Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Remy's Guide to Forbidden Fruit - Day 2

Forbidden Fruit Festival 2017 Line Up



Info: In the second of our series of Playlists and guide to Forbidden Fruit Festival 2017 we again take a listen to what is in store at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. For Day 2 of the festival, we glance at the main stage and surrounds, as well as the exclusively local, Bulmers One Hundred Percent Irish Artists stage and where you can find yourself winding up in the wee hours on Sunday, 4th of June. Big draw Irish acts are of course going to be the main man himself, Kildare's Aphex Twin, as well as minimal techno act Hybrasil who will play at Opium Rooms on Wexford Street. You can add to that list up and coming heavy hitters Soulé, AikJ, Heroes in Hiding, eve and Ships to name but a few who have been on the radar of Irish music fans for quite some time now.

And how about some Nicolas Jaar action, yes, bloody, please, throw in Fatima Yahama, Moderat and Mura Masa and you've got a party starting up right there. Our final wrap-up and Playlist will be up next Wednesday, and in case you missed last weeks Day 1 tunes, you can find them right hereFor full festival info including details on remaining ticket availability, go to the Forbidden Fruit website here http://www.forbiddenfruit.ie


Soulé - Good Life

Below you will find the full list of acts confirmed for Forbidden Fruit 2017, and if there are any changes or updates, you'll get them right here well before the festival kicks off. 

Aphex Twin
Nicolas Jaar
Moderat
Mura Masa
Maceo Plex (The Button Factory)
Motor City Drum Ensemble
Kink (Opium Rooms)
Fatima Yahama
Denis Sulta (WahWah Club)
Peggy Gou (Tengu)
Danny L Harle
Monolink
Hybrasil (Opium Rooms)
Gardens of God (The Button Factory)
eve (Tengu)
Orange Tree Edits
Jack Thompson (WahWah Club)
Al Gibbs
Seany B
Fio 'n' Jio (Pear)

Bulmers Live Stage:

Bad Bones
Soulé
Ships
The Innocent Bystander
Heroes in Hiding
AikJ

Heroes in Hiding
Heroes in Hiding

Sunday, 21 May 2017

EP: Emma O'Reilly - Fractures

Emma O'Reilly Fractures


Info: From Ballinasloe in Co. Galway, songwriter Emma O’Reilly is often compared to Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Regina Spektor for her imaginative yet refined sound. Dramatic and always evocative, Emma’s music is a fusion of Alternative rock, pop and folk, all informed by her classical training at the piano.

'Fractures' is her second independently produced studio EP, recorded by mixing live and multi-track processes in Arad Studios with Les Keye (Squarehead, Kevin "Herm" Connolly, My Sweet Beloved). The EP features Dennis Cassidy on drums (Selk, Mixtapes from the Underground, Danny G and the Major 7ths, The Record Spot), Kevin Healy on Bass (La Gracia, The Antics) and Reuben Teskey on Guitars. The EP explores a sound much closer to her live shows, and digs into her alternative rock influences. The result is alternately introspective and ferocious, vulnerable and dramatic, intricate and engaging.


If you are looking for one of the most original-sounding Irish EP releases from the past few months then look no further than Emma O'Reilly's truly delightful Fractures. There is no escaping the highly enjoyable mania and drama of single and opening track 'Shake', with an emotion and power that comes across as nothing but genuine, the off-beat yet admirably structured percussion wraps an assertive blanket around O'Reilly's vocals and piano playing.

The jingle-jangle of the acoustic 'Count' provide an altogether contrasting mood, yet you still look from left to right cautiously waiting for another burst from O'Reilly, the force is still there, but shortly into the second track we realise that it's a more reflective moment on the EP. There's such a wonderful balance between 90's influences and a rare spark of a contemporary take on same which just isn't being done by anyone else right now to the best of my knowledge, and so much of it is down to the melodious vocals.

And then, whoosh, magic, 'Cervantes', the father of the novel, 'there's a cost to living with the bones under your skin', it's a scathing line, in some ways the tragedies that befall us are pre-ordained by heritage, DNA, or, maybe just chance itself, goddamn the piano is tortuously beautiful and damning all at once. 

