Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Mix: Knockanstockan 2012


Here's two-thirds of the Knockanstockan 2012 line-up. The rock, roots and folk line-up is pretty decent with a few great bands here. Listen to a few of those acts here!

Arrow In The Sky, Autumn Owls, Best Boy Grip, Blind Yackety, Cat Dowling, Christ of,

Crow Black Chicken



Cry Monster Cry, Earthship, Elk, Enda Reilly, Fox.E & The Good Hands, Fusion Trip, Gypsy Rebel Rabble, Hassle Merchants,


Hush War Cry,



 John Blek & The Rats, Ka Tet, King Modo, little xs for eyes, Liz Lawrence, Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six, Medulla, Mikey & The Scallywags,

Mojo Gogo,



New Secret Weapon,

Niamh Regan,



Raglans, Rocket Surgery, Ross Breen, Rufus Coates and the Blackened Trees, Sal Vitro


Sarah Red,



Sive, Skuzzi Port, Soldiers Can't Dance, Sounds Of System Breakdown, Swords,

The Altered Hours,



The Bambir, The Barley Mob, The Boo Box, The Candidates, The Deans, The Envelope,

The Eskies,



The Fitzafrenic, The Get UpThe Hip-Neck Blues Collective, The Hot Sprockets, The Indecent Cigar Emporium, The Louisiana Six,

The Mighty Stef



The Rag & Bone Stomp, The Riptide Movement, The Salad Circus, The Stoney Brokes, The Strypes,

The Urges,



The Viking Project, The Yips, Tongue Bundle, Trap Door, Trumpets Of Jericho, Twin Headed Wolf,

Veroa,



We Town Criers,



Windings,



Wizards of Firetop, Mountain, Wyvern Lingo

http://knockanstockan.ie/

Tickets €75 for three days camping available here: http://knockanstockan.ie/festival/shop.html

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Singles Battle #6: Rezlow Vs She's A Beauty

Singles Battle is a little thing I do for fun where I compare and contrast two totally unrelated singles from Irish acts! This week it's ......

Rezlow - Face Down

Rezlow release their second single 'Face Down' this week. The band features the amazing vocal talents of Dubliner Terry Sutton. I've written a number of times about the potential of this band. Their edgy rock sound mixed with Terry's vocals and lyrics is for me a winning formula and makes me excited about the prospect of a debut album to discover. That being said 'Face Down' is a decent track that ticks along at a constant pace without the punch I was expecting on first listen. It feels like an album track rather than a single as the tempo doesn't vary much throughout. I still love their sound and 'Face Down' is primed for daytime radio but it didn't give me anything to be too excited about.



http://www.facebook.com/Rezlow/

--------------------------------

She's A Beauty - Too Much Confusion

'Too Much Confusion' is in fact a charity single from the Kildare band. "Too Much Confusion is available for download from Sunday, 27th May. The track will cost a minimum donation of €1 to download and all proceeds will be going towards Oxjam Ireland's grow campaign."

I've heard a few songs from She's A Beauty and they are a bit hit and miss. I wasn't expecting much from 'Too Much Confusion' but this is a seriously classy song. It kicks off with pleasant vocals and keys before it goes to an impressive full band sound. It's subtle to begin with then progresses while constantly keeping your attention which is tough for a song of nearly five minutes. The lyrics are inspirational throughout filled with shear emotion. This is such a great tune.





------------------------------------

There's a number of similarities with Rezlow & She's a Beauty. While they are at contrasting life stages; in terms of band years these are two young bands. Both have wonderful vocalists and the two songs rely heavily on the vocals to carry the track and to keep your attention. Also music wise the two tracks may well have been composed on piano which features prominently on each track. The contrast for me is that the younger band She's a Beauty got their track right with emotions and feelings infused into their song. 

Rezlow - Face Down [10 out of 12]

She's a Beauty - Too Much Confusion [12 out of 12]

Monday, 28 May 2012

5 Irish Music Videos You Must See Now!

The world and the Sun has worked against this blog in recent times. Apologies if my lack of regular posts is letting anyone looking for new Irish music and news down! In the last number of weeks I've been notified about 5 fantastic videos which you need to check out!

A Dark Horse - Take Me Home

This is simply gorgeous and brought back lots of memories of being a kid during the World Cup of 1990.

http://www.facebook.com/adarkhorsemusic




----------------------------------

Time is a Thief - Easy

Cork rockers released this fine track 'Eyes' recently and it's a superb tune. I love the video with it's live and backstage footage.

http://www.facebook.com/TimeIsAThief






-----------------------------------

Heritage Centre - The Boss

The Heritage Centre PR machine is in full mode in the run up to the release of their debut album. While 'The Boss' is a cracking tune the video is brilliant. Reminds me of Nirvana's 'In Bloom' video. 



