Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Album Review: Emmett Tinley - Self-titled

Emmett Tinley released his second solo album late last year. The self-titled album very much satisfies this fan of Emmett's earlier band The Prayer Boat. It's a positive mature album mainly dealing with relationships and love! 


Some of this album was recorded in 2010 in LA, while the rest came together in Denmark in 2011. Here in 2012 Emmett seems to be working the Benelux market and the album is released by Mass Marketing Recordings which is based in The Netherlands. When the much traveled Emmett Tinley sings you simply can't help but be in admiration. The key to Emmett Tinley is that the vocals bring to life the wonderful lyrics which the artistic Emmett has written on his travels.

The album begins with the most unusual uplifting songs I've heard in a long time. 'Takes A Long Time To Heal' about the break up of a relationship and moving on with your life is inspirational. " ...... a little spark, lights a flame, that starts a fire that burns the hurt and pain away ... it's hard to lift the soul up every day" It's simply a breathtaking song of beauty.

Other highlights include 'Marvelous Day' which makes life look brighter. 'In My Life' is a little country song together with slide guitar and catchy lyrics about "something that's missing from my life". I love the simplicity of 'Sooner or Later' where Emmett's voice is accompanied by a soft guitar rift and trumpet. 'Nothing in Between' is the closest song that resembles the old 'Prayer Boat' days and therefore is a cracking tune!




The only negative I have with the album concerns the production. All the tracks features front and central Emmett's intense vocals. The result of that is uniformity across the songs. Some of the tracks would have benefited from a reduction on the levels of Emmett's vocals and an increase on guitars and drums. In particular I'm thinking the track 'I Want To Recieve You' would have been better with a reduction in the level of the vocals. However the quality of the songs shines through and I'd claim that this album is better than the acclaimed debut 'Attic Faith'.

Emmett Tinley - Self-titled [11 out of 12]

http://emmetttinley.com/

Buy the album: http://www.massmarketrecordings.com/?page_id=420&category=1&product_id=4

Single Review: The Walls - Stop The Lights

The Wall brothers are back with the first single from their new album 'Stop The Lights'. The title track has been selected by Jon Richards from Galway Bay FM as the Play Irish artist of the week. 


'Stop The Lights' is a really good song that's typical from The Walls. Steve and Joe Wall have been making music for over 20 years at this stage and their musical recipe is well known by us Irish. There's the quality vocals, sing-a-long lyrics, big chorus, ooh oohing backing vocals and a decent brass section to fill in the sound! Is it going to make that old 'Brewing Up A Storm' fan happy? Yes it probably will. Is it going to bring a whole new batch of fans to The Walls? Sadly not.

The Walls - Stop The Lights [8 out of 12]

http://www.reverbnation.com/thewalls


ComScore





Monday, 30 January 2012

Video Review: Battle for 2nd Place - Half The Fire

Battle for 2nd Place follow up their debut album with a four track EP entitled 'Half The Fire'. The title track has this super video accompanying it!



I like the sparse production on the song. Every instrument is crystal clear and there's nothing added that you wouldn't hear live. Irish singer Orla Pendergast's vocals are filled with the emotions the lyrics demand. Orla's performance in the video grabs your attention and enhances the song. Half The Fire is a good EP from a very fine band!

Get the EP and debut album from the band here on a 'Pay What You Want' deal: http://www.battlefor2ndplace.com/fr_shop.cfm


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Introducing: A Mix of New Irish Artists #8

Here's a little round-up of artists that have entered my social network in the last number of weeks! If you're impressed by what you hear make sure to befriend or 'like' the artist!

Sarah Red

First up is Dubliner Sarah Red. I love the sound of Sarah Red. Her style of alternative folk brings to mind Ani DiFranco or Janis Ian comparisons. In this song 'Misdirected Fire' I love the double bass, vocals and lyrics.



