Introducing: Hilary Woods

Introducing Hilary Woods

Time for some music to enjoy in the twilight hours.

Hilary Woods is an artist from Dublin who creates minimalist compositions, layering atmospheric instrumentation and dreamlike vocals to create music rich with both delicacy and intensity.

Her debut album Colt is out now and the first track released of it is entitled Inhaler, a song which draws upon the emotions of separation...

"It's a response to a relenting absence that was constantly present, Inhaler is a song about homesickness, longing; an attempt to find new ways of being in the wake of separation. I directed the video and worked with friends: cinematographer and long-time collaborator Joshua Wright, and dancer/ choreographer Justine Cooper."

It's a beautiful piece of music and one of a number of tracks from her debut which had me lost in a realm-shifting haze.


Hilary was kind enough to answer a few questions for me! Now. In hindsight, these questions weren't all that appropriate for a musicianship with such thoughtful grace. But alas, the introducing questionnaire holds no prisoners, and thus hear we are, beautiful music and a slightly jarring Q&A...who would have it any other way?

1. What is your favourite album and why?

Sybille Baier ‘The Colour Green’, Van Morrison ‘Astral Weeks’, Low ‘Things we lost in the fire’, The Haxan Cloak “Excavation” too many to choose from.

2. What is your least favourite album and why? 

Any middle of the road choosing.

3. If you had to describe your music in three words, what would they be?

Circular, Layered, Earthed.

4. What made you start making music? 

Alchemy.

5. Favourite swear word?

 F*ck.

6. If you could create a band from musicians (excluding yourselves) living or dead, who would you choose? 

The Lady in the Radiator from Eraserhead. Eartha Kitt, Roy Orbison, Alvin Batiste, Alex Zhang Hungtai, Martin Hayes.

7. Obvious musical skills aside, do you have any secret talents?

Still working on ‘em.

8. What is your favourite childhood TV show?

Grew up without a tv, imaginatively it might have been ‘The Wonder Years’

9. Aside from music, what profession would you like to attempt and why?

Anything different, maybe sculpture.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Hell Yes.

Hilary Woods debut album Colt is available now via Sacred Bones.

Album Review: Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Arctic Monkeys New Album TBHC 2018

The mind is a funny thing, isn’t it? It’s said that your only limitations on this earth are the limitations you put on your mind, ergo a person with creative juices flowing out of here there and everywhere, and with a healthy serving of ambition can take things wherever they want.

This goes some way to explaining how Alex Turner has taken the Arctic Monkeys to the moon on their latest record Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Detailing the characters, locations and general vibe of the lunar hospitality complex, Turner invites the listener to bask in a world, which musically, is worlds away from any of their previous releases.

Imagine yourself in New York, it’s the 1950’s and you find yourself in a jazz club. You order yourself a drink, a short would fit this scenario nicely, perhaps a gin and tonic, or a Whiskey on the rocks? You glance across the club whilst waiting for the barman and notice the next band setting up.

New York bar 1950

A myriad of synthesizers and electric guitars litter the stage. The front man, sporting a brown suit, suspicious goatee and rimmed sunglasses walks over to the microphone and as the music kicks in utters the words “I just wanted to be one of The Strokes”.

Okay, so that’s where everything falls to bits because The Strokes didn’t exist yet, but you get the idea. This is luscious down tempo rock n roll, taking its marks from Leonard Cohen, The Beach Boys, Dion and others of their like.

The aforementioned lyric comes courtesy of opener Star Treatment, which sets the tone for the album nicely, both in its musical sensibilities and its lyrical direction, which is a mix of sci-fi references, autobiographical admissions and mesmerising word play. Turner really is on top form here.

One Point Perspective and American Sports are both early highlights, with the self-titled track Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino rounding off probably the strongest string of tracks on the album.

However its not until side two before we get this albums magnum opus. Four out of Five somehow makes a hit song based on the confusing theme of building a taqueria on the roof of a lunar complex called the “Information Action Relay”. It’s bewilderingly brilliant stuff, and by the end of the track you feel like saying “I’ll have what he’s on”.



