A successful week for Irish music all-round! Firstly congratulations to Jape on winning the Choice Music Prize – many have already said it went to the nicest man in Ireland and of those on the final shortlist, he was certainly amongst the most deserving. Halfset made a really good album and R.S.A.G. certainly set tympanics trembling with Organic Sampler but in the end the award went to one whose music played truly massive role in 2008. Despite fear and suspicion on the night due to the presence of David Holmes and The Script, Richie Egan is now wealthier to the tune of ten thousand fruits and a smooth celebratory trophy declaring Ritual the most critically-acclaimed Irish album of 2008. Thank you Jape.
There’s an interview with Choice founder Jim Carroll over on Analog. It’s a decent read…have Phantom really been binning bands’ CDs? In this age of carbon neutrality I thought unwanted promos found a home in charity shops. It’s all a wicked lie!
Salulations are also in order for Falter Ego who won the DIT Battle of the Bands in Think Tank on Wednesday (by the by, how fantastic is the new Cylon ceiling in the Eustace Street club?! Totally makes up for the naff Diet-Cokesque mural and porn-star toilets…!) Falter Ego beat off competition from Bojangled, Flying Columns and The Harm to win the first heat. Myself and two judges from Drop-D were level-pegging at 3/4 time and prepared for a fight amongst Indies when the three metallers rocked on and settled the score with four great, catchy songs. Look forward to hearing from you lads but if I can make one teeeny suggestion – introducing online visitors to your music with “The Official…Myspace Page” is a bit naff. Just sayin….
Before I launch into the plethora of upcoming releases and shows, take a moment to consider Parhelia‘s words on the effects of illegal downloading on small bands.
The Dublin post-rockers released Shifting Sands in early February and yet to date there have been over 500 downloads from one filesharing site alone – more than the album’s total legitimate sales. That ain’t cool. Support your local music industry people – it’s the only way to survive without selling out.
Amongst others, this Saturday 7 March sees two entirely different gigs: Angel Pier, A Lazarus Soul and Lines Drawing Circles take over Andrews’ Lane Theatre – LDC also play Hideaway House in Deansgrange the following night, Sunday – you can read Angel Darragh’s Soundtrack over on Drop-D.
The other gigging biggie is The Urges in Whelans, also tomorrow – biggie because it’s their last Irish date before they descend on the not-so-sleepy town of Austin, Texas for SXSW….did you know the city has a bat population of 1.5 million? Sounds like a kind of haven!
Allow me to justify the bias with this nifty Sickboy image. Doesn’t Colm look like a Peter Pan? This gig should be some kind of excellence – joined by rapid developers The Funeral Suits in Transformer, both bands really gave it socks last weekend supporting Franz Ferdinand and the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster at Crawdaddy last weekend. Decent reviews up here!
Spring’s always a lovely time for babies and in terms of new arrivals we’re rolling into a seriously rich burst of new music as several single, EP and albums are ready/readied: there’s a lot of free stuff washing about too!
Brand-new www.aliasempire.com features photos, blogs and free tracks and remixes via download to introduce their born-again sound. New material’s been out a week and the electronice quartet are getting raves. The new site requires registration for max access but it’ll be worth it I think. The lads have always been very clued up regards use of information on the web and so I relish the prospect off seeing what special musical warez they’ll treat fans to.
Heritage Centre wowed Whelans’ crowd with the recent release of their The City, The Tree and The Fox EP. It even made the State! If you, like me, missed the night, then you, like me, should go check out their live instore performance at Tower Records on Wicklow Street this afternoon at 5pm…if that’s just when you’ll be leaving work on a Friday buzz, why not drop in?
Vox Populi of Limerick have quietly rolled up and pulled an album out of their pockets. Self-titled, the debut boasts 8 tracks at 36 minutes and sounds fucking smart on their MySpace. Catch their two FREE shows at the Quad in Cork tonight 6 March supporting the *awesome* Shooting Spires or with The Outfit in Dolans Warehouse on Saturday 7th.
Herv‘s newest album is set for free download release from acroplane.org on Monday 9 March – this bodes well as previous freebies on Richter Collective and Alphabet Set have been truly mighty. You now have no feasible excuse not to be familar with the Breakcore master.
Another release on Monday, this time from the tropi-pop Television Room who’ve spent the best part of a year fine-tuning what should hopefully be a topping album. Interestingly enough, bassist James O’Brien (who along with Michael TV Room was a member of The Marshals) has decided to theoretically split himself into a multi-tasking muso by joining the ranks of Black Soul Strangers – they also have a new album Animate out later this year despite losing two original members. Get the low-down on their blog.