Ohhhhhhh you can get 'The Boss' here for free!


-------------------------------------

Róisín O - Here We Go

Dublin's Roisin O releases her new single 'Here We Go' with this fine video accompanying it!




Tour Dates: 30 May: Dublin Grand Social, Here We Go Single Launch
*6 June: London, Union Chapel
*7 June: Birmingham, Town Hall
*8 June: Gateshead, The Sage
*9 June: Manchester, RNCM Theatre
15 June: Cork, Live at the Marquee, Special guest with The Coronas

* special guest with Mary Black

-----------------------------------------

Mark Black & The Trips - Leave Without a Trace

I'm not too mad about the track but the video is top drawer. I love the surfing scenes and it works well with the track. 


Saturday, 26 May 2012

Mix: Beat on the Boyne

Next Saturday and Sunday you'll find a whole host of local Drogheda/Louth/Meath acts perform The Beat on the Boyne. There's some very good acts on the following line-up!


Sj McArdle



Sarah O'Brien



Chris Brady



http://www.facebook.com/BeatOnTheBoyneFestival



The Enemies




Geriko




Machine Gun Baby

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Westport Festival: Stage Times

With a good four weeks to go until the first Westport Festival the stage times are live here!



I can't wait for this. Bands I'm really looking forward to seeing are Rhob Cunningham, Sam Amidon, The Waterboys, Rainy Boy Sleep, Damien Dempsey, The Plea, Eoin Glackin, Raglans, Duke Special, Wallis Bird, David Kitt, Lloyd Cole and Colin Devlin!



Tickets here: http://www.westportfestival.com/

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Mixtape: The Spirit of Folk 2012

One of the highlights of 2011 for me was the inaugural Spirit of Folk festival in Dunderry, Co. Meath.

Well news has come through that 2012 will be bigger and better! Along with all the folk games, experimental archaeology, medieval village, falconry, storytelling .... there will be an extra night at the festival and a second stage to keep the music flowing all day. Here's a lovely wee animation announcing the headliners:



A limited supply of Early Bird weekend ticketsfor €65 and day tickets for €35 will be available until 31st May only. From June onwards, weekend tickets will cost €85 and day tickets will cost €45.
To purchase your Spirit of Folk 2012 tickets go to www.tickets.ie. For more information, checkout www.spiritoffolk.com or follow them on Twitter (@Spirit_of_Folk) or give an auld like on  Facebook.com/spiritoffolkfestival.

Returning this year from September 21st to 23rd,Spirit of Folk 2012 will see musicians and storytellers from allover Ireland and the UK come together for a weekend of music, arts, craft,spirituality, philosophy and folklore.

Here's the line-up with a selection of 10 songs from bands scheduled to play!

John Spillane
The Lost Brothers



Lisa O’Neill,
I DrawSlow
Spook of the Thirteenth Lock
Tucan



The Hot Sprockets;
Mossy Nolan;
The Henry Girls;



The YoungFolk;
Tir na nOg;
Aoife Scott;
Jig away the Donkey;
Pete Cummins;
The BonnyMen;
Traz;



The Man Whom,



Gypsy Rebble Rabble;
Bunoscionn;
Trad side of the moon;
Wookalilly;
Alpaca Jamboree;



Miriam Donohue;



 Joy Booth;
TAC;
Twin Headed Wolf;



The Eskies;



Cry Monster Cry;
Hidden Highways



and JP Trio and Niamh.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

EP Review: Cry Monster Cry - The Fallen

'The Fallen' is a fine collection of tunes which are brimming with charm and delicate folk sounds from the harmonic siblings 'Cry Monster Cry'.


When the time comes to produce my top 50 songs of the year the title tune of this EP will almost definitely be in the top ten. It's a gorgeous emotive track which carries you along on the melody. The violin is superb and the harmonies and lovely. There's a tension within the lyrics which the music compliments greatly to achieve an edge to the harmonic folk of the EP.




The other tracks blend in well with the title track. The EP kicks off with 'Polaris' which finds the brothers' harmonies backed by fine musicianship of mandolin, drums and bass. 'On Tangled Shores' works because of them fine harmonies and intriguing story. It finishes with the short folk song 'As Long As You're Left To Carry On'. Each of these tracks are pretty good but the title track takes some beating for me.

The only problem I have with the EP is also the thing that makes 'Cry Monster Cry' such a good band. The vocals and the harmonies and just too pleasant. I've listened to the EP a good number of times and I've struggled to grasp the point of the lyrics. Luckily they are printed inside the cd cover and in the main I've enjoyed reading the lyrics but I wasn't enthralled too much by the lyrics when sung in the tracks. 

