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  http://www.knockanstockan.ie/ 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 http://soundcloud.com/goatboymusic 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

Interview: Avalanche Ammo

We recently caught Avalanche Ammo deliver his debut performance in Whelan's. We were so impressed by his brand of instant guitar led math rock that we couldn't wait to get our hands on a copy of his debut EP "Animals" the next day and we recommend you do the same.  We caught up with the man behind the mask for a quick chat earlier this week.

Who is Avalanche Ammo?

Avalanche Ammo is me Anthony Boland, and it's my solo music project.

We described you as "a gateway drug to math-rock" following your debut performance at Whelan's how did that make you feel?

Extremely flattered! I'm just trying to create fun songs that are energetic and catchy, and if that somehow opens people up to new genres they might not have considered before, well that's awesome.

How did you find your first gig as Avalanche Ammo?

Loved it, I was nervous as hell at first, so much I felt I had to mention it between songs to excuse my fuck ups. It's been awhile since I've played live so it was an amazing feeling to be up on a stage again playing the music I love for people.

Why have you chosen to wear a mask on stage?

Cause every good superhero needs a mask of course! Always be prepared; never know when an arch-nemesis could be out in the audience waiting to strike.

So is Avalanche Ammo your alter ego then, if so can you see yourself going down the Bowie route jumping from alter ego to alter ego, or is Avalanche Ammo your one and only split personality?

Avalanche Ammo is me, multiplied by 10. No more personalities in here that I know of, I'll have to check with my doctor though.

You used to be a member of Belljar some of whom went on to form We Are Losers. Was it nice to share your first gig with your old band mates or was it an added pressure?

No pressure at all, I've always dug the lads’ music on a personal level, whether they've been doing music as Sebp, Wolves, or We Are Losers. Sharing a stage with them again was an honour, they're my friends but they're also musicians/writers whom I really admire.

Tell us about your debut EP Animals. Did you play all the instruments yourself?

The Animals EP is the result of my time spent experimenting as a solo writer. I'd been writing demos for awhile and reached a point where I was comfortable with the sound I was getting by myself, so the EP just sort of happened naturally. There wasn’t really a conscious decision "I'm going to write my debut EP now". I played everything myself on the EP, it was easier that way when I had the urge to record in the middle of the night, plus it was just plain rewarding challenging myself.

Did you feel more pressure as a one man band to produce something good or were you only aiming to please yourself?

It definitely started out very selfish; I was writing demos just for myself with no intention of doing anything with the music, but friends heard the stuff and were constantly asking me why I wasn't releasing this stuff, eventually I had to ask myself the same thing. Obviously I hope people think it’s good, but really like most musicians I think I'm aiming to please/challenge myself and am truly grateful if there’s people out there that find pleasure in what I'm doing.

Where did you record the EP?

At home in a room with a computer, a bunch of music equipment, oh and a bed too, very important.

How long did it take to record?

The EP was written and recorded in about 4 weeks total over December and January. When there’s snow outside, record music inside and build the occasional snowman.

Did you use any unusual instruments on any of the songs?

Standard setup instrument wise, the weirdest sound on the songs is probably some of the guitar parts, and that was achieved with a bunch of looper/delay pedals in combination with sometimes running the guitar through a midi keyboard.

Was there a producer involved in the recording?

There wasn't, it was basically me in a room by myself for 4 weeks being my usual own worst critic. I'm a bit of a perfectionist so it was hard and slow going at times. I wouldn't rule out taking on a producer for the future, if they can put up with me when I record!

Was it lonely at times without a band around you?

Strangely no, I definitely enjoy the dynamic of playing with a bunch of guys and or girls in a room and rocking out, but I feel that's a separate thing to what AA is.

Do you have a favourite track on the EP?

Owl Speak is probably my fav, I was surprised when everyone latched onto that as the standout track, because I thought it's very noisy, too noisy. I thought something like Panda Capture would have been the standout as it's a bit more poppy guitar wise. It’s fun to hear what other people's favourite track is, it varies a lot from the people I've talked to.

