Category Archives: New Music

Transmission Club, Salt – EP Review

I need to go to Cork more. Not just for a holiday to see the regular sights that everyone talks about, but to actually go down and let my body soak up as many local gigs and bands as possible over the course of a weekend.

Why? Well I’m contacted by many bands for reviews – bands of all genres, but an overwhelming number of them are from Cork. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I need to say it again as it sees no sign of abating. And this is a good thing as all the bands are staggeringly great. No, really.

I’ve reviewed Cork band Transmission Club before. I was sucked in by their frankly sexual energy from the moment I saw them live . I loved their debut single too; ‘A Weak Heart’, so I was very excited when my inbox received their latest outing – ‘Salt’ a 3 track EP.

Transmission Club @ The Workman's
Transmission Club @ The Workman’s

Opening track ‘Honey and Milk’ had me immediately. You all know how I love a string arrangement in a song. Lead vocalist Michael Prendiville’s restrained, almost whisp like vocals are inspired. The band have found their trademark sound. It’s beautiful, and indeed flows through the ears like honey and milk.

‘Make Waves’ begins with an almost 90’s throwback drumbeat. then subtly reminds my of ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ by The Stone Roses once it kicks off. Again Transmission Club’s signature sound is undeniable throughout – it’s a mixed blend of Cranberries, The Corrs, Sigur Rós, Villagers, and grunge/garage bands from the 90’s.

The final track ‘Sailing’ raises the tempo and volume slightly; going for a more seasoned grunge sound. There’s a definite deep south feel – it’s the perfect song for a Texan funeral. And the closing crescendo at the end is quality.

With this astonishingly high level of recording, production and verse emanating from a bedroom in Cork, it’s easy to see why Transmission Club are garnering the attention they deserve. Watch. This. Space.

Transmission Clubs EP ‘Salt’ drops on the 20th of November and will be available on iTunes, Spotify and Bandcamp. Physical copies will be available in Plug’d Records, Cork. The launch will take place in The Roundy, Cork on the same night. Be there.

Transmission Club Salt back sleeve
Transmission Club Salt back sleeve

 

 

Listen – Penrose, Live for The Dream EP

I came across Penrose a few weeks ago, and become an instant fan for two significant reasons.

The first reason – I received a physical copy of the CD in the post. This excited me no end. Seriously. I am of the age where I still love to have CD’s. Of course, like everyone else, I use the interwebz to listen and discover music, but nothing beats a physical product in your hand to salivate over. I love the smell of polycarbonate in the morning!

The second reason – and directly related to the first, is their genre defining sound. Instant 90’s Indie/Britpop/Rock throwback. It seemed quite fitting to receive a CD in the post then. Playing on my inner teenage emotions or a neat little marketing technique? You decide! I like to think it’s both. Good job Penrose.

The glorious Penrose!
The glorious Penrose!

The first track ‘See you again’  weaves clever guitar riffs reminiscent of The Coral and Oasis but with the softer, almost deliberately held back vocals of Travis. It works really well as an opener to the EP.

‘Melody’ is a nice happy go luck summer track which has enough gusto and catchiness to be a single and gain significant airplay. It will have you humming or singing along after a few listens. In keeping with the era, I’m reminded of  ‘Lemon Tree’ by Fools Garden – but don’t worry! Melody doesn’t exasperate like Lemon Tree does!

Harmony‘ throws a mixture of Ocean Colour Scene and Oasis at youSlower in tempo, introducing the guitar solo in the mid section and tambourine tapping throughout; this is Britpop 101, without being trite, and a tune I can’t wait to catch live.

‘Where you go now’ closes the EP Champagne Supernova style. It’s a fitting finale and sounds fantastic.

The EP sound, quality and production are of a high quality – even the physical CD screams excellence. Don’t misinterpret my Britpop references for a rehashed version of the afore-mentioned bands. Penrose has managed to pull this off without being clichéd and this EP could very well see them Live for the Dream.

 

 

Listen – Grainne Hunt, Lilacs

Lilacs by Grainne Hunt is officially out in the open today. I’ve been bending my ears around the tune for a few days now, and it is definitely an emotional roller coaster.

Grainne’s voice is soothingly soft and mellow, complemented by the strings running throughout. It this were a one word review it would be simple – Gorgeous.

Watch/listen below now.

Listen – Busking for Tea, Tenslotte

Busking for Tea is not just a clever name. The Kilkenny based duo really do like tea – so much so that they had to grab their guitars and sing their hearts out just to scrape enough money together to buy a couple of teabags for the fine nectar. The band was born.

