And So I Watch You From Afar – The Letters EP
Ah, sixteen more minutes of melodramatic instrumental goodness. And So I Watch You From Afar have had plenty at State HQ falling over themselves to find adequate superlatives for the past year, and their latest EP is no different. Edgy, staccato, and exploring a little subtlety and a lot of thunderous noise, The Letters EP carries on where ASIWYFA’s quite brilliant debut left off, even throwing in an almost ballad-esque intro to -D is for Django the Bastard’ before chucking their weight into it. They’ve saved the best for last, with fourth and final track -K is for Killing Spree’ full of extraordinary off beats and slow-building crescendos. Business as usual, then, though sadly for you lot, you’ll have to wait until February before you get to hear it’¦
Brad Pitt Light Orchestra – Soon!
One of the odder names on the Irish music scene, these sharply-dressed Limerick siblings are winning over audiences one gig at a time, and thrive on enticing harmonies and powerful live vocals. Single ‘Soon!’ is disappointingly toned down on the harmony front, but (band name aside) it’s a distinctly Irish blend, heavy on violins and accent, but with a distinctly un-Irish ray of summer sunshine feel to it. Brad Pitt Light Orchestra don’t have quite the shiver down the spine effect of their live show on record, but ‘Soon!’, with it’s descriptive lyrics and sing along chorus, still makes for a great taster. [Official Site]
The Dirty 9s – Lucy Opus
Toned-down keyboards, haunting vocals and a pumped up chorus are the order of the day on Dirty 9s debut single -Lucy Opus’. The Dubliners have an intense indie vibe to them, tightly produced (unsurprising, perhaps, as they invested their prize money from last year’s TG4 competition win in hiring Manic’s producer Greg Haver) and with a hearty, slightly dirty edge to the lyrics. A high-pitched singer and lively chorus/ slow verse format make JJ72 the obvious comparison, though there’s also a definite hint of Snow Patrol to it all. The accompanying live recording -Weeknight Lovers’ dates way back to November 2006, but suggests they’d be a decent live proposition live, too. The album comes out on January the 10th, one to watch for 2010. [Myspace]
Sean Millar – Of The People Part One
Millar’s flowing melodies are overlaid with socio-political comments on Dublin and plenty of storytelling, and occasionally flitter into the self-indulgent. -Raised Like Brothers’, for example, has a sumptuous musical backdrop, but the lyrics themselves come across as clunky, like a story twisted to fit music, something of a theme for this five-track EP. At the very least, Millar’s exceptionally off the wall, and has this particular reviewer thinking of soundtracks to 60s movies (about Dublin, of course). However you’d define Millar’s music – some kind of fusion between ambient jazz, eclectic folk and storytelling is about the best we can manage – it’s definitely memorable and a mammoth leap away from almost every other present-day contemporary artist. -Of The People’ is occasionally brilliant in its harmonies and musical fusion, but it’s all too occasional. [Official Site]