Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Single Review: Michael Brunnock - Every Step

Charming folk song 'Every Step' is the first single to be taken from Michael Brunnock's new album 'The Orchard'.

'Every Step' is a very positive uplifting song perfect for escaping. There are references to dawn, dreams, hope, journeys, delight which along with a gentle soundtrack and a relaxed drumbeat makes this the perfect Summer track. The vocals are pleasant and clear and are aided by fine backing vocals to complete the track.

If 'Every Step' is an indication to the quality of Michael Brunnock's new album 'The Orchard' I'll predict it'll be one of my most listened to albums of 2012.

Michael Brunnock - Every Step by 2uibestow

Buy the song here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/michaelbrunnock4


Posters for 2 upcoming shows:

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Album Review: The Henry Girls - December Moon

'December Moon' is a quality folk/roots album which is consistently brilliant from start to finish. The Henry Girls hit all the right spots on this their third album.

The Henry Girls are sisters from Inishowen in Co. Donegal, Ireland and have been performing together as a band for almost a decade. I get the feeling that 'December Moon' is going a breakthrough album for the band. It's released on the back of European tours and a successful Summer tour in the US. It's recent release also precedes a big European Spring tour as well as a return back to America. There are many really great songs on 'December Moon' which will appeal to fans of folk and roots with the band being comparable to The Dixie Chicks, The Good Be Tanyas or The Indigo Girls.

The 14 tracks include two instrumental arrangements, eleven original tracks and a fine cover of Elvis Costello's 'Watching the Detective'. While it's fair to call this album a folk album it flirts with happy Pop on tracks like 'When Will I See You Again' and 'Fool's Gold'. There are well written ballads such as the beautiful 'Farewell' and the blissful 'Sweet Dreams'. We also have homage to roots and bluegrass on 'Ol' Cook Pot' and 'The Long Road' and then there's the theatrical cover of the brilliant 'Watching the Detectives'. All these genres fit together because of the cohesiveness of the harmonies and the musicianship on the album.

The best track on the album is the title track and it best sums up what The Henry Girls have to offer. This love song 'December Moon' contains wonderful harmonies and a soundtrack that begins with a simple beat, violin and a hand-clap but builds up nicely while still holding the vocals at it's core. It's a superb song.

02 December Moon by The Henry Girls

I really couldn't find a major fault with the album. However out of 14 tracks I'd only consider four of the tracks being of the highest standard [December Moon, Rain and Snow, Sweet Dreams and Farewell]. I have a feeling this album will take The Henry Girls all over the world and on bigger stages than they currently play now.

The Henry Girls - December Moon [11 out of 12]


Monday, 21 November 2011

Introducing: A Mix of New Irish Bands #6

It's that time again when my inbox begins to fill up with new music! Here's the best of the batch and there's some great music in here!

Fun With Ropes

This band are brand new. Their first gig is The Sunday Roast in the Mercantile this Sunday and they have two songs to check out on Soundcloud!. The first song Mariner is alright but I love the second track Weatherstation. Hints of early 90s indie music like Slowdive or Lush. Wonderful stuff!

Weatherstation by Fun with Ropes


Sport of Kings

At the heart of the New York band Sport of Kings is an Irish songwriter, Richard Kelly, who moved to New York from Ireland in 2006. This video is a cracker and the song ain't half bad either in a Pavement/Beach Boys sort of way! The band play Dublin's Grand Social venue on 24 November.


runaway GO

Belfast based Indie band runaway GO are set to release their second single ‘Delicate Man’ on November 25th. Runaway GO have just announced a string of dates in Ireland:

Monday 28th November Spirit Store, Dundalk
Tuesday 29th November Whelan’s (upstairs), Dublin
Wednesday 30th November Kazbar, Wexford
Thursday 1st December Crane Lane, Cork

The single 'Delicate Man' is excellent!



Chloe is a Dublin singer and songwriter who came to my attention through this excellent Interview & Live Performance video from The Purple Sessions. It was filmed in Boyles of Slane and is a quality introduction to this promising singer!


Gareth Dunlop

Gareth Dunlop could easily end up being a mega mega star!

Here's some of the facts…

● Born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 23-year old Gareth Dunlop was hailed “One to Watch” by BBC Radio Ulster.
● Named 2011 Young Songwriter of the Year at the Annual Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival
● Dunlop’s songs have been featured in numerous hit television series including “Cougar Town,” “One Tree Hill,” “Private Practice,” “Army Wives,“Life Unexpected,” and more.
● Dunlop has opened for Jeff Beck, Jools Holland, Nanci Griffith, Angus & Julia Stone, Paul Carrack, The Steeldrivers, Imelda May and more.
● Snow Patrol performed Dunlop’s song, “Firefly,” with a full orchestra and invited him to join the band on stage as the lead vocalist for their special homecoming performance in Belfast.

