Dublin experimental band Meltybrains? have been busy writing and recording music for the last year and a half and plan to release a total of 12 in 2018.
Their first release is ‘Horizon’ a track charged with a high energy, representing a slightly heavier sound for the band in comparison to their previous EP Kiss Yourself which came out in 2016 with tracks like ‘Know My Name’ and ‘Step’.
Ireland’s finest ebullient experimentalists Meltybrains? have been quiet on the live gig front because they are working on their debut full-length album.
As times are trying financially for any band looking to pay for the costs of recording, mixing and mastering, Melty have set up a Patreon account to help fund it and have announced it with this very excellent video.
Rewards range from unreleased video footage to Skype Music lessons, Melty jingles, Monkey See//Monkey Do videos, cover versions and Melt The Jewels? – “Upon finishing our debut album, we will re-record the whole album using only Run The Jewels samples.”
A new festival to take place by the seaside Enniscrone, Co. Sligo has been announced for 26th and 27th of May and the lineup features predominantly indie, rock, pop. folk and jazz.
The all-ages family-friendly festival will feature headliners like Hothouse Flowers, The Riptide Movement along with Rusangano Family, Wyvern Lingo, Meltybrains?, Interskalactic, The Side Up, Disco na mBo and more.
Weekend tickets start from €100 and Saturday tickets are €60 from Eventbrite.
Full poster below. Win tickets to the festival via the Gleam widget:
After a week’s holiday, there were many albums for me to unravel and unpack upon my return not least Solange’s Seat At The Table, an album that takes the charged racial atmosphere of American in 2016 and produces a spiritual, political artistic statement on black lives, culture and family on an album teeming with music of black origin: R&B, soul, funk and gospel. Much of the music draws on restraint but an early highlight ‘Cranes In The Sky’ (See also the Sampha-featuring ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’, ‘Mad’ and ‘Junie’ for starters )
Banks – ‘Mind Games’
On her second album The Altar, Jillian Banks has really found her voice and projects it with a dominance that wasn’t present on her debut. Drawing on her emotions as strength, ‘Mind Games’ is indicative of her current more enjoyable phase, a more forceful, less-obvious superior alt R&B pop sound.
Nicolas Jaar – ‘Three Sides Of Nazareth’
Another surprise album release last week, Sirens, at 41 minutes and 6 tracks, is perhaps Nicolas Jaar’s most cohesive album. It finds him dabbling in new textures, like the ten-minute krautgrooving Suicide-esque motorik ‘Three Sides Of Nazareth’.
Tash Sultana – ‘Jungle’
A sprightly guitar pop hit from the land down under. With a history of busking, 21 year-old Melbourne artist Tash Sultana does it all herself on her new single ‘Jungle’, a refreshing bedroom pop number. Sultana has two singles out but Triple J support and buzz has lead her to sell out her six Melbourne and Sydney shows. One to watch and inbound for European dates too.
Amber Coffman – ‘All To Myself’
With new Dirty Projectors music out last month, Amber Coffman, the member who has demonstrated the most interest in collaborating elsewhere (Major Lazer, Frank Ocean, Snoop Dogg), Now she turns her attention to her solo album, coming on Columbia, called City of No Reply. ‘All To Myself’ is a warm and graceful intro to what’s to come.
Meltybrains? – Know My Name
Ireland’s finest ebullient experimentalists return with a diptych. Part one is an ambient dub track while part two is an electronic freakout that is reminiscent of the Super Furry Animals. Know their name. A new EP Kiss Yourself is out in November.
Bad Sea – Solid Air
Bad Sea’s two members, Ciara Thompson and Alan Farrell met on Tinder but quickly decided to pursue musical interests together over romantic ones. The band’s first single has elements of ’50s pop, indie and classic rock’n’roll. They claim its inspired by Angel Olsen and Carly Rae Jepsen and there is certainly some of the former’s vintage aesthetic in the air.
