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Music Alliance Pact: July 2015

music alliance pact

Every so often someone sends me a track that I simply can’t get out of my head. I end up interviewing the artist, playing them on the radio and generally extolling their virtues in a way that’s possibly a little bit over the top, but hey, that’s part of loving music, right?

This month’s MAP offering is just such a track, by Aine Duffy. You’ll have to scroll down all of one post to find an interview I did with Aine a few weeks back; she has a fantastic voice, a great eye for videos and one of the most interesting song writing styles I’ve come across in pop (or at least a vaguely pop-like bent) in a very long time. I think she’s going to go big, so why not introduce her to the world a little?

Get a free download of Aine’s biggest single to date, ‘Won’t Go’ and fifteen other tracks from around the world, below.

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 16-track compilation through Dropbox here.

IRELAND: Hendicott Writing
Áine DuffyWon’t Go
Won’t Go is the lead single from With Bells On, the debut album by sublime Cork indie/power-pop singer Áine Duffy. Duffy’s just starting out, but has already picked up passionate fans in the United States and Switzerland. She’s all set to take Ireland by storm, starting with the stomping emotional melodies of this hook-laden piece of pop brilliance.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Blito y Los IntermitentesA Donde Vas
Blito y Los Intermitentes released their debut album, Nada, independently this year. Led by singer-songwriter Blito Dojtman, the band’s sound usually starts in acoustic form and then takes different paths through rock, pop and even tango. If you like A Donde Vas, you can download the whole album from Bandcamp.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
AustraliaWho R U?
Contrary to popular belief, winter exists in Australia. Escaping from the cold is easy – we turn to home brewing and gregarious electro-pop. Australia (the band) are striding in the same disco patriotism line of outfits like Total Giovanni and Client Liaison. Cue the energetic side-strut – it’s all anthemic beats and Roxy Music guitar frills in view here. Unless you’re allergic to having a good time, it’s hard not to like this track. The Sydney trio’s debut album, Portraits Of People, Places And Movies, is out in August.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
Men I TrustAgain (feat. Ghostly Kisses)
Montreal electronic collective Men I Trust collaborated with Ghostly Kisses in a beautiful electronic-infused ballad called Again. Local collaborations are huge here in Canada and this one is just so perfect.

CHILE: Super 45
Alejandro ZahlerWaltz Número 7
Instrumental, dreamlike and atmospheric music is what Alejando Zahler does. His first album has a charming, homey, kind sound. The musician and producer played all the instruments (guitars, synths, bass, among others) and recorded the tracks at AZT Estudios. Not wanting to play the album live has made this project even more personal.

Music Alliance Pact: June 2015

music alliance pact

Here’s June’s splurge of free-to-download bounty, another heap of international releases certain to give you a new gem or two from some unheralded corner of the globe. Of course, I’m only responsible for my own little niche: Ireland. If you want to know about this month’s choice, Niwel Tsumbu and his new act RiZA, you only need to skip down to the next post, which is a full interview with the Congolese native on just what makes him and African music in Ireland in general tick. Grab the taster first, though, as the man’s pure class…

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 20-track compilation through Dropbox here.

IRELAND: Hendicott Writing
RiZA feat. Niwel TsumbuKabembe
As an Irish-based guitarist with Congolese roots, Niwel Tsumbu is a superbly original artist drawing on a stunning array of influences. Kabembe blends central African rhythms and lingala language lyrics with an emotive tale of the day Tsumbu found out his daughter is not his biological relation. RiZA, Tsumbu’s newest outlet, feature the best Irish-African music has to offer and already look set to make waves.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Ciudadano TotoEsta Canción
Last month Argentina’s independent music scene mourned the sudden death of Adrián Nievas, aka Ciudadano Toto, lead singer of electro-pop group Adicta. An all-time favorite of Zonaindie, Adicta was perhaps one of the most underrated bands of the last decade, so if you never listened to them you deserve to (all their albums are one click away). This month’s MAP song is a home-recorded cover version of Cuban legend Silvio Rodríguez that he used to open his recent solo concerts. Sophomore album Flores, Brillos y Arcoiris was released just a couple of months ago). RIP.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
BicentennialSleeper Train
Hailing from Marrickville, a suburb in Sydney’s warehouse district, Bicentennial (Jess Cooper) writes and produces dark but delicate soundscapes layered underneath reverberated chant-like vocals. She cites backpacking around the globe as a major inspiration to her music, which is easy to see in this track’s title with any remaining inspiration coming from her white pet parrot Jai-Chai, whom she claims is never far from her shoulder.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
CíceroIsabel (Carta De Um Pai Aflito)
This song is from Cícero’s third album, A Praia, released a few months ago. Its lyrics are about a father regretting the loss of his daughter, who left home to experience life. The album has elements of traditional indie-rock and Brazilian popular music, usually referred to as MPB.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
Mallory ScottLevitate
Mallory Scott’s electro-pop creeps into the deep crevices of the night, but in his latest track Levitate the beats also seep deep into your soul and the melodies into your consciousness.