Here's why there's lots of interest in Gareth Dunlop!

Fools Desire by GarethDunlopMusic


More Than Conquerors

Indie rockers from Belfast More Than Conquerors make some pretty good rock music with a worldwide appeal! It's all good!

More Than Conquerors - I've Done Nothing / I've Done It All by bandwidthmusic


The Henry Girls

Hailing from Donegal this band of three sisters make wonderfully charming folk music! Their new album 'December Moon' is a pleasure to listen to and will be reviewed on the blog real soon!

02 December Moon by The Henry Girls


Saturday, 19 November 2011

Album Review: Smith & Reilly - Arise and Go

'Arise and Go' is a powerful collaboration of music and poetry from poet Stephen James Smith accompanied by the vocals and instrumentation from Enda Reilly.

The majority of the eight tracks on 'Arise and Go' celebrates the poetry of Yeats, Kavanagh and Luke Kelly along with two original works. Smith & Reilly describe this collaboration of poetry and music as 'Spoken Word Sung Verse' and their objective is to give new life to old poems. It's a bold move by the artists to merge these two aspects of the arts and to release it in CD format.

In general the album works for me. The key powerful stand-out track is the original poem from Stephen James Smith called 'The Gardener' with guest musician Elder Roche providing a beautiful background piano soundtrack. 'The Gardener' is a powerful poem about the poet's mother and they get the tone and atmosphere right in this track. The other highlight is the original track sung and composed by Enda Reilly called 'Donal Ná Fág'.

The fact that I enjoyed the two original tracks most in the album means that as a concept album it doesn't really fulfill the objective mentioned above. They do a great version of 'Amhrán Na bhFiann' to close the album. I love Stephen's recital of Yeats' 'September 1913' and the album opener 'Mise Éire/I Am Ireland' sets the tone of the album nicely. The one major negative is the version of 'Raglan Road'. The vocals and the spoken word compete for attention and causes unease and confusion. It's the one track which I wish they did two versions of it, a spoken word and a version with Enda's great vocals at the fore.

'Arise and Go' is a very good concept album which brings new life to previously loved poems and ballads. It's a powerful album which makes you think about Ireland in the past and present and for me breaths new life to poetry.

Smith & Reilly - Arise and Go [10 out of 12]


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Album Review: Polly Barrett - Mr. Bookshop

Sweet folk sounds from Cork's Polly Barrett. A quality debut that hints at a long musical career!

On one level I love the simplicity of 'Mr Bookshop'. The clear and pure vocals of Polly bring her songs to life. They are accompanied by a simple soundtrack of acoustic guitars, banjo and drums. While the genre is folk many of the songs could also be described as pop without the fanfare.

On another level the album was almost too simplistic. I missed the warmth a bassline can bring to the songs. In a time when Irish musicians like Lisa Hannigan and James Vincent McMorrow are raising the bar of the concept of an album, a bunch of sweet sounding songs may not be enough to reach the masses! If anything a fanfare on a couple of tracks would have been very welcomed!

However that been said there are some lovely tunes on 'Mr Bookshop'. The best songs for me include the title track, the album opener 'Weak', the folkie 'Almost Friend' and the glorious 'February' with it's wonderful enriching imagery. The bluegrass feel of 'Synchronicity' really suits Polly's vocals and is another standout track.

All in all 'Mr Bookshop' is a fine debut which showcases the massive potential of Polly Barrett.

Polly Barrett - Mr Bookshop [9 out of 12]

02 POLLY BARRETT - Mr Bookshop by Music Week

Buy the Album: http://pollybarrett.bandcamp.com/album/mr-bookshop


Tour Dates:

Wed, 16 Nov Galway, IE Garvey's Inn
Tue, 22 Nov London, UK The Troubadour Club, Earl's Court, London
Fri, 25 Nov Slane, MH, IE Boyles in Slane
Tue, 29 Nov Wexford, WX, IE The Sky & The Ground
Wed, 30 Nov Kilkenny, KK, IE Ryan's Bar
Thu, 08 Dec Letterkenny, IE An Grianan Theatre
Fri, 09 Dec Galway, IE Roisin Dubh
Sat, 10 Dec Dublin, IE Vicar Street
Sun, 11 Dec Cork, IE Triskel Christchurch
Fri, 30 Dec Mayo, IE Royal Theatre

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Mixtape: Best 30 Irish Songs [2008 - 2011]

The 2UIBestow blog is three today! The fact that I regularly get 400 visitors a day to this page must mean that my music tastes connects with some of you out there! As long as people keep visiting the page I'l keep writing about the music I love!

