We have featured Scottish Electronic duo Conquering Animal Sound on The Lions Share a couple of times before, most recently reviewing their November 2013 in the Button Factory with Múm. Well the time has to to feature them again as they have just announced a new EP ‘Talking Shapes’ which will be released on Chemikal Underground records in October. I don’t have any more details on the EP other than the opening track will be the densely playful track ‘The Next Day’ which you can stream above via Soundcloud.
Just in case you hadn’t been paying attention up to now Conquering Animal Sound are Anneke Kampman and James Scott. They are based in Glasgow and currently signed to Chemikal Underground who released their second album ‘On Floating Bodies’ 2013. CAS released their debut ‘Kammerspiel’ on Gizeh Records back in 2011. They also liked the Tayto Chocolate I gave them in Dublin. So now you know. Also how about a cover of Divine’s 1987 hit ‘You Think You’re a Man to finish things off? Previously covered by fellow Scottish him-her duo The Vaselines of course.
Avi Buffalo - So What (Video)
Avi Buffalo just released this video for the effortless sumptuous ‘So What’ this week. It is the first track to preview from their second album ‘At Best Cuckold’ out on Sub Pop on 9th September. I really enjoy enjoyed their self-titled debut from a few years back so am looking to its release. Also looking forward to their show in Whelans on 5th October. Not sure if they have played Dublin before but I certainly haven’t seen them. Tickets are only €15 so snap one up while you can.
The Jesus and Mary Chain - Just Like Honey (video) and Dublin Gig!!
Hot on the heals of our recent review of the JAMC biography ‘Barbed Wire Kisses’ comes the news of an imminent Dublin gig from the bittersweet brothers Reid. Only announced yesterday they will play a “secret show” in Vicar Street on 31st July. Tickets are on sale now at a not unreasonable €30 (considering the fucking Interpol tickets are €50 plus). Seeing as how I never saw them the first time around I snapped one up straight away. Some of the press release blurb suggests it will act as a warm up gig for the 30th Anniversary Psychocandy shows planned for later in the year. If so bring your earplugs.
Feline Flower Frenzy - Cat Power Live in The Olympia, Dublin - 16th July 2014
Cat Power has a fairly questionable reputation when it comes to live performance. I experienced this first hand at her June 2000 gig in Whelan’s which was one of the cringe-worthy shows I’ve ever been to. However I understand her return in 2003 was even more of a meltdown. That being said, after some indifference about her covers album ‘Jukebox' from 2008, I fell in love with her all over again when 'Sun' came out in 2012. So it was with an open mind I took my seat in the circle in the Olympia the other night (interestingly no one look for or at my ticket all the way in!).
From the sparse stage set up: 2 guitars in stands, 2 amps, 2 mic-stands and a piano, it was obvious it was going to be a solo show. She kicked the evening off on the guitar with a run of covers including ‘Wolf Among Wolves’ from Bonnie Prince Billy and the Stones ‘Satisfaction.’ Although her guitar plucking was basic, and occasionally stumbling, as soon she opened her mouth and those raspy vocals flowed out all was forgiven. That being said it didn’t take long for her to start acting odd: from messing with the amps and making the sound much worse to mumbling about the powers that be.
Just when it looked like things might breakdown altogether she switched to the piano for a sweat version of Bacharach & David’s ‘What The World Needs Now.’ Still not happy she insisted on moving some of the monitors out of the way so the front row in the stalls could see her properly. Things really picked though when she started on her old material with a double shot of ‘Colors And The Kids’ and ‘The Greatest’. After learning how to pronounce the word sláinte things got ever better with a version of ‘I Don’t Blame You’ from 2003’ ‘You Are Free’.
However after finishing the song she ran off stage for a bit before returning for some fidgeting and mic-stand mangling. Back to the songs and we got great versions of ‘Names’ & ‘3,6,9’ and a cover of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Can I Get A Witness’. She then proceeded to tell us that her brain was occupied with through of Palestine & Israel before rambling on about the venue reverb for a bit. Thankfully when she was signing it was fantastic. See: ‘Maybe Not’ and ‘In This Hole’. It was so captivating at times that you could her foot tapping along under the piano and the hand-driers for the ladies toilets.