Cry Monster Cry - The Fallen [10 out 12]

The EP is launched this Friday in Whelans!




http://www.facebook.com/crymonstercrymusic




Saturday, 19 May 2012

Album Review: Sive - We Are Moving

'We Are Moving' is a majestic debut album from Kildare band 'Sive' which infuses charming gentle folk sounds with an alternative edge that's bound together with wonderful lead vocals.


The whole album flows from acoustic gentle folk melodies to full electric sounds with an edge. It works because Sadhbh's vocals and lyrics bind the contrasting sounds together. There's also elements of jazz and pop on 'We Are Moving' but this is an album to check out if you're a fan of Natalie Merchant style folk or if you like the grittier sounds of Anna Calvi or PJ Harvey.

As it turns out the tracks which appeal to me are those with an electric alternative sound. The band realise that Sadhbh's vocals and lyrics are to be kept to the forefront so there's rarely a misplaced guitar solo or overuse of drum symbols. My favourite track off the album is 'Piece of my Mind'.




The singles 'Sunkissed' and the title track do stand out a little but almost any song off the album could be released as a single. I particularly enjoy the axis of songs on the 'Second Side' which are 'Burning Slowly', 'The Wait' and 'Crashing Waves'. This last song contains some wonderful lyrics full of imagery and amazing musicianship. 


'We Are Moving' is a superb album from a band who I believe have international appeal and a potentially long music career ahead of them. The album can be downloaded through bandcamp for the tiny sum of €4.99 here: http://sivemusic.bandcamp.com/

Sive - We Are Moving [11 out of 12]


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Mixtape: Forbidden Fruits Festival


To be fair this looks both amazing and good value in the centre of Dublin. Here's a few songs from Irish acts on the bill! Tickets here: http://forbiddenfruit.ie/

[Mazzy Star clashing with James VMcM is not good!]

Republic of Loose



We Cut Corners



Little Green Cars



The Cast of Cheers



Daithi



James Vincent McMorrow



Windings



Autumn Owls



RSAG



White Collar Boy

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

EP Review: Foxglove - Crazy at the Helm

Enjoyable debut EP from Cork artist Foxglove which suggests she has a long and fruitful career ahead of her. 



The first I heard of Cork artist 'Foxglove' was earlier this year when her song 'Winter' was included on an all female Irish compilation album Cafe Irlandaise. I wrote in the review that 'The compilation flows onto another epic song from Foxglove with vocals from Niamh Murphy. Their sound fuses folk, pop and electronic to create another superb track.'.That song Winter is track two on the debut EP 'Crazy at the Helm'. This epic track is the middle of two very radio friendly pop songs which get better with every listen.



'Land's End' opens the EP in fine style which showcases Niamh's effective vocal style. It's a lovely sound which brings together an inherently Irish rock sound with an electronic twist. The best track for me is the third and final track 'Same Old Question' which begins like a Nelly Furtado hit and includes wonderful vocals with some spectacular long notes!



The good thing about the EP format is that you can get three very different tracks as the case with 'Crazy at the Helm'. However as the tracks are different the EP doesn't gel well together. What it does do is hint very strongly that a ten track album from Foxglove will be pretty special indeed.

Foxglove - Crazy at the Helm [10 out of 12]

http://www.facebook.com/Official.Foxglove

EP launch is next weekend in Cork with support from The Hard Ground.



Monday, 14 May 2012

Mixtape: Happy Valley Festival

Now that I'm finished with the Top 50 and helping to promote Vantastival I can look at the other festivals planned for Ireland this Summer. Hopefully this festival, The Happy Valley Festival will attract the crowds in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.


Saturday 3pm €16.50

Wallis Bird http://www.facebook.com/wallisbird?rf=113030688711485



Deetrich
The Man Whom

Seven Summits http://www.facebook.com/sevensummitsni



Ultan Conlon http://www.facebook.com/ultanconlonmusic



Vickers Vimy

Sean Watmore http://www.facebook.com/pages/Se%C3%A1n-Watmore/204327146304568



-------------------------------


Sunday from Midday; Murphys 15 Acts- 15 Euros returns at Murphys beergarden.

Neon Wolf, http://www.facebook.com/neonwolfmusic?ref=ts



The Hot Sprockets,
Solar Taxi,
Daydream Regime,
The Rawkings,

The Barley Mob, http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-BaRLey-MOB/117200281625659



Oddsocks Revival, http://www.facebook.com/oddsocksrevival



Slim Pickins,

Nathan Conway,



Adela & The Meanits,  http://www.facebook.com/pages/ADELA-the-MEANITS/117203391625300



Our Krypton Son, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Our-Krypton-Son/185903978117238



Window Seats, http://www.facebook.com/windowseats



 A Dog Called Eli
Bona Fide Federation

http://www.happyvalleyfestival.com/wordpress/

Sunday, 13 May 2012

PLAY iRISH May Artists

This blog is the blogger partner of the IASCA initiative PLAY iRISH to promote Irish music on radio stations across the country.

