Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Album Review: Windings - I Am Not The Crow

'I Am Not The Crow' is an impressive no frills straight up indie album from Limerick band Windings released earlier this month through Out on a Limbs Records. 


I probably broke a golden rule of review journalism when I read through other reviews of 'I Am Not The Crow'. There were two very complimentary and expansive reviews online here and here which comprehensively pick apart the third album from Windings. The reason why I mention this is because I'm not going to dwell on this review for an album which is a relatively straight up indie rock album.

The album opener is pure quality. 'Sun in my Bones' is an 8 minute epic hard rock tune which sounds like seventies Californian rock with amazing musicianship throughout.



I'm impressed with the lo-fi indie vibe from 'Something Outnumbered' while the title track is another track tipping the cap to the type to indie music I grew up listening to such as Nirvana, Lo La Tengo and Sugar. The tempo is brought down a notch at the end of the album with the closing track 'Local Broken Man' and 'Cleaner' in particular being very effective tracks.



Windings are a good band, who really impressed me on stage at Knockanstockan this year. 'I Am Not The Crow' is a decent album which should be checked out if you're a fan of guitar driven indie sounds.

Windings - I Am Not The Crow [9 out of 12]

Windings Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/windings/137079136313772  


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Album Review: Róisín O - The Secret Life of Blue

'The Secret life of Blue' is the hugely enjoyable debut album from Dublin band Róisín O released to high acclaim and featuring the superb singles 'Here We Go' and 'How Long'. 



'The Secret Life of Blue' has been the soundtrack to the last few days and it's a really good album without getting to the point where it blows me away. Songs like 'Synchronicity', 'Hold On' and 'Find The Light' are delightful Kate Bush like tracks which show off the lead vocals of Róisín. These slower but moving tracks are joined by the up-tempo singles of 'Here We Go' and 'How Long' to give a varied album of superb tracks.



Apart from the singles the best track on the album is the positive uplifting track 'Let's Find Some People'. There's a few tracks that hid in the background but Róisín's fine vocals make them essential listening throughout.

'The Secret Life of Blue' is a really good album of adult pop music primed for daytime radio.

Róisín O - The Secret Life of Blue [10 out of 12]

Buy The Album: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/the-secret-life-of-blue/id563624897

Check out the wonderful video for 'How Long':






Saturday, 20 October 2012

Album Review: John Cathal O'Brien - Acid Week

Acid Week is the third album from Brooklyn based Dubliner John Cathal O'Brien released earlier this Summer. It's a fine lo-fi album of well written tunes which reveal a new layer of meaningfulness on every listen.


Acid Week is a little country-folk singer-songwriter album which if released with a campaign in Ireland wouldn't be out of place next to the new albums from Adrian Crowley, Mumblin' Deaf Ro or Owensie. Acid Week reminds me of the music from Martin Finke I loved listening to over a decade ago. Incidentally both Martin Finke and John Cathal O'Brien have spent time living in California with John Cathal O'Brien now residing in Brooklyn for the last year. It could be said it's an Irish album from a different perspective.

There are some lovely tracks on Acid Week. 'Let It Go' is vocally the best track on the album. 'Millions' is such a well written track full of instant imagry.




The opening track 'Leeches' is a superb track which gets better and more meaningful on each listen. It's a dark tale of troubled lovers and the bleakness of life. "The sun never sets in the Mission I guess or the fires just light up the street , we meet at a place that has aged like a face beautiful but ordinary. "


Acid Week is one of them albums you need someone to recommend to you before you can feel or see the beauty in it. It's an album with great lyrics and some superb songs which deserves your time to check out. 

John Cathal O'Brien - Acid Week [8 out of 12]

Buy The Album for the tiny sum of $3: http://johncathalobrien.bandcamp.com/album/acid-week


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Top 5 Videos You Must See Now

Here's the top 5 videos I've checked out in recent weeks on YouTube.

