Monday, 22 September 2014

Who Is Kid Trench? Plus Track, 'I'll Be Waiting'

Kid Trench, 'I'll Be Waiting'

Info: Yes, info, well that seems to be a little bit hard to come by at the moment. On Saturday evening I received an email from this young gentleman that merely said 'Hi Remy, here's a track you might like, thank you, K.T.' with the above Soundcloud link. So I've sat down this afternoon and took to the Google machine to find out more, and I can't tell you much, other than that he is from Belfast, and has two tracks released at this point. Other sites have also posted about Kid Trench's new song, 'I'll Be Waiting' and also revealed that information is very elusive about this artist, mysterious. Well, I suppose it kind of comes back to my point yesterday about songs standing on their own, although I have seen very positive feedback from regional BBC radio stations on his Twitter feed. 

My view of the track is that it's instantly appealing musically if simple lyrically. There's quite a similarity vocally with James Vincent McMorrow on the higher pitches and there's an overarching soothing vibe from start to finish on the track. The other track on Kid Trench's SoundCloud page, 'Blue Skies', gives a small insight into what we can expect from a full E.P. release, which I'm sure must be in the offing. The vocals alternate again from high pitch to lower tone with a nice dash of electronic sounds, gentle piano playing and a nice beat to close it off. 

Kid Trench, 'Blue Skies'

So who is Kid Trench? I don't know, but I do know that the above two tracks have sufficiently whet my appetite for more, for the moment he's letting his music do the talking and that's what it's all about at the end of the day.

You can Follow Kid Trench on Twitter here @KidTrench

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Song Lives On - Irish Music Scene 1997-2003, Part 1

John Hume, Bono & David Trimble, 1998

Italia '90, and all that jazz

Preamble: Rose-tinted glasses and nostalgia are a lethal combination, and I think I'm yet to meet someone who has not been a victim of both. We commonly look back at the past as a secure and comforting place, and toward the future as a great unknown. Every older generation scorns what is to come, while the younger generation view the idyllic past with disdain. For the sake of this post I'm going to be up front, I'm not going to try and convince anyone that the 1990's were the best thing to happen to Ireland since Fair City first aired, I'm going to say it was the best decade, relatively. After centuries of rule from Britain, and a few decades (not those ones) from Rome, the eighties came along, mass emigration and unemployment, and no Angela Merkel to blame, we were just in the shit, no country for young men or women. 


As I was a child, born in 1980, I have quite muggy memories, I remember orange and green buses, dungarees, punks with mohawks, and no money. Then, out of nowhere, the 90's came, and swept us all up on a wave of optimism and unbridled happiness, and it happened straight away, in 1990. Following the success of beating England and drawing with the USSR at Euro'88 (but not getting out of our group), the Irish team qualified for Italia '90, and without winning a single match, got to the quarter-finals, at our first ever World Cup, we went mental, and rightly so. Then we started having mad summers, with heat waves, we even had our water turned off by the local councils, the highlight of our week was getting some shit toy from a cereal box and we won the Eurovision 4 times in 5 years (and haven't won it since....!). On the political front the hugely historical Good Friday Agreement was signed and economically we were commencing our foreplay with the Celtic Tiger, it was all good, the plebs were delighted with themselves and the politicians thought they were demigods. What could possibly go wrong? Well, we all know what happened next and is still happening, but now it's time to get to the point of this post.

Playing hardball in Europe

This was the background to a small snippet of the Irish music scene that I experienced from the late 90's to the mid-noughties, britpop was morphing into indie music across the water, and the domestic scene was flourishing. There were some incredibly talented Irish bands which have still left their mark almost two decades later such as The Frames and Whipping Boy. What I want to focus on here are some of the lesser known bands, and some bands that very few people will have ever heard of, or their music. Unfortunately, during this time, the internet was only arriving in Ireland, therefore digital archives of music by independent artists are impossible to come by. By complete chance my mother handed me a shoebox that had been in my family bedroom 2 years ago which contained about 15 tape cassettes, some of which had tracks by Irish bands recorded from Dave Fanning's old 2FM show and Phantom FM in it's pirate days. Another valuable resource for looking at Irish bands from this time has been a site that, as far as I can recall, has been going since the dial-up days. I also used some compilation CD's, and in one case an E.P. I was given by a guy I worked with after I finished college. Next week I'll be putting together a list of tracks from these bands in the second half of this post, the list isn't about bands who should have 'made it', (maybe they should have), it's an indulgent collection on my part of bands, or even just songs that I loved back then and listening back to them now, still do. 

