Tori Amos : Native Invader – Album Review

Tori Amos‘s 1992 debut was the stark ‘Me & A Gun’. A gut-wrenching, raw dolorifuge sung a cappella, it was the sonic autobiography of her rape aged 21.

Now some 25 years later Amos returns with her 15th studio album, Native Invader. What’s clear from the off is that the American is still battling emotional, physical and personal pain, but in a world now rife with political turmoil. The album’s triumvirate of thematic touchstones are environmental destruction, US political upheaval and most significantly, the calamitous stroke that left the artist’s mother unable to speak.

While comparisons with Kate Bush are now just yesterday’s news, they cannot be completely side-stepped, and are at their strongest on piano ballads such as opener Reindeer King. The album’s other singles Cloud Riders and Up The Creek couldn’t be more polarised. The former is a dreamy, country-bluesy slow-tempo track on which Amos’ vocal floats over a metaphorical storm and some seriously slick gospel organ. The latter is a finger picking funk-out that tackles Trumpton and all its vainglorious but reckless gibberish.

Native Invader dips in and out of the pockets of several genres and styles – Dooby-esque American rock (Broken Arrows), emotional electro-pop (Wings), inter-galactic sample-fused balladry replete with lush guitar rondos (Chocolate Song) and compelling, heartfelt piano mini-dramas (Bang). It’s possibly in the this last style of earnest balladry that Amos’ star still shines brightest.

Stand out is album closer Mary’s Eyes, an exquisitely choreographed waltz of piano and strings on which Amos questions the unquantifiable extent of her mother’s debilitation – “What’s behind Mary’s Eyes?” – in the most touching and serenest of vocals.

Like forerunner Bush, Tori Amos falls into the marmite category. She is an artist music fans will either adore or deplore. What cannot be disputed is her exceptional talent and enviable gift for innovation and re-imagining. The American’s legion of super-fans will wax lyrical about Native Invader, and so they should. Hopefully, others will opens their eyes, ears and hearts long enough to experience the wonder of Ms. Amos’ idiosyncratic virtuosity. 7/10

Native Invader is on release now via Decca Records. There is also a 15-track Deluxe edition available including two extra tracks Upside Down 2 and Russia.

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A Debut That’s More Than ‘OK’ – Otherkin Album Review

Not since the gloriously shambolic ’90s has punked-out rock cum quasi-grunge been ‘a thing’. At the top half of that decade when Kurt Cobain curled a lip at the sartorial Gekkoism that was the 80s while Thom Yorke was still donning threadbare oversized jumpers and home-bleached hair, rock n roll kerrang was king. Albeit one that flung its gilded crown into the trash and swapped Dunhill Internationals for hand-rolled spliffs. 

Yes there was something of an NYC post-punk revival in the early noughties but it was over before it had begun, its dazzlingly bright star having rapidly faded into an uninspired dull blip. Now, music is seeing an explosion of upcoming young bands like Norway’s Sløtface and Mancunians False Advertising leading the gritty charge. In Ireland, that mantle has been taken up by Meath four-piece Otherkin who didn’t just create the copyright, they recreated it and then promptly shredded it. Relentlessly.

Pitting themselves against an era when the mainstream’s take on alt-rock bands such as Bastille and The 1975 are pretty much indistinguishable from your common or garden boyband, Otherkin take their place alongside their Norwegian and British counterparts (including the likes of Wolf Alice) as a new guitar punk, quasi-grunge assault from the underground, revelling in rock’s recently revived cult underdog status.

Otherkin have created a world where serious collides with fun and classic rock shakes hands with modern grit all fronted by a true rock star showman, Luke Reilly, in the mould of Dave Gahan, Axel Rose and Robert Plant. On their debut album ‘OK’, they have taken 12 tracks of gloriously melodic grungy rock channelling Julian Casablancas’ vocals, and Nirvana and Arctic Monkeys guitar grind, all washed down with an intoxicating cocktail of sex, swagger and shameless lack of inhibition.

The album opens with frontman Luke Reilly snarling through a blaze of feedback on the febrile ‘Treat me so Bad’. It’s less album opener, more kick in the head. Elsewhere ‘Razorhead’ is a pummelling affair, all thrash and slash drenched in mania. When Reilly isn’t sexing it up on ‘Come On, Hello’, he’s invoking his inner rock god on ‘Ay, Ay’, all the while surrounded by blistering guitar riffs, menacing basslines and classic rock drumming. Fans of vintage punk will salivate over ‘Bad Advice’, the intro of which recalls The Clash.

Otherkin may have an hyper-active, hugely enigmatic and charismatic legend in the making at the helm, but they are a band greater than the sum of their individual parts. This is a band capable of creating infectious jangle in the same breath as ear splitting guitar-saw, of having Dave Grohl like thrash vying for airspace with turbo-charged beats, and of flicking from below surface level bass brood to aggro driven propulsion. Reilly, who has a firm grasp on his vocal instrument, wheeling it up to turbo bawl or snaking it down to bad boy swagger, can play it every which way with ease.

Like their Norwegian and British counterparts, Otherkin have erred on the side of excess, throwing everything including the full range of Black and Decker at their debut album. While nigh on a hour of raucous rock may not be to everyone’s taste, this is the type of album to play on days when you need to feel alive. Think power surge for the senses.

Having spent the best part of 2017 gigging the highlight of which has to have been their turn at Slane Castle supporting Guns n Roses, Otherkin will see out the year in the same fashion. A slew of dates across the UK and Ireland kicks off on 30th September in Newcastle, culminating in Dublin’s Button Factory on 15th December. Full details on the band’s website – http://www.otherkinok.com/

While not perfect, ‘OK’ makes for a pretty memorable debut. Electrifying in its unbridled energy with a serious dose of fun-factor, Otherkin’s music makes a welcome departure from that of their doomy gloomy, angst ridden peers.

