Monday, December 19, 2011

Review: Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Paper Crush EP

Paper Crush EP is the third release by La shoe-gazer revivalists Letting Up Despite Great Faults. As you would expect there is an early 90's UK sound on display with obvious nods to the likes of Ride, Slowdive, and Ned's Atomic Dustbin and New Order; though these influences have probably for the most part been recycled through US based bands such as Postal Service, Washed Up and The Radio Dept.  There is also an under current of electronica, perhaps even "8-Bit" running through this collection of songs

"Repeating Hearts" starts things off in an ephemeral haze of vibrant electro stabs and a wistful world weary vocal. Thus setting the tone for the entire EP.  "Sophia In Gold" is the early standout track on the EP Michael Lee's vocal is beautifully delivered, set against two memorable interchanging keyboard hooks which combine beautifully with the fuzzy keybass beneath.  "Teenage Tide" has an ephemeral JMC kick to it with single note lead guitar lines hovering over a chugging bassline. Lee's vocal delivery is of reminiscent of Wannadies singer Pär Wiksten's unmistakable timbre.  "I Feel You Happen" is reminiscent of Ride's classic album openers. A whirlwind of swirling layered guitars, smacked against a melodic bassline, fighting to be heard against a wall of feedback and distorted drum loops. In other words its great.  Things go all post-rock dance-floor on instrumental track "Aurora" a wonderfully catchy melodic track which will have you humming along in no time.  "Helium" closes the EP in some style. This track has a more electro feel, with arcade bleeps weaving between the catchy guitar licks and programmed drums.

Paper Crush EP is a wonderful collection of songs it's no wonder the likes of Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie) extol about Letting Up Despite Great Faults, on such a regular basis. They should be huge.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review: Milan Jay - To The Sinking Sun EP

2011 has been a busy year for Galwegian genre hoppers Milan Jay. Having previously released two EP's this year, they have saved the best for last with "To The Sinking Sun" EP. It's one of the finest Irish releases of the year and features the best hip hop track AIMR, has come across by an Irish artist in 2011. Milan Jay are an eclectic group equally proficient at rock and hip hop and chilled instrumentals alike.

The EP opens with "Robot Revenge" which was released as a free download single back in September. The track is a feel good, fuck you, with elements of Weezer and Feeder on display. Milan Jay take a major change in approach with "Sleeping Under Saturn" a nine minute blissed out epic of looped guitars and drums, which decays into a beautiful lamenting piano break, before reaching for the stars once again.

"Youth Ain't No Excuse" transports us to a funky hip hop realm with a social conscience, where "Youth ain't an excuse, not to seek the truth".  The nuggets of wisdom come thick and fast as they tell us, we'll never see change until we "put the politicians on the minimum wage" The whole track is reminiscent of The Beastie Boys "Check Your Head" heyday. It's a winner.  The flavour changes to indie/electro for closing track "Sinking Sun" It's a pulsating mix of electro thuds and indie riffs, tailor-made for the indie dance floor.

To The Sinking Sun is available on limited edition CD + digital download package via bandcamp

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Video: This Club - I Won't Worry

This Club formerly Horsebox are playing in The Sugar Club this Friday (25th) with support from AIMR favourites Kid Karate. Below is the Video for This Club's single I Won't Worry, a sun kissed feel good song. The video was filmed in Temple Bar and is probably the best video to be made on those streets for many years.

Review: We Should Be Dead - Up all Night

This Limerick Trio have crafted a truly cringe worthy power-pop song best suited to the closing credits of American Pie 12 or some other straight to text message movie, where it can hurt the least amount of ears possible. Over produced and cheesy, to the extent that even Whigfield would be embarrassed to pedal this effluent. Ireland finally has its answer to every band from the US of bland.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: Taking Back Sunday - Taking Back Sunday

The eponymous fifth studio album by Long Island quintet Taking Back Sunday, finds the band stuck in a creative quagmire. The reformation of the original lineup, has seen Taking Back Sunday, unsuccessfully attempt to rewind their body-clocks to their teenage years, and reignite the spark, they once possessed. Perhaps it would have been more prudent to start afresh and develop a new contemporary sound, rather than retracing their steps, as the resulting collection of songs are jaded and predictable. Even the most ardent fan would surely describe the album as patchy. Although the album is well produced, it lacks the creative focus of their finest album, 2002's "Tell Al Your Friends" and standout tracks are few and far between.

Opening track and first single "El Paso" is paint by numbers screamo. its only saving grace is a well executed highpitched backing vocal. "Faith (When I Let You Down)" is a considerably better effort, but feels like it belongs on a second rate frat-house movie soundtrack. When Adam Lazzara delivers the lyric "Have you lost your faith in music" it appears that he is delivering a subconscious message to himself, rather than addressing his audience. "Sad Saviour" contains one of the albums best guitar moments, but is hampered badly by the Depeche Mode-lite style lyrics.

It's five tracks in before Taking Back Sunday, find their stride with "Who Are You Anyway?" At last a cohesive song from start to finish is delivered with a melodic chorus "Money (Let It Go)" see the upward turn-musically at least-continue with some good riffs and musical interplay between instruments. However, the track deserved to be hung on a better lyrics. Second single "This Is All Now" has a smooth, well executed Incubus, feel throughout the verses, but unfortunately the choruses are paltry by comparison.  "It Doesn't Feel A Thing Like Falling" sees the band raise their game considerably, delivering the second standout track on the album."Since You're Gone" however, continues the worrying trend of a decent musical composition, being marred by Adam Lazzara's, heartless playground lyrics. "Call Me In The Morning" ends the album on an unexpected acoustic high.

A thoroughly disappointing comeback from Taking Back Sunday. Which has seen them deliver their worst album to date.

Score 45/100

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Review: The Sisters Of Mercy Live at The Olympia.

