Thursday, December 15, 2011

best Irish albums of 2011

Kind of got bored of numerical rankings but this is pretty much more-or-less in a rough order of preference.

Catscars - Construction     (White Plague)

Catscars' debut album is characterised by submerged, evasive compositions that flicker in and out of focus. The weightless, spectral synthpop of 'B-Song' and the off-kilter robotic groove of 'No Fun' are two of the more direct moments; while eerie, shadowy effects and reverberating chimes echo in and out of the mix on tracks like 'Toying With Me' and 'Monsong'.

B-Song by catscars

Laura Sheeran - Lust Of Pig & The Fresh Blood     (Flaming June)

A stunning record that combines mysterious, sometimes sinister lyrical imagery with exquisite gothic-tinged folk arrangements. Divided into two parts, the second ('The Fresh Blood') sees a shift towards electronic loops and ominous, abrasive sound effects, but overall the record remains remarkably coherent, all the more so given the differing ages of the songs included. Standouts include the hypnotic 'I'm Sorry Son' - with an understated, yearning vocal from the singer and sublime violin playing from Cora Venus Lunny - ,  the malevolent carnival-esque vibe of 'An Apple For You' and the darkly dramatic swell of 'A Wake'.

I'm Sorry Son by L A U R A S H E E R A N

SertOne - Versions

"If you ain't bringing nothing to the table then leave..."

This collection of remixes from the young Liverpool-via-Portadown producer showcases his willingness to tackle source material as disparate as Irish post-rockers (Halves), 'future-garage/bass/whatucallit' producers (Koreless) and hip hop stalwarts (DOOM, Busta Rhymes). Outstanding production throughout as he consistently takes the original and completely flips it, infusing it with his own unmistakable sound. Highlights include the appropriately-named 'Blissful mix' of Starfawn's 'Greenlight' and a sublime take on JR & PH7's 'Fast Lane Speedin''. The don.

Fast Lane Speedin' (ft. Oddisee) (SertOne Remix) - JR & PH7 by SertOneMusic

Le Galaxie - Laserdisc Nights 2     (Battlepulse)

01 - Earth by Le Galaxie

Patrick Kelleher & his Cold Dead Hands - Golden Syrup     (Osaka Recordings)

Golden Syrup is frequently a disorientating, spooked-sounding listen - whether it's the vortex-like momentum of 'Miracle Candle', the ominous low-end rumble of 'Too Many Harsh Words' or the haunted-disco of 'Contact Sports'. It's an effect heightened by Kelleher's changeable vocals - veering from austere baritone to showy falsetto on the gothic synth-pop of the title track and the excellent 'Seen Me Blue'. But there's also a wistful warmth to more low-key tracks like 'Broken Up Now' and 'Still In School'.

03 Patrick Kelleher and his Cold Dead Hands - Seen Me Blue by Patrick Kelleher

Raising Holy Sparks - Beyond The Unnamed Bay    (Fort Evil Fruit)

A core member of experimental folk collective United Bible Studies, David Colohan has released music under the Agitated Radio Pilot moniker since 1993, but a new approach taking influence from field-recordings, shapenote singing and Hasidic mysticism saw him adopt a new identity. Beyond the Unnamed Bay takes in spectral avant-folk ('Here Begins Our Lasting Joy'), steadily pulsing synth pieces ('As Far As We Can Go') and hypnotic loop-based compositions ('Diamonds In The Water Where You Swam'), as well as the abstract 20-minute number 'The Depths Of Bailey Point' which builds to a cacophony before ebbing again. Despite the range of styles the record has an unmistakable coherence to it, no doubt partly due to its distinctive ambience - a result of recording in unconventional locations such as an abandoned, flooding car park.

Diamonds In The Water Where You Swam by Raising Holy Sparks

Lorem Ipsum - Between Hospitals

A delirious-sounding mesh of dissonant lo-fi electronica from the anonymous producer, which followed up on his Good Friday Disagreement EP. Taking in wired, off-kilter grooves on 'An Astral Body', hypnotic fuzz-and-static-infused washes on 'St. Vincent's', and pop-song-in-a-blender tracks like 'Knight's Tour' and 'Crushed'.

An Astral Body by *Lorem Ipsum

Ilex - Old Din

Collecting most of the music she's made since she started in 2005, Old Din is 33 tracks long but those tracks are consistently excellent. Varies between hypnotic, intricate electronica and grittier, more up-tempo tracks; while 'Orkid' and 'Strings' have rich and evocative arrangements.

Mantua by ilex_

Hired Hands - My Heart Hung     (Any Other City)

Deceptively complex and supremely catchy folk-pop from the seven-piece who include former members of the sadly short-lived Feed The Bears. With a lilting sound characterised by off-kilter harmonies and woodwind/brass-bolstered arrangements, Hired Hands have a deft handle on subtle melancholy as well as vibrant, upbeat melodies - indeed the line is often blurred, as is the case with so many great bands.

The Quay Wall by Hired Hands

Popical Island - Popical Island #2     (Popical Island)

The sequel to 2010's acclaimed compilation from the Dublin-based collective completely lives up to those high standards. Despite the overall 'bockety' indie aesthetic, there's a wide and diverse range of sounds: the Mary Chain-esque early-90's vibe of Pantone247's 'Hello', the warm jangle-pop of Goodly Thousands' 'Kiss Me Upside-Down', the garage/surf-pop vibes of Squarehead's 'Candle', and the chiming and hypnotically off-kilter sound of Hello Moon's 'Barefoot'.  All the colours of the rainbow.

