Thursday, 26 February 2009

Doves-Kingdom Of Rust: Video

The wonderful Doves are back with a new album Kingdom Of Rust on April 3rd and the single of the same name is released on March 27th. To coincide with this fabulous new release which we shall be reviewing next week, the band embark on a UK and Ireland tour kicking off on March 12th. They play The Ulster Hall, Belfast on April 19th and Dublin's Olympia Theatre on April 20th.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The Pet Shop Boys-Love Etc: Video

I quite like the new single from The Pet Shop Boys, Love Etc. It is addictive as hell after a few listens and comes fresh from their new album Yes which is out on March 20th. After some strange and flat duets at last weeks Brit Awards with Lady Ga Ga and Brandon Flowers, I think it's best they stick to making and performing music as the great duo that they are.

Phoenix give away a new free track on their website

The fabulous Phoenix have decided to give away a brand new track 1901 for free on their website, As we mentioned a wee while ago this precedes the release of their brand new album Wolfgang Amadeus out sometime in May. 
Have a listen to 1901 below.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Phosphorescent-To Willie: Album Review

To Willie is Brooklyn-based Matthew Houck's second album for independent label Dead Oceans. The album offers 11 versions of songs by country superstar Willie Nelson, more in homage than in interpretation. Houck lets his cracked world-weary voice, a voice that captured such finger-tingling beauty on his previous LP Pride, explore this medium to great effect. Evident also throughout the album are his enveloping ramshackle harmonies that worked so effectively on the previous outing, becoming almost a trademark at this point of Matthew's musical domain. These harmonies are employed sumptuously to the best extent on the later songs, most notably on Can I Sleep In Your Arms and The Party's Over.

Being unfamiliar with the original songs, I cannot offer a review of contrast, but on the strength of these covers the songs drift past without many noticeable discerning features. 
It is an enjoyable drift though, and one to happily revisit time to time. Maybe, owing to my vast ignorance of most country music, the emotional gravitas of the songs is lost on me, but I cannot help but feel that I would much prefer to be listening to an album where Phosphorescent spreads his wings with original material. 
The album To Willie is well crafted, done with good intention and is by all means well worth numerous listens. However, I look forward now with greater appetite to the next.

Review By Andrew Cooke

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Alias Empire (The Band Formerly Known As Dry County)

Alias Empire are a four piece electronic/dance band based in Dublin. Their name may not be fully familiar right now but you may remember them as Dry County (R.I.P). 
The band recently came to the decision to change their name after a finding a band in Canada that shared their label and they also agreed that the name Dry County didn't quite fit how the band's music had developed from when they first started out. So its Alias Empire and one thing is clear, they have not changed in their vivacity as a band as they are currently in the middle of putting together their second long player due out in the latter part  of 2009.
Their live shows carry a strong audio visual treat and with the new band name and a tonne of new songs you can expect to see them back on the road again very soon.
In the meantime head over to their MySpace player and get a hint of what is to come

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

M Ward- Hold Time: Video

Check out the new video from M Ward called Hold Time, the new album of the same name is out now on Merge Records. The video was also directed by M Ward himself.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve: Re-Animations Vol. 1

Richard Norris and Erol Alkan are known together as Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve and have managed to remix for quite a number of artists since their birth as a super producing duo. 
Re-Animations Vol. 1 is a compilation of them working their magic tricks over twelve very different tracks and alot of these re-workings you will have heard before.

It starts off with The Chemical Brothers corker Battle Scars with Willie Mason on vocals and strips down the huge beats to reveal an almost a-ccapella version of the track, it then builds nicely with some mesmerizing beats and pieces. One of the more noticed tracks that have received the BTWS treatment is Midlake's Roscoe, which in itself is an excellent tune but Alkan and Norris take it and put a Boards Of Canada spin on it with it's nostalgic, emotive layering of electronics instead of straight forward synthetic sounds. Franz Ferdinand's Ulysses becomes almost unrecognizable as the single being constantly played on radio stations around the world to a lo fi electro track, which in my opinion is no bad thing. I do like the FF single but the way the whole track has been reinvented I suppose I am more impressed with. The remix I was most apprehensive about listening to was Late Of The Pier's The Bears Are Coming, It's a song that needs little or no remixing as it's excellently put together and produced (already by Alkan). It again strips down the vocal and concentrates on the music, building and re-enforcing the already tribal and addictive beat on the track. All in all it is an interesting album if anything and probably the first compilation I have enjoyed for some while. Re-Animations Vol. 1 includes twelve excellent remixes and is out for release on New State on February 27th.
Check the following tracklisting:
1. The Chemical Brothers - Battle Scars [Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation]
2. Late Of The Pier - The Bears Are Coming [Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation]
3. Franz Ferdinand – Ulysses [Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation]
4. Peter, Bjorn And John (Ft. Victoria Bergsman) - Young Folks [Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation]
5. Tracey Thorn - Raise The Roof [Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation]
6. Badly Drawn Boy - Promises [Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation]
7. Goldfrapp - Happiness [Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation]
8. Midlake - Roscoe [Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation]
9. Dust Galaxy - Come Hear The Trumpets [Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation]
10. Real Ones - Outlaw [Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation]
11. Simian Mobile Disco - Love [Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Remix]
12. Findlay Brown - Losing The Will To Survive [Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation]
13. Enhanced Web-link to MP3 of Beyond The Wizard Sleeve Mixed by Errol Alkan

