Filip Sjögren presents Paintroller

Following the successful release of his bittersweet debut single’ Too Late,’ Filip Sjögren returns with his band Hands Down and demonstrates his knack for making a pretty song. Sjörgren took a year away from working as a sound technician and producer to write a set of personal songs, so it’s no surprise that he knows the small tricks and attention to detail that makes a song work. Though the genre swings from jazz-inflected pop to indie rock, what unites these songs and brings them to life is the richness of the sound, the flow provided by the spark in Sjögren’s vision and the harmony of the individual parts working in perfect sync. 

Filip Sjögren’s day job sees him working as a sound technician and producer, so it’s no surprise that he knows the small tricks and attention to detail that makes a song work. That’s clear when he hops over to the other side of the recording studio with his band Hands Down. Though the genre swings from jazz-inflected pop to indie rock, what unites these songs and brings them to life is the richness of the sound, the flow provided by the spark in Sjögen’s vision and the harmony of the individual parts working in perfect sync. 

A paint roller crops up a lot in interior decorating but, as you might imagine, not so much in music. A quick search reveals only one song on Spotify that bears the title. But now that number is set to double. With his band Hands DownFilip Sjögren has shown he has a knack for making a pretty song. But with the swaying, dreamy song “Paintroller,” he may just have hit a new level.

The tone is an essential factor in the songs of Hands Down, and “Paintroller” is blessed with a rich, carefully- detailed instrumental backdrop, with swirling synths, stings and even saxophone all mixing harmonically a flowing cloak of many colours that Filip Sjögren shapes into a song. There’s darkness in the anxieties of his lyrics, but the music keeps things warm, and when the bright chorus bursts into life, it feels like light breaking through the clouds and illuminating this sparkling pop song.

Filip Sjögren says: “The song (Paintroller) is about being coloured by everyone else and having your ideas crushed by outside forces. Not feeling very welcome to the party, both in terms of music and society, feeling peer pressure. That’s what inspired the song. I had the whole song done at one point, and then I scrapped the vocal and wrote and recorded a whole new melody and vocal. We called that demo’ paintroller,’ and so that inspired me to write the new lyrics. I have no idea why that demo was called paintroller. But it is a very visual word”.

Filip Sjögren says:” ‘Too Late‘ is about seeing relationships fade away, not specifically romantic relationships, but with friends too. The song started back in high school. I had a melody that I couldn’t play myself, so I got my friend Hannes to play it and recorded it on my phone. I used that sample to write this song five years later, though it’s not on the final version. I love the dancy, jazzy vibe of it. The acoustic piano flows so well, and the drums have that beat. It’s not disco, but it’s slow disco”. 

That’s certainly evident in the song “Too Late.” A dancing piano line kicks things into motion, and from there, it grows into an elegant, dreamy pop song. It’s made up of subtle touches that mean it blooms over several listens, from the strings to the shivering bass line, and Filip Sjögren extends that subtlety to the melodies, which stay light and airy but still suck you in. In the end, “Too Late” is a little sad, but that doesn’t stop it from having effortless charm, and being sweet, breezy pop infused with the warmest of glows.

Meet Me At The Bar‘ kicks off as a stripped-back and raw rock and roll song but soon shakes that off. Filip Sjögren’s vocals ride alongside the rough-cut guitars until the scene shifts and transforms into a delicate, graceful pop song, the guitars swapped out for strings, and the bravado in the verses swapped out for a vulnerable falsetto. Hallmarked with Filip Sjögren’s signature songwriting, ‘Meet Me At The Bar’ is full of surprises and strange turns but has been stitched together into a song that is both sweet and cynical.

For Filip Sjögren’s, “the song is basically about me getting tired of Tinder dates. Meet me at the bar, and we will talk, and then we will go home and never see each other again. That spiralled into me, thinking I would never be able to love anyone. The music has a little kick, and I think that’s important. I always try to contrast the lyrics and the music because otherwise, it can become too sad and whiny. And I don’t wanna be a whiny guy!”

