Thursday, 28 June 2012

5 Irish Music Videos You Must See - Part 3

Here's 5 more excellent music videos for you to check out from Irish artists.

Adela & The Meanits - Andy

I'm delighted that Adela & The Meanits have released this folk pop gem as it showcases Adela's wonderful vocals. The video is great fun starring popular drag queen Demi Whore!

Adela & The Meanits
starring Demi Whore
directed by Nicky Larkin
Filmed in The Abbey Theatre & The Molesworth Gallery, Dublin.
Starring Demi Whore, Kevin Lawlor Fitzpatrick, Andrew Reilly, Stevie Reilly, Jack Collins, Marguerite Mulllins and Zarah Jane Delaney.


Ross Breen - Monet

The official video for Monet from Ross Breen's debut album, When I Met The Devil.

Filmed by Simon O'Neill.
Directed and edited by Simon O'Neill.

This track from Ross Breen recently won the Tom Dunne best unsigned singer-songwriter competition in a live final on Newstalk FM. The song was chosen by a panel of judges from over a thousand entries. Well done Ross. The video compliments the song very well.


Funeral Suits - Colours Fade

This is the Second in three videos for Funeral Suits next single 'Colour Fade'. Out July 16th on Model Citizen Records.

Directed by Jennifer Askaner
Edited by Jennifer Askaner
Filmed by Sune and Kirsten Askaner between 1960-63

This is a great video taking footage from a more innocent era of Irish live in the early 60s. 


Delorentos - Care For

New single from the Delorentos album "Little Sparks"
Music Video by Tusk Productions.

Great video for a superb song from Delorentos. It was shot in the beautiful surrounds of Bushy Park in Dublin by Elton Mullally of Tusk Productions.


The Curtain Thieves - Animal

Footage for the video was shot by friends and fans of the band and then edited together by the lead singer, Tim. It's a very decent tune from a band I seen last year at Vantastival who impressed me big time. 

Download free from here:

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Album Review: Dayo & The Swing Folk - For Whom Do You Do

'For Whom Do You Do' is a fine jazzy folk debut album from Dubliner Dayo and his band of Swing Folk. The songs are good honest stories with fantastic musicianship and excellent pleasant vocals from Dayo. 

Astral Weeks and the albums of Tim Buckley must have been a big influence to Dayo & The Swing Folk as their debut album 'For Whom Do You Do' would fit in well next to Van Morrison's classic. The jazzy sounds of the double bass, saxophone and keys accompany Dayo's gentle guitar riffs to fine effect.

The album consists of ten well written songs each with their own story. Standout tracks include the opener 'No Say', the charming 'For Me' and 'Getting Me Down' about being stuck in a rut and finding ways to escape.

The best track for me is the wonderful 'Borrowed Time'. It's a song about making the most of life in the now. 'Always See The Light, Always Live in Hope, Try To Find The Right Whose End I'll Never Know'.

You get the sense from listening to this album that this is a very personal collection of songs which means a huge amount to it's composer. In this age where almost every act is 'independent', Dayo & The Swing Folk bring out a great little album without any attempt of fanfare in the hope that people will relate to the music and the lyrics and help spread the word. This is me spreading the word on a really good debut album from Dayo & The Swing Folk. 

Dayo & The Swing Folk - For Whom Do You Do [10 out of 12]

Monday, 25 June 2012

My Westport Festival Review

It was a pleasure to be in attendance at the inaugural 'Westport Festival'. The 'Oxegen' for families was set in  the stunning location of Westport House with a line-up to please the folks and a super little playground to please the kids. It was a near perfect weekend with only the bad weather on the Saturday to complain about.

This review outlines the weekend my family had at Westport Festival of Music & Performing Arts. I'd have loved to have seen way more bands than I did, but as we're a family, hard choices were made between Pirate Ships and music on stage and sometimes music lost! I caught glimpses of many acts and it would be unfair to comment based on a song or two.


The Lost Brothers opened the acoustic stage with a fine performance lifting most of the set from their recently released second album 'So Long John Fante'. As the Acoustic stage was next to the 'Taste of Westport' food area, this became the relaxed laid-back part of the festival site.

When we got to Ryan Sheridan on the main stage he was finishing up with his single 'Jigsaw' followed by a super version of The White Stripes 'Seven Nation Army'. The addition of a full time electric guitarist on stage live with Ryan has given an extra edge to his set.