Otherkin have shown they have the balls to take rock and kick it in the cajones whilst stuffing infectious melodies with bit thick wedges of attitude. In life timing is everything, and I can’t help feeling that Otherkin’s time is soon. 8/10.

Otherkin are – Luke Reilly, lead vocals, guitar; Conor Wynne, lead guitar; David Anthony, bass guitar; Rob Summons, drums.

‘OK’ by Otherkin is out now on Rubyworks Records and will launch at 5.30pm 29th September at Tower Records, Dublin

DISCOVER IRELAND #5 : SEPTEMBER SONG

As the last days of Summer are well and truly behind us, DervSwerve relishes the burnished colours of the Autumnal advance. September is our fave month, not just because it heralds the return of the glorious russet and golden hues of nature, but also because it paves the way for a three month long stream of new music releases in the run up to Christmas.

This September has proved no exception, with new music pouring forth from The Script, U2, Rusangano Family, Hudson Taylor, Hermitage Green and more. So without further ado, let’s deep dive into the September harvest to see what other tasty offerings have been put our way.

As always an accompanying playlist can be found at the bottom of the post.

Out in the Ether

LAOISE – RICH

After a Summer spent Festival hopping, Galway girl Laoise has returned with a gorgeously dark new single entitled Rich.

Rich by name and rich by nature, the single is the follow up to the Irish artist’s highly acclaimed debut Halfway EP which we featured back in July. Teasing her sophomore EP due out in 2018, the track is a light and dark meld of midnight-textured synth waves washing over Laoise’s signature glacial vocal. There’s a neat jazzy infusion that blends well into the mix, adding slick and seductive tones to the forbidden brood of the song’s electronic soundscapes.

Don’t be misled by the airy youthfulness of Laoise’s voice – there’s a underlying chill which when combined with biting lyrics gives quite the burn. Speaking of lyrics, Rich gives the two-fingers to those who trade in love for material rewards, and deservedly so.

Laoise is just one of a large cohort of emerging talent set to play HWCH next weekend. The annual Irish showcase will kick off her Autumn touring schedule; full details https://www.iamlaoise.com/tour.

PADDY HANNA – BAD BOYS

We first came across Dublin-based artist Paddy Hanna when he played warm up for JFDR at a gig in the Sugar Club earlier this year. His slightly-distracted soft-spoken manner is quite disarming, but not nearly as much as his idiosyncratic delivery style and innovative arrangement which is akin to that of another unorthodox Irish creative, Neil Hannon.

Another artist set to pitch up for HWCH, Hanna has just released his latest single Bad Boys. Think quirky orchestral with multiple personalities, the most divine melodies and sweeps of shimmering brass and uplifting strings. Baroque pop at its finest with Hanna’s sumptuous baritone effortlessly dropping eloquent witticisms in tongue-in-cheek grandiose fashion.

Bad Boys teases Paddy’s Daniel Fox produced sophomore album, which will be released next year via Strange Brew Records. The album features contributions from members of Girl Band, Saint Sister and the Trinity Orchestra, whose orchestral wonders can be heard on this latest single.

Like Laoise, Paddy Hanna is set to embark on an autumnal cruise of Irish venues kicking off on 6th October in Galway’s Roisin Dubh – full details on his Facebook page.

MONGOOSE – COUNTING SONG

There’s something very Kate Bush about the delightful harmonics and rustic modernity on Counting Song, the new single from Irish four-piece Mongoose. Set at an animated 3/4 time signature it moves like a head spinning waltz, all lofty notions and uplifting rhythms.

Pristine vocals and precision harmonies invoke the gods of delight, while pastoral folk landscapes are shaken up with the addition of modern instrumental furnishings including rather splendid thrashing percussion. There is absolutely no doubt that Mongoose have carved a very unique niche in the market of eclectic folk. They style is gentle but not soft, their romances real rather than rose-tinted, their delivery faultless to a sublime T.

Counting Song heralds the release of the all female quartet’s new EP, Four, which will be released, quelle surprise, on the 4th of November. For ardent fans, Mongoose will be hosting an EP launch in Whelan’s the previous evening of the 3rd. A crossroads of four idiosyncratic writing styles, the EP features individual contributions from the four members, subsequently arranged as a group. Four unique pieces of song-crafting styles brought together under one large, free-spirited umbrella.

As seems to be the name of this autumnal game, Mongoose are also hitting the lives trail, kicking off with the EP launch on 3rd November and subsequently moving to Cleere’s of Kilkenny on 4th, etc. In addition, Mongoose has been selected as Dun Laoire/Rathdown’s artists in residence 2017, which will see them play three public performances, culminating in their headliner at the Lexicon Theatre on 9th December. Full details of the Four EP tour on the gals’ website – http://www.mongoosetunes.com/

Counting Song, composed by Muireann Ní Cheannabháin, is accompanied by a stop-motion video by Abi Denniston, concept and artwork by Mongoose member Cara Dunne. [Molly O’Mahony & Ailbhe Dunne are the other two Mongoose members]. Watch it below!

**Unfortunately, Counting Song isn’t up on Spotify as yet, so we’ve included their previous single Old Friend (get on it girls!)

 NEWT – NEWT EP

If you’re a fan of Thin Lizzy with pop sensibilities on the side – we’re thinking in an Ash kinda direction – you’ll totally dig Derry band Newt‘s vibe. There’s every ingredient known to music in the melting pot that is their sound.

There are strains of the Foo Fighters, Snow Patrol and Steely Dan all swirling around on the gear-changer On the Edge; like a fusion of split personalities, this song moves from grunge grit through indie rock to late 70s American jazz pop before taking a hard turn backwards towards grinding, gnarly guitars. It really is quite compelling, a track to keep the ears on their toes, so to speak.

On the Edge is bookended by Not Around and DANCE – the former is a punchy grind with an infectious chorus replete with some nice vocal interplay, while the latter although punkier around the edges has the EPs most soothing guitar riffs and melodic textures. There’s some pretty stunning guitar solo work on DANCE that ticks the highly commended box.