The following five artists and their tracks have been chosen for the month of May to be played at 1pm on the Jon Richard's Show on Galway Bay FM. It's a decent enough mix of new and established artists.

MONDAYS: MICK FLANNERY ‘ NO WAY TO LIVE”



TUESDAYS: Polly Barrett ‘ Synchronicity’





WEDNESDAYS: Carla Merrigan ‘ In Too Deep



THURSDAYS: GLEN HANSARD  ‘Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting’



FRIDAYS:  HAM SANDWICH ‘Long Distance'



Polly Barrett is gigging this Wednesday in Whelans!


Saturday, 12 May 2012

Album Review: The Plea - The Dreamers Stadium

'The Dreamers Stadium' is a surprisingly enjoyable mainstream stadium rock album from Donegal band The Plea. While I'm not blown away by the music of 'The Plea' there isn't a bad track on the album and is a superb all round good listen!



I've searched through all eleven tracks on 'The Dreamers Stadium' and there's not one bad track on there. Each song is pitched for the mainstream and are as inoffensive as anything you'll hear this year. Most of the tracks are chunky four minute anthems which sound great as background noise and will sound awesome at a large festival or in a large venue where I've no doubt these tracks will eventually end up! The best tracks for me are the current single 'Oh Ah Yay', 'Out on a Light' and this track 'The Odyssey'. 


The vocals throughout are exceptionally good, the production is perfect and the intricate musicianship on offer is of the highest quality. It's almost too good for a debut album, if that at all makes sense. The massive elephant in the room is the crystal clear comparison between The Plea and U2. However as U2 haven't released anything worthwhile in well over a decade I think it's time for a new U2! 

The Plea - The Dreamers Stadium [10 out of 12]


Official Video for 'I Am The Miracle'


The Dreams Stadium is released on May 14th


Friday, 11 May 2012

Top 50 Irish Acts in Ireland Today


Here's the top 50 acts in Ireland according to my humble tastes. The list acts as a guide to the recently released music which excites me at this moment in time. It excludes bands not currently working in Ireland or who have been dormant for some time. So in basic terms here's a list of bands to watch out for on a random night in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Dundalk etc ....


50. Heritage Centre  http://www.facebook.com/theheritagecentre
49. Seamus Fogarty http://www.facebook.com/pages/Seamus-Fogarty-Music/112030042201855
48. The Man Whom http://www.facebook.com/themanwhom
47. SJ McArdle http://www.facebook.com/sjmcardlemusic
46. Allie Bradley http://www.facebook.com/alliebrads
45. Drunken Boat http://www.facebook.com/drunkenboatie
44. Polly Barrett http://www.facebook.com/pages/Polly-Barrett-Music/108088589256392
43. The Manhattan Syndrome http://www.facebook.com/TheManhattanSyndrome
42. Aaron Shanley http://www.facebook.com/aaronshanley
41. Bouts  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bouts/275118665844806
40. Shannon http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shannon/354158321282914
39. Preachers Son http://www.facebook.com/preacherssonofficial
38. Wicker Bones http://www.facebook.com/WickerBones
37. Pearse McGloughlin http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pearse-McGloughlin/153142284726895
36. Eric McGrath http://www.facebook.com/EricMcGrathMusica
35. Ghost Estates http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ghost-estates/143095429068791
34. The Henry Girls http://www.thehenrygirls.com
33. Rams Pocket Radio http://soundcloud.com/ramspocketradio/tracks
32. The Dirty 9s http://www.facebook.com/theDirty9s
31. The Crayon Set http://www.facebook.com/thecrayonset
30. Twin Terrace http://www.facebook.com/twinterrace
29. The Lost Brothers http://www.facebook.com/thelostbrothers
28. Little Green Cars http://www.facebook.com/littlegreencars
27. Fox E. & The Good Hands http://foxeandthegoodhands.com/
26. Valentine Black http://www.facebook.com/valentineblack
25. Youth Mass http://www.facebook.com/thisisyouthmass
24. Autumn Long http://www.facebook.com/Autumnlongmusic
23. Arrow in the Sky http://www.facebook.com/arrowinthesky
22. Storyfold http://www.facebook.com/storyfold
21. Senakah http://www.facebook.com/senakah.ireland
20. Fling http://www.facebook.com/Flingfolk
19. The Riot Tapes http://www.facebook.com/TheRiotTapes
18. The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock http://www.facebook.com/thespookofthethirteenthlock
17. We Cut Corners http://www.facebook.com/wecutcorners
16. Ham Sandwich http://www.hamsandwichmusic.com/
15. Sive http://www.facebook.com/siveband
14. Wallis Bird http://www.wallisbird.com/
13. Lisa Hanningan http://www.facebook.com/lisahannigan
12. A Plastic Rose http://www.facebook.com/aplasticrose
11. David Hope http://www.facebook.com/davehopemusic
10. The Gorgeous Colours https://www.facebook.com/TheGorgeousColours
9. Bona Fide Federation http://www.facebook.com/bonafidefederation
8. Junah http://www.junah.com/
7. Bill Coleman http://bcoleman.com/
6. The Young Folk http://www.facebook.com/TheYoungFolkMusic