Filip Sjögren’s unique sound, production tricks, songwriting strength – not to mention the critical acclaim of Hands Down’s first few singles make the Paintroller LP an eagerly anticipated release. ‘Paintroller‘ will be available to stream the 8th of October via Youth Recordings.

http://www.mysticsons.com/

https://soundcloud.com/youthrecordings/sets/album/s-iMYwrZ6ugG9

Museum of Tomorrow

Zeerust #1

Tomorrows World by The Speed of Sound on the album Museum of Tomorrow

“We were offered Star Trek

But they fed us Soylent Green

And the 21st Century is not what it seems

Where are those shining city domes

and the monorails

Look out of your window

you can see the future has failed”

Zeerust #2

In The Year 2525 by Zager & Evans on the album In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)

“In the year 2525, if man is still alive

If woman can survive, they may find

In the year 3535

Ain’t gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lie

Everything you think, do and say

Is in the pill you took today.”

Zeerust #3

(It’s the Eighties, So Where’s Our) Rocket Packs by Daniel Amos from the album Vox Humana 

“(It’s the eighties, so where’s our rocket packs?)

I thought by now we’d live in space

And eat a pill instead of dinner

(It’s the eighties, so where’s our rocket packs?)

I thought by now we’d build a dome”

https://xkcd.com/864/

I quite imagine you, the reader, wondering what in hell a zeerust is or looking it up on the internet of things. There are plenty of hits that lead to a town in South Africa. That is not where I want to start. I want to start with one of my favourite authors, Douglas Adams, a British humorist and Science Fiction writer, and his collaboration with the BBC comedy producer John Lloyd.

From their book The Meaning of Liff, I lifted their definition of the word zeerust: “The particular kind of datedness which afflicts things that were originally designed to look futuristic.”

Let’s unravel this further with an introduction to who The Speed Of Sound isThey are a four-piece band hailing from Manchester, UK. A city described as having a proud history combined with a progressive vision. Manchester is a 40-minute train ride east of another town famous for its four-piece bands, Liverpool.

The Speed Of Sound’s line-up has changed over the years; on this incarnation, it consists of the father and son duo John Armstrong on guitars and vocals and Henry Armstrong on keyboards. Bolstering that combo is Ann-Marie Crowley on vocals and guitar, Kevin Roache on bass guitar and John Broadhurst on percussions.

I took the definition of zeerust from the book, The Meaning of Liff, combined it with Manchesters’ proud heritage, their progressive vision, and I added the band known as The Speed Of Sound. Then I shook it vigorously. What came out was an album called The Museum of Tomorrow. A record that held my attention like a magnet to a fridge door.

The Speed Of Sound channels the spirit of the CBGB club scene in its heyday. There are some textures of the New Wave movement in both the UK and North America. Pieces of punk are stuck on with safety pins. There are some tips of the hat to straight-up pop music anywhere from the ’60s to the ’80s. Lyrically The Speed Of Sound captures the idealization of zeerust, as illustrated in the opening credits.

By the time we arrive at track 8, The Speed Of Sound has morphed that zeerust into an Impossible Past. We wore mended clothes instead of buying new ones at the slightest whim or a loose thread. We kept calm and carried on with faded memories of things that never happened things. We yearn for a world of cabbages and kings. The golden time was never as sunny as our memories of it. And then the song ends on a dark note with bombs and demons, dark but also realistic. We can not return to a past that we remember as a summer that never ended. It did end, the same as the winter that never ended. It ended. I quite imagine we all have some form of longing to return to a past that our memories cling to as being better than they were. 

There is an adage that says, “we can never go home.”

I tried to go home several years back. It was a high school reunion. Please don’t ask what anniversary it was. It would date me. I didn’t know the people who had gathered there. They were all older than I remembered, except for me somehow. I had aged more gracefully. Right, I wish. Some had never left the town they had gone to school in. They had a very narrow view of the world that can come from living in an echo chamber. Some had gone considerably downhill over the years. Not that I was a shining example to all, I had my own “half forgotten lurking things.”

Holy cow, I have written 788 words on only a tiny portion of the album. The Museum Of Tomorrow deserves better than this, but I’m not writing a thesis, so this blog will have to do.

Let me conclude this wordy tome by saying this. Go and listen to this on your medium of choice. The Museum Of Tomorrow is available in downloads, streaming, vinyl, CD and Deluxe LP via California’s Big Stir Records. Here’s to hoping that we can add live shows to that list.