All in all, this is a pretty stunning piece of work for a debut. The innovative rock future looks bright for this Derry quartet.

Newt are Brendan Gallagher, Guitar & Vocals; Kealan Toland, Guitar; Vincent Fahy, Bass and Stephen Kelly, Drums. Their eponymous debut EP is out now – you can pick it up on their bandcamp page.

Talk of the Town

It’s all about HWCH in Dublin right now as the movers and shakers of the music industry shape up for the annual Irish music showcase jolly. With everyone who is anyone from music media to labels to management to production set to descend upon the capital next weekend for the hottest musical ticket in town, the festival come conference is sure to be as roaring a success as it has been in the past.

50 homegrown artists will be peddling their wares in select venues across the capital, including Soule, Bitch Falcon, ROCSTRONG, Rosa Nutty, Aislinn Logan and Brand New Friend.

If you haven’t yet purchased your tickets – doh! – there are a few left, so chop chop. Full details on the festival website – https://t.co/Brs26WIUfr

Sound bites

Earlier this week So Far Sounds Dublin hosted a not so secret charity gig in aid of Amnesty International. Obvs Mister Irish Indo didn’t have to do pot luck in the hope of getting a ticket (Derv did, alas to no avail). The gig was headlined by the uber talented ‘Voice of Ireland’ Hozier, who was joined at the D-Lite studios by Sorcha Richardson, Lewis Kenny and those wayward lassies from Wyvern Lingo.

Highlight of the night appears to have been the Hoze doing a poignant rendition of Paul Brady’s The Lakes of Pentchartrain (I only have Mister Indo’s word to go on), a song the Irishman has never played live before. We’ve included his live Version of East of Eden from SoFar on our accompanying playlist below.

Hozier is currently in studio working on his second album which is due to be released in 2018. We’ll keep you posted as news comes in.

(Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage)

Before settling into music-making hibernation for the Winter, duo Saint Sister are set to round off what has been quite the hectic year (to-date) with three October gigs in Vondelkerk, Amsterdam 1st October and The Glassworks Derry on 27th, culminating in a #farewelltoarms on 29th at Vicar Street. Their last listed gig of the year will see them take part in the Bram Stoker festival’s Turning Vampire Mixtape should be something to sink your teeth into!

Giggery Pokery 

More and more gigs a-comin’ atcha as Autumn slowly bleeds into Winter. Best of the rest include …

SEPTEMBER

24th TALOS – Clonakilty (if I can get there I will, otherwise point the speakers at Rosscarbery will you?)

29th HARD WORKING CLASS HEROES festival and Conference, Dublin

30th HARD WORKING CLASS HEROES festival and Conference, Dublin

OCTOBER

7th  LISA O’ NEILL –  Whelans, Dublin

13TH A.S. FANNING – Whelans (upstairs), Dublin

13th LISA O’ NEILL – Coughlans, Cork

17th  (Sandy) ALEX G – Whelans, Dublin

20th SLOW PLACE LIKE HOME – Roisin Dubh, Galway

21st SLOW PLACE LIKE HOME – Workman’s, Dublin

Musical metadata

Gregory Nolan

Widely admired by US guitar-Gods Guns n Roses, Irish rockers Otherkin will be celebrating the release of their hot-potato debut album OK on 29th September with an album launch at Tower Records, Dawson St., Dublin. The launch will kick off Friday at 5.30pm. However, if you’re the shy retiring type who prefers to do their music shopping in the anonymity of your own boudoir, OK is available to pre-order now – http://smarturl.it/OtherkinOK

Speaking of guitarists, the Ed O’Brien Signature Stratocaster (pictured above) is due to hit the Fender website on 14th November. The Radiohead mood-man whose grandfather hailed from Tipperary, helped customise the Strat with enhancements such as its V profile neck shape, thereby forsaking the standard C profile favoured by most artists when designing their signature models.

In addition, the sustainer neck pickup is controlled by an on/off switch with an intensity knob for control and a three-position switch that adjusts between ‘fundamental only’, ‘harmonic only’ or ‘blend’ modes. Instead of a signature stamp, the neck plate is engraved with a custom “Flower of Life” design.

The Fender EOB Signature Stratocaster goes on sale from November, retailing at a cool £949.00.

In case you missed the notification in our last newsletter, esteemed Irish snapper Gregory Nolan will launch his This was our Scene collection of photographic nostalgia from the mid-noughties in Fumbally Exchange on 22nd October. The shots feature everyone who was anyone from back in the indie day including the late Amy Winehouse, Florence Welch and her ever rambunctious Machine and the Pete Doherty led Libertines, to mention but a few.

“The collection invites the viewer to an inside track—asks us to join the front row, jump on stage, live with wild abandon. This is documentary photography from the inside, right in the midst of the heart of the (London indie) scene. There is no distance between photographer and subject.”

Prints will be available for sale, and photographer Gregory Nolan will be available to sign his work.

Full details here – https://www.thiswasourscene.com/

Dublin trio The Script recently announced three Irish headliners for February 2018; one in Belfast on 6th, with two in their hometown on 8th and 9th. A limited number of tickets at €53.15 plus service charge remain – snap yours up before it’s too late. The band will also be undertaking an extensive arena tour of the UK to promote their new album, Freedom Child which you can stream or download here.

Culture Night 2017 saw pioneering producer cum music creative Imogen Heap hit a packed out Science Gallery, Dublin, with the wondrous potential of Blockchain could bring to the music industry, particularly as a quick and clean means of paying artist royalties. Joined on stage by Angela Dorgan of First Music Contact, Imogen gave what was possibly the clearest and most succinct walk through the brain-thump that is BC, by using her own home-grown Mycelia  project as a guide. The innovative muso is set on a course that could see more efficient, transparent and direct transfers of royalty payments to artists in the not so distant future. One to keep an eye on!