Late Of The Pier-The Bears Are Coming (Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation

Royksopp - Happy Up Here: Video

To get your first taster of what the new Royksopp album will sound like, then have a peek at the new video to their first single Happy Up Here from the album Junior, which is due for release on March 20th. An array of talented vocalists feature on Junior, including Lykke Li, Karin Dreijer Anderson (The Knife) and Robyn.
The Boyz Noize remix of Happy Up Here is definitely what you should be listening to just to boost that Friday feeling. Royksopp - Happy Up Here (Boys Noize Remix)

Mick Flannery - Safety Rope video.

Choice nominee Mick Flannery has just released his first proper video for his new single Safety Rope.Mick is one of the nominee's who shall perform at this years Choice Music Prize ceremony in Vicar St. on March 4th

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Le Corps Mince De Franciose

Le Corps Mince De Fran├žoise (which means The Slim Body Of Francoise) are three ultra cool sisters from Helsinki and they are a shouty, punky electronica band that have just signed to Relentless Records. Initial comparisons are obvious with CSS, The Knife and M.I.A all strongly influencing the band but that's a good thing. Their styled and energy driven live performances have brought with it quite a large fan base in their home town and now they are set to tour the UK and Europe at the end of February. LCMDF are about to release an excellent beat driven slice of edgy pop with their debut single Bitch Of The Bitches and you can check the video below.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Good news for Phoenix fans!

Phoenix are a band I heart very much and it delights me to hear they are releasing a brand new album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in May this year.
The album was co-produced and mixed by Cassius' Philippe Zdar, who has previously produced albums for MC Solaar and Cut Copy.
The band plan on touring this year so here is hoping they make it back over to Ireland for a show or two. You can hear a sample of the album on their website

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Metric: New album news.

Canadian indie rockers Metric are set to release their new album Fantasies on their own label, Metro Music International on April 14th. According to the NME the band are also set for a UK tour in May. The first single to be released from the album is Help I'm Alive and you can download an acoustic version for free from their website
You can get an earful here first though!

The Ambience Affair- Vacant Hearts video

The wonderful Ambience Affair (See our Top Tips for 2009) have just posted up the new video to their excellent track Vacant Hearts on their MySpace. It was directed by the Souljacker lads and it's pretty great.
Check it!

"Vacant Hearts" - The Ambience Affair from Souljacker on Vimeo.
The Ambience Affair play The Roisin Dubh, Galway on Feb. 9th.
Auntie Annies, Belfast on Feb 13th.
Whelan's, Dublin on Feb 16th.
The Stables, Mullingar on Feb 28th

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Bon Iver's Blood Ban EP gets the review treatment

Bon Iver came rushing out of the darkness from a remote cabin in Wisconsin sometime around 2007 with the album For Emma, forever ago. At this point the band was simply Justin Vernon, forlorn singer songwriter who lived in isolation to bring 2007s answer to the likes of Iron & Wine and to rival Sufjan Stevens, who's rather lazy album production has left a perpetual question mark hanging over his head.
Now its 2009, the beginning at least and
Bon Iver is now a three piece with Mike Noyce and Sean Carey in tow. The band has chosen to mark the beginning of the year with an EP entitled Blood Bank, 4 tracks of melancholic 'neo' folk about [perhaps] lamenting past loves or future lovers.
Firstly, there is no deviance here,
Blood Bank could be another 4 tracks off For Emma... and it just seems like another 'why did they bother?' EP, that bands feel the need to release from time to time just to stay in the game, or make money, whichever comes first. Don't get me wrong, Blood Bank isn't bad per say, in fact the first three tracks are nice and neat little slices of folk ramblings, it's just that, in an age of downloading and more demand on content from the still-loyal consumers out there, releasing a 4 track EP seems a bit like a piss take.
The band may have won a lot more hearts by perhaps putting up the EP for free download, at least rewarding those once loyal. Instead I think people with downloading skills [so, nearly everyone] are going to think twice about buying the next full length release for Bon Iver, simply on the basis of taking the piss with this EP.

Now let me recap briefly before this turns into a rant about downloading and the industry doing nothing to reward those still loyal to buying music.
Blood Bank isn't bad, the first three tracks, as I've said, are sweet slices of the folk dribbles we have come to expect since For Emma... and fans won't be disappointed. Things get hairy on the last track Woods with the Cher-ish vocals, but the less said about that the better, and who knows, maybe I was perpetually scarred by that vocoder all those years ago hence the sound of it drives me into psychotic spins.

So, this is 3 tracks of nice folk from one of the better singer songwriters of the last few years. Worth a spin.

Review by Patrick Fennelly