On this week’s podcast Niall and Ellen talk It Takes A Village Festival, song of the summer chat, new music from Lykke Li, and we chat to one of Ireland’ leading lights in hip-hop and grime sounds, Mango, of Mango X Mathman released the Wheel Up EP in late 2017 and spent the year building a reputation for a great live show. Mango, was formerly of Dublin hip-hop group, The Animators and he dropped into HQ for a chat about irish hip-hop, authenticity and future plans.
Lo=-fi house producer Ross From Friends’ may sound at first to be taking the absolute experimental new-age piss but repeated plays of ‘John Cage’ with thits pitched down vocals and aquatic ambience reveal, a beaut for the ages, that will be sticking around long on my playlists this year. It’s on an EP out now on Brainfeeder.
Lykke Li – ‘Hard Rain’ / ‘Deep End’
The Swedish singer is back and released two new songs today >Both ‘Hard Rain’ and ‘Deep End’ have a similar ambient R&B gait to them that is fresh for the artist. In fact, the songs sound like something that The Weeknd might have concocted. The songs are from her new album so sad so sexy will be released on June 8. Lykke supports LCD Soundsystem in Malahide Castle that week.
Tyler, The Creator – Okra
Tyler is back after his excellent Flower Boy album and dtermined to remind us he can rap. He succeeds with flying colours. He also dropped a demo from that album this week ‘Rose Tinted Cheeks’.
Arvo Party – Liberté (Club mix)
Herb Magee is a Northern Irish electronic artist, and former member of Lafaro, whose 2017 Arvo Party album was a late addition to my lists. For the followup track Liberté, Magee has constructed a song that builds with rushes of synthesizer trance euphoria that I first heard via The Thin Air. I remarked that the song was fantastic and I would love a club mix. Magee duly obliged.
Jenny Wilson – ‘Hi Lo’
Jenny Wilson is an artist not afraid of confronting difficult topics and the latest from her Exorcism album, out tomorrow is an album about Wilson’s experience of sexual assault. That she turned such a harrowing experience into a song as engnging as ‘Hi Lo’ but an album about it really indicative of how brave, strong and artistic the Swedish artist is. It’s a tough listen once you realise beneath the surface of her delivery that there is deep pain. She also released a song called ‘Rapin’.
On the album she released this statement:
This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. In so many ways.
At first, I actually didn’t know if I even wanted to go on with music anymore. Then, something terrible happened to me.
I ended up at a crossroads. Either silent – or speaking. It was not an easy choice.
I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t manage to talk.
But I had to talk.
Not to bring justice or to take revenge. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems.
I wanted to take back what I’d lost. I had to get rid of what was hurting me.
Jens Kuross – It Could Happen To You
Art! At The Expense Of Mental Health Volume 1 is the latest EP from the oft-recommended LA singer Jens Kuross. His sound is still indebted to Radiohead Kid A era and that is STILL no bad thing.
Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay (Tunng) – Curse of the Contemporary
Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay (Tunng) have teamed up to record a full-length album called LUMP out on June 1st on Dead Oceans. ‘Curse Of The Contemporary’ is our first taste of it, a woozy folk song with an eera aura. “If you should be bored in California / I’m sure I’m not the first to warn you / We salute the sun / Because when the day is done / We can’t believe what we’ve become / Something else to prey upon,” Marling sings sounding more like Broadcast or Stereolab than her customary influence Joni Mitchell.
Superorganism – Night-Time
Superorganism’s hyper-active pop music is easier to digest and enjoy in smaller bites and newer focused single from the album ‘Night-Time’ benefits from a solo run. The band play Forbidden Fruit in June and The Academy in May.
Gang Gang Dance – Lotus
It’s been seven years since we last heard from Gang Gang Dance but they’ve returned with news of a new album Kazuashita on June 22nd. It’s hard to know what it’ll be like but Lotus is a pretty dreamy re-intro.
Ben Khan – 2000 Angels
Ben Khan’s music appears to have its nucleus in the music of Jai Paul. It’s very close into tone and timbre to the Pauls. He even has something called The Foundation where the Pauls have the Paul Institute. However, it’s still good on its own terms. Khan has announced his debut album too for this summer.
