The Listening Post: Findlay

findlay Music is pointless if it doesn’t grab your attention. If it doesn’t make you feel something, anything, then it’s just not worth hearing. Every so often a band will come along where the songs don’t necessarily have to be heartfelt and tap into the emotions of Thom Yorke to make you sit up and listen, they’re just amazing because they are. Sometimes a band is just making brilliant music without any need for analysis.

Enter Natalie Findlay, better known by Findlay alone, the incredible Mancunian singer whose rock-tinged teasing vocals on the unforgettable ‘Your Sister’ are enveloped in a cacophony of crashing drums and chugging guitars. And what’s the most impressive thing? It’s believable, every breathy vocal and cymbal crash is just so, well, Findlay. There’s already a definitive enrapturing sound and Findlay have only released two songs so far. You can get a free download of the brilliant ‘Your Sister’ by signing up to the mailing list here, and believe me: you’ll be listening to it non-stop for days once you’ve heard it..



The Listening Post: Apple Rabbits

London-based Apple Rabbits is a one man band which is the brainchild of multi instrumentalist and singer songwriter Jay Fisher. Most recent single ‘I Could Not Care Less’ has a distinctive sound, from the understated vocals to the clever use of  strings leading the song without overpowering it.

The most captivating thing about Apple Rabbits is that the songs sound like they’re being sung just to you, even with the expansive range of instruments being used Apple Rabbits’s music never loses the quaint indie feel to it. It always sounds personal, it never soars to dizzying heights in an explosion of strings; the beauty is in the definitive vocals and simplistic instrumentation. Listen to Apple Rabbits, get completely lost in the lyrical content of the songs and wonder why ‘Get Paid’ isn’t a massive song already.

The Listening Post: Gemma Dunlovely

Sublime harmonies entwined with understated instrumentation makes Dubliner Gemma Dunlovely’s sound nothing short of captivating. Rarely does her music stray from the tried-and-tested vocals and acoustic guitar formula, and is all the better for it.

Dunlovely’s beautifully melodic voice perfectly compliments the stripped-back instrumentation, from her calling out in the catchy and uplifting ‘Stevie’ to her sweet and affecting vocals on the Laura Marling-esque track ‘Cold Winter Mourning.’

She also recently collaborated with electronic duo White Collar Boy on their track ‘Capslock’, showing that her voice  can span different genres and still sound as inviting as it does on a raw demo. You can listen to Gemma Dunlovely’s music here.

The Listening Post: White McKenzie

When you wake up in the early hours of the morning, regretful about the things you did in the past and terrified of what your life seems to be becoming and where your future is pushing you, there are certain songs that can expertly latch onto your feelings and magnify how you feel. When this happens it’s like being in a movie where the soundtrack perfectly suits the rising emotions, and it takes a while to find that band, that song, that epitomises your temporary night terrors.

‘4am’, a track by Dubliners White McKenzie, sounds like it wouldn’t be a million miles from The National’s dark reflective music, and was made for those moments of unnerving doubt that grab you when you least expect them.

Punchier track ‘The Big Man’ could easily be mistaken for a Pearl Jam track, with frontman Kieran O’Reilly’s vocals bearing more than a passing resemblance to Eddie Vedder’s. Part remnants of 90s American grunge, part sweet-but-bitter indie, this is White McKenzie’s key track that sounds unquestionably radio ready. White McKenzie released their debut EP ‘Absence’ in 2011 and are currently working on new material. You can listen to them here. If you like powerful vocals mixed with punchy chords and understated drumming then you won’t be disappointed.

The Listening Post: No Sozopol

 Some bands aren’t made to last forever, meaning that a lot of the time they leave behind music that will remain unchanged and won’t be marred by the band’s unsuccessful ‘change of direction.’ No Sozopol is one of those bands. Having disbanded in 2011, shortly before the release of their debut album ‘Now That We Have Your Attention’, No Sozopol’s music is just resting, silently waiting to be heard.

The songs on the album combine both indie and pop rock sensibilities with strong, unwavering vocals. Stand out track ‘Demist My Head Freeze My Heart’ starts timidly with jangly guitars and group vocals before climbing to rock-like riffs making it seem like it’s two songs that have been melded into one. It effectively shows the band’s capabilities and musicality. ‘Now That We Have Your Attention’ is available as a free download here, so now you have no excuse! Below is the video for ‘Claustrophobia’, the first single off the album.