Kodaline - All I Want

Recently heard on Grey's Anatomy, this song is going to make Dublin band Kodaline huge!



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Red Queen Contest - Eiderdown

Navan band release their debut single Eiderdown next week with a gig in Whelans and have produced a slick video to go with it.


http://www.redqueencontest.com/



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Mardi Gras - Feel Alright

I featured Italian band on the blog before as they had an Irish singer fronting the band. However she has left the band and replaced by Claudia Loddo for the new album and this song 'Feel Alright'.


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Michael Brunnock - Breast Plate [Live in Boyles; Purple Sessions]

Recorded live in August at The Purple Sessions in Slane, Michael Brunnock gives a fine performance of his song Breast Plate.


http://www.michaelbrunnock.com/

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Stephen Jame Smith - Cause & Effect HIV/Aids Campaign for Concern Worldwide

These four poems from Stephen James Smith are gripping, emotional tales put to music and geared towards teenagers to help with HIV and Aids awareness.

Poem #1 features music from The Delorentos
Poem #2 & #4 features music from The Raghu Dixit Project
P
oem #3 features music from David Geraghty of Bell X1

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoqPDnlILlp6yEAWrqv6sg_Lq_389W5IV

Produced for Concern Worldwide by Paul Tully
Directed by Design for Life

Monday, 15 October 2012

Album Review: Autumn Long - Drown The Truth

Drown The Truth is the long awaited debut album from Offaly singer and songwriter Padraig Digan and his band Autumn Long. Recored in 2010 and mastered at Abbey Road Studios, 'Drown The Truth' is an incredible collection of great songs full of meaning and character. 




"Drown The Truth" is a passionate album of thirteen great tunes which provides almost 50 minutes of the best folk/rock songs I've heard in a long time. It's an album comparable to Michael Brunnock's 'The Orchard', Declan O'Rourke's 'Since Kyabram' or to anything Glen Hansard has released. I get the sense that this album was a labour of love for songwriter Padraig and that it's been a good number of years in the making. Every song on the album is of the highest quality with meaningful lyrics and passionate vocals.

Drown The Truth is one of those albums where my favourite track changes on each listen. At the moment I'm loving the simplicity and charm of 'Ships Fall' with it's superb lyrics.



Padraig's vocals shine on the tracks 'This is All', 'Bury My Love' and 'Dream Song'. There's effective use of violin and cello on a number of tracks throughout the album with the track 'Let You Down' closing the album in epic fashion.



I'm delighted that 'Drown The Truth' has been released and it's every bit as good as I hoped it would be.

Autumn Long - Drown the Truth [12 out of 12]

Buy The Album: http://autumnlong.bandcamp.com/

Autumn Long play Anseo this Saturday night. Support from Jamie Moten.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jamie-Moten/234474379942248

Tickets: €5.00
All Ages

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Mix: Irish Halloween Special

With just over two weeks until Halloween here's a mix of spooky tracks from Irish artists to get you in the spirit of things. Some of the tracks are free to download but if you like what you hear please support the artists.


Little Green Cars - Witching Hour




House of Cosy Cushions - Haunt Me Sweetly




The Ambience Affair - Devil in the Detail





A Lazarus Soul - We Start Fires




James Guilmartin - Come by the Fire




Declan DeBarra - Watch it Burn




Mark Dignam - Ghosts




Bill Coleman - The Devil & The Deep



Stuart Wilde - Digging in the Pit




Halves - Haunt Me When I'm Drowsy





Norabelle - Ghost




Reverend JM's Panic Worship - Devil's Lullabye



Happy Halloween!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Album Review: Deetrich - Tug of War

'Tug of War' the debut album from Kilkenny's Deetrich is a commendable 35 minutes of good middle of the road country pop with fantastic vocals and a few excellent tunes. 


'Tug of War' is another album that has grown on me with repeated listens. I finally gave in to it's charm and the pleasant atmospheric moods created within the album. While charming only a few tracks stand-out and therefore this shouldn't be a review which overly recommends you checking out the album. However, Deidre Doyle's excellent vocals elevates the whole album above the ordinary.

