Category Archives: New Album

Listen – Busking for Tea, Tenslotte

Busking for Tea is not just a clever name. The Kilkenny based duo really do like tea – so much so that they had to grab their guitars and sing their hearts out just to scrape enough money together to buy a couple of teabags for the fine nectar. The band was born.

Busking for Tea, Tenslotte Album Cover
Busking for Tea, Tenslotte Album Cover

I have never busked, and I admire anyone who does – it’s not an easy way to make money by any means, but it’s good to know it can bring two lads together to start a band and boil the kettle.

The album hosts 11 songs, three of which are covers – they busk for tea so cover songs are inevitable! Full of equal measures of gratuitous melancholy and happiness, listening through the album really does sound like you are listening to buskers on Grafton Street. I really like it for this. Check them out here now.

Listen – Paradox, Chapters

You  can’t spell Cork without Rock. I used that in a tweet recently and knew I would have to use it again. I knew I would want to use it again.

MTV had a profound effect on me when I was younger. Not the known MTV of now, but the MTV of yore when the likes of ‘Unplugged’ played to heavy hitters, grunge was being introduced to eager teenagers, and it actually played good music. I count myself as one of the lucky ones who was around to appreciate it for what it was.

20 years later, my musical tastes haven’t changed all that much – Sure, I like many more different types of music now, and have distinct views and tastes, but I still know good music when I hear it. Enter Paradox.

Paradox
Paradox. Photo credit Gilbert Fonteyn

In a time when it’s easy to get lost in the swarm of new and music wherever you go, it’s nice to get hit with an album that sounds like it was forgotten about in the 90’s only to be dug up in the digital era of now. For me, at the ripe age of 34, it’s a nice feeling.

Paradox hail from Cork – currently the grunge/rock/punk capital of Ireland as far as I’m concerned. A local music scene can create a popular bubble of the same musical genre in the area with many bands sounding the same, or playing homage to their surrounding peers. Paradox has been the band that others play homage to, and now they are bursting from that bubble and creating waves further a-field.

The lengthy 14 track album is distinctly different from their previous 3, a paradox in itself one could say – notes of Alice in Chains (particularly their Unplugged album), Nirvana, Silverchair, Mad Season and A Perfect Circle and NIN. As with these bands, there is a certain melancholy and assuredness to their sound particularly with top track and video ‘Nothing lasts’. I was sold on this song alone.

With an independent band producing music of this standard, my hopes are high for the future of the grunge/rock genre and era in Ireland, wherever it might exist. If MTV was to fall back to its 90’s roots right now, this band would be all over your TV screens, not just your computer screens. Just like the 90’s, pay your respects here.

 

Spotlight – Ríona Sally Hartman

I have an insatiable appetite for all things unconventional and all who embrace the ethos. Unconventional musings however, can quickly become commonplace. Just look at the current trend of beards and comb-overs sweeping across Ireland. One must find a way to remain unorthodox, uncommon and rare. That’s what stands out.

Que the ever-changing, whimsical and free-spirited Ríona Sally Hartman who has been delighting audiences for years under many different guises – The Ríona Sally Hartman Band, Monster Monster, Dig a Little Deeper, Sami Moukaddem, Live Jazz Duo, and Yo Teach! (more info on these here). And she’s fluent in Irish too!

It’s hard to place Sally in one specific genre – something she is agreeable with. Dependent on the project you’re listening to, there are elements of Regina Spektor in her voice, Florence and the Machine, Fiona Apple and Bat for Lashes. The one aspect that prevails however, is that lyrically, she remains unconventional throughout – reminding me somewhat of Joanna Newsom.

With song titles such as Frida Kahlo’s Delight and the Sealegs EP (which itself holds many delights), Ríona Sally Hartman showcases both her ability to weave an original story in to a song, and create the musical splendor that surrounds it. And there are many stories to be told indeed – check her Youtube channel here for more.

Ríona Sally Hartman -  Big Starving Thing
Ríona Sally Hartman – Big Starving Thing

Speaking of insatiable appetites – Her recent fund it campaign sees the release of Big Starving Thing under her own namesake May 18th, available for pre-order here. I can’t wait to tuck in.

Album Review – Le Galaxie, Le Club

I really like Le Galaxie. They have persistently been a dance remedy staple for me as long as I can remember. When all else fails at a party, pull out the Dayglo and facepaint and mash up the airwaves.

After a week and a half listening to their second album, Le Club, I can officially say it’s a bromance. It’s out there. I said it. What?!

The Dreamboats that are Le Galaxie!
The Dreamboats that are Le Galaxie!