Music Alliance Pact: May 2015

music alliance pact

This month’s Irish pick for Music Alliance Pact has an interesting back story. Comrade Hat – better known as Neil Burns – is a central part of the Derry music scene, and has conjured up some unique opportunities along his road so far. Not least, he headed out to the Rockies to collaborate on a musical project that found inspiration in areas like the echo of trains travelling through the mountains. This particular track sounds like a Moby-inspired effort – it could be fresh from The Beach soundtrack despite finding its inspiration in somewhat colder climes. One to indulge in on a happy, quiet night…

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 19-track compilation through Dropbox here.

IRELAND: Hendicott Writing
Comrade HatOne Of Them
Multi-instrumental, multi-talented member of multiple Derry acts, Neil Burns – known in this particular guise as Comrade Hat – will throw that hat over anything that catches his fancy. One Of Them is a fine example of his work, designed on piano and guitar but constructed using a delicate touch on synths. Think Moby’s blissful corners constructed using the Rockies for inspiration. This is out of sync with the zeitgeist and all the better for it.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
El GnomoSuicidas Melodías
This new musical project by Martin Reznik (La Filarmonica Cosmica) almost started as a game in 2012, when he recorded several songs on a weekly basis. Some time afterwards, while reviewing the material, Martin realised he had an album in his hands, so he spent the next months polishing the songs and re-recording some instrumental tracks. He also invited musical friends to participate in what became a folk album with a soft psychedelic vibe. Suicidas Melodías is one of these collaborations, in which singer-sonwriter Sofía Viola lends her wonderful voice. You can download the full album from Bandcamp.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Arvo TantyWhite Hum Valley (Hello)
Arvo Tanty is an introduction to producer Michael Dolan’s solo material, following his work with electronic outfit Perth. White Hum Valley (Hello) is a grandiose, cinematic Casiotone orchestra track where slow, effacing rhythms pulse and dissolve at surface break. Dolan says the song was inspired by Joni Mitchell, Mort Garson’s Plantasia and his yearning to make a “Nintendo soundtrack of some kind”.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Otis TrioMontag’s Dream
Montag’s Dream, the opening track of Otis Trio’s debut album 74 Club, probably refers to the main character of the novel Fahrenheit 451. The dark jazz they create fits perfectly with the despair related in the book.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
Nina BowzBone
Toronto artist Nina Bowz specializes in artful electro-pop that has quirky twists at every corner.

Music Alliance Pact: April 2015

music alliance pact

Another month, another Music Alliance Pact, and another act that I’m extremely proud to put forward to represent Ireland. MuRli is a member of the fast-rising Limerick hip-hop collective the Rusangano Family, and an extremely solid representation of the way Irish music is changing. ‘Both Sides’ ropes in fell Rusangano Family members God Knows and mynameisjOhn as featured artist/ producer. MuRli’s Togolese origins give him a cracking lilt to the vocal, with this track dealing with some tough social issues along the way. I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised to see this lot become huge in the coming months. Fifteen other nice freebie downloads from around the world to go with it, too…

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 16-track compilation through Dropbox here.

