I’m back in Derry, Northern Ireland next week, my first visit for some time & the first of 3 trips to see friends planned for this year (I know, I’m spoiling them). Music plays a big part in all my excursions, this time we are off to see the Wizard of Dub, Lee “Scratch” Perry, & I’m getting more excited about that the nearer it gets. As I have been a little out of the loop I thought that I should check out what is currently hot on the banks of the River Foyle.
My good friend Fergal “Doc” Corscaddon (he’s not a medical doctor but would, I’m sure, help out if they were busy) has a new favourite band. As Fergal is a man of discernment (see here) it behooves me to check out this music & to, perhaps, spread the word about it.
The Barbiturates are a 5 Piece Neo-Psychedelic Grunge Punk Esoteric Occult Anti Pop band, or so they say. Fergal says that they are the most original band he has heard for some time, making music of substance, beauty & grace. He goes on to say that the Barbiturates are the group you want to be in (we won’t tell his fellow members of the Gatefolds) though he is unable to confirm the rumours that they are locked away in a Galliagh flat in a modern day Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band scenario !
Their latest mini-album is inspired by “The Holy Mountain” (1973), an hallucinatory, mystical masterpiece of a movie by director Alejandro Jodorowsky. It’s 25 minutes long & you are busy people but if you have the time then it’s just a click away. To hook your music up to such a complex & challenging work of Art is ambitious & confident. The Barbiturates’ music is uncomplicated, direct, honest & affecting. Try “Jesus & the Slave Chain”,.their latest track on the Soundcloud & I’m sure that you will want to hear more. Fergal saw them play just last week. It was, as it often is, a busy musical night in Derry, bigger, better attended gigs are in store for the Barbiturates.
Strength NIA had a good 2016. Their single “Northern Ireland Yes” deservedly got a wide hearing, they gigged all over Ireland & in that London. The year ended with the release of “1956 Olympics”, a song with a great Rock & Roll story attached which, I hope, will be covered here in the very near future. Now there’s a new single “La Floresta”, another fine blend of cool bass & beats, retro keyboards & Rory Moore’s strong melodic vocal. The video is accomplished too. Y’know, when I listen to Strength NIA I often think that the songs are not long enough. I’m not complaining at all it’s just that I really like the hypnotic groove of their music. Always leave them wanting more…it’s worked before. There are more gigs to follow (check the Facebook page) & what we really need is a full length collection from the band because they have a good thing going, something to say & an interesting way of saying it.
OK, 3 is the magic number around here so I asked my great mate Joe Brown who gets to be the lastest but certainly not the leastest on this review. Joe dropped in some names who are just getting through to me but we agreed (we often do !) on who should feature. Invaderband have been around since 2012, first releasing music in 2015. They are fronted by Adam Leonard, a Mancunian relocated to Derry (smart decision !) & oh, I know the drummer, Rion is a top fellow. They describe themselves as garage/art rock while Joe hears Swell Maps, Roxy Music, The Fall & Neu which makes for a tasty post-punk blend. This January a debut LP was released. On “Invaderband” the shorter, sharp & to the point songs are the most immediate (see above) but over the 8 tracks they stretch out & make a great guitar noise. The best place to hear and buy the record is over on Bandcamp. Here’s another of the short & sweet ones which is not about the late Alan Rickman.
Well, that’s enough to be going on with. I’m sure that over the next few months I’ll become more familiar with more good music from new & old friends in the city. There’s a music scene in Derry that I really enjoy, everything I have included here deserves a wider audience. Get yourself over there…tell them Loosehandlebars sent you !