Was it a difficult process putting the live show together?

The way I see live right now is as a playground, I don't want to lock into a method of doing something and say "this is the only way it can be done now", I'm only starting out so I want try out things and see what works, what people enjoy. When I was first thinking of a live setup there were huge hurdles for me but at a certain stage you just gotta stop thinking about and do it, see if it works, learn from it and move forward.

One review described your live show as being "more of a DJ set" than a live performance. We think that's poppycock! But would you like to respond (to the bastard)?

I'd say everyone's entitled to their opinion, and that's totally cool if some people don't enjoy what I'm going to try live. I knew expectations were very high for that gig, a load of people had conflicting ideas and expectations on how I should perform live, it was impossible to please them all, so I set out to have a good time on stage, and hope that came across at least.

Have you always wanted to create instrumental soundscapes rather than traditional songs?

Instrumental music has always just felt right to me as a guitarist, an instrumental song can say so many different things to different people, when you have lyrics it can create a very singular mood for the listener. For me vocals pull on my head strings, but the music behind them pulls on my heart strings.

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

Well varied. There’s loads of bands out there that have such different sounds that are attracting similar audiences, the overlap of audiences is great ‘cause it’s introducing people to new music, myself included, I’ve discovered awesome bands just from heading to a show and then having a support act that sounds nothing like the main act blow me away.

Why has post rock taken over the music landscape in Ireland?

I think people are becoming more open to the idea of post rock bands and purely instrumental acts. There are such talented Irish bands out there now putting their own spin on the genre making this kind of music more accessible and in turn making it more socially acceptable. These bands have created an audience for the music so I think it’s swinging the spotlight onto artists that might have been overlooked a few years back in Ireland.

What’s next for Avalanche Ammo?

More live shows lined up for the summer, I took a break from writing since the EP release but I’ve also been working on some new stuff over the past week, so that’s got me on a serious buzz, I don’t know what form my next release will take, but you can be sure they're be more avalanche for your ears soon.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Review: The Walls at The Grand Social 01/07/11

The Walls brought their two man show to the Grand Social on Friday previewing songs from their forthcoming album "Stop the Lights" and turning back the years with hits from their previous albums and musical incarnations. The unique selling point of this tour is of course the virtual band. A real life Gorrillaz if you will, consisting of amongst others Bellx1 drummer Rory Doyle.
The virtual band is mixed with projections of wind turbines, natural landscapes and the four elements. But it is the virtual band that makes The Walls visuals standout from other bands backdrops. Cynics would say that this is just a ploy to distract the audience from the fact that backing tracks are being used or that it is an excuse to only pay the band once. And while their may be an element of truth in this, there is no doubting that this show has allowed The Walls to become modern day troubadours with a big sound. And of course it's the songs and Steve Wall's distinctive speak/sing vocals people pay to hear, not the mandolin solo.

The band kick things off with their biggest post Stunning hit "To the Bright and Shining Sun" presented fittingly, in a much grittier fashion than the AIB advertisement it originally accompanied. Steve Wall's voice is built for radio, instantly recognisable and yet somehow able to genre hop with ease. The guitar work (all live) is top notch with Joe Wall in particular delivering the knockout pop riffs.  "Bone Deep" the highlight of their beat laden debut album "Hi/Low" is the best of the bands older material.

The Walls, new material appears to be heavily influenced by Bob Dylan and Tom Petty which may leave fans of Noah and The Whale ripe for the picking. The criminally overlooked radio friendly single "Carrying the Fire" is surely one of the best Irish songs of the year. While "Phantom Power" is much better live than on record, thanks to the guitar and Joe's vocals being more prevalent. Current single "Bird in a Cage" which gets two outings, is well received by the audience.  Joe Wall gets his moment in the sun taking the lead vocal on an excellent version of Phill Lynott's "Old Town"

The brothers Wall finish up with their signature song "Brewing Up a Storm" which still packs a punch after all these years. On the whole a slick show.