The Olympia was jam-packed to the rafters for a band that most of us had either forgotten about, or are completely unaware of. Unsurprising, as lineup changes and comical record company wrangling and refusal, has meant that it is over twenty years since The Sisters Of Mercy have released an album. Back In the days of 1990′s Vision Thing album, you would have struggled to tell singerAndrew Eldritch apart from The Cult’s, Ian Astbury, in a police lineup. Nowadays Eldritch, looks rather more Judas Priest, than Gothic preternatural sex-God. Thankfully his commanding stage presence and his distinctive voice, remain the same.

A set list of greatest hits, diehard fan favourites and unreleased new material, is well received by a thronging expectant crowd. The new lineup is well-studied and proficient. The songs are delivered passionately, with fresh intent, that indicates the will to create the infamous “next album”, may actually exist. Doktor Avalanche, the only other constant in The Sisters of Mercy lineup, delivers pounding digital beats. Ensuring that the band are like German trains. Always on time. Eldritch’s scolding voice hasn’t lost any of its imperialistic gravitas. his lyrics (old and new) are dark, highly vivid and often scathing of US foreign policy.

The opening barrage of tracks including “First And Last And Always”, “Marian”  & “Detonation Boulevard” showcased the bands ability to supply a killer chorus, based on a diverse range subjects, from geopolitical issues to love and death,  in a lyrically witty and fun way.

The empire themed “Dominion/Mother Russia” saw the band kick things up a notch or two. Fan Favourite “Alice” was well received. But the band really came into their own on songs such as the epic “This Corrosion” and “More” which gave the audience plenty of opportunity to raise their hands in the air and sing along.

A second encore of “Lucretia My Reflection”, “Vision Thing” and “Temple of Love”. Was the icing on the cake of a tour de force performance, that proved that The Sisters Of Mercy, should not be forgotten or looked down upon. Rather they should be cherished, as one of the great alternative bands of the 80′s and held in the same regard as the likes of The Cure.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review: The Man Whom - The Greatest Event

The Greatest Event is the début album from Wexford singer/songwriter and producer Ian Doyle, under the moniker of The Man Whom. It’s a ten strong collection of modern folk music, lovingly constructed with immense attention to detail.

Mercury Rev and Villagers influences successfully blend together on opening track “Easier To Run”.  A cracking folk song emerges from a hazy finger-picked intro, sprinkled with deft touches of piano and somber violin strains throughout. Ian Doyle’s warm storytellers voice and lyrics are instantly pleasing. An interesting oriental flavoured staccato middle eight, gives way to a beautiful extended coda of somber, yet reassuring harmony vocals mixed with a more prominent string section.

It’s hard to make banjo sound contemporary, but Doyle, does just that on “Sing till There’s No Songs Left”. There’s a hint of Belle and Sebastian in the air, as the horns flourish on this quirky number, which is reminiscent of The Statler Brothers “Flowers on the Wall”. An early highlight that shows Doyle, is an accomplished composer, proficient in many styles.

This proficiency in genre hoping continues through the impressive “I know Your Face” and the Mumford and Sons tinged blues of “Leavin This Town”. However, the brushed drum propelled country folk pop of “Over And Under”, stands out as a sun-kissed highlight. The interplay between the instruments is fluid and cohesive. While the impressive three-part harmony vocals give the track an authentic Cali-Country feel.

“Autopilot” builds slowly and surely on a bed of finger picked guitar, coloured with short rushes of mystic, whooshing cymbals. Before taking an unexpected diversion, through a fifteenth century French garden party.  Doyle’s eclectic stylings continue through the albums final tracks “The Man Who Knew To Much” and “Till Its Gone”. The lather song, spans thirteen minutes in length and is split into two sections, with five minutes of electronic butterfly beeping separating them.

The Greatest Event is a noteworthy début and the future bodes well for Doyle and Co.  Not every song delivers a killer hook, but there is certainly enough quality and dept within the material to warrant repeated listening and continued enjoyment.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Video: The Quicksand Band - Homesong

Homesong is the first single to be taken from the forthcoming debut album Approaching Rain by The Quicksand Band. The Stop motion video was made by Bonezz (bass) and Phil Clarke (guitar vox) from the band. Approaching Rain is due for release early next year.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Review: Goodtime - The Colours of Darkness

The Colours of Darkness is the first new material to be released by Goodtime singer/songwriter John Cowhie for several years.Those years have certainly not been wasted as Cowhie has developed his sound into a mix of the ephemeral soundscapes and wordplay of the late 60's. Think Notorious Byrd Brothers and Lindsey Buckingham. Mixed with elements of alternative 80's synth rock pop and Adam Green's serious side.

Opening track Behind The Sun starts of with a  Ladyhawke feel, mainly due to Richie Egan's nifty bass riffs which are a focal point throughout the album. Cowhie's voice has a smooth laid back speak-sing delivery which exposes his vulnerable side and makes his lyrics instantly believable.

Like A River takes things up a notch with more prominent Cure-ish guitar lines emerging. While Mystery of Days sees some great uptempo interplay between Cowie's guitar and Egan's bass.  The influence of Buckingham, is most apparent on the mid tempo swing of Can't Get Away.  Title track The Colours of Darkness is tinged with Californian country dust. Dreamy and pulsating with touches of David Crosby and Jim Morrison.  Perhaps the radio friendly One Shot will appeal most to Cowie's existing fan base. It's a fantastic life affirming folk song.

The Colours of Darkness
will put Cowhie back in the upper echelons of the Irish music scene, and rightly so. It's a beautifully executed record

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review: The Ambience Affair at The Workman's Club Dublin

The Ambience Affair bring their tour in support of their début album Burials to The Workingman’s Club in Dublin with support from two of Ireland’s best acts Katie Kim and Jennifer Evans.
Katie Kim delivers her first song kneeling on the floor hunched over a microphone, fiddling with a loop station  Her coal hair covers her face completely. She resembles a performance art piece, laid out between the stage monitors, almost removing herself from the visual equation altogether – indeed it must have seemed like the stage was empty to those standing several rows back

And so begins what turns out to be an astounding performance perhaps the finest performance I’ve ever seen by a solo artist. Katie Kim’s voice is powerful subtle and emotive. Her simple one,two classical guitar style allows her to weave magical, elegant vocals, above the sombre funeral march below. Her lyrics are classy stimulating daggers of love/hate romance, regret and expectations. Her ability to build four-part harmonies with a loop station is astounding. Only great singers can utilise loop stations in this way. Perfect-pitch, is the true skill required in using these devices in this fashion. And Katie Kim has it in spades.