Sarah Red on Facebook
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Valentino is Dead

Drogheda band Valentino is Dead are releasing their debut album this year with the lead single being this rocking track 'This City Tonight'. It's available for a limited time for free!





http://www.valentinoisdead.com/
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Karen Alice Dunbar

Cork's Karen Alice Dunbar writes sweet little radio friendly catchy songs like this piano based love song. Very impressive indeed!



http://www.facebook.com/KarenAliceMusic
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Rory Bowens

Originally from Meath but now based in Galway Rory Bowens is a singer songwriter of great potential who writes quirky songs like this!



http://www.facebook.com/rorybowensmusic
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Madra

Dublin rockers Madra are in the very early stages of their career but have a pleasant indie rock sound at the moment. With a few years of gigs and a bit of work in the studio and the band could come through! Here's a good demo to listen to!



http://soundcloud.com/madramusic
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Fergal Cox

Athlone's Fergal Cox is a singer-songwriter with great passion for a good song. The following track is well written and includes some superb backing vocals and male/female harmonies.



http://www.myspace.com/fergalcox
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Rebecca Gresty

Hailing from Co. Wicklow with a 10 piece band in tow Rebecca Gresty is in the process of releasing a huge sounding debut album entitled 'Mad at the Seems'. It's a sound that has it's place firmly in the mainstream!



http://breakingtunes.com/rebeccagresty
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Live Review: The Purple Sessions - Boyles Jan 26th

The first Purple Sessions of the year took place last Thursday night and it was a trial run for the official re-launch of The Purple Sessions in Boyles which takes place on Feb 23rd. More details below.

Thursday night was a great night of music featuring Slane's own Meridas, Drogheda's Sarah Something and one of my favourite band The Making from Co. Monaghan.

The Making


The headline set from The Making proved to me what a great band they are. Brendan McGahey's amazing vocals and songwriting were matched by the quality of the band with the intensity being appreciated by the Boyles crowd. Standout song was 'Summer's Gone' from The Making's debut album 'Expectations':



Sarah Something kicked the night off with a couple of covers and well written original tracks. Local act Meridas proved to me that there is a fine album in the the making from songwriter Alan Louth. Here's a video from Meridas at a previous Purple Sessions;



There's a special page dedicated to the finer points of The Purples Sessions above with Feb 23rd being the official re-launch in Boyles of Slane. Here's the line-up:

The Riot Tapes,
Marc O'Reilly,
Polly Barrett

Can Not Wait!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Live Review: Lisa O'Neill Jan 25th Button Factory

Opening this year's Temple Bar Trad festival in The Button Factory last night was Lisa O'Neill playing to a large appreciative audience in The Button Factory. It was a quality night of great tunes and funny quirky mid song explanations which charmed the crowd all night!


Lisa O'Neill had the pleasure of being introduced by Mannix Flynn who gave a 'William Wallace' style introduction by saying they can pay the Anglo bondholders but they'll never take our Lisa O'Neill! And so began a night of enriching music and great storytelling from Cavan's Lisa and her band of Mossy Nolan from Co. Galway and Stina Sandstom from Co. Sweden! 

The set-list was predominantly taken up by new songs from Lisa's forthcoming album. She also played a number of songs from her 2009 debut album including the popular 'Bobby D', 'Sparkle' and the concert closer 'I'm Gonna Get Me to the Road'. There was also a few traditional tunes thrown in for good measure. Many of the new songs like 'Muse Head' were love songs which Lisa was reluctant to explain yet it was the song explanations and Lisa's personality which glowed all night. 

The new songs were excellent and they'll hopefully be on the new album released throughout the year. 'It's Just Milk' and the song with the working title 'Denver' were particularly good. My attention waned a bit throughout the set as I felt Lisa needed something extra on stage. When I seen Lisa perform a few years ago she had a harpist play and it looked like at the Spirit of Folk festival a bassist performed with her on many of the tracks. Either a harpist or bassist would have enriched the performance for me. This is the only small negative from the gig. 

I'm really looking forward to hearing the new songs on the album. Similar to her debut, the new songs have attitude, bite and charm and now that she has a big fanbase, the new album will help Lisa make it to the next level at home and internationally!


http://www.facebook.com/Lisaoneillmusic

Single Review: Polly Barrett - February

February is the second single to be taken from Polly's debut album 'Mr Bookshop' and will be released tomorrow!