Danny Brown – ‘Ain’t It Funny’
Rapper Danny Brown’s third album Atrocity Exhibition is his most sonically polychromatic (fitting for a Warp Release) and features guests Kendrick, Petite Noir, Kelela, B-Real of Cypress Hill and Ab-Soul. ‘Ain’t It Funny’ six tracks in, is a blast of chase scene horns and Brown’s frenetic energy.
Midnight Magic – ‘I Gotta Feeling’
Nine-piece New York disco band Midnight Magic return with a sure-footed new single that falls somewhere between classic ’80s electro and disco. See? They are not only responsible for ‘Beam Me Up’. Wisely though, they asked the guy that made that song such a club hit – Jacques Renault to produce it.
The Bernard Shaw is celebrating 10 years on South Richmond Street and Bodytonic are planning a series of 10 gigs to celebrate from October 14th – 29th this month.
The Shaw was only supposed to be open for 2 years but the recession benefited it and it’s still going.
Highlights of the run include Optimo (see this recent post) and Mister Saturday Night headlining the 14th, Math + Math = Maths – a Girl Band & Meltybrains Supergroup and Don Conroy drawing class paired with a Homebeat show.
Chief musical scallywags and experimental messers Meltybrains? were approached to contribute to the recent Rise Against Homelessness album in aid of the Irish Youth Foundation’s ‘One for Ireland’ campaign.The album which features artists like Waterboys, Mundy, Saw Doctors, Sinead O’Connor and Glen Hansard among others and funds raised go to Focus Ireland, Simon Community, the Peter McVerry Trust and Vincent de Paul.
True to their word, this is a melty 11-minute version of the Irish national anthem. Try singing along to that – sounds like a slowed down refrain heard down a cavern after a heavy night out.
Rising Against Homelessness is on sale only physically at Starbucks outlets, and major record stores nationwide for €10.
Another Love Story proved itself to be one of the best little festivals going last year courtesy of Homebeat/Happenings with its manor setting, ballroom, living room gigs, cinema, woodlands and lawn hangouts among the appeal.
It returns to Killyon Manor, Kinnegad, Co. Meath from Friday 19th August to Sunday 21st August and it’s just let loose some of its plans.
Music wise, we’re talking:
Slow Moving Clouds
Robert John Ardiff
& more tba
Another Love Story organisers Homebeat and Happenings will announce their first international act later in the summer.
DJs, more names, The Shift Shack, Talks, Walks, Yoga, Qui Gong, Theatre, Roland’s Cinema D’amour, Glitteration Station, The Cosmic Canopy, The Love Summit, The Deepest Darkest, Woods Stage, The Teenage Crush, The Library, The Parlour Room & more are also lined up and to be revealed.
with standard camping are:
Early Bird: €95 [SOLD OUT] Regular: €125 Last Throes: €140 (Late bookers & price on door for weekend, if available): €160
Meltybrains? went down to play in the rejuvenated venue in West Cork, Connolly’s of Leap last week and Brendan Canty captured the band’s experimental style in a suitably idiosyncratic style, all super close up of the band so that they are more like moving textures.
The song was released on MDR Recordings and this video is also produced by MDR.
Meltybrains? play St. Pancras Church in London on Friday night. Tickets here.
As someone who spends an inordinate amount of my life seeking out new music and writing about it, it can feel a bit redundant to listicle your daily enterprise. However, I understand that you, dear dear reader, do not have that luxury, so here for you, are 20 new and recently arrived bands (and a few who have been around a while but who I predict are worth more of your time) who are already making great music and who I expect to hear more of that calibre in the coming year.