How to enter ticket comp – Email [email protected] with the gig above in the Subject line you’re entering for along with your full name and phone number in the body of the message. Full info on each show below. Draw closes at 6pm the day before the gig or Friday 1pm latest for weekend gigs.
After the recent release of her mournful breakup album I Never Learn, Lykke Li is taking her heartbreak on the road. The Swede is playing Vicar Street on Sunday November 16th. She’s also announced London and Manchester gigs that week as per below.
For her third album (of a loose trilogy including 2008’s Youth Novels and 2011’s Wounded Rhymes), the Swedish singer Lykke Li has embraced the hurt that comes from misplaced love, she has looked in the mirror and resolved to make a cathartic album out of the pain, like many in music before her.
“It’s about me and the guilt and the shame and the hurt and the pride and the confusion of being a woman,” she said earlier this year. Heartbreak is something that most of us have experienced by the end of their twenties, which is where Lykke is at (she’s 28).
“I’ll die here as your phantom lover”, “Lonely, I’m so alone now,” , “My one heart hurt another”, “Don’t leave me dying, without a lover to hold.” Judging from the lyrics from the album (or indeed the song titles ‘Never Gonna Love Again’, ‘Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone’, or ‘Sleeping Alone’), it’s very maudlin stuff.
The music on I Never Learn is suitably grandiose for songs which firmly address the aftermath of a relationship gone sour. ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ is the closest the album comes to any kind of radio single, its deep portentous bass sweeps and Li’s yearning vocals resonate clearly.
Production comes from Greg Kurstin who has worked with Foster the People, Sia and Shakira and Björn Yttling, who is on the third time around with Lykke Li. There’s plenty of epic arrangements; the title track’s acoustic rhythm is lifted with choir vocals (see also the gospel touches of ‘Heart Of Steel’) and melancholic strings. ‘Silverline’ makes use of twangy guitar, woodblock percussion and subtle orchestration while ‘Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone’ is the most unadorned song on the album, a simple stark acoustic song.
Cavernous reverb is on almost everything, to the point where it feels difficult to pinpoint individual instruments sometimes, such is the gel effect of the technique.
When it’s not all stirring strings, crystallised cymbals or resounding piano notes, it’s Lykke’s voice that brings everything into focus from the produced emulsion, providing the songs with the big connection: most notably on the title track, ‘Gunshot’ and ‘No Rest for the Wicked’. Those songs are cathartic, others are wallowing. How often you want to immerse yourself in that indulgent mood depends on where you’re at in your life too.
‘No Rest For The Wicked’ is my highlight of the Lykke Li songs from her new album of what we heard so far. A$AP Rocky has jumped on a Lana Del Rey track before so it’s not a big surprise but he’s at it again for another singer. He adds a verse, an intro and some extra sub-bass frequencies to the original’s ballad. The track originally appeared exclusively on Beats Music.
As ‘Love Me Like I’m Not Made Of Stone’ and the album trailer suggested, lykke Li’s third album I Never Learn will be heavy on the ballads. ‘No Rest For The Wicked’ is equally immersed in power balladry but with real emotion and without any histrionic bluster. The album is out on May 2nd.
Lykke Li announced details of her third album I Never Learn last week with a moody music-featuring trailer. The album will be out in May and she says it’s about “me and the guilt and the shame and the hurt and the pride and the confusion of being a woman.”
Now, we have the first full track, ‘Love Me Like I’m Not Made Of Stone’, stark acoustic track with Lykke looking rather despairing in the accompanying video by Tarik Saleh. Sounds like the last part of her album trilogy of albums that also includes Youth Novels and Wounded Rhymes may be a bit more direct and downbeat. She says:
“Every song on the album is a power ballad. Like one of those old radio stations. This is a slow dance; a slow burner.
I wrote it in Sweden when I was packing up my shit, and I’d just gotten out of a relationship and it was a horrible time. I just had the hurt, shame, sadness, guilt, longing. In the verse, I’m referring to myself pleading guilty but I’m referring to all of us.”