I love the imagery in the song. We have references to Valentine's Day, snow, Winters Sun, rivers, feelings of despair and descriptions of the effect of the Sun on the landscape. February is beautifully sung over a pleasant guitar rift and it's released in time for the arrival of February. It's one of the highlights from Polly's album 'Mr. Bookshop' reviewed here: http://2uibestow.blogspot.com/2011/11/album-review-polly-barrett-mr-bookshop.html and can be listened to here:




Polly Barrett - February [9 out of 10]


Tour details: 
8th Feb, Spiritstore, Dundalk
16th Feb, Crane Lane Theatre, Cork
23rd Feb, Purple Sessions, Boyles, Slane
8th March, The Troubadour, London
10th March, The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber
25th-27th May Ryedale Folk Weekend, Nth Yorkshire

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Single Review: Heritage Centre - Don't You Ever Give Up On Yourself

Power Pop bliss from Ireland's prodigal sons 'Heritage Centre'. A sign of a great debut album on the horizon!


Heritage Centre are a progressive pop band with alternative leanings. The vocals are crystal clear and enjoyable to listen to. The music builds along quite nicely while not reaching ridiculous heights. The reason the music doesn't take off to an energetic high is because the song relies on it's meaningful lyrics. The song title hints at a song about friendship, hope compassion and being supportive which it most certainly is!

'Don't You Give Up On Yourself' is one of them rare tunes in which the lyrics are thoughtful and meaningful as well as the song being a radio friendly pop anthem!

Heritage Centre - Don't You Ever Give Up On Yourself  [10 out of 12]

  Don't You Ever Give Up On Yourself? by Heritage Centre

The single launch is this Saturday in The Grand Social!


Monday, 23 January 2012

EP Review: Rams' Pocket Radio - 1 + 2

Rams' Pocket Radio is this week's Play Irish artist with the song '1+2' taken from the new EP of the same name to be released in March 2012. The titled track deserves to be the Play Irish track this week as daytime radio is the best fit for the song!


This EP '1 + 2' is going to be the forth EP release from Rams' Pocket Radio. Each release from Rams' comes with more exposure and an increase in the fan-base which results in getting the recent Snow Patrol support slots! Rams' Pocket Radio is the musical vehicle for Drummer, Pianist and song-writer Peter McCauley from Lisburn and there's a really good chance he'll be making hit records for years to come!

'1 + 2' is a rocking radio friendly piano driven power ballad that is destined to be placed on some future 'Dads Rocks' compilation album between 'Yellow' and 'Run'! It's simply got to be a massive hit! Sure have a listen now before BBC Radio 1, 2FM and Spin makes ya hate it from playing too much!

  RAMS' Pocket Radio - 1+2 by philthemanager

I made the point that this is Rams' 4th EP so it's no surprise that the other three tracks on the EP don't live up to the '1 + 2'. There's a lovely 80s synth feel to 'Body and the Sea' which showcases Peter's fine vocals. The experimental electronic pop of 'Swallow' does nothing to me while the EP closer 'Love is a Bitter Thing' is a bittersweet piano ballad which closes the EP nicely.

On this evidence Rams' Pocket Radio is gonna be massive!

Rams' Pocket Radio - 1 + 2 [9 out of 12]

http://ramspocketradio.wordpress.com/

See Rams' Pocket Radio live:


Live dates;
Jan 24th Belfast Odyssey Arena w/ Snow Patrol
Feb 6 Birmnigham Academy TICKETS
Feb 7 Oxford Academy TICKETS
Feb 8 Camden Enterprise TICKETS
Feb 10 Cardiff Buffalo Bar TICKETS
Feb 11 Nottingham Bodega TICKETS
Feb 12 London o2 Arena w/ Snow Patrol
Feb 14 Aberdeen Drummonds TICKETS
Feb 15 Glasgow Nice �n Sleazy�s TICKETS
Feb 16 York Stereo TICKETS
Feb 17 Liverpool Shipping Forecast TICKETS
Feb 18 Northampton The Roadmender TICKETS
Feb 19 Southampton Joiners TICKETS
Feb 20 Brighton Green Door Store FREE ENTRY

Here's Rams' Pocket Radio performing 'Love is a Bitter Thing' from Glastonbury:

Friday, 20 January 2012

Album Review: Michael Brunnock - The Orchard

The Orchard is Michael Brunnock's second album and is set to be released in February. The Orchard is an album of great depth, strong big themes, amazing vocals and most importantly it is a collection of wonderfully crafted songs. 