The tracks to impress include 'Yellow Radio', the opener 'No Job, No Money' and this song 'Hold Your Fire'.



The best track by far is 'Bent Out of Shape' which has a lovely Americana feel to it in the style of Sheryl Crow.



'Hold Your Fire' and 'Bent out of Shape' are well written tracks with lyrics that grab hold of you. However that type of track was in short supply on the album and therefore there's a limit to how much I'd commend the album.

Deetrich - Tug of War [9 out of 12]

Buy the album: http://www.reekus.com/store/release/tug_of_war/

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Top 5 Videos to Watch NOW [Play Irish Special]

I've written many times about this worthwhile initiative but here's a reminder of what Play Irish is about;

The PLAY IRISH Galway format is ‘Artists of the Month’!! There will be five artists highlighted in Galway each month. As listed below, each song will be played on that day every week in October by Jon Richards on Galway Bay FM at 1.10pm.

More info: https://www.iasca.ie/

Mondays...The Shoos “Same as me”



Directed by Steve Mogerley.


Tuesdays..Mickey Harte - “Practical” featuring Fibar Furey

Wednesdays..Roisin O “Here We Go”



Video Directed and Edited by; Alan Tully, Conor Maloney and Phillip Cullen


Thursdays...The Lost Brothers “Not Now The Warden”

No official video available but I'd thought I'd include this unofficial video for 'Widow Maker' off their new album 'The Passing of the Night'.



Fridays....Vicky Cornick “6 feet small” 




Director & DoP: Jass Foley
Co-Director: Kevin de la Isla

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PLAY IRISH Sligo is a new initiative to support more local and national Irish artists by tuning in to Shane Smyth's Ocean Drive Mon-Fri @ 6.05pm


PLAY IRISH on Ocean FM..
Music fans - tune and and text Shane your thoughts on the PLAY IRISH artist on 083 3500530

Irish artists, send music to Shane Smyth, PLAY IRISH SLIGO, OceanFm https://www.facebook.com/PlayIrishSligo/info

It kicks off with one of my favourite bands in Ireland The Young Folk and their song 'Way Down South':




Directed and edited by Ruairi Galavan. 
Cameras: Ruairi Galavan and Matt Finucane. 



Monday, 8 October 2012

Album Review: Seamus Fogarty - God Damn You Mountain

God Damn You Mountain, the debut album from Mayo folk artist Seamus Fogarty is bursting with simplistic charm and unusual sounds which makes it one of the most intriguing albums I've ever heard. 


God Damn You Mountain can only be bought as an LP with CD included and is a perfect conceptual album in the LP format. It has many charming traditional folk ballads either side of a mid-album anthem 'Rita Jack's Lament' which is one fascinating composition featuring lyrics by an older Irish lady and atmospheric sounds. It's highly recommended you get to hear this track. Equally essential listening is the title track here:



Other tracks to impress were the delicate and delightful  'Little Mama', the vocally impressive 'By The Waterside' which you can hear at the end of the review recorded at Electric Picnic and 'The Question'. The best track for me is 'The Wind' which entices me into Seamus's charming folk infused world. It's a completely mesmerising track that holds my attention throughout.



I do love this album even though I find it hard to get all the subtle meanings and objectives within the songs and throughout the album as a whole. God Damn You Mountain is a fine piece of art which intrigues and fascinates in equal measure.

Seamus Fogarty - God Damn You Mountian [10 out of 12]

Buy The Album:  http://www.fencerecords.com/shop/god-damn-you-mountain/



http://seamusfogarty.com/

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Album Review: Mark Black & The Trips - Ghosts in the Fire

'Ghosts in the Fire' is the debut album from exceptional bluesy rock performer 'Mark Black' and his rock band 'The Trips'. It's a grower of an album and suits my thirst for a really clever, no strings attached rock album. 