Conor Adams and Lar Kaye met before their old bands, The Cast Of Cheers and Adebisi Shank were in full flight. Once things had run their course, the pair joined up and made a new band which mixed Kaye’s frenetic fretwork in Adebisi Shank (the best guitarist auteur in Ireland by a long shot) with Adams’ sharp indie-pop vocals. With a major record deal with Warner UK, came a more expansive and expensive sound, spacious arrangements held up by pristine production and melodies that squirrelled their way deep into rotating playlists of 2015 with killer singles ‘Thank You’, ‘Darkest Ocean’ (a FIFA placement gave it a boost to 1 million song streams on Spotify) and my personal favourite ‘Too Young To Live’. A packed Dublin show in November suggested the duo (and live drummer Lewis Hedigan) have different routes to explore in their sound on their forthcoming debut album to be released this year.
Electronic R&B at its finest.
New York trio Wet, Kelly Zutrau, Joe Valle and Marty Sulkow, have given us some great songs already since appearing a couple of years back. Their strength comes from creating the kind of songs that can uplift you and allow you to sink into their running time. Zutrau’s emotive melodies don’t allow for much wallowing and keeps the songs above water to a place of soothing sanctuary. Their debut album Don’t You arrives on January 29th on Columbia Records.
LA-based R&B singer on the rise.
21 year-old Maryland singer Gallant marked himself apart from the pack of new R&B acts by writing one of the best songs of 2015. While nodding to the synthesizer-rushing zeitgeist, Gallant lifts things by writing a better song than any of his peers – connecting on an emotional level with the soulful vocal delivery that could easily be drawn from the songbook of the past. Recently, he jumped on stage with Sufjan and made a track with songwriter James Fauntleroy. His debut album is in the process of being finished.
Anna B Savage
An intense and brittle singer-songwriter howl.
In an age where confessional writing has found an abundant home online, yesterday’s music’s cathartic power can feel reduced. Yet listening to the music of London’s Anna B Savage and the power of intimate raw emotion in song is immediately apparent – in both its simplicity, directness and its ability to make you feel vicariously uncomfortable.
Anna B Savage’s music achieved that to a powerful personal degree last year. On the highlight of her debut EP, ‘I’ she sings about her body image in the face others “Jesus I’m too insecure for this / for him to undress me and take the piss,” and “Jesus he came off smarter than that / to grab an inch of stomach and say fat.” Those gut punch lines are delivered in a gentle quivering tone that is beautiful in its operatic timbre as the song rises above such insults. On ‘II’ it’s a skulking blues guitar notes that slithers around her voice admonishing herself – “I will never amount to anything / Skipping showers every other day.” Again, “I’m getting on a bit,” leads to the song bursting into energy rather than tears, solstice in sound. It’s easy to hear the burning intensity of PJ Harvey in it.
Most of all though, Savage music and voice puts us in her shoes in a way that few mediums can. Anna B Savage holds us close. Sometimes uncomfortably so.
Atmosfolk Belfast and Dublin pair
Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre’s Saint Sister band were the best new band to emerge from Ireland last year. With a Celtic harp and a sibling-style gift for shared harmonies (alas they are not sisters – one is from Belfast, one from Dublin), their songs, both traditional and modern, were some of the best made on these shores.
The hardware store clerk turned pop hope
Louise McSharry reminded me of Kiiara, and that she was working in in a hardware shop in Illinois when she put her best track ‘Gold’ up online. That track, a modern earworm with production by Felix Snow featured mangled catchy vocals and finger-clicking percussion. It racked up over 7 million views. People clearly responded to it. See also, the tightrope-vocal iced walk of ‘Feels’ and the bright pop of ‘Intention’. There’s more to come from the hardware store clerk.
Seductive R&B that bangs
It was a gig at Iceland Airwaves in November that confirmed a year’s listening to Londoner’s NAO’s music (pronounced NAYO) that started with the head-nodding click clack thrill of ‘Inhale/Exhale’ and continued with her A.K Paul collaboration, the taut funk of ‘Golden’ and ended with a swimmingly-good slow song in ‘Bad Blood’. Nao has absolute jams sure but she has them in spades too, as a I found out in Reykjavik, as well a great live set and band.