5. Mossy Nolan http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mossy-Nolan/193571684009953?ref=ts

Mossy quietly released his self-titled debut album earlier this year. It's a wonderful album of folk classics and traditional compositions which is bursting with both charm and integrity.











4. Marc O'Reilly http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marc-OReilly/188928571123136


I'd rate Marc O'Reilly as the best guitarist in Ireland. Along with this fantastic talent he can also write a great song as evidenced on his fantastic debut album 'My Friend Marx' released in Ireland last year. Also I'm delighted to hear great things about Marc's career in the UK and Europe.








3. Jukebox Gypsy http://www.facebook.com/jukeboxgypsymusic


After two full albums, a live album and about six tours of Ireland Jukebox Gypsy are still relatively unknown in blogging media circles. However their Irish shows invariably sell out with their fanbase expanding mainly on 'Word of Mouth'! If it's tap dancing entertainment and good songs you want then Jukebox Gypsy is your band!







2. I Draw Slow http://www.facebook.com/idrawslow

On the band's facebook page it describes their sound as '.... rooted in the old time style of the Appalachian Mountains, drawing on Irish traditional music and modern Americana. However, this is a whole new songbook of stories and melodies.'

 'I Draw Slow' are such a great live band and they deserve to be headlining the biggest venues playing to as many people as possible.

Here's a recent clip of 'I Draw Slow' getting a lovely reception from the crowd at this year's Celtic Connections.




1. Ana Gog http://www.facebook.com/anagogmusic



Ana Gog released an EP a good few years back and have since been preparing their debut album which is apparently on the way in the coming weeks. Ana Gog's sound, to me anyway, is completely unique. The best way to describe it is that they are taking that 70's Genesis sound and re-inventing and updating it. The vocals are pitch perfect, the musicianship is top notch and their songs are inspirational. Best act in Ireland at the moment? Yes!





Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Top 50 - Part 9 [6 - 50]


Here's the top 50 acts in Ireland according to my humble tastes. The list acts as a guide to the recently released music which excites me at this moment in time. It excludes bands not currently working in Ireland or who have been dormant for some time. So in basic terms here's a list of bands to watch out for on a random night in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Dundalk etc ....


50. Heritage Centre  http://www.facebook.com/theheritagecentre
49. Seamus Fogarty http://www.facebook.com/pages/Seamus-Fogarty-Music/112030042201855
48. The Man Whom http://www.facebook.com/themanwhom
47. SJ McArdle http://www.facebook.com/sjmcardlemusic
46. Allie Bradley http://www.facebook.com/alliebrads
45. Drunken Boat http://www.facebook.com/drunkenboatie
44. Polly Barrett http://www.facebook.com/pages/Polly-Barrett-Music/108088589256392
43. The Manhattan Syndrome http://www.facebook.com/TheManhattanSyndrome
42. Aaron Shanley http://www.facebook.com/aaronshanley
41. Bouts  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bouts/275118665844806
40. Shannon http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shannon/354158321282914
39. Preachers Son http://www.facebook.com/preacherssonofficial
38. Wicker Bones http://www.facebook.com/WickerBones
37. Pearse McGloughlin http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pearse-McGloughlin/153142284726895
36. Eric McGrath http://www.facebook.com/EricMcGrathMusica
35. Ghost Estates http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ghost-estates/143095429068791
34. The Henry Girls http://www.thehenrygirls.com
33. Rams Pocket Radio http://soundcloud.com/ramspocketradio/tracks
32. The Dirty 9s http://www.facebook.com/theDirty9s
31. The Crayon Set http://www.facebook.com/thecrayonset
30. Twin Terrace http://www.facebook.com/twinterrace
29. The Lost Brothers http://www.facebook.com/thelostbrothers
28. Little Green Cars http://www.facebook.com/littlegreencars
27. Fox E. & The Good Hands http://foxeandthegoodhands.com/
26. Valentine Black http://www.facebook.com/valentineblack
25. Youth Mass http://www.facebook.com/thisisyouthmass
24. Autumn Long http://www.facebook.com/Autumnlongmusic
23. Arrow in the Sky http://www.facebook.com/arrowinthesky
22. Storyfold http://www.facebook.com/storyfold
21. Senakah http://www.facebook.com/senakah.ireland
20. Fling http://www.facebook.com/Flingfolk
19. The Riot Tapes http://www.facebook.com/TheRiotTapes
18. The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock http://www.facebook.com/thespookofthethirteenthlock
17. We Cut Corners http://www.facebook.com/wecutcorners
16. Ham Sandwich http://www.hamsandwichmusic.com/
15. Sive http://www.facebook.com/siveband
14. Wallis Bird http://www.wallisbird.com/
13. Lisa Hanningan http://www.facebook.com/lisahannigan
12. A Plastic Rose http://www.facebook.com/aplasticrose
11. David Hope http://www.facebook.com/davehopemusic