The album is out May 2nd and was co-produced by Björn Yttling, Greg Kurstin and Lykke Li in LA.
While the new Wye Oak song actually sounds like Fleetwood Mac, a slew of artists from Lykke Li, Beast Coast, MGMT, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, St. Vincent to The Kills have actually recorded covers of Fleetwood Mac songs for the upcoming A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac album due mid-August.
Here’s a look at the 15 bands I saw over the weekend at Electric Picnic 2011 that impressed me the most. There was lots of other sets I enjoyed but these were my personal favourites. All the good photos are by Damien McGlynn (apart from the crappy Best Coast one – that was me) and Instagram photos are by myself or Aoife. Videos by Barry Gruff and Roger.
An absolute killer set to follow up her equally brilliant set from three years previous. A mix of songs like ‘Say Aha’, ‘L.E.S. Artistes’, Major Lazer’s ‘Hold The Line’ and new material means Santi White is top of my list to see at Berlin Music Festival this weekend. Highlight: The backing dancers cool moves and BAMF demeanor.
The hour wait between the finish of the main stages and Austra’s set in Body and Soul was a cold boozeless one but where better to take in this Canadian band’s mystical sounding electro than late night under a tree in a natural amphitheatre. Songs from the band’s debut Feel It Break sounded perfect in the cold AM, they really are well-written tight tunes. Add Katie Stelmanis and her backing dancers Tasseomancy’s shamanistic dance moves and it’s the perfect festival closer for those who could not brave another hour for Brandt Brauer Frick at 3am. Highlight: The dark-edged disco vibe of ‘The Beat And The Pulse’ felt through the night air.
An unexpected surprise and a perfect festival band, I had heard the ten-strong American west coast collective were a great live act and judging from their 2009 album Up From Below, I had high hopes but they easily surpassed those and went straight into the great festival set book. A raggedy celebratory, up-in arms triumph of musical positivity. Highlight: The crowd singing back the chorus of ‘Home’ during the extended outro.
Besides some jibes about himself and Public Enemy being the only black people at the festival and the cheeky culmination of the set with The Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It Black’, Fly Lo delivered a beat-tight set of songs taken from his own back catalogue along with samples from Radiohead’s ‘Idioteque’ , Mr. Oizo and Odd Future’s ‘Yonkers’. The set is all one big beautiful blur with lots of dancing despite the dodgy sound. Highlight: ‘Do The Astral Plane’ and Fly Lo’s eternal smiling face.
A masterclass in getting old in hip-hop gracefully (if we ignore Flava Flav’s on-screen reality TV antics), PE are most definitely still in effect. A greatest hits set including classics like ‘ Don’t Believe The Hype’, ‘Fight The Power’, ‘Shut Em Down’ and ‘Bring The Noise’ kept the energy levels up significantly. Not even Flav’s drum solo interlude could detract from the buzz and DJ Lord’s turntablist routine of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ with scratches from behind his back added to the spectacle. Highlight: The consistent energy of a PE2011 show.
It had been a few years since Richard Fearless and co. played live as Death In Vegas so pre-show talk was all about whether they’d be able to recapture that spirit. There were no such problems. An intense and brooding set of krautrock-inspired electronica from a full band featuring some recognisable nuggets like ‘Death Threat’ and ‘Hands Around My Throat’ alongside new material left me salivating to hear forthcoming comeback album Trans-Love Energies. Highlight: ‘Hands Around My Throat’.
Hot damn. The funkiest and most fun set at the Picnic went to an Irish band whose live renditions of their self-titled album got the Body and Soul crowd moving in the sunshine. Throw in a bit of disco, multi-part harmonies, glockenspiel and a super-tight rhythm section and Tieranniesaur are one hot rock-blocking live prospect. Highlight: Finally seeing Annie Tierney and co. live for the first time and the fact that they were deadly.
