Monday, 30 November 2009

Simon Fagan - Crawdaddy Thursday 3rd December

Ages ago I mentioned on the blog that artists need to offer something a little different when it comes to gigs. I think the days of people checking out gig listings and a recommendation from Hot Press before they go to a gig is over for the time being in these recessionary times. Recently we've had Nick Kelly and his excellent 'Gestation' concept and now we have the following from Simon Fagan;

Fresh from high profile support slots for Laura Izibor and Luan Parle, Simon Fagan is currently finalising track listings for his album, which will be recorded in January. He has most of the album written but would like your help, deciding which songs should be recorded and which ones should be given the snip!

And here's how...

Simon and band are playing in CrawDaddy this Thursday, 3rd Dec and will be trying out some new songs which will be recorded on the night and uploaded the following day (for those who can't make the gig).

Here's the set-list, in no particular order, subject to change on day of gig!

1. Memphis
2. Something I Don't Know
3. The Way A Woman Should
4. Falling Into You
5. Fake Smiles
6. Never Really Cried
7. Campfire
8. I Shall Be Released (cover)
9. Damn Honey
10. Water’s Edge
11. Absolute Child
12. Outside Looking In
13. Feeling Good (cover)

Simon has also set up an online survey where you can rate each song. Click Here to take survey:

More info here;

Sunday, 29 November 2009

David Hope - Daybreak Someplace [EP Review]

There are many people out there who are saying wonderful things about David Hope. Stephen James Smith for one was tweeting and bulletting about David's gig in Whelans a few months back. Mary Coughlan [musician I assume!] says many good things and Dave Redfern who plays guitar for Odi passed this EP onto me for a review.

There are seven tunes on the EP. The Cuckoo's Return is a bluesy instrumental which sits in the middle of the seven tunes. The title track is one of the best song's I've heard this year. The lyrics are supperb on the whole EP but he hits a nerve with 'Daybreak Someplace' and 'Watch Over You'. The other songs are good acoustic folk songs brought to life with David's strong vocal properties. Overall it's a really good EP. I do hope that the songs 'Daybreak Someplace' and 'Watch Over You' gets onto a full length album in the future.

Get more info about David here and find many songs over here!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Friday's Forgotten Favourites - Bawl

Don't let the picture put you off ....

Bawl made some of the best music on offer in 1996. Mark Cullen was the chief songwriter of Bawl and then again with the band Fixed Stars before settling on the name 'Pony Club'

This time last year Mark released 'Post Romantic' and for me it was my album of 2008. It was an album I felt was written just for me in my present life situation. When you find an album like that it's very special indeed. Bawl was where Mark's musical journey began in 1995. They released a number of singles and an album and were well received in Ireland and the UK. There's a really good biography of Bawl here;

I would whole-heartily recommend you to buy music from Mark Cullen. He writes lyrics full of real life relationship issues that can enrich anyone. The May Whelans gig will figure in my best gigs of the year for sure!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

I Thank You

The Committments OST - I Thank You

Happy Thanksgiving Folks!

Thanks 4 reading,
thanks 4 commenting,
thanks 4 encouraging,
thanks 4 the music,

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Choice Music Awards for the year 2009

The 10 albums on the shortlist for the Irish Album of the Year 2009 prize will be announced on Wednesday January 13 and the live event will take place at Vicar Street, Dublin on Wednesday March 3.

Roll of Honour;

2008 Jape - Ritual
2007 Super Extra Bonus Party - Self titled
2006 The Divine Comedy - Victory for the Comic Muse
2005 Julie Feeney - 13 Songs

According to Jim Carroll over here there will be an initial long list of approx 200 titles from which the 12 industry judges will be able to make their Choice!

I'm not really in the music industry so I don't get many albums sent to me and therefore there are many potentially great albums I haven't got round to hearing such as Adrian Crowley's, Wallis Bird's and Delorentos' latest albums.

