Noise Annoys: Ferals, Cormac Neeson, RSD 2019, Strange Victory Records & Sophie Coyle
This week's Noise Annoys is brought to you courtesy of Ferals, Cormac Neeson, Record Store Day, Strange Victory Records and Sophie Coyle
LET'S get down to it, boppers: it's high time we checked in with atmospheric alt-rockers Ferals, not least because the Belfast-based band have their debut EP coming out very shortly and have booked a launch gig to prove it.
You'll know this threesome – who have reconfigured as a power trio of Shane (vocals/bass), Sam (guitar/backing vocals) and Dan (drums) since their initial emergence as a quartet last year – as specialists in moody, post-rock and pop hook-flecked guitar crunch from their 2018 releases Brendan Rogers and Gone.
If those songs floated your rusty tug, you'll probably also enjoy the first two tunes to escape from their upcoming Always Watching Never Watched EP, coming at you via local imprint/collective Zool Records.
Released back in February, lead song The Low finds Ferals channelling the effects pedal enhanced intensity and alternative anthemics of fellow north coast-bred forerunners And So I Watch You From Afar and Axis Of for a thumping yet baroque stop-starty waltzer centred around the catchy sing-along vocal phrase 'find your purpose'.
Their latest number, Mystery, ups the tempo for a head-shaking/banging bass-led 'girl trouble' rocker which wrong-foots listeners via strategically deployed handclaps and a brief and contemplative mid-tune dissolve into melancholic shoegaze introspection – because nothing conveys devastating heartbreak like whispered vocals over lonely sustained notes – before wrapping up with haste via some good old-fashioned 'woah-woahs' and therapeutic guitar bludgeoning.
There are amusing no-budget videos for both songs available for your viewing pleasure, which should further whet appetites for some real live Ferals action at the aforementioned EP launch show at The Menagerie in Belfast on Thursday April 25.
Part of the regular Zool Radar showcase night, the band will thus be joined by a fine supporting bill of fellow Zoolites in Gnarkats and Mosmo Strange. Doors are at 8pm and admission is a mere £5.
Onwards we rumble towards Broken Wing, the new solo single from The Answer's frontman Cormac Neeson. This heartfelt country rock ballad has been inspired by Neeson's son Dabhóg, who was born with Down's Syndrome in 2014.
Taken from forthcoming debut solo LP White Feather, Broken Wing's release coincides with the Co Down crooner becoming an ambassador for learning disability charity Mencap.
"I’ve never written a song like Broken Wing before," explains Neeson in the accompanying press release.
"Even though I've heard it hundreds of times now, I still get emotional every time I sing it back because of just how relevant the lyric is to my life and my family’s life. It’s my hope that maybe when people hear this song they can relate to the message.
"I can’t speak highly enough of the Mencap Children’s Centre who have provided invaluable support and advice to us and played a major role in my son’s development."
The video for the single is online now at FB.com/cormacneesonsolo, where you'll also find details of Cormac's first run of Irish solo shows, including dates at Dublin's Grand Social on May 16 and The Black Box in Belfast on May 24 The Answer man is also confirmed for the Stendhal Festival in Limavady, which this year takes place from August 15 to 17.
In other news, tomorrow finds Record Store Day (henceforth 'RSD', as I die inside every time I'm forced to type an Americanism) upon us once again, which means it's time to visit your favourite local independent music retailer to gawp at the price of this year's crop of commemorative limited edition RSD vinyl – or 'records', as we used to call them – and lament the fact that they never actually got any stock of the one release you actually wanted.
However, RSD is as much about the 'S' as the 'R'. While committed crate-diggers may sneer at the part-timers who flood their sacred spaces on this much hyped annual occasion, anything that gets bodies through the doors of our endangered independent music retailers is surely to be encouraged.
With the demise of Sick Records and Head, two of the main Belfast indies upon which vinyl junkies once relied for their weekly fix of new stock, last year found Bending Sound Records on Bangor's High Street picking up the RSD slack as part of Bangor Vinyl Day, which brought a wider selection of music-themed events to town.
It proved such a hit that they're doing it again tomorrow for RSD 2019: Bending Sound will be open from 9am to 5pm with over 300 RSD titles hitting its shelves, while Bangor Vinyl Day's record fair returns to the MG gas showroom across the street from 9am to 3pm, Mustang’s Barbershop will stage a RSD Pop-Up on Hamilton Road and Soul Digging will round things off with an evening of 'vinyl-only' DJs supplying the music at High Street watering hole Hop House.
There will also be live music throughout the day supplied by New Pagans (Hop House, 2pm) – who also play The 343 in Belfast tonight to mark the release of excellent new single It's Darker – Jealous of The Birds (Hop House, 4pm), Malojian (Bending Sound, 5.30pm) and Siobhan 'Manukahunney' Brown (Bending Sound 7.30pm).
However, anyone in Belfast unable to undertake a music-buying mission to the seaside tomorrow should not despair, for RSD 2019 will surely be long remembered for coinciding with the grand opening of Belfast's newest independent record shop, Strange Victory Records.
Apparently not content with the considerable financial risk of being the city's premier independent music promoter of taste and distinction, Darren 'Strange Victory' Smyth has teamed up with Dragon Records alumnus Jeff Doherty and like-minded mate Sinead Green to cock this bricks and mortar snook at virtual distribution.
The new shop is at 22 Berry Street just off Royal Avenue, between H&M and the former Virgin Megastore (ask your da), and will be stocking new releases as well as second-hand items, so get down and show your support. There will be instore DJing throughout the day from Timmy Stewart, Chris Frieze and Explosion Sound System to help your fingers flick through the racks.
Up with this sort of thing.
Finally, last February I wrote about Dundalk-based Galway singer-songwriter Sophie Coyle and her excellent debut LP of gothic folk songs, Blame Me For The Storm, which she launched at The Sunflower in Belfast.
Now, Sophie and her band are returning to play for us again tomorrow evening at the Accidental Theatre in Shaftsbury Square, where punters will be treated to new songs from her upcoming second LP alongside faves from Blame.
Doors are at 8.30pm, admission is £8, and fans of all things hauntingly melodic are advised to attend.