Emma O'Reilly - Shake

The fourth track on O'Reilly's EP, 'Codladh Sámh' is as gentle as its title suggests, 'codladh' being sleep, and 'sámh' being one of those Irish words with multiple translations that all mean the same thing; tranquil, soft, peaceful and serene for example, basically the type of sleep we all crave. A brooding opening bass accompanies a very bare vocal; "Whisper to me, or awake my love...it is dangerous outside in this terrible world". Like its opening track, a power is then unleashed via her vocal, shimmering lead guitar and determined piano, go hálainn.

Cathedral bells chime on final track, 'Geneva', the overlay of O'Reilly's voice provides a dual throwback to a 1950's jazz standard á la Julie London, and something contemporary and rare. The piano sequence enters at 1:55 and you are left gasping for breath, it might be the saddest and most beautiful piano sequence you've heard in a long time, I know it was for me. I can't quite put my finger on this EP, it's too hard to pigeon-hole or describe in a small few words, apart from mind-blown.

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Website: https://www.emmaoreilly.ie/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emmaormusic/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6Ex8pLqcm5I4gkmI0pw99Z

Twitter: https://twitter.com/emmaormusic

Album of the Month: Sive - The Roaring Girl

Sive - The Roaring Girl
Photo: Brian McNamara Photography


Info: Sive is a songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist with a voice that "sweeps along displaying folk and jazz nuances with the confidence of one who knows." Her unique sound weaves together her love for the craft of songwriting with her enthusiasm for experimentation and intricate arrangements.

Sive released her first album of original material, 'We Are Moving', to critical acclaim in 2012. In the years that followed she toured extensively in Ireland, The UK, Europe and New Zealand, sharing stages with the likes of Kila, John Spillane and Gemma Hayes along the way. She was voted viewer’s choice to appear on RTE’s Other Voices in 2014 and has also performed on TG4’s Róisín, TV3’s Ireland AM, ARTE’s Metropolis (Germany/France) and ETV’s Terevisioon (Estonia).

Having run a successful crowdfunding campaign last year, Sive recently completed her second studio album 'The Roaring Girl' which is out now.

From the opening deep hum of strings on 'Turn Down The Silence' we are immediately given an indication of what to expect from Sive on The Roaring Girl. Both the track and album's titles hint at both frustration at an increasingly claustrophobic world and a strong desire to break free and escape to another world. The first foray into that freedom arrives on second track 'Swallow Me', vibrant and bubbling jazz piano and rippling guitar progressions accompany Sive's playful vocals, and as the track progresses they invite us into a dream-like state.

Sive - Wingless Bird

Single 'Wingless Bird' (above video) increases the level of brevity once again, the use of kalimba in particular, chimes and harmonies create a delightful slice of African-fused alternative pop and merriment, again the struggle between desire and reality is captured nicely in the lyrics. 'Water' sees Sive embrace a more traditional country-based folk tone, it's gentle and visually the music conjures up the image of a meandering stream which burst into white-water at its high-points. Like a Victorian ballerina music box, 'If I Had a Home To Go To' brings is back to a ballroom from the era and a quickstep waltz in salubrious surroundings, enchanting and very Lewis Carroll!

The beautiful 'Shoot the Stars' is quite breath-taking, soft clinking piano reminiscent of Debussy provides the backdrop to Sive's heart-wrenching vocals, as percussion and bass join the fray she enters more contemporary alternative pop territory, a little Bat for Lashes and a little Daughter spring to mind, but only vaguely. Another visit to her inner-country folk comes via 'Maude', before we are treated to what is perhaps Sive in her most natural habitat on 'Humans', very stripped back and minimalistic it lifts itself patiently from acoustic to a more rock-inclined crescendo.

