SINGLE: Scott Maher – If We Were Lovers.

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My pal Scott Maher (Who you may recognise as the guitarist from The Shoos) has just gone and released a new single to take away the January blues! It’s his first solo material in five years and hopefully the sign of more new music to come. With quirky lyrics and a distinctly rockabilly feel, it’s an upbeat, fun little pop song which will have you tapping your feet in no time. It was recorded in The Bunker in Tallaght with Keith Farrell on double bass and Binzer Brennan on drums, so I’d suggest that you give it a listen and then head on over to iTunes to purchase!

The video itself is as summery as it gets, and features Tim Fernley of Gypsy Rebel Rabble fame on bass and Michael Meakin on drums. The story is basically a bloke searching for love online, and finds solace in the arms of a blow up doll… I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.

PS. Don’t forget to follow Scott on Twitter, he’s new!

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NEW MUSIC: Versives – Just Once.

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Let me introduce you to Versives: an electronic duo hailing from Cork, comprised of Alan Matthews and Kevin J. Power. Following the release of their Harpoon EP last year and Two Enemies EP in 2011, Versives are back with a new song and accompanying video, Just Once. It’s a gentle, melodic, synth-laiden track which opens with some poignant piano notes. Recorded “during some cold and dark afternoons in a little cottage in the countryside,” it was produced by Ciarán O’Shea and mastered by Feargal Davis, Just Once will be appearing on Versives’ upcoming début album, Prussian Blushes, which is set for release this February with Blind Faith Digital.

You can stream Just Once below, and the vintage-inspired video is also embedded below.

Make sure to keep up with all things Versives on Facebook and Twitter.

REVIEW: Whelan’s Ones To Watch 2014.

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Sadly I couldn’t make it to each night of the Whelan’s Ones To Watch festival this year, but I was able to head to the Friday and Saturday to catch some of Ireland’s most promising upcoming artists. Acts from the Wednesday and Thursday that I regrettably missed include: Monsenior, Me And My Dog, Beach, Floor Staff, Carriages and The Vincent(s), so be sure to keep your eyes and ears out for these bands over the next year.

On the Friday night I managed to catch a little bit of Biggles Flys Again, whose début album I’ve written about at length, Color//Sound and Women’s Christmas, whilst on the Saturday I saw Otherkin and Paddy Hanna.

Color//Sound

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Color//Sound are a recent enough discovery for me, and since seeing them for the first time at Electric Picnic 2013, I may have fallen a little bit in love. Formed in early 2012 by four BIMM students—Brendan McGlynn, Oisín Furlong, Steven McCann and Ben Roe—they have managed to create their own, unique blend of intricate vocal harmonies intertwined with tight musicianship and bloody good songwriting. Hitting the stage at nine, the lads managed to nicely pack out the main room long before their set came to an end. Their set included People, Weekend Friend and To The Countryside, all songs which easily demonstrate how solid a band they already are; clever lyricisms combined with their charismatic presence on stage means the audience are captivated in mere moments, honestly making Color//Sound one of the most exciting new bands on the scene right now.

Having already played Electric Picnic, Life, Knockanstockan and Vanstival, they are clearly no strangers to the festival circuit so it’s not exactly hard to imagine that we’ll be seeing some pretty exciting dates for Color//Sound over the next few months.

Go forth and listen to some of their songs over on Soundcloud! (Be wary of Peoplehowever, because I can honestly guarantee that it’ll be stuck in your head forever after only one listen…)

Women’s Christmas

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If you haven’t already read my review of the brand new Tremendous EP from Women’s Christmas, I am shocked and appalled and have nothing to say to you other than that you should go and read it now. Actually, not right now, perhaps after you finish reading this post instead. I won’t go into too much detail about the noisy three-piece since I have talked about them recently, but they are, respectively: Ronan Jackson, James Byrne and Bobby Aherne from Jogging, Villagers and No Monster Club.

It was half eleven by the time Women’s Christmas took to the stage Upstairs at Whelan’s, and it couldn’t really have been a more perfect setting. The tight space meant everyone was huddled together in what was definitely the sweatiest gig of the night and their energetic performance had the room in an absolute whirlwind. Summer Born, Winter Bred was definitely the highlight of their set for me, but songs like Sea Legs were no less captivating in the live environment.

I think 2014 will be a good year for these chaps, and hopefully we’ll see them playing more and more gigs by the time we reach the summertime. Check out Women’s Christmas’ Tremendous EP on Bandcamp.

[This is where I have to insert other people’s photos from the web because my phone was nicked; I’m sure you’re devastated by the resulting lack of grainy Instagram photos.]

Otherkin

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I’ll have to admit that the first time I saw Otherkin was a little bit of a strange one… They were playing Workman’s in June last year as support to The Hot Sprockets, and regardless of how much I have come to like both bands, sonically it seemed like a very odd pairing! Nevertheless, I was really impressed with them on the night and was looking forward to seeing them again. Made up of four lads: David Anthony, Luke Reilly, Rob Summons and Conor Wynne, Otherkin are a little bit punk, a little bit pop, delivered along with quite a heavy dose of alternative rock.

