Sunday, 28 September 2014

From The Archives: The Crossfire Interview

From The Archives
by Peter N

Below is a copy of an interview from young Irish band The Crossfire in 2012. It's one of the most popular posts ever on the blog and deserves to be revisited due to their good fortune of appearing in the Guinness Amplify promotion as well as getting the Storyfold support on Friday night in The Button Factory. I wish the band every success for their bright future.

Keep up to date with the band here: https://www.facebook.com/TheCrossfireBand

------------------------------------------------------------------



Music Q&A with Ashbourne's 'The Crossfire' as appeared in the Your Forum free newspaper for Meath: http://yourforum.ie/lifestyle/roundup/articles/2011/12/05/4007993-music-qa-with-ashbournes-the-crossfire/






The Crossfire

Described as a band "to watch on Garageland, formed in 2010, this band are part of the wave of young acts sweeping the nation," Ashbourne band The Crossfire have played some of Ireland's best venues including The Sugar Club, Whelan's, Boyles of Slane as well as the St. Patrick's Day festival in Ashbourne.

Their debut EP shows massive potential for a new young band who are coping with trying to make a name for themselves while studying for their Leaving Certificate at Ashbourne Community School. Peter Nagle talks with lead singer Sean Buckley, along the band members Matt Brady, Chris Murphy, Sean Keeley and Adam Shanahan, to shine a light on The Crossfire.

Peter: Hi Sean, tell me about your band The Crossfire. When did you form the band and how do the five members know each other?

Sean: The story really started in January of 2011. Myself and Matthew our lead guitar player had just finished playing with a garage band and we were looking to take things to the next level. The two of us had been jamming and writing since the age of about 12 so we knew each other's musical habits and tastes. We started talking to Chris Murphy, our soon to be rhythm guitarist about the possibility of playing some music together. We then got in contact with Se├ín Keeley our long time friend, musician and bassist. Our last port of call was a drummer. Adam had only been playing a few weeks with a full kit but we were desperate for some sort of beat for the studio. We quickly found out of Adams high technical skill and keen ear for a drum fill and recruited him there and then.

Peter: How do you guys balance being in a band with the pressures of the Leaving Certificate?

Sean: To be honest, we'd be lying if we said it was easy. Think I've heard the term "back up plan" more times this year than all other years combined. The way I see it is, if you're passionate about something in life and want to pursue something as much as we do, you've got to follow your heart (sounds cheesy I know) but we truly believe that we have something good in this band.

Adam: Personally I'm finding the juggle between studies and music matters quite difficult, yet when it comes down to the run-up to a show, the tension for me seems to ease with the flow of a good jam session in the rehearsal space!

Matt: Studying academically is striving to achieve a good leaving cert and a well paid job, but if you want success as a musician just as much work has to be put in to that too.

Peter: It sounds like the band went straight in at the deep end recording original songs and playing established venues like 'The Sugar Club'. What have been the highlights of 2011?

Sean: As far as highlights go there have been some real peaches! Recording our debut EP was class and I was delighted at the feedback we got! We entered "Live and Unsigned" as an underage band which is a competition between the best unsigned bands in Dublin and came out winners. We've also been recorded for an upcoming show on RTE. Another great gig we were involved in was headlining our hometown St. Patrick's Day Festival in Ashbourne. There have just been so many great gigs this year we're hoping we'll have another year of the same level of progress. If so I reckon we're on to a serious winner.

Chris: I think my main highlight of the year has been the creation of our EP because its shows our aspirations as artists and what we're setting out to achieve. The release of the EP has been the roots of what has happened since then.

Sean K: My favourite moment of the year has to be the gig in The Pint venue in Dublin this October where we just had so much fun. It's by far my favourite band memory.

Peter: What does 'The Crossfire' sound like? What bands and artists influence the musical direction of the band?

Sean: I think the great thing about the sound of The Crossfire is the marriage of different styles in our music. As five different people we have such different tastes in music which gives our work a real sense of originality.

