INFINITE

i am the first stretch in the morning
the first drag of your cigarette
i am the love you can’t deny
the sharply drawn breath
i am the sweat upon your brow
the gravity that holds you down
i am the anchor in the port
the decanter’s sediment
i am the earth ambling around
the sun, for fun, i’m infinite

EMBERS

it’s just like love and light alike
to burn a hole right through my brain
induratized my heart before
and bolted bolts and shackled locks
a human chain outside my door

sad and supine, stay inside
and lay, i lay, upon the floor
afar a distant brontide’s brooding
but what is near is oh so soothing

hand in hand we’ve been out walking
in summers glade, my heart alight
and lay on beds of mushroom flowers
through autumn dusk and winter showers

inside your room, alone, together
rain gently pattering outside
steady as the stream of words
i heard you speak your weight in gold
mine could make your blood run cold

while you sit sighing all your sighs
i count the rings around your eyes
cursed all that i’ve done to upset you
deemed ever dawning day a blessing
from the day when i first met you

i’ll invite you round to beam that smile
when the lekky meter’s drained
it’s just like love, your love, your light
to burn a hole right through my brain

buachaill bán – ancestry [EP review – techno]

Influenced by modern day titans such as T47, Paula Temple and Umwelt, Buachaill Bán’s debut on Ireland’s Sweet Tooth label is a tour de force of ferocious techno.

Hunger kicks Ancestry off with a bang and immediately sets the theme of primal needs and urges to be drawn upon throughout the EP. Featuring crisp hi-hats and masterful shifts in dynamics, the production really shines through on the opener.

The relentless thump of kicks, bass and menacing call and answer synth lines triggers the adrenaline of a hunter about to spear his prey.

 

Instinct features a rolling triple kick drum pattern which sends the listener down a mine-shaft in a rickety cart. The rhythmic style here aims to repeatedly prepare the listener for the next bar, creating a relentless banger.

Throughout the short-player, affected atmospheric noise is used to great effect, capturing the industrial sound in all it’s scraping, hammering glory. There are moments of respite in the form of Homecoming, an experimental cut which takes the finger off the trigger before Offering delivers the kill-shot with an expansive, floor-filling sound to round off an impressive debut.

The concept of this EP is tied together in a way that is often missing in electronic releases. The consistency of the sound palette and theme makes, together with a carefully paced track-list makes Ancestry an immersive listen from beginning to end, whether listened on high-end speakers or ear-buds.

*Ancestry is available for download on Bandcamp.

*Follow Buachaill Bán on Soundcloud here.

*Mastering by Chris McCormack of Blacklisted Mastering.

*EP artwork produced by @endless_prosperity (Instagram)

 

bright eyes – forced convalescence [track review]

The eagle has landed. Bright Eyes’ second single in rapid-fire succession, Forced Convalescence features some impressive additions to the usual line-up. The band have recruited Flea (of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame) on bass, Jon Theodore (Mars Volta and Queens of the Stone Age) on drums and percussion as well as Kip Skitter on additional percussion.

Forced Convalescence is an uplifting counterpoint to initial single Persona Non Grata. A few years back, around the time of the release of Oberst’s collection of demos which became known as Ruminations, the front-man was diagnosed with a cyst in his brain. The instrumental of this track chugs along, propelled by Flea’s bouncy yet subdued bassline as Oberst rattles off word-association style lyrical gems. A booming backbeat accentuated by arpeggiated guitar and a dreamy atmosphere leads into a earworm of a chorus complete with vamped piano and drum rolls. At face value, this is a cheery track, reflected in verbal passages such as:

“Now I’ve recovered completely,
Life is easy,
Hula-hooping around the sun,
The calendar’s little boxes,
All these presents,
Get to open every one”

To quote a Bright Eyes deep cut from several lifetimes ago, there is “joy in acceptance” here, as we hear a fully realised band with clean production and more mature lyrical themes.