She Looks Like Fun falls just short of Four out of Five’s brilliance, but still contains some of the best lyrics on the album...

I'm so full of shite,
I need to spend less time stood around in bars,
Waffling on to strangers all about martial arts,
And how much I respect them


To round the whole thing off we have The Ultracheese, which takes AM track Number One Party Anthems vibe and dares to push things to their ultimate conclusion, a ballad with a melody sounding like it was taken straight from Les Miserables. It’s daring, but after Turners previous exploits with side project The Last Shadow Puppets, I suppose we shouldn’t be so surprised to hear a muted guitar solo and a full on Sheffield croon.

And thus concludes our stay at the Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, a place, which much like a spa loyalty card, rewards repeat visits, and with the array of musical splendour on display here, who wouldn’t want to come back?

Now, where did I put that gin?



Spotlight: I'm Cyborg But That's Ok

I'm cyborg but thats ok - Youtube

New feature in which I turn my attention to a particular topic which has caught my rye eye lately.

Ever fallen down a Youtube hole? It's where you start off with the good intentions of just watching one quick video, maybe of a hamster falling off a wheel...I don't know. Anyway, one thing leads to another and sure enough a few hours later you're 15 videos deep and watching one of your favourite tracks being set to the imagery of a classic film.

That's what happened to me a few weeks ago, and I have to say, it's quite good! I admit, the concept sounds like an A-level media studies assignment, but when it's done well, and not by four spotty teenagers huddled over Windows 98, it can be quite effective.

The particular Youtube channel in question (who seems to be the most successful at this) is called I'm Cyborg, But That's Ok, and he/she has created hundreds of these videos featuring an array of popular and not so popular tracks matched up against an array of popular and not so popular films.

Listen...it's not rocket science, but sometimes it's the simple things in life that give us the most pleasure. It's also a good way to get your mind in the mood for some slower, more relaxing sounds, if like me drums, fuzzy guitars and heavy bass-lines sit more naturally with your musical pallet.

Next time you find yourself at a loose end, maybe in need of a spot of relaxation, or wanting to find a few new track or film recommendations, stick this Youtube channel on, and see if you don't enjoy a few of its creations.

You can take a look at a few of my favourite cuts below. Enjoy!

Mac De Marco - My Kind of Woman



Alt J - Matilda



Elvis Depressedly - Pepsi/Coke Suicide



Pixies - Where Is My Mind?



Sigur Ros - Hoppipolla



New Music: Krystal Klear - Neutron Dance

Krystal Klear The Division

It's been a while since my last post. I do apologise, but I offer no explanation other than holiday and laziness.

Once you're in a bit of a writing lull it takes something special to get you back in the mood to put pen to paper (or the digital equivalent) and publish something new. Luckily, I heard one of the best pieces of dance pop in years the other day and felt compelled to tell you all about it.

The track is called Neutron Dance is by Dublin based music producer and DJ Krystal Klear. It's a joyous record which is almost guaranteed to bring a smile to your face as soon as the main synth riff kicks in.

It has a real retro vibe to it, with drum machine sound reminiscent of New Order's Blue Monday, and a hook which could be described as 2018s answer to Hot Butter's classic Popcorn.

It's just great fun, and deserves to be blasted across warehouse raves and barbecues this summer. You can take a listen to the track below and Krystal Klear's latest release The Division is available to buy from Running Back Records RIGHT NOW!



New Music: Intechnicolour - Shaker

Intechnicolour New video

Remember when you were a kid and you'd head down to the local football pitch to have a kick around, only to find that some ruffians had left a load of cans and bottles spread across the place. The scattered remanence of the previous nights debauchery.

It turns out that the people responsible for this were none over than Brighton based stoner-rock outfit Intechnicolour. We should have known.