The Listening Post: OrphanCode

You should never underestimate the seriousness of a chess match, and one band who understand the importance of one are Dubliners OrphanCode. And as well as this essential requirement for being in an indie band they’ve also mastered the art of writing songs that have real staying power (I’ve been a fan since 2008, and the melody for ‘Last Dance’ still pops into my head on a regular basis) and are definitely one of the most talented and underappreciated bands in Ireland at the moment.

Since their earlier incarnation of Nero this band have been getting consistently better, and I genuinely have yet to hear a song by them that I don’t like. They’ve been one of my favourite Irish bands for the past few years and definitely stand out from the endless number of other bands trying to make it. OrphanCode have the distinct feel of a band teetering on the brink of wide recognition, and when you listen to any of their songs you’ll understand why.

The Listening Post: Kristeen Young

“She frightens me,” I overheard the brunette in the front row quietly say between songs. To receive this kind of reaction is no mean feat, and when Kristeen Young took to the stage as the support act for Morrissey’s recent gigs in Dublin’s Vicar Street she definitely grabbed the attention, confusion, and fear, of the audience members. Thrashing out songs on her ceramically designed keyboard and wailing into the microphone with a look of both anger and determination on her face made her hard to ignore.

During her set you could hear mutterings of “PJ Harvey” and “Kate Bush”, and while the similarities are undeniable there’s also something very endearing and unique about Kristeen Young. Maybe it’s her catchy lyrics, maybe it’s her quirky fashion sense, maybe it’s her knack for hitting perfect notes when she sings. Whatever it is, it’s hard to put my finger on. But that’s one of the qualities of Kristeen Young, it’s difficult to adequately describe her music and on-stage presence, she seems like an anomaly that’ll be forever hard to grasp, and that’s perhaps one of the best things about her.

The Listening Post: Rooftop Anthem

Young, enthusiastic and void of the lack of direction that tends to plague bands in the first few years of their formation, Rooftop Anthem are an interesting quartet. Channelling the likes of Kings of Leon, mixed with original and catchy lyrics, makes for an exciting listen.

Though Rooftop Anthem only formed in 2009 they already sound ready to be filling arenas. Their debut single Suzie is a combination of catchy lyrics which will be embedded in your brain for days, with attention grabbing riffs and a new sound for the face of Ireland’s usually overlooked indie music scene. Have a listen to the song Suzie, chances are you won’t be disappointed.

The Listening Post: The Reckless Kind

You’re on a road trip, driving through the California desert and leaving everything behind. You’ve got no work or school in the morning, you’re a free agent and the road is yours. And what’s that song you hear on the radio? You can hear someone singing that  they “got so tired of the city, it’s what you do not what you say” amongst the crashing of cymbals and crisp guitar licks. The scene is perfect, the desert sand is being whipped up by the wheels of your car as the sunset approaches. The song playing is ‘To The Country’ by The Reckless Kind, and what you’ve just read is the image that the song evokes every time I listen to it.

This San Francisco based band are currently recording their debut album in Oakland, and their drummer is none other than Adam Carson from AFI. The band have a distinctly American sound, from the nuances in frontman Eugene Quinn’s vocals to the twangy guitars that sound like they were recorded in a garage in Mississippi. They’re self described as being a heavy soul band and some of the band members have the beards to prove it. You might like it, your dad will definitely like it, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t listen to it.

  • You can listen to The Reckless Kind here.

The Listening Post: Esben and the Witch

I don’t like Danish fairytales, or really any fairytales for that matter. But I do like music, and even though Esben and the Witch share their name with a Danish fairytale this Brighton band is thankfully free from ogres and witches. The haunting vocals of frontwoman Rachel Davies can cause shivers to run down your spine, think Florence but with less sweetness and more creepiness.

Their latest single ‘Chorea’ was released on Record Store Day this year and it sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack of a wonderfully bleak horror movie. The cries accompanying the vocals and the muffled lyrics of the chorus only add to the mystique of this underground band.