02-Pantone247 - Hello by popical_island

The Driftwood Manor The Same Figure (Leaving)    (Rusted Rail/Slow Loris)

The Same Figure (Leaving) was originally released as a limited edition CD-R on French label Ruralfaune in 2010, but this year saw it brought to deservedly wider attention. Eddie Keenan is as ever joined by a number of collaborators and kindred spirits from the folk/underground scene. Less influenced by psych/drone than the Found Photographs of Ancestors EP, this record is relatively concise and song-based, but those avant-folk tendencies are still in evidence: 'Each Day Has Bettered Me None' is backdropped by eerie, disquieting noises before being enveloped by rising squall, while 'To Be Done' sounds similarly creaking and distorted. That approach is mixed with the hypnotic folk simplicity of 'On A Corner of Athlone' or the title track, while the trad-influenced 'That Lasting Final Hurt' raises the tempo. The Same Figure (Leaving) is frequently brooding, even bleak in tone, but ultimately there's a warmth that wins out.

On a Corner of Athlone by The Driftwood Manor

Ginnels - Ginnels

The work of Grand Pocket Orchestra's Mark Chester, Ginnels is a boisterous collection of lo-fi pop songs whose addictive melodies are drowned in fuzz. Veer from the thrillingly frantic ('Best in Town') to the noisy ('Yama and Terio') to the more laidback ('Herdwick Bonez').

Best In Town by ginnels

Sea Pinks - Dead Seas     (CF Records)

'fountains, fossils, phantoms and faded seaside glamour' describes it pretty well: Sea Pinks is the project of Girls Names' Neil Brogan and Dead Seas is the follow up impressive debut Youth Is Wasted and the Peripheral Vision EP. Wistful, sun-kissed songs that nod to vintage 60's garage/girl-group influences - there's a washed-out vibe to it but not in the chillwave sense, as Dead Seas is characterised more by straight-up, robust rhythms and jangly guitar riffs (the title track nods to '(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame').

Fountain Tesserae from Sea Pinks on Vimeo.

Bitwise Operator - Samurai Hack

Partly inspired by the Samurai Jack cartoon series, this record from Galway's Simon Kenny mixes glitchy chip-tune and hip hop influences with abrasive electronic textures and infectious, multicolour grooves.

The Dying Seconds - Glimmerers      

Exquisitely brooding melancholy mixed with tuneful hooks - an expanded line-up saw The Dying Seconds step up a level. Highlights include the ominous-sounding 'Mora Minn', the sparse, forlorn-sounding 'Greenhorns' and the charmingly off-kilter 'Rubbernecks'.

Rubbernecks by thedyingseconds

Tieranniesaur - Tieranniesaur      (Popical Island)

Exuberant, irreverent lo-fi funk-pop from Annie Tierney and co. Mixes the sunny bubble-gum hooks of 'Sketch!' and 'Candy' with the disco-tinged rhythms of 'In The Sargasso' and 'Pretty Girl String Quartet'. Not to mention the unstoppable 'Here Be Monsters'.

Rhino Magic - Get Going     (Tender Objects)

Fuzzy lo-fi bedroom-pop, at times sounding a bit like a hazy cross between shoegaze and slacker-rock. Elsewhere there's high-pitched, buzzing keyboard sounds, sunny hooks and some bleary melancholy ('The Best Possible End').

home with you by Rhino Magic

Sunken Foal - Mother Of God    (Acroplane)

Disorientating and shadowy, like some kind of hall-of-mirrors where disembodied vocals float through a mix of imposing-but-muffled beats and eerie samples.

Sunken Foal - Gift Knee Pads (clip) by Acroplane

Hello Moon - Only Count The Sunny Hours     (Any Other City)

Mixes sweepingly melodic sugar-rushes ('Vanity', 'Here I Am') with dreamier, chiming numbers ('Measure Of Me', 'Sievehead'), jaunty instrumental 'The Calculus Affair' and gorgeously swooning closing track 'Awkward Hugs'.

Awkward Hugs by Hello Moon

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Best Irish EPs of 2011

1 - In The Black Box - Waves

In The Black Box is the project of Dublin-based electronic producer Dave Donoghue, and project is indeed the word since it's a multi-media affair that encompasses videos, photography, writing, art,and his own podcasts. You can check it all out over at

The Waves EP, as an example of the multimedia approach, would later be accompanied by a set of accompanying videos viewable here. Musically it was already exceptional: 'When It Is Needed' is a spacious track that combines subtly hypnotic loops and a quietly insistent beat with a recurring piano figure, while the techno-leaning 'Coil' and the woozily off-balance 'Eck-Ohs' are shot through with numerous clever touches.

In The Black Box - Eck-Ohs by InTheBlackBox

In The Black Box - When It Is Needed from In The Black Box on Vimeo.

2 - Simon Bird - V

Simon Bird's fifth EP showcased the increasing range of the producer's sound - taking in the dramatically swelling squall and noise of the 'Baphomet Vs. The Great Winged Horse' two-parter (suitably sounding like an aural equivalent of a mythological/heroic poem), the shimmering, exquisitely structured 'Xerox Waveform Godless Ocean', and the eerie, otherworldly strains of closer 'Stillborn in Autumn'.

Xerox Waveform Godless Ocean by SimonBird

3 - Nouveaunoise - Sequence Consequence

Moving on from the hazy, fluid, layered sound of last year's superb Paraphrase Accolade (which nodded to Flying Lotus circa Los Angeles at times), Sequence Consequence is more along the lines of the tecnicolour maximalist (thanks Simon) vibe of acts like Hudson Mohawke and Rustie. Sunny grooves and infectious vocal samples.

