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.
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!
If you don’t know the Choice Music Prize takes place tonight you better have an excuse along the lines of having been off hunting for water on Titan, opals on Venus or at least decent pint of beer in Dublin.*
Anyway, yaddah yeah…tonight in Vicar Street, twelve judges will decide who wins the coveted prize for best Irish album of 2008. The contenders are:
*sulk* I had a whole plan to go along under the premise of snapping, having stolen The Vinny Club‘s muscleman suit to smuggle in under my photographer clothes so I could storm the stage during one of the dreadfully boring performances in order to douse phosphorescent lighter fuel across my cleverly-bulkier person whilst roaring “ADEBISI SHANK“ to be ejected, screaming and vindicated to St James’ Hospital burns unit. But I’m not arsed. I have better things to do tonight. It’s bin day tomorrow.
Dundalk’s Chrome Horse have made it to the finals of the International Songwriting Competition with Reflections Of A Madman. Congratulations are in order as they join the ranks of 287 finalists who beat off stiff competition from over 15,000 others to reach the crucial stage and Chrome Horse now reside in the last 16 of the Rock category.
The ISC is one of the world’s most respected songwriting competitions including judges such as Robert Smith of The Cure, Black Francis of The Pixies and Jerry Lee Lewis amongst others. It’s great to see they’ve got a chance to shine here. Check them out yourself by hitting their website: their entire Songs From The Last Revolution album is available free in either download or CD format!
Lend the lads a hand and bid in their favour: the People’s Choice Vote on the songwriting website is calculated separately from the judged competition:
Vote here: http://www.songwritingcompetition.com/PVWelcome2008.htm
While March hares have yet to come bounding through this neck of the docks, here’s some upcoming madness to pay heed to : Adebisi Shank and Jogging join the bill for the return of Baltimore’s highly-feted four-piece Ponytail on 11 March. This undoubtably hangs down the back of The Vinny Club‘s storming display of support in September. I didn’t go to that but after checking out the latest Ponytail album Ice Cream Spiritual I wish I had.
Foggy Notions have kindly offered two double passes to lucky parties. I’m sure you’ll be beating down the door for these so give the following challenge a bash and send your answers to rockeroffher[at]gmail[dot]com:
Shank’s Pony, Jogger’s Nipple, Blogger’s ….??
Entries close on 9 March. I’m not that finicky about time so 23:59:59 if you’re determined to wrest one.
You will of course recognise Paul Noonan of Bellx1 who was secretly in situ in Bewleys yesterday for a once-off private performance for Hot Press competition winners. All very hush-shush and lovely I hear.
While Friday night previously saw the launch of Heritage Centre‘s EP The City, The Tree and The Fox:
His name is Chris, not “the super-hot drummer in asiwyfa“. Although he is super-hot. In terms of hunky music, whole band are Chippendales, new haircuts, headbangs and all. Tunes to make the hardest palate drool. And yeea to the new merch, I’m never taking off my t-shirt!!
They played loud, hard and fast, at long last people got the chance to find out for themselves why I’ve been raving about this band for so long. It was superb to see so many out for two support bands at the unprecedented alternative-rock hour of 8pm on a freezing Thursday night.
So worth it tho…new material came to light, including new single Don’t Waste Time Doing Things You Hate but the all-too-short set mostly comprised lovely, faithful oldies such as I Capture Castles, The Machine and of course, wondrous And The Voiceless. I hope these pics go some way towards expressing their phenomenal energy onstage, although it’s really the military precision of their songs which sweep you off their feet. There were moments, eyes closed, I really felt as though we were on the march. Fall in…
Being the soundest of people and thanking everyone who comes to shows – there were shouts for last week’s Button Factory gig – certainly pays off well. Living the life that just keeps on giving, Derry’s Japanese Popstars walked away from the Irish Dance Music Awards on Wednesday night with two shiny wins for Best Live Act and Best Album, We Just Are.
Affirming the “best album of 2008″ hype of international Dance press including praise for Ting Tings and Beyonce remixes along with Mixmag‘s favourite next big thing, this latest news is cherry-on-top tickled-pink for the Popstars trio. Based on public vote, expect to see the full list of IDMA winners on the Slick DJ website soon or keep an eye on Bodytonic news. I voted late last year as Djamel, brother of fellow HP snapper Ruth Medjber, was up for best newcomer.
Good to see Halfset, Oppenheimer and R.S.A.G. make the grade – we all knew FLApes and Jape would get the nod – but really…it’s the most godawfully boring list, ever. Zzzzzzz.
What do you think? Who were your tips? Any un/outstanding albums for you there? No doubt the real debate will be raging over on Jim Carroll’s blog. Go there, then come back here…
*Edit* rather than just slag the list off, I should elaborate on why I find it uninspiring.
[rant]As I’ve mentioned on JC’s blog, these nominations pale in comparison to last year’s contenders. Where are the exciting outsiders along the lines of Dry County and SEBP in 2008? Of albums to break boundaries, what of The Vinny Club who succeeded in creating an album full of bounding tunes from samples and pure zany imagination. Crayonsmith and Chequerboard have been overlooked YET AGAIN, despite jaw-dropping creations. Was there no skip, hop or jump at the sound of Sunken Foal’s magnificent Fallen Arches?
What about Land Lovers‘ truly fabulous, catchy, original songs of love and heartbreak? Of all Northern Ireland has to offer in its strongest age, is David Holmes deserving? I think not.
Fight Like Apes are darlings but is the lack of guitar really enough to warrant their listing above the utterly superb Spook of the Thirteenth Lock, who twisted traditional Irish instrumental music like a swathe of bubble-wrap? Where are the dance records, the hard rock, the ambitious and daring? Where are those who pooh-pooh the safe, the commercial, easy-listening, easy-sell?
Where is So Cow? Where is Michael Knight? Where are God Is An Astronaut?