I had an inkling I would like the new album – My various car journeys have been filled with the boom of the tunes Humanise, Lucy is Here and Love System for a number of months now. I’ve played them loud, and trust me, I really don’t drive the type of car that warrants attention.

Le Club is a diverse album with a loud 80’s and early 90’s tramp stamp across its sweaty lower back. If you’re an 80’s baby like me, you’ll instantly be reminded of Beverly Hills Cop, Running Man, Outrun, Terminator, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Knight Rider, Airwolf, Tron, Back to the Future……. and any other early childhood memories you can think of. It’s a mixed bag mash up of dirty electronic bass in pink leotards – this allows it to be played throughout from start to finish at a party without boredom or skipping tracks. Sweet.

About to dominate the dance/club scene worldwide, particularly since announcing signing to Universal Music Ireland in January, 2015 is going to be loud for Le Galaxie and their fans alike. I don’t think my car speakers can handle it!

 

Album Review – Fiach Moriarty, The Revolution

Using his full name this time around for his sophomore album, The Revolution, Fiach Moriarty bravely takes on the current state of world disparity and unrest as the central theme.

Fiach The Revolution
Fiach Moriarty, The Revolution

I applaud any musician (or anyone) that has the balls to speak out about past and present events that could potentially cause friction or blast opinion from listeners. With titles such as Revolution (the current single) and Freedom and Resistance, emotion and opinion will most definitely stir listeners indeed, and the album is the better for it.

Sound wise, the production level is through the roof when comparing to his debut So I. His debut was great mind you, but now with a steady fan-base and a firm standing in the Irish music scene, you can hear he has put his all in to this record.

There’s no doubt that Fiach can pen a great tune too. This was evident with previous hits Every Single Day and You Dear lauded by the likes of Hot Press, Paul Brady and Eddi Reader, but I did not expect such passion, complexity or anger in this album I’ll admit. With songs like Confession, Freedom and Resistance and The Mother, I was drawn in by Fiachs passion for the Ireland we live in today, and the history that shaped it.

You’ll be reminded of The Cranberries, Paul Brady, Damien Dempsey, Sting, The Wallflowers and even the Doors.

Varied and eclectic, but utterly rewarding.

Album Review – And So I Watch You From Afar, Heirs

Mexican trumpets, haunting vocals, clashing cymbals, heavy bass lines, isolated, echoes, organs……. it would seem that locking yourself in a linen mill in West Belfast for 6 months is a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

Isolation is a scary place no doubt, but inspiration, creativity and courage can come from it. It can work for some bands when recording an album, and not for others. It depends on the group chemistry I suppose. But it can also depend on the ability to embrace oneself as a group – to look at what you know; what you can do, what is easy, and say fuck it, let’s try something a little different.

ASIWYFA has done just this. This album feels so ‘them’ but, erupting from their 6 month stint in the linen mill, they have created an album that has been summoned from the collective psyche of the group as a whole – from what they know, what works, and what they haven’t tried before.

The beast that is ASIWYFA
The beast that is ASIWYFA

Listening through the tracks, influences abound, but nothing you can pin to any one particular genre (unlike previous albums). These influences give rise to a fun, inspiring and eclectic album – from Snarky Puppy, The XX, to Steve Vai, and Passion Pit. Something I never thought I would write.

Run Home, the album opener,  is a stomper, and will sound great live. Wasps holds a persistent low drone bass line throughout while kicking out ethereal echoing harmonies.

Redesigned a Million Times has a surprising Brit rock/Arctic Monkeys intro which makes way for Passion Pit style electronica and vocals. I can see this being released as a single, and hope it make the radio waves this summer. It would be a nice one to rock out to in the car!

Track five  People not Sleeping  screams of Snarky Puppy in the guitar riffs, while the guitar takes a back seat to a thumping bass line and thunderous clanging drums in A Beacon, A Compass, An Anchor. Animal Ghosts is a personal favourite which has a great live anthem feel to it – it begins as if the lads only pressed record in the middle of the guitar solo only to be usurped by a Mexican trumpet sliding in from the left in the most unexpectedly fitting way I have event heard. Nice.

Heirs, the title and longest track is reminiscent of Steve Vai’s  1990 album Passion and Warfare . It has a timid and timely build up to heavy euphoric release, changing pace midway, only to absolutely kill it for the last minute and a half.

The final track Tryer, You is a nice emotive finale to the album. It sounds almost like a ‘thank you for listening to the album and being a fan’ tune. It reminds me of the brilliant self titled album by The XX, but with more tempo.