Nouveaunoise - Believe by nouveaunoise

4 - The Depravations - Mosey EP

An EP that was apparently just recorded to get their drummer up to speed, but subsequently took on a life of its own. Predominantly acoustic, the EP deals in breezy, mellow, surf-pop tinged songs with charming vocals and vintage-sounding harmonies. As well as that there's some neat flourishes such as the climax of 'Not Forgotten', which (with the addition of those drums) would become a thrilling highlight of their live sets. And judging by those live sets, the upcoming album should be a belter.

Not Forgotten by The Depravations

5 - DeclanQKelly - Yzz

Minimal and acoustic, Yzz shows just one side of a musician who's as likely to produce abstract pieces based around loops and found sounds as he is something like this. A collection of subtly hypnotic instrumentals, there's a warm lo-fi ambience to the guitar tones as well as an eerie, unsettling undercurrent on tracks like 'Phalanx Glove'. One for the winter evenings.

Phalanx Glove by DeclanQKelly

6 - SertOne - The View From Above (Melted Music)

A debut EP from the talented and very-prolific producer (based in Liverpool but from Portadown), The View From Above is an immaculately-produced and varied collection: (largely) instrumental hip-hop with electronic influences, it nods at times to the layered, laidback-but-physical beats of LA-based Samiyam. Judging by the eclecticism of his remix work since, this is only a starting point - potential to burn.

Past, Present and Future by SertOne by MeltedMusic

7 - Bantum - Lay Lay

The latest in a string of impressive EPs from the Cork-born, Dublin-based producer (Lay Lay being the 4th) showcases a sound that continues to evolve. 'An Introduction' bobs and weaves deftly, building towards an irresistible peak; the pulsing, wired 'Gravy' and the superb title track are punctuated by Margie Lewis' rhythmically cut-up vocals; while 'New String' is a more down-tempo ode to sleep paralysis featuring a vocal from Michael Owens aka Owensie.

Lay Lay (feat. Margie Lewis) by BANTUM

8 - Sunken FoalRichter Versions

One of the things that has made the Richter Collective such an exciting label over the last few years is the fact that - although it’s predominantly regarded as a rock label that leans towards the heavier end of the spectrum – many of its flagship artists are so adept at harnessing the pulse and textures of electronic music to a metal or post-rock-influenced sound. Sunken Foal stripped away the guitars, ('transcribing the performed parts into a midi sequencer and arranging the parts for synthesizers') to bring out hidden layers of melancholic atmosphere, menace and spacious, shimmering beauty on tracks by Adebisi Shank (‘Micromachines’), The Redneck Manifesto (‘Tomb Of The Dudes’) and Hands Up Who Wants To Die ('Stopwatch').

Micromachines (Swell Dub) by sunken_foal

9 - Patrick Kelleher/School TourSplit EP (CF Records)

Two very different and reliably unpredictable sides to this limited cassette on CF Records: in contrast to last year’s more ambient-leaning Yes Way EP, School Tour’s side is cavernous, gothic and ominous-sounding; Kelleher’s, meanwhile, is a grab-bag of strange pop oddities – the almost-vaudeville turns of ‘I’m Alive’ and the charming, chiming ‘Tiny Tim Bought a Jetpack’ making for a nice contrast to the gothic synth-pop direction he would pursue on LP Golden Syrup.

School Tour - The Last Exit West ("Patrick Kelleher/School Tour" Split double EP - 2011) by CF Records

10 - T-Woc - Jetstar (Alphabet Set)

The producer and DJ's sixth EP for Alphabet Set is an eclectic mix of off-kilter electronica, hazy instrumental hip hop and deep bass grooves.

zion live by t-woc

11 - Daithi - Embrace

The Galway-based musician combines dizzying, layered violin loops with pulsing rhythms in a unique math-rock/electro/trad/Final Fantasy hybrid. On paper it sounds dubious but on record - or live - it's pretty compelling.

Sleep Like A Stone by Daithi

12 - Datadrip - Collision

Varied EP from the Dublin duo; calling to mind Fuck Buttons on the visceral electronic squall of 'Animals' as well as giving a nod to vintage Depeche Mode on the excellent, niftily arranged 'Wild Neon'. 'Oh', meanwhile, is a patiently paced opener that starts off chilled and builds in intensity, setting up 'Animals' nicely.

Wild Neon by datadrip

13 - Ten Past Seven - Black Box Recordings (Out On A Limb)

After a nail-biting last-ditch success in their Fundit campaign, instrumental 'bog prog' trio Ten Past Seven did as promised and headed for France to record some tunes at Black Box Studios with the aid of Dave Odlum. The result proves their endeavours worthwhile: the Black Box Recordings go some distance to recapturing the intensity and power of the band's gripping live shows. Although you could loosely term it as instrumental post-rock, Ten Past Seven's sound flits between a number of styles even in the space of one track: there's hints of math-rock here and there, delicate ambient passages and ferocious crescendos reminiscent of Come On Die Young-era Mogwai; while at their very heaviest they have a metallic intensity. These three tracks build slowly but irresistibly, tension and release rendered expertly by skilled musicians.

Johnston's Cows by OOAL

14 - Ginnels - Mountbatten Class (Long Lost)

Fuzzy, ramshackle lo-fi goodness from Mark Chester (of Grand Pocket Orchestra and No Monster Club). Also released an album this year. More on that anon

15 - Ed Devane - Room Full Of Empty People (Takeover Records)

C+ P: 'an abrasive, intense record where thumping percussion collides with high-pitched electronic squall. Opening track ‘Wharf’ leads in with blown-out, distorted beats, shuddering bass and all manner of harsh, rasping electronic textures. The percussion becomes more rhythmic on second track ‘2C-me’, which is grimier in tone and more dancefloor-friendly in tempo, while ‘Technoblient’ combines an insistent, pounding beat with more paint-strippingly corrosive noise. Final track ‘Squib’ is perhaps the most compelling of all, its jarring static-fuzz-infused intro developing into a hypnotically layered composition anchored by pulsing bass.'