Busking for Tea, Tenslotte Album Cover
Busking for Tea, Tenslotte Album Cover

I have never busked, and I admire anyone who does – it’s not an easy way to make money by any means, but it’s good to know it can bring two lads together to start a band and boil the kettle.

The album hosts 11 songs, three of which are covers – they busk for tea so cover songs are inevitable! Full of equal measures of gratuitous melancholy and happiness, listening through the album really does sound like you are listening to buskers on Grafton Street. I really like it for this. Check them out here now.

Listen – Paradox, Chapters

You  can’t spell Cork without Rock. I used that in a tweet recently and knew I would have to use it again. I knew I would want to use it again.

MTV had a profound effect on me when I was younger. Not the known MTV of now, but the MTV of yore when the likes of ‘Unplugged’ played to heavy hitters, grunge was being introduced to eager teenagers, and it actually played good music. I count myself as one of the lucky ones who was around to appreciate it for what it was.

20 years later, my musical tastes haven’t changed all that much – Sure, I like many more different types of music now, and have distinct views and tastes, but I still know good music when I hear it. Enter Paradox.

Paradox
Paradox. Photo credit Gilbert Fonteyn

In a time when it’s easy to get lost in the swarm of new and music wherever you go, it’s nice to get hit with an album that sounds like it was forgotten about in the 90’s only to be dug up in the digital era of now. For me, at the ripe age of 34, it’s a nice feeling.

Paradox hail from Cork – currently the grunge/rock/punk capital of Ireland as far as I’m concerned. A local music scene can create a popular bubble of the same musical genre in the area with many bands sounding the same, or playing homage to their surrounding peers. Paradox has been the band that others play homage to, and now they are bursting from that bubble and creating waves further a-field.

The lengthy 14 track album is distinctly different from their previous 3, a paradox in itself one could say – notes of Alice in Chains (particularly their Unplugged album), Nirvana, Silverchair, Mad Season and A Perfect Circle and NIN. As with these bands, there is a certain melancholy and assuredness to their sound particularly with top track and video ‘Nothing lasts’. I was sold on this song alone.

With an independent band producing music of this standard, my hopes are high for the future of the grunge/rock genre and era in Ireland, wherever it might exist. If MTV was to fall back to its 90’s roots right now, this band would be all over your TV screens, not just your computer screens. Just like the 90’s, pay your respects here.

 

Listen – Transmission Club, A Weak Heart

Transmission Club are an interesting and enticing band from Cork (yes another!). They first hit my radar when it was announced they were supporting one my favourite White Line Fever at this.  I did a little bit of research beforehand so had an idea of who they were and what they were like, but nothing beats that feeling of hearing a new band live. The goosebumps. We’ve all been there – I live for that feeling.

Transmission Club @ The Workman's
Transmission Club @ The Workman’s

Currently recording the new EP, Transmission Club’s newest tune Weak Heart  is on Soundcloud for all you aural pleasure. If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing them before, this single is a great introduction, and only the tip of the iceberg to their complete madness live.

I love the mix of violin and piano throughout – used very delicately indeed, it gives unique warming feeling to the song. I’ve always been a fan of strings in songs, so I’m instantly bias and I don’t care! Lyrically it’s deep and purposely understated – it’s quite a sad song, but like any great sad song, it has a catchy riff, a sing-a-long chorus and the ability to put the listener in a good mood.

Well worth a listen here now. Keep an eye on them here and make sure you catch them live. I’ll be first in line when they’re back in Dublin.

 

Listen Now – MINDRIOT, New Release

A couple of months ago I was introduced and reviewed the track ‘Low’ by the Corkonian rock band MINDRIOT.  A fresh Seattle sounding tune which filled me full of nostalgia, it’s well worth a listen and I’m not the only one who thinks so – the EP itself is nominated for ‘Best EP’ in the Pure M Awards 2015. Full details here.

Today sees the Mitchelstown group release another two songs ahead of their upcoming album later this year – ‘Angel Town’ and ‘Billy Ray’. Working alongside their favoured Producer/Engineer Ciaran O Shea at WhiteWell Studios in Cork, the new tracks do not disappoint in quality or immediate catchiness.

MINDRIOT mt
MINDRIOT mt

The forthcoming album name and artwork have yet to be released – as soon as I get my grubby hands on them I’ll let you know. In the meantime feast your ears on the tracks using the links below. If the likes of Therapy? Kerbdog, Alice in Chains etc are your tipple, you are going to enjoy these. I, for one, can’t stop listening.