Hypnotic London trio
The power of Haelos’ music thus far has been the English trio’s ability to create hypnotic rhythms for their songs to live in with a chorus of voices and a rush of synths to fill that space. A debut album is coming on Matador Records this year.
Dublin experimentalists find new forms for themselves.
Dublin band Meltybrains? began the year as searching rock experimentalists before discovering a new level of creativity that drew on their post-rock ambient foundations while diverting into tropical pop on ‘The Vine’, a rich-detailed six minute epic of ‘Donegal’, a rattling ‘New Don’ and then, just before Christmas, the space oddity of ‘Wiggly Worms’.
With each new song, the band showcase a different side of themselves, perhaps one they did not know existed until it manifests and with it comes a sense of identity. Who knows what 2016 will bring from the gang, but that’s part of their appeal.
Kanye snapped up this former model for his GOOD Music label
A former American Apparel model and Arizona-born musician, Kacy Hill dropped her debut EP on Kanye’s Good Music label a few months back, after she was a dancer on his Yeezus tour and he heard her collaboration with producer Jaylien Wesley – ‘Experience’.
Hill’s music is 21st century leftfield pop – synth-driven, spacious, slow and with great potential. ‘Foreign Fields’, her best track yet from that Bloo EP, has drawn comparisons to James Blake. Hill’s voice has a commanding magnetism to it, equally at home with pop melodies on ‘Arm’s Length’ and unfurling operatically on the commanding ‘Shades Of Blue’. Her 2016 debut is being produced by Kate Boy’s Oskar Engström and is expected to feature “90s alternative and left-field pop.”
Italian London-based lo-fi dance musician
I first featured Andrea Tirone’s music back in 2013, with the impressive lo-fi dance-pop track ‘My Girl’ which sounded like a pleasant hangover from chillwave.
Mind Enterprises‘ new music has moved into a more loose-fitting indie disco territory and a debut album will be released in February on Because Music, that was partly inspired by Afro-funk music after he was given a hard drive of music by Salvatore Principato of Liquid Liquid. As you do. The title track, ‘Idealist’ has some of that rough funky charm to it.
Copenhagen electronic pop trio
An electronic pop and R&B trio from Copenhagen, Fine, Simon & Simon, released three fine slices of music last year, most notably the sophisticated ‘Minds’ and the brilliantly slinky ‘Away From Me’. More new music is expected this month.
New Dublin/London beats and bass
Dublin-born and London-based Bonzai received a Hottest Record in the World status from BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac last year with ‘Doses’, a swerving bass and beats track that falls somewhere between R&B, rap, pop, grime and spoken word. It was drawn from the Royah EP which affirmed those disparate influences and added some dubstep and drum and bass ones. Before that came the sweet warped pop of ‘KGB’. Both were released on Mura Masa’s Anchor Point level, who himself is a rising new artist.
Independent Dublin funk and pop
A fledgling Dublin musician with a sarky lyrical attitude and a penchant for creating fun bedroom funk pop music, as heard on her debut EP Dead as Disco, Katie Laffan makes exuberant music and may have a bright 2016 ahead.
Recently, Meltybrains? taught us how to do ‘The Vine’, an ideal dance in some tropical dance paradise but things are a bit colder round here now.
As such, the band’s new track ‘New Don’ is much more questioning, as if it has The Fear (lyrics – “why did I do that?” and some spooky backing vocals more suitable to Halloween). It is introduced with a dark video by the band and Louise Gaffney and gets a release via a download code with a limited to 100 handpainted Meltybrains mask on Little L.
“It’s glad to define the fine line of rudiments & the forgotten necessity of the vine,” the song nonsensically goes, but who cares when the song is this fun? With help from director Louise Gaffney in their new video, the Melty boys are here to show you how to do the Vine, a dance you will have seen at their live shows.
