Arts

Noise Annoys: New music from The Bonnevilles and VerseChorusVerse, plus Women's Work news and Exhalers go 'on the record'...

New music from The Bonnevilles and VerseChorusVerse, plus Women's Work news and Exhalers go 'on the record'...

VerseChorusVerse aka Tony Wright has a new album out today. Picture by Colm Laverty

:: The Bonnevilles – Poor Boy (single, self-released)

ROCKERS rejoice, a new Bonnevilles single is upon us: Poor Boy is a hip-shaking, hand-clapping finger-clicker of a cover tune that's been in their live set for so long now that Chris and Andy have finally decided to make things official by putting down a studio version – and damn fine it sounds too.

As all bluesheads will know, the original is by the legendary RL Burnside, and the Lurgan duo actually had the cojones to perform an impromptu version of the song during a visit to Junior Kimbrough's Juke Joint in RL's adopted home town of Holly Springs in Mississippi a couple of years ago – a memory the band have shared on their 'socials' to mark the single's release.

"It felt a bit risky. We could bomb – hard – if we screw this up. After all, these people have heard the masters doing it in person and now here are two Irish dudes about to cover it. We didn't bomb.

"The sleeve photo was taken outside the venue after our set by the great Peter Lee. The look on our faces was a mixture of jetlag and bliss."

If it sounded as good on the night as the version on the new single, you can be sure they'll be welcomed back any time: check it out now at thebonnevilles.bandcamp.com

VerseChorusVerse – What if We Won? (album, self-released)

TODAY finds the new VerseChorusVerse LP launched upon an expectant world. You'll already be familiar with its excellent singles, rap/rocky protest stomper Free To Decree and uber-funky 'come as you are' anthem Be Proud; however, as signposted by moody and mercurial album opener Algorithm&Blues, matters become rather more fragile, frayed and fraught throughout this eclectic and engaging full length, which mostly finds VCV supremo Tony Wright looking inward for inspiration.

A string of introspective numbers sit at the bruised heart of What of We Won? Stand-out track There Is A Silence is a downbeat speak-sung affair on which Wright reveals his inner struggle for serenity over slouchy beats, hushed percussion and chiming guitar notes which begin to simmer/shimmer as the intensity ramps up.

I Live With a Monster is a haunting hymn to malfunctioning mental health, a plaintive piano/vocals piece which should strike a chord with many listeners, before the pendulum swings in the opposite sonic direction for pounding post-punk number Rock &/or Roll Recovery, a collage of clanging, jagged distorted guitars, ragged vocal chanting and angry, thumping beats.

Happily (literally), the album's twinkling title track is a quiet yet pointedly optimistic affair with soothing sunny-side up tremolo guitar vibes and Wright's breathy everything's gonna be all right vocal: "What if we make the darkness light, what if we won?" What indeed.

The cheekily titled You Can Do Anything So Why Not Try ('i' is for instrumental) finds the singer/songwriter harking back to the incessant FX-enhanced electric guitar riffery of his old vocals-free post-rock outfit And So I Watch You From Afar for a fun and (naturally) instrumental interlude, before closer Peacetime; Now ends the record in abstract yet affecting style with a collage of plaintive piano tinkling and seashore sounds which gradually resolve into a campfire spiritual.

Pick a winner at Versechorusverse.bandcamp.com where you'll also find a pre-order for the lovely looking vinyl version.

:: Women's Work Festival 2021

OH YEAH has announced its fifth Women's Work festival, which will take place online between June 17 and 21. As ever, this year's festival celebrating women in music includes live showcases, panels, talks and workshops, plus an ambitious sounding collaborative video cover of Kate Bush's classic single Running Up That Hill, led by Katie Richardson.

More information and full festival programme available at womensworkni.co.uk

:: On The Record – Exhalers

Exhalers man Alan Lynn

FINALLY for this week, Noise Annoys quizzes ex-LaFaro drummer Alan Lynn about his new musical project Exhalers and its acclaimed eponymous debut album, which is out now and highly recommended for fans of catchy/crunchy alt-rock.

* Why did you start this project and was the intention always to make an album right away?

This was always going to be an album, mainly to see if I could do it. I always had songs and I wanted to see if I could do an album on which I played everything and could be happy with the end result.

It was started out of sheer boredom, musically, to be honest. I haven't been playing due to the pandemic/lockdown, so this was a way to scratch the creative itch.

* How long did it take to make and where did you record it?

Overall, about three months, or so: I started the recording process at the end of October 2020 and finished all the tracking by the end of January 2021. Every single bit of it was recorded at my home, in various rooms. I saved a fortune on studio costs!

* Was it a big challenge to play everything yourself?

To be honest, the only thing I was concerned about – aside from releasing music of my own – were the vocals. The rest I can fiddle away with to a reasonable extent but I've never felt comfortable singing. But, I thought 'why the hell not?' – it's all expression!

* How did you approach the lyrics?

Music will always happen first for me – again, singing and lyrics don't come particularly easy to me, but I do have a good ear for melody. If I get a melody I'm happy with then I usually write the lyrics from there.

* What is your favourite song on the record?

Well, I mixed this all myself so I spent a lot of time on the tracks. I loved them all, then swiftly hated them and talked myself out of putting any of it out! Ha. Now though, I think it's Diaries. I think that song is a good representation of the music I like, and that I like to play.

* Were there any other songs which didn't make the cut?

Yes, I had the idea of recording them all and picking the best ones. My wife was due our son in April there and I wanted to have it done by then, so, due to time, a few didn't make it. I have since sold them off to famous pop stars all over the world.

* Are you happy with the reaction to the record so far?

I have to say, the reaction has been brilliant. Everyone who has heard it and given it the time seems to really like it. It's very surprising and It's made me feel very grateful to all the folk who have supported it. It's given me the confidence to do more.

* What's next for Exhalers?

I have already started on the follow up album with about six songs under way. A lot of folk are asking about the live thing also. If I can manage to drum and sing at the same time then I will be hoping to start gigging it.

I also like the idea of going heavier with it too. This album is quite diverse in parts but I think I'd like to make a dirty, rough and heavy album. One I can really go to town on drum-wise.

:: Listen now at Exhalers.bandcamp.com

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