Chris: I personally come from a Punk/Metal background so I saw joining this band as an opportunity to put my own spin on our genre. I have always been inspired by Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson, The Edge, Brian Haner Jr., Phil Demell, but my main inspiration is Joe Satriani.

Sean K: The Crossfire's sound is familiar Rock/Pop at first listen but really has an original twist to it. People mention The Script but I think that's only in vocals and lyrics. The actual music of the band is so hard, heavy and takes a lot of inspiration from Rock and Roll. It has so many elements which leads to a heavy musical burst.

Peter: What are the plans for The Crossfire for 2012?

Sean: Our plan for 2012 is to finish writing an album we'll be proud of and an album that we think can bring us to the next level. We want to expand our fanbase and create a storm with the album. We've been talking to a few labels and hopefully with a successful album under our belts they'll come knocking.


Monday, 22 September 2014

Stephen Young - Interview



With the release of the new album, single and video from Irish band Stephen Young and the Union just around the corner, I had the pleasure of catching up with Stephen himself to talk quickly about the new album.

2UIB: Stephen, thanks for taking the time to chat to us. Ye have been working hard, plenty in the pipeline for the next few months. What have ye been up to? What can we expect?

SY: The line we're kinda going with for the single and then the album - Eagle Fort Rumble. We had a rough ol time recording the album. A band member left, there was rows, all that kinda fun stuff. The house we recorded in was really isolated so I think we just cabin fever and went a bit mad.

2UIB: Shit, that's tough. Fair play to ye for sticking with it!! Ye happy with the end product?

SY: We are. Yeah it was tough going to be honest. Some days were fun - some nights too - but then there were days there that were hard work. To come to the end of the process and listen back to the tracks is surreal... some of them put you right back in The Nest and into the frame of mind you were in when they were recorded. I love the songs and the production and the feel of them, but yeah making the record was hard...

2UIB: So ye didn't go into a studio to record the tracks?? Ye went off and locked yerselves away??

SY: I came in with the songs written but, for the most part, we were gonna shape them in recording yeah. The Eagle's Nest isn't a studio, it's a huge isolated house that we could set up in... We weren't on the clock so that let us relax and left us without that pressure. Going in it seemed like a really good idea to kinda lock ourselves away and produce something that way, but it wasn't good for us. If someone had a bad day they couldn't leave the place and go for dinner with their missus. You were stuck drinking and talking with the same people that had heard you f**k up all day ya know... That can cause some stress and animosity.


2UIB: I can imagine. Great in theory, not always quite the romantic rock and roll idea in practise. Would ye do it the same way again?

SY: Maybe I can't argue with the way we did it, because the record sounds exactly the way I wanted it to. But it's not healthy for the soul for friends to argue. When John left that was hard for me, we had been - and still are - best friends. But the process up there in that house was hard for him and his style of playing wasn't suited to that environment, and that was all it was... But then feelings fester and I think he felt like he'd no choice but to walk away. It was sad that recording went that far askew. There was low times making the thing. Would I do it the same way again? Maybe, but i'd walk in with strangers...

2UIB: How long did it take ye?

SY: Over time it took about two years... We did 6 weeks in The Nest. Then sessions in a studio in Longford, then other work at Shayne's place in Carlow. Two years seems like a really long stretch but there could be two months sometimes between a session. I had spent a similar amount of time making my first album so I was used to not getting a product in my pocket in a week. This thing probably took the biscuit in terms of false starts, bad electricity causing sessions to stop. Broken guitars and just shit going wrong an awful lot. It was a long stretch alright.

2UIB: So asides from a marathon album production what have ye been up to?


SY: Gigs kept us busy and sane. We all kept working on the songs between sessions, but we gigged as much as possible for a while and got around the festivals. We ironed out some the kinks live as well which was cool. Now, we're starting the whole process of promo and everything for the single which takes a bit of work. We just finished filming the video last weekend which was a great day. It's great to get to the fun stuff now. We're looking at tour dates and everything, with a US tour coming next summer too.