My third time around seeing Twin Shadow live and a final confirmation that this is a band who are infinitely better live than on debut album Forget. In a live setting, the songs are more full-bodied, less-languid and hazy, more direct and danceable. Good time vibes from one of the coolest bands around. Highlight: ’80s dance moves.
Heart-pumping electronica from the 18 year-old producer representing the Newbridge massive. From complete unknown to much-hyped Irish producer and remixer of a marquee name like Interpol (all while pumping out enough study to respectively finish his Leaving Certificate exams) in just over six months, Jack Colleran hasn’t had much time to catch up with himself but if his Body And Soul Love Letter set is anything to go by, this kid doesn’t need much time to put his own spin on heady electronic music, even if not much is happening on stage (visuals in future maybe?). He even manages to fit in an unreleased Bon Iver remix at the start of the set. Highlight: Hard to pick but probably ‘Jimmy Francis’.
Another bloke who has come a long way. Gaz Le Rock’s army also only came into existence in the last year but the band have got it together very very quickly. From live debut to near festival headline slot in mere months, Retarded Cop are tight, the kind of tight festival rock band that blow the socks off everyone else on sheer wound up power and good-time pop punk rock music. Gaz Le Rock parades the stage like an Irish Iggy Pop with his top off, bouncing around with exuberance to the songs from the band’s debut LP. Listen to the album here. Highlight: Watching Gaz Le Rock become a big-stage performer in front of my eyes.
Live electro is not something that Ireland has traditionally done well over the years but Le Galaxie can now justifiably claim to be Ireland’s brightest in the synth-rave stakes. From the moment the band take to the stage, it’s relentlessly pumping songs beamed from another dancefloor universe with synthesizers, guitar and thumping bass-heavy beats, all delivered by four guys who always look like they are having a better time than anyone else. Luckily for Le Galaxie, it’s contagious. A4 pages with TUNE! are ceremoniously handed out and the excitement gets too much for singer Michael Le Galaxie who climbs the sound rigging to play some cowbell. They should have played a much much later slot. [Listen to their album Laser Disc Nights 2] Highlight: The massive TUNE! sign.
It’s been three years since I saw Lykke Li live and since then she’s taken her performance to star status. Dressed all in black, she cuts a dramatic figure and the look perfectly suits the much more melodramatic and bombastic songs from second album Wounded Rhymes. There’s a fierceness to the live show that keeps interest up as Lykke dances through dry ice and the band punish their instruments. It’s almost cathartic. There’s even a welcome diversion into The Knife’s ‘Silent Shout’. Highlight: Second album singles ‘Get Some’ and ‘I Follow Rivers’.
You probably know the deal with Best Coast by now. Extremely likable surf-rock from the extremely likable Bethany Cosentino and band. Hence, lots of fun was had. Highlight: Lots of talk of Snacks, Bethany’s cat which graces the album cover.
I didn’t see all of this show but what I did see was a superb three song run with one brand new song that has me convinced The Cast Of Cheers will have no problem repeating the acclaim of their debut album Chariot. The band recently moved to London and are almost finished the recording of their second album. Highlight: Seeing one of Ireland’s best new bands get even better.
Humorous comedic (but not just comedy) songs played through an acoustic folk lense with instantly charming vocals by Dorothy Cotter. EleventyFour’s songs were a welcome and relaxed break to the madness elsewhere and her between song banter is just as good. We got songs about how “all they eat in Sicily.. is cake”, a guy called Jeff Nelson, forklifts and other off-beat observations. Cute as a button. Highlight: Fair play to Dorothy for warding off that dancing deck of cards and the guy who interrupted her out of his bin.
This is a bit of fun. Zalza put together a chip music-medley of 11 tracks by Swedish artists.
The tracklisting is: 1. Robyn – Hang With Me 2. Peter, Björn & John – Young Folks 3. Teddybears Sthlm – Punkrocker 4. Lykke Li – Get Some 5. The Cardigans – My favorite game 6. The Sounds – Living in America 7. The Hives – Idiot Walk 8. Erik Hassle – Hurtful 9. The Knife – We Share Our Mothers Health 10. Swedish House Maffia – One 11. In Flames – The Mirrors Truth