The swathe of instrumentation and genre-spinning continues on the jazz-club meets lo-fi funk of 'You Are Only Your Own', there can be no doubt by this point that the artist has fully embraced all of the ideas and thoughts which lead to the writing of The Roaring Girl, and such carefree abandon is a delight to witness. It's never too much or disorientating as a listener, it's the perfect amount of intrigue for what might come on the next track from start to finish. Another vibrant classical piece comes on 'When You Come Down For Me', before the album signs off with a soft refrain in the form of 'Hovrefly'to leave us with that is without doubt one of the best independent Irish album releases of 2017 so far.


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Saturday, 20 May 2017

Photos: THUMPER with Chinese Newspaper and Just Mustard

THUMPER

All photos: Remy Connolly


Info: Bag of cans in hand, the first busload of about twelve of us set off just after 7pm from Custom House Quay to an unknown destination, the driver phoned his dispatch office and told them he was about to leave, he was bringing us to see 'some band called Thunder'. Rumours that we were headed to a field in Cavan were dispelled when we arrived at our destination, which I'm still not entirely sure where it was. In a large warehouse-type arts space just past Crosbie's Yard in North Strand at the heart of the Dublin docklands we were ready to settle in to a night of entertainment. 

Two bands I'd really wanted to see on many occasions over the past 12 months, headliners THUMPER and Dundalk's Just Mustard were about to be ticked off the 'must see live' list, and they were joined by the hugely enjoyable hard-rock sounds of Chinese Newspaper, who I had thankfully seen last year in support of Pranks at Whelans. Just Mustard kicked the night off, and how they lived up to my expectations and then some, whilst every song is notably distinct, they somehow blend all into one, seamlessly pulling you under, and half-way through their set you are under full mustard hypnosis.


Just Mustard
Pre-gig Just Mustard

Chinese Newspaper took to the stage next, the Navan trio are an extremely tight operation, loud, order within the disorder, and a cap doff must be made in the direction of drummer Nathan Merriman who should be considered one of the top cats behind a kit in this country at the moment. Alongside his peers in Hot Cops, Brass Phantoms, Bitch Falcon and Chris Ryan of Robocobra Quartet to name but a few, Merriman is a joy to watch. The chaps even treated us to a raucous version of The Pixies' 'Where Is My Mind' which went down very well with all in attendance.

And so to Dublin's THUMPER, a band that have been making waves more than ripples over the last year in particular, since the release of their sophomore EP Magnum Opuss, and inhabit the same relative space in terms of sound as Otherkin and Fangclub. It's always a nice bonus when small snippets of recorded music emerges from your subconscious in a live setting, and this happened frequently during THUMPER's set for me. From past favourites 'Dan The Man' to latest singles 'Fear of Art' and 'The Loser', the band ripped through their set, there were no drawn-out pauses between songs, this was all business. It wasn't long, maybe a third of the way through, when the audience decided it was probably time to go a bit bananas, this abandon and heightened energy transferred to the band, and now I was getting to see what I had heard about many times, the full THUMPER treatment. Great venue, top drawer line-up and a very happy crowd, we're starting to get used to this.

Below photos are in order of line-up last night, Just Mustard - Chinese Newspaper - THUMPER.
































Wednesday, 17 May 2017

EP: THUMPER - Pop! Goes the Weasel

THUMPER Pop Goes The Weasel


Info: Last week saw the release of Dublin noise-rock n' pop n' punk-garage lo-fi quartet THUMPER's third EP, Pop! Goes The Weasel. The latest extended play hits our ears ahead of their secret location EP launch this Friday night where they will have support from Just Mustard and Chinese Newspaper (event info here). 

A retro 70's sci-fi transmission heralds the opening minute and a half of Pop! Goes the Weasel, culminating in a minimalistic ear-bleed. We then tear into first single, 'The Loser', it's unsurprisingly raucous, and we'd be devastated if it wasn't, the chorus line of 'I am a loser baby, lose yourself with me' is simple yet genius in equal measure, and then there's that bass solo at 2:05, Christ on a bike. 