I don’t usually analyse tracks so closely on an album review. I like to let people make their own inspirational objective thoughts on what they are hearing, not just what I hear. The Belfast quartet have produced an album here that has been inspired by their life and all the music and sounds they have heard to date. I suppose that’s what I have done here too by listening to this album in isolation for the last few days.

This album is as inspiring as it is original. Its ‘central theme is about the inheritance of ideas’. I  hope in turn, it inspires others to be passionate and original too.

Heirs drops May 4th on Sargent House. Catch them live at the Olympia June 19th.

Album Review, HamsandwicH, Stories from the Surface

Stories from the Surface has hit number 1 in the Irish charts (Friday 24th April 2015), and for good reason. It is most definitely their best work to date.

Stories from the Surface album cover
Stories from the Surface album cover

Their third studio album shows a wonderful leap forward lyrically, melodically, and creatively, and is a fitting follow on from 2010’s album White Fox which placed the indie band firmly in the spotlight. I can’t believe it has been 5 years since White Fox, an album which is still on occasional repeat in my house.

Having baked a cake with the right ingredients with songs like Ants and Models in 2010, HamsandwicH have continued this trend particularly with the first 6 songs on the new LP using a fantastic mixture of Willy Wonka-esque magic to keep listeners ears wanting more.  A great feat from an indie/alternative band and rewarding for new and old fans alike.

Load vocalist Niamh thankfully hasn’t changed her already uniquely soothing voice and the frequent, almost nonchalant, baritone harmonies from guitarist Podge seem second nature and effortless. It’s a great mix which worked perfectly on the last outing and I’m glad it hasn’t changed here. Damn you and your winning ingredients HamsandwicH!

2015 is already a landmark year for HamsandwicH – it’s hard to believe that we are only three studio albums in to their career. It feels like their summer sound has been around longer than their discography lends itself.

We have only begun to scratch the surface of a band with an already impressive career going from strength to strength and I haven’t even mentioned how crazy they are live! Vantastival 2012 anyone??

Podge from HansandwicH @ Vantastival 2012 - Courtesy of MauRamsPhoto
Podge from HamsandwicH @ Vantastival 2012 – Courtesy of MauRamsPhoto

 

Kudos HamsandwicH, kudos. Happy number 1!

Album Review – Villagers, Darling Arithmetic

I’m finding this album review really hard to write. This is the 7th draft. I generally listen to the album I am reviewing when writing about it and I can’t help but be brought to a different place when listening to Darling Arithmetic. In its stripped down and unambiguous offering, it is about love, love lost and learning to face your fears – I get totally swept away in thought from the moment I press play – it’s such a wonderful feeling.

Listening through the album, it tells a story from the beginning with ‘Courage’ which screams that Conor has been through a lot, but does it in a gallant, brave and honest way.  ‘Dawning on Me’ calmly weaves lyrics of infatuation in an amazingly poetic form. Conor then politely lets the listener know of his sexuality in ‘Hot Scary Summer’ and the relationship challenges he faced.

This album is not a coming out album. It’s an album that shows that love is universal. That breakups, lust, loathing, memories, and emotions are the same for both homosexuality and heterosexuality. This is so evident in songs three and four ‘Dawning on Me’ and ‘Hot Scary Summer’. Anybody who has loved, been loved or lost somebody can relate to these songs regardless.

Admirable this album is. I have always been a fan since the angry, yet haunting ‘Becoming a Jackal’ – this album saved me from severe injury (literally), to the loud statement that was ‘Awayland’, and the now frank, honest and mesmerising ‘Darling Arithmetic’.

This album is a triumph and will remain in my conscience for many moons to come.

 

Review – Audible Joes, Medicine for Modern Living

Punk rock by its very nature is undoubtedly one of the hardest genres of music to gain significant recognition in. There are only a handful that stand out from the crowd.

I have thought long and hard about why it’s so difficult to rise above the crowd- the band needs to be confident, the lyrics clever, the melodies catchy, the songs short and epic, and the band members or front-man needs to likable and engaging.

Audible Joes Group Shot

For me, Audible Joes debut album Medicine for Modern Living ticks all of these boxes. All of the 13 tracks on the album have melodies that are somehow familiar enough to mosh along to from the moment you press play. The opener How to Build an Urban Soldier is an absolute banger of a tune sure to fill floors. It immediately tells you that these guys know what they are doing. It’s a textbook fan grabber – it was for me anyway!