I've been very fortunate to be in the company of Michael's album since November and it was the soundtrack of my Christmas together with Marc O'Reilly's debut and the Jukebox Gypsy live album. The thirteen songs are immense deep and often personal songs. The themes within the songs concern change, new beginnings, hope, love, companionship, fairytales, circle of life etc. This is a serious album of great and powerful songs that work! It proves to me what a powerful healer or meditative tool a great collection of songs can be.

There's a long list of collaborators on the album. Glen Hansard provides effective backing vocals on the title track and in particular Glen's and Michael's vocals sound amazing on 'Untouchable'. Other contributors include Blues singer Moe Holmes on Sensation, Ari Hest on guitar, piano and backing vocal duties on a number of tracks and Lir's David Hopkins providing piano on many of the tracks. The lead single from the album 'Every Step' is gentle folk song full of positive messages and consists of backing vocals from blog favourite Mark Dignam.

  Every step by MichaelBrunnock

Every song on 'The Orchard' in their own right is meaningful and special. There are three songs that stand out slightly above the rest. These are 'Man Overboard', 'Untouchable' and 'Sensation' but I can write about any of the songs with enthusiasm and praise. It's the melodies and the refraining powerful lyrics that relate to me. On 'Sensation' when Moe Holmes begins singing
        "All your love comes on strong, when I need it"  it simply gets to me. I feel the lyrics and the songs lingers within me. I love it when great songs do that and most of this album does this!

Michael Brunnock - The Orchard [12 out of 12]

  The Orchard by MichaelBrunnock


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Video Review: Declan O'Rourke - Be Brave and Believe

Initially I was delighted when it was announced that 'Be Brave and Believe' would become a single from Declan O'Rourke's most recent album Mag Pai Zai. Apparently this is the forth and final release from the album. I love the song. It's a powerful healing tune which hits the spot perfectly. More about the song here: http://2uibestow.blogspot.com/2011/12/amhran-gach-la-declan-orourke_29.html

The video however is a disaster in my eyes. While I'm sure every effort was made to deal with unemployment, mortgage arrears and negative equity in a respectable way I honestly think it looks like Declan is cashing in on the misery that's out there. I talk a lot about how music is a form of escaping for me. It looks like they were aiming to portray the relief of stress people could feel while listening to Declan perform this song. However it just comes across as a cringe fest!



http://www.declanorourke.com/intro.php

Video Review: Lisa Hannigan - What'll I Do

The official video for 'What'll I Do' is the third in a series of official videos where Lisa Hannigan is desperately trying to sing with significant distraction. In 'Knots' she was pelted with paint for the duration of the song and in 'Little Bird' she's underwater. In this video she's on a rollercoaster at Dublin's Funderland! Apparently it took 18 rollercoaster rides to get the footage needed for the video. Impressive and fun, I love this series of videos from Lisa Hannigan.



http://www.lisahannigan.ie/

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Competition: Lisa O'Neill @ Temple Bar Trad Fest

Lisa O'Neill plays The Button Factory next Wednesday Jan 25th as part of this year's Tempe Bar Trad Fest. Support comes from the wonderful Bunoscionn.



To win a pair of tickets for Lisa O'Neill's gig on Wednesday just email me saying you want to go!

Competition Closed!


The 2012 festival takes place over 5 days and features 23 venues and over 900 performers! Wow! Acts to see include The Dubliners, Michael McGoldrick, Ralph McTell, Moya Brennan, Cathy Jordon, The Henry Girls and many more!

View the full Temple Bar Trad Fest programme here:   http://templebartrad.com/programme/

Just in case you need a reminder about how wonderful Lisa O'Neill is .....