Hailing from the northern extremities of Donegal Mark Black has been carving out a career for sometime. In 2009 he released a whopper CD/DVD live album with full orchestra which included the best tracks from his first two solo albums. There was a clear bluesy feel to them albums, while they also showcased Mark's considerable guitar playing skills and songwriting. Fast forward to 2012 and 'Ghosts in the Fire' is very much a full band offering from Seamus Devenny on drums and Brendan McGlynn on bass and Mark on vocals and guitars. The sound is very much alternative rock while also clinging onto Mark's talents for intricate moments of quality. Think of a sound merging The Foo Fighters with the John Butler Trio. 

Highlights include the mid album rock songs 'Immigrants Blues' and the single 'Leave Without a Trace'. The title track is very radio friendly and also a clear highlight. Check out the video of 'Ghosts in the Fire' below. For me the best song is the opening track 'Shining Star' which sets the tempo with it's grungie sound. 


'Ghosts in the Fire' gets better with every listen and it's a really good album while not exactly what I'd call essential listening. 

Mark Black & The Trips - Ghosts in the Fire [8 out of 12]



Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Album Review: You Kiss By The Book - Family Tree

'Family Tree' is the third from Dublin band You Kiss by the Book fronted by Simon Dowling and it's a well rounded slice of Americana folk perfect for repeated plays on long Autumn nights. 


I've been aware of 'Family Tree' for a few months but only getting round to giving the album a real listen in recent days. I'm not sure what to put that down to because I got into 'Bear Leader' the second album from 'You Kiss by the Book' and in general I'm all for the Americana folk sound which the band have perfected on this album.

In many ways the band reminds me of 'Bright Eyes'. The vocals don't appeal to me in the same way that I don't rate the out of tune vocals of Conor Oberst but I'm able to put that aside to focus on the lyrics and stories with a soundtrack of the highest quality.

The tracks that do appeal to me are 'Can't Go Back' with it's excellent violin section at the end, '15 years' for it's charming harmonies and 'I Was A Miner' which is lyrically and musically the best song on the album.





Overall this is a lovely charming album of indie-folk tunes that deserves the good reviews it has received since it was released in the Summer. The only negative is the vocals but every album or band can't be perfect!

You Kiss by the Book - Family Tree [9 out of 12]






Monday, 1 October 2012

Single Review: The Crayon Set - I Wanted You

'I Wanted You' is the charming catchy debut single from indie popstars 'The Crayon Set'. 


I know a song is good when my 10 year old boys sing along to it. 'I Wanted You' is a lovely little love song with fine vocals and a string section to elevate it above the ordinary. I've had the pleasure of listening to the debut album from 'The Crayon Set' and 'I Wanted You' is one of the highlights of the album. If you like this song then watch out for the self-titled debut album due out in the coming months. The song is free to download here or you can pay for it if you wish.






Alternatively you can download the song as part of this three song debut release from Rhinosaur Records. Rhinosaur Records is a non-profit Creative Commons net-label dedicated to sharing and promoting up-and-coming Irish indie music to the world. Our first release is the Irish Indie/Folk 3-pack, Volume I – with songs from I Am Not Lefthanded, The Crayon Set and Fat Baby Panda. Released as a Pay-What-You-Like download from rhinosaurrecords.bandcamp.com, the release will also be supported with shows in Dublin, London and Amsterdam:


8th October – The Grand Social, Dublin – I Am Not Lefthanded + Fat Baby Panda + The Crayon Set. Doors 8pm, Admission Free – www.thegrandsocial.ie

12th October – The Islington, London – I Am Not Lefthanded + Fat Baby Panda + Guests, Doors 7.30pm, Admission Free – www.theislington.com

13th October – Delicatessen Zeeburg, Amsterdam – I Am Not Lefthanded + Fat Baby Panda + Guests, Doors 7.30pm, Admission €5 - www.delicatessenzeeburg.com