January, for most people, is a proactive time. It’s a month for planning and of course looking forward. So it’s only natural that my first post of the year be of a revisionist nature. 2014 may or may not go down in the annuls of time as a particular stellar vintage for musical offerings. But I thought I might as well mark the past year with some albums that caught my attention and provided a more that pleasing soundtrack.
Have I introduced you to All Tvvins? No probably not. I must confess that there is a great deal of fantastic music that has taken up residence on my various playlists, portable music delivery systems (my phone’s mp3 player) and most importantly my ears but has eluded any mention on this blog.
I just wanted to put up a quick post and let you know what has been happening here. As you may have already noticed, there are a few shiny new badges on the right-hand-side of the blog. One will be somewhat familiar to long time readers but the other is new for us all (myself included).
Irish band Enemies have re-emerged from a two-year hiatus with a new single. Play Fire, a somewhat rejuvenated track which draws a fine line between the meticulous world of mathematically inspired rock (too far with genre specifics?) and joviality of pop music, sees the four-piece pick up from where they left off almost 24 months ago.
Bearing the signature Enemies style and layered attention to detail, Play Fire is an immediate return to form. The hook laden track is as captivating and attention grabbing as the accompanying video (which you can watch below).
For those of you unfamiliar with Enemies, you can listen to their back catalogue as well as download the new release over on Bandcamp.
If you are here expecting a review of The Chemical Brothers new album then let me be the first (and subsequently the only person) to let you down gently. Regular readers (does such a person/group exist) will be aware that music by the likes of The Chemical Brothers would be somewhat out-of-place on this blog. But they would also be accustomed to the random and somewhat diverse nature of music posted here.
The title, lo and behold, does in fact stem from the electronic duo’s latest musical offering but more so in the form of the albums’ title track. I’ve not really been a big fan of the brothers’ chemical nor have I invested too much in the world of electronic dance music/techno/big beat (I can’t even label the stuff properly) but I have been taken aback by this track.
I know we’ve long passed the year’s half way mark (where has the time gone) but I wanted to share a Spotify playlist I’ve been carefully compiling. It’s a list of my favourite albums released this year and whilst it may contain some obvious choices I think there’s also a few wild cards in the mix. I’ve even included two albums which haven’t been released yet. That might seem a tad presumptions but I’m more than convinced that these two will be battling it out for my affections and the coveted number one spot come the end of the year. So have a listen, let me know what you think and if there are any glaring omissions please don’t hesitate to share.
The one thing certainly not lacking from the current music scene is solo male vocalists. And whilst Noel O’Brien, the 21-year-old singer/songwriter from Tipperary, may be just that, he does little to blend into the crowd. Having just released a self-titled EP (his debut offering) O’Brien seems to be set on proving that deep (somewhat emotional) acoustic folk can still carry a unique appeal.
Opening with “Yet To Come” probably the most accessible track on the EP, O’Brien conjures up deep atmospheric imagery with little more than a guitar and haunting vocals. The remainder of the EP follows in a similar vein and works well as a showcase of one man in tune with his guitar.
A favourite of mine off the record “The Night” demonstrates a deeper musical sensibility and belongs somewhere in the realm of Conor O’Brien’s Villagers (no relation I’m sure).
The EP eventually draws to a close with “Reprise” a well worked, thought-provoking track that will stay with you long after listening. And perhaps this is the true magic of the EP. On the surface it’s a well put-together ‘easy-listening’ record but digging that little bit deeper uncovers a wealth of creative intrigue and subtle talent.
Download Noel O’Brien’s debut release on Bandcamp