Only last month we wrote a short piece about The Haden Triplets excellent debut album. In the piece we mentioned that their brother Josh fronted the band Spain. Unbeknowst to me then Spain where readying the release of their 5th studio album ‘Sargent Place’ which arrived via Glitterhouse Records last week. It is Spain’s 2nd album since reforming, following on from 2012’s ‘The Soul of Spain.’ Although I was excited back then at their return, following sustained listening I found ‘The Soul Of…’ a little disappointing.
Having been living with ‘Sargent Place’ for a week or two now there are no such issues. Everything I loved about them back in 1995 is still there: Josh’s distinctive sonorous voice delivery aching melodies and lyrics of love and loss; the deliberate, restrained arrangements with just the odd embellishment, solo or backing vocals etc. Josh’s family get a look in too with sister Petra chipping in violins & vocals on ‘The Fighter’ and father Charlie lending vocals & bass on ‘You and I.’ If you like what you hear as much as I do be sure to check out ‘The Blue Moods..’, ‘She Haunts My Dreams’, ‘I Believe' for a myriad of wonderful variations on the theme,
"What’s She Like?" - Neneh Cherry w/ RocketNumberNine live in The Twisted Pepper, Dublin, 28th February 2014
So when I “rediscovered" Neneh Cherry in 2012 via her excellent ‘The Cherry Tree’ collaboration with The Thing, who knew it would be the gift that kept giving. Then late last year the track ‘Blank Project' arrived with the promise of an album of the same name to follow. Then it becomes news that the album was produced by the ever-amazing Four Tet and that Neneh’s backing band & collaborators would be London fraternal duo RocketNumberNine, who just happened to make one of the Lions Share’s favourite albums of 2013 ‘MeYouWeYou’. Need more? Well how about the fact that every subsequent track that made it’s way onto the internet was also fantastic and one of them ‘Out of the Black’ just happens to feature the queen of Scani-electropop Robyn. Want even more? Ok so the week of the album release Neneh & RN9 will play a gig in the very intimate Twisted Pepper. Home Run!
With all that in mind, to say my expectations were high last night is probably a bit of an understatement. Luckily then that I managed to squeeze my way almost to the front of the sold out Twisted Pepper before the trio hit the stage. When they did come out, amidst the choking smoke machine exhalations, they kicked off with low-key album opener ‘Across The Water’ which is barely more than Neneh’s vocals over a striiped back beat. For the second track ‘Blank Project’ the vibe couldn’t have been more different, with the songs frenetic energy and the busy strobes getting everyone from Neneh to the sound guy at the back dancing. If the gig had have ended there we would have gone home happy but thankfully there was a lot more to come.
They dropped the tempo down again with ‘Spit Tree Times’ with it lyrics about the black dog of depression and a suitably mellow anxiety groove. After a bit of crowd interaction Neneh brought us into ‘Cynical’ which had her marching along with the stop-start drums, and then perching on the edge of the stage delivery some ragga-like freestyle raps between mic problems. Even though, by her own admission, she is 50 next week and a granny, the years seemed to disappear from her with every passing song, nestled as she was in the bosom of her “little RN9 family” of Ben & Tom Page.
On ‘Weightless’ the synths sounded like rocks guitars and the false ending caught us all by surprise, so when the groove kicked back in we were all blown away. The restrained vibe returned with ‘444’s ode to the bullshit but the ever evolving groove of ‘Everything’ switched the mood back to euphoric again. Some sound problems led to a restart of ‘Naked’ which ended with an extra long outro, Unfortunately Neneh couldn’t produce Robyn from her pocket for the poppy ‘Out of the Black' but she did managed to unplug the synth with her dancing. Luckily Tom managed to keep the drums going before the climatic ending. Neneh finished the set using 2 mics for the disco-stomp love story of 'Dossier' on which she treated us to some more edge-of-the-stage free-styling.
Encore’s should always be about putting the icing on the already-tasty well-baked cake. And so it was when they returned via the crowd (backstage door problems) they hit into a unrecognisable groove which quickly morphed into a very different version of Neneh’s 1988 breakout hit ‘Buffalo Stance.’ With the crows going mental Ben & Tom kept the almost psychedelic, krautrockish-backing going while Neneh delivered her lyrical tribute to the Wild Bunch. The Cherry on top of the icing on one of the tastiest Twisted Pepper cakes ever.
