Sunday, March 24, 2013

Free Music: Kid Karate

To celebrate their SXSW appearance Kid Karate have posted 5 of their songs on soundcloud to download for free including singles Two Times and This City.

Video: SOnance HOtel - Sub-Dude

Former Humanzi/The Mighty Stef alumni Brian Gallagher has returned with his latest single Sub-Dude under the moniker of SOnance HOtel. The track has a current of morose sunshine running through it similar to early Doves material. It's bleak and claustrophobic yet somehow spacious and uplifting at the same time. Gallagher's voice has a gritty, knowing, ethereal quality to it which blends wonderfully with the sonic architecture beneath it.

Listen: Liza Flume - Poison (Daithi Remix)

Loop pedal protagonist Daithi has remixed Liza Flume's track Poison from her debut EP 'Full Steam Ahead'. Daithi has given the track an unexpected early '90s dance feel far removed from Flume's romantic folk output. Hopefully this mini collaboration will lead to a full blown partnership between the two artists in the future.

Video: Conor Linnie - The Fire I'm Kindling

Conor Linnie recently released his debut album 'Astray' (review coming soon) it's one of the finest debuts by an Irish singer/songwriter in quite some considerable time. Here is the video for The Fire I'm Kindling the first single to be taken from the album.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: The Killers - The O2 Dublin

Finally getting round to posting this review which first appeared on Goldenplec where I'm a Sub-editor. It's been a crazy journey with this review, thanks to Debbie Hickey's "Killer-Lego" photography which yielded Scandinavian press interest, Mexican DJ retweets, and even some press coverage in The Killers home town of Las Vegas. Thanks also to all the lovely folks back home in Ireland who also embraced it.

A sold out O2 saw a master class in arena rock when rejuvenated Las Vegas quartet The Killers brought their ‘Battle Born World Tour’ to Dublin. Brandon Flowers and co delivered a career spanning 20 song set of hit singles, and tracks from their critically acclaimed comeback album ‘Battle Born’.

Commencing with a rousing rendition of Mr Brightside, Flowers quickly set the tone for what was to follow, as he vigorously strided the stage, air-drumming and urging the crowd on with hand gestures and platitudes such as “It’s good to be home.”  There was no “Hello Shelbyville” moment as Flowers successfully negotiated the lead-singer conundrum of where am I? With repeated references to Dublin throughout the show with even a brief mention for “picketing” (Garda). There was even time for a cringe worthy recital of Dublin’s motto “The obedience of the citizens produces a happy city.” But Flowers just about pulled it off by countering it with, “the motto of our town is ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’” much to the delight of the crowd.

The Way It Was quickly illustrated the musical journey which the Killers have undertaken since their début album ‘Hot Fuss’ was released in 2004. It’s a perilous journey from synth heavy faux-Brit New Wav pop to dust-bowl rockers, but it would seem that the band have finally managed to realign; the purity of their intent, with the quality of their output. Standing on the shoulder of legends like Bruce Springsteen; The Killers have successfully carved themselves a niche in the open-road songbook of America

A clever set list meant that material from ‘Hot Fuss’ or ‘Battle Born’ were never more than a song or so away, ensuring the crowd were always engaged, however songs such as Bling, Spaceman, and For Reasons Unknown didn’t seem out-of-place, or lacking in quality, nestled between hits, such as, Smile Like You Mean It, Human, and Somebody Told Me.  On the basis of tonight’s performance the much maligned material in-between critical success warrants re-examination.

As the hits rolled on, the on-stage antics got more and more rock’n’roll as fireworks exploded and glitter fell from the sky. Flowers even attempted the patented Elvis arm-roll at one point, but for all his theatrics, between song monologues, and instrument hoping, the most impressive thing about his performance was his voice, which is surprisingly strong and agile, but also capable of subtle inflexions. A mini cover version of U2’s With Or Without You prior to Read My Mind proved his voice can mix it with established rock Gods.

Unfortunately for The Killers a small fight broke out in the crowd prompting Brandon Flowers to halt proceedings mid-song and have the offenders thrown out of the building. Although this was undoubtedly the right thing to do, it set back the momentum of the show for a while. However, a rousing version of All These Things That I have Done closed the first section of the show beautifully, with the entire audience singing along as if their lives depended on it.

