Facebook Slider

Neon Atlas - Fever

Cork’s Neon Atlas have been teasing their forthcoming album for months now. ‘The Afterglow’ came out last spring and ‘Fever’ is the latest advance single from their third record, which we’re promised will finally arrive next spring. We say “finally” but this will be the third LP since the band formed in 2013, so Neon Atlas have been prolific by today’s industry standards. Throw in Enda O’Flaherty’s other project, The Grey Merchant, who also have an album due and the Corkonians’ output starts to look prodigious.

There’s a distinctly '90s vibe on ‘Fever’. The Beta Band, The La’s, The Sundays and Teenage Fanclub are all brought to mind with its mellow guitar pop and languid harmonies. Most prominently, ‘Fever’ sounds like a sequel to The Connells’ 1995 hit, ‘74/75’ . The layered guitars and infectious vocal melody don’t take long to affix themselves to your receptors. You will find yourself humming this tune while doing the housework.

It’s an unobtrusive song on first listen but it embeds itself deeper in your consciousness with each successive listen. Where ‘The Afterglow’ veered close to indie by numbers, ‘Fever’ supersedes such criticisms by sheer virtue of the quality of the songwriting. Listen and repeat as the infection takes hold.




The Shakers - White Leather

‘White Leather’ is the follow-up to ‘Guess Who’, which we featured previously and both songs are taken from The Shakers' second EP, Banana Tsunami. It feels anachronistic releasing this at Halloween: The Shakers’ sound is that of pure summer. The languidly casual funk guitars that open the track echo Nile Rodgers’ best-known licks. The three guitars overlap but never get under each other’s feet. The gentle, finger-clicking beat is complemented by the P-Funk rhythm section while Jack Hawkins’ breezy, southern voice lays on the lyrical hooks.

As well as their obvious debt to George Clinton and Sly Stone, you can hear influences from closer to home. There’s a John Squire feel to the guitars as well as their fellow Londoners, The Rolling Stones. Maybe a touch of The Fat Whites too, although the attitudes of the music are poles apart.

The Banana Tsunami title track was released as a single earlier this year and you might expect the quality to drop off by the third single from the EP but The Shakers have held the standard high with this song. The production is raw and unvarnished. A bigger production budget might bring a fatter sound, and some welcome low end to the bass guitar and drums, but the live feel of ‘White Leather’ is part of its charm. We’ll dust this off for festival season 2018.



Geek Maggot Bingo - Box 36

Thankfully there's a digital version online of the latest six-track release from Edinburgh's Geek Maggot Bingo, otherwise I'd have been unable to play it, having not owned a cassette player/tape deck/whatever for the past 20+ years. So much for technological advances, what does it sound like?

With each new release the band seem to channel more and more of the best bits of The Reverend Horton Heat (not in any way a bad thing). The title track here is a prime example of that as it pounds away for just over two minutes, Andy Maggot rawly vocalising all the way & bringing to mind the good Reverend.

'Hey Jackass' turns the pace down a notch but has the compensations of a harmonica & a guitar solo as the titular jackass is called out.

Third track 'I'll Still Be Here' is the triumphant soundtrack to one man's resilience against whatever the world has to throw against him & his firm belief in outlasting all who've ever wronged him.

The second half of the release continues on in the same vein as you'd expect (you'll need to shell out if you want to know how the songs go down though, no more spoon feeding). Of the band's releases to date I'll say this is the one which has had the biggest impact on me. Whether it's the production bringing out more of their sound, better quality writing or some other factor they've seemingly ascended to a new level with Box 36.

Box 36 can be purchased from bandcamp here.


Marmozets - Habit


Marmozets have managed to do remarkable things and create a huge name for themselves, despite only having one EP and their well received debut album The Weird And Wonderful under their belt. So their return after a hiatus of 3 years has had a lot of people itching to see if they were able to blow everyone’s minds as they did all those years ago.