Here's the best 30 songs in alphabetical order I've discovered since the beginning of the blog three years ago!

Bill Coleman - Church of Second Chances

The Blue Choir - What If I Could Be The One?

David Hope - Daybreak Someplace

Daybreak Someplace by David Hope

Declan DeBarra - Beautiful One

Eric Eckhart - Lost

Lost by Eric Eckhart

Favourite Sons - The Great Deal of Love

The Great Deal of Love by FavouriteSons

The Gorgeous Colours - It's Ok to be Normal

The Gorgeous Colours - It's OK To Be Normal by TheDiscoverialist

Henrietta Game - The Last Thing

LAST THING by Henrietta Game

Heritage Centre - You Are Something

I Am Not Lefthanded - Long Goodbyes

Long Goodbyes by I Am Not Lefthanded

I Draw Slow - Goodbye Beulahland

Iain Archer - Frozen Lake

Jukebox Gypsy - The Month

Jukebox Gypsy - The Month by 2uibestow

Keith Mullins - Mistakes

Kiernan McMullan - That Afternoon

Lisa Hannigan - Paper House

The Making - Safe and Well

Michael Brunnock - Sensation

Miss Paula Flynn - Killed A Bird

Killed A Bird by Miss Paula Flynn

One Day international - Miss Your Mouth

Miss Your Mouth by Brian Crosby

Peadar King - Wanted Something

Pearse McGloughlan - Passion Song

Peter Doran - Pathways

Peter Doran - Pathways by rayrecordings

Pony Club - What are you Angry For?

Preachers Sons - Lipstick

Lipstick feat Gavin Friday by Preachers Son

Reader's Wives - Laughter/Commute

Laughter / Commute by ReadersWives

Resurrection Fern - Brothers

03 Brothers by Resurrection Fern

Sean Kangataran - Hairpins

Salt and Sea - "Hairpins" by Seán Kangataran

Terrance Rowlands - Red Sunrise

Red Sunrise by Terence Rowlands

Youth Mass - Tony Don't You Worry

Tony Don't You Worry by Youth Mass

Album Review: The Making - Expectations

I've listened to 'Expectations' from Monaghan band The Making around twenty times and I'm beginning to believe that this is my favourite album of 2011.

I do struggle with writing album reviews in general and it's more difficult explaining how an album hits the right notes than it is to pick out the the weaknesses. The Making is pretty much Brendan McCahey from Carrickmacross in Co. Monaghan. Brendan has a superb voice and has the ability to write highly catchy songs that keep revolving around your head all day and all night!

'Expectations' consists of ten tracks which is a mix of influences steeped in the Folk, Rock and Glam music of the 70’s. Even though Folk and Glam rock are world's apart Brendan's vocals are suited to both styles. If there was an obvious comparison I'd compare The Making to the indie sounds of British band Supergrass especially on the tracks 'Summer's Gone' and 'Take Her Away'.

04 v1 Summer's Gone by The Making

It is essential for any album that I review that the lyrics are central to the songs. On 'Expectations' there are songs of love, self-discovery and positiveness. When the lyrics are arranged within the catchy choruses of the songs they become infectious. The highlights for me are 'Beautiful Tonight', 'Safe and Well' and 'Prove Them Wrong'. I also love the laid back sound of 'Honestly':

03 v1 Honestly by The Making

There is not a bad song on this album and I'm highly recommending you check out 'Expectations' by The Making:

The Making - Expectations [12 out of 12]

Buy The Album: http://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/expectations/id442737974


Thursday, 3 November 2011

Introducing: A Mix of New Irish Bands #5

This is gonna be a monster post. Thankfully bands and their representatives keep me in touch with everything new and exciting that's out there. Here I'm gonna introduced a whole bunch of bands and artists who'll no doubt feature more prominently on the blog in the future!

The following list is in no particular order except to say I've book-ended the list with my particular favourites!