It was then back to guitar for a mixture of covers like ‘Naked if I want To, some seemingly improvised songs, and great versions of ‘Fool’ & ‘Werewolf’. After some toweling of her sweating hair she went all the way back to 1998’s ‘Moon Pix' for an amazing take on 'Say' which unfortunately she cut short to dash off-stage again. On returning she stuck with 'Moon Pix' for 'Metal Heart' and the niggling niff of 'Back Of Your Head'. She also did a cooky little French song before describing herself as a “Mexican French Guerrilla." Despite some more mic-wrangling there were a few more guitars songs to come in the form of ‘Sea Of Love’, ‘Bully’ and ‘Great Expectations’.
Despite returning to the piano and listening to requests shouted from the crowd she didn’t manage to play any more songs. Instead after a few more awkward minutes she decided to end the evening by throwing a bunch of flowers into the crowd one by one. By the time she left stage for good it has almost been two and half hours of a show. And while her obvious internal demons escaping made for many uncomfortable moments for the audience, while she performing the songs, especially her own songs, she was absolutely stunning.
Manic Street Preachers - Kodawari (Audio) - DELETED NOW FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT - SORRY!
Still in this digital omnipresent on-demand era bands (or more probably labels) release different versions of albums to milk the “real fans” of every penny. Case in point is the new Manic Street Preachers album ‘Futurology’. Not content with an ordinary and deluxe version (the deluxe version is on Spotify and has demo versions of all 13 songs on the album along with three tracks which didn’t make the final album cut: ‘Blistered Mirrors’, ‘Empty Motorcade' and 'The Last Time I Saw Paris’) there is also a Japanese version with two additional new songs (‘Kodawari’ & ‘Anti Social Manifesto’) and a couple of older songs in liver versions (‘Ocean Spray’ & ‘You Love Us’). On discovering this I made it my mission to track down the two songs online. I was only semi-successful and you can share the fruit of my adventure above via the pleasant instrumental noodlings of ‘Kodawari.’
On my journey I discovered another two new Manics’ songs on the virtual b-side of ‘Walk Me To The Bridge.’ No sure about those ‘Europa Geht Durch Mich’ remixes though. Anyway I not sure what point I am trying to make here. Maybe it’s just great that a band on their 12th album are so still so prolific that they had seven songs left over on their second album in a year. If you have even a passing interest in the Manic Street Preachers I do recommend a listen to ‘Futurolgy’. I don’t think it as fantastic or as outré as some of the reviews would suggest but it is damn fine none the less. There are as least half-a-dozen songs on there as strong as anything they have recorded in the last 26 years.
Lust for Youth - Illume (Video)
Eventhough it is a couple of months away I know you are trying to figure out what you are goign to do on my birthday. Well figure no more. Skinny Wolves have just announced that they are bringing Lust For Youth to Dublin on the 25th September for a gig in Bello Bar in Portobello. Tickets don’t seem to be on sale yet so join the event on Facebook to track it.
If you are not familiar with Lust For Youth here is the crash course: starting out as solo project for Copenhagen-based artist Hannes Norrvide, Lust for Youth have this year expanded to a trio and have released their thrid album ‘International' on the Sacred Bones label. The addition of Loke Rahbek and Malthe Fisher has lightened the synth heavy sound a little but a certain retro eighties vibe remains.
Attendre La Ghost - Ghostface Killah live in The Sugar Club, Dublin - Thursday 10th July 2014
When will I fucking learn? Yeah another rap show and another Wu-tastic wait. The show was billed as “An intimate evening with rhyme supremo Ghostface Killah" with doors opening at 7:30pm. However by 10:30 there was fuck all to show for it. The word in the toilets was that Ghostface has stormed off back to his hotel when he found out there was meant to be a Q&A and they were trying to convince him to come back and do a show.
Just when I was about to split his DJ, Technician The DJ finally started to spin some tunes. Even though it was the usual cliched hype shite with snippets of hop-hops greatest breaks, it did indicate there may be a show after all. And so at 10:45 Ghostface finally arrived on stage and the rhyming began. For the evening he accompanied by Sheek Louch with whom he had recorded 2012’s ‘Wu-Block' album. They effortlessly traded rhymes on a mixture of Wu-Tang, Ghostface and related tracks with 'Ice Cream' and 'Incarcerated Scarfaces' from Raekwons' 'Only Built 4 Cuban Linx' both getting early outings.
Also along for the ride was Sun God who is Ghostface’s son. He ably delivered a few verses here and there which is more than can be said for the 5th guy on stage who just drank and out towels on his. Sheek Louch also got to dip into his back catalogue from his time with The Lox, dropping ‘Money, Power & Respect' and some verse from 'All About The Benjamins.' Of course there were a couple of RIP sections with the inevitable shout-outs to B.I.G. and some 'Shimmy Shimmy Ya' for ODB.