By the time we arrived to Whelan’s at nine, there was such a great buzz around the main room. It was clear that many of those present had come with the intention of seeing these guys play, and by the end of their performance, the room was jammed. Whilst they say very little, their set, akin to the sound on their début EP, Broken English, was varied and compelling. Lockjaw, “a pop song about depression,” is deceivingly uptempo with its use of a more jangly, muted guitar sound, whilst songs such as Good Drugs and Better Undone emphasise the band’s heavier influences and lead to some captivating extended jams.

Judging by their raucous reception on Saturday night, I have full confidence that these guys are maturing with each release and destined for great things! Have a gander over on their Bandcamp and grab yourself some free Otherkin goodies, along with their Broken English EP.

Paddy Hanna

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Paddy Hanna was the last performer I saw at the Ones To Watch 2014, and goodness me did he end it well! His début solo album, Leafy Stiletto, which will be released on the 25th of this month on Popical Island, sees him take an entirely different approach to his sound than he has with his other band, Grand Pocket Orchestra. Whilst Grand Pocket Orchestra are nothing short of bizarre, Paddy Hanna—with regard to his vocals and lyrics—seems to have reigned himself back somewhat. This is in no way a criticism, however, as his fantastic upbeat pop music makes for some fantastic listening.

Funnily enough, the only other time that I’ve seen Paddy Hanna was at the very same Siteation gig where I first laid ears on Women’s Christmas, so was interested to see how his set had progressed since September, particularly since he now has a full album under his sleeve. Opening with the first track of the album, Rosslare Tapes, it was plain to see that his confidence in the new material has come on in leaps and bounds. His nimble falsetto rang through Whelan’s smoothly on songs such as Leafy Stiletto, but for me the key song on the night was single Join The Army, on which he employs a harmonica to give the song an upbeat folky quality and had the whole crowd tapping their feet.

Leafy Stiletto is currently available to pre-order on Paddy’s Bandcamp and you’d be daft to not at least give it a listen all the way through!

VIDEO: Raglans – Lady Roll Back The Years.

lady roll back the years

Today is a good day: the video for Raglans’ upcoming single, (Lady) Roll Back The Years by their filmmaker-in-crime Finn Keenan has finally hit the internet! Now, whilst this won’t be a track unfamiliar to anyone who has seen Raglans live or has their eponymous début EP, this is a totally re-recorded and revamped version with guitarist Sean O’Brien taking the helm. Although less wacky than some of their previous exploits with Keenan (Think Digging Holes and Natives) it follows the band’s recent exploits around London, paired with some gorgeous black and white live footage.

(Lady) Roll Back The Years will be released as a single on the February 28th and their self-titled début album will be hitting Irish shores on the 21st of March, and I for one simply cannot wait!

Don’t forget to say hello to the Raglads over on Facebook and Twitter, they tend to be quite friendly.

NEW MUSIC: Women’s Christmas – Tremendous EP

Tremendous EP

I was lucky enough to catch Women’s Christmas at their début gig in Siteation way back in September, so it is with great pleasure on this Women’s Christmas that I present to you their Tremendous EP (Currently resisting the urge to describe it as “tremendous.”) Made up of the “most rugged ones from Jogging, Villagers and No Monster Club,” their sound is most certainly rugged and awash with fuzzy guitars, gravelly vocals and pulsating drums.

The EP itself was released on Any Other City Records, produced by Mark Chester and boasts some rather lovely artwork by Chris Judge. It has six excellent tracks (Summer Born, Winter Bred is my current favourite) and costs €2.99 for digital download from their Bandcamp. However, if you’re feeling a little nostalgic and have an extra euro to spare, then you can pick yourself up one of the limited edition cassettes! There are a mere 100 in existence, and will come in either pink or blue with a colour-coordinated version of the artwork, and of course included in the price is immediate digital download.

Check out Women’s Christmas on Bandcamp, and make sure to keep up with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Women’s Christmas play Whelan’s Ones To Watch Festival this week at 23:30 on Thursday 9th in the Upstairs venue. Tickets are €5 for one night, or €10 for entry over all four nights.

VIDEO: Carriages – Iron & Fire.

[Sorry sorry and sorry again for not writing for, eh, exactly two months, but my New Year’s resolution (which begins now, is to seriously never do that again.) Here we go…]

Ocho

In my extended two month absence, I’ve come across—and fallen in love with—an experimental folk duo from Dublin. Going by the name of Carriages, they’ve been around since 2012, and are really starting to turn heads. Following a successful support slot for BATHS at The Button Factory last month, they’ll be performing at OCHO in The Twisted Pepper this Saturday 14th with Ghosts and Clu. Earlybird tickets are €10 in advance online from Bodytonic.