Album order https://bigstirrecords.com/album/1910197/museum-of-tomorrow 

Bandcamp https://bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com/album/museum-of-tomorrow 

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/artist/5NsxAmeLSISiNZH2BcwRVa 

‘Tomorrow’s World’ https://youtu.be/3lEovb1GxrQ

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/5a8X77zKnUANmr1dff8OUc 

Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/the-speed-of-sound/tomorrows-world-1/s-3MM0ZZseKE1

Album teaser https://youtu.be/Kkcn4ZSyQDE 

Keep up with The Speed of Sound

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Amateur Radio

I had never listened to Pas Musique until the press kit for their album Amateur Radio landed in my inbox. I listened to it while I worked on a diorama that I was creating. The album sounded good. It actually caused me to pause at numerous points in the album to shift my focus to the music. The diorama teaches me the beauty of patience.

I often check out a band’s back catalogue, so I get a feel of where they are coming from and how they have grown and matured, although that seems to be an option for too many artists. Apple Music only had four Pas Musique albums, including Amateur Radio. Bandcamp had 29, I don’t have the drive to listen to all of their catalogue, so I focused on just this one, Amateur Radio.

Where to begin is a tough call on this recording. This band of musical talent hail from Brooklyn, and I think I’ll start with a video. A trippy audio-visual treat that featured the fourth track from the recording, ‘Ancient Scottish Legend.’ The video has a jerky camera effect frequently used in harrowing movie scenes. Add a grainy, dark quality, and we have the video that sets the stage for the album.

The track before this, number three by my reckoning, is It’s a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl. This track is a cover of a song by Faust featured on their album So Far, the track was initially conceived in 2019 for the ‘KRAUT! Covered’ compilation curated by WFMU’s DJ Scott Williams. It is worth mentioning that Jeanne-Marie Varain, artist and daughter of Jean-Herve Peron of FAUST, also collaborated on the song, It’s a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl.

So we have a framework that should give us an idea of where Pas Musique is coming from and a glimmer of where they are going. Both of the tracks mentioned above are over six minutes of listening time, typical for Pas Musique. These guys know how to grab a riff and work it over with their synthesized enhanced musique concrète.

Charlies Lament is the opening track, where they build a groove keep its momentum working through the rarefied air of six unique songs that clock out at 41 minutes total for the album. There are layers and layers of sound, and I am thrilled to find new gems with each listen, so excuse me please, I have to go and listen to Amateur Radio again.

Be sure to check out their merch at https://www.pasmusique.net/releasesstore.html

As of September 15, ‘Don Cheadle Superhero’ will be available via Bandcamp. On October 1, the ‘Amateur Radio’ LP will be released everywhere, including  Spotify and Apple Music. It can be pre-ordered on limited-edition white vinyl or a digital download at https://alrealonmusique.bandcamp.com.

Keep up with Pas Musique
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K69996ROMA:EP

Art can stimulate our senses, our emotions, and our feelings in numerous ways. Art can bring us comfort. My Dad was a fantastic guitar picker and singer who came out of the classic country and western era. He played Hank Williams and that ilk effortlessly. Well, not quite effortlessly. He lost the index finger on his left hand, and he learned to play guitar with only three fingers and three chords, D, G and A7. His memorial service was three hours long, as a steady stream of musicians paid tribute to him. Music provided inspiration and comfort that day.

Art can trigger a multitude of emotional responses. People cry at scenes in a movie, even when they know it is a work of fiction. People laugh at slapstick comedy routines and giggle at fart jokes. Music can lull a baby to sleep, as well as a few adults, myself included.

Art can be offensive as well as uplifting. That’s why we have death metal and contemporary Christian music. Both provide an emotional response and are usually polar opposites that can shift poles depending on the listener.

Art can also be jarring; for example, avant-garde paintings can be brutal in their beauty. Not everyone appreciates Jackson Pollock‘s paintings the same way. Some are willing to pay large amounts of money to enjoy his paintings in their homes. Others view his painting as nothing more than childish dribbling of random paint colours and scorn his work.

Music can provoke varied emotional responses as well, which brings us to where I am today. I have been listening to the new album K69996ROMA:EP from a chap named Nick HudsonNick Hudson is a prolific fellow in the art world who works in music, painting, film, and writing, recently completing a novel. I should also mention his involvement with the art-rock band The Academy Of Sun, who released their dystopian epic ‘The Quiet Earth’ in 2020.