Next it was onto Sam Amidon on the Acoustic Stage. I really enjoyed his set of folk songs. However it was a struggle for Sam to get into his normal groove on a wet and dreary Saturday afternoon to a smallish crowd. Anyway I am for one a new fan!

We took a trip to the Marquee Stage for The Minutes who pulled a decent sized crowd. However the band proved to me that there's not much substance to their music. Every one of their tracks sounded the same and they struggled to lift themselves out of the ordinary. After a bit we seen Royseven on the same stage who were the opposite to The Minutes. They got the crowd moving, singing and they felt very much apart of the live experience. A highlight from their set was the recent single 'Killer'.

Colin Devlin made a great effort to warm up the crowd with a mix of new songs and old classics from 'The Devlins'. He kicked off his set with the most bizarre cover of Moterhead's 'Ace of Spades' you'll ever hear. The recent single from The Devlins 'Julian' was played and sounded great. Check out the video here:

In the most frustrating stage time clash Colin Devlin, Damien Dempsey and Wallis Bird overlapped resulting on us getting to see only half sets from each. Damien Dempsey on the Marquee Stage was typical Damien Dempsey. 'Apple of my Eye', 'Seize The Day', 'Patience' and the opener 'Negative Vides' were all highlights of a set which included a new song that did not sound out of place at all and hints of a return to form for Damien's next album. 

Wallis Bird performing on her own on the Acoustic Set was a revelation and she received a great reception from the packed crowd. There's nobody out there with more energy that Wallis and she's an artist who effectively uses the loops pedals in her songs. 

I caught a few songs from Lloyd Cole, as well as a few from The Waterboys but by now the heavens opened and we were beat!


We arrived in time for the sunshine pop of Cars Love Girls and they were actually really good. The songs are  full of cheese but Cars Love Girls provide full sounds perfect for a Sunday afternoon. 

We spent most of Sunday at the Marquee Tent. The next band we seen there was 'Kopek' who began playing to a few dozen people but finished their set playing to a packed tent. It was obvious from the onset that 'Kopek' are an experienced band who put on a great show. A highlight from their set was the title track of their debut album 'White Collar Lies'.

Duke Special was for me the best act at Westport. The set was a mixture of his hits to date with a few new songs from 'Oh pioneer' thrown in. Stand out songs were new song 'Condition', 'Freewheel' and this track 'Last Night I Nearly Died'.

Our festival finished with a picnic in the open area of the main stage listening to the wonderful talents of Imelda May and Seasick Steve. When the Sun was blocked by rain clouds we bolted for the door and called it a day!

Best 5 Acts of Westport

1. Duke Special
2. Wallis Bird
3. Kopek
4. Colin Devlin
5. Sam Amidon

Hopefully it was a financial success with Westport Festival returning in 2013!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Mix: Top 5 Must See Irish Bands at Westport

So Westport Festival is nearly upon us and it's going to be great regardless of the rain!

Top 5 Irish Bands to see:

Jerry Fish

Jerry re-released Celebrate as a charity single to raise funds for Barretstown. What are the chances of an Imelda May duet?


Check out the most talked about band in Dublin these days!

Wallis Bird

For pure entertainment value there's few better than Wallis!

Damien Dempsey

Sing all your cares away with Damo this Saturday in the Marquee Tent while it's lashing rain outside!

Imelda May

I caught most of Imelda's set in Glastonbury last year and it was superb!

Mix: An Introduction to New Artists #13

It's been a few months since the last mix of new artists. Here's a brief review of the new artists that have impressed me in the last few months.

Doug Sheridan

I found this brooding haunting track from Doug Sheridan and it's a superb track. I love Doug's voice and I hope I get the chance to see him live soon.


I'm Your Vinyl

I'm Your Vinyl is the new incarnation of Automata's Ken McHugh with vocalist/guitarist Dana Donnelly. This video is wonderful for their single 'Roll The Dice'.


Suzanne Savage

Belfast's Suzanne Savage has one hell of a great voice as demonstrated by this track 'Dart' which is her current single.


Trap Door

Punk/ska outfit Trap Door and they do the genre some justice. Another band I'm looking forward to seeing live sometime.


My Friend Jack

Slane's My Friend Jack are seasoned musicians Jenny and Andrew who played last month's 'Purple Sessions' in Boyles. This is adult contemporary pop but done with style and grace.


The Clap

Dublin's newest rock n roll goodtime band is 'The Clap'. Their new EP is available through their website for free and it has a few decent tunes on it!