Along with phones / lighters out for “Can It Be All So Simple” we also had the gest rappers from the crowd to rap a couple of verses on ‘Protect Your Neck’ with both Lee & Marcus acquitting themselves well. After a couple of tracks with ‘the ladies’ dancing on stage the midnight hour was fast approaching so after some verses from ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ ‘Cherchez La Ghost’ and ‘I Can’t Go Sleep’ the show came to messy end with all participants telling how much the loved Dublin. And despite all the delays I went home smiling, only slightly less likely to go to the next Wu-Tang related show that rolls into Dublin.
Bentcousin - Dizzy (Audio)
The word(s) “Bentcousin" conjures up a myriad of interpretations but I am going to stick to the literal which is a Brighton-based musical group founded around twins Amelia (whalesun?) and Pat Innit. After releasing the cute, clever and compelling mini-album ‘Everybody’s Got One' in 2013 they are back with a new 'Dizzy' on Team Love Records which you can check out above. It starts out a jangly indie-pop but then at 1:20 minute mark it drops an initially-incongruous rap but which eventually blends in quite well. It is as sparkling a summer tune as you are likey to hear this year. B-Side ‘2014’ is a little more limber with a male lead vocal about pissing in the sink. Charming.
Video from ‘Bentpaperboy’ from the debut mini-LP below. It is not typical of the rest of it but cool none the less:
Not - Fix (Audio)
Sometimes on Sunday evening I get the fear. It is probably something to do with not having done what you wanted to at the weekend before you ran out of time, with another week of work looming ominously. What better way to deal with a mild dose of the fear than with some right noisy punk rock. Step up Nots who have just released their second single in the form of ‘Fix’ b/w ‘Modern’ on Goner Records out of Memphis. As you can hear above ‘Fix’ channels that angry lofi Riot Grrrl sound into something fresh and exhilarating. After a short subdued intro ‘Modern' is equally terse and exhilarating. The combined length of barely over four minutes the single begs to be listened to over and over again.
A little more info: Nots are a Memphis based Trio consisting of Natalie Hoffmann (former Ex-Cult bassist) on guitar, Charlotte Watson (from Manateees) on bass and Laurel Ferdon (from Moving Finger) plays drums. This 7” is their second release on Goner with their four song debut EP ‘Nots' well worth a listen.I also read that their debut LP is coming this November.
Subtle Turnhips - Redhair With Some (album audio)
So it’s a nice sunny summer Thursday evening. As there is no football on tonight I should be outside enjoying the bright evening but instead I’m sitting in front of computer listening again the album ‘Redhair With Some’ by the wonderfully named Subtle Turnhips (which Google keeps trying to tell me is Stubble Turnips).
So until a few ago I had never heard or heard of Subtle Turnhips even-though this is their 5th album. Best I can figure out is that they are a French, even-though they album is released on Australian label Homeless. Their sound, as you can hear above, is kind of garage-post-punk with short spiky songs at the lower fidelity end of the spectrum. The press blurb cites Swell Maps, Wire, The Fall and Brainbombs. All fine bands which the Turnhips can stand proud amongst. Vive le Punque Rock.
Cate Le Bon - Solitude (Audio)
I was pretty sure I posted the Cate Le Bon track ‘He’s Leaving’ when it appeared online back in February. But as Tumblr doesn’t lie and I can’t find the post I guess I just imagines it. Anyway just today another new track ‘Solitude’ has been posted on Soundcloud. Like ‘He’s Leaving’ it was recorded at the same time as her amazing ‘Mug Museum' album but didn't make the final cut. As you can hear it is a fine slice of organ-driven retro sub-psychedelia lathered in Cate's distinctive Welsh tones. Both track are available on a limited edition 7” available to buy throughout Cate's UK September Tour. Unfortunately yet again she doesn’t seem to be playing a solo show in Dublin. (If you can get BBC iPlayer working you can always check out her Glastonbury set - if you are not in the UK I recommend Hola - works best with Chrome)
The Fall - Fibre Book Troll (Audio)
Any day with a new track from The Fall is a good day. So given that ‘Fibre Book Troll’ has now joined my musical collection I officially declare today a Great Day. While you stream it above you will hear that it is 6 minutes and 40 seconds of pure prime Mark E. Smith curated mayhem. And while it feels somewhat incongruous amongst the other 18 track of mostly instrumental electronic music on Modeselektor's new compilation Modeselektion Vol. 03, that doesn’t take from its exhilarating brilliance. Buzzing synths, doubling bass, pounding drums and Mark’s seemingly random drunken savant ramblings about online trolls (as far as I can make-out). Surely a new album is due? It has been over 12 months since Re-Mit.