I have played through K69996ROMA:EP a half dozen times, with an everchanging response. I found it fresh and exciting on the first listen; I would have given it a 10 out of 10. 

The second time through, I am catching some nuances that I missed the first time around, but that is normal for any recording, so no red flags; it is still a 10/10.

On the third to fifth listens, I am Googling and searching for lyric sheets. I should have asked Shauna; she is good at getting those to me. Instead, I am becoming more frantic, searching for clues in Wikipedia and elsewhere.

What is there between the walls of this album’s slipcover that jars me? Why has my response to this recording changed so significantly? What altered my perspective between the first listen and whatever the hell number I am listening to now?

The answer: I don’t know! I have no idea why I perceive this album with so many nuances. 

I am not a prude who the topic of homosexuality or murder would easily jar. Yet, jarred I am. The video contains no gratuitous violence and is no more jarring than the songs and the lyrics themselves. It did not increase my general feeling of malaise.

K69996ROMA:EP is a good listen just for the music quality. It has some excellent sampling and synth work that moves from gentle strings to more abrasive effects as the songs call upon them. I found the music to be engaging and worthy of the added time I spent perusing it.

The lyrics are what I first considered as a culprit, colouring my perception of this recording. I quickly crossed that off the list because the more I read about the characters in this musical tale, the more I wanted to know. I went down some nice rabbit holes on Wikipedia that informed and entertained me for hours on end.

So what jarred me? I have no better answer than when I started this blog. I have listened to this repeatedly while typing, some songs taking two or three spins on the dance floor as I danced my fingers over the keys. I have high esteem for recordings like this because it is not full of mass consumerism throw-away elevator music. Although I recently heard The Talking Heads in an elevator ride, I hold them in very high esteem.

I suggest that we keep listening to this album, K69996ROMA:EP, and if we get any profound insights, we let each other know. Deal? Let’s fist bump to show our solidarity and start listening all over again to a recording that jarred and inspired me, which is what good art should be doing.

K69996ROMA:EP’ https://youtu.be/JVbSebCuQco 
EP order https://nickhudsonindustries.bandcamp.com
‘Font of Human Fractures’ LP https://nickhudsonindustries.bandcamp.com/album/font-of-human-fractures
Spotify https://open.spotify.com/artist/5t6l342JKBDVl2NFddWOJ

Keep up with Nick Hudson / The Academy of Sun
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‘Ladies’ Night’ and ‘Caryatid’

I will be posting just a short note today for the Singapore-France duo Cravism x Maya Diegel. They have released their ‘Caryatid’ and ‘Ladies’ Night’ singles via Komplex Recordings with a video that features both songs.

The two singles are in a stunning video mix blending created by Arthur Etienne and Thibaut Vega. Several weeks ago, the duo released the first single, ‘It’s Okay,’ with soulful and jazzy textures laid over lush, mellow jazz hip hop beats, transporting the listener into a chilled relaxing realm.

Out in full on October 22, the ‘Caryatid EP‘ project entails a staggered release of a track every three weeks with accompanying films, in addition to a series of online live performances of these compositions.

Enjoy, I will be back with another installment in three weeks.

‘Ladies Night / Caryatid’ https://youtu.be/s6k243RDd5k 

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/7J67cxKmyEgwrzbBZpmDn2 

‘It’s Okay’ official video https://youtu.be/mKjdYXIszYw   

‘It’s Okay’ live in studio https://youtu.be/YVYBFly7iT4   

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/64JjV5za2m5rDDg0YZiqLE 

Apple Music https://music.apple.com/ca/album/its-okay-single/1578534166  

Things We Don’t Talk About

I haven’t listened to any hype, press release, or reviews of the album Things We Don’t Talk About by Bonander. I wanted to come to this musical soundscape without any bias. It’s a good thing I did it this way because this album hit me like a wet mackerel across my face. 

https://music.apple.com/us/album/things-we-dont-talk-about/1571425751

So, here goes my interpretation of this album, along with a few quotes from the artist herself, Bonander.

The opening strains of music on the opening track have a beautiful layering and echo of voices along with what I interpret as a digital tape loop. It is a short and sweet introduction to what is about to unfold in track two.