Squib by Ed Devane

16 - A Shadow - Ebb and Flow (Second Square To None)

Lovely, evocative ambient sounds from Dublin musician Keith Murphy. Also released an album - When All Is Said and Done, What Is Left to Say and Do later in the year. Nocturnal chimes and celestial drones.

17 - The Followers Of Otis - The Claddagh Sessions

Breezy, soulful folk-rock from the Galway-based band, capped off by the smoky balladry of 'River Corrib Song'. Puts a nice spin on some vintage influences.

18 - Bouts - Bouts

Nothing too complex here - recorded and mixed in eight days, Bouts is unashamedly vintage-sounding alt/slacker-rock that nods to the likes of Weezer, Dinosaur Jr or (more contemporarily) Surfer Blood; with chunky riffs, distorted bass and wistful
hooks aplenty.

19 - The Holy Roman Army - Lazerians

Re-inforcing their previous strengths - downtempo, evocative electronica combined with Laura Coffey's dreamy vocals - with an increasing emphasis on rhythmic variety, Lazerians is an impressive development from the duo and augurs well for the album due in 2012. 'Electricity' is pretty infectious, the frequent use of brass works really well with their sound, and there's some neat samba-esque flourishes.

Electricity by theholyromanarmy

20 - Avalanche Ammo - Animals

Frenetic, heavy, breathless post-rock from the Kildare musician on his debut EP.

Panda Capture by Avalanche Ammo

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Discreet Unit - Shake Your Body Down

Just because.

Discreet Unit - Shake Your Body Down (original mix) by dailyfloss

('Shake Your Body Down' 12", Prime Numbers)

Radiohead - King Of Limbs remixes

Now that they've all been gathered on one compilation, the various Radiohead remixes that have been released on 12" throughout 2011 seem to make more sense, if that's not something of a betrayal of the concept. If you were going to be fanciful and regard them as an 'album' then it's the best thing Radiohead have put their name to since Amnesiac. It works surprisingly well as a long-player, with a wide variety of styles from some excellent producers. Highlights would have to be cuts from Jacques Greene, Blawan and Shed. Needless to say, kudos to Radiohead for shining their influential light on the fertile electronic/bass/whatever-you-call-it-don't-call-it-post-dubstep scene. Interesting nerdy fact: the Jacques Greene remix cleverly changes at 1-minute intervals.

Lotus Flower - Jacques Greene RMX by Radiohead

Bloom - Blawan RMX by Radiohead

Little by Little - Shed RMX by Radiohead

The whole collection can be streamed from Radiohead's Soundcloud.

Arkist & Kidkut - 'One Year Later'

Two Bristol producers team up for this (pretty) recent 12" on Hotflush. The title track is a deep, simmering number, while the flipside 'Vanilla Imitate' = more goodness.

Also worth checking out is Arkist's 'Rendezvous/Fill Your Coffee' 12" - released earlier this year on Apple Pips

and further back, 'Only If You Mean It' which was up there with my favourite tunes from 2010 (from the 'I Couldn't Possibly' 12" on Immerse Records)

Arkist has also just released the free Double Zero EP, a 'rough history of dubstep'. It can be downloaded here

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Squarehead & Patrick Kelleher - Attention to Detail/Just a Tragedy

Two very different acts join forces on this 7" for Popical Island. Surf-pop/slacker-rock trio Squarehead and the gothic-synth-pop-leaning Patrick Kelleher have both released acclaimed albums this year, the former with Yeah Nothing and the latter with Golden Syrup (along with a similarly excellent split EP with School Tour). Here they've teamed up and carried out a very cool idea with aplomb: each writing a song in the style of the other and then collaborating on both. Roy Duffy pens the inspired 'Attention to Detail', which matches his band's breezy garage-pop sensibility with a reverbed 80's-referencing arrangement; Kelleher's contribution combines his distinctive vocal croon with doo-wop-type harmonies and jangly guitar flourishes.

The 7" can be streamed from Bandcamp and is available to buy from selected record stores including Tower, RAGE and HMV Grafton St. in Dublin, Plugd in Cork and Wing Nut in Galway.

Cooly G - Landscapes

2011 has seen Hyperdub on-point as ever with stellar releases from Burial, Hype Williams, Ossie and Funkystepz showcasing the impressive range of the label's output. A new 12" from Cooly G sees her collaborating with Simbad and Karizma; 'Landscapes' is the Simbad collab and it's stunning; a hypnotic number with expansive synths, intricate percussion, an irresistible bassline and the producer's beguiling vocals. The 12", also featuring 'It's Serious', is out November 7th.

Video shot by Simon Drew and 'edited and mutated' by Sabrina Ratté.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Future Shuttle - 'Fog Spelunk'

Somewhere inbetween the haunted drones of Grouper and the expansive synths of Oneohtrix Point Never lies this superb track from New York trio Future Shuttle.

Future Shuttle - "Fog Spelunk" from Haunted Internet on Vimeo.

Future Shuttle: "Fog Spelunk" by alteredzones

Taken from their EP Water's Edge, which is streaming via Altered Zones

Future Shuttle: Water's Edge by alteredzones

DeclanQKelly - Yzz EP

"Recorded with a cracked guitar one evening in September 2011", the Yzz EP is a minimal, quietly entrancing collection of short instrumental pieces. The guitar tone creates a warm ambience, with the Galway-based musician picking out subtle, hypnotic melodies on tracks like 'Chickpeas' and 'Phalanx Glove'. The excellent 'Krakatoan Rebuttal' is reminiscent of the likes of Julian Lynch, while 'Eat-Them Hawk' adds electronic textures to the mix.