Spotify

iTunes (available Monday 6th)

MINDRIOT play Fibbers on the 18th July. Go see them. You will not be disappointed. Have a goo at their latest video below too!

|Music Monday| Hail the Ghost, Forsaken

Hail the Ghost’s debut album ‘Forsaken’ is a good album. It’s the type of album that comes along at the right time for people; you know the type that helps you through a breakup, a first date, or even a hangover. I have only had the burden of the hangover these days and welcome any album that helps me get through them.

The album contains 10 very strong songs full of melancholy and cushioned anger and plays very well in a single sitting without the need to have to adjust the volume for loud peaks or low troughs. This is a good thing.

hail-the-ghost

Obvious comparisons exist with The National in terms of sultry nonchalant vocals, but I would throw in Editors and even Nick Cave in terms of lyrics and melodies. The perfect mix of them all, but still unique enough in its own right to stand alongside them.

We can’t wait to catch them live in Whelans on April 2nd. Tickets available here at the nice price of €10 each. Sweet.

As debuts go, this is one for the collection. Get it.

Sounds like: The National, Editors, Nick Cave

Winning tracks: Nostalgia and Headstoned

Find them: Website, Twitter, Facebook

 

|Music Monday| Cry Monster Cry, Rhythm of Dawn

18 months in the making, the debut album of brothers Richie and Jamie Martin, ‘Rhythm of Dawn’, is an easy listen that’s hard to put down.

The opener ‘Darkest Hour, Longest Day’ immediately shoots the listener back to the 1970’s with impressive harmonies and shoulder swaying choruses reminiscent of ‘A Horse With No Name‘ by America. It’s a great choice as the opener; immediately grounding the listener with loud baselines and delicate relentless percussion letting us know what’s in store in the following 9 tracks.

Delving in to experiential folk rock, swaying in and out of country and touching on traditional, this is an album that gives a lot back to the listener with lyrics and harmonies that the likes of Paul Brady and Damien Dempsey would be very proud of. There is a very real sense of openness and honesty with the lyrics too, especially in the track Old at Heart, which is refreshing.

Rhythm of Dawn

Well worth many listens, this album will please many ears, and delight many faces and foot stompers during their tour of Ireland which has just kicked off. Details and tickets are available through the links below.

Sounds like: Simon and Garfunkel, Paul Brady, America, Damien Dempsey

Winning tracks: Old at HeartHomebird and Darkest Hour, Longest Day

Find them: Website, Facebook, Twitter

Catch our 2012 Vantastival interview with the lads here. Funny stuff!

 

 

 

|Music Monday| White-Line Fever, Anomie EP

Cork based White-Line Fever has hit the nail on the head with their offering in to the progressive folk/folk genre. Formed in 2014 by brothers Abbas and Ali Bracken with the aspiration to make thought-provoking and experimental music, their influences are evident throughout.

Both band and EP name naturally raise questions and eyebrows – instantly summoning thoughts of monotony, instability, lack of purpose or ‘simply the concept of monotony and tedium of life‘ as drummer Evan Prendergast puts it. Interesting, so what’s it like?

White Line Fever

From the onset, ‘Sirens in the Distance’ immediately lulls you in with laid back vocals, soft percussion and acoustics, before blending in electric guitars and heavier percussion – it works quite well here as the vocals remain laid back throughout which keeps the pace of the song somewhere between Midlake and Pink Floyd. The song finishes with an encore of reverb, synth, birds, traffic and echo – a choice I wasn’t expecting at the end, but the more I listened to it, the more it worked. It will be interesting to see this played live.

The second song ‘I see Icy Figures’ is the better of the two-track EP. It introduces us even more to what these guys are capable of doing – pleasing the ear with understated vocals and simple guitar riffs. At times it will remind you of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Albatros’. Have a listen and you’ll know what I mean. Interestingly, the song works really well acoustically, allowing for more dynamic, stripped back folk sound.

Video from Virtually Acoustic

The production value of recording in Claycastle Recording Studios, alongside producer John Burke is evident, and shows that these guys are serious about continuing with their experimental, progressive folk. I hope they do and am looking forward to hearing more tracks in the near future.

Sounds like: Pink Floyd, Midlake, Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac

Winning track: I see Icy Figures

Find them: Reverbnation, Facebook, Soundcloud