RTE Choice Music Prize Album Shortlist Announced

The RTÉ Choice Music Prize is back!

The shortlist for the RTÉ Choice Music Prize, Irish Album of the Year 2018 has been released, and it’s a veritable who’s who from the current Irish contemporary music scene!

The shortlist, which was compiled by a judging panel headed up by renowned Irish journalist Tony Clayton-Lea, was announced on RTÉ 2FM’s Tracy Clifford Show on Wednesday 9th January, 2019. Tony is lined up to be a guest on Dave Fanning’s radio show on Saturday 12th. Tune in to 2FM between 9.00am and 11.00am to listen to chats about the album shortlist.

The #rtechoiceprize shortlist reads as follows:

The AcademicTales From The Backseat (ROOM6 Records)

DelorentosTrue Surrender (Delo Records)

Just MustardWednesday (Pizza Pizza Records)

KojaqueDeli Daydreams (Soft Boy Records)

O EmperorJason (Big Skin Records)

Lisa O’NeillHeard A Long Gone Song (River Lea Recordings)

Saint SisterShape Of Silence (self released)

Rejjie SnowDear Annie (BMG)

VillagersThe Art Of Pretending To Swim (Domino Recording Co)

Wyvern LingoWyvern Lingo (Ruby Works)

The RTÉ Choice Music Prize album of the year will be awarded during the annual live event, on Thursday 7th March, which once again returns to Vicar St.

Tickets for the Choice Music Prize live event are on sale now from all Ticketmaster outlets and from http://www.ticketmaster.ie priced €28.00 including booking fee.

The shortlisted albums can be enjoyed in full on the RTÉ Choice Music Prize website www.choicemusicprize.ie and on  www.2fm.ie/rtechoicemusic

Here’s a sample playlist to whet your appetite.

Biggin’ It Up – BBC Music’s Festival Quartet Is On Its May

The Biggest Weekend, BBC Music’s four-fold festival weekend is on its way back this May Bank Holiday (UK) weekend. Ahead of this bumper four-in-one festivale, we took a look at the who, the what and the when …

Date for the Diary

BBC Music’s ‘The Biggest Weekend’ takes place across four days, kicking off on 25th May and closing out on 28th. The where might take some negotiation, not to mind a Tardis, as the four x four festival relay takes in Belfast (N.Irl), Coventry (Eng), Perth (Scot) and Swansea (Wal).

Catering for BBC Music fans across the entire British Isles, the festival organisers have excelled themselves with their choice of venues:


Over 175,000 tickets will go on sale – but be warned, the bulk of these will be available only to residents in the immediate locale, with the balance being offered to the wider public. For details on how to get your CLICK HERE.

Who’s Doing What & Where?

Naturally, all the ‘talk talk’ is about Princess TayTay. Fan’s of lil’ Miss Swift will need to hit Swansea on Sunday 27th if they wish to get a sight of this bird! And if that wasn’t enough for one Welsh city, Taylor’s BAE Ed Sheeran will be looping the loop on stage at Singleton Park the evening before, Saturday 26th.
So excited to be part of The Biggest Weekend this summer! I’ve always loved performing at Big Weekend with Radio 1 and this year it’s going to be even bigger. Bring it on Swansea!” – Ed Sheeran
BBC Music’s The Biggest Weekend line up boasts some of the biggest names in music; from Beck and Noel Gallagher with his flock of High Flying Birds, to Snow Patrol and Courtney Barnett. At present, the big Welsh name playing the festival, The Manic Street Preachers, are pitching up at the Belfast docks rather than Swansea harbour. However, former uber-group of the 80s, Simple Minds, will be flying the home flag when they take to the stage in Perth.

It’s Not All Guitars!

Not all of the music acts playing across the four-day festival are from the world of rock & pop. Contemporary violinist Nigel Kennedy will pitch up for not just one but two festival slots, as he’s set to play an opening night performance with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on Friday 25th in Perth, followed up with date with the BBC Concert Orchestra on the closing night in Cov.
Speaking of the festival, the icon of new-wave classical commented: “I’m inspired by all kinds of music from across the world. I’m also inspired by people and by passion. Music should not be pigeon-holed and I have always believed that. So it’s great to be involved in an event which celebrates diversity across live musical genres with artists new and old. In Perth, I’ll be performing Bach and Gershwin with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and in Coventry, Highlights of the New Four Seasons and Hendrix with the BBC Concert Orchestra.”