Songs from her forthcoming double album Cover and Flood have surpassed those of 2008′s critically acclaimed début album Twelve. We are really excited to hear the fully formed songs with the band. If tonight is anything to go by the album will be five-star.

The sublime simplicity of Katie Kim is followed by the countless chords of Jennifer Evans. Evans is an accomplished jazz and rock guitarist whose songs draw together eclectic influences tn the way the songs of Jeff Buckley once did.  Evans is backed by an impressive rhythm section called The Ripe Intent.  On stage she is restless like a fidgety tigress. When she sings syncopated Noir-ish refrains Ella, Amy, and Feist spring to mind. Yet strangely, between songs she is humble, with the shy speaking voice of a woman who doesn’t realise, how good she truly is. “Tomaseli Has a Friend” is the highlight of the material from 2010′s Salient Point EP.

Kicking straight into “Weeds” the opening track from their début album Burials The Ambience Affair make it instantly clear that they mean business this evening. Singer Jamie Clarke’s eyes appear as if they may explode in their sockets at any given moment, such is the physical intensity of his vocal delivery. Single “The Fallen” is an early highlight. It surpasses the recorded version due to Clarke’s added live intensity.  The delivery of the lyric “I wanna fall for you” is both chilling and stalker-ish.

A feel good cover of “Feel it all Around” by US hipsters Washed Out offers a sugar-coated disco distraction from the darkness. While “Prophet” The Ambience Affair’s first post album material, offers us an exciting glimpse at the future. Indicating that the band have grown significantly since Yvonne Ryan joined on bass and keys.

Other highlights include “War Weary 2″ and semi instrumental  “Tearing At The Seams”.  However the intriguingly titled “(…)” ends the evening on a high. It’s a beautiful mournful ballad which displays a gentler side of The Ambience Affair and in particular a more sedate vocal from Jamie Clarke.

An excellent performance by one of Ireland’s most intriguing bands.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Video: Jape - The Oldest Mind

Jape delivers yet another fine video with his latest offering "The Oldest Mind" from his top class new album "Ocean Of Frequency".

Video: We Cut Corners - Pirate's Life

We Cut Corners latest video is just as noteworthy as its predecessor. 100% less controversial it may be, with no breasts to found. But It is a beautiful artistic endeavour, painstakingly crafted by hand. "Pirate's Life" is a beautiful video riveting from the first frame to the last. Enjoy.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Video: The Ambience Affair - The Fallen

The Ambience Affair play The Workman's Club on Friday 28th of October, as part of their Irish tour in support of their debut album Burials. Support comes from Katie Kim and Jennifer Evans. With tickets priced at only €12, you'll be hard-pushed to find more bang for your buck in Dublin that night.

Below is the video for "The Fallen", the first single to be taken from the album.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Video: Shibuya Crossings - At Eight in a Spanish Bar

Below is the video for Shibuya Crossings latest single "At Eight in a Spanish Bar", taken from their quality second album "Depend On Your Alter-Ego". 
Download the track for free here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Review: The Ambience Affair - Burials

"Burials" is the début album from Irish rhythm and gloom trio The Ambience Affair. The band have previously released two EP's and won best video for "Devil in the Detail" at the inaugural Digital Socket Awards, earlier this year.  

Burials is a highly rhythmic and atmospheric collection of songs that reaches into the darkest crevasses of despair with verve.  The influence of Thom Yorke, Arcade Fire and Wild Beasts is apparent. As is an affinity for Robert Smith's darkest and most uncompromising offerings.  Unsurprisingly Burials is not a trip down instant street.  It requires repeated listening for the songs to fully soak into the listener. 

A preamble of white noise leads us into opening track "Weeds" which is driven by panned oriental guitar stabs. The opening lyric "I left you in the the dirt. I carved my name in the earth" is a fitting introduction to the album as a whole. As earthy, is an adjective which best describes the album.  Built on a hypnotic rhythm figure which is cleverly layered and embellished upon by the instruments that weave around it "War Weary" (1) is the early stand-out track on the album. The lyrics continue to map the dark primal instincts of humanity with aplomb. You can expect to here this at an indie disco near you soon.

"To Be Led" at 1:23, feels more like an extended intro into single "The Fallen", rather than a fully blown song in its own right. However, this does not take away from its quality. Beautiful sombre piano is joined by funeral procession brass as the single lyric of "I will follow you" leads us into "The Fallen" proper. 

The influence of Arcade Fire on The Ambience Affair is never more apparent than it is on this song. "Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)" in particular seems to be a major reference point for this composition. With up-tempo groovy bass juxtaposed against long sombre violin notes combining in a similar fashion. It also arguably contains the albums most radio friendly refrain "I want to fall for you" and was unsurprisingly chosen as the lead single to be taken from the album. 

"Tides" is a serious contender for single status. It is a perfectly weighted combination of everything that makes The Ambience Affair worthwhile. A world weary refrain; smashed against a wall of atmospheric drums, melodic guitars and harmony vocals. With a pulsating groove gluing it all together. "Tearing at the Seems" is comprised of two sections. A stunning post-rock instrumental opening and a Mumford and Sons-esque mini song outro. It is a pity they have not been separated and expanded upon, as both are quality compositions in their own right. 

The inclusion of the "War Weary" trilogy was a brave move by The Ambience Affair. It displays their ambitions and their creativity are at levels beyond many of their musical peers. To be truly appreciated as a trilogy, they must be played as a trilogy and not separated by other tracks. The Ambience Affair have elected to present the trilogy in a separated format, which delivers the material as a brace rather than a trilogy. A quick rejig in itunes allowed us to get further inside the songs, which in-turn allowed us to better appreciate them, as presented by the artist. 

