Sorry but that was the most boring post ever and had to go. I’m using my blogger’s prerogative to delete and finish on a decent note. Cos I can
With wider eyes and less of a nicotine habit, I sat down to begin my Irish music blog in mid-2007. Just home from Castle Palooza, my camera cards were full, my dictaphone had chopped interviews with Fight Like Apes and The Kinetiks and my head was absolutely bursting with ideas. Almost two years’ photography experience behind me at that point, I’d come to realise the real display of talent and strength lay in the unity of our domestic music scene.
All my life I’ve had a special, romaticised vision of Ireland. Music played a big role at home, good and bad – My mum always told me Sarah by Thin Lizzy was #1 when I was born in June 1981 and for years I’d tell people my dad was a bassist in a rock band. Imagine my horror to discover it was actually Shakin’ Stevens‘ You Drive Me Crazy.
That back-to-front standard has stood me well over the years – I’m not your well-rounded, balanced music fan. For a start, I’m deaf. Morning, noon and night my ears hiss with tinnitus’ incessant drone, blatting out all sound below a certain decibel. Music, in headphones and right fucking up front at gigs, has been a salve, literal escapism.
I also have two young children and really greedy cats and know that I skated all-too-close to another life of working in a Spar deli. Music literally saved my life and as I fell harder and harder for this bright future, I wanted to repay, devote myself to its cause so it could never truly leave.
I just didn’t know very much about it. I’d need a yellow Dummies book to recount all the lessons and tests Irish music industry required – what the hell do the Virgin Prunes have to do with Estel? Why weren’t Delorentos just a boyband? Why don’t we slag off Paul Brady but Bono’s fair game?
Our musical heritage is based above all, on quality. Once so insular and closed in to itself, Irish music was a hedge school, the old teachers passing on the wisdom of bards with bodhran and fiddle to pupils, that constantly evolving drum beat was all our nation had for many years. Centuries of turbulent politics and a traumatised pattern of immigration fed the rebellious spirit of folk songs to an inevitable climax – the arrival of Rock in the 60s. With such a formidable giant in Irish Traditional, intruders daring to challenge its grasp would need a silver arm to break our own high standards.
And yet Rock triumphed. Thirty short years have witnessed the implosion of tradition, Ireland broke free of hundreds of years musical insulation and now in the 21st Century, our creativity has truly begun to flex. Heavy metal and contraception are accepted, electronica and head shops are found in every town. We are part of this new movement of the moment.
For everyone else, it’s just there. For me, it’s become my whole life, I’m still affected by The Immediate‘s break-up, I loved following the careers of Delorentos, Director and another thousand, memories of great nights with Noise Control, travelling the country with the first strains of ASIWYFA in my ears, gentle glory of Halves and Tenaka, discovering the brilliant Science of BATS and Adebisi Shank‘s Math Rock, string-tugging pound. And so, so, so many more – the student gigs and competitions, hanging out with bands so thrilled and glad people actually came to see them that it didn’t even matter if their music wasn’t great – you’d still have a fun night out. The ones who still always mailed and said hello even if I’d never made it to their gigs – namely Matt Lane.
This becomes a hard post to write when I try to explain why I’m leaving.
As a single mum in an incredibly messy house, I’m really tired of working on a daily-publish routine. It’s too distracting. My kids’ teachers are not impressed.
I wanted major changes to my site that were incompatible. Though I cannot thank Hot Press enough for taking a chance on me, I need to digest all I’ve learned. I want to write…really write. I’d like to try and really challenge myself to cover new ground and make the most of what I’ve learned.
And I don’t want to annoy people for no reason and I can feel tensions building. Like Lily Allen, I need learn when to shut the fuck up. I’ll argue to death for something I believe in…so I’m gonna get my facts straight.
I’ve just been myself though, loving the music, loving the people and the chance to actually involve myself in some beneficial way of paying back all the joy Irish music has brought to my life. All the times I’ve felt a thrill, a drop of sweat on my lens, a smile, a jiffy envelope and wham-bar EP. The brilliant album launches, the crazy parties, the hugs, the spats, the clinking beer bottles. The nights of good sleep because Butterfly Explosion or The Jimmy Cake make far sweeter lullabies than infinite ringing.
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!