THUMPER - The Loser

'The Circles' has a very DIY garage-band feel to it, disillusioned grunge and teenage apathy are the order of the day, again THUMPER are keenly aware of when to drop a break into a track and use it as a platform from which to escalate the tempo and mania. Sun-kissed Californian neo-psychedelia rears its head on 'The Part That I Always Leave Out', and at times feels like the closest you will get to previous EP Magnum Opuss. It's a thoroughly enjoyable highlight on this collection, and you start to fully appreciate the overall use of vocal effects at this point. 

We finish with latest single 'Fear of Art', in the review of which I noted that I was getting strong Dandy Warhols debut album vibes from it, it was only a couple of weeks ago but I'm still in that space, and I'm glad I am as it is still a classic album from the Oregon band. Here THUMPER make everything seem and sound so easy, rolling rhythms both musically and vocally get their claws into you with no resistance. Pop! Goes the Weasel wrestles more with the listener than its predecessors, as THUMPER evolve their sound we get to witness distinct changes taking hold, creatively they are a band that refuse to stand still, and we will be the primary benefactors of that defiance.

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Remy's Guide to Forbidden Fruit - Day 1

Forbidden Fruit Festival 2017 Line Up




Info: The advent of festival season is almost upon us here in Ireland, and the most welcome gauntlet is thrown down by the seventh Forbidden Fruit Festival at its customary home in the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Kilmainham, Dublin 8. In addition, the festival organisers will also have acts performing at various venues around the city centre for when the sun has gone down (details below). 

Over the next few weeks I'll be providing three individual ready made Playlists for each of the festival's 3 days over the June Bank Holiday weekend. You'll have plenty of time to digest all of the music well in advance of landing at the festival, and be equipped to make both concerted and whimsical stage choices by the time it comes around!

One thing I'd like to highlight is that the festival has added a sixth stage for the first time this year, exclusively for up and coming independent Irish acts. Normally I'd feel a little awkward about being parochial, but the line-ups on the Bulmers One Hundred Percent Irish Artists stage over the three days are top drawer, you'll end up with just as many fond memories at that stage as you will at any of the rest. This stage is also a reflection of the high standard of local music we have been spoiled by over the last few years.

For full festival info including details on remaining ticket availability, go to the Forbidden Fruit website here http://www.forbiddenfruit.ie

Tycho - 'Awake' (Live @ KCRW)

As well as top acts leading the way on the Saturday in the form of Orbital, Booka Shade with Craig Winters and Tycho, there will also be Irish acts Jafaris, Bonzai, Brame & Hamo and the wonderful Trinity Orchestra. On the aforementioned exclusively Irish artists stage, we can expect to see many favourites such as Le Boom, BARQ, Tara Lee and Super Silly

Le Boom - What We Do


So without further ado, enjoy the Playlist, and below is the provisional line-up for Saturday, 3rd of June, which I will update accordingly in subsequent posts along with stage times as they become available. 

Orbital
Booka Shade with Craig Walker (The Button Factory - Temple Bar)
Tycho
Giggs
Hot Chip (with DJ Set) (WigWam - Middle Abbey Street)
NAO
Jax Jones
Snakehips (Opium Rooms - Wexford Street)
Bonzai
Mall Grab (The Grand Social - Liffey Street Lower)
67 (The Grand Social- Liffey Street Lower) 
Icarus
Brame & Hamo
Jafaris
Trinity Orchestra
Bobofunk
Jack Dunne
Dan Stritch
Hidden Flux
Paradox
Ghost Culture (Wah Wah Club - South William Street)
Special Guests TBA @ Yamamori Tengu

Bulmers Live Stage:

Tara Lee
BARQ
Le Boom
OCHO
Mango
Super Silly

Jafaris Forbidden Fruit
Jafaris

Friday, 12 May 2017

Interview: Jenn Grant

Jenn Grant Interview Paradise
Photo: Daniel Ledwell

Jenn Grant - Galaxies


Info: 'Paradise' is the follow up to 2014's 'Compostela' which earned Grant two Juno nominations in her native Canada - for both Songwriter as well as Contemporary Album of the Year. Grant and husband, producer Daniel Ledwell, took a year in their home studio to craft 'Paradise'. 'Compostela', was written after the loss of her mother and whereas that record was "of the stars" and based on her own personal experience of loss, 'Paradise' points the compass towards the epic and intimate. It marks her most adventurous and deliberate work she's ever done.