The intriguingly titled "(...)" closes the album in some style. It is a major departure from the albums other material. A coarsely recorded acoustic guitar is set against porcelain piano notes as Jamie Clarke, delivers a tender lovelorn vocal. Which bizarrely is his finest on the album. 

Singer and guitarist Jamie Clarke's voice is powerful, intense and gruff. However, he relies heavily upon certain styles of vocal delivery. Which, whilst enthralling some listeners, will leave others with a "samey" feeling. (We are currently enthralled by Clarke) Percussionist Marc Gallagher, is the real star of Burials. His drumming and percussion is inventive throughout. He is responsible for the majority of the albums atmosphere. Thanks to a mixture of subtle and textured playing combined with bombastic sound-scape splitting beats. 

Burials, is by no means an easy listen. But it is an album well worth persevering with. We are certainly glad we did.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Interview: Nabz Ali, of The Fallen Drakes.

The Fallen Drakes are an Irish success story but their story is an international one. 2011 has seen the band burst onto the Irish music scene with sell out shows and coveted support slots for international superstars and a hit single to their names. We caught up with drummer Nabz Ali, and asked him about their amazing year. He tells us the Fallen Drakes story is a mix of luck, hard work, and tragedy.

How did the Fallen Drakes form?

I was travelling America in 2009 with my twin brother Hyder (Bassist) and we met Brian (McGovern, Vocals & Gutar) in Memphis, we became friends straight away and over many drunken nights we made a pact to start playing together once we got home.  Hyder and I came back to Ireland and Brian continued his travels to South America. About 4 months later he came back to Ireland and we stuck to the deal.

After a few jams we all felt that we were onto something good. We decided we needed another guitar to complete the sound and we put out an ad for a Lead Guitarist. That ad was answered by Mickey Mac (Slovakian native, Michal Bartolen) and the rest is history!

How did the name come about?

After rehearsals one night, we were watching Talladega Nights, and in the movie Ricky Bobby and his team mate Cal do the 'Shake and bake' fist bump! Our Guitarist Mickey thought they were saying 'Fallen Drake'.... yet again the rest is history… But also, we recently found out that The Fallen Drakes directly translated into Slovakian is 'We love Alternative Irish Music Review"'.

Tell us a bit about each member of the band?

Hyder drinks Heineken and Captain Morgan/coke and is thoughtful and quiet
Brian drinks Heineken and Captain Morgan/coke and is humble and soft spoken
Mickey drinks Heineken and Jagermaister and likes cookery programs
And I drink Heineken and Captain Morgan/Orange and I like long walks on the beach

What's the most rock n' roll thing a Fallen Drake has ever done?

We went 2 minutes over time while supporting Bon Jovi in the RDS Arena....yeah....we are mental cases.

All the ladies want to know. Are you guys attached?

One of us is attached and three of us are actively seeking love and affection.

Who are your influences?

We all listen to the widest range of music, so it is very hard to narrow it down. Bands that we would consider that we sound like would be The Killers, Snow Patrol, U2 and just anything that has a big current rock sound!  We look up to young, up and coming bands like Two Door Cinema Club and Temper Trap as they have achieved a lot in the last couple of years and they leave a good blue print for a band like us who are still very much in its infancy.

You've been likened to The Script. But how would you describe The Fallen Drakes sound?

I think we get likened to The Script because they are just so big right now and in the public eye, it’s easy to compare a new Irish rock/pop band to them. We take it as a compliment! But they have a lot more R&B vibes in their music where we would have more of a rock sound. I’d say that we have a current rock sound that is meant to be played in large venues!

Would you agree that The Fallen Drakes are - albeit unintentionally - a good example of successful social integration?

Haha. Great question! And yes of course! Brian is Irish born and bred! Hyder & I are half Irish and half Iraqi and Mickey Mac is Slovakian. We are like a multi-cultural experimental project! It serves us well! We will have to do three homecoming gigs in Dublin, Bratislava and Baghdad!

Has the band experienced any racism?

Not at all! We get more press from the music that we play, rather than our heritage.

What has the reaction been like in Slovakia?

Mickey has been in bands for years over there, so everyone that knows him are really proud that he has managed to set up shop in Ireland and is making a big name for himself! He’s the local hero!

Have the band any plans to tour in Slovakia?

Yes! We actually had a mini tour set up straight after we released the EP back in January, but then we got picked for the Today FM Competition and started getting some serious attention here so the timing didn't work out! But once we get our debut album released, Slovakia is going getting Draked out of it!

You guys have a knack of winning competitions. Have you won everyone you've entered?

If we enter a table quiz we will kick your ass! Ah no we wish! Quite the opposite! The truth is we were completely shocked and humbled that we won two huge National Unsigned Band Competitions. We have been very lucky and we see it as a sign that we have to keep working hard and doing what we do! Somehow we have built up a solid fan base and they support and help us in everything we do so we owe them a lot!

You recently opened for The Commitments in the O2. Was it a surreal experience?

It was so surreal that the only way we remember it is to go to Youtube and look at the videos people posted up. I think everybody dreams of playing in a venue the size of the O2 arena. Once you are up there its like an out of body experience, its over so fast, you can’t describe the feeling! We have been to see so many of our favourite bands in there and like every other musician, we would stand and watch and only dream of being on that stage! Our mammy's and daddy's were proud!

Were you big fans of the movie and did you get to hang out with the band, if so what were they like?

We were huge fans of the movie! We can quote it all! Also we are big fans of The Frames so it was a double treat for us to see Glen Hansard on stage! They couldn't have been nicer! When we were sound checking, we were nervous, very nervous. We went from 200 people in the twisted pepper to 13,000 in one of Ireland's biggest venues! So the pressure was on.