IRELAND: Hendicott Writing
MuRliBoth Sides (feat. God Knows)
Taken from his Surface Tension EP, Both Sides represents another burst of creative hip-hop from the Limerick-based Rusangano Family collective, of which MuRli is a key member. The vocalist’s Togolese origins shine through in a track that deals with diversity with a cutting and memorable honesty. It’s a glance at fast-modernizing Ireland delivered through a captivating voice.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Los Grillos Del MonteJaqueline
This supergroup formed by Facundo Flores (Onda Vaga, Nacho & Los Caracoles), Tomi Lebrero (El Puchero Misterioso), Martín Reznik (La Filarmónica Cósmica) and Jano Seitún (Campos Magnéticos, Alvy Singer Big Band) has just released their first record. According to the guys, the album sounds like “a bolero who fathered a cumbia, a chorus which is the cousin of the best zamba, and rock music that won’t leave us even if we try”. MAP exclusive download Jaqueline is our favorite track from the album.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Surf DadHoney
Surf Dad is the production duo of George and Declan Sands, brothers from Barwon Heads, a small coastal town near Melbourne. More than a year after releasing the excellent Unholy EP, the siblings have dropped Honey, a pristine, sensual track featuring horns, bells, woodblock, field recordings from their dad’s backyard and their mum, Natisha, on vocals. George had salvaged the vocal recordings from old four-track cassettes that Natisha, an artist herself, compiled in the 1980s. As you might expect from an intimate family collaboration, the boys’ woozy, organic production complements her heady performance perfectly. And Mum’s reaction upon hearing the track? She cried.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
Dilly DallyGender Role
Buzz Records is taking Toronto by storm with their incredible roster of artists that include Odonis Odonis, Weaves, Greys, HSY, Anamai and more. Now I bring to you the incredible Dilly Dally, whose “I don’t give a fuck” attitude both on and off stage will have you loving them more and more.

COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
BalancerRemain Waves
Balancer is a trio formed by Colombians and Puerto Ricans, but based in Brooklyn. Gabriela, Felipe and Francisco have released two EPs and an album called Tipsoo. Their music is striking – it’s a world influenced by indie-rock, psychedelia and electronics. Remain Waves is the first single released from Tipsoo, which takes us through the waves to the shore with a warm, downtempo sound.

Music Alliance Pact: March 2015

music alliance pact

This month’s Music Alliance Pact is out just in time for Paddy’s Day, which means the Irish act deserves particular attention, right? He doesn’t need flimsy reasoning, to be fair: Bobby Aherne’s ‘No Monster Club’ get better song by song, and ‘I’ve Retired’ – featured here – is my favourite track so far. Dripping with irony, tonal quirkiness and a catchy musical backdrop, it shows just why this lad and his many acts are right at the very heart of the Irish music scene. There’s the usual selection from around the globe to check out via a nice chunky free download, too. Why wouldn’t you!

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 21-track compilation through Dropbox here.

IRELAND: Hendicott Writing
No Monster ClubI’ve Retired
No Monster Club is the solo guise of Bobby Aherne, an ever-present at the heart of some of Dublin indie’s more eccentric and memorable moments. I’ve Retired sees colorfully upbeat verses and bouncing choruses adorned with contrary lyrics: it’s themed around a departure from the scene that’s clearly not about to happen. What’s bound to happen eventually, though, is one of Aherne’s acts make a major, major impact. A space worth watching.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Panda ElliotGuerrero (AlexPatri remix)
Panda Elliot is three in one: woman, band and producer. A fresh new face in the music scene, she recently launched her second album Forastera, which shows a more confident Panda Elliot, well established in her own style. After the eclectic single Ligerita, she released Guerrero, a rockin’ feminine song that forces you to move your head. The track is potent and full of energy on its own, so this remix by AlexPatri extends into the realm of fun, uptempo electronic dance.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
KučkaDivinity
A continuation of Kučka’s future R&B leanings hinted at in her previous work, Divinity is a lush, surreal affair. Undulating rhythms sync perfectly with the swirling, cough-syrupy synths and Laura Jane Lowther’s vocals, which sound at once sultry and innocent. Think an antipodean Purity Ring.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Passo TortoIsaurinha
Passo Torto is a quartet formed by renowned musicians from Sao Paulo’s contemporary music scene. Isaurinha is taken from their second album, Passo Elétrico, in which they explore guitars and effects on acoustic bass and cavaquinho (sort of a small guitar often associated with samba), with the lack of percussion elements leaving space for harmonic and melodic experiments.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
MunroeBloodlet
Fans of Lykke Li may enjoy newcomer Kathleen Munroe, who simply goes by Munroe. She makes chilling folk tunes like this one with a tinge of Americana (though I guess this would be Canadiana?). Production-wise, Bloodlet doesn’t have too much but it’s perfect just the way it is. Her lovely voice is all you need.

