THE return of bands to the fold seems to be a recurring theme to enjoy in these summer months. Last week we chronicled the likes of Talos and his new album, whereas this week not only do we have brand new music (the first of the year) from one of Ireland's strongest artists, old-time fans of legacy acts have plenty to look forward to as well.
Welcome news emerged of the return of Fight Like Apes. A prolific act of contemporary Irish alt-rock that first went on hiatus over six years ago, the group announced in stunning fashion this week that they would return for a one-night-only gig next March – a headline performance in Dublin's 3 Olympia theatre. This news was also accompanied by a re-run, limited edition pressing of their debut album on to vinyl (with less than 1,000 copies available for purchase worldwide). With unforgettable tunes such as ‘Tie Me Up With Jackets’ and ‘Jake Summers’, I’ll be first in line to get my ticket this July.
We also heard very welcome news from the Spanish-Irish producer Biig Piig. Fresh off a stunning performance at this year's Forbidden Fruit festival, the Cork-by-way-of-Malaga songwriter/ producer released her new track ‘FUN’, which has rightly received plenty of praise and support from BBC Radio 1. Her first new track of the year, following on from her ecstatic ‘The Sky Is Bleeding’ EP and collaborations with Metronomy and Lava La Rue, ‘FUN’ is everything you’re hoping for from the idiosyncratic producer, effortlessly blending indie, pop and dance music.
“FUN is about bickering with a partner, and being sick of it,” she said. “FUN is also about how you can bring out a childish part of each other when no-one else really gets that part of you, the good and the bad. No-one gets under your skin or pushes your buttons like the ones you love the most.” We can only hope that this is the start of something great.
CMAT is a country-pop star with a knack for writing your favourite song of the week. She was one of my standout performers at Barcelona’s Primavera last month, carrying herself as if she should be playing stadiums already, and it’s only right her discography reflects that.
With one of the most enjoyable albums of the year already out (subtly titled ‘If My Wife New I’d Be Dead’), the songwriter announced a deluxe edition with four reworked versions of tracks available: ‘Geography Teacher’ (rock ’n’ roll version); “No More Virgos’ (country version); ‘Communion’ (country version); and ‘I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby!’ (Acoustic Version) were all recorded in a single day in London and will be the main driving points behind this new album. This week, we previewed the new edition of Communion, which CMAT said “has been maybe the least successful/beloved on the album and I really wanted to give it a second chance... I really wanted to get back to that reference of 90s Americana to see if the song works better once you pull all of the crap out of it, and I kind of think it does!”
The spotlight this week falls on some of the best independent artist releases of the week, a difficult choice as always, particularly with the huge amount of tracks fired out of late. One track I haven’t been able to get out of my head has been the newest from folk artist Anna Mieke, the stunning single ‘Twin’. Long one of the more beautiful singers in the genre, Mieke’s latest is a singular and gorgeous piece of folk songwriting, laden with traditional acoustics and sweeping strings in an intense arrangement. The Wicklow artist continues to impress.
We also have a sojourn into the production world with one of my favourite artists, Arthur Valentine. ‘Rocket Fuel’ is a maelstrom of chilled R&B, hairstyle beats and lo-fi synth-pop production, culminating in an effortlessly spacey single that submerges you into Valentine's vibrant world. More of this, please.