I'd love it if at least one of the following great albums made it onto the shortlist;

Pearse McGloughlin - Busy Whisper
Lisa O'Neill - Has An Album
Miss Paula Flynn - Self titled
The Chapters - Perfect Stranger [get a free download of Videotapes (remix) here]
Alphastates - Human Nature
Declan DeBarra - A Fire to Scare the Sun
Martin Finke - Make Daylight
Iain Archer - To The Pine Roots

Irish Acts at SXSW 2010

230 acts are already confirmed for next year's SXSW showcase in Austin, Texas. I'm always interested in finding out which Irish bands make the trip as it shows massive ambition on behalf of the band.

Here are the five Irish bands confimed so far;

And So I Watch You From Afar

Autumn Owls

Fighting With Wire


So Cow

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Tuesday's Topical Threesome - Anger, Strike, Hope?

I have the liberty of writing this blog at 10am due to the fact I was told to strike and join a picket from midday. 250,000 people are protesting against inevitable pay cuts and the union movement behind these workers are ready for the mother of all public fights!

As I see it we had this property scam in Ireland which I'd compare with the fear instilled into the American people by the Bush Administration. The scam was all consuming. If you didn't buy a property you were seen as a Muppet and a pauper. If your loved one bought a property it was seen as a great achievement paralleling the birth of a child or an engagement. We felt deadly signing away our money to banks for forty years! These people need their wages to pay for their house and will do everything possible to keep their house! These people are angry!

Owen Brady - Angry

Today Ireland comes to a halt out of sheer anger. To air an opposing feeling is not trendy. We hate the smug bankers living in their parallel fantasy world. We hate them politicians who flirted with that fantasy world. Our only hope is that this strike today influences the plastic politicians on this country.

Phil Lynott - Ode to Liberty [The Protest Song]

I went to Stephen James Smith's The Glor Sessions last night where a whole host of amazing talent gathered to live life the way it should be. Performing were Elder Roche, Jinx Lennon, Fiach, Enda Reilly, Pearse McGloughlin, Garry O'Brien and poets Marty Mulligan, Kalle Ryan and Colm Keegan and many many more. These people represent real life in the now and was the most enjoyable night I've had in ages. The people I'm joining at 12 am are disillusioned!

Sinéad Lohan - Disillusioned

Here's a music video which reflects what I'm talking about;

New Music Monday [on Tuesday]

So the big news of today is that U2 are trying to get the kids to love them again by doing Glastonbury!

Here's my tip for next year Emily's Eldest doing a very decent job of One!

I heard this song at The Glor Sessions tonight and it's a special tune! Check this out!

My favourite song at the moment is this tune by David Hope. The sound here is a tad echoy but on the EP it's such a great tune with inspirational lyrics!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Other Voices 8

The line-up is a decent mix of Irish and International acts. Some of the acts are massive and some are in their infancy. The acts are in general heavily weighted to the indie genre and is a line-up to 'appeal to the kids'!

The Antlers
The Brothers Movement
The Chakras
Fionn Regan
Imelda May
James Vincent Mc Morrow
Jesca Hoop
The Lost Brothers
The Magic Numbers
O Emperor
Ollie Cole
Richard Hawley Special
Snow Patrol
The Temper Trap
The xx
Valerie Francis

Check out the new website;

Tickets on sale tomorrow; "Tickets for each of the Other Voices recordings, Saturday December 5th to Wednesday December 9th inclusive, will go on sale on Monday November 23rd at 9am from All tickets will be priced at €35 including booking fee. As is the nature of television recording, it will not be possible to announce each evening’s line up until closer to the recordings. Early booking is essential, with only 60 tickets per night available. Historically, each show has been an immediate sell out. Booking is limited to two tickets per person and a maximum of two nights per person"

Paddy Casey, Mick Pyro and more for Charity

Tasty line-up in The Button Factory for this and it's great to see Paddy Casey gigging again!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Album Review: The Swell Season - Strict Joy

'Strict Joy' is the second album [excluding the Once soundtrack] from The Swell Season and was released at the end of last month worldwide. The Swell Season seem to have been touring non stop since the big Oscar win with only taking short breaks. They are understandably riding the crest of the Oscar wave and making sure they get their music out there to the wider world.

