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 X – Wild 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.
Enero Sera Mio – Hasta 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 Fields – Prescription
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
Willows – The 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 Órbita – Atardecer
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.