Thomas Donoghue

When I do these posts I leave the best for the last. Dublin's Thomas Donoghue has a super voice, some good tunes and great hair, all of which will make him go far. Honestly there's great potential in Thomas who released his debut EP a few weeks back!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Album Review: Eric McGrath - Little Ripples

Delightful little folk debut album from Dublin's Eric McGrath. Released with a free launch in The Sugar Club this coming Thursday!

I genuinely couldn't get Eric McGrath's music out of my head last night. It may mean I've listened to the album 'Little Ripples' far too much over the last two weeks or it could suggest that Eric' songs are so good they linger long after you've heard them. It's definitively more of the latter!

Eric's music is a perfect match for this blog. The album is brimming with gentle charming songs which are well written tales of hope, love, potential and compassion. There's not a note or lyric out of place on the whole album and I've struggled to find a single negative aspect anywhere on 'Little Ripples'. 

'Little Ripples' kicks off with the first single 'Let's Get Curious' which oozes Summer sounds from it. The hugely positive 'Ripples into Waves' follows which is such a great inspirational track. It sounds like the folk music made famous by Simon & Garfunkel. I love the lyrics of the chorus 
"So get up, go out, let them know what we’re about, Take a chance, take a stance.
So many sleeping people, who just don’t know they’re capable of making little ripples into waves."

The other stand out tracks for me include the tale of lost love 'The Lost Romance', the waltzing 'Carousel' and the wonderfully written 'Abuelo'. Many of the tracks have that 'Old Time' jazzy edge in the songs which makes the album even more enjoyable! It's an album fit for Summer days relaxing in the Sun or for times you need that little bit of inspiration to turn ripples into waves!

Eric McGrath - Little Ripples [12 out of 12]

Monday, 18 June 2012

Mix: Westport Festival - Sunday Artists

Here's the full line-up for this weekend's excellent festival in Westport:

If I'm honest, Sunday's bill is weaker than the Saturday but I'm likely to be surprised by some artists I'm not too familiar with! Here are the bands I'm hoping to see on Sunday.

Raglans - 1pm Main Stage

Red Empire - 1.30 Second Stage

Bronagh Gallagher - 1.45 Main Stage

The Plea - 3pm Second Stage

Kopek - 3.45 Second Stage

Eoin Glackin - 4.14 Acoustic Stage

Duke Special - 5.45 Second Stage

Katie Kim - 6.05 Acoustic Stage

Imelda May - 6.30 Main Stage

After Imelda I'm not too bothered about the remaining acts. I'd be interested in Seeing Seasick Steve do his thing and catching the last few minutes of The 4 of Us before seeing what Mundy does with his headline set on the Second Stage!

Bring on the weekend!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Mix: Irish Artists at Benicassim

Here's the full line-up for Benicassim and it includes five Irish acts [that I can see!]. I'm well impressed with Delorentos making their way onto the main stage on the Saturday! 

Check out music from Lisa Hannigan, Delorentos & Ham Sandwich here:

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Album Review: I Am Not Lefthanded - The Fire & The Sigh

One of my most eagerly awaited debut albums is here and it's not a disappointment! While it's also not a masterpiece, it's definitely not lefthanded! 

'The Fire & The Sigh' is a short debut album from part-Irish band 'I Am Not Lefthanded' who are currently based in San Francisco. The album consists of eight tracks which includes a wonderful version of Therapy?'s 'Screamager' as well as six brand new tracks not previously released on EPs. Therefore as it's an album of new material it probably accurately reflects the world the band find themselves in at present.

The recurring themes within the songs include making the most of opportunity and time, letting go, reassuring oneself and being positive in life. The songs are characteristically 'I Am Not Lefthanded' with Kathryn's vocals shining throughout over well written subtle indie pop compositions which compliment the vocals and lyrics. 'Brace Brace' kicks off the album in fine style with lyrics describing that feeling of new adventures. 'Return' is such a wonderful song while the catchy 'No Time' has become my regular earworm over the last few days. Listen to 'No Time' here.

If I'm honest it took a few listens to delve into some of the tracks and appreciate their lyrics and finesse. Initially I was searching for songs that matched songs like 'Long Goodbyes' or 'Persuade Yourself' from their debut EP 'Yes Means No' and I had to wait until the final track to find a track that matched the quality of their earlier releases. 'Falls To Me' is such a great track which oozes positivity and could well be the song that brings the band to big audiences in the US and Canada.

