And the ad-sync perennial that effortlessly stand the test of time. buzzcocks.com
It’s far too easy to throw around phrases like “punk rock masterpieces”, but when it comes to this Bolton/Manchester band, that’s exactly what we’re talking about. These three albums, originally released across 1978/’79 and reissued here with exhaustive gubbins (singles, demos, live shows) showcases not just the brevity of Buzzcocks’ early career (1976-81), but how brilliant they were at fusing the bullet-train energy of punk with eminently tuneful pop. Slow most of the songs down and you have inherent melody; lubricate them with punk rock grease and you have a slew of tunes (including You Say You Don’t Love Me, Fast Cars, What Do I Get?, Fiction Romance, Love You More Ever Fallen in Love) Download: Fast Cars, What Do I Get?, Love You More, Ever Fallen In Love
Is Mise Records The bounteous riches of the 19th-century Goodman collection are honoured here by a trio who unveil selections from this priceless tune store with the keen eye of a seamstress and the ears of musicians in pursuit of each melody’s essence. Piper Mick O’Brien, flute player Emer Mayock and fiddler Aoife Ní Bhriain (Mick’s daughter) pay ample attention to their chosen task; the result is an Aladdin’s cave of tunes, treated with a grace and ease that belies the threesome’s almost surgical attention to detail. The familiar rubs up alongside the newly discovered, each tune infusing the other with an urgency and vibrancy. The collection invites endless return visits, each tune celebrated in glorious technicolour thanks to the jagged-edged beauty of the musicianship. claddaghrecords. com
Download: Fáinne Geal An Lae For his debut album, this New Yorker called on some heavyweight friends (Josh Ritter, Mary Gauthier, Tift Merritt). But methinks the real inspiration behind Ed Romanoff’s thoughtful and atmospheric collection is the great Texas bard Guy Clark and, to a lesser extent, Leonard Cohen. Certainly the opening track, St Vincent de Paul – which movingly relates Romanoff’s search for his birth father – echoes Clark’s mastery of the pithy narrative, in which time and circumstance take on leading roles. Romanoff is an impressive performer, a whispered baritone swathed in layers of jangled richness. His vivid songs of life’s vicissitudes display their bruises with a dignified reserve. That said, not all 11 tracks hit the spot with the same intensity or purpose – a gravelly cover of I Fall to Pieces is especially ill conceived – but there’s enough here to spark some interest. edromanoff.com Download: St Vincent de Paul, Ladyluck
Self-released Matador Kurt Vile’s forthcoming record, due out in April, is a 70-minute double album called Walkin on a Pretty Daze. Fully 10 minutes of that generous running time will be occupied by this (almost eponymously titled) single. It’s a likeable slice of early 1990s slacker rock, available as a free download on the band’s website (kurtvile.com). The Rihanna copyist appears to be giving herself a wedgie in the video for the fourth single from her Ora album. Although in this context, I believe the correct term is an “atomic wedgie”. Republic On previous singles, London singer-songwriter James Blake perpetually sounded as though he were trapped in a cupboard with a bunch of synths and movie smoke. Here he is hecked by a bunch of football terrace foghorns, but the result is no less captivating. A welcome return.
Glassnote Entertainment Produced by Markus Dravs (Mumford & Sons, Arcade Fire, Coldplay), Harper Lee is the opening track from the Dublin five-piece’s debut album, Absolute Zero, which is due for release in May. Little Green Cars play Dublin’s Button Factory in Temple Bar on March 8th.