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Cut Once are a new electronic project started by Temple Lane Studios head engineer Michael Heffernan and Aisling Browne. For their debut single, dark-edged electronic pop track ‘Institution’ which recalls Banks, they enlisted Tristan Heanue to direct a high-quality clip of some dancers breaking to the track.

The single is on Bandcamp and there’s an EP on the way next month.

Discopunks – ‘Tie Me Up’

Discopunks are a new Dublin band whose members are currently unknown but who have been clearly strategising their introduction to the world. For nearly the past year, the band have been posting up pictures of iconic musicians, pop culture and design on Instagram and Twitter. It’s a long game they are playing for sure and it has been intriguing to see what was coming. The name Discopunks is suggestive of so many things, but now we have their debut single ‘Tie Me Up’ that gives us more than a clue.

So without any other info available, what does it sound like? LCD Soundsystem meets U2 isn’t a bad start. The six minutes long song has a clear James Murphy element, so much so that at times, the vocals sounds like a curious parody of the kind of yelping that Murphy ably demonstrates on ‘North American Scum’.

With the filter of an Irish accent, the vocals are reminiscent of Bono when he’s let loose to rant, rambling about cheap MDMA and a cunt with a knife.

In fact, the song also has LCD Soundsystem’s post-punk disco live band feel so the name is suitable. There’s on-point backing vocals, guitar funk and a live percussive rhythm that fills the track. I’m guessing there’s seasoned players involved from the Dublin music scene.

Discopunks’ first single might be too close of an appropriation to its influences but it’s an admirable showing at aping that style. Is it too calculated? Too close to a cover band style? It’s fun to speculate, for now. At the very least, it’s an intriguing homage.

The single is on iTunes on Good Friday April 3rd.

Posted on March 12th, 2015

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The early releases from Philadelphia-based Girlpool, a duo made up of to seventeen year-olds from Los Angeles, Cleo Tucker (Guitar) and Harmony Tividad (Bass), have worn a mark of brash youth. Their indie/rock tracks with double harmonic vocals have reminded me of The Breeders.

They met at LA club The Smell, where Tei Shi, Abe Vigoda, No Age and Health were/are known to hang out. They bonded, played shows together and late last year, they moved to Philly.

The naive youth is evident as is the not-quite-fully developed identity. It’s basic and raw. There’s no drummer, no drumkit even. Last year’s debut EP had whiney lo-fi melodic rock at its core – obnoxious kids singing “blah blah blah” as a chorus and screaming in a piercing way on the brilliant ‘Jane’ – “Girls and boys, don’t ever feel imprisoned, feeling like your mouth is glued tight shut,” they sing. These songs are tales of teenagers with something to say about their lives. Their youth is infectious.

The pair have a debut album Before The World Was Big, coming in May on Wichita. ‘Chinatown’ is a sweet song that paints a picture of adolescence uncertainty and wondering whether “you feel restless when you realise you’re alive”. They are bringing the best of ’90s alt-rock to 2015, even if they weren’t born then.

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Every year for the last three, I’ve been a judge of Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent competition. It’s a bit of a music gauntlet, to listen to 140 or so various songs and make notes about them, then choose your top three. Each of the judges’ top three have been announced by the festival now and one of my three (along with Zaska and LSBV) is Surrey’s Princess Slayer.

The duo have a debut EP coming out called Living in April, and ‘Passion Alley’ is an 8-bit video game-inspired piece of bright pop music, much like Kero Kero Bonita. Check out the new video:

Posted on March 10th, 2015

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Clarence Clarity’s No Now album (streaming on Soundcloud) is a cacophonous toys-out-of-the-pram sonic vista, ever-changing, never stopping still.

It’s the kind of album that you maybe haven’t heard for a while, with a delirious disposition that throws sounds at the wall giddy with possibility. That shit cray.

‘Will To Believe’ is your way into the madness and a good indication of what’s in store. Check out the suitably odd lyric video for the song.

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Stefano Schiavocampo and Massimiliano Galli are two Italian lads who are based in Dublin who, like Buffalo Woman, are part of the creative types that work in The Fumbally Café.

Their band SignA, decribed as a “minimal-folk” project has previously released an EP, a debut album, toured European cities and played some shows at Electric Picnic and Body & Soul. Live, they are joined by Brian O’Shea (Synth, Laptop, Keyboards) and Rossa Cassidy (Percussion).

In April, the band will release the band’s new EP recorded at Block-T’s studio residency in Ireland called Lines. There will be a 12″ physical release financed by The Fumbally too.

‘Spoonful Of Honey’ is a track from six-track release and it melds electronic textures with guitar folk pickings to produce a track that recalls José Gonzales and The Books.

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Melbourne trio Broadway Sounds‘ new song ‘Sing It Again’ is described by the band as “Psych Afro Rock at 138 BPMs,” and that’s about as distilled as it can get for this summery afro-beat funk-pop jam, which will have the likely effect of making you want to break out in a conga line or do the cha-cha-cha. Fast funky music will do that to you.

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I introduced the music of Algiers, an Atlanta “doom soul trio” here three years ago but the band went very quiet after that initial appearance.

Glad to hear then that the band are back and about to release an album on Matador Records in June and that they’ve re-recorded the song ‘Blood’ that got my attention in the first place. The band are inspired by gospel, 60s protest soul and no wave.

The video for ‘Blood’ ” envisions a parallel future where artistic and political revolutionaries convene across temporal and social space in shared revolt at our current predicament.”

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Hare Squead are a trio of Tallaght-based rappers who I became familiar with at Hard Working Class Heroes last year where I interviewed the band and who I then saw put on a confident full band show that drew on soul, hip-hop and pop.

It’s the latter that’s at play on Jessy Rose and Tony Konstone’s ‘Bop With It’, a superb pop track that shows that Hare Squead have big potential in 2015. It’s the kind of song you’d hope would get daytime radio play here. How about it?

Posted on February 4th, 2015

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