Gone In The Wind opens with gentle singing and soft keys that build within the first chorus. Only to slam into me with percussion too strong to ignore within only a few lines. The vocal styling is more urgent on Gone In The Wind than on Never Ask, which is perfect because of the lyrics. There is an edge to walk carefully within Gone In The Wind. “People called you crazy; I just called you wild.”

Kris Kristofferson wrote a song with eerily similar lyrics and an equally dark story. “Some folks called him crazy, Lord, and others called him free.” Gone In The Wind is the album’s most dramatic track. It is about a toxic relationship with someone you counted on as a friend. The pipe organ and strings are the most dynamic instrumentation on the album. Bonander tells us that “The fact that I sing the song in two octaves represent that suppressed feeling of rage and frustration, that later in the song is set free.”

Track three is titled, Martha. Could it be John Lennon imagining something and doodling on the piano? Perhaps it is Martha My Dear, a tune from him and three other scouse lads. Wherever Martha originated is a silly game. This song, Martha, is an ingredient for road trips and coffee bars. Powerful, Bonanders voice rips through the music and demands to be heard. It pulses and moves with an intensity that keeps me hanging on and hitting repeat.

Ms. Mitchell is next up, and it resonated with me due to my appreciation for astronomy, an excellent addition to my universal playlist.

The next track is called Backseat, sonically it builds and builds and drowns us in the music of long car trips and us kids falling asleep in the backseat of the car. That was OK when we went with Mom; she had a Chevy Bel Air, and the back seat was comfortable and big enough for a couple of kids to pile onto and fall asleep. My Dad drove a Mercury pickup truck, and falling asleep in the back was almost impossible. I like the use of Swedish in the last chorus. I have never been to the land of my maternal grandparents. From conversations with family who have been there, it sounds like it would be similar to some of the long road trips that my family have taken in Canada.

Annie is an interesting song. I love the cello and the feeling of darkness in the music. Here is what Bonander tells us about this track.

“Generally, both “Annie” and the upcoming singles contain more vulnerability and resignation than the anger that the EP “It’s A Girl rather consisted of, an exploration. The music deals from a feminist perspective with questions that have no clear answers. Take Annie as an example: One of the first female snipers in the southern conservative United States. That is – she was badass. But she also liked armies and worked for a female army to be created. For example, she gave no support for female suffrage and probably lived according to other shabby values of her time. She was a human being, neither “good” nor “evil.”

Bonander explains: “The lyrics are about meeting Annie in a kind of mysterious dream and trying to understand her better and worse sides. I wonder what she was thinking! On the one hand, she spent her entire life proving that she could shoot “just like the men,” on the other, she thought it was important to maintain gender norms in other ways.”

Now, keeping true to the mystical and poetic storytelling that’s surrounding her, Bonander displays a more fragile side of her songwriting with the new single “Then I’m Dead.” The song is an honest description of one of the songwriter’s biggest fears, the lyrics speaking for themselves. Bonander explains:

“We create this absurd demand for us all to post a perfect exterior on social media, create our dream life, and that nothing is impossible as long as you work really hard. But that’s the point: things are impossible sometimes, and that’s OK. And there is this human worth in everyone, despite how many hours a day you work, or how flawless your Instagram profile is.”

Arranged for a pump organ and string quartet, an organic and fragile sound texture is laid before us. The delicate arrangement meeting intimate lyrics creates a dream-like quality that doesn’t feel entirely safe—like a soft breeze steadily growing into a restless storm. Bonander tells us: “You can hear the treading that keeps the organ alive. In the string quartet, I tried to fashion the idea of a machine that builds up into this train of semiquavers, like a machine that gets stuck on repeat. I had real fun working with these instruments.”

Mother described by Bonander:

“A chant for the most powerful force in this world. To my mother, to your mother, to everyone’s mother and their struggle, their emotional investment, their viability and the important time they’ve put into all of our lives. I sang this song live with a couple of friends in the church because motherhood is as close as a religion that I’ll get. I want to get that live feeling of a chant, a song you can sing together, and then make the electronic soundscape clash with the acoustic one at the end.”

I couldn’t have said it better. I have a lot of respect for mothers in general. And an extra shot of love for my Mom and my wife, who is also a mother to our son.

The album Things We Don’t Talk About gave me lots of things to talk about, even if it was me talking to myself or a keyboard. Bonander closes the album with the achingly beautiful Silent Lights and Ode. It couldn’t have been any other way. It is the perfect ending to an album that brought me close to tears while soaring with loving and longing memories.