There's one other reason I felt compelled to cobble together all of these songs by bands from days of yore. All of the music I review these days is contemporary, and a lot of it from bands that are starting out. You find, and it's always been the case, going back decades, that money and life eventually become big factors in whether a talented band or solo artist continue doing what they want to do, i.e., make great music, play live shows, record albums etc. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't, and musicians end up working in unfulfilling jobs and are forced to make ends meet outside of music. When that happens, initially it can appear temporary, but eventually time goes by and the last live gig suddenly seems so long ago. Miserable and all as that scenario is, there's a hidden silver-lining, and that comes from the songs that were created in the first place. The strange thing is, especially in this technological age, that when bands cease, what they created doesn't. Songs never expire, they never cease to exist just because the band has, they outlive the band and they can resonate with the listener one, five, ten or twenty years after they have been written / recorded. Most of the bands which will feature in Part 2 of this post broke up long ago, some of them I never saw live, but each track reminds me of a specific time, and it's almost as if the songs themselves are saying to me, 'Yeah, they're gone, but you're still digging my shit aren't you?!', and that's what it's all about.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

New Track from Tell No Foxx, 'Fusillade'

Tell No Foxx, 'Fusillade'

Info: Back in May, Wicklow band Tell No Foxx released their impressive debut self-titled E.P. which was reviewed here and they have a new track recorded, 'Fusillade' which you can stream above. The new song proves the band are going to continue getting it right, and as I mentioned at the start of the summer, the prospect of a full-length LP is quite exciting. 'Fusillade' is a dark and atmospheric track with a bit of a Duran Duran / Spandau Ballet vibe quite similar in style to their other excellent electronic track, 'Pure' from the E.P. More of this please fellas!

Tell No Foxx are also playing two upcoming shows in Dublin, Friday, 26th of September in Whelans on Wexford Street and Saturday, 4th of October in The Button Factory, it's almost as if they are accommodating those of us who don't do hangovers at work well with two weekend slots which is always great. Since the review of the E.P. here one of their tracks, 'Boulevard', also got an unsurprisingly positive review in Hot Press, here's another look at the video, and you can also find their social media info in the link to the last review in the first paragraph.

Hot Press track review

Tell No Foxx, 'Boulevard'

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Midnight Union Band, New Album, 'Of Life & Lesser Evils'

The Midnight Union Band, 'I'm Your Leader'

Info: Kilkenny band, The Midnight Union Band have recently released the first single from their upcoming album, Of Life and Lesser Evils (out on the 27th of September), the above track, 'I'm Your Leader'. 

If there was some way in the future that albums could be designed for individuals according to their personal tastes and artists they like, I'd be handing over Of Life and Lesser Evils and telling them they'll be doing very well if they can get closer than this for me. Normally when I review an album I'll listen to see if there are any other bands or artists that the music reminds me of to give an idea of what the listener can expect and just keep them in my head, but there are so many here I had to write them all down. It's not that the songs here remind me of the entire works of particular bands, but more a pinpoint in their discographies, or a specific phase. Vocally I'm reminded a lot of Mike Scott from The Waterboys, and at times even Leonard Cohen (in tone only!), on the track 'The People', which I will come back to later. Musically I was dizzyingly drawn across the decades from the early 60's to the 90's and back again, in a very, very good way. From Creedence Clearwater Revival, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The James Gang and Van Morrison, to later Bob Dylan around the time of Time Out of Mind (1997), and even Primal Scream's 'Movin' On Up' on Screamadelica, Of Life and Lesser Evils pings around so many different styles with ease.