This second new single effortlessly showcases Becca Macintyre’s voice which has somehow become even more impressive over the past couple of years. However, Macintyre’s screams, that used to have the toughest of metal vocalists quivering in their boots, have sadly gone and been replaced by some seriously high notes. Whilst this rather dramatic replacement leads to the track losing some of their edge, it does showcase some of her other vocal qualities and leaves us questioning what other little gems could crop up on the second album.

Whilst it may seem like a rather repetitive and unoriginal track for the Weird And Wonderful bunch, there’s still some raw qualities that gained them some of their fans within it. The unnerving opening which then slips into a bass heavy verse, to a soft bridge which encapsulates Macintyre’s new found high voice perfectly, into an upbeat pop chorus and back into the grunge infested verse. This is a song that holds so many different genre elements, but only one that Marmozets could somehow pull off whilst still sounding as gritty as they do.

Whilst this track sounds much more pop and mainstream that any of their earlier tracks, it is one that still holds some tiny, much loved Marmozets elements. However, the transformation from teenage thrash to mature Marmozets appears to have led to them losing some of the harshness and gritty female fierceness that everyone adored about them. However this is only the second track to be dropped by them before their highly anticipated second album, so that harshness could still return. Watch this space.

Habit is available via iTunes now. The Album Knowing What You Know Now comes out in January 2018.


Montauk Hotel - Sense Of Place


Montauk Hotel have garnered a reputation as one of Dublin's most exciting live acts, with shows including The Last Mixed Tape’s Lost Series, Bello Bar, The Sound House, Retro Revival Indie Club, and The Bowery, Vantastival and Sunflower Festival, as well as headline shows at Whelan’s, Sin E, The Harbour Bar and The Workman’s Club. The band were selected as RTE’s Irish Band Set to Rise for 2017.

Their debut single ‘Black Dress’ was released in late January to critical acclaim. Montauk Hotel launched their EP last March with a sold-out show in Whelan’s. Their launch gig for ‘Sense Of Place’ took place in Whelan’s in August. The buzz is spreading about this band and with this song it is easy to see why.

Shell Dooley’s guitar playing is heavily influenced by her compatriot The Edge, with chiming arpeggios throughout. The rhythm section of Aoife Hester (bass) and Karima Dillon-El Toukhy (drums) lays down a sweet groove while the voice of Claudia Verdecchia soars over the whole shebang. As well as the U2 influence, Talking Heads are audible in the song structure and in Verdecchia’s melodies. You can hear local heroes, Little x’s For Eyes and Tieranniesaur too. Check out the below to see for yourself.


Esther Joy - Psychic Tears EP

It’s pop music, Jim, but not as we know it. Esther Joy is a member of Charli XCX's live band and her debut EP is what Charli would sound like if she were produced by Trent Reznor and Martin Gore. It’s atmospheric and trippy: utilising pop sounds and instrumentation to create something unsettling and occasionally nauseating.

Psychic Tears is her first EP and if there is such a thing as bubblegum noir, then this is it. Joy wrote, recorded, and produced it herself, and her individualist approach shows through in the end result. It’s a sound unlike anything else. It’s Marina And The Diamonds going shoegaze, and La Roux playing with The Cure. ‘Franke’ is a gothic synthfest with an Aphex Twin edge.

Recent single ‘Samgel’ teases with melody lines that beg for a big beat explosion but instead plumb the long dark night of the soul. Speaking about the song Joy said, “'Samgel' is the name I use for the dark presence I experience and write about a lot in my music. It is a part of me that has overwhelmed me so much in my life and been the root to most of my darkest moments. I named this track after it because as soon as I wrote that first synth line (the big intense one at the beginning), it was like I had found Samgel".” So she’s pretty much nailed it, I’d say.

New single ‘Friendless Necessity’ brings the EP to a close. It is haunting, hooky, and desperate; which sums up the record as a whole. Esther Joy shows the dark beauty of pop’s underbelly on Psychic Tears, but the most exciting thing about this release is the possibility of more to come.

Psychic Tears is available from iTunes.

Subscribe to this RSS feed