And now for the BIG ONE!!

As we say a somewhat fondish farewell to what as Irish Summer 2017 along come All Tvvins to warm our cooling cockles with an up-tempo can-do song bursting with summery vibes and party nights.

Anything is an electronic mash-up of funk and pop with a warm Caribbean winds breezing through its sails. There’s a hint of Americana around the edges of the ‘You can tell me anything‘ hook that gives the song a compelling groove and infectious vibe while hazy vocals are the perfect counter to stark electronic curlicues, spiralling backdrops and exuberant beats.

Bound to be a floor-filler, definitely a toe tapper, and a 100% radio hugger, Anything bodes well for the duo’s sophomore album due out next year.

Anything is out now on Faction Records – you can get your mitts on it here – https://alltvvins.lnk.to/Anything

More news, views and reviews will be coming at your from destination West Cork next week … until then, enjoy, DervSwerve

Other Voices – Final Call – Curtain Closing!!

Friday 22nd September is the final day for submissions to Other Voices Festival.

Shouting out to all unsigned artists who have an interest in performing at the festival which will be held in Dingle, Co. Kerry from 1st to 3rd December. Last year, nearly 1,000 artists applied for a single performance slot at the IMRO Other Room!!

eir Other Voices has extended an invitation to all unsigned artists across Ireland irrespective of genre to submit one track for consideration. Entries are open here until 6pm Friday 22nd September. The Other Voices Live open call will see the chosen artist receive full end to end support, from their journey to Kerry to funding for travel, recording and video production.

In addition to the filmed performance in the IMRO Other Room for broadcast on RTÉ the publicly selected artist will also be sponsored by eir for:

  • Three days in a recording studio with a top engineer
  • The production company and budget to create a music performance video
  • Travel to & Accommodation in Dingle for the eir Other Voices weekend
  • Practical music industry mentoring from the eir Other Voices team

The IMRO Other Room which is a dedicated platform for emerging artists has previously played host to Rusangano Family, Villagers and James Vicent Mc Morrow. Back in December 2015, IMRO Other Room was recorded live, the session featuring in an RTE special side by side with performances from Talos, Saint Sister and the then Open Call winner Saramai.

Key points & Timelines

  • Only original bodies of work will be accepted. Entries are open to applicants from the Island of Ireland
  • The winning applicant must be free to travel to Dingle for the duration of 1st to 3rd December, where they will play the IMRO Other Room in front of a live audience.
  • Late applications will not be considered.
  • Lobbying of judges will result in disqualification.
  • Four shortlisted eir Other Voices Open Call acts will be announced on 19th October and made available for preferred public selection online.
  • The public selection process will close on 26th October – An independent adjudicator will tally the public selections received
  • On 1st November the eir Other Voices Listeners Choice will be announced.

Full details of all the terms and conditions but information on how to make your submissions on the Other Voices website.

Other Voices Live Open Call is sponsored by eir and supported by RTE 2FM. Best of Luck y’all!

Nothing Grim About Reeperbahn ’17

Martin Hoye

The renowned German culture-fest that is Reeperbahn kicks off today and some of our favourite acts are on the musical menu! To celebrate all things #RBF17, we’re gonna fly through a quick synopsis and then treat you to our very own ReeperDerv curated playlist.

Like most respectable festivals these days Reeperbahn is no exception to the all inclusive, 100% immersive rule. No longer ‘just’ a four-day music mash-up, these days Hamburg based RBF is the ‘full package’.

This year’s festival includes a conference programme set to cover a broad range of topics from Health & Safety to a Guide to Failure, a BBC Introducing/PRS showcase, a BIMM reception, Blockchain for Music and how to work Instagram.

The conference will feature top notch hosts and speakers including erstwhile Eurythmics frontman and legendary producer Dave Stewart, former Strokes producer Gordon Raphael, American country artist Terry Mc Bride and Dave Allen from North Music, USA.

There are also several networking events pencilled into the diary including those hosted by Live Nation, Rockcity, Sony Music and Columbia Records.

Photo Christina Amundsen

A festival wouldn’t be a festival without a ‘glittering’ awards ceremony and this year will see Reeperbahn once again play host to the Anchor awards following their hugely successful inauguration last year. This year’s list of nominees includes British artists Fenne Lily, Jade Bird and Joseph Jones (whose sounds we’ve included on our playlist).

The jury panel is made up of a specially selected team of industry experts including BBC DJ Huw Stephens, Garbage vocalist Shirley Manson, celebrated music producer Tony Visconti, Emily Haines of BSS and homies Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass who together for the duo BOY.

The nominees will showcase their music over the course of three days with the award ceremony taking place at 6pm on Saturday 23rd at the St. Pauli Theatre.

There are some big juicy names headlining the live music action including Beth Ditto, Maximo Park, Everything Everything and Kelly Lee Owens but here at DervSwerve we prefer to big up the emerging artists, those youthful balls of energy bubbling just under the surface of the world-stage.

Here are our top tips for your musical amusement over the course of the festival …

Denmark – IRAH – Experimental/Ambient – Just released their sublime single Worship the Sun – Do not miss this transcendental experience!

Holland – Dakota – Indie – Currently touring their Leda EP – A strong sound with cracking vocals

Iceland – JFDR – Experi-Electro-Ambient – Released her first solo debut album Brazil earlier this year – An absolutely out of this world performer

Ireland – Dermot Kennedy – Hip hop Fused Folk – Debuted his Doves & Ravens EP a wee while ago – Innovative and compelling .. go see!

Ire/UK – Wood Burning Savages – Vitriolic Punk – New single Living Hell is ferocious – This Derry 4piece are renowned for their fully charged lives

Norway – ARY – Experimental Electronic – Latest single Already There is her best yet – One step away from ‘huge’

Norway – Slotface – Garage/Punk/Feisty Pop – Just dropped their debut album Try Not to Freak Out – One of the best band’s I’ve seen live – EVER

UK – Black Honey – Alt-Rock – Hit the headlines with their Headspin EP in 2016, new single Somebody Better is killer – A MUST!

