2016

Yakima - Burn

If you've read this blog before, then you'll be well aware that in our humble opinion the greatest band of all time is Suede. Because our love of the band is so great, we don't normally tend to be big fans of artists that tend to have a sound that is too similar to Suede, as the only band that should sound like Suede are Suede themselves. Of course like most self-imposed rules there are a number of exceptions - Geneva, Placebo and Tribes tend to spring to mind, and in those cases there is just enough going on in their music to fully differentiate themselves from Brett & co's pantheon.

And now we're going to have to add another exception to our list - Glaswegian four-piece Yakima. They've released two E.Ps in the past under the name Franklln, but "Burn" is the first single released under their current guise, and it's an absolute  joy. Those meandering guitars are pure, pure Suede-y goodness. You could have put those guitars on their most recent album, "Night Thoughts", and they would have fit in exceedingly well, which given that that album has been called their best one in 20 years, is mighty high praise indeed.

Of course there's enough here to differentiate them from being solely indebted to the mighty Suede - their vocals sit more on the dreamy end of the spectrum and are more shoegaze inflected than Brett Anderson's straight-up rock singing style for example. And if "Burn" shows us the direction that the band are going to be taking from here on in, we're going to have to sign up for the journey.

"Burn" is taken from their self-titled E.P, which will be released on March 15th.

Saturday 27 February 2016

Ciaran Lavery - Return To Form

In the three years since Aghagallon native Ciaran Lavery released his album "Not Nearly Dark", it is safe to say that he has picked up a rather hefty following. If you want evidence of that, just take a look at the fellow's play counts on Spotify

Most Northern Irish artists with a self-released album would be happy enough to rack up quadruple figures on the site. With minimal promotion, Ciaran Lavery's most popular song, "Shame", currently stands at over 17 MILLION streams, with a handful of other tracks currently on seven figures. In addition, his monthly listeners figure sits at a whopping 1.2 million as of the time of writing. There's a couple of theories as to how this has happened (TMB's own theory is that because his music is somewhat similar to the rather popular sex beast Hozier, his music will come up as a recommendation whenever someone listens to his Spotify radio station, which generated a lot of attention in his music in its own right), but however it happened, it is definitely well deserved. 

As a result of his success off his own back, Ciaran Lavery recently signed a record deal with Believe, who are the home of James Vincent McMorrow and Asian Dub Foundation among others, and has an album lined up for release in a few months time. The first single released from the album is "Return To Form", and is certainly the most radio-friendly song that Ciaran has released to date (polite f-bombs excepted). Musically, it owes a lot to "I'm Not The Only One" by Sam Smith, although with the choirboy swooning replaced with Lavery's trademark world-weary ragged vocals. The song's already notched up over 200k on Spotify, and if the momentum continues, we might see Lavery crossing over into the mainstream charts with this release.

"Return To Form" is out now. Its parent album, "Let Bad In", will be released on May 27th.

Monday 22 February 2016

Go Swim - Surrender

After giving us one of the best songs on 2014 with "Call Sign", Belfast five-piece Go Swim had a relatively laid back 2015, with no new music and just the occasional live outing. 2016 is shaping up to be a bigger year for them however, and to get it going for them they have just released a new single.

"Surrender" is a little less frantic and bit more subdued compared to songs like "Call Sign" and "Animal" that the band have given us in the past, but still has all the hallmarks of a Go Swim - the boy/girl harmonies, the dreamy guitar hooks and licks and tongue-twisting wordplay that have given us a lot of pleasure over the years.

"Surrender" will be released on March 5th.

Saturday 20 February 2016

Wake America - Silly Boy

It's safe to say that Derry musician Eoin O'Callaghan likes to keep himself busy, musically speaking. It's barely been a few months since Best Boy Grip released its debut album (one of the best of 2015 in our humble opinion), and already he's set his eyes on musical diversification with a new project, Wake America. They played their debut gig on Thursday in Aether & Echo in Belfast, and it's easy to see why he's spun this off into a project separate from BBG. Performing with Liam Craig on guitar, their sound focuses more on electronic elements and is a lot more abrasive that  piano-orientated sounds of BBG.

Despite only playing their first gig a few days ago, Wake America have already picked up quite a bit of love for their debut single "Silly Boy", which not only received attention online and on the radio, but was also dissected and debated on BBC 6music as part of Steve Lamacq's Roundtable. It should only take one listen to realise why it's taken off to the extent that it has.

Its mix of plaintive and self-depreciating melody, meticulously layered keyboards and a highly infectious riff make the song absolutely irresistible. Also playing to its favour is the fact that for once, it is very hard to directly compare the sound of the song to anything else that is currently out there. If pushed, we'd say that it's reminds us slightly of the more psychedelic end of The Verve, or possibly how Aphrodite's Child might sound like if they had 2016's keyboard technology at their disposal rather than 1972's.

"Silly Boy" will be released on limited edition 7" vinyl on March 4th.

Monday 8 February 2016

A Northern Light - Paranoia

Now this has been a long time coming.

It seems like it has been ages since we last talked about Belfast/Strabane trio A Northern Light. Well actually, it has. 2 years and seven months, to be precise. When the band released "Kill It" back in 2013, a song that meshed the organic and synthetic so seamlessly and effortlessly, it appeared that the band had finally cracked things and would be on their way to bigger things very quickly. Unfortunately since then we haven't heard as much from the guys, but thankfully 2016 is going to see the group stepping things up with a two-part album in the pipeline.

The first track to be taken from the release is "Paranoia", a track that should hopefully put the band back on the map. Like its predecessor, it sees the band mixing up live instrumentation with electronic goodness, with its mix of rock and heavy drum and bass calling to mind the sound that brought Pendulum to super-stardom in the late 00s. It's a song that sounds like it give immeasurable pleasure to both the dance crowd and the Kerrang! crowd, which if they play their cards right could be a winning combination for them.

Given the gap between releases, there was the worry that A Northern Light would lose the momentum that they had started to build with "Kill It". Thankfully, "Paranoia" should do enough to energise those who first fell in love with the band way back when, and hopefully pick up a fair few new followers along the way.

"Paranoia" will be released on February 19th.