Things We Don’t Talk About is released through the label Icons Creating Evil Art

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For all press enquiries, please contact

megan@mysticsons.com OR james@mysticsons.com

Half In, Half Out

I am stuck in a rut. Being stuck in a rut is not where I want to be. It is not where I want to be. It is, however, where I find myself, and I need to address that.

Where is the rut, you may ask? The rut in question emerged from the nether regions of Glasgow. I have never been to Glasgow, so it may sound like a stretch to blame Glasgow for my predicament. I do not hold a grudge against the city of Glasgow. I am sure it is as good of a place as anywhere. The fact remains that the rut started there and is now accosting me.

The rut in question has travelled across the Atlantic Ocean and then across 3/4’s of North America. It is an impressive rut by any standard.

So here I sit with this groove from Glasgow tormenting me. It has been growing in my office for three days now. And I don’t know what to do with it. I suppose I could start by telling you the driving force behind this unusual predicament that I find myself in.

It all started with half a dozen Glaswegians getting together making some music and got a groove going on. The groove in question is the fifth full-length album from The Kundalini Genie.

You too? Yeah, I had to go and look up what the hell a Kundalini is. Apparently it is some spiritual force in Hindu, Yogic and Buddhist teachings. There is more than one way to practice the Kundalini spirituality, but I wager that listening to good music is one path.

Today we will focus on the Genie method of Kundalini. The Kundalini Genie involves singer-songwriter Robbie Wilson, on sitar, guitar, and vocals.

We also have Jason Houston on guitar and more vocals.

 Melissa Rennie plays guitar, keys and adds her vocals.

Lloyd Ledingham contributes bass and vocals.

Louis Martin plays guitar and, yes, more vocals.

My goodness, they are competing against the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with everybody singing. Everyone except the drummer, Grant Robertson. I bet he sings, but they don’t mic it. Maybe he is more of the shower stall singer variety. Nothing wrong with that. Heck, I even sound better singing in the shower, and I can’t carry a song in a bucket.

Now that everyone is accounted for let’s talk about the music that dug a trench from Glasgow to my office in Canada’s hinterlands. Scottish psychedelic rock’n’roll outfit The Kundalini Genie has announced they will release their fifth studio album ‘Half In, Half Out’ by the end of 2021, following up their ’11:11′ album via Space Ranch Records (Europe) and Little Cloud Records (USA) in 2020. Ahead of this, they present the title track ‘Half In, Half Out,’ a robust offering to whet our appetites for the long-player.

“This song is about assholes, really. People who aren’t nice. People who think they’re better than you, or too cool for you, or higher and mightier than you, it’s also about when those people inevitably fall short of their own high opinion of themselves and make themselves look a fool, in a nutshell,” says Robbie Wilson.

What can I say? That is straight from the horse’s mouth. A song about assholes. That got real super fast, I can’t wait to know what the remainder of the album sounds like with the opener blasting out of the studio with a song about buttholes.

It doesn’t matter much what the song is about, the simple fact remains that I can’t stop listening to this offering from Glasgow, The Kundalini Genii and the single Half In, Half Out.

What makes this so attractive to me? It could be intelligent lyrics, good writing scores big marks with me. It is beyond doubt within the music. They channel so many bands and music styles that I could keep writing all day about The Kundalini Genie’s sound. The psychedelic rock, smooth retro pop, amazing vocals, they check all the boxes, all of them. But I can not put The Kundalini Genie in a box. They need to be set free, and that is what happened. Someone in Glasgow, it is highly probable that all of the members of The Kundalini Genie were involved, and they started digging a groove of their own. Geography could not contain that groove, and it found its way to my listening post, and here I am, in a rut.

I sincerely hope the same thing happens to you when you hear what this band has going on. It is magical. Now quit reading and listen to The Kundalini Genie and the single Half In, Half Out. While you are doing that I am going to start plotting how I can get across the pond and hear this band live.

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Freedom

It is early September, and the crisp winds and cooler temperatures tell us that autumn isn’t far away. It arrives on September 22nd this year. Growing up, this meant that we were going back to school after the Freedom of the summer holidays.