**Slotface and Black Honey are quite similar in sound and style so fans of either one should become fans of the other!

UK/Spain – Gizmo Varillas – Rainbow/Latino Pop – His debut album El Dorado (what else) went down a storm – Sounds like no other around today

If that eclectic bunch of seriously talented youths don’t keep you happily entertained for the rest of this week, then you’re hard pleased.  If you haven’t yet put your hand in your pocket to buy a ticket, you’re in luck. There are limited tickets still available – but not many, so hurry. Details here.

And if you’re already in Hamburg, we hope you’re having a blast! From Dublin with love x

Reeperbahn Festival 2017, runs in Hamburg from 20th to 23rd September. Full programme details from their website.

IRAH’s ‘Worship the Sun’ is a Journey to Enlightenment

Photo Christina Amundsen

It is a widely held belief that Celtic druidic rites manifested themselves principally in Sun-worship. So, it comes as no surprise that the latest IRAH single, Worship the Sun, sings like an ancient pagan incantation invoking the Sun to illuminate a tenebrous world devoid of light, hope and humanity.

Worship the Sun is the first release by Danish duo Stine Grøn (vocals) and Adi Zukanović (keyboards) since their transcendent 2016 single, Fast Travelling. This time around, the percussive baton has been handed to Scotsman Seb Rochford renowned for his work with Babyshambles, David Byrne/Brian Eno and Herbie Hancock.

A tense and moodily atmospheric drone infused with Asian influences underpins the song throughout; its heavy weight bearing down on upward facing lyrics seeking to “activate the light“. It sounds like an army of subterranean Buddhist monks or Hindu sanyāsī murmuring Sanskrit as they pass underneath a highly charged dystopian landscape filled with brooding tension and fizzing electricity.

Percussive strikes, bells and a haze of white noise are slowly pushed to the foreground as the track builds. The bridge provides a brief sanctuary, an ephemeral moment of calm before the track explodes into a euphoric coda replete with virtuoso jazz drumming delivered at a serious lick.

“Let’s reveal the forces we forgot, activate the light within our heart, Let’s forget the things that we’ve been taught, activate the brain within our heart”

Throughout, Stine Grøn’s soothing voice is a constant of serenity, of meditative calm, of hope in humanity. Her voice is a light in the darkness that guides the nocturnal instrumental, transforming it into a vibrant firework that fills the sky with iridescent explosions like shooting stars.

Speaking of the song Stine explains,

“In this time and age where humanity seems to be on the verge of an abyss, we send out a wish to unite around the centre of life. Our sun, moon and earth. With the energy and intensity of the song we celebrate the force of these giants”

The music that IRAH compose is of a sound and style unlike anything produced by their peers, and it is important to them that they follow their own path. Speaking candidly about their sound the duo reveal,

“If we could create our very own genre, or compose and channel one galaxy’s music or sound that would be the ultimate. Something our world had never heard before. Something you can’t imagine. That is what we try to achieve. Try to move closer to. Try to do something we haven’t heard before, and put that into music. Its definitely a motivation to create our own musical language that we can compose from.”

If you imbued the essence of Goa into a Gothic novel and set it in Newgrange, you wouldn’t come up with a more mystical and ritualistic landscape than Worship the Sun.

IRAH tread softly on mystical dreams. Their music, steeped in both the metaphysical and spiritual, is a journey through beautiful imagery and soothing melody to an enlightenment, peace and transcendence to which more of us should aspire.

Worship the Sun is available to download now via Tambourhinoceros; you can follow IRAH on Facebook. The band start a mini-European tour on 23rd September at Reeperbahn – list of dates below. [They’re also playing Sorveiv in magical Kristiansand – enjoy!!]

DervSwerve x 

Oh, and before you go, DervSwerve has some good news to share. Our blog has been shortlisted for the Best Blog, Arts & Culture category, by Blog Awards Ireland 2017. Woo!

IRAH Live Dates

Sep 23, 2017 – Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg – DE

Sep 28, 2017 – Studenterhuset, Aalborg – DK (Tickets)

Sep 29, 2017 – Radar, Aarhus – DK (Tickets)

Sep 30, 2017 – Sønderborghus, Sønderborg – DK (Tickets)

Oct 05, 2017 – Harder’s, Svendborg – DK (Tickets)

Oct 06, 2017 – Studenterhus, Odense – DK (Tickets)

Oct 07, 2017 – Lille Vega, København – DK (Tickets)

Nov 10, 2017 – Sorveiv Festival, Stavanger – NO

Derv’s Voyage of Discovery – Get Together Newsletter (Vol 5)

Pete Doherty by Greg Nolan
There is so much good music out there right now.
So, so much. In fact, so much so that’s it’s becoming nigh on impossible to keep up with the deluge. So, our environmentally friendly, time-saving, power-saving all together rolled into one neat newsletter would seem to be the order of the extremely hectic day.

In this newsletter we’ll run through some of the best sounds around, with a dash of news bites and tour dates thrown in for good measure. As usual, you’ll find a complementary Spotify playlist at the bottom of the post. Happy discovering!

DerVerdicts …

The Irish Beyoncé?

Soulé is a name you need to know. Fast becoming one of the hottest R&B/Dance-pop acts in Ireland, she has most recently started to spread her wings performing live in the UK and mainland Europe: the singer was part of the Other Voices contingent that took part in Tech Open Air Berlin earlier in July.

Aligned to Dublin’s renowned Diffusion Lab, this innovative young artist is at the crest of an ever growing wave of vivid electro-R&B washing across the Irish music scene. Following on from stand-out tracks Good Life and Love No More, Soulé’s latest single recalls everything that was good about Destiny’s Child when Beyoncé was still at the helm.