A three song encore of Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine, When You Were Young, and Battle Born enraptured the crowd. The Who-esque chord changes rattled the rafters, while fireworks exploded and the last remaining pieces of glitter fell to the ground, as the band rocked through an extended outro of Battle Born. While Flowers left the stage to shake hands with the front row of the crowd. It was a fitting way to end the night. The Killers seem determined to return to the upper echelons of rock’n’roll and with live shows like this they have more than a fighting chance,

Review: David Bowie - The Next Day

Rock ‘N’ Roll chameleon David Bowie returns with his 24th studio album entitled ‘The Next Day’ following a ten-year recording hiatus. Legendary producer and Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti is at the helm once again having reignited Bowie’s creative flame on preceding albums ‘Heathen’ and ‘Reality.’ As such ‘The Next Day’ is the natural successor to those albums creating yet another trilogy in the Bowie cannon, rather than the quadrilogy implied by the album’s title and art work (which recasts the cover of seminal album ‘Heroes’) and Berlin-centric lead single Where Are They Now?.

However, that is not to say that ‘The Next Day’ isn’t a reflective album, as much of the albums fourteen tracks (and three bonus tracks) hark back, either lyrically or sonically to some aspect of Bowie’s heyday. Opening track The Next Day finds Bowie traversing a sonic cousin of Joe The Lion and TVC 15 with suitably fiery lyrics “Here I am not quite dying, my body left to rot in a hollow tree, its branches throwing shadows on the gallows for me.” Bowie’s voice all the while sounding rejuvenated and bizarrely similar to Sisters of Mercy frontman Andrew Eldritch. It’s a track that lays down a marker from the outset.
Second single The Stars (Are Out Tonight) displays Bowie’s remarkable knack for creating simple and memorable melodies. Gael Ann Dorsey’s dancing bassline is mimicked by Bowie’s “oh oh oh oh” backing vocal which the track hangs upon. The fluffiness of the melody is counteracted by the ponderous lyrics on celebrity culture

Emotive lead single Where Are They Now?, centres on the fear experienced by people moving from East to West Berlin, rather than any personal experience Bowie may have had whilst living in Berlin. It’s an unusual but worthwhile lyrical subject, which ponders the post-war European experience. Oddly It is also one of the tracks which most ties ‘The Next Day’ to Bowie’s previous brace of albums as it sits more comfortably alongside tracks such as The Loneliest Guy and Bring Me The Disco King.

 I’d Rather Be High leaps forth as a probable single thanks to its flower-power-esque eastern tinged guitar riffs; but if you delve past the joyous surface, there is an abstract dream-sequence of lyrics referring to Nabokov naked on a beach, generals in Cairo and Bowie lying down on his parents’ grave. Somehow these dispirited elements connect to create a thoroughly enjoyable song. (You Will) Set The World On Fire begins with a guitar riff straight out of the Aladdin Sane playbook before reeling through a white soul era-esque chorus. It’s a nonsensical highlight that’s sure to be a live favourite, when the non-touring Bowie tours.

It’s Bowie’s most coherent collection of songs since Let’s Dance and his finest collection of rock songs since ‘Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)’. This is probably a result of sticking largely to guitar based music since 1997’s ‘Hours…’  A steady improvement has followed on each subsequent release and ‘The Next Day’ is no different. And it could have been stronger still, if  bonus material, such as, So She and I’ll Take You There had been included on the album proper. It’s quite an achievement for an artist to better his previous 10 albums, but that’s exactly what Bowie has done on ‘The Next Day.’

Review: Suede - Bloodsports

2013: The year of the comeback continues with a reformed and refueled Suede delivering ‘Bloodsports’ a collection of songs which could nestle comfortably between their eponymous début and 1996’s ‘Coming Up’ as if 1994’s ‘Dog Man Star’ never existed (thankfully it does) such are the similarities in sound, ambience and lyrical wit.

The opening blasts of Barriers delivers trademark glam rock fuzz tones and tremolo notes, minus the glitter. Brett Anderson’s lyrics are vividly quizzical as ever, full of lustful memories and sexual affirmation; after all it wouldn’t be Suede without sex to the fore.

Snowblind is probably the most Bernard Butler-esque sounding song that Suede has produced since the original guitarist parted company with the band and was replaced by Richard Oakes upon the release of ‘Dog Man Star.’ Snowblind evokes the original knowing glint of songs such as The Drowners, which initially captured the hearts of pre Brit pop teens. Snowblind is followed by radio friendly single It Starts And Ends With You ensuring that ‘Bloodsports’ is front loaded with quality tracks.