Glen Hansard and Andrew Strong came out as soon as we finished sound checking, they shook our hands gave us a hug and a great prep talk! The rest of the commitments were all great and every one of them came over to us at some stage during the night to wish us all the best!

How did it feel walking out onto the stage at the RDS in front of thousands of people?

SCARY! It’s hard to prepare for that feeling! Such an overwhelming experience. Luckily we had really warmed up before going on so we were eager to get out there and try win over the crowd!

Are you on a first name basis with Bon Jovi now?

Bonny? Of course! Sure he was over in our gaff last week having the craic, swapping hair styling ideas with Hyder. Sound as a pound

Tell us about the songwriting process is it a collective or individual endeavour?

We do it collectively, someone comes up with an idea, a riff, a melody, anything! Then we just work on it as a group until something remotely good comes out! Then, Brian takes off in his car for a long drive while he writes the lyrics. We have a good thing going and it’s beneficial having four minds instead of just one when it comes to song writing.

Are you/the band prolific songwriters and who if anybody is in charge of quality control?

We all have equal say and input into the songs, I think we need all four of us to have equal say or else the songs just wouldn't come out the way we want it.  We argue and fight over it all the time, but at the end of the day it stays in the rehearsal room and we know its a good thing to argue and fight as we want to write the best music we can.  We haven’t even written an album yet, we are still learning, but we are heading in the right direction! We all have our parts to play; it wouldn't be The Fallen Drakes if one of us was missing! Team Drake!
Are the songs based on your personal experiences, pure imagination or a mixture of both?

They are pure imaginative experiences!

Is there a girl from New York and does she like making love with the lights on?

Haha! We thought all girls liked making love with the lights on? Yes? No? There actually is a Girl from New York and that song is about a true story that happened to one of us! But some things you just need to keep personal!

Your debut EP "Death of an Actress" has been critically acclaimed tell us about recording it?

It’s crazy to think it was only 6 months ago when we released it! In a nutshell, we wanted to put some songs online, it was our first few songs we had written!  We wanted show people what we were doing, and we didn't think much of it!  We were very lucky to cross paths with Ger Mcdonnell (worked with the likes of U2, Kasabian & Manic Street Preachers) about a month before we went in the studio!

To be honest we didn't really know what a producer did before that! He has wisdom beyond his years and meeting him definitely was a turning point in our career. He simply knows exactly what he’s doing. He gave us that bigger sound and he can hear things in songs only a man of his experience and talent can foresee. The recording process taught us so much.

Once released we were taken aback by how well it was received and we sold out our E.P. Launch in Dublin only a few weeks after releasing it! So we are proud of that little E.P.!

How did you come up with the title?

Maybe 6 months before Mickey moved to Ireland, his best friend’s girlfriend had sadly passed away. He needed to leave Slovakia and start a fresh and Mickey agreed to come over to Ireland with him. Before she died she had intended to move to London to pursue an acting career after she had finished college. The first night we met Mickey he had told us this story about why he came over and the name death of an actress somehow came about. We said we either needed to write a song about it or name our first release after her. So we did.

Which song are you most proud of?

It has to be the first song on our debut E.P. 'Masquerade'. That song was the one that was chosen when we won both unsigned competitions! It has served us well and I think we owe it to everyone and ourselves to re-master and release it as a single at some stage!

Why should someone part with their hard earned cash to attend a Fallen Drakes concert?

Who wouldn't want to see four sweaty men giving it socks on stage? Well worth the fee. We give it everything, we are always getting better and it’s an honest show with a tight set - we don't rely on gimmicks or anything to make it a great show.

Whats next for The Fallen Drakes?

Debut Album! We need it, we have done so much and achieved a crazy amount with the strength of one E.P. and one Single so it’s time that we do a full album!  We are writing for the album as we speak & gigging regularly around Ireland as well… We always have things going on, be it video blogs, facebook competitions, shooting the breeze with bonny, you name it! Come join us on Facebook for all the latest news!

Death of an Actress E.P. can be streamed from The Fallen Drakes Facebook page and also from Bandcamp:

Review: Duncan Maitland at Stags Head Raw

A new live music club night opened its doors for the very first time upstairs in The Stags Head on Sunday. "Raw" is a welcome addition to the Dublin music scene. The Venue is intimate. The sound is good and the atmosphere is laid back. Upcoming acts include indie favourites Ham Sandwich, The Shoos and Dermot Lambert of Dublin electro pop act Blink, And with many more quality acts being confirmed, it looks as if Raw could quickly become a staple of the Dublin circuit.

The night kicks off with with Niall Brennan. The former lead singer of cult late 90's alt country act The Prescriptions. The band received rave reviews for several EP's; before folding, following the recording of their unreleased debut album.  Brennan's voice is distinctively broad and gravely. He delivers a composed performance including Prescriptions material and more recent compositions. The haunting balled "Alaska" and the jazz standard style "Flight of the Innocents" are among the highlights of the set, from this songwriter's songwriter.

Barry O'Brien from powerpop act Slumberjet delivers a solo acoustic set of uptempo melodic songs from Slumberjet's critically acclaimed 2010 self titled debut album. The influence of Elvis Costello, think "Watching The Detectives" and Jason Faulkner is audible from the off, especially on songs such as"The Letter".   O'Brien's rhythm playing is so hard that it puts a mild natural distortion effect to his guitar in places. Giving it just the right amount of umph.  

O'Brien's vocals are smooth with a great range leading into falsetto territory. At times they are reminiscent of Elvis Costello with a Beach Boys twist. On the basis of this performance we look forwards to seeing O'Brien in full Slumberjet mode in the future.

Duncan Maitland finished the night off with a high quality performance of songs from his critically acclaimed debut album "Lullabies for the 20th Century". Maitland is joined on stage by one of Ireland's premier bassmen Geoff Dorman. The addition of Dorman gives Maitland's performance more of a group feel. 