Unashamedly sassy, What Do You Know has attitude in spades, shovelling it through a spin-cycle of infectious beats and sending it helter-skeltering down a festoon of vibrant electro-sounds. The up-beat rhythm and kick-ass vibe are a winning combination which along with Soulé’s richly textured vocal make this song addictive from the off. Watch the lyric video here.

Corporation Pop, Music for the Workers

Across the Brexit pond, in Liverpool to be exact, apprentice songsmith Emilio Pinchi has obviously been honing his craft well as he has just dropped yet another compelling tune, Good Things Weigh You Down, flush with slacker guitar riffs, langourous beats and biting chord progressions.

Pinchi’s current oeuvre is understated throwaway with a mid-90s flavour. Everything about his confident yet modest delivery breathes authenticity as he mulls over ‘real-world’ experiences with conviction.

“Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence.” – Ovid

Raddled with melancholic hindsight, Good Things Weigh You Down is a world-weary Albarn-esque take on the ‘water dripping on a stone’ argument. Or possibly, a version of “lie down with the dogs and get up with the fleas” as the artists ponders on how people influence each other’s behaviour, and how given sufficient time, they rub off each other’s personalities, opinions etc.

“People start to reshape you and vice versa. We bring sides out in each other which we don’t always notice at the time,” Emilio explains. “The song is a flashback to before During Voided Hours, documenting the last days of a dying relationship, tied around the idea that everything eventually runs out. Even good things will weigh you down, given enough time.”

I strongly suspect there’s an EP in the works here … let’s hope so! Good Things Weigh You Down is available on digital platforms now.

No Longer Looking Back In Anger

Shades of the Beatles,the Kinks and a serious swathe of Oasis, that’s what screeches through the brain as Liam Gallagher‘s latest single plays on.

In the Britpop wars I was in camp Blur. Although For What It’s Worth, I’ll admit to having bought both of Oasis’ first two albums and even to knowing all the words to Wonderwall (well like who didn’t/doesn’t?). Never the greatest fan of the brothers Gallagher, I approached this one with caution (as you do with most things ‘Our Kid’) and must ‘fess up to being more than pleasantly surprised.

The new single is indeed called For What It’s Worth and worthy it is of some critical kudos. A mid-tempo song, it hits all the sentimental sweet spots – earnest lyrics, insistent yet sincere vocals, catchy hooks, soaring strings and delicious guitar licks.

“For what it’s worth, I’m sorry for the hurt, I’ll be the first to say, “I made my own mistakes”

If my eyes don’t deceive me, I could hazard that this is an open letter of apology to his brother; but they probably are, and I’m probably wrong.

Produced to perfection, with a bridge that ‘looks back‘ at the best of Morning Glory, this is the kind of track that would be right at home on a Tom Petty album. Except it’s not, it’s ‘right here, right now‘ and sees Liam Gallagher return to form.

For What It’s Worth is the third single from Gallagher’s upcoming debut solo album, ‘As You Were’, due for release on 6th October and available to pre-order here.

 Only The Echoes Of My Mind – Fred Neil Remembered

When you hear the song Everybody’s Talkin‘ one name automatically springs to mind. Harry Nilsson.

However, it wasn’t Nilsson that Natalie Mering aka Weyes Blood had in mind when she laid down a cover of the 1968 hit (also famously covered by the late Glen Campbell), it was the songwriter himself, Fred Neil. Neil passed away in 2001 leaving a musical legacy that influenced and continues to influence folk-vibing artists such as Tim Buckley, Stephen Stills, Gram Parsons and obviously, one Weyes Blood.

Mering’s delivery of a song she has performed live many times over the past few years is as faultless as it is spine-tingling. Drip-drop synth raindrops form the sparse, minimalist electro-scape that backdrops a beautifully touching vocal.

The track is one side of a Double A 7″ vinyl which also features another cover in the form of Soft Machine‘s A Certain Kind. The double release is also available on all digital platforms.

Fresh from her collaboration with Ariel Pink (see below), Weyes Blood has just embarked on tour with Father John Misty. While the itinerary sees her return to various locations throughout the UK, there is a glaring Dublin shaped hole, where a live date should be!

Full details of the Weyes Blood tour here.

**Random comment – the final seconds of the track sound like the Tardis on take-off!

Bite Size …

Fluorescent Scandi Pop Lights Up The Night

Paris based Martin Solveig is in the house. Hot on the heels of his worldwide smash Places the DJ/producer returns with energetic dance-fest All Stars. The sassy house anthem features Finnish songstress, Alma, all green hair and sky high vocal. Alma‘s youthful, carefree attitude adds the sass-factor to a beat driven floor filler set to take Ibiza by storm.

 Stick With Mrs Brown Boys

The biggest mistake The Vamps made was teaming up with Martin Jensen. The “uncompromising and unorthodox” DJ has wrecked what was probably a pretty decent song.  All augurs well with Middle of the Night until it hits the chorus and the stop, start, stagger of that house-DJ style just pours cold oil on what had, thus far, been a well greased machine. Shame. The Vamps are about so much more than this as their #1 album has proven! And good for them.

The Girl’s Still Loud

Derry’s Nadine Coyle returns for yet another solo run with single Go to Work. Early ’90s Pop without the early ’90s wonder. Good voice, find another top-liner.

Grey Is The New Vanilla

As he moves closer and closer to morphing into George Michael mark II, Sam Smith continues to drive a 40ft container through the pop singles charts, arriving at his #1 destination quicker than Lewis Hamilton from poll.

His latest drear has notched up a sixth number one so it’s obviously us and not him that’s got the problem (or possibly we’re still bearing a spectral grudge!). If you like your Kleenex clutching wallow-fests landing somewhere between early Will Young and b-side Michael this piece of grey pop will bring the tears to your eyes – though probably not as many as it brought to these ears. ‘Nuf said.