Hailing from Nova Scotia, Canada, Jenn Grant is an established contemporary folk-pop act in her home country, with new album Paradise set to earn her new fans from further afield, complimented by tour dates in England, Scotland and three Irish dates commencing on the 23rd of May (details below). The album's opening title-track is immediately attention-grabbing, melding folk guitar with a pleasing ambient soundscape, initially not a million miles away from the quieter moments on Massive Attack's Mezzanine in terms of sound.

Latest single, 'Galaxies', opens with a lovely rolling keyboard progression, it's defiantly a contemporaneous pop track, interestingly the verses lead very nicely into the chorus, and provide the perfect balance to push them forward, and as the track progresses it veers more into euphoric alt-pop territory, across the board it's a well executed and structured piece of song-writing. The rest of Paradise sways between authentic-sounding country-folk such as 'Lion With Me', and beautifully airy sounds and tones like those found on 'Hero' and 'Legacy', as well as the soulful strength of 'Dogfight'.


Jenn Grant - Paradise

Ahead of Grant's three Irish dates in Belfast (Black Box, 23rd May), Dublin (Whelan's, 24th) and Galway (The Black Gate, 25th), we chat about the passage of time between her debut album Orchestra for the Moon (2007) and Paradise, latest single 'Galaxies', and her return to Ireland.

Remy: It's almost exactly 10 years since the release of your debut album Orchestra for the Moon, and since then you've released an additional 5 albums, an impressively consistent output. What do you consider to be the most noticeable shift (if any) in your sound since then up until your new album 'Paradise'?

Jenn: When I look back on my first album, it's like looking back to an old friend. I think it was a good first attempt and I had some great people around me (the heavy blinkers) but I was young and not fully aware of my own voice or what sounds I would really grow into. With each album I feel I've delved a little deeper. Whether it is more into a folk world like in Compostela or with the new sounds of a more electronic, r n b, and still sometimes folk Paradise. The colours of music are darker to me now, more vast, with ten years under them. 

Remy: From your perspective, do you feel that music critics / reviewers have become lazy when it comes to describing the particular genre you operate within, there seems to be a default position of describing everyone as being 'for fans of' Cat Power / Laura Marling / Florence & The Machine? (Agree / disagree?!!)

Jenn: I really like all those artists and would be happy to collide into that shoebox. I've never really tried to fit or fit into any one genre but after a decade that's now maybe becoming my thing and I'm happy with that. 

Remy: You've previously cited the influence and inspiration of your late mother on your music, tastefully captured in the video for your 2012 single 'The Fighter', do you find that source of motivation evolves differently over time?

Jenn: I think that my connection to mother evolves as we are physically separated, and that she continues to be a constant source of strength and inspiration. 

Remy: 'Galaxies', the lead single from Paradise has received widespread international airplay and a very positive critical reception, deservedly so, can you share some insights into both the track and accompanying video?

Jenn: On this song I went to some outer world places to feel the inspiration, and found a far away connection to home. Home is something I don't take for granted and that is sometimes just a little off in the distance. so I went to outer space or to the stars to make that feeling happen in a bigger way. 

The video was directed by Adam Goldhammer who leans to the sci-fi realm in his films and is a collaborator of my brother, Daniel Grant, the cinematographer. This was an amazing opportunity for me to work with my brother who I completely adore and respect. He's got an amazing sense of light and a special sense of me, and they created an beautiful story that now feels was birthed in the song. 

Remy: From a personal perspective, I think that Irish music fans find Canadian contemporary folk so relatable as much of its inspiration is drawn from the landscape, has that been an influence on your own music?

Jenn: Absolutely. I've been very motivated by landscape since I began writing as a child. On Paradise, the song 'Working Girl', is inspired by a sacred Irish landscape that I know. Ireland has become an important place to me and to my creative journey. 

Remy: It's three years since your last live performance at Whelan's in Dublin, what are you most looking forward to from your return visit?!