An excellent rendition of David Bowie's "Kooks" dedicated to Maitland's new born son "Daniel" was an early singalong highlight. While "Horror Stories" and "Somebody Told Me About the Ending" highlighted Maitland's own considerable songwriting skills.

Having previously worked with acts such as XTC and Pugwash, Maitland is best known as the former principle songwriter in Irish band Picturehouse. He delivers a jaunty rendition of the hit single"Heavenly Day" which he penned whilst in the band.

Other highlights of the set include a segway from new song "Love Chain" into a mini version of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition". and the excellent genre hopping "Insect Under the Stone" which sees Maitland mix it up in Bobby Darin territory with a psychedelic twist. Overall a top class performance from one of Ireland's most criminally overlooked artists.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Album Review: Shibuya Crossings - DOYA

Do you find zebra-crossings inspirational? Would you name your band after one? Probably not, but that's exactly what Northern Irish Singer-Songwriter Declan Harrington did when he christened his band Shibuya Crossings, after the worlds busiest zebra crossing in Tokyo.  It symbolised Harrington's wish to escape the NI. fishbowl and expand his musical horizons. So much so that he pieced together a band featuring members from New Zealand and The Philippines.  

Several years later Shibuya Crossings, are based in Islington and have just released their second album "Depend On Your Alter-Ego" or "DOYA" on Typically Magic Records.

The influence of Pavement is apparent as "DOYA" opens with the upbeat single "At Eight in a Spanish Bar". This is a real gem. Criminally overlooked by the Irish music press. The song features catchy chugging alt rock riffs and a sing along outro of "Everybody's watching us all time". The song instantly displays Harrington's vocal abilities as he jumps from speak/sing mode to harmony vox and back again with ease. Its one of the best Irish singles of the year so far.

"Take it Out on Me" continues the upbeat alt Americana feel. This track has a Weezer meets OK Go feel, with fuzzy guitars juxtaposed against high pitched harmony vox. It's slightly camp in places due to the octave bass, but good fun non the less. "You Know it Anyway" is reminiscent of "Proximity Effect" era Nada Surf in places especially on Harrington's vocal delivery in the verses.

"I'll Meet You at the Station"
sees the BPM drop considerably for a top-notch country tinged ballad. The emotion is palpable as Harrington repeats "Where did you go".  While "Gamla Stan" is a good punt to become the next single from the album; featuring more uptempo guitar riffs and several intertwining chorus sections, which combine to bring the song to a close.

The influence of brit-pop runs as an under current throughout the album but it comes to the fore on "If it isn't getting better" and "Everyday (secrets of your style)". The former taking its cues from more modern bands such as Kaiser Chiefs.

"DOYA" is a joyful collection of songs. Far more worthy of your time, than many of the over-hyped Irish albums currently taking up column inches, in the national press. Their single "At Eight in a Spanish Bar" is currently available on free download here

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Album review: Tierannisaur!

The debut album by Irish underground super group Tieranniesaur!  is an eclectic collection of super fun fusion, of sweet like chocolate disco funk. Indeed it's ice cream for the ears in places. 

Tieranniesaur! is a clever pun on lead singer Annie Tierney's name. The band itself contains members of Squarehead, Feed The Bears, and Yeh Deadlies. With the exception of Squarehead however, Tierannisaur!, have left their day-job bands trailing, in their new-wave funk dust.

Opening track "Rockblocker" is a sure fire indie-disco dance floor smash. "Sketch" mixes retro Jackson 5 style guitar phrases with b-girl goodness. The fiery key bass of "I Don't Stop" sees a major jump into more contemporary dance genres. While "Azure island" starts of well with some Gracelandesque bass groves. But fades badly when Bobby gets involved with some less than average 90's rapping

"In The Sargasso" is another highlight, built on yet more exquisite bass lines. The influence of Debbie Harry and Chic can especially be felt on this track and "Pretty Girl String Quartet"

"Here Be Monsters" is the last track of note on the album. Remaining tracks "I Tink Ur Strange" and the forgettable "Remember My Name" lack the clarity and direction of previous tracks. 

It's unfortunate that the album stutters to a close in this way. As Tierannisaur!, is surely one of the most inventive Irish albums of the year. However, the album is certainly like Marmite. And just like Abba, you'll either love it or hate it. And you won't quite know why.

The album is availble  on 3 formats. Including retro-red cassette and pre loaded Playbutton. You can also download the album on bandcamp

Video: Kowalski - Outdoors

If you go down to the woods today, you'll find the video for Kowalski's latest single "Outdoors". The video directed by Babysweet Sessions sees the band deliver a performance in a magical woodland and  pays homage to The White Strips in the process.

Kowalski: Outdoors from BABYSWEET SESSIONS on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Review: Percolator - Yellow Fire (Single)

"Yellow Fire", is the first single to be taken from shoe-gazing specialists Percolator's forthcoming debut album, and the Waterford trio's first release since 2009's excellent "Flicker" EP.  The track has a Sundays meets Slowdive vibe, with cantankerous guitar chords set against drummer Ellie's sweet half spoken vocals, "Yellow Fire"  indicates that Percolator's album, could be an  Irish debut of considerable quality. 

  Yellow Fire by Percolator.

"Yellow Fire" is available for free on Bandcamp

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Review: The Difference Engine - Imperfect Lines

The Difference Engine, is the name of the first computer envisioned by Charles Babbage in 1822. It is also the title of an alternative history novel by modern and contemporary thought genius William Gibson. It is also the moniker of a Dublin blue-pop quartet.

The Difference Engine's third single "Imperfect Lines" is due out at the end of August.  The track is heavily influenced by the likes of Hard -Fi, Arctic Monkeys, and Milburn. With a dash of "Chim chiminey, Chim chiminey, Chim chim cher-oo!" thrown into the mix.

Brian Canavan's Vocals  and Colin Stanley's Trumpets provide the standout moments.