And There’s More 

There are more names still to be added to this ridiculously good line up, including a plethora of emerging artists from the ranks of BBC Introducing. Elsewhere, the BBC Big Four – BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3 and 6 Music will be on curation duties.  They’ll be providing extensive coverage of the festival over the four day period. Further coverage will be provided by 1Xtra and Asian Network.


Ticket for BBC Music ‘The Big Weekend’ will go on sale Monday 12th February, 2018. The demand will be massive so make you get in on the action early doors. For those of us unlucky enough not to be in a position to attend any of the four days/locations, there will also be extensive TV coverage on BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four. The festival will be available to watch via BBC iPlayer, mobile and online.

For more details follow BBC Music on Twitter,


PS Before we go, we’ve whipped up a wee #TBW18 playlist for you. We’ll add to it as additional acts are announced.

Norwegian Trio Set To ‘Take-On’ Cork In June 2018

Norwegian pop legends a-ha have announced that they are to bring their Electric Summer 2018 Tour to the banks of our own lovely Lee. That’s right, Norway’s biggest musical export, although DJ/producer Kygo is fast chasing their tails, will perform Live at the Marquee Cork on 12th June next year.

One of the biggest-selling global pop-phenomena of the 1980’s, the multi-Platinum selling triumvirate of Morten Harket, Mags Furuholmen and Pal Waaktaar-Savoy will perform some of their greatest including Take on Me, The Sun Always Shines and Bond theme The Living Daylights.

Probably best known for their wordwide number one hit Take on Me, the video for which – possibly one of the best of all time – led the zeigeist in music video technology back in the day, a-ha chalked up several best-selling albums including their international chart topper Hunting High and Low, released in 1985.

Most recently the band released an MTV Unplugged Summer Solstice album, which featured a stunning collaboration with fellow Norwegian and Highasakite lead Ingrid Havik, and the 2015 Cast in Steel album.

The 2018 Electric Summer Tour will see a-ha, complete with new band, bring their full electric set to venues across Europe, promising vibrant live shows with set-lists comprising a mix of their biggest hits with some new material.

Now that’s one ‘Back to the 80’s’ trip, you can’t afford to miss.

Tickets go on sale Thursday 7th December at 9am ticketmaster.ie ! 

Who Let The Dogs Out? The Mercury Shortlist & The Baying Hounds!


Rolling Stone

It’s only been a few hours since the Mercury Shortlist was announced and already a bloodthirsty cohort of baying hounds is chomping at the bit, desirous to sink their well honed canines into its juicy flesh.

Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, they smell the blood of more than a few Englishmen, cannibalistic appetite whetted, wolverine mouths salivating.

Why? Easy! These days, all anyone has to do to stir the blood of the whack-pack is print two words. Ed Sheeran.

The sheer mention of his name is enough to set every snarky schnauzer in the extended media pack barking their sardonic heads off. Having said that, some of the other nominees haven’t gone down too well either.

The inclusion of The XX, Blossoms and Alt-J has in some quarters, sunk heavier than your proverbial ton of lead.

For those who don’t have their snouts cocked so high in the air that they can’t see the gargantuan chips on their own shoulders through their green tinted eyes, the list is a diverse and refreshing combination of contemporary pop, spoken word social commentary, 21st century alt-rock, freestyle grime cum hip hop and much more.

Additions to this year’s judging panel include Marcus Mumford, Lianne La Havas, Ella Eyre, and DJ MistaJam. Singer Jessie Ware and jazzster Jamie Cullum are also on the panel along with broadcaster Clara Amfo, and Head of Music at BBC 6 Music and Radio 2, Jeff Smith.

The Hyundai Mercury Prize Awards Show will take place at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on Thursday, 14th September, with most of the nominees expected to perform on the night.

This prestigious annual prize recognises the best album from the UK and Ireland, however, notwithstanding the fact Sheeran might be Ireland’s adopted ‘looper’, this year’s shortlist is decidedly short on Irish entries.

An interesting situation indeed, given that the Irish music scene, which has never been stronger, is currently undergoing something of a cross-genre, multi-cultural renaissance.