The array of instruments on display, and all of the band members evident playing ability, along with intelligent lyrics only add further to what a complete album this is. The mandolin intro on second track 'Just A Scar' (and throughout the album) wouldn't be amiss on Rumours, and the accompanying electric guitar solos are a fine example of the blues style we hear repeatedly on different tracks. On tracks such as 'Note to Self' and 'Behind the Truth' the harmonica adds significantly to the country-folk feel of the tracks and now that I think of it also recalls early Dylan and that well-known group that The Midnight Union Band have been compared to previously, The Band. At the mid point of the album, on track, 'Gospel According To.....' we are treated to barnstorming, Jerry Lee Lewis-esque, rockabilly piano playing and manic drumming.

The Midnight Union Band, 'Behind The Truth'

Two tracks that resonated with me in particular were 'The People' and the album's finale, 'But I Am The Night'. Lead singer Shane Joyce's vocals are painfully heartfelt, and the track is the best example of a theme that is central to the album, social consciousness, or a lack thereof. The song tells of a downtrodden but seemingly apathetic people who are so worn down by their masters that they cannot summon the strength to fight back, a succinct summary of Ireland since 2008 perhaps. The following two tracks 'Behind The Truth' and 'Law Ain't Justice', as the titles suggest, ably continue with this theme, giving a modern take on 60's protest songs from the US or the UK punk-era's anti-Thatcher sentiments. Finally, to 'But I Am The Night', a fine example of a 7 minute track that is too short, a dirge very reminiscent of contemporary New York band, The Walkmen, seeing us out with an uplifting mix of brass instruments and shuffling percussion that you don't want to end. 

From my own perspective, it will require something exceptional between now and the end of the year to surpass Of Life and Lesser Evils as the best Irish album I've reviewed in 2014. I am certain the band will receive very positive reviews from other music sites and print publications, which they will have fully earned. 

The Midnight Union Band are:

Shane Joyce   - Vocals, Harmonica, Acoustic Guitar 
Peter Flynn     - Piano, Mandolin, Electric Guitar, Lap Steel, Hammond 
Cian Doolan    - Mandolin, Electric Guitar 
Brian McGrath - Bass Guitar 
John Wallace   - Vocals, Drums

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Monday, 15 September 2014

Mail Order Messiah's Album Out Today & New Video, 'New Stuff'

Mail Order Messiahs, 'New Stuff'

Info: Mail Order Messiahs new album, Practical, which was reviewed here a couple of weeks ago, is finally out today, along with new single and great video for the second track on the album, 'New Stuff', check it out above. It's like a surreal scene from Koyaanisqatsi and goes perfectly with the theme of the track, obsession with consumerism. Also big congratulations to Mike Liffey, the man behind the music for the great write-up he got in the Culture section of yesterday's Sunday Times, for the past 15 years or so the album recommendations in that publication have been my music bible for checking out new bands and albums. If you'd like to purchase MOM's album you can get it via Bandcamp or iTunes, links below.

(Photo via Mail Order Messiah's Facebook page)

Purchase Practical, here: 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Introducing Brooklyn Band, Late Cambrian's New Album, 'Golden Time' & Irish Tour

Late Cambrian, 'Golden Time'

Info: The opening bars of 'Throwing Shade' immediately leave you in no doubt as to where you're going to be going when listening to New York band, Late Cambrian's third album, Golden Time. From the swaggering bass-line to the call to arms vocals of front-man John Wlaysewski, added to some great guitar riffs and lovely synth playing from the mysteriously named O. Title track 'Golden Time' follows and is the definition of sun-drenched indie-pop with a simple but effective guitar hook complimenting driven drum rolls and nice vocal harmonies. 'Game Show', the LP's fourth track has a distinctively 90's feel about it and reminded me very much of Weezer around the time of their Blue album, ending abruptly, but not before we're treated to some more spacey synths, I can never get enough of those synthesizers! The seventh track on the album, 'DYBIL', is a weird and wonderful mix of 70's disco and a more contemporary electronic sound as well as some lovely Chic-esque guitar playing scattered throughout the track. Continuing the electro vibe is the perfect closer, 'Shiny Cars', my favourite track on the album, and where I personally feel Late Cambrian excel in terms of style. The song captures their ability to write good catchy songs but also an experimental side from the half-way point onwards, which I would love to see more of on a forthcoming album. There's plenty of time for that though, and at present Late Cambrian should enjoy the achievement of putting together a highly appealing and accomplished album in Golden Time.