2UIB: It's getting much easier for bands to record and release music themselves. In a way it's a great advantage that bands can produce and release very professional sounding stuff without the backing of a label it. but does that make it harder for them to be noticed now, with just about every band releasing a single, EP, or album

SY: I think the cream always rises to be honest. Yeah everybody's got an album these days, but not everybody has a good one. It's great that there's a lot of people playing music and putting it out for the world to hear. I don't feel crowded. I don't get down by the industry at all like some do. I just feel if you don't like it don't do it. It's meant to be a fun thing. That's how we approach it. If it stops becoming fun we step back and ask ourselves what we're doing. That's the only thing I'd question in the 'everyone has an album' generation; what's their motivation? Cos if it's fame, forget it...

2UIB:  A lot of irish bands seem to be favouring the EP over the album...there
seems to be an attitude that they want to have a lot of small releases rather than putting all their eggs in one basket with an album.

SY: I've seen 'experts' recommending that people release little and often... yeah I don't know... I like albums. I don't know if I personally would be too interested in releasing single after single with no
album at the end. For me anyway an album is your big statement. We like doing doing things the traditional way anyway.


Thanks again to Stephen for taking the time to chat with me. The first single from the new Stephen Young and The Union album, Duty Free 200, will be released on October 24th. For fans of good old fashioned, no bullshit rock music, you are in for a real treat! The album is due for release on April 24th.

Dates for the Duty Free 200 single tour are:

Rocktober Oct 13th 
Sweeneys Oct 24th 
Bobby Reidys Oct 25th 
Abner Browns Nov 1st 
Monroes Nov 30th

For more information check out:



Monday, 15 September 2014

Mixtape: Gig For Gaza - The Sugar Club Weds 17th Sept

Gig For Gaza Mix
by Peter N

This Wednesday a 'Gig For Gaza' is taking place in the Sugar Club with this fine line-up that I'm really looking forward to seeing:



Listen to a song from each act here now:

The Minutes


Gangs


Buffalo Sunn


Youth Mass



The Eskies


Mongoose

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Republic of Scotland Special - Top 5 Scottish Songs

Top 5 Scottish Songs,
by Peter N

Whatever happens in the week ahead Scotland will have it's unique cultural identify in the limelight regardless of it's governance. I got into a lot of indie Scottish bands in the early 90s and now I want to share a few tunes from Scotland that ignited a fire in me! 

Disclaimer: I Will NOT Walk 5000 Miles!

1. Trashcan Sinatras - I've Seen Everything

Taken from the 1993 album of the same title, I've Seen Everything is a gorgeous slice of pop music from Glascow band Trashcan Sinatras. http://trashcansinatras.com/


2. Idlewild - Roseability

Idlewild were very hit and miss for me, some 'hits' never did it for me but 'Roseability' is a great tune, super lyrics and that catchy quality that made my world a little more enjoyable in my early 20s.


3. Lloyd Cole - Woman in a Bar

Lloyd Cole = Scotland's Greatest Songwriter!


4. John Martyn - May You Never

Oh wait, John Martyn beats Lloyd Cole easily ......


5. Deacon Blue - Real Gone Kid

Guilty Pleasure but oh so pleasurable .....


Aye and remember kids ......

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Spirit of Folk 2014: Top 5 Must See Acts

Spirit of Folk - Top 5
by Peter N




With Spirit of Folk just over a week away it's time to recommend some of the amazing line-up that'll be folking up Dunderry, near Navan in Co. Meath.

Festival info here: http://spiritoffolk.com/festival-music

Leading Armies

Although known for rocking out, Leading Armies will be a massive hit with swooning songs such as this one 'Thinking About'



More info: https://soundcloud.com/leading-armies

-------------------------------------------

Old Hannah

Beautiful ballads filled with banjo tinglings is what 'Old Hannah' are all about. I adoe this song from their recent EP ....