“I’m not afraid of the future,
Have to suffer and repeat”

Conor Oberst has stated in interviews that if he wished to tell a fully autobiographical story, he would write a book instead of producing music. It’s impossible to completely separate the art from the artist in this instance, particularly when it comes to Oberst and his well-acknowledged struggles with addiction. Fans may be disheartened to hear yet more references to “needle(s) to oblivion” as well as a mention of Seroquel, a drug used to combat schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, which Oberst states is “fighting (his) fantasies.”

The truth is that Bright Eyes and Oberst’s best music has always come from a dark place, and this new track, despite its happy demeanor, promises that a classic Bright Eyes LP is on the way. Bright Eyes’ central appeal for many fans is a feeling that they are not alone in their struggles, so this appears to be a perfect time to make a long awaited comeback.

call my phone thinking i’m doing nothing better – the streets x tame impala (review)

When an Instagram snippet was shared on April 1st claiming a collaboration between Tame Impala and The Streets was on the way, many assumed it was an April fools joke.

How could two artists mesh such distinct sounds? How could Mike Skinner’s spoken-word and UK grime music leanings form a cohesive bond with psych-rocker turned discotheque titan Kevin Parker?

The answer is: beautifully. This track grabbed me from the opening seconds. Skinner and Kevin Parker swap hooks before the song devolves into The beat slaps like a lost cut from Original Pirate Material. The piano chords resonate from A Grand Don’t Come For Free. This is an anthem acknowledging a world where people have lost sight of human connection in favour of virtual communication. Skinner’s unique lyrical bent has endured –

“How funny family is actually fuckin’ has you in bits
Your mum has good genes, but Dad’s are ripped”

The unlikely duo complement each other, with Skinner’s beats bringing the necessary garage-influenced rhythm while the rough edges of Skinner’s mockney accent are sanded and smoothed out by Kevin Parker’s dreamy vocal breaks. Call My Phone is undoubtedly a summer track for the socially anxious.

bright eyes – persona non grata review

It’s hard to know what to expect from a band which hasn’t released music in almost a decade, but Persona Non Grata ticks all the boxes, paying homage to the classic Bright Eyes sound, infused with elements of Oberst’s more sleekly produced solo projects.

“I’m the last of the best”, Oberst boldly declares, and given the strength of his vocal delivery, he sounds sure of it. The next line “I’m your thoughts in the swamp” couldn’t feel more appropriate in these panic-stricken times. Oberst’s lyrics form a collage of personal experience, religious imagery and social commentary. The band follow ramping melodic tension with the welcome release of a stripped-back, Cohensque chorus – a moody unease resolves to blissfulness and serves as a welcome reminder of the escapism found in music and storytelling.

Punctuated by blasts of bagpipes  between verses, the track feels like an anthem rather than a bad cover version of past glory. The beginning has Oberst getting dressed for a date accompanied by Ruminations piano, he “(wears) a kilt like a Celt” and hides his feelings, but the entry of arpeggiated acoustic guitar and drums reintroduce us to Fever and Mirrors-era Bright Eyes with a more mature, confident vocalist. One who you believe when he insists “going to scream when I sing/going to die in the ring”.

When Oberst states “You want to be true to me, once again/and you want me to be true to you, once again” and asks “Oh how can we reconcile?”, his voice shakes with exasperation. The cult following Bright Eyes have garnered could surely suggest a happy compromise at a time when the emotional resonance Bright Eyes provide is more crucial than ever.

7.5/10

STAY INSIDE

we live under lockdown
we can’t crowd the function
all other options
seem completely exhausted

we live under lockdown
masks cover our faces
movies in the evenings
cigarettes at dawn

we live under lockdown
the borders all in order
on the inside of the margin
we occupy these walls

the tins of beans
jump off the shelves
did they grow legs
and leave themselves?

we live under lockdown
we exist, therefore we think
we are under lockdown
we can’t tell the difference