Noise Annoys: Buí, Galants, Mono, Lankum and Brand New Friend
Words on recent releases from Buí and Galants, plus upcoming shows from Strange Victory and Brand New Friend...
WELCOME back to Noise Annoys, your bi-weekly dose of musings on new alternative sounds from this neck of the woods and beyond. It's time to catch up with some recent and upcoming releases, starting with the current offering from Belfast's Buí.
I discovered this lot via a YouTube rabbit hole. I've already forgotten what the entrance was – something 'cute kitten' related, no doubt – but it eventually spat me out at the video for their current single Something Else To Talk About, a very cool NES-inspired animated affair featuring some recognisable Belfast landmarks/businesses/hostelries.
However, what hooked me was the song itself, a lo-fi indie pop gem in which the band marry slinky 1990s slacker rock thrills to Grandaddy-esque keyboards while asserting their regional identity via singer Josh Healy's unabashedly Belfastian vowels.
It's really catchy and led me on to further investigation via their YouTube channel (incidentally, am I the only person who was completely unaware that YouTube started life as a dating website? It's amazing what you'll learn listening to random programmes on Radio 4), starting with the excellent flipside of this double-A single, People Don't Think.
It seems that this tune was originally Buí's debut single way back in the distant mists of 2017, but clearly they felt it worthy enough of a revival to enshrine it on vinyl (albeit in re-recorded form) alongside their newest number.
This one is possibly even catchier than Something Else To Talk About and is a bit 'Grandaddy (that keyboard sound again) covering Ultra Vivid Scene' (specifically their mighty 1988 single The Mercy Seat), though the vocal melody has a pop punky vibe reminiscent of Blink 182 or someone and, occasionally, the grungy distortion on the guitars is kicked off during quieter more melancholic passages where it's mainly just Josh singing over the bassline.
The aforementioned YouTube rabbithole (other online user content-driven video platforms are available) also led me to an interview with Buí, where they mentioned that they recorded and released their debut album before they'd even really started gigging or building up a following – "because why not?" basically.
Indeed, Eugene was released last year, and features both songs from the new single (though it's yet another version/mix of People Don't Think) plus other Buí hits like the enjoyably wonky/shonky synths 'n' bass based When The Fun Stops – which should win some sort of award for 'best strategic deployment of flugelhorn' and is also available 'as Gaeilge' – anthemic acoustic/electric strummer I'm Going Somewhere (But I'm Not Sure Where) and the epic heartbreak folk/grunge lament Ode To You.
Check it out on Spotify and indeed at Bui43.bandcamp.com, where you can have a deluxe CD version with bonus demos delivered right into your home for a mere £10 including postage. The 7-inch of Something Else To Talk About / People Don't Think is still available at your friendly local independent record shop, so be cool and try to pick one up at Strange Victory or somewhere before you resort to buying online.
Should you wish to sample Buí live before committing to a purchase, you're in luck – sort of. Anyone who's already purchased a ticket for the imminent sold-out performance of Kerry alt-folker Junior Brother at The Sunflower in Belfast on July 17 will also get to enjoy a set by Josh and co as an appetiser.
No doubt Buí will be playing more of their own dates soon – more details on that as and when I have them.
Having just mentioned Strange Victory Records, this would be an opportune moment to plug two upcoming shows being put on by their promotions wing. First up are atmospheric Japanese post-rockers Mono who will be playing at Voodoo in Belfast on Tuesday July 16 and thus offering discerning gig goers some pleasingly loud respite at the tail end of the usual live music drought that is the Twelfth Fortnight.
You can get tickets for that one right now for £15 via Ticketweb.ie, as are the tickets for Dublin contemporary folkers Lankum (the artists formerly known as Lynched), who will be at The Empire on Thursday October 24 for another Belfast date just prior to the release of their third album.
Again, the cost to you in advance is £15, plus the satisfaction of already having tickets in hand when it inevitably sells out.
Let's stay south of the border now for words on the new release by superlative shoegaze popsters Galants, the Stay Light EP, which slipped out into the digital ether late last month and further cements the Dublin-based indie rockers as one of the island's foremost purveyors of FX-enhanced guitar pop influenced by the greats of the genre: RIDE, Swervedriver, MBV, Dinosaur.
Follow, Howling and the title track have that irresistible 90s shoegaze rock 'iron fist in a velvet glove' punch to them: the rhythm section pounding and grooving away in a mosh-pit friendly manner as the guitars and vocals swoop and glide gloriously above.
Follow and Howling pack in fine Swervies-inspired instrumental breaks before kicking off again with final spurts of crystalline noise, while Stay Light features an pleasurable eruption of J Mascis-esque soloing.
By contrast, the moody In Vain is more of a slow(dive) dance number that starts off a bit like Teenage Fanclub with all their effects pedals turned on at once before going all RIDE on the soaring choruses – and the RIDE (albeit the 21st century, Erol Alkan-produced version of the Oxford shoegaze masters) is also strong with the EP's extended six-minute finale Pounding, which finds Galants locking into a Krautrockingly motorik groove while laying down layers of pulsating guitar atmos.
You can stream the new EP now via Spotify and make an actual purchase via iTunes and Galants.bandcamp.com – in fact, you can get the entire Galants discography to date for a mere €11.90 via the latter online portal, which is a bit of a bargain really.
No news on any northern gigs as yet, sadly, but rest assured you'll be the first to know once something is confirmed.
Finally, a heads-up/reminder that the irrepressible Brand New Friend will play their biggest Belfast headline show to date at The Limelight 2 this September 21 as part of their newly announced Nothing Stays The Same Tour, which also includes stops at Bennigans in Derry (Sept 20) and Upstairs at Whelan's in Dublin (Sept 22) – the first run of proper BNF shows to feature latest member Logan 'not to be confused with Wiley Wiggins of Dazed & Confused fame' Taylor.