It is within this context that 'Strict Joy' has to be taken. It's more of a retrospective album bringing together the labour of the band's work for the last three or four years. Many of the songs have featured in set-lists of previous tours and are already well known by fans of the band. It also needs to be acknowledged that 'Strict Joy' hasn't been well received in Ireland and I can offer no reason why.

There are songs about being in love and the end of a relationship. If you don't get the male perspective then there's always the female perspective on love life and relationships. The production is top rate and there's no over indulgence on the album. It's an album of good quality folk-rock music performed by musicians with a love for music.

'Low Rising' is such a great uplifting tune. 'Feeling the Pull' is the sound of a band having the time of their lives. I love the 70's folk inspired feel to 'Love That Conquers' and would rival the splendid 'I Have Loved You Wrong' as the best track on the album. Overall the quality is really good but there is something that is missing on the album. 'Strict Joy' is like a collection of individual songs composed over a long time period rather than an album of cutting edge new music from a band making progress in the music world.

The Swell Season - Strict Joy [9 out of 12]

....... I may be wrong but I'm gonna predict that in early 2011 The Frames will have a new album out as well as Marketa releasing her debut solo album. If I'm right I'll have two great albums to review into the future!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Top 10 Irish Albums of the Decade

I seen the following over on Jim's blog;

"We at AU Magazine are in the process of putting together a poll of the Top Irish Albums of the Decade for our December/January issue.

We’d love OTR readers (and Irish Times staff!) to contribute - just compile a list of UP TO 20 albums released since January 2000 by artists from anywhere in Ireland, and email it to me - chris[at]

The deadline for entries is THIS MONDAY, November 23. Any queries about eligibility, please email me.

The results will be out towards the end of the first week in December"

Soooooo on impulse mainly here's my top 10:

Damien Rice - O

The Frames - For The Birds

Pony Club - Home Truths

Nick Kelly - Running Dog

No video found!

Bill Coleman - I'll Tear Down My Own Walls

Alphastates - Made in Sand

Brian Canavan - I'm An Electron, You're An Electron

Lisa O'Neill - Has An Album

Damien Rice - 9

Shaz Oye - Truth According to Shay Oye

Friday's Forgotten Favourites - Junkster

Way back in '97 and '98 there was an Irish band called Junkster who made really good electro indie music not a million miles from the current music of Alphastates. They released one good 'self-titled' album, two good singles and opened Slane in 1998 for the likes of The Verve, Robbie Williams and James. Strange that with the limelight shining on them for those two years that there is very little online about the band! Here's what I found;

Junkster were Deirdre O'Neill [Vocals], Aidan Lane [Guitar], Mick Creedon [Guitar], Graham Darcy [Bass Guitar] and Donal McPartlin [Drums]. According to their page; "Junkster produced exceedingly laid back, melodic Irish alternative rock. Deirdre O’Neill has a classic Irish voice, complementing the chill rock of the rest of the band."

In 1997 the self-titled debut was released and it was a decent album. I seen the band live in Virgin Megastore on the Quays one Saturday afternoon!

Legacy: Junkster's debut consisted of two excellent singles 'The Only One' and 'Slide'. As mentioned above there are virtually no web pages about Junkster. Here are the two pages I consulted for the blog;

Buy the Album in old fashioned CD format here;

Monday, 16 November 2009

New Music Monday - The Whiskey Limbs

Michael from The Whiskey Limbs got in touch and introduced me to the band. The Whiskey Limbs are releasing a single 'Dazzling Mess' with a big gig in Academy 2 on November 27th. I've also been given permission to make that single available for this week as a free download!