Sound Bites …

Culture Vultures Link Up With Blockchain

As part of their programme for Culture Night on Friday 22nd September, the guys in Science Gallery, Dublin, are hosting a talk from Grammy-winning recording artist and audio engineer Imogen Heap.  Imogen will discuss some of the reasons the music industry is looking to new technologies such as Blockchain, to help restore it to a fairer ecosystem.

Can we rebuild the music industry using Blockchain? For tickets and more details on the event click here.

That Sun Just Keeps On A-shining

For the second time in as many days we find ourselves name-checking Ocean Sound Recordings in Giske, Norway, this time for a beautiful acoustic performance of a huge 80’s smash hit.

Back in late June, Morten Harket along with Ingrid Håvik of the band Highasakite, delivered a pretty impressive duet rendition of a-ha’s The Sun Always Shines On TV for MTV Unplugged. The stunning acoustic/orchestral version was arranged by Lars Horntveth with a-ha. Watch it here.

Indie Nation – A Retrospective

London, mid-’00s, The Libertines, Dan Bastille Smith, Florence and the Machine, Razorlight, hordes of fans and a young Irish photographer – get the picture?

The young photographer in question was Gregory Nolan and from 19th to 22nd October he is opening up his photographic archives to the public in a new exhibition entitled This Was Our Scene.

Cataloguing rare visual treasures from the heart of the noughties Indie scene in London, Nolan’s work also perfectly captured the raw enthusiasm, energetic buzz, and profuse heat, sweat, tears and spilled beer of the throngs that packed the city’s live music venues. Sadly, many of those venues have too become a thing of the past.

This Was Our Scene opens on Thursday, 19th October in Fumbally Exchange, Dublin 2, with a public talk hosted by Irish photographer Gregory Nolan (plus special guests). The exhibition will run daily from 10:00am – 6:00pm until Sunday, October 22. Visit  www.thiswasourscene.com

And Vinylly …

Lots of big albums out in the past few weeks – Daughter, the National, LCD Soundsystem, Foo Fighters, and Gary Numan (oh dear), but the pick of this post is Ariel Pink.

Dedicated to Bobby Jameson is at once intuitive, insular and immersive. Blissed out and fuzzed up, shades of The Doors, classic rock, thrash metal and ’60s garage flow into and across each other to form predictably unpredictable Pink pop. Standout track – Another Weekend.

 

Before we let you go, just to share our good news story of the week. DervSwerve has been shortlisted in the Arts & Culture category of the Blog Awards 2017 sponsored by Littlewoods Ireland, wish us luck in hopefully reaching the finals!

Watch this space as we’ll be back before you know it with VoD #6 . In the meantime chill out with our VoD #5 Spotify playlist. If you like what you see, hear and ready, why not give us a follow on Twitter or Facebook!

DervSwerve x

***Unfortunately, neither Soule’s nor Emilio’s latest singles are on Spotify so therefore couldn’t be added to the playlist! 😦

Mercury Has Risen – Congrats Sampha #Process

So, we have it, the winner of the Hyundai Mercury Music Prize 2017.  From a definite dozen shortlisted albums, the weighty title of best album has gone to Sampha’s Process.

Winning the Mercury Music Prize for your debut album is more than a solid stamp of approval by industry experts and music peers!

The album, which was primarily recorded in studios across London, was also partially recorded at Ocean Sound Recordings on the Norwegian island Giske (where Ane Bjerkan amongst many other Norwegian artists have laid down their souls along with their music!).

Process is a finely executed, devastating take on the loss of Sampha’s mother to cancer. It also delves into the turmoil her experienced as success started to drive a wedge between him and his roots. A unique sonic adventure, it is individualistic in both delivery and arrangement.

Congratulations Sampha … the future is yours!

Listen to the album in full here.

The Fish Are Belly Up – It’s A Radiohead Takeover

With news coming at us in abundance via Radiohead TV, it seems appropriate to accede to a once off, random Radiohead takeover of DervSwerve.

First up, the absolutely disgusting news that the charges against Live Nation, Optex Staging and Domenic Cugliari, the defendants in the case taken by the Canadian Authorities following the death of the late Scott Johnson, have been stayed.

In June 2012, ahead of a Radiohead gig at Toronto’s Downsview Park, the scaffolding underpinning the band’s equipment-laden stage collapsed, crushing crew member Johnson to death and injuring three others. Charges were brought by the local authorities against the three defendants but due to a series of endless petitions and delays, five years later the case was still ongoing, until now.

In response to the court’s decision, Radiohead released this official response, shared via their socials on 8th September.

“We are appalled by the decision to stay the charges against Live Nation, Optex Staging and Domenic Cugliari. This is an insult to the memory of Scott Johnson, his parents and our crew.

It offers no consolation, closure or assurance that this kind of accident will not happen again.”

Radiohead’s 20th anniversary reissue of OK Computer entitled OKNOTOK came packaged with three previously unreleased recordings, of which one is the track Lift. Back in the day (’96), the song was deemed by the band to be so anthemic that rather than include it on their pioneering third album, they chose to ‘subconsciously kill it‘. Radiohead made the informed decision to pull the plug on Lift after having played it live to rapturous response during their time supporting Canadian Alanis Morissette on tour.

“The only regrets about this album are the songs we left off because we didn’t record them well enough or soon enough,” Jonny Greenwood on OK Computer

So, it remained in the Radiohead vaults for two decades until OKNOTOK‘s release earlier this Summer.

During an interview with Matt Everitt on 6 Music (May 2017), guitarist Ed O’Brien spoke of the track, the impact the crowd’s reaction had on the band and their fear that something as compelling as Lift could catapult OK Computer into Jagged Little Pill territory. Listen to a snippet of their conversation here (you can find more cuts from the interview on the BBC Player).