10. The Gorgeous Colours https://www.facebook.com/TheGorgeousColours

Indie tunes with a splash of fine trumpet and superb vocals sum up The Gorgeous Colours. Their 2008 debut album was good but everything they've released since then has been excellent. How good is this tune 'Chopped Heart'? Can't wait for album number two!







9. Bona Fide Federation http://www.facebook.com/bonafidefederation

Cork's Bona Fide Federation makes the list due to the amazing vocals of Triona O'Neill. Their jazzy radio friendly pop is enhanced by the spectacular lead vocals.







8. Junah http://www.junah.com/

Junah are beginning to frustrate me. I've been waiting for years to listen to the wonderful album that they are capable of but instead they release a four track EP which is free through their website. Junah are a quality band with thoughtful folk rock songs.



7. Bill Coleman http://bcoleman.com/

Bill Coleman was a busy man in 2011 releasing a song a week through his bandcamp page. Among the 50 tunes there were some real gems including a cover of Kanye West's 'Runaway', the superhero theme tune 'Maximilliano and this tune 'Turn The Lights Down Low'.



6. The Young Folk http://www.facebook.com/TheYoungFolkMusic

When Anthony Furey formed The Young Folk he brought together five wonderfully talented musicians to create an energetic folk sound that's as good live as on cd. Their debut EP consists of some great songs and their live performances are always top quality.



The full list on Friday!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

My Vantastival Review

Vantastival 2012 was a major success for everyone involved. The new site was perfect and at times stunningly beautiful against a background of multi-coloured treetops. The crowds came in their campervans, caravans, tents and buses. The stages were fit for the kings and queens of Irish music. It's the biggest compliment I can give the Vantastival organisers that they give new, fresh, raw and young Irish talent an opportunity to perform to new friends and fans on a grand stage.

My Vantastival did not go to plan. A sick child with a nasty fever meant it was just myself and two kids to make the journey north. As the youngest was five it meant missing out on many of the bands I'd have loved to see. However between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon I got to see 23 Irish acts to some degree. Here's a few of my lasting thoughts from the weekend;

Friday

The first act to impress me were Belfast's 'runaway GO' on the impressive wooden structure that was the Done Deal stage. The band had energy, decent tunes, great female vocals which worked with the male vocalist to create nice harmonies and most importantly they looked like they had a ball on stage.



Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters didn't encourage me to hang around while main stage bands 'I'd Fight Gandhi' were spectacularly good and 'The Trampz' were great fun. The biggest surprise for me on the whole weekend were 'Master and Dog'.  I seen this same band [different name; John, Shelly & Creatures] a few years back and the whole sound didn't make much sense. However on Friday on the Paddy Mirage stage they were awesome. The new songs due on a new album released this Summer were brilliant. The band has three excellent singers with their bassist having in my opinion the best voice. Their energy at times was sensational and they had the right mixture of indie/alternative sounds to make sense to me.



We caught a few minutes of Ham Sandwich. I love the Ham Sambos but until they learn to control Podge and his antics they'll never progress to the mainstream. The real star is Niamh and she constantly has to compete with the beast that is Podge. Anyway the hits sounded really good from the tent!

Saturday

The folk sounds and glorious vocal harmonies of Cry Monster Cry eased us into a Saturday full of great music. On the done deal stage We Town Criers kicked off proceedings with their brand of indie rock. The best aspect of We Town Criers are the gutsy emotional lead vocals on tracks like 'Wake Up'.



The main stage was the place to see Drogheda's 'Huey & The Hobgoblins'. This band is bursting with energy and infectious fun. Their jazzy retro sounds hit you hard and it's impossible not to enjoy.




The next band to see were the excellent 'Ana Gog'. I've written many times here that they are a wonderful band and Saturday proved that to me. I can't wait to get a hold of their debut album released this Summer. We caught a few minutes of SJ McArdle who is always brilliant before going to see Fox E.'s big moment on the main stage to warm up the crowd for Cathy Davey. Fox E. & The Good Hands had a ball and had everyone grooving to their tunes. We then went to see Dundalk's 'Third Smoke' who were brilliant. This young band could end up being very successful. They have four really good singers in the band and their song structure can vary even within one song itself. 