The Whiskey Limbs - Dazzling Mess

27 Nov 2009 20:00 Academy 2 Release Night With Vodkopter and Urban Folk Project Dublin, Dublin
2 Dec 2009 20:00 The Songroom @ The Globe Full Band Acoustic Show Dublin, Dublin
7 Dec 2009 20:00 Whelan’s hefty Horse’s Hefty Monday’s Late Show Dublin, Dublin
21 Jan 2010 13:00 Limerick Art College Limerick, Limerick
21 Jan 2010 21:00 Bakersplace Limerick, Limerick

Album Review: ODi -Maslow's Songbook

Maslow's Songbook is a really good album that has been a joy to listen to. It contains 12 songs of which there are some really great tunes. Standout tracks include 'Leaving My Love in New York', 'Red Light', 'Something Beautiful' and 'Mariposa'.

I suppose some of the best albums are difficult to categorise and it's the same with ODi's debut. There's a real 'Bic Runga' pop vibe from the album. Many of the tracks are perfect for the montage scenes in Romantic Comedy movies. ODi's voice drags that pop vibe back to Ireland and as a result we get an album that would rival anything The Cranberries have done.

Maslow's Songbook should bring much success to ODi and help her create a big fanbase in Ireland because the album is full of catchy personal tunes that will appeal to many a music lover.

ODi - Maslow's Songbook [9 out of 12]

See ODi live:

23.11.09 THE OLD OAK Cork IRL 21:00 FREE!
25.11.09 BRAZIL'S - supporting Mundy Clonmel IRL 21:00 tbc
27.11.09 THE VINE Wexford IRL 21:30 €10
01.12.09 NUIG Sessions Galway IRL tbc FREE!
03.12.09 JACKSON'S HOTEL Ballybuffet IRL tbc
04.12.09 JACKSON'S HOTEL (Friday Night Music Club) Ballybuffet IRL tbc

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Changes, Concerts, Christmas and a Competition!

Apologies for the significant lack of updates recently. Something's come up that is taking priority for the moment and will last the next week or two. This means posts will be patchy and that annoys me! I have many reviews to do including the albums of Odi, The Swell Season and Eps by David Hope and Heritage Centre.

Anyway ....

Competition Time!

I am growing a moustache for Movember to join the fight against prostate cancer. Please give so that my Mo may grow:

Be one of the first 3 people to donate to the wonderful cause and send me your address and I'll send you Ultan Conlon's debut album 'Bless Your Heart'! Thanks Ultan for the albums!

See Ultan live:

20 Nov 2009 21:00 Kelly’s-Bless your heart album launch Galway
21 Nov 2009 20:00 JJ Hough’s Banagher Offaly
29 Nov 2009 20:00 Whelan’s (Upstairs) Guests / ’Our Little Secrets’ album Launch Dublin
2 Dec 2009 21:00 De Barras, Clonakilty Cork
3 Dec 2009 21:00 Billy Byrnes, John St. Kilkenny
4 Dec 2009 18:30 KCLR 96FM Kilkenny
4 Dec 2009 21:00 The Bridge Brook Arms, Thomastown Kilkenny
7 Dec 2009 21:00 KC sessions, Everyman Palace theatre Cork
22 Dec 2009 21:00 The Crane Galway

Upcoming Concerts & their posters!

This will be a great night! Tuner is my big tip for success next year!

Love this poster!

The Chapters will be rocking Navan in a few weeks!


We have decided on a simpler name for 'The 2UIBestow Sessions' which in January will become 'Live At Boyles' and we have a sponcer for the night as well. The 'Live At Boyles' night will take place on the last Thursday of the month in Boyles, Slane! I'll be setting up a Facebook fan page for the night! More details to follow!

Christmas Party

On Friday December 18th we have three amazing acts booked for the Christmas Party in Boyles. Declan DeBarra, Junah and a special guest headline act will be kicking the off the season of good will in fine form!

Declan DeBarra


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Mark Geary - Live, Love, Lost It NYC [Album Review]

This will be a short review of Mark Geary's amazing live album Live, Love, Lost It NYC released last month. It really is an essential purchase if you're a Mark Geary fan, or if you want a compilation 'best of ...' or if you're a budding musician and want to learn from a true master.

It was recorded in The Scratcher New York and for the most part is just Mark his guitar and a chorus of fans very happy to sing all night long. Fellow Irish New York resident Brendan O'Shea helps out with some fine backing vocals. It's so stripped down you can easily hear glasses of bear and people shuffling in the audience which gives the recording a very organic feel.