“If that song had been on that album, it would’ve taken us to a different place”

Thom Yorke standing in a lift holding two cheapy plastic bags filled with shopping is, I must admit, a sight I never thought I’d see, but such is the case with the recently released Oscar Hudson directed video accompaniment to Lift. Hudson, some of you may recall, directed the 30-second vignette based on The Numbers from a A Moon Shaped Pool.

 “I was aware of what Radiohead fans are like. I wanted there to be some things to dig up in there, but I also wanted it to be a film in its own right and I want people to do their own thinking, too. We wanted to try to walk a line with this video, somewhere between not looking back too much but also—you can’t ignore the history of the song.” – Oscar Hudson in conversation with Pitchfork

Like a visual treasure hunt, the film is packed with retro-references along with cameos by people personally known to the Radiohead frontman including Italian actress Dajana Roncione and Yorke’s daughter Agnes. The endless stream of ’97-era Radiohead touchstones include the purple-hat wearing chappy from the Paranoid Android video and the central character from the Karma Police visual. Doubtless Radiohead obsessives are currently in lock-down as they try to decipher the film’s cryptic clues!

“This is the place
Sit down, you’re safe now
You’ve been stuck in a lift
We’ve been trying to reach you, Thom
This is the place
It won’t hurt ever again”

For all its anthemic bravura, Lift is replete with touchingly quirky qualities such as Yorke name-checking himself in the opening verse and self-deprecatingly telling himself to cop on and “lighten up, squirt” in the last.

As they’ve done at other times in the past, Radiohead took the body and re-dressed it, having finally found the right ensemble for a song now twenty years old.

“We never found the right arrangement for that, until then (Nude/In Rainbows). ‘Lift’ is just like that. When the idea is right, it stays right. It doesn’t really matter in which form.” – Thom Yorke

And in bite size news …

For those who may have missed Vol 4 of our newsletter, RH drummer Phil Selway will shortly release his third album entitled Let Me Go. Score to the film of the same name, the album will be available digitally from 15th September with a vinyl edition available from 27th October via Bella Union. You can however, pre-order it here.

And if you’ve been really off the boil, elsewhere, in the world of Ed O’Brien (Irish heritage going strong as always), a new bespoke Fender with the moniker ‘EOB Sustainer Stratocaster‘ tailored to the guitarist’s specifications has hit the music market. Doubtless, he used the proto-type to create his debut solo album, allegedly due for release before the end of the year – tbc.

Finally to news just out today …

It has been announced that Radiohead are collaborating with German film score composer and record producer (Gladiator, Inception) Hans Zimmer on the soundtrack for Blue Planet II.

The exclusive piece of music which will feature an orchestral reimagining of the Radiohead track Bloom (from the album King of Limbs), will be soundtrack a prequel to the universally acclaimed BBC nature documentary fronted by renowned broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough.

Frontman Thom Yorke has rerecord the vocals for the reworked version. Speaking of the choice of song Yorke explained, “Bloom was inspired by the original Blue Planet series, so it’s great to be able to come full circle with the song and reimagine it for this incredible landmark’s sequel.” To which Zimmer added, “Bloom beautifully reflects the jaw-dropping lifeforms and seascapes” (in the show).

Blue Planet II, which further explores the world’s oceans following the original 2001 series, will air on the BBC later in 2017. The new version of Bloom will accompany a five-minute prequel for the series, to be aired on 27 September. Be sure to tune in!

To round things off here’s a wee Radiohead playlist inspo’d by the news-bites in the post. Enjoy ..

DervSwerve 

 

The Rebel Yells – Sounds From A Safe Harbour 14-17 Sept

Two years since its inception, Sounds From A Safe Harbour returns Leeside with a cross-cultural programme guaranteed to make this four day eventer a runaway success.

Returning for its second outing, SFASH 2017 has some serious big hitters on board in the form of Lisa Hannigan, Bon Iver and The National. Cincinnati’s finest have just released their seventh album, Sleep Well Beast, and its a testament to the festival’s standing within the music industry that the US rock band have elected to kick off their world tour from the banks of the Lee.

National twins Aaron and Bryce Dessner will also form part of the curation team alongside festival director Mary Hickson, Cork actor Cillian Murphy and playwright Enda Walsh. In fact, so invested are the Dessners in this event that they have roped in a cohort of their musician pals to perform at the festival.

The festival programme also includes a series of ‘conversations & words’ featuring a diverse line-up of speakers and hosts including journalist/muso Donal Dineen, author Kevin Barry, photographer/filmographer Brendan Canty (Talos, Lisa Hannigan) and oh, those Dessner dudes again!

Aside from the wondrously gifted, lark voiced Lisa Hannigan, the tricolour will be kept flying across the four days by the likes of Wyvern Lingo, This is How We Fly, Rosa Nutty, Saint Sister, Soulé  and Iarla O’Lionaird who’ll be joined on stage by Steve Cooney. This eclectic selection of artists will ensure that even those with the most diverse tastes will be catered for with genres from RnB funk to fiery folk in the mix.

And just when you thought we were done with all things Dessner, artist/poet/dancer Jessica, will herself present a creative project streetside. Other events to tickle your cultural fancy are Crash Ensemble featuring (ahem) Bryce Dessner and Andre de Ridder in the Everyman Theatre (Friday) while over at the bespoke Triskel Christchurch cinema on the Saturday there’ll be a treat in store for filmics in the form of The Possibilities Are Endless.

Last but most certainly not least, the DervSwerve toptip for SFASH are Icelandic experimental adventurers amiina, tracts of whose rather splendid Fantomas festival-goers can submerge themselves into. Staying on the Icelandic theme, renowned artist Ragnar Kjartansson is exhibiting at the Crawford Art Gallery.

Sounds from a Safe Harbour runs from Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th September across multiple venues in Cork City and its surrounds.

The festival is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Creative Ireland, Cork City Council, Cork Co Co and Cork School of Music.