  Lisa O'Neill - Bobby D by MondoManagement

  Lisa O'Neill - Work To The Bone by MondoManagement


http://www.facebook.com/Lisaoneillmusic

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Album Review: Marc O'Reilly - My Friend Marx

'My Friend Marx', the debut album from Marc O'Reilly fuses great lyrics, hushed vocals and extra-ordinary guitar playing to become one of the best albums released in 2011


I was notified of Marc's album when it was released last Summer, checked it out on Soundcloud and didn't think much on first listen. I then listened to the track 'Family Reunion' as it was a 'Play Irish' and I loved the lyrics of that tune. I got into the album more and more and when I watched the live videos of Marc's performances at The Ruby Sessions it all came together and made sense to me. 

Firstly one of the best things about Marc's music is his lyrics. It's been ages since I read along with the liner notes while listening to the songs but I've done that lots with this album. For example in the heartbreaking song 'Twenty Minutes for Two Years' he sings:
      "And I was just another game to play, some way to pass the time
               And your Cinderella dream, was just a dream of mine"
In fact that broken relationship is the theme of a number of songs on the album. The album finishes on that ray of hope where Marc sings on F.O.O. that 
     "I'm going to feel somebody in my head again"
There's no indication as to what the letters F.O.O. stands for!


The vocals can easily be compared to Ray Lamontagne or James Vincent McMorrow; they are that clear. The majority of the instrumentation on the album is from Marc's amazing guitar style and talent. I love that there was no over-indulgence by adding in full band sound when it wasn't needed. For instance the Jose Gonzalez sounding 'Family Reunion' sounds wonderful with guitar accompanied by trumpet.

My Friend Marx is a really difficult album to describe. The three artists I've mentioned above don't make music as quite like this. There's a blues influence on some tracks with the main sound being Americana rootsy folk. It's a very brave album to make from an artist who has an amazing talent as a guitarist. There really isn't a bad song on the album. Even the anti-war song 'Lord of War' doesn't make me cringe! For me the album hits the high point around tracks 6,7,8 with Narrow Street, Tell Old Joe and Family Reunion. 


Marc O'Reilly - My Friend Marx [12 out of 12]


Tour: 

The Purple Sessions, Boyles of Slane Thursday 23rd Feb 9PM [& The Making and Polly Barrrett]

The Troubadour, Earls Court, London Wednesday 29/02/12

Canadian Music Week, Toronto 21-25/03/12


Monday, 16 January 2012

Introducing: A Mix of New Irish Artists #7

Regularly I get emails from bands and artists introducing themselves to me. As a way of gratitude I'm going to feature them all in a non-judgmental post.

Twin Terrace

First up is Dubliner Gavin Redmond going under the name Twin Terrace. Gavin was the lead singer with Vodkopter but it fell away quietly in 2009 with Gavin heading to Vancouver for a period of time! While there he wrote a bunch of tunes which will be released throughout the year as Twin Terrace! This song is gorgeous!

  You Keep Coming Back by twinterrace



Daniel Jones

I got an email about Daniel Jones' album 'Forever in Disguise' and was intrigued when it was described as somewhere between Neil Young and The Jesus and Mary Chain! Worth checking out seeing as the album is available here for free! http://danieljones.bandcamp.com/album/forever-in-disguise









Jericho

Cork band Jericho draw their influence from Prince, Stevie Wonder and James brown and create very good interesting pop sounds! The band released a three track EP last year and are working on a live show to 'bedazzle audiences across the country'! 'Hit It' is full on cheese and proud of it too!

  Hit It! by jericho_artist


Cormac O'Caoimh

Formally of The Citadels who had a decent run of years from 1999 - 2006, Cormac O'Caoimh is about to release his second album entitled 'A New Season for Love'. Cormac has supported artists such as Damien Rice, Josh Rouse and Miles Hunt. His new album is full of slow burning mellow jazz influenced tunes which would suit most rainy afternoons sitting by a log fire! The title track is the stand-out song on the album!

  Cormac OCaoimh Anewseasonforlove by cormaco


Window Seats

I wrote a few weeks ago about the Dundalk band 'Words That Burn' that Ireland doesn't do rock bands too good! Then 'Window Seats' drop their EP into my inbox and I'm changing my mind. All the music from 'Window Seats' is available for free and includes mellow rock tunes like 'Awake' below as well as the heavier rocking sounds of 'Rat' and 'No Show'.

