Wednesday 30 March 2016

Half Japanese Half Muscle - Loose Fitting Girls

The wonderfully monikered Half Japanese Half Muscle is a UK-based producer of Japanese origin who makes music that promises to call 'us to nirvana through the medium of a 110 bpm pop song'. He has just released his first single, and if "Loose Fitting Girls" is anything to go by, then he's setting the bar rather high indeed.

"Loose Fitting Girls" is an earworm-y synth-pop tune of the sort that made us go all gooey over The Naked & Famous and Passion Pit all those years ago. Filled to the brim with pop hooks and infectious hooks, it's a song that is guaranteed to get under your skin in a good way indeed.

The song has a video out, featuring a lonely salaryman attempting karaoke to the song, which is very much worth checking out - 

Monday 21 March 2016

The Wood Burning Savages - We Love You

It's always a pleasure to get some new music from Derry quartet The Wood Burning Savages. They last caused us to prick up our ears last summer, when they told us that they didn't care about the "Premier League" (although recent correspondence with the band might suggest that that might not be entirely accurate).

Fast forward a few months, and they've unleashed a brand new song on us, and it's a real doozy. "We Love You" is a heavy, frenetic 2 1/2 minutes of sheer musical onslaught, about being as mad as heck with how the world operates and not taking it anymore. It's a song that calls to mind Manic Street Preachers at their most intense, visceral and confrontational.

"We Love You" is out now.

Sunday 13 March 2016

Shoegaze Ramblings, featuring Supercar & Tuath

When I went to The Great Escape Festival in Brighton in 2014, one of the greatest discoveries that I made was not a band nor a song who were in attendance at the festival, but a group that had disbanded approximately ten years earlier. I was at the Japanese showcase during the festival (the same showcase where I witnessed the incredibly weird Buffalo Daughter in person), when I heard this wonderful shoegaze track bursting out of the speakers which completely overwhelmed me. After a short bit of DJ-bothering, I learned the track in question was "Playstar Vista", a song by Japanese band Supercar -

There were many things that struck me about that song, aside from how ruddy fantastic it was. One thing that I thought was interesting that given that it came out in 2000, it was released almost an equal distance away both from the original shoegaze scene of the early 90s and the nu-gaze revival that really got going in the late 00s, and its sound seems to come off almost like a "missing link" between the two.

But the other thing that's notable about the song is that it is sung in Japanese, it took me quite a few listens of the song for me to realise this, yet this didn't impede my enjoyment of the music (as I've alluded to before, despite my love of Japanese culture, my knowledge of the language is very limited). I guess this is one of the great things about the shoegaze genre - because the voice is treated almost like another instrument, the words themselves aren't as important, rather the feelings that they convey.

This leads me nicely onto another shoegaze band that I've recently come across, Tuath. The Donegal band's sound is very much in the mold of the My Bloody Valentine-esque shoegazers of yore (albeit with added saxophone), but what sets them apart from other bands of the same ilk is that across many of their songs, they sing completely in Irish. Once again, my knowledge of Irish is very basic at best. I can count to 20 in the language, I can say "Dia dhuit" and I know what a buscar bruscar is, but that's about it. Yet in spite of this, I was completely captivated by the sound of the band on songs such as "Uisce Uisce Read All About It" (which is part of a free E.P the group released last year) -

It is usually said that English is the universal language of music. However, if there was one genre that I would say is the most universal, it would be shoegaze. There's not many genres where the singer can perform in a language that is completely alien to the listener, still convey so much meaning and emotion. And it's bands like Supercar and Tuath that remind us of this fact.

For a more recent song by Tuath, here's their cover/remix of "Casting Shadows Over The Sun" by Shammin Delly -

Thursday 10 March 2016

Silences - There's A Wolf

Armagh band Silences made everyone sit up and notice (and for us to continue granting them our attention) last year with the release of the accessible and affecting single "The Sea", which deservedly ended up being one of our favourite singles of 2015. It's fair to say that after that single, the next thing that they bring out was always going to be much anticipated.

Which brings us on to "There's A Wolf", which the band premiered this week. Quite surprisingly, after releasing what was their poppiest song to date, they've not followed up with a similarly accessible song, instead giving us something a little bit more left-field, whilst still being unmistakably sounding like the product of Conchúr White & co. "There's A Wolf" has the band's usual folk underpinnings, but here is is complimented by electronics and heavy guitars that take the song in a completely different direction in the song's final minute, and there's an underlying aggression in the song that we've rarely come to see in their music to date.

"There's A Wolf" is a brave song to for Silences to unleash after releasing a song as accessible as "The Sea", but it's a interesting shift from the band, showing us that there's more to them than the tender sounds we've come to know them for.

"There's A Wolf" is taken from the "Luna" E.P, which will be released on April 15th.