It was a pleasure to hear a few tunes from Cathy Davey on the main stage before hearing the beautiful folk sounds of Galway's Vickers Vimy. The six piece band of exceptional musicians performed one of the best sets of the festival.


My daughter called 'The Amazing Few' a crazy band and it was a fair critique. They were crazy and fun and became the ridiculous to the sublime that was Marc O'Reilly to finish off a great day of music.

Sunday

We only seen four acts on the Sunday. Champagne Animal kicked off Sunday on the main stage playing to a dozen people but finished it playing to well over a hundred. I expected more from the band but I didn't hear or see a unique selling point. The vocals were too often drowned out by unnecessary overuse of symbols and heavy drumming. A quick trip to see Willow Sea resulted in a struggle to think through any positives about his set. We went to hear the hard rock sounds of Dundalk's 'Redtwelve' and they didn't fail to deliver. This is a quality band with a few really good songs, a fine vocalist and superb musicians. The last band I got to see were The Bionic Rats on the main stage who are always on top form with their ska, reggae  sounds.


It was a super weekend of music and there was so much for the kids to do. We all had a great time. Roll on 2013! 

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Mixtape: My Vantastival Schedule [Part 3 - Sunday]

The full Vantastival schedule went live during the week. Below is a rough plan detailing the bands I hope to see over the weekend. Of course I'll be hoping to find new favourites over the course of the weekend but there are a number of bands I'm really excited to see. Tickets here: http://www.vantastival.com/tickets/

A new schedule went live with changes made to the Saturday running order. It means Cathy Davey & Jinx Lennon are no longer clashing!


Sunday

I think Sunday is where I'll uncover a few new favourite acts.

I'll have to begin with the main stage to see the much hyped Champagne Animal.



Dundalk's rockers Red Twelve are next on the Done Deal stage.



At the first Vantastival the most entertaining band by far were The Bionic Rats. A Sunday afternoon set on the main stage will be so much fun!



A quick trip to see Inni K is on the cards followed by Raglans back on the main stage.



Late afternoon grungy folk is provided by The Viking Project on the second stage and De Dannan on the main stage. The naxt band to interest me is Cork's 'Slow Motion Heroes'.



I'm really looking forward to finally catching Wyvern Lingo live on the Musicmaker Paddy Mirage stage followed by Preachers Son on the main stage:



The final three acts on my schedule are worth the entry fee alone;

The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock 10 pm Paddy Mirage Stage



I Draw Slow 11.20 Paddy Mirage Stage



God is an Astronaut - Midnight Main Stage

Top 50 Part 8 [11 - 50]


Here's the top 50 acts in Ireland according to my humble tastes. The list acts as a guide to the recently released music which excites me at this moment in time. It excludes bands not currently working in Ireland or who have been dormant for some time. So in basic terms here's a list of bands to watch out for on a random night in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Dundalk etc ....


50. Heritage Centre  http://www.facebook.com/theheritagecentre
49. Seamus Fogarty http://www.facebook.com/pages/Seamus-Fogarty-Music/112030042201855
48. The Man Whom http://www.facebook.com/themanwhom
47. SJ McArdle http://www.facebook.com/sjmcardlemusic
46. Allie Bradley http://www.facebook.com/alliebrads
45. Drunken Boat http://www.facebook.com/drunkenboatie
44. Polly Barrett http://www.facebook.com/pages/Polly-Barrett-Music/108088589256392
43. The Manhattan Syndrome http://www.facebook.com/TheManhattanSyndrome
42. Aaron Shanley http://www.facebook.com/aaronshanley
41. Bouts  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bouts/275118665844806
40. Shannon http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shannon/354158321282914
39. Preachers Son http://www.facebook.com/preacherssonofficial
38. Wicker Bones http://www.facebook.com/WickerBones
37. Pearse McGloughlin http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pearse-McGloughlin/153142284726895
36. Eric McGrath http://www.facebook.com/EricMcGrathMusica
35. Ghost Estates http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ghost-estates/143095429068791
34. The Henry Girls http://www.thehenrygirls.com
33. Rams Pocket Radio http://soundcloud.com/ramspocketradio/tracks
32. The Dirty 9s http://www.facebook.com/theDirty9s
31. The Crayon Set http://www.facebook.com/thecrayonset
30. Twin Terrace http://www.facebook.com/twinterrace
29. The Lost Brothers http://www.facebook.com/thelostbrothers
28. Little Green Cars http://www.facebook.com/littlegreencars
27. Fox E. & The Good Hands http://foxeandthegoodhands.com/
26. Valentine Black http://www.facebook.com/valentineblack
25. Youth Mass http://www.facebook.com/thisisyouthmass
24. Autumn Long http://www.facebook.com/Autumnlongmusic
23. Arrow in the Sky http://www.facebook.com/arrowinthesky
22. Storyfold http://www.facebook.com/storyfold
21. Senakah http://www.facebook.com/senakah.ireland
20. Fling http://www.facebook.com/Flingfolk
19. The Riot Tapes http://www.facebook.com/TheRiotTapes
18. The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock http://www.facebook.com/thespookofthethirteenthlock
17. We Cut Corners http://www.facebook.com/wecutcorners
16. Ham Sandwich http://www.hamsandwichmusic.com/

15. Sive http://www.facebook.com/siveband

Sive released their debut album last month entitled 'We Are Moving' which is simply brilliant. It's full of great tracks like the current single 'Sunkissed'.