Now I always say bands are lickable but this is beyond anything I coulda dreamed of. Loreana Rushe does dolly-pixtures of Grand Pocket Orchestra in a veritable e-number tartrazine scrumptious overload…
Dublin City Council in partnership with Axis Arts & Community Resource Centre in Ballymun are currently taking applications for the Music Recording Assistance Opportunity. The recipients of this award will receive 2 days rehearsal time and 1-day studio time in the Basement recording studios in Axis, Ballymun towards an original music recording. An independent expert panel will assess the applications. The Recording Opportunity is for new recordings only. No completed packages CDs can be funded. Only work in progress will be considered. The Award is open to all forms of music and to people born or living in Dublin City (administrative area).
Mightily sad am I to bring two cessation notices in one day…Delorentos are soon to be no more:
We’ve got some sad news.
It’s with a very heavy heart that we have to let you know that Ronan has decided to leave the band. He feels it’s best for him to move on and do other things. The three of us will still be making music and will let you know what happens next.
As our songs always came from the four of us playing together we’ve also decided that it wouldn’t feel right to continue “delorentos” without him.
We’re all very proud of the songs we’ve written over the last year, we feel they’re some of the best we’ve ever done, and as a result we’re determined not to discard them or let them go.
Next month, the four of us are going to record this album together and plan on making it something we’ll all be proud of. It’ll be our last collection of songs as delorentos, and we hope you’ll like them.
We want to thank everyone that’s supported us since we started, we’d never have gotten this far without you. We hope to play a gig or two to say goodbye.
We’ll be in touch soon with more details.
Ross, Níal and Kieran and Ro
One of the best-loved bands of recent years, they were bright, cheery indieheads with great tunes, marauding guitars, immensely singable, bright and fresh. Without them, I would not be sitting here now…I was just saying to Ian Thrillpier the other week that Delorentos were the band who got me into the Irish scene proper – Hot Press were behind the lads from the outset. I met Kier at a Christmas interview in 2005 and a few months later, blagged my first photopass: their April 2006 gig in Whelans. Up til then I was loving Franz, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian…I had no idea there was better on my own doorstep. I’m not the only one who found them inspiring – The Kinetiks were incredibly impressed by their North Dublin neighbours and Jacqui Carroll attributes her discovery of Irish music to an early Delos~ show while UnaRocks, John Walshe of State, Jonnie Craig and countless others championed their sound.
The Leave It On EP sold-out in shops immediately on its release - a comment I left on the Delorentos profile asking how to get a copy led to meeting two lovely friends, one of whom hunted down the elusive record as a gift. The title track remains a constant favourite to this day – if I close my eyes and listen, I go back to the heady start.
Time passed and new music kept coming:just like good NSMA winners, In Love With Detail was considered a worthy candidate for last year’s Choice Prize. Our paths crossed repeatedly, from tiny venues to the huge oul’ barn formerly known as The Point, at the biggest festivals Oxegen and Electric Picnic to the smallest and most independent. They worked their arses off, gigging the length and breadth of the country, playing shows in Italy, the UK and US and yet never looked or sounded tired, would always, always smile, wave and come say hello. Unlike BellX1, it was always enough to be loved by those at home.
When I last saw Ronan at HWCH in September, we had a great chat about the band’s new direction and he was full of praise for developing bands, especially The Parks. It’s good to know there’ll be one last dash of Delorentos flavour, a final parting shot of that north Dublin spirit which paved the way for guitar bands to reclaim Irish stages from singer-songwriters. Doing it for the kids til the end.
Lovers beware! Perhaps sick of one year too many without an appreciative Valentine from the Irish music scene, Simon and the Ghost have scrapped their plans to release a debut album and called it a day. Drop-D leaked the news yesterday with a statement from Simon himself.
Truly contrary, everything about Simon and the Ghost was polarised: these Dublin phantoms were lighthearted and serious. Though their name conjured to mind deadly ’80s BBC sitcoms, they were not-so friendly Ghosts, professing little love for trappings and fashions of Irish music, claiming “it’s time to throw this whore out of bed having realised she corrupted you to your very core” and so loitered on the fringes, purposefully detatched from the live scene.
They say recession is a time of baby booms and indeed I’ve noticed a swelling of Distractors…check out their MySpace to see the new name joining the ranks. Yes, restoring the Dubliners’ sound to its original five-piece, welcome Paddy Distractor!
Previously a member of Rabi Junior and merry man of The Brilliant Trees and John Spillane, Paddy Doyle is no stranger to stages. Joining the Distractors’ fold he’ll be filling out on guitar, vocals, keyboards and pure unmitigated energy.
And just in the nick of time too! Fresh from supporting Inner City Pirates last week, Distractors launch their EP this Friday in Academy 2 with support from The Parks and Sleepy Rise, followed by Dublin’s favourite Indie night No Disko afterwards…should be a right corker!