Additional info: Golden Time is due for release in November, 2014, and Late Cambrian will be touring Europe for the first time in tandem with the release. The band will be supporting MC Frontalot, and, wait for it Irish fans...the legendary Wheatus on tour, so you can dust off your yellow-tinted glasses, fishing hats and Adidas tracksuit tops. In addition, I will be catching up with Late Cambrian when they play in Café en Seine in Dublin on the 9th of October and doing an interview and if they're not too camera-shy we might have a little photo shoot too, all of which will be up on the blog afterwards. Here are the Irish tour dates and, as usual, do show the band some love on social media! Oh, and here's another track for your pleasure;

Late Cambrian, 'Throwing Shade'

Tour Dates: 

October 7, Whiskey Faire, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland

October 8, Cyprus Avenue, Cork, Ireland

October 9, Café en Seine, Dublin, Ireland

October 10, Magnet Young Adult Centre, Newry, UK

October 11, 5th on Teeling, Sligo, Ireland

* all concerts are w/Wheatus, MC Frontalot & others.

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Twitter: << these guys are serious tweeters!

Join Me In The Pines, New Album, 'Inherit', & Tour Dates

Join Me In The Pines, 'Should Not Roam'

Info: Join Me In The Pines (aka Dave Geraghty & Co.) have released their third single from forthcoming album, Inherit, which is due for release on the 10th of October. The track (above), 'Should Not Roam', is accompanied by a beautifully made video, directed by Laura Sheeran, you should also check out the the single 'Golden Guilt', my personal favourite of the three singles released to date. The next two months see a busy schedule for the band with the album release coinciding with tour dates around the country which will take in Cork, Wexford, Kilkenny and Dublin. Having seen JMITP's live show in the Unitarian Church in Stephen's Green back in April, I highly recommend going to any of the shows listed below if you can. 

Additional info & tour dates: 

Join Me In The Pines have unveiled the title of their debut album to be Inherit which is set for release on October 10th. So far JMITP have unleashed the incredible debut single ‘Joy Is A Lion’, the stunning song ‘Golden Guilt’ and now ‘Should Not Roam’ is the third track to be uncovered from the album!  

‘Should Not Roam’ highlights the darker, more ethereal side to the album. The video was filmed and directed by Nanu Nanu’s Laura Sheeran ( It features the French dancer Stephanie Dufresne…and some jelly fish! 

Join Me In The Pines released their debut single ‘Joy Is A Lion’ earlier this year to two sell out shows in Dublin’s Unitarian Church and Coughlan’s in Cork and Summer festivals appearances. Following on from this success JMITP have announced more tour dates for this year. October sees the band performing in Whelan’s, Dublin, Kilkenny’s Hole in the Wall and the Spiegel Tent in Wexford.

The man behind the moniker is Bell X1’s David Geraghty who released his debut solo album ‘Kill Your Darlings’ in 2007, to critical and fan acclaim. The album was also nominated for a Choice Music Prize that year. 2009 saw David return with his second solo offering ‘The Victory Dance’. Both of these albums were written and recorded between stints in the hectic Bell X1 touring schedule.

It is a busy year for Mr. Geraghty as he is also writing the film score for “You’re Ugly Too” starring Aidan Gillen. The film is set to appear at film festivals around the world from September with a release date due for next year. 

Join Me In The Pines, 'Golden Guilt'

Catch Join Me In The Pines at the below dates!

Friday 10 October            Triskel Christchurch, Cork -
Thursday 16 October        Whelan’s, Dublin -
Sunday 26 Oct     The Hole In The Wall, Kilkenny -
Monday 27 October      Spiegel Tent, Wexford -

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Join Me In The Pines, Unitarian Church, Dublin, April, 2014
(Photo: Remy Connolly)