Influences are obvious throughout; Green Day (the Dookie years), The Offspring, gritty/early Foo Fighters, Nirvana, The Sex Pistols…….. All reputable bands to sharpen your sword on, but it’s this variety of influences that sees Medicine for Modern Living carve its own niche while confidently standing in the corner shouting in your face.

The album is under 40 minutes, and it keeps the momentum and tempo throughout, only breaking this mold for the surprising stripped down acoustic Shame of Being Human. A nice simple tune full of angst ridden lyrics. To me, that’s where punk rock stands out from other genres – lyrics are always stripped back and honest, taking no prisoners.

I’m not going to lie – I wasn’t sure I would like this album – I have heard mountains of punk rock throughout the years that left me regretting pressing play. This album did the opposite.

Artwork by Sarah Mackey
Artwork by Sarah Mackey

I like these guys and I like their debut album. It made me feel like when I first heard Green Days Basket Case or the Foo Fighters debut album. Any album that does this is a winner for me and I look forward to seeing these guys live in Whelans in May- I have heard nothing but greatness.

Audible Joes Medicine for Modern Living – go get your fix!

Find them – Facebook (the bio alone has to be worth a like?!), Twitter, Soundcloud, Bandcamp

 

 

Keeping it regular

If you have never seen or heard of Shamir before, you are in for a real treat with his new banger Call it Off’, a follow-up to last years hit ‘On the Regular’ which soared his unique androgynous countertenor voice in to the ears of many surprising listeners.

Shamir muppet 'Call it off'.

With a unique electronic pop feel, the trademark cowbell, phone calls, bright colours, dancing muppets, and a voice that is straight from the love child of Prince and Kelis, you can see why Shamir is doing quite well for himself.

His debut album Ratchet is due to drop mid May on XL. Nice.

|Music Monday| Hail the Ghost, Forsaken

Hail the Ghost’s debut album ‘Forsaken’ is a good album. It’s the type of album that comes along at the right time for people; you know the type that helps you through a breakup, a first date, or even a hangover. I have only had the burden of the hangover these days and welcome any album that helps me get through them.

The album contains 10 very strong songs full of melancholy and cushioned anger and plays very well in a single sitting without the need to have to adjust the volume for loud peaks or low troughs. This is a good thing.

hail-the-ghost

Obvious comparisons exist with The National in terms of sultry nonchalant vocals, but I would throw in Editors and even Nick Cave in terms of lyrics and melodies. The perfect mix of them all, but still unique enough in its own right to stand alongside them.

We can’t wait to catch them live in Whelans on April 2nd. Tickets available here at the nice price of €10 each. Sweet.

As debuts go, this is one for the collection. Get it.

Sounds like: The National, Editors, Nick Cave

Winning tracks: Nostalgia and Headstoned

Find them: Website, Twitter, Facebook

 

|Music Monday| Cry Monster Cry, Rhythm of Dawn

18 months in the making, the debut album of brothers Richie and Jamie Martin, ‘Rhythm of Dawn’, is an easy listen that’s hard to put down.

The opener ‘Darkest Hour, Longest Day’ immediately shoots the listener back to the 1970’s with impressive harmonies and shoulder swaying choruses reminiscent of ‘A Horse With No Name‘ by America. It’s a great choice as the opener; immediately grounding the listener with loud baselines and delicate relentless percussion letting us know what’s in store in the following 9 tracks.

Delving in to experiential folk rock, swaying in and out of country and touching on traditional, this is an album that gives a lot back to the listener with lyrics and harmonies that the likes of Paul Brady and Damien Dempsey would be very proud of. There is a very real sense of openness and honesty with the lyrics too, especially in the track Old at Heart, which is refreshing.

Rhythm of Dawn

Well worth many listens, this album will please many ears, and delight many faces and foot stompers during their tour of Ireland which has just kicked off. Details and tickets are available through the links below.

Sounds like: Simon and Garfunkel, Paul Brady, America, Damien Dempsey

Winning tracks: Old at HeartHomebird and Darkest Hour, Longest Day

Find them: Website, Facebook, Twitter

Catch our 2012 Vantastival interview with the lads here. Funny stuff!

 

 

 

ASIWYFA has a sting in its tail

asiwyfa sargent house

ASIWYFA has just premiered another track from the forthcoming album ‘Heirs’, (dropping in May) on ‘thefader.com‘ – the new track is called ‘Wasps’.

Speaking exclusively to thefader, ASIWYFA explain where the song title ‘wasps’ came from;

We then sliced and sanded it down to two-and-a-half minutes of the purest form of our initial idea. ‘Wasping’ became our word for ripping songs to pieces and throwing away all the bits that weren’t needed. ‘That’s good but it needs to be wasped,’ or, ‘Shit, we really wasped that.