When we perform this song live, we reach the percussion breakdown, and proceed to break into an all out frenzy of a dance. At previous shows we have had dancers appear for a full choreographed dance routine, led conga lines through audiences, and climbed onto the roof of the Body & Soul main stage at Electric Picnic, to name a few antics! We decided we needed to get the crowd more involved, so we came up with shooting a music video which teaches the audience the dance. In the video, it is a pineapple who teaches us the dance, because….. well because we’re Meltybrains?.
After Everything Fall, the Dublin band’s debut album, Come On Live Long released ‘Trough’, an ambient-birthed four minute track that suggested further ambitions.
‘Speak Up’ is similar in that, at seven minutes, it’s a brave length to tackle. Closer in tone to the band’s established sweeping indie dual vocal sound, ‘Speak Up’, produced by the band’s Ken McCabe pushes the band’s directness into a larger sonic space through instrumentation which includes synths, upright pianos, strings, bells and electronic patterns.
All the while the band’s core appeal of Robert Ardiff and Louise Gaffney trading vocal lines brings it all together to the point where you may not even notice seven minutes has elapsed.
The song was made remotely as members were residing in Roscommon, Paris, Malta, and London. Guest musicians from Meltybrains? include Micheál Quinn on drums (filling in for Steven Battle) and Tadhg Byrne on violin and viola.
After their main stage appearance at Body & Soul, Meltybrains? are celebrating the overdue appearance of the vinyl of their recent ‘Donegal’/’IV’ release with a series of activities starting today. From their melty mouths:
Today: MeltyMask Painting Master Class
We will be providing a ‘master class’ in how to paint your very own melty mask. This will take place at 6pm in The Phoenix Park. Masks & paint will be provided. All you need is clothes you don’t mind getting paint on!
Today: 5-a-side Football Tournament
We will be hosting the 2nd annual ‘Myles Manley Five A Side Football Tournament. This will also be taking place in the Phoenix Park, kicking off at 6pm. To enter, simply email us at [email protected] with your team members names & a contact number.
‘Calling for Earl: Meltybrains? tour diary’ by Mark McGuinness, follows Meltybrains? on their odyssey across Ireland, the UK, and America through the spring of 2015. The show is a visual diary of what life is like for a touring band, from sleeping on strangers floors to days of budget travelling and all the not so glamorous aspects of being a band on the road. The exhibition will take place in Darc Space, 26 North Great Georges Street for the week. The show will open at 6pm on July 24th and will remain open from June 24th to the July 3rd. Entry will be free.
Thursday Intimate 50 Person Gig
We will be playing a once of intimate gig in Volt Studios to 50 people. Entry to the gig will be €15, and this will include entree AND a vinyl. Entry will be strictly limited to 50 people. To secure entry, please email us at [email protected] with your name and how many tickets you would like to reserve. ***Tickets Limited to 1 per person*** We will be accepting names from Thursday 18th June.
We will be throwing the much anticipated ‘Meltybrains? Christmas Party’ in Terenure. This will take place at 3pm We will be providing all things Christmas, and music to suit. We will be asking people to bring various items for dinner. We will provide the turkey.
Back in November , Meltybrains? gave us ‘IV’ a track which distilled all of the eclectic ambience and electronic melodics that have made them a go-see band in the last year.
The A-side ‘Donegal’ is with us now, and far from being some concise three-minute pop banger, true to Meltybrains? form it builds over a nonsensical lyric – “I can not even say” with cascading brass notes, percussion and synths interlocking in a wistful nostalgic manner that sounds like a post-rock band covering drum and bass from Goldie’s Timeless album or an early DJ Shadow cut.
South By Southwest (SXSW), the music industry festival behemoth in Austin, Texas where deals are made and bands are lapped by for gigs and the next stage of their careers, is well into announcing its hundreds of bands to play the festival in March.
In among them, is a healthy dose of Irish acts who were picked to play: 14 in total, ranging from the established to emerging: