Noise Annoys: Mood music from Ports and Slomatics

Derry's Ports release their debut album today

WHICH do you prefer: music that soars, sweeps and swoons to conjure forth a dreamy soundscape of melodic, introspective melancholy or music that slowly pummels, throbs and roars until its vibrations reduce your mind to a mesmerised blob of molten goo within a violently nodding skull?

We'll get to the latter later, but anyone in the mood for the former listening experience should look no further than Derry's Ports (who formerly traded as Little Bear), who launch their debut album The Devil is A Songbird tonight at The Black Box.

Led by bass-wielding falsetto vocalist Steven McCool – who could probably give fellow four stringer Sting a run for his high notes – the band's dynamic, highly atmospheric blend of epic multi-instrumental pop/rock and gentle, folksy whimsy is very much the sound of right now.

Big, emotive tunes like the title track's whistle-y, piano-tinged lament, swelling, string-enhanced slow-burner I'd Let You Win and softly crooned downbeat pop number Gameplay arrive ripe for late night iTunes playlisting, mobile phone advert syncs and soundtrack-usage – indeed, the latter number recently backed a key moment of teen melodrama on MTV's Awkward.

They will no doubt be ravenously consumed by those yearning for a young, keen band skillfully combining emotive post-Coldplay indie with vocal harmonies-rich post-Mumfords rootsiness.

But don't hold that against them – Ports do what they do so well that you'd swear this easy-flowing collection of songs was a creatively assured third album rather than their auspicious debut.

The stand-out number has to be The Few And Far Between, a poetic, stop-starty anthem that unspools gradually while building in intensity towards its roof-raising climax – or maybe it's We Are Miles Away, the rather more restrained, soulful tune that immediately follows it.

Or it could be their dreamy, plinky-plonky piano and spiralling guitar-powered earworm, Killer, or even the stripped down, ghostly acoustic album finale What's On Your Mind?

It all depends on how you're feeling, I guess – but if Ports can pull these off live as well as they do on record, the world could definitely become their lobster in the very near future.

Find out tonight at The Black Box, tomorrow night at The Glassworks in Derry or by grabbing an earful of the debut LP right now via iTunes, Spotify or Google Play.

Now, back to the loud stuff: anyone in need of some rather more deafening musical entertainment should look no further than Noise Annoys favourites Slomatics, whose new album Future Echo Return is now available for pre-order.

It's the Belfast doomfuzz power trio's follow-up to 2014's awesome sci-fi-themed prog-sludge crushfest Estron, which itself formed the second instalment in a loosely conceptual musical triptich involving the death and rebirth of a civilization that began with their A Hocht LP in 2012.

The grand finale is due for release in September on Black Bow records– but you can get a sneak preview of what lies ahead right now in the form of taster track Electric Breath, a thunderous, nicely malevolent sounding slab of psychedelic heaviousity which comes with its very own visual accompaniment in the form of a suitably trippy clip by Dermot Faloon – the same warped mind behind the video for Troglorite off the last LP.

Get acquainted with it immediately by hitting up, where you will also find links to get your pre-order for Future Echo Return happening via Black Bow's online service.

Will you choose CD, purple splatter vinyl, burnt orange vinyl or classic black vinyl?

Here's a hint – it won't be the purple splatter as it's already sold out.

Think fast.

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