Yzz EP by DeclanQKelly

It's available as a name-your-price download from his Bandcamp, with some nice artwork included as part of the package.

DeclanQKelly recently took part in Ed Devane's Stop/Run night in Galway, and talks about it here:

"By the second or third day I had completely dispelled any notions of using anything other than what I could find in the pharmacy or what sound I could coax from the instrument. Thuswise began the laborious (word of the day today) but enjoyable process of exploring the pharmacy and recording the sound of various objects found therein such as: a foot spa; several 20p coins; extractor fans; taps; fridge shelves; phone tones; door creaks and so on. Also there are several snippets of Ed assembling and testing the instrument, as well as some of my fellow participants jamming on the yoke. Eventually I ended up with a 15-minute track that I then played back at the show through the zither's speakers while playing some semi-rehearsed music on the zither-machine's strings. To my absolute unending glee, I found a cassette tape in a drawer entitled "Lipotrim - Refeeding and Maintenance" which I played over everything and which added some nice, comical (hopefully...) moments to the whole yoke."

DeclanQKelly by Stop/Run

Here's a video of Bitwise + Madek's contribution on the night:

Stop/Run:Galway - Bitwise + Madek from Ed Devane on Vimeo.

Sticking with DeclanQKelly: it's also worth checking out The Elephant Vanishes, his collaboration with Aaron Coyne, aka Yawning Chasm :

Untitled by The Elephant Vanishes

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tenaka - EPhemeral EP ; Datadrip/Bantum

Tenaka's 2009 EPonymously Titled EP was a moody, low-key and very impressive release. His new material sees him take his sound in another direction. The EPhemeral EP mixes new tracks with reworked older tracks, and sees him collaborate with a number of other Irish musicians. The overall sound is airy, dreamy and evocative. 'Home' features two of Galway's brightest talents in Daithi and Elaine Mai - the former providing unobtrusive but atmospheric violin plucks, the latter's vocals as beguiling as ever; while the arrangement swells and unfurls. 'Open Out' is a brooding, darkly pulsing re-work of a song from his his first EP, this time featuring input from Carlow duo Holy Roman Army.

'Universe i' is a highlight, with Sorcha Brennan of Sleep Thieves proving her vocals are as adaptable to a dark, melancholic backdrop as they are to the bouncy synth-pop of her own band. Meanwhile, the distinctive vocal tones of Sacred Animals can be heard on 'The Alaskan', which is also a re-jigged tune from the prior EP. EPhemeral is rounded off with Tenaka's remix of Daithi's 'The Dog', which takes the original's distinctive nu-trad sound and lends it a dose of low-end groove. The EP is available to download (name your price) from Bandcamp.

EPhemeral EP by Tenaka

A short film has also been made for the two tracks ('Throw Sevens' and 'The Alaskan') that together make up the lead single from the EP ('Ephemeral'). It's created by Musea Murison and directed by Cormac O Conaire.

'Ephemeral' created by Musea Murison and directed by Cormac O Conaire from Tenaka on Vimeo.

Tonight (Friday 16th) Tenaka plays Shebeen Chic along with Datadrip and Bantum. It's the launch night for Datadrip's Collision EP, a promising release that combines pulsing electronics and noisy squall that at certain moments puts you in mind of the likes of Fuck Buttons. The standout track is the short-but-very-sweet 'Wild Neon'. The EP - along with earlier EP Works - is available for free download from Bandcamp.

Wild Neon by datadrip

Bantum, meanwhile, has three EPs available for free download from his Bandcamp, the latest of which is this year's Slide EP, which features the throbbing, irresistible electro groove of the title track as well as two other busy, colourful creations.

Slide by BANTUM

video - Junior85 - 'Alrightok'

junior85 "alrightok" from junior85 on Vimeo.

Junior85 recently played the Community of Independents gig in Whelan's along with Patrick Kelleher & his Cold Dead Hands, Owensie, Windings, Axis Of and Lafaro. 'Alrightok' is a song he made especially for the gig, and he's made a video to go along with it.

"A friend asked me if I had any videos of how I make the tracks live so I'm making one using this song... The song is made completely live using X-station, Electro Timbales and guitar pedals."

Alrightok by junior85

'Alrightok' can be downloaded from his free music archive along with loads of other stuff. A particular personal favourite is the Stance Gives You Balance EP , a collaboration between himself and DeclanQKelly (under the name Hogan Grip), which is conceptually based around a golfing manual and features lingering, hypnotic, oddly haunting compositions.

"Inspired first by the exquisite line drawings and evocative chapter names and later (upon closer examination of the book’s actual text) by Hogan’s avuncular, firm-but-fair teaching technique and his touching dedication to a friend (Henry Picard) in the opening chapter, the band Hogan Grip came to fruition

Hogan Grip - Stance Gives You Power by junior85

The aforementioned Community of Independents gig was filmed for use in a documentary, but for now you can check out photos from the gig by Danielle Graham

George Fitzgerald - RA podcast

London-based producer George Fitzgerald has suffered at times from a very close similarity to Joy Orbison, but as time goes on his sound is becoming more distinctive and his tunes more undeniable - the excellent 'Reset' being a personal favourite. His recent podcast for Resident Advisor features 'a disparate mix of house, garage and techno', with plenty of forthcoming material from Scuba's Hotflush label (who released two Fitzgerald 12"s) as well as numbers from up-and-coming producer Jack Dixon and Appleblim's superb 'Moonlight'.