It’s as if The Edge and Robert Smith have combined to pen the guitar parts in Sabotage, the first of several splendid dark ballads on the album.  For The Strangers is reminiscent of fan favourite B-Sides such as Where The Pigs Don’t Fly and is sure to resonate with original fans.

However, don’t be fooled by all these references to past glories Suede aren’t simply regurgitating chord sequences and “La La, La La, La” melody breaks willy nilly; though Anderson does manage to squeeze one in on Hit Me. They have clearly pushed themselves to create something worthy of coming back for and to. This process was no doubt helped by the return of notoriously hard-taskmaster Ed Buller as producer.

Songs such as Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away and What Are You Not Telling Me, successfully showcase Anderson’s powerful and dramatic vocal range in a way not seen since the high drama of ‘Dog Man Star.’ And While Richard Oakes may always stay in Bernard Butler’s shadow, he has certainly moved somewhat into the light, thanks to his performance on this record.

‘Bloodsports’ easily swaggers into the top four Suede albums. “Celebrate” as Anderson sings on Faultlines. The year of the comeback has delivered once again.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Video: Tandem Felix - Tell Yer Loved Ones

Tell Yer Loved Ones is the first track to be taken from Tandem Felix's forthcoming EP 'Popcorn.' Judging by the lush sounds of Tell Yer Loved Ones, which is reminiscent of the early ethereal output from The Verve, 'Popcorn' will be just as enjoyable as the movie munchies it's named after.

Video: Eulogys - In Ink

Dublin duo Eulogys have released a video for In Ink, the first single to be taken from their upcoming EP 'Kingfisher and Hummingbird.' The track is a chimerical slice of dreamy acoustic pop reminiscent of MGMT and We Are Trees. In Ink will have you reaching for the replay button thanks to its infectious hooks. Eulogys are definitely ones to listen out for in 2013.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Video: Oddsocks - Somethings Goin' On

Originally from Sligo, Dublin based rhythm and groove quartet Oddsocks have released a very dark and very impressive video for Somethings Goin' On ahead of the release of their EP which bares the same name later this month on their own label Jeanie Mac Records. Somethings Goin' on is built on a bed of '70s bass and jazz keyboards and funky guitar stabs set against Oddsocks rich four-part harmony vocals. This will definetly appeal to fans of The Average White Band.

Something Goin' On from Oddsocks on Vimeo.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Video: Protobaby - Microchip

The latest single from Limerick quartet Protobaby Microchip is part Whipping Boy, part Sisters of Mercy, part Editors. Thanks to the combination of Colm McGuinness hushed speak/sing vocals and stark lyrics set against a ghotic soundscape powered by '80s tinged bassline and slash chords. Microchip comes in the rarest of formats, a double A sided single paired with Noboby Knows via Cork's FIFA Records.

Festival News: Camden Crawl 2013 - Irish Acts Announced

Camden Crawl have announced a host of Irish acts to play the second annual Dublin Crawl May 3rd to 5th. It's an impressive list of artists including We Cut Corners, Windings, Sleep Thieves and Kid Karate.

Other acts also announced include Fight Like Apes, Girl Band, Daithi, Lemonada, Nanu Nanu, Bantum, Swords, The Notes, Kool Thing, Squarehead, The Holy Roman Army, Low Sea, O Emperor, Bouts, Skelocrats, White Collar Boy, Owensie, Mossy Nolan, Cloud Castle Lake,  The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock, The Casanova Wave, Ships, Dogs, Forrests, Orquesta, Cian Nugent, Orla Gartland, Inni-K, Peter Delaney, Unwinding Cables, Faune Miracle Bell, and Le Galaxie (DJ Set).

It's stacking up nicely ahead of the international act announcements in the near future. Tickets here are very reasonable at €35 for a one day pass and €55 for a weekend pass.

Video: Hermitage Green - Song For Paul

Song for Paul is a touching tribute to Paul Darbyshire of  the Munster Rugby team backroom staff by Limerick 5 piece Hermitage Green. Darbyshire sadly passed away following a long fight with Motor Neurone Disease. Hermitage Green have created a poignant toast to a man who brought much joy to many peoples lives.