Noise Annoys: Beauty Sleep stage BIG + BAD party, Astralnaut drop apocalyptic album and The PVP are far from loveless

New music from top local acts rated, plus a reminder to get your tickets for this year’s Stendhal Festival

Beauty Sleep
Beauty Sleep are inviting you to a BIG + BAD Party. PICTURE: Roger Harris

Beauty Sleep – BIG + BAD (single, self-released)

THIS sexy, slinky new tune from Belfast synthpop duo Beauty Sleep has been out for a few weeks now, but still sounds as fresh as it did on day one.

Currently available via beautysleeptheband.bandcamp.com, Spotify and many other streaming services – choose and perish at beautysleep.ffm.to – self-empowerment anthem BIG + BAD finds Ryan and Cheylene channelling their inner New Order to put an intriguing twist on the dreamily melodic, boy/girl vocal-topped indiepop sound the pair established on 2019′s excellent debut album Be Kind.

It definitely piques your curiosity for what album number two holds in store: another new single is imminent, but in the meantime feast your eyes and ears on the video for BIG + BAD, which finds Ryan and Cheylene at their most seductive while cavorting about in varying states of undress.

If you like what you see/hear, then be sure to nab a ticket for Beauty Sleep’s upcoming BIG + BAD Party at The Black Box in Belfast on June 14 via Blackboxbelfast.com. Dress code: fancy.

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Astralnaut – Astralnaut (album, self-released)

THEY might not have nabbed a slot at Bloodstock in the recent Metal 2 The Masses contest, but recently reactivated Co Armagh rockers Astralnaut are consoling themselves with the release of their long-awaited debut album, a quality item which further cements the quintet’s reputation as one of Ireland’s finest ‘heavy’ bands.

Astralnaut are back with their self-titled debut album

This eponymous record combines the primal stoner metal assault of the Astralnaut we first got to know and love well over a decade ago with a pleasingly progressive bent which finds the band’s sound evolving in new and interesting ways.

For example, a sweet yet powerful female vocal from Kayleigh Dawson pairs perfectly with the bassy gulder of resident Astralnaut shouter Thomas Mallon on stand-out moment Adrift, a moody meditation on the futility of existence featuring a nice nod to Slayer in the molten riffage of axemen Gary Treanor and Jon Joe Harrison.

Adrift is the sound of a band with a firm grasp of its own dynamic capabilities, cruising comfortably along the deep, dirty grooves ploughed by an engine room driven by drummer Glenn Harrison and bassist Anthony O’Neill, then hitting the gas for full-on mud-churning guitar fireworks-spitting assaults when required.

Likewise, the melodic yet thunderous sound of album opener and current single Tipping Point – another nihilistic rumination on the predictably apocalyptic impact of unfettered capitalism – incorporates vintage grunge rock atmospherics and pure heavy metal heroics into its potent, weapons-grade sludge.

Mankind’s imminent extinction is a key lyrical theme on the album: recent single Plebicide is a gleefully bleak number, a grungy and deliberately paced chug/trudge through the rubble of a society led to wrack and ruin by deceitful leaders (note that canny sample from The Great Dictator), while the ‘we are doomed’ lament of Humanity cranks up the metal melodrama for huge melodic choruses erupting between bouts of filthy stoner chuggage on the verses.

Contemplative, acoustic guitar-based passages are incorporated into the record’s sprawling centrepiece, the epic six-minute doomathon, White Feather, offering a chink of light amid the darkness, before the even longer Husk staples the curtains firmly shut and sets its guitars to ‘slow annihilation’ for an incredibly atmospheric eight-minute wallow in the end of days chaos.

Husk is surely one of the best things Astralnaut have ever done: indeed, there isn’t a ‘weak’ moment on the entire record, which rounds off with Confederate’s two-part grunge metal nod-fodder and the heavy southern-fried groove of Blood Sacrifice.

Worth waiting for, then. Grab a copy while there’s still time at Astralnaut.bandcamp.com.

The PVP – The PVP (album, Pizza Pizza)

Limerick trio The PVP have just released their debut album

DO YOU miss Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine? If so, then Limerick indie rock trio The PVP (as in ‘Personal Vanity Project’) certainly have a record for your consideration with their righteous self-titled debut album, a psychedelia-tinged affair which finds them channelling the sound of these seminal alternative acts and many others besides with a fair degree of actual talent and originality.

Guitar-wielding crooner/founder Chris ‘Cruiser’ Quigley, drummer Brendan McInerney (Bleeding Heart Pigeons) and keys man James Reidy (His Father’s Voice) deliver alternative tunings and pedal/synth-powered swoonings galore across nine tunes, which include the band’s pair of recent singles: Callan, a melodic yet satisfyingly noisy sprawl, and Track 94′s pulsing, drone-y, existential ponderment.

Listeners will also thrill to the grooving shoegaze of Nananana, Late Bloomer’s intoxicating combination of baggy beats, hazy psychedelic guitar swirl, laconic slack rock vocals and unexpected but totally here for it fiddling, and the mesmeric atmospherics of glide-guitar based lamentation Since You’ve Been Gone (not the Rainbow number, I was disappointed to discover).

Elsewhere, extended opening gambit The Bus will patch up that Sonic Youth-shaped hole in your soul with its convincing collision of melody, discord and Loop-esque psychedelic transcendence, while the record’s epic six-minute closer – a moody, slow-building, spoken word-infused affair called Swimming – finds twangy strumming contrasting nicely with crunchy, tremolo-warped riffage and jet plane noise to hypnotic effect.

The latter is definitely one you’ll want to catch live, where it will surely mutate into an infeasibly noisy set-ender.

Set a course for thepersonalvanityproject.bandcamp.com and fill your (dirty) boots, then keep a weather eye here for news of any imminent northern incursions by The PVP.

Stendhal Festival ticket reminder

The Zutons
The Zutons are Stendhal-bound

IT’S now just over a month until Limavady’s best/only music festival returns to its traditional home at Ballymully Cottage Farm, a rural locale that’s proven ideal for hosting a full-on multi-stage PA-assisted musical jamboree.

Now in its 14th year, Stendhal has always presented top homegrown talent alongside established acts. The 2024 festival will take place from July 4 to 6, with headliners including festival veterans The Orb, the mighty Zutons, Hot Chip in DJ mode, Ben and Ian from Gomez on their acoustic guitars and Heather out of M People.

Elsewhere on the bill, you’ll also find Noise Annoys favourites such as Problem Patterns, Cherym, Rory Nellis, Reevah, The Breeze and The Wood Burning Savages.

Be advised that ticket prices are set to rise from tomorrow, so get yours now at stendhalfestival.com.