  Awake by Window Seats

 Longtails

Dubliner Paul Loughran is Longtails and he self-released his debut Ep 'Hometies' last July through bandcamp. Hometies is free here: http://longtails.bandcamp.com/







Eric McGrath  

I often hold back the best for last. Dubliner Eric McGrath has a crystal clear voice and a great bunch of songs ready for his debut album to be recorded and released in 2012. Among them is this piece of pure acoustic radio friendly pop!



EP Review: The Young Folk - Self-titled EP

Debut release from a band proud to have their intricate songs described as Folk. This self-titled EP is a superb introduction to technically gifted band that is The Young Folk.


The Young Folk consist of main songwriter Anthony Furey, Tony McLoughlin on bass, Drummer Karl hand, Karen Hickey on violin and fellow songwriter Paul Butler on keyboards. They are a tight band that are pushing the limits of folk music and in my mind are at the forefront somewhat of a Folk revival in Ireland. This is a serious band that's not just repackaging Dylan songs!


The EP kicks off with 'Way Down South' and an intro of guitars and mandolin. My understanding of the lyrics is that of a couple worried about making a commitment to each other and reflecting on their past somewhat; "as we went inside you said, "maybe your right for me, but maybe your not... please could you tell me,," "
The song builds up nicely in tempo and finishes off with a xylophone outro.



The song 'Way Down South' is the Play Irish track of the week on the Jon Richards show on Galway Bay FM where the song will be played every day at around 3.30 PM.

'Remember When' is a deep personal song with wonderful harmonies but lacks the charm of the other songs. 'I've Been Here before' is one of my favourite live songs from the band. The build-up with guitar, mandolin and violin along with the multiple harmonies make this track simply wonderful. My favourite song off the EP is 'Letters' written and sung by Paul Butler. Paul's clear vocals are superb and the lyrics of this complicated love song paint pictures in your mind. 


High on quality, charm, well written songs, musicianship, and lots more make The Young Folk one of the best band's in Ireland at the moment. This EP serves as a superb introduction to this great band.

The Young Folk - Self-titled EP [11 out of 12]

Here's the official video for the song 'Way Down South'

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Eurosonic: The Videos

In honour of the fact that the focus was on Irish acts at this year's EuroSonic I wrote two previews here and here! There were 21 Irish acts performing at EuroSonic and reports back through twitter and facebook are very encouraging. James Vincent McMorrow tweeted: "was amazing 2 c so many Irish bands  this year, got 2 as many shows as of theirs as i could manage, all sounding major."  


There's been a number of good videos uploaded to YouTube already. Here's the best of them beginning with a pretty special way to end a gig from Foy Vance:


Foy Vance







Lisa Hannigan





Rams Pocket Radio





Emmett Tinley


Saturday, 14 January 2012

Single Review: Senakah - Human Relations

Limerick band Senakah [New Spelling!] are back with a fine single taken from their second album of the same title. 



Produced by Noel Hogan from The Cranberries, 'Human Relations' is a brilliant radio friendly indie gem from Senakah with fantastic vocals and lyrics that actually mean something. In particular I love these lines;


"Now that your stripped naked 
I'll have my way with the hall table 
Cause I have no time for 
Human relations "


There's no overindulgence on the track like or a ridiculous guitar solo or intrusive backing vocals but the video is completely over the top in a good, humourous way! The video relates the lyrics in the song to an obsession with a devilette online! At the time of writing it's had close to 7,000 views since Tuesday night!


If this singe is an indication as to the quality of Senakah's album due out in the Summer then it'll be one of my favourites of 2012. 

Senakah - Human Relations [11 out of 12]

Listen to the single here:


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Album Review: The Lost Brothers - So Long John Fante

Recorded in 2010, released in 2011 and reviewed here in 2012 'So Long John Fante' is the second album from the harmonious duo 'The Lost Brothers'! I really want to shout about this album but instead I'll whisper ..... "It's a really nice pleasant little collection of inoffensive songs sung beautifully!" 




