New Music Friday: 7th December 2012
The internet has essentially been conspiring against me this week. I've had to deal with multiple power outages and random connection dropouts, the vast majority of which have occurred whilst doing research for this week's edition of New Music Friday, so that's why my column this week is rather last minute. Even as I type this, I am on the train home from college and doing battle with some dreadful wi-fi. It's just as well that the quality of music in this column is so high as to make all these setbacks entirely worth it.
Those of you who have been keeping up will know the format by now, but newcomers should note that I've spent time scouring the web for my 15 picks - as usual, they come from around the world. As time goes on, I may do special editions of NMF that highlight a particular scene or focus on a particular country, but for now, I'm thinking global, and I have to say that there are one or two tracks this week that come from potential world-beaters. Let's begin, shall we?
Track of the Week: Bear//Face - 'Taste My Sad'
My highlight this week gets bonus points for its title being an Arrested Development reference; I reckon its creator's reward should be a whole thing of candy beans. This 19-year-old Belfast beatmaker goes only by Ciaran, or Bear//Face, and his latest track coasts along on a brilliantly simple melody, augmented by pitch-shifted vocals and a sound that practically drips atmosphere. It sounds simultaneously intimate and expansive, the kind of track that is insanely difficult to listen to just once. Ciaran has been keeping rather busy - 'Taste My Sad' is taken from the Beat_Tape EP.
Dolfinz - 'Yeah Right'
Ooh, Dolfinz - there's a name we haven't come across in a while. If you're wondering just where the hell they've been, the answer is that they roped in a new bassist (an ex-Copy Haho member, just by the way), and are probably squirrelled away in a recording studio working on new material. If it's anything like the 2:27 of grunge-pop brilliance that is Yeah Right, they need to get their skates on and put out some more stuff as soon as possible. The Stonehaven-based band walk a line between pop smarts and a don't-give-a-damn flippant attitude that is rather endearing. They know their way around a hook, too.
Two Jackals - 'Arrows'
As much as I'd like to take credit for coming across this myself, this sublime song was a late addition to the lineup this week; Jamie Milton over at This Is Fake DIY deserves a hat tip for bringing this to my attention, and I'm rather glad he did. This bunch of 17-year-olds go under the collective name of Two Jackals, and this dark and ambitious song has been knocking around for the guts of 9 months now, but it really should be on your radar - the band display a sense of confidence that's well beyond their years. Sure, it's a little rough around the edges, but the seeds of something quite impressive have been sown; here's hoping 2013 is the year Two Jackals really make an impact.
Los Encantados - 'ZZZZ'
I don't know if you heard, but apparently the royal baby was born this week. Did anyone see this widely reported on any news channels or anything? Seriously, though - I followed the story on Twitter, and from the sounds of things, the coverage from elsewhere made social networking sites look like they were trying to keep things quiet. [read more]
I seem to spend half my life on trains. That's the major drawback to living somewhere where things don't happen. So I'm headed to Dublin again for another gig, to cap off a week in which - even by the usual standards - there's been a veritable avalanche of new music to get through. I work three days a week (at a non-music-related job, sadly), so it's a wonder how I handle it. [read more]
It's all about planes, trains and automobiles for me this week. I'll be doing a lot of travelling over the next while, and I've also bought my tickets for my first full festival - in England - so I'll be on the move a lot during August. There's about 7 weeks or so left before I go to college for the year, too, so as you may have guessed, I'm a busy man. I quite like it, though, because these days it feels like I'm spending half my time listening to music, and the other half writing about it. [read more]
That sound you just heard was me finally crawling out from beneath the mountain of stuff that I've been buried under for much of the last few weeks. Having essentially uprooted my life, I've moved to Dublin and started college and begun getting used to what will hopefully be my base of operations for the next three years. [read more]