Jessy Lanza - You and Me (Audio)
Summer festivals are all well and good but are they gonna keep you warm in the middle of winter? Of course not, and that is why it is necessary to keep an eye on what gigs are coming up later in the year. For example it has just been announced that U:Mack with be bringing both Caribou and Jessy Lanza to Vicar Street on 5th November for a Canadian double-header. The tickets are a very reasonable €26 (especially considering Lykke Li in the same venue the following week is €40+) and go on sale on Tuesday 1st July at 9:00 am. Although they both played Body & Soul last weekend I have seen either artists live (well unless you count Caribou’s earlier Manitoba incarnation, who I saw at Wonky 2 in the Guinness Storehouse back in 2002, with loads of other bands) so will definitely be there.
Both have new music coming out soon: Jessy has a new track ‘You and Me’ on the second Hyperdub 10th Birthday Compilation which comes out on 21st July. It is her usual fine mix soul & electronica. Caribou have also recently released a new track ‘Can’t Do Without’ which is a preview from their forthcoming album ‘Our Love’ which is to be released on 6th October. Check out is looping loveliness below.
Automatic Tasty - Winetavern Street Romance
Had a moment of musical synchronicity: while driving to work down Winetavern Street in Dublin, the track ‘Winetavern Street Romance’ came on my weekly Spotify electronic playlist. This fine and funky stab of retro-futuristic electronica is the lead track on the ‘The Joys of Departure’ EP from Automatic Tasty. While the EP got a very limited vinyl release last year it is no available for digital purchase or streaming if you prefer that kind of thing. If you have been paying attention to previous posts you will know Automatic Tasty is Wicklow based artist Jonny Dillon who has been making the world a better musical place since 2008. Long may he continue to do so.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Sleep Thieves with Nanu Nanu & Cover Upstairs in Whelans, Dublin - Saturday 21st June 2014
Another Saturday night and another choice to be made between the World Cup on TV and the lure of live music. Despite the attraction of Germany v Ghana the chance to see Sleep Thieves launch their brilliant new album ‘You Want The Night' with a couple of other cool Irish bands was always going to win out.
After collecting my free album download card at the door I arrived in time just to Tipperary trio Cove start their set. And while their mixture electronic beats with synths, guitar & bass was pretty spot on I found the singer’s falsetto vocals pretty out of tune for the most part. That being said they had plenty of nice musical tricks up their collective sleeves and the piano led cover of Daniel Johnston / Sparklehorse’s ‘Hey Joe' was a nice touch. With plenty of energy and the promise of a new EP 'Vespers' on the way the finished their set off with 'Silhouette' which ended with the front-man dancing in the crowd.
By the time Nanu Nanu took to the stage it was covered in more electronic gadgets than the D.I.D. warehouse. Having enjoyed their album ‘Unit 1’ from last year I was familiar with opener ‘Skin’ which was topped off by some feisty and alluring dancing from front-woman Glitterface. A couple more ‘Unit 1' tracks followed in the form of 'Seahorse' and 'Pocket of Gold' which saw them breakout the green lasers for added effect. Speaking of lasers beams they featured heavily during their cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'Relax'. After thanking the other bands and the crowd effusively and a little giddily Glitterface introduced the final number 'Mandy' with its vocoder intro and thumping kick. With live performances this engaging if Nanu Nanu had a couple of killer pop-songs they would probably take over our world, and some world beyond.
With a pretty full house made of friends, family and fans Sleep Thieves were always going to go down well. Just to challenge us little they started with the slow and brooding ‘Through The Sea’ with Sorcha Breenan delivering her captivating vocals centre-stage, flanked by Keith Byrne and Wayne Fahy on keys & synths either side. Of course ‘Through the Sea’ ratchets up the tempo towards the ends and the pulsating arpeggios and dark disco beats were a flavour of the ‘You Want the Night’ heavy set that was to follow. While Keith & Wayne swapped between synths, guitar, bass & drums, Sorcha was the main focus or attention. And while they did dip into their back catalogue for a couple of tracks of ‘Islands' they finished the night with two of strongest songs from their new LP 'City of Hearts' & 'Sparks.' Stunning stuff all round.
"The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve; Lovers, to bed; ‘tis almost fairy time."