For new single Shaker, the band have decided to release footage of these events and they're as ridiculous and alcohol fuelled as previously feared. Featuring mad outfits, larger than life characters and tongues shoved so far into cheeks that their very well might be permanent damage, this is very much a follow up to their similarly mad 70's inspired video for first single Doomer.

It will come as no surprise to hear that track itself is also bit of a beast and only amplifies the videos proceedings. Full of sludgy distortion, it creates a thick and cloudy atmosphere for the listener and climaxes with a heavier than hell riff which may very well bring the walls around you crumbling.

You can take a look at the video below, and remember, drink and drugs aren't cool mmkay. Won't somebody please think of the children.



Intechnicolour's new single Shaker is available to buy and stream NOW.

At The Drive In + Death From Above + Le Butcherettes: Live @ The O2 Academy Newcastle 10/03/18

At The Drive In Death From Above Tour Live 2018

This. Gig. Was. Stacked.

Thats the only way to describe a line up which consists of At The Drive In, Death From Above and Le Butcherettes. Stacked.

Usually in these reviews I concentrate on just one act, maybe giving props to another band on the bill who really put on a great performance, however this time it feels only right to give all three bands an equal footing in this article.

If I was content savvy, I would probably split this article into three and have content for days...but thats not the way we do things around here, we try and jam as much intto every article as possible. So without further delay, lets talk about the bands!

Le Butcherettes




Imagine Kate Bush on acid. That's the kind of vibe you get from Le Butcherettes, a band who combine whimsical melodies with off kilter keyboards and frantic percussion.

Their performance was the most visually arresting of that night, with the amazingly named lead singer Teri Gender Bender throwing all kinds of shapes on stage whilst managing to keep things tight musically at the same time. The Leibniz Language was a stand out track, with its creepy/catchy keyboard leading the audience into a hypnotic waltz, whilst Dress Off proves you don't need anything but drums and vocals to put together a cracking punk tune.

Setlist

1. Witchless C Spot
2. Burn The Scab
3. Boulders Love Over Layers of Rock
4. I'm Getting Sick of You
5. Dress Off
6. The Leibniz Language
7. Spider Waves

Death From Above



I've had the pleasure of seeing Death From Above twice now and each time my hearing has left significantly more impaired. It's a fair price to pay however, as the death disco duo delivered a shock and awe setlist opening with the bombastic Nomad and working there way through a setlist which included cuts from all three studio albums.

Debut album smash Romantic Rights is the highlight of the evening with that iconic intro strring up something of a fuss in the crowd. This was closely followed by the colossal Holy Books from their 2017 effort Outrage! Is Now, which is punch you in the face brutal and an invitation to furious head banging.

All in all it was a lot of fuzz, a lot of riffs and a reminder that when it comes to the drum and bass combination there really is no one better. I'm looking at you Royal Blood.

Setlist

1. Nomad
2. Right On, Frankenstein!
3. Moonlight
4. Caught Up
5. Going Steady
6. Outrage! Is Now
7. Holy Books
8. Freeze Me
9. Romantic Rights
10. The Physical World


At The Drive In




It's been 17 years since At The Drive In's seminal album Relationship of Command was released to mass adoration from the rock community, and its a record which continues to inspire the new era of acts coming through today.

It's no surprise then that the majority of this set is made up of cuts from that very album. Arcarsenal opens proceedings and sends the crowd into hysterics, almost two decades later and these songs still sound just as fresh. Whilst Relationship of Command cuts are no doubt the highlights of the sets we are treated to Napoleon Solo from In/Casino/Out and Vaya EP snippet 198d.

New album Interalia made up the rest of the set, and the tracks hold their own against the classics. No Wolf Like The Present and Hostage Stamps are the pick of the bunch...but they pale in comparison to tracks such as Sleepwalk Capsules and Invalid Litter Dept.

We also finally get an answer to what the on earth One Armed Scissor is actually about as revealed by Cedric Bixler Zavala...