Jenn: I've got Daniel Ledwell, my producer and husband with me, and my drummer Mike Belyea. They are playing the parts of several people each, while making it look easy, and allowing me to be really free with the songs. I'm also excited to have Hannah Georgas with us. She's a good friend and I am also a downright fan for years. I'm so happy to return to show off Dublin and Whelans to these guys.

Remy: Once the current international tour is completed, what is next on the Jenn Grant horizon?

Jenn: More shows, more planning of more shows, and swimming with my dogs in between.


Tickets for Jenn Grant's three upcoming Irish dates are available at the below links;

Tuesday, 23rd May, Black Box, Belfast - Click here.

Wednesday, 24th May, Whelan's, Dublin - Click here.

Thursday, 25th May, The Black Gate Cultural Centre, Galway - Click here.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Video: Nix Moon - Autumn Night (Windmill Lane Sessions)

Nix Moon Autumn Night Live Windmill Lane

Nix Moon - Autumn Night (Windmill Lane Sessions)


Info: Formed in 2013, Jonathan Fahy and David Joyce are the founding members and core songwriters of the group with Daire Stanley, Gavin Murphy and Darragh Brannigan completing the 5-piece. Based in Dundalk, Nix Moon are regular performers at The Spirit Store, IMRO’s Music Venue of The Year 2016.

Since forming, Nix Moon have featured on highly esteemed festival line ups including Electric Picnic, Knockanstockan, Vantastival and many more. They are moulding and adapting authentic Irish elements and indigenous instrumentation with current, comprehensive themes while oozing energy and enthralling crowds with their melodic sound.

Last October, the band won ‘Best Performers’ at the Busker Fleadh 2016 . Following this success, they have gained airtime on 98fm Big Breakfast with Cooper and Luke and recording sessions at the prestigious Windmill Lane Recording Studios.

With the release of their debut EP Soul Traffic in July 2016, the band are growing in magnitude within Irish and overseas music circles. Airtime on RTE Radio 1, Newstalk 106 - 108fm, inclusion on Remy’s blog Music and Film: Top 20 Irish EP’s of 2016 and presently with seven festivals coming up, including Electric Picnic, Longitude and Vantastival, 2017 is kicking off.

'Autumn Night' is written and performed by Nix Moon. The above video is one of a series recorded by Rachel Conlon at Windmill Lane Recording Studios and filmed by Stephen Allen.

Like & Listen:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NixMoonMusic/

Bandcamp: https://nixmoon.bandcamp.com/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/676z5qJO9hjdaWoAMhUzlU

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Single: RUTH - Off My Mind

RUTH Off My Mind
Artwork: Ciarán O'Brien

RUTH - Off My Mind

Info: The latest single from Dublin-based Kerry pop-songstress RUTH, 'Off My Mind', premiered on Nialler9 the other day, and had it's radio airplay debut over on BBC Introducing a few days previous to that. On the new track RUTH switches from her normal modus operandi of genial uplifting moods and hooks to an everso slightly darker space more in line with contemporary Scandic electro and dream-pop. The production on 'Off My Mind' is also noticeably sharper and polished, and whilst not the be all and end all, it could well be a catalyst for building a wider audience.


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Single: Saint Clair - Train

Saint Clair Train


Saint Clair - Train

Info: Saint Clair is the alias of Londoner Emma Topolski, who also moonlights playing in Laura Marling’s band (Emma also supported across Marling’s recent solo tour, with Laura featuring Emma on her recent Reversal of The Muse project), and has also sung & played with Ghostpoet. No slouch, she also sings & plays bass for Radio 1-supported four-piece Childcare…

Produced Ben Jones, soulful electronic-pop cut 'Train' appositely samples the sound of trains pulling in & out of London Bridge station, recorded from the roof of Jones’ nearby studios…

With 'Train' Saint Clair thankfully, avoids the pitfalls of most contemporary alt-pop acts, the bridge between verse and chorus is measured, and calm, with the track avoiding getting sucked into some of the more conventional parameters we've become accustomed to within the genre, specifically a high-pitched outburst come the peak moments. The Oriental-style keyboards gently plonk along and provide a nice lead in to the more effervescent moments on 'Train', with Topolski's vocals coming across as warm, considered and uplifting all at once. It's calm and assertive in equal measure, and a very strident introduction to her music that urges you towards discovering the rest of her debut EP, D1.