According to Wikipedia: "John Fante (April 8, 1909 – May 8, 1983) was an American novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Italian descent" ..... whose recurring themes.. "are povertyCatholicismfamily lifeItalian-American identity, sports, and the writing life." I can only assume this collection of songs are a dedication to John Fante and his seminal works of the 50s and 60s. The atmosphere and charm of the album certainly does transport you back to those times along with the superb album cover!  


At first listen I'm in love with the album and with the concept. It's available to suit my mood if I require a relaxing chilled out album. It's there as background music if I need to think and contemplate! However a review needs to take account of the quality of the songs, lyrics and musicianship. 








Many of the songs come and go without leaving an impression. In fact 'Hallow Call' and 'Golden Dawn' should not rest beside each other as they are so alike. There are many heartfelt songs about break-ups. 'Killing Heart' is a song that has it's place in the world but is full of sadness. When I focus on these songs I get what's been delivered but there's a conflict here. The harmonies are so deliciously delivered that you get lost within the vocals and not the lyrics which results in the lyrics not making an impression! 


There are three really great songs I love on the album. 'The Goodbye Kid' made my top 10 songs last year. I love the strings of 'Bells They Won't Ring' and the charming love song of 'Only by the Light of the Moon'.





'So Long John Fante' is a beautiful creature that I can admire from afar. I really wanted to relate to the album more and shout from my soapbox about how great it is! The music demands a gentle whisper about it's greatness!


The Lost Brothers - So Long John Fante [10 out of 12]


Buy the album: http://thelostbrothers.bigcartel.com/product/cd-album-so-long-john-fante

The Lost Brothers begin 'The Certain three' tour with Katie Kim and Puzzle Muteson.


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Choice Music Prize 2011


And the nominees are -
And So I Watch You From Afar – Gangs (Richter Collective)
Bell X1 – Bloodless Coup (Belly Up Records)
Cashier No 9 – To The Death of Fun (Bella Union)
Lisa Hannigan - Passenger (Hoop)
The Japanese Popstars – Controlling Your Allegiance (EMI)
Jape – Ocean of Frequency (Music Is For Losers)
Patrick Kelleher & His Cold Dead Hands – Golden Syrup (Osaka Records)
Pugwash – The Olympus Sounds (EMI/1969 Records)
Tieranniesaur – Tieranniesaur (Popical Island)
We Cut Corners – Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards (Delphi)
I wasn't going to reflect on this here but as it's the major Music Prize in Ireland it would be rude of me not to share my thoughts. 
Isn't this a generally safe list! The hipsters would be up in arms if Patrick Kelleher, Tieranniesaur or ASIWYFA didn't get the nod. Add in the established acts like Bell X1, Jape and Pugwash with the debut acts We Cut Corners and Cashier No.9 and you have a very safe list. At the time of writing there's only a few comments and few negative views over on Jim's blog! Is this due to a lack of passion or a resignation that it's the same old business from the people who are supposed to be in the know? The 11 judges bring their own politics to the table and have through the selection process picked their own favourites from 2011. However it's impossible to have heard all the albums on the shortlist. So the bands getting the attention and appearing on the shortlist are the well resourced bands [Bell X1, Lisa Hannigan, Cashier No.9] the popular bands with the establishment [Pugwash, Jape, The Japanese Popstars] and the bloggers [hipsters?] favourites [ASIWYFA, Patrick Kelleher, Tieranniesaur, We Cut Corners]. The Olympia on March 8th will be so cosy! 
Why was there no Traditional act in the shortlist?
Why was there no self-released albums either? [Bell X1 doesn't count!]
Why is there no folk act on the shortlist?
To any independent Irish artist who reads this blog and are a tad disappointed they never made the shortlist don't despair as some of the ten acts above will go the same way as Cane 141, The Chalets [2005], Messiah J & the Expert [2006], Dry Country, Super Stanley 800 [2007], Oppenheimer [2008] ....etc! Even winning the thing doesn't help you with longevity and/or give you a large fanbase! 
We Cut Corners to win for great songs, amazing musicianship and Conall's spectacular vocals!