And the nominees are,

Alt-J: ‘Relaxer’
Blossoms: ‘Blossoms’
Dinosaur: ‘Together, As One’
Ed Sheeran: ‘Divide’
Glass Animals: ‘How To Be A Human Being’
J Hus: ‘Common Sense’
Kate Tempest: ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’
Loyle Carner: ‘Yesterday’s Gone’
Sampha: ‘Process’
Stormzy: ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’
The Big Moon: ‘Love In The Fourth Dimension’
The xx: ‘I See You’

While one might expect hip hopper Stormzy to be immediately installed as bookies favourite, it could very well be that fellow grimer Skepta’s 2016 win with Konnichiwa might have inadvertently put paid to the Croydon native’s chances of a win!

DervSwerve’s top tips would be Dinosaur or Kate Tempest, however, the Mercury Prize has an uncanny track record of throwing up the least obvious winners!

To see you off, we’ve put together a playlist featuring sounds from the nominated albums. Enjoy. DervSwerve



Introducing Picture This … ‘A Sight Worth Seeing’

Jimmy Rainsford (L) & Ryan Hennessy (R) make up Picture This
Jimmy Rainsford (L) & Ryan Hennessy (R) make up Picture This

With a sound that veers in the general direction of their fellow Irishmen and musical forerunners The Script and Kodaline, recently appointed chart-sensations, Picture This, have arrived more quickly than most at that point on the musical map that many of their peers will only ever view from a distance.

Formed a little more than a year ago, theirs has been an easy and rapid ascent up a most vertical trajectory.  Watching ‘themselves’ from the virtual side-lines, as they shot from ‘Home Studio, Jimmy’s House, Athy’ to the top slot in the Irish charts must surely have been as surreal an occurrence as an out of body experience.

Even more bizarre must have been the spine-tingling, stomach turning flurry of butterflies moment they surely experienced walking onto the stage to a capacity crowd in a packed-to-the-rafters Olympia theatre a couple of nights ago.  How many bands can put that on their CV just a little more than 12months from recording their first hook on their iPhoneX?

Picture This Olympia Dublin
Picture This Olympia Dublin

‘Picture This’ has drip fed slow, steady single releases to their ever-increasing fan-base. Starting with the beautiful ‘Take My Hand’ which they first sampled only in October 2015, the duo continued, throughout the long, dark Winter months, to unfurl their uplifting musical charms onto an unsuspecting Irish audience, who singularly and eagerly fell captive to their unassuming yet compelling and honest sound.

So much so that the band’s debut gig was in the Academy (cap. 850) – like who the hell debut’s to an 850 strong crowd?  A rolling tour across Ireland and the UK that included full house lives in both Manchester and London, has culminated in three sell-out dates at the music-lovers venue of choice, Dublin’s Olympia theatre.  All on back of one Aslan cover and a 5-track EP, ‘Picture’. Phew!!

On 12th August, Picture This released their debut EP – the tracks of which run in single release sequence – and six days later it had reached the number one spot in the Irish charts.

Needless to say, the critics ranted, in a good way natch, while the fans raved, and now after one helluva rollercoaster ride and rock-n-roller tour, Picture This are set to finish 2016 on a high when they hit the stage at Dublin’s 3Arena on 3rd December, for the 2FM Xmas Ball in aid of the ISPCC.

When the fall of ticker-tape subsides and the shutters come down on the year that was 2016, this pair of ‘unlikely lads’ (and I say that in the nicest possible sense) will probably clink a pair in Some Pub, Main Street, Athy, and raise them in salute to friendship, Aslan, YouTube, iPhones, Kildare and oh, I suspect Lady Luck and good musical genes may just also get a nod.

With an album on the way next year, 2017 should see more of the same if not bigger and better from the Athy pair whose star looks surely set to rise, and rise, and …

‘Picture’ is available to buy or download via iTunes, Spotify et al, details – https://wmgartists.com/lp1/7444/picture-this-picture-this

Picture This will play Dublin’s 3 Arena on 3rd December along with Kodaline, All Tvvins & more, as part of the ISPCC Charity Ball organised by 2FM – tickets available here – https://wmgartists.com/lp1/7444/picture-this-picture-this

The Clock Strikes ‘Won’ For Robbie Williams



Having landed himself a record twelfth successive chart topping solo album, it looks like the British music buying public have well and truly taken up Robbie William’s 1997 ‘Let Me Entertain You’ battle-cry.