14. Wallis Bird http://www.wallisbird.com/

I've been meaning to review Wallis' new album here for a couple of weeks because it's on regular rotation in my house. I love how Wallis keeps reinventing her sound with massive success each time.



13. Lisa Hanningan http://www.facebook.com/lisahannigan

'Passengers' was one of the best Irish albums last year with Lisa's appeal rightly going global.



12. A Plastic Rose http://www.facebook.com/aplasticrose

A Plastic Rose are a quality band who'll prove my prediction right by becoming massive this year. For me it's all about the two contrasting lead vocals in front of that energetic sound!



11. David Hope http://www.facebook.com/davehopemusic

There's no better songwriter of folk songs in the country than David Hope. A new album is due in September and I can't wait!



Part 9 soon!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Top 50 - Part 7 [16 - 50]



Here's the top 50 acts in Ireland according to my humble tastes. The list acts as a guide to the recently released music which excites me at this moment in time. It excludes bands not currently working in Ireland or who have been dormant for some time. So in basic terms here's a list of bands to watch out for on a random night in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Dundalk etc ....


50. Heritage Centre  http://www.facebook.com/theheritagecentre
49. Seamus Fogarty http://www.facebook.com/pages/Seamus-Fogarty-Music/112030042201855
48. The Man Whom http://www.facebook.com/themanwhom
47. SJ McArdle http://www.facebook.com/sjmcardlemusic
46. Allie Bradley http://www.facebook.com/alliebrads
45. Drunken Boat http://www.facebook.com/drunkenboatie
44. Polly Barrett http://www.facebook.com/pages/Polly-Barrett-Music/108088589256392
43. The Manhattan Syndrome http://www.facebook.com/TheManhattanSyndrome
42. Aaron Shanley http://www.facebook.com/aaronshanley
41. Bouts  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bouts/275118665844806
40. Shannon http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shannon/354158321282914
39. Preachers Son http://www.facebook.com/preacherssonofficial
38. Wicker Bones http://www.facebook.com/WickerBones
37. Pearse McGloughlin http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pearse-McGloughlin/153142284726895
36. Eric McGrath http://www.facebook.com/EricMcGrathMusica
35. Ghost Estates http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ghost-estates/143095429068791
34. The Henry Girls http://www.thehenrygirls.com
33. Rams Pocket Radio http://soundcloud.com/ramspocketradio/tracks
32. The Dirty 9s http://www.facebook.com/theDirty9s
31. The Crayon Set http://www.facebook.com/thecrayonset
30. Twin Terrace http://www.facebook.com/twinterrace
29. The Lost Brothers http://www.facebook.com/thelostbrothers
28. Little Green Cars http://www.facebook.com/littlegreencars
27. Fox E. & The Good Hands http://foxeandthegoodhands.com/
26. Valentine Black http://www.facebook.com/valentineblack
25. Youth Mass http://www.facebook.com/thisisyouthmass
24. Autumn Long http://www.facebook.com/Autumnlongmusic
23. Arrow in the Sky http://www.facebook.com/arrowinthesky
22. Storyfold http://www.facebook.com/storyfold
21. Senakah http://www.facebook.com/senakah.ireland

20. Fling http://www.facebook.com/Flingfolk

Galway's trad/folk band 'Fling' push the boundaries of both genres with their energetic live performances, quality jigs and superb vocals.



19. The Riot Tapes http://www.facebook.com/TheRiotTapes

The radio friendly adult pop from The Riot Tapes suits my mood when I want something simple but with a kick.



18. The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock http://www.facebook.com/thespookofthethirteenthlock

The Spook are creating a nice niche for themselves as a great live band with a big sound nobody can describe.



17. We Cut Corners http://www.facebook.com/wecutcorners

We Cut Corners really impressed me at Cork XSW last year and their debut album was one of the best albums of last year.



16. Ham Sandwich http://www.hamsandwichmusic.com/

I'm delighted for Ham Sandwich that they are a band that sells out venues like The Academy and The Spirit Store. A Summer festival spot at Benicassim Festival should expand their fanbase to the wider world!



Part 8 soon!