Arts

Noise Annoys: Brand New Friend, Wood Burning Savages, Ferals & Jinx Lennon

It's a packed Noise Annoys this week with words on new singles and/or albums from Brand New Friend, Wood Burning Savages, Ferals and Jinx Lennon

Brand New Friend are gearing up for the release of their debut album

BARELY two years after their first EP American Wives received a positive report here in your Noise Annoys – "Five tracks of catchy strum and jangle!", "Invigorating pop-punkish energy and urgency!", "A whimsical, heart-achey vibe that perfectly captures the bittersweet sting of teenage romance gone bad!", – Castlerock indie popsters Brand New Friend are about to release their debut album Seatbelts For Aeroplanes for new paymasters Xtra Mile Recordings.

While I can't take all the credit for their rapid rise to current 'great white hope' status – surely at least some of that is down to the sharp songwriting skills of brother/sister band-founders Taylor and Lauren Johnson combined with the kind of beaming, boundless self-confidence guaranteed to cause jaded Generation X-ers to shake their wizened head in bemused envy – it's sure pleasing to note that the record's title track also got the Noise Annoys seal of approval when it first appeared on their Bandcamp page in raw demo form in 2016.

Back then it was branded "a rather good acoustic tune which will hopefully be given a full band treatment at some point in the near future". Happily, a fully fleshed-out version of the song has indeed ended up becoming one of the stand-out moments on the album christened after it, which has been recorded with Rocky O'Reilly at Start Together in Belfast.


This frighteningly fresh-faced quartet (average age, 12 and 3/4-ish) have selected a quality new tune called Girl to be their latest single, one of several fresh new numbers which feature on their debut magnum opus alongside previous single I Hate It When You Have To Go and re-recorded versions of old favourites like I Was An Astronaut, I Love You, Goodbye and A&E.

One of the faster tracks on the record (the fastest being another newie, cheekily titled Slow) Girl's sub two-minute pop punk blast sounds pleasantly like The Cure's Just Like Heaven on a sugar bender.

The accompanying video by HM Productions finds the music set to moving images recorded at their triumphant sold-out Duke of York show a few months ago.


Girl makes a nice appetiser for the full album due out on April 27, and indeed for devotees currently chomping at the bit for the Friend's upcoming Irish mini-tour: that kicks off next Friday in Omagh at the Top of The Town before taking in Sandino's in Derry (April 26), Kiwi's in Portrush (April 27, so technically an album launch show) and Belfast's Black Box (April 28).

BNF have also just been confirmed as support for Snow Patrol on their imminent Irish tour – hopefully not the kiss of death it was for the likes of formerly 'fast rising' local acts Cashier No 9, General Fiasco and Ed Zealous – including May 11 at Derry's Millennium Forum and May 15 at The Olympia in Dublin.

Later in the summer, the band will be backing up Kodaline at Belfast's Custom House Square on August 28, by which time the rapidly swelling army of Brand New Friendlies will surely know every song on the album backwards.

Expect shows to be stolen.

They have a rinky-dinky new website at Brandnewfriend.co.ukm where you can pre-order the album and sign up for the official mailing list while you're there – subscribers will be rewarded with a free demo version of another great tune on the record, The Blame, in high-quality SD card space-sapping WAV format.

A full album review will appear here as soon as I've had the chance to listen to it a few dozen more times.

On the subject of ‘great local bands with debut albums coming out’, Derry quartet Wood Burning Savages have their first full length, Stability, coming down the pipe on April 27 (again, recorded with Rocky O’Reilly at Start Together – does he ever sleep?) which they’ve sensibly prefaced with a cracking new single called Purple Heart.


This gung-ho anti-war guitar anthem is a post-punky slash’n’burn stormer which will serve as yet another effective attention-getter for their forthcoming full length in the wake of the band’s previously released missives I Don’t Know Why I Do It To Myself, Living Hell and We Love You.

Led by croonsome singer/guitarist Paul Connolly, the Savages throw down the kind of spiky, socially consciously splenetic yet catchy guitar abuse that would surely have made them NME/Melody Maker stars had they emerged back in the mid-late 90s, when they could have easily sailed around the Britpop iceberg on the good ship Britrock alongside the band they draw immediate and favourable comparisons to, the Manics.

I also hear echoes of groovy Leeds legends Cud in there too, who the music weeklies were rather less keen on – but then again, Cud are still around and they aren't.

Suck on Purple Heart and their other teaser tunes for yourself now at Thewoodburningsavages.com and be advised that the band have some live shows coming up to promote the new album, including an appearance at The Ivy in Newtownards tonight during the Ards Guitar Festival.

Next Friday finds them playing a home fixture at Derry's Nerve Centre, they'll be down in that Dublin for a show at Whelans on the following Saturday and the Savages are also confirmed for the BBC Biggest Weekend Fringe, which will see them playing at The Limelight 2 on May 27.

From debut albums to a debut single: Belfast quartet Ferals recently released their first tune, Brendan Rodgers, named for (but otherwise completely unrelated to, as far as I can discern) Carnlough's own former Liverpool and current Celtic manager.


These kids are on a melodic alt-rock kick tinged with post-rock guitar flourishes that's easy enough on the ear that they could maybe get on the radio, yet retains enough grit and crunch to suggest they'd be a blast to behold live too.

Like them online at FB.com/FeralsOfficial and jot down their upcoming appearance at The Pavilion in Belfast on May 5 in the fourth round of the Bulleit Bourbon Battle of The Bands.

Finally, on to an old Noise Annoys favourite, Dundalk maverick Jinx Lennon, whose new album Grow A Pair is released on this very day.

Will you like it? Well, how do I know? However, you could watch the video for his new tune 300 Pianos and get some idea: it's a catchy, country-strumming, Big Tom name-checking folk ballad guaranteed to be a big hit in Castleblayney, the town which inspired it, and maybe Keady too which also gets a mention.

However, it's unlikely to top any charts in Monaghan – but sure ye can't have it all.


Catch Jinx live tonight in Dublin at Thomas House and stay tuned to Noise Annoys for news of a Belfast date in May and indeed a proper album review.

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