Could this be a hint as to who supports the glorious Scottish anti-popstars on their Foggy Notions return in a few weeks…Naw, I’m just being silly amn’t I? Fellow Scots Attic Lights will in fact do the honours. I had to point that out…aside from a deep love for all our Caledonian neighbours, I just can’t wait for My Maudlin Career.
Estel‘s highly-anticipated EP featuring the talents of Mike Watt and Steve Mackay was released last week and can now be found in Tower Records and online from Richter Collective. And so looms a gigantic gig – Rockfest III, Friday 13 March at The Tap on Nth King St. The prog-psychers join Zafaranchos, Council of Tanith, Sexbat and Razortown in fucking up routine St Patrick’s celebrations.
When Butterfly Explosion decided to make aninteractive playlist to coincide with their upcoming gig in Whelans on 16 March, with huge relief I saw they’d chosen to go with Club AC30‘s shoegaze post-rock sensibility and not the alternate evil of St Patrick’s Day. Though Shamgaze does have a nice ring to it…
So Cow has been busy with all manner of interesting plans…I’m not sure what’s final yet so I’ll just say our transatlantic neighbours should find their love for all things bovine renewed this summer…in the meantime *clickah* So Cow In A Shed *clickah*, smashing free download of not-TV cover songs propped up on iamsocow.com…”You’re welcome!”
Kinda related to this news is Tony Higgins from Galway who drums for So Cow and is one third of the deadly Stress!! Promotions, has been working on a selection of free EPs under the name of Junior 85 recently…the story is simple – a different sound every few weeks beginning with the gentled Sleepy and countered by the more recent noise Now It’s For Everyone/Now It’s For No One. Check MySpace for more info but they’re really very engaging tunes.
The Yeh Deadlies might even join So Cow on that transatlantic jaunt – they’ve plans to hit New York later this year to hook up and howl with US label-mates Werewolf Police. Sounds exciting! Justly so – when the blizzard of 2009 hit a few weeks back, the ‘Deadlies holed up with firelighters and scuttle of ideas which culminated in a roaring blaze and the Snow Joke EP which has just started winging out to desks. I haven’t got a copy yet but the songs over on MySpace are quite fun, sexier and more grown-up – they do not sound like the band I saw in the Boom Boom Room a year ago.
Speaking of Werewolf Police – www.myspace.com/zombiecops. Hurry up and make songs!!
Dyannowha, this is great. Our bands are evolving into harder disco funk dancey bright folky pop thrash madness of loud smooth devil-minds…yea!! There are so many exciting new sounds washing out…cock your ears dawgs.
One record that’s been ready for a while is A Futurist Theatre‘s Caviar To Pigs. It’s something of an unusual album of rock songs with a really dramatic, building texture. I don’t really know how I should describe them other than, considering our country’s steep heritage of music and arguments this is exactly what a tempered Irish band sould sound like. There are no ditties to titties or lily-livered ballads here, meaning no compromises, honest rock. Just trust me.
Indiecater continue to do what they do so well and breathe live into another modern Irish classic, namely Mumblin’ Deaf Ro‘s debut album Senor, My Friend as a digital-only release for the bargain sum of €4…yes, FOUR SQUIDS. Here’s a warm handshake: The Hero Is A Graduate.
Ro’s a gentle genius – I only have one album The Herring and The Brine but I love the phonetic pronunciation of his myspace.com/mumblindeafro - Mumble In The Afro…try it with a Jamaican accent!
One fella by the name of Simon Fagan has wrapped up a new EP Hired and Fired for its release into the world, chastely kissing it goodbye as he asks us to “take care of these songs now they’re yours“. Cheesy? A lil bit. Worth checking out anyway? Sure…if anything he’s a hard-working soul with no less than 19 regional radio and live performances lined up for the month ahead. That’s a lot of Spar breakfasts…
New Amusement have a double A-side single Jamboree/Shocks coming up on vinyl and they’re really feeling the new music. This I know because I spoke to vocalist Brian last weekend after Green Lights‘ gig and he told me they’re all thoroughly fed up of last year’s storming Are We Winners. More confidence in new songs can only be a good thing, right? Decide for yourself when they play Academy 2 on 13 March with Story of Hair and Disconnect 4. That’ll be such a bright poppy night…I can has poppy night?
Actually, head over to www.notemedia.ie for a host of interviews with New Amusement, Heathers, The Amazing Few, House of Cosy Cushions‘ Richard Bolhius and my own recent BATS article is up there too. Keep an eye on the site – editor Mark Coughlan has big plans for Ireland’s first music wire.
Welcome also to Munster’s alternative culture mag Crude. We all know it’s a precarious period in print and I’m curious as to its reception in the region around Limerick. Has anyone picked up a copy?
