Noise Annoys: The Murder Capital, Rews and Aoife Wolf
:: The Murder Capital – Ethel (single, Human Season)
NOW that 2022 is beginning to wind down, it's about time to start marking out things to look forward to in 2023 which might offer us some pleasant distraction from the imminent financial ruin we are all facing.
One bright spark on the musical horizon is certainly the forthcoming new album from Dublin's The Murder Capital, the follow up to their mighty debut When I Have Fears – one of 2019's best records from a band who had already marked themselves out as Ones To Watch thanks to a string of quality singles like More is Less, Feeling Fades and Green and Blue, not to mention their reliably intense live shows.
While Covid trimmed TMC's sails somewhat and allowed fellow Dubs Fontaines DC to steal a march on cornering the global market on arty, stylishly brooding guitar-based rackets with an Irish accent, recently the band have begun drip-feeding us a series of enticing new tunes from their eagerly anticipated second LP, Gigi's Recovery.
Their latest single, Ethel, instantly reminds listeners of what they liked about the The Murder Capital. It's a slinky, simmering/shimmering song which slowly draws you into its dark, enticing embrace as frontman James drawls soulfully over waves of Damien and Cathal's clanging, spiralling guitars, propelled by the muscular yet restrained rhythms conjured by Gabe and Diarmuid. Your basic graceful, tuneful menace par excellence, then.
"The song Ethel is a picture of a crossroads, really, asking you what you want from life," explain the band of their latest offering.
"Whether you want to continue down a path of chaos, or make a change in your course. It's showing you what is possible when you make the decisions that bring a sort of cradled warmth into your future. The idea of Ethel is that you can have what you truly desire if you put to rest those short-lived fixes that never bring you any real happiness."
Ethel follows the intriguingly drum 'n' bass-flavoured gothic stalk and slash of equally promising previous single A Thousand Lives which appeared back in September and the appealingly off-kilter singalong of July's indie rocker Only Good Things.
All in all, they make for a tasty trio of appetisers for the album proper, which has been produced by John Congleton and is set for release on January 20: pre-order it now on a variety of formats via themurdercapital.terrible.group.
There's already one Irish date in their diary for 2023, which involves a visit to Dublin's Vicar Street on February 26 – fingers crossed for a Belfast date to be added sooner rather than later.
:: Rews – The World That You Left Behind (single, self-released)
HAVING enthused over the latest material from New Pagans in the last Noise Annoys, we somehow forgot to mention the fact that guitarist and songwriter Cahir has recently been moonlighting with Rews for their latest single, The World That You Left Behind – a catchy alt-rock banger laced with a good dose of the powerful catchy/crunchiness that served his previous outfit Fighting With Wire so well (and to those who got to see their recent one-off reunion in Derry, no, I'm not jealous. At all. HONEST.) given a fresh and intriguing spin courtesy of some powerful female vocals.
"I'm ecstatic about finally releasing this song," enthuses Rews singer/guitarist/leader Shauna Tohill of her latest riff-tastic tune.
"It's got so much energy, riffs for days and a great message. I wrote it with a great friend of mine, Cahir O'Doherty. It is a song that journeys through how we can support those people in our lives who get carried away with negative thoughts and feel utterly lost and alone.
"Hopefully, the song will provide a nice audio net for people to fall into at times of need, so they know they aren't alone."
Up with this sort of thing: get involved now on the streaming platform of your choice and via rewsmusic.com/home.
:: Aoife Wolf – The Wetlands (EP, Analogue Catalogue/Tiny Comet)
ONWARDS to yet more words on The Wetlands EP from Dublin's Aoife Wolfe, who has already earned praise in this column for two of the key tracks from this six song package which was finally released in its entirety last week.
Back in October, the title tune was described as "a pleasure, a dreamy shoegazey daze which sways, swirls and occasionally snarls", while earlier single and EP opener The Woman Who Shot Andy Warhol was and indeed remains "a dark 'n' dreamy, sultry sly and slinky lamentation packed with ominous, rolling drums, portentous Telecaster strum 'n' clang and Wolf's spine-tingling vocal performance".
Happily, the rest of this debut EP release more than lives up to its forerunners: The Screaming Waltz unfurls in a dreamy, mournful feedback haze over the course of five mesmerizing minutes – an instrumental version is also included as a bonus track just in case there are any film-makers in need of some highly atmospheric soundtrack fodder – while They Say I've Got A Fever is a skeletal, clattering and downright catchy affair with Wolf's swoonsome vocals contrasting nicely with jagged, ragged instrumentation what builds in intensity toward its noisy climax.
The final track is a sparse, spectral and reverb-drenched cover of Nirvana's Something In The Way, a haunting interpretation of one of Mr Cobain's most memorable tunes: surely he would have approved.
"The EP has transpired to be a collection of songs about struggling with mental unrest," explains Wolf in the accompanying press release.
"None of that was planned – not even the title. I just thought it was the most interesting of the titles but now it has come to mean this kind of murky world that I've tied in with my past.
"I grew up surrounded by rural bogland too and that's where the songs were born. Aside from the Nirvana cover, each of the songs addresses some form of ill mental health which was at the centrefold of my life at the time of writing.
"I was drawn to dark, angsty sonics and it very much feels like a younger version of me. I had a lot of anger to get out but I think it's out now.
"Like all of my music, this collection was recorded to tape with Julie McLarnon at Analogue Catalogue. I think working with Julie has probably been one of the most significant things to happen to me musically.
"I've spent a lot of time there talking about music, life, art, love and listening to records or raiding her CD collection for the car journey back from Co Down to wherever I've been living at the time, listening to Sparklehorse, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Elliott Smith, King Creosote, Kate Bush, Tindersticks, Neutral Milk Hotel etc.
"My teenage years felt like I'd been in the dark about a lot of things, so my adult years have been spent playing catch up. So play I shall."
Help to pay for her play via aoife-wolf.bandcamp.com/album/the-wetlands.
:: Sister Ghost - Yule Ghosts (ornament, handmade)
FINALLY for this week, since it's Bandcamp Friday and many of you will currently be pondering how late you can leave it to put up your Christmas tree before it's not actually worth the effort (my ma's record is December 23, which is impressive/scary), maybe these new handmade crocheted Yule Ghost baubles from Shannon of Sister Ghost will spur you on to actually whap out the tinsel and tat in a timely manner.
These little guys are as cute as they are spooky and should co-ordinate perfectly with any kind of fake snow you have going on in your festive decorations - but if you want one, you better move fast as they're available in limited quantities for today only via sisterghost.bandcamp.com, price TBC.