Wasps is streaming now on ‘here‘ and is well worth a listen or 20!

Wheeler Dealers

Great news for those who got tickets – the June 7th date for Ash rocking Whelans is sold out! We got our tickets, did you get yours?

If not, don’t fret, we’ll keep you posted of the nights shenanigans. Wanna dress yourself accordingly for the impending epic night of Intergalactic Sonic Sevens? Head here to get your wears and pre-order the new album ‘Kablammo’ !

 

Avoiding tax is UK Gold

The score to the documentary apparently too controversial for BBC and Channel 4 to run is now streaming on Soundcloud.

Thom Yorke and Robert Del Naja (aka 3D Massive Attack) contribute to the score. The documentary is about corporation tax avoidance in the UK.

Yorke, supporting the documentary said ” now is the time to reveal the revolving doors between government and the city that has bred lies and corruption for so long, siphoning money through our tax havens for the global super rich, while now preaching that we the people must pay our taxes and suffer austerity”.

We would love to see him on The Late Late talking to Tubridy about it!

Check the trailer below – it alone will make you angry – essential viewing.

Soaking up your NME

SOAK just finished her tour of skate park shows around Ireland and England and has even made a tour video for NME, below.

Living the life.

Currently selling out tours in Australia, her debut album ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’ is  out on the 29th May in Ireland, 1st June in the UK, and 2nd June in US and Canada.

We just can’t get enough of her song ‘Sea Creatures’. Lovely.

SOAK

 

Crying out for a tour

One of our favourite acts from Vantastival 2012 was Cry Monster Cry – they had tweeted about leaving home without their guitar and needed one badly, so we knew we just had to catch their set and interview them!

Little did we know we would end up talking about the Mayan calendar, how the world was going to end in 2012, and where their name actually came from.

Vantastival-36 Vantastival-35

We’re glad to see Richie and Jamie’s world didn’t end in 2012, and they have since been on the up and up and are releasing their debut album ‘Rhythm of Dawn’ on March 6th.

Check out their current single ‘Postcards’ below.

Showcasing the upcoming album they have announced an Irish tour which sees them sending us postcards from all four corners of Ireland and heading back to Vantastival later this year – Even if they forget a guitar, their set is sure to be a good one. Mark your Mayan calendars people.

Vantastival-37

March 7 – Tower Records, Dublin

March 13 – Roisin Dubh, Galway

March 14 – Whelan’s, Dublin

March 14 – Cyprus Avenue, Cork

March 15 – Upstairs at Dolan’s, Limerick

May 3rd – Vantastival, Bellurgan Park, Co. Louth

 

 

Kablammo! It’s Ash Wednesday

Ash fans rejoice – the Northern Irish group are back! With no date pinned down yet for the release of the new forthcoming album ‘Kablammo’, we finally have a taste of what it will sound like with the release of the track ‘Cocoon’. True to form, the track is upbeat and immediately catchy with a strong baseline. Typical Ash at it’s best.

Tickets for their upcoming gigs and album pre-orders are available here. Grab ’em while they’re hot!

 

Prom night this Friday 13th

Le Galaxie

So what are doing this Friday 13th; the eve of Valentines night? Well Le Galaxie have you sorted with their Prom Night. The lads want to celebrate their recent signing to Universal Music Ireland and the release of their new album ‘Le Club’ in April.

Their Facebook page says:

Le Galaxie DJs present…

PROM NIGHT

A Valentine’s Eve Dance Party

As some of you may have heard, Le Galaxie recently signed with Universal Music Ireland and are set to release their new record LE CLUB in April. However, April is a million years away and Le Galaxie would like to celebrate NOW the only way Le Galaxie know how…WITH A PARTY!

On the most un-romantic night of the year, Friday 13 February, in the basement of the Arlington Hotel (AKA. the home of Mother Club), Le Galaxie DJ’s present PROM NIGHT.

Tickets for PROM NIGHT are €10
Doors: 11pm.

If you’re planning on going, get your tickets quickly and psych yourself up with the Prom Night mix from their Soundcloud page.

Dust off the suit, cummerbund and flouncy dress. And glow-sticks.

Villagers announce 2015 tour dates

Villagers have just announced their 205 highly anticipated 2015 live dates. April and May are going to be a busy months for Conor O’Brien but at least he will have the full band behind him. Apparently, Conor played all of the instruments on the new album ‘Darling Arithmetic’, as well as writing the music, producing, and recording it himself. Phew!

tour