Lorelle Meets The Obsolete - Chambers (album stream)
We have long been champions of the Mexican psych-fueled alt-rock duo Lorelle Meets The Obsolete here at The Lions Share and trailered their third album ‘Chambers’ with the amazing track ‘What’s Holding You?’ back last August. Now that 7 months have passed ‘Chambers’ will soon be upon on and to celebrate they have given an exclusive streaming preview to Crack Magazine. Cheekily I have embedded it here for you convenience and listening pleasure.
I am only on my first listen now as I type but even at half way through I am completely taken in and convinced it is a substantial progression from ‘Corruptible Faces.’ Maybe the production work of erstwhile Spaceman Sonic Boom had a hand in this? Anyway the album appears courtesy of via Sonic Cathedral (UK/EU) and Captcha (US) next week and the band return to Europe in March & April but sadly no Dublin date.
The Hold Steady - Spinners (Lyric Video)
Less than a month to go now until the new The Hold Steady album ‘Tetth Dream’ arrives. After teasing us with ‘I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You' Craig and the boys ratchet up the anticaption with another rockling preview track in the form of 'Spinners'. Check out the lyric video above while you count the days til 25th March.
Solar Bears - Interzone (audio)
Some much good stuff out there this week I’ve decided to lash up as many posts as I can this evening. First up then are Irish electronic duo Solar Bears who dropped the excellent album ‘Supermigration' last year. Have recently signed with Warp, and recording their new album, they have decided to share a new track 'Interzone' which is a tribute to the late Dennis Hopper. “Baby wants to fuck.”
Cousin Marnie - Cain (Audio)
I first came across Cousin Marnie last year when she released her ‘Is Sleeping' EP which featured four very modern takes on Carter Family folk songs. Marnie (well her real name is Julieann Hartigan & yes I think she is of Irish blood!) has now returned with what I assume is an oringal track entitled ‘Cain’. The lyrics get all Book of Genesis over, firstly, sparse reverbed piano chords before the electronic (sub) bass joins in and the beats drop. It is all strikingly moody and impressive stuff, and proves their is more to this young lady than impressive cover versions and more impressive cheek bones.
Habibi - Tomboy (Video from the album Habibi)
Those of you who speak arabic will know that ‘Habibi' (حَبيبي) is a term of endearment. What I didn't know until yesterday is that it is also the name of a a Brooklyn-based four-piece garage-rock girl group. The four ladies in questions are Rahill Jamalifard, Caroline Partamian, Erin Campbell and Karen Isabel who have been together since 2011 and have just released their self-titled debut album on Burger Records.
The music is stripped back with simple, but never quite shambolic, guitar bass & drums, backing up the 60’s style all-girl harmonies and vocals. Song titles like ‘Detroit Baby’ & ‘Persepolis’ hint at lead singer Rahil’s Motor City & Persian background but the album is pure New York cool and as (post)-modern as it is retro. After only a couple of listens I have fallen in love with all 29 minutes of it and suggest you do to.
"Your Favourite Word is Molecular" - St. Vincent live in The Olympia Theatre, Dublin - 23rd February 2014
Sleep Thieves - City of Hearts (audio)
I have been pretty remiss at posting over the last week. I must be all that exotic traveling I did to Cork & Liverpool. Anyway the release of a new single by Sleep Thieves is a good enough reason as any to break my silence, so check out ‘City of Hearts’ above and tell me what you think.
As we reported back in November Sleep Thieves have signed to US label Minty Fresh and will follow ‘City of Hearts’ with an album entitles ‘You Want The Night.’ If the dark epic throb of the single is anything to go by it should be one of the Irish releases of the year.
Little Boots - The Second Time Around (audio)
Ok so I am not sure this track is actually called ‘The Second Time Around’ but it is a brand new track that Little Boots recorded for Tom Tom Magazine. The brief was to write a track using Moog’s newest Sub Phatty as the track foundation. I think she acquitted herself quite well. Agree?
MØ - Fire Rides (audio)
We have been bigging up Danish superstar in the making, Karen Marie Ørsted (MØ), here at the Lion Share for the last 9 months or so, as she built an audience by releasing one excellent single after another & playing amazing shows, in mid-afternoon festivals and support slots. Her debut album ‘No Mythologies to Follow’ is finally due on 10th March so to whet your appetite bit more check out the opening track from the album, the brooding and slowing building ‘Fire Rides.’
Oh and if you missed it during the week she also shared her cover of The Spice Girls “classic" ‘Say You’ll Be There.’