Music Alliance Pact: February 2015

music alliance pact

It’s rare that I feature a band that could be considered even vaguely ‘pop’ for Ireland on Music Alliance Pact. I think it’s in part because our musical heritage and reputation internationally absolutely screams pop and trad – in dramatic contrast to what’s actually going on here at the moment – and it’s nice to showcase something else. Featuring X do have a hint of pop, but they certainly don’t fall into the ol’ Irish cliche, with their rock-edged, entirely female five-piece instead turning out some glistening pop-rock crammed with gorgeous musicianship. They’re young enough to have us critics wondering what we’ve done with our lives, and skilled enough for it to seem more logical that they’d ‘make it’ than not. 

When a band like that still has the musical knowledge to poke fun at a Robert Plant song released in the mid-80s (in the video for Wild Love), you know you’re onto a winner…

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 19-track compilation through Dropbox here.

IRELAND: Hendicott Writing
Featuring XWild Love
A pop-rock teenage quintet from the back-roads town of Drogheda on Ireland’s east coast, Featuring X are fast gaining traction for their buoyant, lively sound and skilful axe-womanship. Wild Love is their distinctive cover of Rea Garvey’s classic, loaded with harmonies and feisty riffs. As well as new recordings, we’ve been promised something else, ‘something special’ in 2015.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Enero Sera MioHasta Encontrarte
“January will be mine” is the translation of singer-songwriter Sol Fernandez’s artistic project. Her music is a perfect match of soft melodies and dream-pop with carefully crafted arrangements and sound landscapes. This track is from Enero3, her latest work, which is being released through Bandcamp.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Nite FieldsPrescription
Prescription is the second single from Brisbane four-piece Nite Fields’ long-awaited debut record Depersonalisation. While the intricate guitar work and broody vocals echo The Church, there’s a humid, curiously distant tone here that is something totally their own. Starting with sparse prickly guitars and splashy drumming, the song folds in on itself towards the end, becoming slightly claustrophobic but in an intimate, whispery way. Nite Fields keeps you at arm’s length – you have to squint through the haze of effects and layers to get a hold of anything solid, but once you do, you’ve already fallen hard for this moody and mysterious band.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
WillowsThe Shape I’m In
Johnny McArthur and Eric Moore make up the electronic duo Willows. They venture into uncomfortable territory melodically. The swirling repetitive underlying of The Shape I’m In resembles the dizzying sensation of intoxication. The bursts of energy are like the highs that come back to the inevitable lows.

CHILE: Super 45
Sin ÓrbitaAtardecer
Sin Órbita is a duo formed by Paula Roa and Martin Perez Roa, who last year released their first record, Neón EP (Sudamerican Records). Flirting with electronica and soul, the band are a mixture of Massive Attack trip hop cadence and AlunaGeorge sensuality.

Music Alliance Pact: January 2015

music alliance pact

When I first came to Ireland, I was very focused on the Dublin scene. There just seemed such an abundance of good acts for a relatively small city, and so much to absorb every night. As I became familiar with the heavier acts, though, I found many of them referenced counterparts north of the border as some of their greatest influences: the likes of And So I Watch You From Afar, Therapy?, Fighting with WireNot Squares and an artist I’m very proud to introduce to MAP this month, Axis Of

The trio hail from Portstewart, on the northern coast of our island, and are signed to awesome Northern Irish record label Smalltown America. Brash single Port Na Spaniagh from debut album Finding St Kilda first drew me to them, but this track ‘Munro Bagger’ is every bit as ear-wormy. It’s taken from sophomore album ‘The Mid Brae Inn’, out next month, Download below, or snap up the whole lot in advance of its February 2015 release, here. Enjoy!