Alan Doyle

Dubliner Alan Doyle was previously based in Spain for six years where he formed part of Madrid's emerging independent music scene and where he launched his debut LP “Places”. He's recently released a new EP entitled "His Words Left Fatal Wounds - Demos" and it showcases Alan's great deep vocals and songwriting talents. I especially love 'The Road to Reno' which can be downloaded for free here: http://alandoyle.bandcamp.com/album/his-words-left-fatal-wounds-demos

brother by Alan Doyle 2


Beyond Olden Acre

Indie-folk gets a new member with the charming sounds of Dublin band 'Beyond Olden Acre'. Download their debut EP from bandcamp here: http://beyondoldenacre.bandcamp.com/

Western Seaboard, 1913 by Beyond Olden Acre


Paul Creane & The Changing Band

Wexford's Paul Creane released an Alt-country album in April 2011 entitled Tommy Black And The Twelve Days Of Lucy. It's on Soundcloud to have a listen to so I've embeded a track from it below! Sounds really interesting!

05 Hired Killer by Paul Creane

More info: http://www.paulcreane.com/


Morning Claws

The Belfast band introduced themselves well on their site: "They created an intricate blend of electronic and indie music and they called it Morning Claws." This free download is really nice:

More info: http://morningclaws.com/


Lorcan James

Lorcan James hails from Co. Meath and is on the cusp of a breakthrough in Ireland. Backed by a decent band Lorcan will be in the Academy 2 on December 3rd and their sound has the polished radio friendly rock sound primed for regular daytime airplay!

Throwing Stones BONUS TRACK! click download! by utkusarperlorcanjames



The Great Balloon Race

Cork's 'The Great Balloon Race' actually sound like their name. Fusing folk, jazz, prog and psychedelic their music is like a soundtrack to being up high in a balloon! Their EP can be downloaded for free from bandcamp and here's the first track from the EP .... the gorgeous 'Birds of Canada'.

Birds of Canada by TheGreatBalloonRace



Tiny Telephone Exchange

The first half of the debut album from Dublin band 'Tiny Telephone Exchange' has gone onto soundcloud for listening and it's pretty good. Hints at a gorgeous debut album!

Not the World (The Elephant and the Astronaut) by Tiny Telephone Exchange



Tied to Machines

If a bit of heavy rock music is required and lets face it we all need channel our energy into heavy rock from time to time I can recommend Belfast band #Tied to Machines':

Tied To Machines EP - Tied To Machines - Released 18th Novemeber
Audio - http://soundcloud.com/tiedtomachines
1. Sociopath
2. No Hugging, No Learning
3. Otamendi

Sociopath by Tied To Machines



C.O. Neill + Co.

Well what can I say about C.O. Neill & Co? Fun time folk? Jokey folkie? I do love bands that can entertain me and C.O. Neill & Co do that! Check out this funny video and get a free download below:

See the band live:

15/12/11 Dublin - Crawdaddy
28/12/11 Cavan - The Gonzo Theatre


Hello Moon

Dublin band Hello Moon's debut "Only Count the Sunny Hours" will be available on Any Other City Records from 9th September 2011. Their chilled out indie sound is stunning and they are a band I can't wait to see live!

Awkward hugs to Hello Moon!

Awkward Hugs by Hello Moon


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Album Review: Fling - Self-titled

Fling manage to capture their infectious live performances within their debut album. This is a gutsy charming album which re-aquatints us with timeless traditional ballads and introduces us to new jigs for modern times!

There's no album out there more varied than the debut album from Galway band Fling. While folk is at it's core we have traditional ballads sitting next to new tunes next to Dylanesque folk and continental sounds.

The majority of the album is instrumental folk but for me the lead vocals of Liam Carroll really shine on songs like 'Shady Grove' and 'Friend of Mine'. If there's a criticism is that there wasn't more traditional folk songs on the album which would showcase Liam's vocals.

Shady Grove by Fling

The reels I love include the album closer 'Triptych' [really a trio of reels], 'Atlantic Swell' with it's booming bass and the chirpy charming 'Bottle Opener'. I love how the album liner notes gives an insight into the origins and background information of each tune on the album.

Triptych by Fling

Many of the albums I write passionately about have an atmosphere and charm about them and Fling have this in abundance. For example I love the feeling of walking in open Irish pasture when I listen to a track like 'Foregone Conclusion' and a couple of tracks later I'm in the midst of a 'Spanish' party dancing to 'Puerto de Sol'.

Fling is a wonderful and varied album which is well worth checking out!

Fling - self-titled [11 out of 12]

Tour Dates:

10th Nov - The Pint, Eden Quay, Dublin
11th Nov - Boyles, Slane