I highly recommend this album for it's powerful lyrics and great tunes like 'Return', 'Falls To me' and their ownership of Therapy's 'Screamager'! 

I Am Not Lefthanded - The Fire & The Sigh [11 out of 12]

Tour Dates

Thursday, June 14, 2012
NXNE Showcase @ The Painted Lady
218 Ossington St, Toronto, ON (Canada) - Map
Set: 1:00 AM

Saturday, June 16, 2012
North By Northeast (NXNE) @ Cameron House
408 Queen St. W, Toronto, ON (Canada) - Map
Set: 11:00 PM
All Ages

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Play Irish: June Artists

The Play Irish initiative has gone A listed for the month of June with tracks from five much loved Irish artists.

PLAY IRISH happens very day @ 1.10pm on Galway Bay FM with Jon Richards - tune in!

Your PLAY IRISH Galway June artists are mainly connected to the Galway Arts Festival shows!

Mondays:           James Vincent McMorrow -  Sparrow & The Wolf  

Tuesdays :          Christy Moore - My Little Honda 50 

Wednesdays       Lisa Hannigan  - Home

Home is taken from the Album 'Passenger' out now.
Passenger is available from
Directed by Myles O'Reilly -

Thursdays           Mary Coughlan -  Ancient Rain  

Fridays:               The Coronas – Closer To You (radio edit)  

The PLAY IRISH Galway format is ‘Artists of the Month’!! There will be five artists highlighted in Galway each month. 

As listed, each song will be played on that day every week in June by Jon Richards on Galway Bay FM at 1.10pm that day.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Mix: Westport Festival - Saturday Artists

In between the football fun I'm getting excited about the first Westport Festival taking place on the weekend of Saturday June 23rd & Sunday June 24th. Here's a mix of the bands I'll be aiming to see on Saturday's fine bill.

Apart from a few ventures to the main stage and the second stage I'll be doing my best to see every artist on The Acoustic Stage!

Rainy Boy Sleep - Main Stage 1.45pm

The Lost Brothers - Acoustic Stage 2.15

Rhob Cunningham - Acoustic Stage 2.55

Eric Bibb - Main Stage 3.20

Sam Amidon - Acoustic Stage 3.35

The Walls - Main Stage 4.20

Rocco DeLuca - Acoustic Stage 4.35

David Kitt - Acoustic Stage 5.35

The Minutes - Stage Two 5.45

Colin Devlin - Acoustic Stage 6.35

Damien Dempsey - Stage Two 6.55

Wallis Bird - Acoustic Stage 7.35

The Waterboys - Main Stage 8pm

Lloyd Cole - Acoustic Stage 8.35

Ray Davies - Main Stage 9.45 for a 20 min look before finishing with the amazing

Beth Orton - Acoustic Stage 9.45

Here's footage of a recent gig with Beth sounding wonderful live!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Album Review: Duke Special - Oh Pioneer

'Oh Pioneer', the new album from Duke Special is very much a 'grower' and incorporates the many adventures the Duke has undergone in the last few years. 

So 'Oh Pioneer' is either the third official 'Duke Special' album or could quite possibly be his 10th/12th album. Duke Special is one of them ever evolving artists who has expanded his array of talents into other forms of the Arts while releasing rarities albums, music for plays and live recordings. 'Oh Pioneer' released on June 15th is a varied album consisting of sublime songs of real quality to the odd ridiculous theatrical tune which is instantly skippable.

I adore two tracks on this album. 'Condition' is a song only Duke Special could write. It mainly consists of personal statements which contradict themselves. For example my favourite line is 'I Am A Whisper, I Am the Choir' and so on. It's a hughly powerful song which can conjure up emotions galore. Check out a live version of the track here:

The other song to impress me is the wonderful 'Always Been There'. It's a charming atmospheric song full of positive lyrics which grabs your attention and squeezes the wow out of you.

'Oh Pioneer' is very much a grower. For instance the opening track 'Stargazers of the World Unite' and the song 'Lost Chord' grew on me as I got more into the lyrics. I didn't appreciate the lead single 'Punch of a Friend' on the first few listens but it's a really good representation of the album even if it's a bit too pure for popular radio playlists. The big problem with the single is that it only begins to get catchy towards the end of the track.

I don't think the condition of the 'inlet card' should come into a review but I do like the way Duke Special explains the origins of each track in the liner notes.

It's a terrible shame that there are three or four tracks which don't work for me. However the fact this album contains 'Condition' and 'Always Been There' means that it's an album I'd have to recommend you to check out.

