New Music – Public Service Broadcasting – The Race for Space

The new one from Public Service Broadcasting is out today (23rd February 2015). It’s called ‘The Race For Space’ and, in usual PSB style, merges archive sounds with band created ones to forge new and interesting sonic stories. I did a full review for it over at Backseat Mafia and you can see that review here:

You can see the album preview video and the fabulous video featuring the breakdancing astronauts from the Gagarin video over on YouTube.

The album comes with two covers to choose from – a USA cover and a USSR cover – all very cold war and comes highly recommended by My Train Tracks.

Album cover - Public Service Broadcasting - The Race for Space






Public Service Broadcasting are live throughout April and May and you should catch them if you can.


Isle of Wight brothers CHAMPS release their follow up to last year’s ‘Down Like Gold’ today (23rd February 2015). It’s called VAMALA and it is pretty great.

I did a full review of VAMALA over at Backseat Mafia and you can see my review here:

If you like your music melancholy with beautiful harmonies and stories of love, loss and leaving then VAMALA will hit the spot for you. If you were a fan of their debut then you will adore VAMALA which really pushes their sound forward.

Every song on VAMALA is of the highest quality and I have had the album on repeat since I got my review copy.

You can get your copy online here (or at any good record store obviously!):




One To Watch – Conor Dardis – “He sings about railway stations, butcher shops and cups of tea”.

Conor Dardis looking out of the window.
Conor Dardis

“Immigrant Suburban Folk” is how Preston native and Dublin ex-pat Conor Dardis describes his music.

His songs are set in the working-class suburban Dublin of his formative years. This is not the Dublin of Guinness Brewery tours, shopping trips down Grafton Street or stag dos in Temple Bar. This is the Dublin of the outer estates, specifically Clondalkin, the Dublin suburb where Conor hails from and where the Dublin seen through the eyes of tourists is a million miles away from the daily realities of Clondalkin’s residents.

Conor’s songs depict everyday local characters as they negotiate life’s various pressures and challenges.

His bio says that he does not mind comparisons with Billy Bragg, Michael Head, Bruce Springsteen and their many disciples.  “Early Springsteen is really where it’s at for me” says Conor. “But I guess I’m reframing what he did to a Dublin experience”. That’s quite a bold statement for a new, unsigned artist but listening to Conor’s songs there is a distinct ‘Nebraska’-era Springsteen vibe so maybe it’s not that audacious a claim. Listen to new song ‘Accelerator’ or ‘Mickey Was a Soldier’ to see what I mean. The latter is the tale of a young man gone off the rails who ultimately pays with his life.

Like Springsteen, Conor tells stories of the everyday, making the ordinary sound extraordinary, where drunks, criminals and normal folk collide in an imagined world that is informed by the real one.

Conor’s stories and themes could be pulled from the pages of an evening newspaper. He sings about railway stations, butcher shops and endless cups of tea.

His songs lack sentimentality and instead, they capture those small neighbourhood details that typically slip through the cracks. Although ‘The Ballad of the Butcher’s Wife’ is the obvious ‘hit’ I think ‘Getting Worn Away’ is  the standout; a beautiful, heartbreaking song of a daughter’s relationship with her father and his relationship with drink. It absolutely captures the turmoil and despair of watching someone you love slowly self-destruct.

Tales of love, loss, despair and bad choices never go out of style and especially when the style is as enjoyable as this. I’m sure it won’t be long before Conor Dardis finds a label that can help him get his music out to a wider audience, but in the meantime you can check out his stuff on Soundcloud and follow him on Twitter.

One To Watch – Cariad Harmon

Juat came across a gem of an artist called Cariad Harmon, a London ex-pat now resident in the Big Apple.

She sings lovely folkesy tunes that reminded me a bit of Jaymay (that’s a good thing by the way) with a very cutely over-exagerated English accent. Maybe she wants folks in the States to know she’s an English import? It doesn’t matter, what does is that she sounds great and her music is instantly engaging and I know I’m going to have her album on repeat.

She’s already had some good press from the likes of Rolling Stone Magazine no less which isn’t surprising. She has smart lyrics, great tunes and lots of personality which make Cariad Harmon an artist worth exploing and definitely one to watch.

Her self-titled album is available on iTunes here [Cariad Harmon – Cariad Harmon] and you can take a sneaky listen below too.

WOOF. – “I make ugly pop songs”

WOOF. Artwork
WOOF. Artwork

WOOF. (remember the period) is the brainchild of Montclair, New Jersey native Kelan Bonislawski (@kelanroman).

After years of obtaining and playing around on various instruments, Kelan realized he had enough instruments to cover the sound of a full band, only no bandmates. This forced him to record each part on his own from his makeshift living room studio.

The fact that all of this sounds comes out of one person and their living room is quite something as is the range of styles and influences that Bonislawski puts on display as WOOF.. (That’s not a typo, it’s one period for WOOF and one for the end of the sentence!)

Some purists might be critical of this variety and say that this means it’s hard to understand what space WOOF. are (is?) trying to occupy and therefore a difficult listen. On “Not to Offend” WOOF. repeat the refrain “Oh no I won’t apologise” and neither should they. I think the expansiveness of WOOF.’s sound and the experimentation with instruments, styles, rhythms and vibes is what makes them so engaging.

WOOF.’s Twitter bio says:

I make ugly pop songs.

When I told Bonislawski I didn’t agree he said:

There’s ugliness in them. But I mean that in a good way.

I can see what he means. Like the fractal, distorted WOOF. artwork, the music is similarly (de)constructed in a rough-around-the-edge-by design kind of way with loose structures and unexpected about turns. WOOF.’s bio describes the music:

…as a collage of sounds, from Beck esq lo-fi funk, to early 00’s indie rock, occasionally losing itself in dense psychedelic space.

Add into that Grandaddy style electronica and Telekinesis! (don’t forget the exclamation point) style hooky pop tunes with Strokes playing electro funk and you’ve almost got a handle on what WOOF. sound like. Although I don’t think WOOF. are meant to sound like any one thing.

Bonislawski is clearly someone who loves music – playing it, creating it, discovering it, pushing it, experimenting with it, distorting it – and the interesting sounds, textures and vibes that are produced by his moniker WOOF. shows someone who deserves to be heard by a much wider audience and I’m glad to say that Indiana-based label Tree Machine Records (@TreeMachineRecs) has picked them up and WOOF.’s EP is released on 10th February.

In the meantime, go have a listen on Soundcloud.