download the mix at

Tim Hecker - Incurably Optimistic! - Alien8 Recordings
Sigha - The Politics of Dying - Our Circula Sound
Appleblim - Moonlight - forthcoming Vitalik
Braille - A Meaning - forthcoming Hotflush
Josh Wink - Sixth Sense - S3
George FitzGerald - Feel Like (Rough Mix) - forthcoming Hotflush
Jack Dixon - Low Tide (Rick Grant remix) - CDR
DFRNT - True (Jack Dixon remix) - Nu Directions
Jazz Neversleeps - Diepgank - On Point
George FitzGerald - Shackled - forthcoming Hotflush
Scuba - Adrenaline - forthcoming Hotflush
SCB - Overlay - forthcoming Hotflush
SBTRKT - Wildfire (Objekt Dub Mix) - Young Turks
George FitzGerald - Reset - Aus
George FitzGerald - Hearts - forthcoming ManMakeMusic

George Fitzgerald - Reset by BOILER ROOM

Tri Angle records: the story so far

Balam Acab's Wander/Wonder is the latest excellent release from Robin Carolan's Tri Angle Records imprint, with Ayshay's Warn U EP to follow before the end of the month and Water Border's Harbored Mantras due in October.

Ayshay - WARN-U by TriAngleRecords

Water Borders - What Wiwant by TriAngleRecords

Of the latter release, Boomkat says: "the San Fran-hailing duo of Amitai and Loric use the rhythms of contemporary ritual dance music to resurrect the occult soul of Coil and their cabal in unique and succinctly pop balanced new forms. A couple of mixtapes - both self-released and for the brilliant DIS magazine - display their influences quite clearly, working in a circle of influence ranging from Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson's eerie Threshold HouseBoys Choir to James Blake's chamber pop and the rhythm schematics of Doc Daneeka or DJ Elmoe, and it's fair to say this album sums up all of those and more."

It really has been exciting to watch the development of Tri Angle over the last year: the label has well and truly outgrown its initial association with 'witch house', each successive release offering something new. I interviewed Carolan for State a couple of months back, and since then my enthusiasm for the label has only grown, with Clams Casino's Rainforest EP and Balam Acab's album taking things to the next level. Here's a recap of the Tri Angle back catalogue so far, starting with the free-to-download Let Me Shine For You mixtape:

Tri Angle Records presents Let Me Shine For You

"Inspired in part by Lindsay Lohan’s grotesquely fascinating black hole existence and in part by my unwavering belief in the power of pop music as an artform, I saw an opportunity to create something interesting with her music, and decided to ask some friends to reinterpret some of Lindsay’s songs. “Tri Angle Records Presents: Let Me Shine for You” is the result. Even though we are all fond of Lindsay in our own ways, there is no FREE LINDSAY agenda here. We all love pop music and this is merely an experiment. All of our intentions are very sincere."

Tri Angle Records Presents: Let Me Shine for You by DISmagazine

Balam Acab - See Birds

"this isn’t dark or sinister music; in fact, it’s incredibly serene, full of crystalline shapes viewed from underneath water, ripples filtering their form as just out of sight vocals, synths and harps get refracted through its surface." - FACT

Balam Acab - See Birds (Moon) by TriAngleRecords

oOoOO - oOoOO EP

"Tracks like 'Hearts' with its Fever Ray-meets-Cassie feel or the arcane hooks of 'Burnout Eyes' have the mark of a scarily intuitive Pop genius, knowingly built with the most conventional structures yet nudged at all the crucial moments with choruses that beguile like a shy, lo-fi version of Kate Bush's finest or enrapture like David Sylvian at his most melancholy, perpetually toying with the tuning for spine chilling and perspective re-aligning effect." - Boomkat

Burnout eyess by oOoOO

How To Dress Well - Love Remains

"The songs here are deliberately lo-fi, filled with bits of feedback and vocals that seem to crackle if they dare to reach above a whisper. But unlike many of his peers on, say, Olde English Spelling Bee, Krell's tracks don't feel formal exercises. These are pop songs. Just listen to the fuzzy, but ever-present thump of the live track, "Walking This Dumb." He's a crowd-pleaser at heart." - Resident Advisor

Holy Other - With U

"The debut EP from Manchester's Holy Other takes the label's aesthetic deeper into 4/4 territory than it's gone before, but otherwise it's Tri Angle music par excellence, with glum, shuffling beats, vaporous vocal samples and a slow wash of synthesizers. Once you acclimate yourself to the ever-present fog of vocals and reverb, there's a nice range of styles on display." - Resident Advisor


Clams Casino - Rainforest

"Rainforest is an isolationist hip-hop epic that accords perfectly with the Tri Angle aesthetic while also affirming and deepening Clams' singular production style" - Boomkat

Balam Acab - Wander/Wonder

from State:

Balam Acab - Wander/Wonder (Tri Angle)

'Balam Acab’s full-length debut Wander/Wonder comes almost exactly a year after the release of his See Birds EP, the record that first announced his distinctive sound and served as the first ‘proper’ release on Tri Angle Records (strictly speaking it followed the Let Me Shine For You mixtape). The young producer (real name Alec Koone) has honed his craft in the meantime, with Wander/Wonder boasting an exquisitely textured aesthetic that’s a step up from the loop-based atmospherics of its predecessor.