More info: https://soundcloud.com/oldhannah

-----------------------------------------------

Stephen James

Possessing one hell of a great voice, Stephen James is a must see act at the festival with epic songs such as this one 'Friend of Mine'



More info: https://www.facebook.com/stephenjamesofficial

-------------------------------------------------

Wicker Bones

You absolutely have to hear Wicker Bones live where the vocal performances are outstanding especially on this Dylan classic:



More info: http://wickerbones.com/

-------------------------------------------------

In Their Thousands

Leaving my absolute favourite for last is Donegal band 'In Their Thousands' who I could listen to for days and not get tired of they sound, songs, vocals, musicianship etc etc



More info: https://www.facebook.com/intheirthousands



Saturday, 6 September 2014

Something 4 the Weekend - New Damien Rice 2unes

Written by Peter N

Damien Rice [ie his team] shared this picture around the social medija this week .....

..... and it got me thinking, I bet most of these tunes are on YouTube!

So I give you 'My Faded Fantasy' by Damien Rice now..... well ok I found 2 songs from the track-list posted above:

The Box



The Greatest Bastard



If that got you all excited about the New Album out in the coming weeks why not watch this full concert from Damien at last year's Best Kept Secret Festival where he finished his set with that new tune 'The Box'.






Thursday, 4 September 2014

Throwback Thursday: Pony Club - Single

Pony Club - Single
written by Peter N


With recent Facebook activity, I've a sneak feeling Dublin band 'Pony Club' are going to be back with new material and some gigs in the not too distant future. For me anyway, this news gets me excited.

In case you didn't know, Pony Club is the band vehicle of Finglas born Mark Cullen who writes from the heart about his life and experiences. When I listen to Mark's lyrics I feel safe in the knowledge that there's people out there just like me and in this case can write a decent melody to match the thought provoking lyrics.

Here's the wonderful tune 'Single' that Morrissey advocated by choosing the song for a promo NME cd in 2004.




In fact there's a whole album available free from Pony Club here ....   http://ponyclub.bandcamp.com/album/pony-club

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Album Review - PHOX



Ladies and Gentlemen, this is PHOX, and if you have not yet heard of them, fear not, if there is any justice in the world you will be hearing a lot more of them soon! Their self titled, debut full  length offering has just been released here in Ireland and it is spilling over with beautifully written, quirky, indie/pop/folk songs.

For anyone who is sick to the teeth with the recent influx of quirky, folk-pop bands that appears to be flooding our airwaves of late, do not worry, this record has more in common with Vampire Weekend than with The Lumineers or Mumford and Sons, and sounds very very fresh with PHOX front woman Monica Martin giving the album a wonderful, timeless feel. While the album's understated opener Calico Man does not really give a flavour for the kind of symphonic crescendos that this album produces, it lays out perfectly clear just how stunning Martin's vocal performance is going to be over the album's remaining 47 or so minutes.

Beautiful, endearing, powerful vocal lines, while being one of the standout facets of this album, are not the only thing worth remarking on. Really clever instrumentation seems to offer this record a unique, fresh quality that seems to have disappeared from a genre that seems to be growing a little bit tired. There are instrumental sections that are powerful and uplifting, while more of them are reminiscent of the kind of mellow vibes to be found on Air's Moon Safari. Just when you think that the sometimes almost sickly sweet sounds of the earlier tracks like Slow Motion and 1936 are going to leave you running to the dentist, you are met with tracks like Laura a powerful ballad that builds, fades and twists eerily through the verses into a huge finale. This album has depth and plenty of it.

There are a few moments where I found myself feeling like the album was a little bit too sweet to be wholesome, but as a whole, it is a fantastic piece of work. Check out Slow Motion, Laura, Evil and Noble Heart for a taste of the best this record has on offer. Happy without being cheesy, deep when it needs to be, clever lyrics and powerful  arrangements. For anyone who enjoys Vampire Weekend, Little Joy,  great music, feeling good and smiling, this album is just for you.