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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamsaintclair/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/49ZtTg9C6Tv52TCaezNrug

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/iamsaintclair

Friday, 5 May 2017

Video: David Keenan - Cobwebs

David Keenan Cobwebs

David Keenan - Cobwebs

Info: Back in March David Keenan released his latest single, 'Cobwebs', and just yesterday, 4th of May, the accompanying video was launched. A gentle yet powerful ballad, 'Cobwebs' has often become the defining moment of many of Keenan's live shows, the point where the penny finally drops with the audience, yes, this is happening. The video by Myles O'Reilly ably provides the dual scene of observational storyteller and the unfolding scene all at once.

In the March review I noted; "With 'Cobwebs' Keenan does exactly what he says on the tin, taking us through one of his stories, picture by picture, with a smash and grab of the heart. It feels like a story of love, interspersed with moments where the story-teller is briefly distracted by the seemingly mundane if humorous events unfolding around him; 'There's a wino barking at the pan-flute player, at the top of Jervis Street, urging him to get a real job, help out....I smile at the irony'. 

From those colourful anecdotes Keenan delivers a searing verse, from soft to hammer-blow in an instant; 'Long story short, she informed me of my flaws, as Russian dolls smashed against the bedroom wall, come away from the window ledge, you'll catch your death of cold, and you'll be no use to anyone....least of all me'."


Video: Kingdom of Crows - The Drip

Kingdom of Crows - The Drip

Kingdom of Crows - The Drip

Info: With their sophomore album Despondency due for release during the summer, Dublin alternative rock band Kingdom of Crows share their latest single, 'The Drip', with accompanying video.

Cinematic from the very start, the video captures the tone of the song very well, Kelly's rolling guitar plucking and Earley's trademark celestial vocal combine to wrap a safety net around the music and listener. 'The Drip' could be described as an exploration of where we used to reside, a place that has now become hidden from our mind and eyes. We've become trapped in a sanitised existence that is plain and bland, far away from where life itself used to live. The conflict between the two ultimately results in a desire to escape constriction, the rush into the chaotic sea providing the release required, not knowing what will happen next being a better option than knowing what will happen next. 



Single: HMS Morris - Morbid Mind / Arth

HMS Morris - Morbid Mind  Arth


HMS Morris - Morbid Mind

Info: HMS Morris are a Welsh Art-Pop group that delve into the wonky, odd-ball side of psychedelia, finding the balance between bold experimentalism without giving up accessibility. With an undercurrent of post-punk edginess, the group toy with colliding synthesisers and cooing vocals and still manage to create something cohesive and alluring (Clunk).

Released in November 2016, the band's debut album 'Interior Design' is 'a real trip, a multi- dimensional sound that  traipses across hitherto unexplored regions of sound' (Clash), and with an as yet untitled follow-up already in production, it seems the voyage is just getting started.

What a dazzling introduction to HMS Morris for me these two singles have been, 'Morbid Mind' has a disorientating crash, bang, whallop intro, it's off-beat and stop-start motion jerking the listener wildly back and forth. The percussion is slightly math-rock in its time signatures and the vocals are scorching, trying to put out a fire with petrol springs to mind, with the flames coming courtesy of the sharp and thin electric guitar solo towards the track's end. I also noted a small comparison to Dublin hard-rock trio Bitch Falcon on this one. 


HMS Morris - Arth

The contrast on the second A-Side, 'Arth' (Welsh for bear) is striking, a solid folk plank runs through the base of the track, there's a new age feel to the ambience the pair produce here, whilst at the same time feeling shorn from ancient landscapes. The vocals are beautiful and initially choral in nature before entering indie-rock territory, in a nutshell two very impressive tracks that would go down very well with Irish music fans without doubt, right, now I'm off to check out their last album.

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