Tri Angle’s releases so far have followed each other as seamlessly as a well-sequenced album, all sharing a certain loose aesthetic but each providing an enticing and unique sound of its own. In many ways Wander/Wonder sounds like a sequel or natural successor to Clams Casino’s superb Rainforest EP: both records have a deep, immersive ambience, feature distorted hip/trip-hop rhythms and are threaded together by themes of nature (as with See Birds, aquatic samples permeate Wander/Wonder). Balam Acab’s approach, however, has a more delicate beauty to it. Tracks like ‘Expect’ and ‘Now Time’ are characterised by wispy, dreamlike vocals and almost-classical structures, with recurring piano motifs.

At the risk of descending into journalistic cliches, this isn’t background music, it demands good speakers or headphones to get the full effect. One of the main developments in Koone’s music is an increased use of space and sense of depth: it’s less claustrophobic and more fully realised than on See Birds; less mechanised and more organic. The pitch-shifted vocals as well as some of the more melodic arrangements nod to R&B, while there are also shades of shoegaze, drone and James Blake’s Klavierwerke detectable in its heady, hypnotic sonic brew.

Closing track ‘Fragile Hope’ is possibly the most striking of all, its atmospheric, haunting ambience punctuated by ghostly echoes of ‘Regret Making Mistakes’ – a neatly circular touch. Wander/Wonder is the kind of album that will transport you to a whole other headspace if you allow it to. What’s more, it’s yet further evidence that Tri Angle is by now a reliable quality stamp; a byword for a unique vision of pop music that’s consistently being redefined and re-interpreted.'


Apart #2 - Balam Acab from dre間am on Vimeo.

Hello Moon - Only Count The Sunny Hours

from AU:

Hello Moon - Only Count The Sunny Hours (Any Other City)

'One of the highlights of the second compilation from Dublin indie-pop collective Popical Island was from a relative newcomer: ‘Barefoot’, a charmingly off-kilter contribution from Dublin four-piece Hello Moon. Their debut album is very much in the same vein, wearing its love of melodic, chiming pop songs on its scuffed sleeve. Only Count The Sunny Hours shifts between sweeping lo-fi sugar rushes (‘Vanity’, ‘Here I Am’) and dreamily hypnotic numbers (‘Measure Of Me’, ‘Sievehead’). Even when the irresistible boy/girl vocals are taken out of the mix, they make it work (on the jangly, jaunty instrumental ‘The Calculus Affair’). And just when you think the well of melodies might be running dry, along comes the wondrous, swooning closing track ‘Awkward Hugs’.' (8/10)

Sievehead by Hello Moon

Awkward Hugs by Hello Moon

Hello Moon play the upcoming Hard Working Class Heroes festival in Dublin.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Electric Picnic 2011 preview: 10 must-see international acts and 10 must-see Irish acts

1 - John Talabot

The Barcelona-based producer has kept a low profile since he emerged, letting his music do the talking. Dealing in hypnotic, vibrant house that has a similarly Balearic-tinged vibe to friends and frequent collaborators Delorean (but with a much more dance-floor-oriented aesthetic), Talabot has turned in superb remixes of the xx, Blue Daisy and Glasser as well as his own material - this year's infectious 'Families' following on the heels of 12"s like 'Sunshine' and 'Matilda's Dream'. This could be the highlight of the weekend. Although I think I said that about Primavera and ended up missing his set. Festivals, eh?

Saturday, 23.00, Earth Ship stage

JOHN TALABOT / Families (Ft Glasser) by Young Turks

Shelter (John Talabot's Feel it too Remix) by John Talabot

Raindrops (John Talabot's Cosmic Rework) by Black Acre Records

2 - Flying Lotus

A long-awaited first Irish show for the founder and figurehead of LA's Brainfeeder collective/label. One of the most talented producers around, he followed 2008 masterpiece Los Angeles with the dazzling, all-over-the-shop Cosmogramma, an album that completely revamped his sound and captured a restlessly inventive vision.

Saturday, 00.45, Little Big Tent

Flying Lotus - ...And the World Laughs with You by greenplastic

3 - Julio Bashmore

The Bristol-based producer has released a string of excellent 12"s on labels like Dirtybird, 3024 and Futureboogie. He offers a unique, infectious take on house/UK funky influences, with bass-heavy floor-fillers such as 'Battle For Middle You' mixing with the Balearic-tinged 'Ribble to Amazon'.

Sunday, 17.45, Little Big Tent

Julio Bashmore - Footsteppin' by TenThousandYen

Julio Bashmore - BATTLE FOR MIDDLE YOU by abeano

4 - Star Slinger

Mainly known for his (numerous) remixes, he's re-interpreted tracks for everyone from Deerhunter to James Vincent McMorrow, as well as releasing his own material and collaborating with Teams. His hip-hop-influenced productions are frequently psychedelic, glitchy and playful.

Friday, 18.15, Little Big Tent

The Go! Team Apollo Throwdown (Star Slinger Remix) by Star Slinger

Small Black - Photojournalist (STAR SLINGER REMIX) by Star Slinger

5 - Onra

As Pitchfork put it, "broken beats, woozy aural effects, and the lush sounds of vintage funk and R&B, all filtered through hip-hop's rhythmic, lyrical bounce". The Parisian's Long Distance album features the glorious summer jam 'High Hopes', as well as plenty more tunes that achieve just the right balance between slightly-cheesy retro elements and fresh production techniques.

Friday, 17.00, Little Big Tent

High Hopes ft. Reggie B by Onra

Onra - Long Distance by Hypetrak

6 - Yuck

They've admitted that their show at Cork X Southwest was a bit of an offday, so they have something to prove. Yuck are a thrilling throwback to vintage alt-rock bands like Pavement and Dinosaur Jr, along with the mellower strains of Teenage Fanclub. 'Rubber', 'Get Away' and 'Georgia' - yes please.