Today they have premièred their first music video for the gorgeous song Iron & Fire. Directed and edited by Hugh Rodgers, it stars the Carriages lads, producer Harry Bookless (Little Xs For Eyes) and singer-songwriter Aaron Page of (Water Cycle) in a dreamy drive around the Wicklow Mountains—very romantic indeed. Have a gander below…

Carriages gorgeous eponymous début EP can be downloaded at a price of your choosing from their Bandcamp, and I highly recommend that you do so now.

Don’t forget to keep up with Carriages on Facebook and Twitter.

VIDEO: The Mighty Stef – Vampire, Hold Me Tight.

Iveagh Flats EP

It’s pretty common knowledge at this stage that Dublin rock ‘n’ rollers The Mighty Stef have been over in LA recording their latest album with the help of acclaimed producer Alain Johannes (QOTSA, Mark Lanegan) and today they have released the video for Vampire, Hold Me Tight, our first sneak-peek into the fruits of their labour.

Directed by Lindsey Byrne, the video depicts the band performing against a backdrop of erratic visuals from British horror film The Wicker Man. It’s colourful, energetic, and goes hand in hand with the powerful, gritty, yet very catchy sound of the song. Vampire, Hold Me Tight is part of the upcoming three-track Iveagh Flats EP which will be part of a limited edition run of five hundred 12″ vinyls available to pre-order now from their website.

The Mighty Stef will be performing this Saturday and Sunday (12th/13th October) with The Boomtown Rats at Vicar St., but if you’d rather catch them at their own show, the lads are hosting a three-date residency upstairs at Whelan’s on November 7th and 21st, and a final date on December 5th. Tickets for each show are priced at €9.75 (incl. fees) but the band are offering a fanatics deal which includes tickets for each of the three nights for just €22.90 (incl. fees) so make sure to get yourself in for at least one gig, as each promises to be an entirely different and unique event!

Tickets available now from WaV Tickets and Ticketmaster.

Free Download: Carried By Waves.

The Sea Between

Cork-based producer Carried By Waves (A.K.A. Ronan McCann) has just previewed the first single from his upcoming, as yet untitled, second album. The song is called The Sea Between and is available to stream and download for free from his Soundcloud below.

The track itself is a dreamy, synth-laden melody, awash with gentle vocals and pulsating drumbeats. It’s a good indicator of where this new album is heading, which sounds to me like a very natural, forward progression from the last.

After a successful Hard Working Class Heroes appearance at The Twisted Pepper last weekend, Carried By Waves returns to the studio to continue work on the new album, which should see the light of day in the next two to three months.

Make sure to keep up with Carried By Waves on Facebook and Twitter for new music and tour dates.

Also, don’t forget that you can still download Carried By Waves’ début album, Softly Held Together, once again for free from his Bandcamp! Very generous altogether!

Video: O Emperor live in Cork.

O Emperor Picture: Miki Barlok

Following the release of their critically acclaimed sophomore album, Vitreous, Waterford-based quintet O Emperor have released a beautiful live video for Soft In The Head. A sombre sounding ballad, this simple video features a solo vocal piano performance, filmed by singer Paul Savage during their tour rehearsals this summer at The Pavillion in Cork.

You can watch the video below, and also have a listen to Grandmother Mountain, the dreamy opening track from Vitreous, which can be bought from their Bandcamp in either digital, CD or vinyl format from €8.

O Emperor are embarking on a small nationwide tour, taking in dates in Cork (November 28th), Dublin (November 30th), Limerick (December 5th) and Waterford (December 20th) and tickets can be bought via their website.

FMC Tour 2013: Daithí, Funeral Suits and Le Galaxie!

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Today First Music Contact (FMC) revealed the lineup for their 2013 nationwide tour and it packs a serious punch. The six gigs will host Daithí, Funeral Suits and Le Galaxie, as well as a different local opening band at each venue. To be in with a chance of being one of the opening bands, all you have to do is head over to your Bandcamp and check out the ‘Opportunities’ section of your dashboard.

The six dates look something like this:

Thursday November 7 – Roisin Dubh, Galway
Friday November 8 – Dolans, Limerick
Saturday November 9 – The Pavilion, Cork
Thursday November 14 – The Spirit Store, Dundalk
Friday November 15 – Gigstarter (Vote for your area!)
Saturday November 16 – The Workman’s, Dublin

The 5th night is a bit different, on the FMC Tour website, you have the opportunity to pledge to buy tickets so that the gig will be hosted in your local area! You have to pledge the money to buy tickets, but will only be charged if you offer the winning bid.


Tickets are €10 and supposedly available from entertainment.ie, tickets.ie and the respective venues, but so far I’m having a slight problem locating the tickets so I’ll update this post when I know any more!

In the meantime, have a listen to Le Galaxie’s new single Lucy Is Here to get yourself in the mood for FMC Tour 2013!