Not only has hitting the top spot with ‘THES’ landed him his latest gong, it has also positioned him just behind the Beatles (at 11) on the leader-board for most number1 studio albums in UK chart history.

This latest record breaking milestone marks the end of a triumphant week which saw Williams joining David Bowie and Elton John to become only the third person ever to be honoured with a Brits Icon Award.

On hearing the news that The Heavy Entertainment Show, his first album on Sony Music UK, had hit the top spot Robbie said: “I’m chuffed that this album is No 1 and I’m humbled by these amazing statistics and facts. Thank you to the wonderful, wonderful team at Sony. I’m as proud of this album as much as any other, and hope that the fans enjoy it as much as I loved making it…this is for the friendlies. I’m very excited to be taking The Heavy Entertainment show on tour next year.”

On June 2nd 2017 Robbie William will embark upon a European Arena tour, kicking off in Manchester’s Etihad Stadium.  So far, there are 31 confirmed dates up to the middle of September which will see the singer take in 18 countries including Russia.

Just how Putin will react to Robbie’s devil-may-care charm & mock Russian partying is anyone’s guess. Expect the next album to contain some references to oligarchs closer to home #Trumpton.

There are still some tickets left for Robbie William’s Irish date at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium 17th June 2017, tickets from Ticketmaster starting at Euro 69.50 excluding handling charges.  ‘The Heavy Entertainment Show’ is available through iTunes, Amazon etc and in physical format via your local record shop.


‘All for One’ Marks an Incendiary Return for The Stone Roses

All for one

“All for one, one for all, if we all join hands and make a wall”

Recorded in Church Studios, London and produced by the legendary Paul Epworth, ‘All for One’, the first single from Madchester Maestros, The Stone Roses, in over twenty years, is a blistering sonic boom that drags ’90s Brit-psych kicking and screaming into a harder, rockier 21st century.

Swirling guitar chords like demonic fireballs, explode across an intensely frenzied and uber fuzzed landscape that acts as a sizzling hotplate that adds some serious burn to, and chars the edges of, mellow-man Brown’s psyched out, reverb-drenched vocals.

Stone Roses

This is a coruscating scorcher……and if it’s indicative of what’s to come down the line, then any album in the offing is going to hit a pretty eruptive high on the richter scale.  Fans who’ve already bought tickets for the Stone Roses upcoming gigs are in for a bloody good, hot n’ sweaty ride.

The Stone Roses play three sold out shows at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium (17th – 19th) with an additional fourth night added for 15th June, some tickets still available. They also play Madison Square Garden, NYC, on 30th June, tickets go on sale tomorrow Friday 6th, details here http://www.thestoneroses.org/

‘All for One’ is available now via, www.thestoneroses.org  but you can listen to it here.

Radiohead: Never Has So Little Been So Talked About!

Radioheads Twitter Page

This is what has just sent music media into meltdown.  Radiohead’s Twitter Page.  Reduced to a white nothingness, on whose every move 1.58m Twitter followers hang.  CoS, Best Fit, NME, & Co.  All pumping out news of the nothingness like bullets from an out of control machine-gun.  Never has so little been so talked about. Never has white been so fashionable.  Never has Blankety Blank meant so much more than a cheque book & pen!

Is this it?  Is this it, then?  The moment we have all been waiting for.  The album the release of which, will send our fluttering hearts into a cardiac tango across the floor of our musical souls.

Will it be tonight?  On May Day…traditional international day of the worker? Will it be tomorrow?  The first Monday in May? Tick tock, Thom O’ Clock.

Radiohead’s Facebook Page

Radiohead’s last album came in the shape of ‘The King of Limbs’ released 18th February 2011.  Five years and nearly three months later, are we finally going to hear the next instalment of what has become one of the most remarkable musical stories of modern pop culture?