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 18-track compilation through Dropbox here.

IRELAND: Hendicott Writing
Axis OfMunro Bagger
Having dropped their metal edge in favour of a rough-around-the-edges melodic punk-rock buzz, north-coast Northern Irish act Axis Of look set to explode in 2015. Famed for their vibrant live show, the three-piece were described by UK magazine Rock Sound as “the most exciting act to come out of Northern Ireland, possibly ever”. Second album The Mid Brae Inn, out this month, features this vicious, craggy melody and plenty more worth getting your teeth stuck into.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Mariana PärawaySirena
Somewhere between Mendoza and the Andes, Mariana Päraway becomes a mountain siren who sings about entangled fates in her latest album, Hilario. Mariana’s music navigates through pop, folk and electronic landscapes resulting in a deep, refined sound exploration.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
AFXJIMDistant
Sydneysider Travis Baird is a multi-instrumentalist who earns a living scoring video installations, playing as a session musician and performing on tour with the likes of Melodie Nelson and Sounds Like Sunset. AFXJIM is Baird’s solo project, which consists of home recordings pieced together from loops, drum machines and field recordings of everything from kindergarten classroom chatter to police radio transmissions. It’s a subtle fusion of experimental electronica and acoustic songwriting, falling somewhere between Tortoise-inspired post-rock and the folktronica of early Four Tet. Distant is the title track of AFXJIM’s second LP. Carried on a bed of slide guitar and rumbling percussion, the track’s centrepiece sample features singing “recorded to MiniDisc in a bus-top karaoke bar in the Costa Rican backwoods”.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
DuaniAproveita
Aproveita is the first single from Duani’s debut solo album, which will be released this year. He became famous in Brazil in the 90s, playing forró (a very danceable rhythm strongly related to the Northeast culture of the country) with the band Forroçacana. In this single, he plays all instruments and sings. The lyrics are a manifest about comprehension in love and its different ways of desire, packaged with black music and soul.

Music Alliance Pact: December 2014

music alliance pact

It’s hard to believe 2014 has passed so quickly. It’s als hard to resist – inundated with jingly Christmas tat and last-minute shopping as we are – using the last MAP of the year to push forward that rarest of things: a truly exceptional Irish club act. Our pub scene might dominate here in Dublin, but Belfast act OneKnown (a spin off/ rebrand from previous incarnation UNKNWN) is producing the kind of edgy beat we could use a little more of. Dig in, and happy Christmas/ New Year…

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 17-track compilation through Dropbox here.

IRELAND: Hendicott Writing
OneKnownJST BKZ
Formerly secretive artist Unknown, now outed artist OneKnown (get it?), Chris Hanna’s latest grimy beat-laden dubstep is exactly the kind of stuff Ireland is starting to see buck its well-established musical trends/clichés. Seemingly inspired by the likes of Burial and Flying Lotus, Hanna’s work is a whirling yet slow-building crescendo for the more discerning clubber. Record label Champion Sound isn’t short of acts just like this Belfast gem either.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Pablo Dacal y Fer IsellaLos Caminos
Singer-songwriter Pablo Dacal (MAP February 2009) invited fellow musician and friend Fer Isella to perform a concert together. In return, Isella proposed that they record an album. After years of conversations they finally got together, then the two artists visited Ulises Conti (MAP March 2009) at his Buenos Aires studio and invited him to produce the album. Right there, the newly-form trio recorded piano, vocals and other arrangements. The resulting album is called Los Caminos and here’s the self-titled first single.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
ScotDrakulaShazon
Steeped in a love for fuzz and 60s rock’n’roll, Melbourne trio ScotDrakula transcend the novelty of their name with songs so catchy they make Gangnam Style look about as appealing as week-old haggis. The band has just released their debut album and it’s drowning in two/three-minute garage super-soakers. Shazon is irresistibly charming, enough to convert the stalest individual to a headbangin’ conqueror of the dancefloor.