It’s that wonderful time of the year again, the fire is blazing in the sitting room, hot water bottles are officially okay to bring to bed again, massive, furry, pom-pom snow-boots are acceptable to wear and everyone is full of holiday and Christmas spirit now that the college assignments are done and dusted! So what better time than now to review some of the wonderful music 2011 has brought to my ears?!
Fallon Bowman (Canada’s finest export) who is a very gifted young lady (musically brilliant, independent, charming, down-to-earth, smart, hard-working, all this AND blessed with good looks!), released her third album Human, Conditional earlier this Spring under her own name, (her previous albums were released under the artist name Amphibious Assault, I’ve been a fan of Fallon’s since 1999 and have been watching her progress through the years). And she delivered yet again. Human, Conditional not only showcases her new voice, stronger, bigger, braver than ever, it reveals a mature songwriter, eager and unafraid to blend rock, pop, soul and electronic genres, to create her own unique sound. I’m not sure if I can do justice to describe just how wonderful her new sound is! A true voice singing anthems of deep human emotion in a gorgeous spread of guitars, synths, drums and basses! Fallon is real, Fallon is here, now!
Personal favourites include “Disappearance” (guitar heavy throughout with a haunting, minor vocal verse, trust me, her voice is astoundingly beautiful here), “Tales From The Fourth Floor” (hearing this progress from the demo Fallon posted online last year to a huge anthem, bound to fill the dance floor live, with strong lyrics, soaring vocal and hooky synths) and “The Empty Space”. Fallon also treats us to new versions of her fine Depeche Mode cover “In Your Room” and her original “Mistakes, Breaks, Way Too Lates” (aptly renamed “Mistakes: Retake”).
I dearly love her Amphibious Assault sound for it’s pure, raw, grittiness (the songs are savage!) but Human, Conditional with it’s fine production is a new work of art. Please listen to Fallon, please support her!
Another kick-ass lady who’s certainly going places as well is Porcelain Black (Alaina Beaton). I only heard of Porcelain a few months ago but she has been around the block already as well, getting serious attention on MySpace and live with her previous industrial rock band Porcelain and the Tramps, singing with Courtney Love as well as Lil Wayne, modeling and working the celebrity scene. She was signed to a major label who wanted her to go the Avril Lavigne road but is now signed to 2101 Records (via Universal Republic Records) thanks to her collaboration with label head and producer RedOne.
Porcelain’s new sound is also fantastic! Her growly, edgy vocal combined with RedOne’s signature hooky synths along with pounding drums and heavy guitars, maintaining industrial rock roots, makes a perfectly danceable, kick-ass, in-your-face, lets-go-run-some-red-lights wall of sound!!!
Porcelain has just released her definitely addictive, debut single “Naughty Naughty” on iTunes last week, her album is due early next year. Mentioned online as the next Lady Gaga, Porcelain is the original Lady Gaga (as Gaga herself often acknowledges Porcelain online), but in my opinion, there’s no comparing the two, they have dramatically different sounds and both are equally quirky! Porcelain oozes rock attitude and will be be a hit in 2012, mark my words!
Back to these shores, Dublin based trio The Minutes made excellent wavelengths with their debut album Marcata, released in May. I already dedicated an entire post to how awesome The Minutes are after seeing them kick serious ass in Harrisons, Blackrock, Dundalk this autumn. Marcata is a rock n roll gold, straight up, proper rock, blues flavour guitar riffage, earth-shaking drumming, screaming vocals and steady bass playing. Fine musicianship and they sound like a band!!!! I haven’t stopped playing the album in my car (top volume of course), all autumn/winter. Go see them live when they return to Ireland (the lads are currently on a monster tour of Europe). Personally “Black Keys” and “Black and Blue” stand a mile out and are wicked live! I’m very excited to see an Irish band doing so well and I can’t wait to see what they bring to 2012!!!
On the subject of Irish artists, legendary guitarist of Irish punk-rockers, The
Radiators From Space, Pete Holidai released his debut solo album The Devil’s Guitar, this summer also! Pete treats us to twangy, surf (dare I say sexy?!) guitars (they bring Twin Peaks soundtrack to mind) fused with beautifully crafted 60’s/70’s pop melodies, clever arrangements, deep lyrics and musical sophistication. Pete pays tribute to his musical influences such as David Bowie, Matt Monro and Les Baxter and delivers a fine piece of musical art. Pete composed, wrote, recorded (with vintage gear and modern technology!), produced and released The Devil’s Guitar by himself!
Personal favourites include “Famesville” (that baritone guitar sound give me goosebumps every time!), “The Girl In The Car” (makes me feel like it’s summertime and want to travel somewhere!) and “Lunar Girl” (I like the idea of dancing with a handsome stranger to “Music From the Moon”!)
The Devil’s Guitar is much more than musical inspiration, Pete invites his listeners to follow the story of Johnny, a man tortured by the death of his true love, who travels to Berlin to make sense of the voices in his head and follow his heart-breaking, twisted, emotional journey. A damn fine listen, get your hands on this C.D at once!
The above is just a few of the great artists I’ve been listening to this year, but they are the ones that have rocked my car, iMac, iPod and kitchen radio the most! Other Irish artists I highly enjoy and urge you to go check out are:
Black Svan: BLACK SVAN | Free Music, Tour Dates, Photos, Videos. (“Sickness” is SICKENINGLY AWESOME!!!)
Return To Sender: Return To Sender (RTS).
Klara Mc Donnell: http://www.youtube.com/user/KlaraMcDonnell
2BiT: 2BiT | Free Music, Tour Dates, Photos, Videos. (“Musical Vibration”)
Storyfold: Official Storyfold Website.
Autumn Long: Breaking Tunes – AUTUMN LONG.
Happy Christmas and happy New Year 2012 to you all! Thanks for your support! Of course, don’t forget to have a listen to my own original music Stephanie Caffrey – Original Solo Projects by stephaniecaffrey on SoundCloud – Create, record and share your sounds for free. and Shock Sorrow Shock Sorrow | Drogheda, IE | Alternative / Acoustic / Blues/Rock | Music, Lyrics, Songs, and Videos | ReverbNation. Sláinte!