Also with big plans are MusicReview Unsigned. Although they’ve redesigned and changed the erroneous spelling in their name, I’m still not entirely convinced they’re exactly what the unsigned music industry has been waiting for. Whatever, good luck to them. The intention is pure. I’ll never forget the hilarious Ballyknockanstockangate debacle.
One upcoming gig I’m really, really looking forward to is the 20 March extravaganza at Whelans as Crayonsmith play their first decent headliner in a while, supported by GiveAManAKick and Dublin Duck Dispensary. Why my excitement? Well, I haven’t seen the White Wonders since they played last year’s IMRO showcase and always want to, while everytime GAMAK or DDD ever play I’ve already had commitments. And it seems Bobby Duck is one of those volatile geniuses who might be incredible, might be terrible or might attack the crowd with teddybears and lime cordial. Or anything imaginative. So…yeah!!
And same for Not Squares! One new, one old but new! The DISCO thrashin’ Belfastards are coming back to Dublin for a 12 March Twisted Pepper show with the mysterio Kicks Blue who, some say, can only be seen in certain shades of moonlight at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve…
And you won’t believe it but Murder Plan too! Immerse yourself in the broad spectrum of aural Irish ice cream. And yes Adam, we know about the man. More fool you.
Four of Ireland’s most talented females soon get to really kick up their heels and swing their hips – Talulah Does The Hula have announced their first headline date and it’s going to be a glamour-blammer! Guests have yet to be confirmed but Whelans on 26 April is the arena. Can a pony learn new tricks? We’ll soon see! If you can’t even wait for the headline show, TDTH lend support to Jabbas on 25 and Sweet Jane at Psychotic Reaction on 27 March in Crawdaddy.
Also on the 27 March, at last, at long last The Spikes!! Yes, the still exist, they do stuff, they’re a band despite never seeming to perform, release or loiter very much. The debut album is called Urges and Purges and will be given a thorough Spikey spanking at Radio City on Friday 27 March.
Dark Room Notes will undoubtably set the scene alight again as We Love You Dark Matter, the long-awaited follow-on to 2007′s lauded Dead Start Program EP debuts on 9 April with a gig in Academy 2.
Psychic Kids – once known as Betamax Format – are absolutely chuffed over the moon amazed delighted thrilled and awestruck to support Rolo Tomassi on the Scottish punks’ forthcoming visit to Ireland in April. Four dates there shall be, coinciding with the ‘Kids new single Fox Eyes. More info here!
“What’s gonna be the craziest instance of Dublin March madness then Nay?” I hear you challenge!
My answer: Drugzilla reclaiming McGruders on 26th. Oh it will be filthy. It will pummel, thrash and assault every preconception of what Clare has to offer in the music stakes. This band do not play live very often. You should certainly go. Keep an eye on Drop-D‘s Soundtrack next week.
Yet another doff of the cap to Smalltown America Records whose website just keeps on giving. Mick Roe of The Richter Collective recently collaborated with STA, the label-home of ASWIYFA and Fighting With Wire, on a Public Service Blogcast which hears Mick discuss the label’s origins and plans for the future with a specially-tailored selection of tracks serving up a slice of the RC sound. Really good stuff.
GiveAManAKick want you to grill them. Yep, the juicy two from Limerick are making a DVD and have invited your harrying enquiries. If you’d like to particpate, send your interview questions on all things GAMAK to askgiveamanakick[at]gmail[dot]com. Maybe ask their thoughts on last year’s Welcome To The Cusp album, their jaunt to New York for the CMJ Music Marathon, new single Brittle Bones which is due out on 20 March, the upcoming slot at Canadian Music Week in Toronto or maybe even go full-tilt Paxman on their arses and find out once and for all what the poor Man did to deserve that Kick?
SuperExtraWellBehavedParty have been sooo quiet lately. Perhaps NYE with Adebisi at Whelans just blew their minds beyond the Oort Cloud…or maybe they really have been working on Night Horses, the ‘proper’ follow-up to their 2007 debut – the ‘unproper’ Appetite For Reconstruction is still free on Bandcamp by the by!
Due out in May, first expect Radar, a single featuring Cadence Weapon, before Night Horses gallops in to cause and effect the entire Irish festival line-ups. I love the title…have the Boners gone all Bat For Lashes on us?
Check out this deadly merch from And So I Watch You From Afar – soon to wing its way from Japan. Very exciting to daffy me, having worn my wasp t-shirt holy in just one month. There’s loads more news from the band on their recent UK tour with La Faro and all the updates on the new album due out in rapidly-nearing April/May. Reeeeads the blooog….
Or get an eyeful of this video for new single Set Guitars To Kill:
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Sanzkrit are readying The Album. Quaver and behold:
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And finally – Galway’s best-kept secret, Music For Dead Birds. Divine decomposition!
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And that’s all, folks!