September also meant the arrival of the Christmas wish books from Sears and Eaton’s. We were not rich, but through the magic of wishing, we experienced the freedom of making any object in the catalogue come to life and be our plaything for as long as we could keep the catalogue away from our siblings.

Dublin-based Kilkenny-born indie-pop artist Cat Dowling will release an album this fall via FIFA Records. While we wait for the album, we have the freedom to explore Cat Dowling’s new single, Freedom and let our imaginations take us to beautiful places where we can run and laugh and dance and be free.

Dowling also presents the video for  ‘Freedom,’ created by Alba Lahoz. When Covid restrictions were momentarily lifted in Ireland, Cat’s three free-spirited tearaway children do their thing, showing that Freedom is a space inside us that can never be tamed.

“Sometimes we think big. Sometimes we think small. Sometimes we think with all we have got. When we have limited access to other humans, the humans closest to us are the most important humans of all,” says Cat Dowling.

“This video was filmed on a bitingly cold December afternoon when the light was sparse, winds howled, and the skies randomly opened. We managed to find the sun, fell in love with the wind and forgot about the camera. It was mainly filmed on Donabate beach and Dollymount Strand in Dublin. Freedom is best explained and expressed in childhood when there are no limitations, everything is possible, and we are free to be truly ourselves”.

Freedom’s out now, available everywhere digitally, including Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp. Fans can expect Cat Dowling‘s next long-player to be released in November of this year.

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Ireland press & radio – Pete Murphy  petemurphypublicity@gmail.com

Thawing Permafrost

The loss of permafrost will have drastic long-term effects on our planet.

The addition of Permafrost is having a dramatic impact on my Apple Music Library. I have put the single, Restore Us, from the band Permafrost, on an endless loop as I write. The single Restore Us is from the soon-to-be-announced album Fear of Music, which is the title of one of my all-time favourite albums. It is, of course, the Talking Heads that I allude to, and Permafrost have cited the Talking Heads as an influencer for their music.

Permafrost is making a comeback after a hiatus. Formed in Norway in 1982, they were active during the first post-punk wave and finally, we can all join them in this exciting new wave. The band has also grown to include British keyboardist Daryl Bamonte, who took the video footage for their new single ‘Restore Us’ while on the road with Depeche Mode for their Music For The Masses tour.

The single, Restore Us was released on September 3 and is available everywhere online via the Fear of Music label with distribution by Secretly Noord. We can also find the single on Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp. It can be pre-saved on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/Permafrost-RestoreUs 

The video is available right now:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfB3e-ToRlk

I await the album, Fear of Music, and re-listen to the single over and over and over as I wait.

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Harry Stafford and Marco Butcher have never actually met in the flesh. But they are punk soul brothers from the same muddy musical pond. Connecting with one another during a year of ‘lockdown hell,’ their exchange of ideas and talk of musical influences inadvertently led to their collaboration.

As innovative juices began to boil, the frantic exchange of digital files culminated in ‘Bone Architecture,’ a 12-track album that both had been itching to make. This superb collection includes reworked older material, brand-new compositions and even a dirty blues version of the Pink Floyd classic ‘Arnold Layne.’

‘Bone Architecture‘ is a raw and, at times, unforgiving forage into urban punk blues with fuzzed-up jazz and garage trash rock. Here, Harry and Marco’s styles have clashed magnificently into a powerful record that crosses many genres but with a dirty blues makeover.

“There’s something about collaborating that is pure magic to me, ’cause you’re not sharing ideas at the same time and you’re in the moment. There’s something about the not knowing what the other will bring. The surprise factor. The fact that music is very elastic and not always the way you listen to it in your mind but something else, something cooler, greater,” says Marco Butcher.

“I guess mutual respect has a lot to do it too, sharing the same type of ideas about music and life… For some time, Inca Babies ‘This Train’ was my bandstand music when I was crossing a very dark and dangerous lifestyle, when I decided NOT to die. This album was the one I listened to the most.”

Marco’s tracks were recorded at his Boombox Studio in Winston Salem, then shipped to Manchester, where Harry laid down vocals, piano and any instrumental tomfoolery he saw fit at Black Lagoon Records. The files also flew to London for trumpet player Kevin Davy to blend some jazz tones.

On September 3, ‘Bone Architecture‘ will be released on CD and available everywhere online, including Spotify and Apple Music. Both formats can be ordered via Bandcamp and the Louder than War shop.

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