Duke Special - 'Oh Pioneer' '10 out of 12'

See Duke Special Live:

Here's some video footage from the recording of 'Oh Pioneer'

Friday, 8 June 2012

5 Irish music Videos You Must See Now - Part 2

I love how bands and musicians spend so much time and effort on the humble music video. Here's five more recent videos from Irish artists.

Fiach - Lullaby

Producer/Director - Bob Kelly

The video concept is explained here: "So we hatched a plan to learn a song backwards and from there it grew and developed. We then decided to make it a walking video and mapped out a route. The route involved getting lucky with traffic lights, cars and indeed human traffic and all in one take as well. It also involved me walking backwards throughout. So what you see is the reverse of me walking and singing backwards, which makes me look (slightly) normal and everybody else in backwards mode? Lost? Thought so, watch the video and it will become clearer."

Get the song for free here:


The video for Hail supports Marc's news that his debut album 'My Friend Marx' will be released in the UK on 6th Aug'12 followed by Germany/Austria and Switzerland in Sept'12.

Tour Dates:

Glasgowbury Festival, NI 21/07/12
Volunteer Arms, Fort William 03/08/12
Belladrum Festival, Inverness - 04/08/12
King Tuts, Glasgow - 05/08/12
PJ Molloys, Dunfermline 07/08/12
Garden Sessions, Birr, Co. Offaly 07/09/12


Aisling Quinn - Song I Wrote For You

Directed & Filmed by DON HORNE

Songs don't come much sweeter than this!


Myles Manley - You're Young Enough to Come Back Home

Directed and Edited by: Séamus Hanly
Produced by: Myles Manley
HD Camera Operator: Ismael Diarra
Super 8 Camera Operator: Séamus Hanly
Super 8 Stock developed by: Frank Bruinsma

I like this track from an artist who intrigues me big time. 


Engineered, Produced and mixed by Barret Lahey and assisted by Niall Doran
Post Production by Mark Gordon and Richard Hill of Score Draw music
Mastered by Denis Blackham at Skye Mastering

Every song I've heard from Katie & The Carnival is really good and they are a band I'd love to see live in the near future! Dinosaurs is released on June 18th.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Mix: NPLD Sligo June 15 - 17

NPLD is quietly becoming an important festival in Ireland. This quality lineup is well worth checking out. As described here: "The idea of No Place Like Dome is a simple one, that everyone is self sufficient and gets involved to create for a short time, an arena where people can let themselves go and give love and respect to their fellow man, asking nothing in return than kindness and a bit of banter (all in fancy dress of course). "

Recommended bands to see on Friday include:

She's A Beauty

The Hot Sprockets

Saturday bands to see!

Wyvern Lingo

Twin Headed Wolf

The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock

Sarah Red

Loyal Cuckoo

Sunday Bands to check out!

James Guilmartin

Andy Earley

Wicker Bones


Monday, 4 June 2012

EP Review: Red Sail - Paper Cutouts

Fine debut EP from Dublin band 'Red Sail' which more than hints at a long career and a superb future debut album.

Red Sail are two guys and a girl who bring their talents together to create a kind of indie folk music which is big on charm and atmosphere but struggles to provide impact. Some of the songs remind me of Declan O'Rouke from his 'Since Kyabram' days or of Henrietta Game without the strings. Their folk sound has a distinctly 'Irish' feel to it as well as a 'around the campfire' communal folk group feel to it. The harmonies are lovely and they possess the ability to create atmospheric well written songs with just guitars, keys and vocals. 'Paper Cutouts' is a great beginning for a young band that is together for under a year.

The key track for me is the closing epic song 'Sitting at the Keys'. It's a positive song which twists and turns but keeps your attention for the full six minutes with fantastic lead vocals from songwriter Dan. On 'Tracks in the Long Grass' Sarah provides the lead vocals and it reminds me of the pure folk music of Janis Ian. Here the female/male harmonies work very well. The title track has a nice indie pop edge to it while the track 'Twists' with all the backing oooing and aahing vocals as well as a splash of glockenspiel gives the song that communal campfire feel I mentioned earlier.

The EP is really good but I feel that the Red Sail sound is missing something. Inclusion of strings would provide a number of the tracks that impact which is lacking from some of the tracks. That being said, I become a satisfied customer every time I finish listening to the EP with that wonderful song 'Sitting at the Keys'.

Red Sail - Paper Cutouts [9 out of 12]