The set list spans Mark's three albums. 'Suzanne' and 'Morphine' are notable omissions but as mentioned 'Live, Love ...' could be considered a mini Best Of compilation of Mark Geary's work to date. Standout tacks for me include the expanded 'Volunteer', 'It Beats Me' and the hilarious false start of 'See-Saw'.

Mark Geary - Live, Love, Lost It NYC [10 out of 12]

Here are the clips I took at the album launch in Whelans last month.

Tuesday's Topical Threesome - 20 Years since The Fall of the Wall!

Being 31 as I am I have clear memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall and had the sense that it's falling was significant and symbolic. Looking back it does seem incomprehensible that the beautiful city of Berlin was divided for so long.

Here are three songs not directly related to that event but are damn good tunes!

Sickboy - Kick Against The Wall

Henrietta Game - Berlin

Owen Brady - Falling

See Henrietta Game Live;

Tonight: Ruby Sessions, Doyle’s Pub Dublin, Dublin
Tomorrow: The Sugar Club Dublin, Dublin
Thursday: Academy 2 Dublin, Dublin

Monday, 9 November 2009

New Irish Music Monday

Saccade are a band who are proving that Ireland is still producing top quality rock bands! You can check out their new single; Last Tango for the cost of an email address here;

You can see Saccade with Colm Lynch, Henrietta Game and Bill Coleman in The Ruby Sessions tomorrow night! Speaking of Bill ....

A Big thank you to Tony Fenton for having a decent 'Daily Download' last Thursday in the form of Bill Coleman's 'Welcome to the Breakdown'. Here's the info on how to get it:

It's all about getting laid off and spending the ill-gotten-gains recording and making music. You can buy it by clicking on the download link on this page here: or, if you're in ROI you can buy by texting 'music 4175' to '57501'. Texts will cost €1.

Everyone who buys the single will get two bonus tracks. Simply mail your receipt/pin number (depending on whether you bought by widget/sms) to admin[at]bcoleman[dot]com.

Another Irish artist who can write a killer tune is Hitman Lord. Details about the Hitman is sketchy except that he hails from Dublin! His single 'Wanna Healing Music' is out now with a great music video hitting YouTube last week! 'Trying To Catch A Wave' is the impressive b-side to the single!

The Swell Season Full Concert Download

The Swell Season performed at the beautiful, and historic Pabst Theater in Milwaukee on November 1, 2009. RadioMilwaukee was proud to broadcast the performance live and we are happy to be able to share it with you here.

Grab the full concert in one single file here;

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Things are looking up 4 Oppenheimer!

Firstly well done to Shaun & Rocky for getting the Bell X1 support Irish Tour slot this winter. I urge you to get to the shows early to catch the Oppenheimer lads do their thing. If you haven't heard of them before check out;

Also if you are in a band and want in turn to support Oppenheimer in Belfast then here's what to do!

Album Review: Lisa Hake - Wind Under Wood

Lisa Hake is a singer-songwriter-guitarist whose home is Dundalk, County Louth. She originally hails from the wine country hills of Northern California and before that, the coal mining mountains of West Virginia. Lisa has just released her second album 'Wind Under Wood'.

'Wind Under Wood' flirts with many genres. On many tracks it reminds me of the work of Janis Ian while on others I can hear the Folk-Jazz of mid-90s Joni Mitchell. When I asked my wife she suggesed the album was more similar to Nanci Griffith style Country music. One thing for certain is that 'Wind Under Wood' is an accomplished piece of work from a really good singer and musician.

As the title suggest the album is steeped in nature references with a particularly leaning towards songs about the sea and water. "We will sleep in fishing nets beneath the moon, Dance upon the wooden decks of your ballroom" [Fisherman's Tears] The descriptive lyrics of the songs are beautifully written and is one of the strenghts of the album.