Finally don’t forget the MØ’s Dublin headlining debut in The Acadmey has been put back to 3rd May.
St. Vincent - Huey Newton (audio)
So there are only 6 days to before St. Vincent returns to Dublin to play the Olympia. I tend to prepare for gigs like exams by cramming in as many listens to the relevant back-catalogue as possible. The only problem being is that the new self-titled St. Vincent album isn’t due until 24th February (might be released in Ireland on 21st - you can never be sure). However a good few of the 11 tracks on the album have be previewed or performed live . So I though I would gather them all together in this post for you to enjoy along with amazing track ‘Huey Newton’ I managed to find. The album track-listing is below along with 6 videos from the Amex Unstaged Fashion Show last week.
Birth in Reverse
I Prefer Your Love
Bring Me Your Loves
Every Tear Disappears
Severed Crossed Fingers
Cheetahs - Kenworth (Video from the album Cheetahs)
Yesterday didn’t bring a whole lot of new releases so I am using the time to catch up on some of those I missed out from last week. One of the standouts from that pile is the self-titled debut album from UK based four-piece Cheetahs released via the ever reliable Wichata Recordings. Although based in London the band are made of an a Brit, a Canadian, an American and a German. The sound is very much guitar-driven, taking influences from the great late-80s / early 90s Creation bands (‘It Isn’t Anything’ Era MBV, Swervedriver etc.) mixed with a bit of American alt-rock from the same era.
Prior to the album they band had won admires with early EPs ‘Coared’ and ‘SANS’. These have been conveniently merged into an eight-track ‘Extended Plays’ compilation if you want to get a flavour of how their sound developed. As alluded to their is nothing particularly original in the guys sound but what they do, they do very well. It will certainly be dipping into ‘Cheetahs’ a lot over the next few months every time I need a heady guitar rush.
Victrola - Maritime Tatami (Video)
I have been listening to a good bit of electropop / synthwave / darkwave stuff over the last while and have realised that it is not always obvious whether the music originates from the early eighties and it a more modern version replete with retro synths / plugins. And does it really matter is the music is good anyway. Case in point is a new 12” from Victrola on Dark Entries Records. Eventhough it is a “current release” the songs and band actually dates from 1983.
At the time of recording Victorla were a duo of Antonio “Eze” Cuscinà and Carlo Smeriglio based in Florence, Italy. The two tracks on the 12” were recorded with ing an array of classic Roland synthesizers (TR 606, TR 303 Bassline, Juno 6) plus a Korg Polysix and Fender Stratocaster. The two epic darkwave ballads were the duos only ever releases but still stand the test of time and are deserving of the released as part of Dark Entries ‘Editions’ series.
A couple of other releases on Dark Enteries worth a mention includes Big Ben Tribe’s - Tarzan Loves the Summer Nights; another Italian electro / disco number from 1983 from the Milan based trio. It is altogether a far poppier affair than Victrola but no less essential. For good measure the B-side features an instrumental version with extended breaks and dubbed out bass lines.
Also worth checking out in the album ‘Erring and Errant' from Lè Travo, the vehicle for Belgian artist Patrick Bollen. The ten track album is actually a compilation of their debut seven song LP ‘Erring and Errant’ ,originally released in 1985 and the three tracks from their 1984 split release with Fred A.
Various Artists - 100DSR/VAR5 (audio)
As part of a series of EPs to celebrate their 100th release celebratory jigsaw Dutch label Delsin Records have released the fifth and final installment entitled VAR5. Listening to it for the first time driving to work this morning three of the tracks really stood out for me:
First of them was ‘Petrol’ by Delta Funktionen, the nom de tune of Dutch producer Niels Luinenburg who has been going quietly about his work releasing Chicago, Detriot and Italy inspired music since 2008. ‘Petrol’ is a raw, dark and edgy eight minutes plus of electronica.
Second one to note is ‘Keep Me Close’ by Bleak. Unlike his name Bleak, this Swedish producer delivers an almost beautifully restrained edgy arpeggiated number which builds and layers percussion seamlessly over its six and half minutes.
The final killer track is ‘Return to Night’ by John Beltran. According to his own label’s website, John is the owner and A&R for Dado Records and has over twenty years of experience in the music business with ten solo albums, numerous singles and remixes as well as music for television. The track is on the edge of ambient with busy hi-hats and synth movements giving it an almost dreamlike quality.
The EP has been a great introduction to Delsin for me and I am going to work back through their previous 100 releases.