I say this half tongue in cheek, but also with a touch of seriousness … #watchthisspace

What should we expect? … Well according to NME …

” … photos leaked from their two years of sporadic studio sessions have seen the band working with elaborate synth set-ups as well as a full string orchestra, suggesting a plush electro direction. The band’s long-time visual collaborator Stanley Donwood, meanwhile, has described it as “a work of art.”

Rumour has it ‘Dawn Chorus’, a track worked on by Yorke as far back as 2009, has been included.  Expect the unexpected, and you probably won’t be disappointed.

In an hilarious post earlier this evening, the irreverent DiS wrote on Twitter:-

Prediction:  Radiohead to launch an app with free instrumental tracks and pay to upgrade to get vocals“.  So you see, it’s all to play for, and all up for grabs.  Everyone’s talking but no-one really knows what they’re talking about!  And the “Blank Canvas”, well that’s just a veil of torment isn’t it.  Like the long instrumental intro, it lures people into a potential false sense of expectation, provokes media into a frenzy of speculation.  Meanwhile the five “heads” are probably in the pub having a right old laugh.

In further developments this evening, it has been revealed that RH fans this weekend received “Burn The Witches” leaflets via the post.

Sing a Song of Sixpence

“Sing a song of sixpence that goes/Burn the Witch/We know where you live,” the leaflet read, with an embossed Radiohead logo. ‘Burn the Witch’ is the name of a Radiohead track thought to have originated around 2003-2005.

Now get this … listen to what he says and now listen to this …  Typical Thom eh?

For now, I’ll leave you on this fine Sunday evening of anticipation, with one of Radiohead’s most memorable live TV performances … Where were you when this gem was aired?  I know where I was.  Slap bang in front of it, glued fixatedly in awe and wonder. Which is how I’ll probably look as soon as I get their next album into my excited little mitts.

What’s the betting on the album being called “WhiteWash” or “Blank Canvas” eh?  Anyone?

You can follow nothingness here on Twitter or Facebook.

Danish Duo Palace Winter Playlisted by BBC6 Music

Photo Robert Lund
Photo Robert Lund

Danish #FunBoyTwo, Palace Winter, have entered the gilded halls of the UK’s musical mecca to reach the grail of all Holy Grails – the BBC 6 Music Playlist, their music label Tambourhinoceros has just announced.

Cracking the code of musical cool with their latest smash, ‘Soft Machine’, currently blitzing its way up UK and Euro online charts, this duo now look to be on course to become a ‘household name’ on the music scene, not just here but across mainland and Scandinavian Europe.  In less than a year, this psych-lovin’ two-piece has gone from freshening up the Faves on BBC supported, Fresh on the Net, an emerging artist support hub which was the brainchild of 6Music legend, Tom Robinson, to hitting constant airplay across top UK and EU radio stations, finally landing a coveted place on the BBC6 playlist this week.

Palace Winter have already charmed by:Larm and are now warming up to kill it at Roskilde, before they land in Wales’ Brecon Beacons where it’ll be all #go at the ‘Green Man’ Festival.  Full details on PW’s facebook page, here.  Their debut album, ‘Waiting for the World to Turn’ is out on 3rd June, full details and pre-order link, here.

In case you’ve been living in a bubble and/or had your radio switched off for the past month, here’s a link to the current Palace Winter single, ‘Soft Machine’, along with a link to the 6Music playlist, here.

A Sad Loss Is Announced


It is with a heavy heart and huge sense of loss that I type these words.  Ireland has lost one of its most prodigious talents today, with the sudden passing of pianist and composer, Conor Walsh.  Hailing from Swinford, he had only recently posted his delight at having provided the music for the Feargal Ward, short film, ‘Bungalow Bliss’.

Having started composing as a teenager, Walsh, who was influenced by Chopin amongst others, went on to become an highly respected professional musician, appearing at Electric Picnic, Body & Soul, and Other Voices (Dingle).  His music also featured on several Irish television programmes.

Composing pieces in the mould of Olafur Arnalds and Arni Gretar, his style was minimalist, neo-classical. Sadly, this gifted electro-acoustic pianist had only just released his debut EP, ‘Front’, via Ensemble Records last December.  Critically acclaimed by the likes of Jim Carroll, ‘Front’ was as destined for success as was Walsh.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends tonight!

Death leaves a heartache
no one can heal;
Love leaves a memory no
one can steal”