"There used to be a great artist called David Bowie, and he had a son who became a film maker called Duncan Jones. He made a sci-fi movie called Moon, has anyone seen it? It's about space madness, and thats what this track is about."

The set ends with the alt/pop stylings of Pattern Against User and sends the audience off in a haze of post gig glee. When a band has an album as good as Relationship of Command in the bank, its hard to not put on a great show, but it also piles an enormous amount of pressure on the band to deliver.

Luckily for us, At The Drive In always deliver.

Setlist

1. Arcarsenal
2. No Wolf Like The Present
3. Sleepwalk Capsules
4. Hostage Stamps
5. 198d
6. Pendulum in a Peasant Dress
7. Amid Ethics
8. One Armed Scissor
9. Napoleon Solo
10. Holtzclaw
11. Enfilade
12. Invalid Litter Dept.
13. Quarantined
14. Governed By Contagions
15. Pattern Against User

Introducing: Teen Creeps

Teen Creeps Birthmark

Who's in the mood for some Belgian punk music? The answer to that question should always be a resounding YES. Thats why, this week I bring you the musical stylings of Teen Creeps.

The trio from Ghent combine a mixture of melodic 90s alt rock tones with a solid punk base to create a sound which the band describe as "post-everything". At times it has an air of melancholy, as is this case on new single Mercury, which is about falling back into the bad habit of procrastination.

You have big plans, but you’re not getting anything done. Because you’re just too scared to get things started. So you just leave it and go out. And hate yourself for it.” explains bassist and vocalist Bert Vliegen.


Bert was kind enough to take on the now infamous introducing questionnaire, revealing in the process how Belgians learn English whilst giving my personal favourite ever answer to question 10. 

Enjoy!

1. What is your favourite album and why?

I’m gonna go with Sonic Youth’s “Daydream Nation”. One of the first records I owned, and an absolute masterpiece in my opinion. I can keep going back to it and discover something new about them. They’ve released a ton of great albums in their career, but “Daydream Nation” will always stand out to me as a cohesive, sonically mind-blowing record.


2. What is your least favourite album and why?

Our sound engineer once gave me a copy of the soundtrack to the “Sgt. Peppers”-movie, which featured the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton covering those classic songs. As much as a love the Beatles, these songs and even the Bee Gees, their attempt to reinterpret these songs is just awful. An expensive, overproduced, disco-y mess.

3. If you had to describe your music in three words, what would they be?

Energetic, fuzzy indierock.

4. What made you start making music?

I grew up in a small town on the outskirts of Belgium, so it’s probably a combination of boredom and wanting to be one of the cool kids who could play guitar.

5. Favourite swear word?

A good, loud “Fuck” will always do the job.


6. If you could create a band from musicians (excluding yourselves) living or dead, who would you choose?

J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.) and Randy Randall (No Age) on guitar, Warren Ellis (The Bad Seeds) on violin, Mike Watt (Minutemen) on bass, Grant Hart (Hüsker Dü) on drums and Patti Smith on vocals. I’d pay a lot of money to hear that.

7. Obvious musical skills aside, do any of you have any secret talents?

I’m a huge cycling geek. That’s not really a ‘talent’ but more of a weird nerdy hobby, I guess. But still: ask me anything about the sport and I’ll have an opinion and multiple facts to prove my point ready in no time.

8. What is your favourite childhood TV show?

Definitely “The Simpsons”. Those shows aren’t dubbed in Belgium, so that’s how you learned English. Still one of the funniest shows ever made.

9. Aside from music, what profession would you like to attempt and why?

Hard one, can’t really see myself functioning in a different scene. I guess I’d like to try and be a writer, but in a John Irving-kind of way. Thoroughly researching everything, carefully building a story, churning out a book every two years. Yeah, that sounds like something I’d like to try.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

“It’s okay man, I wouldn’t believe in myself if I were you either! Come in, everybody’s expecting you!”

Teen Creeps debut album Birthmark is available April 6 via PIAS.