Saturday, 20.00, Cosby Stage

Rubber by Yuck

Get Away by Yuck

7 - Rainbow Arabia

Somewhat similar in style to Gang Gang Dance, if not quite (yet) at their level of genius, Rainbow Arabia are a duo who craft electronic pop with notable African and Eastern influences. This year's Boys and Diamonds album encompasses catchy pop moments as well as pulsating dancefloor-leaning workouts with tribalistic percussion and garish synths.

Saturday, 15.35, Little Big Tent

Rainbow Arabia - Without You by Kompakt

8 - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

I fear the worst for this one, given that they're clashing with Pulp, Mogwai and Zola Jesus, but hopefully CYHSY still have a loyal enough following to withstand that. Their set at the Picnic a few years back was one of those classic festival moments, their debut album remains one of the finest of the last decade (despite the silly backlash) and they've some new material to test out. Also: The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth.

Sunday, 23.00, Crawdaddy Stage

9 - Underworld

A gateway band for me - and I'm sure a lot of other people - when it comes to electronic music, Underworld have absolute stone-cold classics like 'Rez/Cowgirl', 'Dirty Epic' and 'Jumbo' to call upon. A superb live act, as documented by the classic Everything Everything

Sunday, 20.30, Main Stage

10 - Arcade Fire

Their set at the 2005 Picnic has gone down in legend, and contributed greatly to the then-young festival's growing reputation. This should be a triumphant return, on the back of their very impressive third album The Suburbs.

Saturday, 22.00, Main Stage

Irish Acts:

1 - Toby Kaar

The Cork-based producer is probably the most exciting newcomer of 2011: his amazing remix of Nouveaunoise's 'Cinnte' took an already great tune and made it his own, while further productions as well as a string of dazzling live sets (including support slots with Gold Panda and And So I Watch You From Afar) have kept his star in the ascent. Encompassing a diverse range of styles - from trippy, glitchy hip-hop-influenced sounds to the more mellow, atmospheric likes of 'Bread' and the almost-post-rock tones of his Ten Past Seven remix - he's playing three times over the weekend: see him at least once.

Friday, 00.00, Love Letter Stage
Saturday, 13.30, Little Big Tent
Saturday, 22.15, Earthship Stage

Nouveaunoise - Cinnte (Toby Kaar's Cloudy Mix) by TobyKaar

Heart of Gold by TobyKaar

2 - Le Galaxie

Arguably the finest live band in the country playing songs from one of the albums of the year. A no-brainer. Le Galaxie's live sets are glowing sci-fi party affairs with neon body paint, freak dancing and glow-sticks - and tunes to match: the kaleidoscopic DFA vibes of 'Midnight Midnight', the electro-pop bounce of 'Solarbabies' and the dramatic, swelling 'Victory' to name but three.

Saturday, 13.30, Electric Arena

03 - Midnight Midnight by Le Galaxie

01 - Earth by Le Galaxie

3 - Patrick Kelleher & His Cold Dead Hands

A scintillating live act; the dark, gothic synth-pop of recent album Golden Syrup may be somewhat disorientating but it's also danceable.

Sunday, Body & Soul Main Stage, 21.00

Patrick Kelleher and His Cold Dead Hands "Miracle Candle" from sophie gateau on Vimeo.

4 - Catscars

Earlier this year Robyn Bromfield released the shadowy, new-wave-tinged Construction - the shape-shifting, spooked-sounding textures of her songs should make for a fascinating late-night set.

Saturday, 02.45, Love Letter Stage

5 - Katie Kim

A live performer of quiet intensity, Katie Kim's songs tend to be hushed and subtly atmospheric, with beguiling vocals that convey unnerving depths. Songs from her excellent upcoming double-vinyl release Cover & Flood are sure to feature.

Saturday, Body & Soul Main Stage, 20.15

6 - Tieranniesaur

One of the jewels in the Popical Island crown, Annie Tierney's gang deal in exuberant, irreverent lo-fi funk-pop. Songs like 'Sketch!' and 'Here Be Monsters' are guaranteed to bring the fun times.

Saturday, Body & Soul Main Stage, 18.00

7 - Adebisi Shank

Adebisi Shank's live brilliance almost goes without saying at this stage - furious, frenetic performers, last year's This Is The Second Album... saw them develop their sound into something bracingly unique, combining gargantuan riffs and infectious hooks with dazzling, Battles-esque experimentation.

Saturday, Cosby Stage, 15.15

Adebisi Shank - Genki Shank by Richter Collective

Logdrum by Richter Collective

8 - Visionair

Gaining attention from the likes of Altered Zones, Visionair's music is both evocative and rhythmic, their songs pulsing and swelling with vintage-sounding synth-tones. Live, tunes like the hypnotic, expertly-paced 'HYPNOM' sound even more muscular and forceful than on their extremely impressive brace of EPs.

Saturday, Love Letter Stage, 01.15

03 HYPNOM by VisionAir

03 TOTEM by VisionAir

9 - Great Lakes Mystery

Citing influences such as Arthur Russell and John Carpenter, Gareth Averill's project is characterised by atmospheric, dramatic synths and mesmerising ambience.

Sunday, Love Letter Stage, 18.00

Lemmings by Great Lakes Mystery

Organo Moderato by Great Lakes Mystery

10. Soil Creep

New project from Aidan Wall (of Porn On Vinyl and the now-defunct Hipster Youth). If the pretty-amazing 'Where (n) Meets Infinity' is anything to go by, expect trippy, inventive lo-fi electronica along the lines of Lorem Ipsum. Then again, it could be something else entirely! Should be interesting.

Friday, Love Letter Stage, 20.00

Soil Creep - Where (n) Meets Infinity by LongLost