  The Difference Engine - Imperfect Lines 2 by RisingStars

The Difference Engine: up coming live dates

Love Music Hate Racism  Friday 19th of August Sweeney's Mongrel

"Imperfect Lines" single launch on Thursday 25th of August in Shebeen Chic

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Video: We Cut Corners - Go Easy

The Delphi label's newest act We Cut Corners have released a video for their track "Go Easy" from their forthcoming debut album  'Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards". The video will now doubt cause controversy due to its "manage et toi" storyline. The video is beautifully shot in black and white. But does it enhance the song? We'll let you judge for yourself.

GO EASY from Nico Casavecchia on Vimeo.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: I Pheonix, Zombie Cops and Levity Breaks live at Crawdaddy

We ran along to Crawdaddy to see I Phoenix, and the NME approved Zombie Cops, in what was potentially a night of big riffs and moshing. Bizarrely a genius mash up of Adele and  Aloe Blacc, proved to be the highlight.

The Northern Irish music scene has been spewing out classy acts of all shapes and genre splitting sizes for some time now. So much so that the very prospect of seeing an unknown band from up-north is tantalising these days. However we were thoroughly disappointed with the bland discharge of Belfast quartet Levity Breaks. Despite Marty McLoughlin's, Vedder style vocals we could not stomach The Fray B-Side style of the songs. With the piano parts in particular unbearably cheesy.

It's been a while since we've seen Zombie Cops, live and they have obviously been hard at work on their sound. They have morphed into a much darker outfit. They seem to have worked hard on their vocal harmonies and the guitar sound in particular has become richer and thicker. However, the influence of Placebo, Incubus and QOTSA is still evident .

Singles "Win Some Loose Some" and "You Do" are the highlights of their compositions. While newer material indicates that, future releases are to be welcomed. One of the things that sets Zombie Cops apart from their contemporaries, is their ingenious choice of covers. Including Human League's "Don't You Want Me Baby". Tonight's cover is the highlight of the evening. A mash-up of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Aloe Blacc's "I Need A Dollar".

I Phoenix took to the stage and delivered a high octane performance of modern alt-rock. Sonic Youth are an obvious influence especially noticeable in Conor Wilkins vocal delivery. While the guitar riffs are reminiscent Of QOTSA and Biffy Clyro and The Cure's darker moments. At times however, it was a struggle to hear Wilkins, vocals over the band. When he delivered the songs in a Thurston Moore style. This may not be a reflection on Wilkins, ability to project his voice though. As Crawdaddy is notorious for its bad sound quality.

Formed in 2008 Kildare quartet I Phoenix, have recently added new guitarist Ste Devine, to their ranks. And it's easy to see why they needed needed one. The riffs are quickfire and complicated with touches of math-rock and prog evident. Devine, has also become the visual focal point of the band, as he jumps around like a man possessed, living every note. And his high energy performance is matched by his proficiency as a guitarist.

Highlights of their set included "Fade and Erase", "Tremors" and "Night Sparks", which you can see the video for below. If you like it, I would highly recommend you check out I Phoenix live.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Video: Cashier No 9 - Goldstar

We missed the boat on this one by a few weeks but here is the video for "Goldstar" by Cashier No.9 another great band from Belfast. The track was producer by fellow Northern Irishman David Holmes and has a wonderful 60's feel. 

Cashier No.9 will be opening for Bellx1 in Marley Park on August 6th in a line up that also includes Editors.

Video: Le Galaxie - Orion

Orion is the latest visual offering from Le Galaxie. Filmed live at the launch of Le Galaxie's debut album Laserdisk Nights 2 at the Workman's Club.  It captures the essence of a magical night of glow sticks, face paint and sci-fi electronica. If you haven't seen Le Galaxie live and this video doesn't make you want to attend one of their shows, then we suggest you seek medical advice.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Soundblob, We Are Losers, Knockanstockan, Your weekend sorted

There are some good gigs on in the next few days so if you're thinking of heading out or you've nothing to do there are a lot worse things you could then pop along to the following.

Tomorrow night I Phoenix, with support from Levity Breaks and AIMR favouriites Zombie Cops play Crawdaddy.

Also on Thursday the amazing Soundblob presents Nouveaunoise in The Bernard Shaw previewing some tunes from their forthcoming E.P. -"Sequence Consequence". The gig starts at 9:30 but get in early and get a pint and a pizza for a tenner.

On Friday the Excellent We Are Losers launch their debut single 'Sunset Song/Cheerleader' in Shebeen Chic with support from super friends No Monster Club and Rhino Magic!  Entry is €7 with a copy of the single. We caught them at Whelan's recently and they are a must see.

Last but not least Ireland's best independent festival Knockanstockan continues to bring you the best underground alternative and punk it can muster from Friday to Sunday for tickets and full line-up

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Fallen Drakes: Single Launch Whelan's 15/07/11

The Fallen Drakes launched their new single "Girl From New York" to a sold out crowd in Whelan's on Friday; with the news that it had crashed into the number one spot, on the itunes rock chart and number 11 in the overall chart. It marks a phenomenal rise for the band who have recently supported The Commitments and Bon Jovi in the RDS, having won two separate public-vote competitions. The band are now officially "the next big thing" in Irish music..

The Fallen Drakes, have the mass appeal of the reinvigorated Take That, mixed with the stadium rock presence of U2 and Coldplay. Indeed the sound is unashamedly 80's stadium rock with elements of Inxs and Simple Minds also audible.

As the crowd chant "Fallen Drakes, Fallen Drakes" repeatedly the band walk on stage bathed in golden yellow light. Think Cashier Number 9's video for "Goldstar", and you get the idea.

They atart of the show with their new single "Girl From New York" The crowd merrily sing each word, which quickly becomes the norm for the rest of the show.  Music aside, judging by the crowds reation The Fallen Drakes, may not be playing intimate venues for much longer. 

You are unlikely to find a tighter the rhythm section in Ireland than the Ali brothers. Hyder Ali's slick bass groves are mirrored by twin brother Nabz on drums. Slovakian guitarist Michal Bartolen delivers effective, effect-laden lines on almost every track. While front man Brian McGovern posses "the brass neck" of Christy Dignam.