10/12

PHOX are just after playing Electric Picnic, but for those of you not lucky enough to have caught them,  they will be playing on these shores again on November 9th in Dublin's Sugar Club.

http://phoxband.com
 www.facebook.com/phoxband
http://www.thesugarclub.com/

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

2Day's Tune - Fox Jaw "Falling Debris"

Short and sweet, Falling Debris is the new single from Limrockers Fox Jaw and it is an absolute cracker. This is the latest single to be taken from their new album Ghost's Parade. Falling Debris is available from September 12th. Fox Jaw have just announced a string of dates to coincide with the release of their album, due for release on September 19th (A date that can not come soon enough).


Friday 19 September                         The Grand Social, Dublin - Album Launch
                       w/ New Valley Wolves & Tiny Vinyls
Thursday 25 September                     Harbour Inn, Bray
Friday 26 September                          De Barras, Clonakilty
Saturday 27September                       Dolans Warehouse, Limerick - Album Launch
                       w/ The Mighty Stef & The Hip-Neck Blues Collective
Saturday 4 October                            JJ Harlows, Roscommon
Thursday 9 October                           Voodoo, Belfast
Friday 10 October                              Cuckoos Nest, Tallaght
Saturday 11 October                          The Grand Social Birthday Party, Dublin
                       w/ The Hot Sprockets
Saturday 25 October                          Garbo’s Party Venue, Castlebar
Thursday 6 November                       Roisin Dubh, Galway
Saturday 22 November                      The Greyhound Bar, Tralee


Be sure and check out www.foxjaw.ie to stay up to date with Limerick's finest. 




Monday, 1 September 2014

Album Review - Mark Dignam & The House of Song "Re-Build"




Re-Build is the latest offering from Dublin born troubadour Mark Dignam. I am not going to beat around the bush, this album is bloody fantastic. Falling somewhere in between a live album and a studio album (I believe this to be the music equivalent of "filmed in front of a live studio audience"), Re-build captures all of the energy and atmosphere of a live show, but is met with the sound quality of a studio engineered album and is something rather special.

For some reason, this is a review that I am really struggling to write. I genuinely can't find anything to fault it on and there is only so much time I can devote to saying how great it is without seeming like I am being bribed to say good things about it. The songs are masterfully crafted, lyrically they are simply breathtaking. An inspiring collection of stories showcasing the strength of  the heart to persevere in the face of adversity, about picking yourself up and not only continuing, but growing from your experiences. There is a beautiful balance between the poetry of Mark's words and the music, which compliment each other perfectly. Mark's voice goes from theatrical declarations in the style of Roger Waters to passionately belting it out in the style of Glen Hansard. From start to finish the album is overflowing with a kind of exciting, dynamic energy that sees songs grow effortlessly from simple, heartfelt ballads into anthemic sing alongs.

The songs range from folk to country to indie rock with even some pop sensibilities thrown in for good measure (and a great sing along chorus like in Damn You California). In an album full of highlights, real stand out moments include the songs  Red Is The Sky, Build, Hope The Sun Shines, I Thought That Love Would Win and Stay. For fans of The Frames, Josh Ritter, The Tallest Man on Earth etc... I cannot recommend this album more highly. Without question the best Irish album I have heard this year. Incredible!

12/12

Mark will be playing his only Irish show this year in Whelan's in Dublin on Thursday, October 9th

For more, go to markdignam.com


Folk 2une of the Week: Ben Howard - Under The Same Sun

I do love this song from Ben Howard which appeared on the extended edition of his massive debut album 'Every Kingdom'. Awesome finger picking guitar, slow build up and wonderful lyrics make this a fantastic track from Ben Howard.




I Forget Where We Were Tour:
3rd December – The Apollo, Manchester
4th December – Civic, Wolverhampton
6th December – Usher Hall, Edinburgh
7th December – Olympia, Dublin - Sold Out
8th December – Olympia, Dublin
10th December – Brixton Academy, London
11th December – Brixton Academy, London