Another quality aspect of 'Wind Under Wood' is the cd booklet and images used. In the lyrics section there's a short note explaining the inspiration of each track. In fact the booklet can be viewed here:

I think there's alot to like in this record but it suffers from lack of variety which is an odd statement considering the difficulty I've had to connect the album to a genre. There's warmth in abundance here for sure but a lack of variety means my attention wanders and I lose sight of the beautiful lyrics and storys within the songs.

Lisa Hake - Wind Under Wood [8 out of 12]

Friday, 6 November 2009

Friday's Forgotten Favourites - Future Kings of Spain

On 23rd of September this year the Future Kings of Spain posted this on their MySpace blog:

"Future Kings Of Spain started out in February 2000 as Joey Wilson, Anton Hegarty and Bryan McMahon. They rehearsed for 5 months until they had a set of songs long enough to play in front of people. Finally and with no name, in July 2000 they played to some friends in a nightclub in Dublin.

In December 2000, introduced as Future Kings Of Spain, they played their first real show. They were joined by Karl Hussey in late 2003 and remained a 4-piece until they brought things to a close in June 2009.

The band recorded 2 LPs and 1 EP. The first LP and the EP for Red Flag Records; the second and last LP for their own label, What’s The Kim? Recordings.

From Dublin, Ireland FKOS toured, recorded and made friends in North America, Europe, the UK, Japan, Australia and Ireland."

FKOS also released two excellent albums, played numerous gigs and festivals, got a Meteor Award as well as wrote great indie rock music!

Upside Down

This is the End

Legacy: There were many pissed off comments that there was no 'final farewell' gig and that the band just burned out! However I'm sure A Lazarus Soul will be back with a new album soon and I have just discovered that two of FKOS are part of a new power rock trio 'The Black Triangle'.

Here are links to the two demo tracks on

Fall For The Placement

T. B. T.

It's also worth noting that FKOS have influenced a whole new generation of bands. At a recent 'A Plastic Rose' gig I noticed one of the band members was wearing a FKOS t-shirt!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Swell Season with Mark Dignam - You Aint Goin' Nowhere

If you look over there on the left you will see that Mark Dignam gets a fair few mentions on this blog and is a major inspiration to me. I was delighted to see this on YouTube this morning. It was recorded in Milwaukee on November 1st 2009 but it could easily have been 1st November 1989 in Grafton Street, Dublin!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Album Review: Ultan Conlon - Bless Your Heart

I've been eagerly awaiting Ultan Conlon's debut album for quite some time and it doesn't fail to impress. Galwegian Ultan will forever have the tag line of being the last person to record with the late John Martyn who also contributed to the lyrics of 'Really Gone' and was very much championing Ultan's talents. With that vote of confidence do you really need me to confirm that Ultan Conlon is a great talent?

The overwhelming mood of 'Bless Your Heart' is that this is a love album. If there was any justice in this world Ultan would have a massive global hit with the album opener 'The Universe Tune' and it'll become the first wedding song of choice for a new generation of couples; "You're greater than the Universe, it's true". The title track, the single 'The Will' and the beautiful 'Old & Wise' all deal with the delicate matters of the heart and relationships.

Ultan's voice is easy on the ear and it helps to fully communicate the sublime intelligent lyrics of the songs. It's the lyrics which carry the album and differentiates it from so much other music out there at the moment. "Love Will Burn Out Madness, It Remains Beyond The Grave"... 'Bless Your Heart'

'Bless Your Heart' is an album of ten tracks where half of them are really excellent tunes and are possible single contenders. 'Old & Wise' is one of the best tracks I've heard all year. Many of the songs contain strings but they're used sparingly and effectively throughout the album. If you're a fan of artists such as Declan O'Rourke and David Gray then 'Bless Your Heart' will appeal to you.

Ultan Conlon - Bless Your Heart [11 out of 12]

The Stables / Support to Rich Wyman

Bless your heart album launch
Free entry

'Bless Your Heart' album launch (Dublin)
Whelan's (upstairs)
Wexford St.
Price TBA

The Crane
Sea road, Galway
Price TBA

Check back on the blog for details on how to win the album