The bands performance is plagued with technical problems, which somehow adds to the occasion, giving the night even more of a stadium rock feel as stagehands dash to fix mic stands and guitar straps.

The anthemic radio friendly choruses come thick and fast. "Lights On" takes things up a notch, as McGovern delivers the ladies we are open for business chorus of "She likes making love with the lights on". Comparisons will undoubtedly be made with The Script, but would be better aimed at the likes of Jimmy Eat World or Kings Of Leon, as The Fallen Drakes are musically superior to The Script. Other highlights included "Don't Cry", "Love Again" and a rather tongue in cheek version of Bon Jovi's "Living On A Prayer".

"Masquerade" was the best song of the night. It's another singalong anthem with swashes of delayed guitar and big bass. It offers the biggest hint that their is a long-term future for the band. As McGovern tries to sing the final chorus the crowd take over singing duties completely. A spectacle for next summers festivals, no doubt.

The band return for a brief encore, finishing with a second helping of single "Girl From New York". Brian McGovern thanks the crowd. as the final notes fade.  He catches a bra, "34B" he informs the crowd.  But he can surely expect bigger and better things from now on.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Interview: Goatboy

Not many artists record their debut EP via email with musicians in several countries. Not many unsigned artists make their debut live performance, supporting a multi-million selling solo artist at the pinnacle of their career. It is safe to say that the short history of Goatboy has been quite unusual and eventful. As work begins on his debut album we find Goatboy in good spirits.

What do you feed a Goatboy?

Strangely enough my favourite kinda cheese is goats cheese, does that make me a cannibal?
Has having hooves affected your guitar playing?

Hooves are great for power chords, not so good for the slow numbers... 

How did the name come about?

I went through a big Bill Hicks phase years ago, he has an alter ego called Goatboy so i ended up calling my myspace page it and for good or bad it stuck ever since...

Has bill hicks been a big influence on your songwriting rather than your political views?

Na, not at all...I was asked by the directors of that Bill Hicks film released last year to play before it's premier, I felt it would be a bad move as my music doesn't have any kind of reflection on Bill Hicks other than the name...Anyway's, he was a big fan of Tool, I don't think he'd be too happy with some chap playing ballads before his film... 

You first came to AIMR's attention representing Japan on the Fast Forward: The World Cup Goes Indie compilation.. Tell us about the song was it written specifically for the compilation. If so was it with Japan in mind?

I got an old keyboard off a mate as he was throwing it out, it was nothing special, just one of those Casio ones you get for your ninth birthday...The keys part you hear at the start is the first thing I played on it...Once I knew I had to write a song for Japan I kinda just worked the whole song around that part...I think I demoed it at home and then went to a mates house and cranked it up on his pro tools rig... 

How did you end up on the compilation?

I think I just got an email from Kev who runs Indicator records...He said I could choose my own country, twas great fun, I hope he does it again for the European championships... 

Why wasn't it on the debut EP?

It wouldn't of fitted and besides I think it was written after the EP was released... 

We believe your debut performance as Goatboy came supporting KT Tunstall in the Olympia How did it go?

It was great, very blurry though, hopefully we'll play there again someday... 

How does an unsigned act go about pulling off such a coup?

My mate Alan Marshall who was playing that night asked me to come on and play a few of my own tunes...We were briefly in a band together... I've just done some backing vocals for his debut album so I'm still returning the favour...  

Tell us about the "Moon After Yule" EP?

Moon After Yule is my first EP. It's basically just a collection of glorified bedroom demos, listening back now I'm pissed off I didn't do the songs more justice and record them in a proper studio but you have to start somewhere I suppose...One or two of the songs might make it onto the album in a grander form.. 

How and where did you record it?

It was recorded in various bedrooms and basements in Dublin and Norway...I'd record bits here and then email tracks over to a friend in Norway who'd then layer some drums and bass... I got Ian Mc Nulty who done the new Ambience Affair record to mix a couple of them... In the end I got it mastered in Abbey road. It was a long process but it got done in the end 

New Moon, is our favourite song off of the EP tell us about the song?

Glad you like, that's one of the songs I think deserves a better recording so I might resurrect it for the album. It started off as a quiet acoustic number but I got a bit carried away in the studio and went all Camera Obscura on it in the end...  

You've been working on material for your first album proper .How is that progressing?

We properly started recording today actually... I've been writing and demoing for the last 3 years but I think I've around 30 songs there that will probably do the first and second album...It's not gonna be as folky as the ep, expect some big pop arrangements in the vain of Richard Hawley and The La's... 

Has the recording process differed from the EP?

The gear is a bit better so were going to record a bit at home and hopefully some in the studio...What ever the songs deserve. 

When can we expect to hear it?

2012 will be the year of the goat... 

What do you think of the Irish music scene at the moment ?

It's great but a lot of great releases are not getting the backing they deserve which is sad...In saying that there is a lot of over hyped bands that I can't see what all the fuss is about... 

Who floats your boat specifically?

It changes... I'm more a fan of great albums rather than great bands... At the moment I'm loving Yuck and Warpaint...

What can people expect from a Goatboy gig?

Just a band trying its damnedest to do their songs justice...   

Whats next for Goatboy?

Recording the album and rehearsing for our gigs at the end of the month...We'll be trying out some new tunes acoustic in Whelan's on the 25th and The Academy on the 29th... 

Go to to listen to seven Goatboy songs including demo's from the forthcoming album.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Review: Kowalski - "Outdoors"

Our favourite band from Bangor Kowalski have released their new single "Outdoors" via their new record company Everybody Stalking

"Outdoors" is a feelgood summer song laden with slinky guitar lines, soft keys and rolling bass. Louis Price's voice is as soft and sweet as ever. 

The track was produced by the band and mixed by Justin Gerrish, whose other clients include Weezer, Vampire Weekend and Muse.

  Kowalski - Outdoors by everybodysstalking