Derv’s Voyage of Discovery – Newsletter (Vol 6)

With an abundance of clattering, catchy and compelling new music coming down the pre-Christmas tracks, it’s time to once again give you our DerVerdicts on the good, bad and possibly not so pretty currently on release across the globe.

In this vol 6 of our totally random newsletter, we’re checking out some of the latest sounds around, with a dash of news bites and tour dates thrown in for good measure. Our DerVerdicts are our genuine, honest thoughts on and reactions to our featured releases  – they’re neither meant to offend nor flatter. As usual, you’ll find a complementary Spotify playlist at the bottom of the post. Happy Dervscovering!

DerVerdicts …

SHORT, SHARP SHOCK OF SHRAPNEL CUTS TO THE BONE

THE BREEDERS – Wait in the Car (Single)

Up to about 5 minutes ago, we’d never heard of The Breeders – a fact about which we probably should feel deeply ashamed. We don’t. We live in a highly filtered bubble; one in which a rarefied atmosphere is rarely pervaded by Pixie-esque terse alt-rock. On the rare occurrence that we make an exception, it usually involves the female as opposed to the male strain of this somewhat clangorous sound – our ears can’t hack anything of harsh, Ork-like quality.

Two minutes of melodic, jagged junkyard metal softened somewhat by the unfaltering, mono-punk of Kim Deal’s blasé vocal, we can certainly do. Wait in the Car is the first in what’s hoped is a new line of cuts from the recently reformed 90s outfit. Snappy, sassy grunge-swagger – if this is what The Breeders are capable of after a serious run of downtime, then count us in.

In other Breeders related news, Deal’s identical twin Kelley was recently honoured with a Gibson Les Paul guitar award by magazine. Deal is one of a current slew of hard-working females being feted for their contribution to the music industry; others being Vick Bain, Lara Baker and Decca Records’ Rebecca Allen.

Wait in the Car is available now via the 4AD imprint.

A ROMANTIC FAIRYTALE SET IN A MESMERISING 21ST CENTURY FANTASIA

BJORK – The Gate (Single)

Where her 2015 album Vulnicura focussed on the heartbreaking dissolution of a long-term relationship, Bjork’s impending release Utopiais about a love that’s even greater. It’s about rediscovering love—but in a spiritual way, for lack of a better word.

The Gate is the first sample of what we can expect from the latest chapter in the diary of the Icelandic chameleon mistress of magical avant-garde that is Bjork. One of her most exquisite and dulcet of love songs, its directness is belied by its quietude.

With the theme of oneness at its core, the song, like the changing tide, ebbs and flows through dark, spacious silences. Except this time, the silence is one of contentment, not one caused by devastation. In the pastoral, classically-inspired opening, Bjork’s multi-tracked vocal harmonies become inextricably intertwined with strings and woodwinds. Barely decipherable electronic dots and dashes are subjugated by a gravitation towards natural and organic sounds; simulated whale-song, hushed noises redolent of rustling trees and rolling tumbleweed from the seafloor.

The video, which was directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, is a triumph of the fantastical. It places this barely audible celebration of love in a quasi-animated setting that blurs the lines between Greek mythology and Monsters Inc., before tipping it into a 21st digital dreamscape replete with wonderfully choreographed kaleidoscope of animated graphics that evoke the multi-coloured magic of Disney’s Fantasia.

The Gate is out now via One Little Indian. Utopia is due for release on 24th November. **Yes, yes we know. Murphy’s Law. No sooner had we this written than Bjork went and dropped Blissing Me. Review coming soon.

The pull of nature alluded to above, links us nicely into the next song, which soundtracked the prequel to David Attenborough’s awe-inspiring Blue Planet II series.

OPEN YOUR MOUTH (AND HEARTS) WIDE

RADIOHEAD WITH HANS ZIMMER – Ocean Bloom (BBC Soundtrack)

Much has already been said about Radiohead‘s re-imagined Bloom. Originally published on their 2011 album The King of Limbs, it was a jungle of freeform jazz, electronic curios and 60s beat basslines. Re-worked by Yorke, Greenwood and renowned film score composer Hans Zimmer, Bloom, or Ocean Bloom as it has been renamed, has been transformed into an orchestral overture of cinematic proportions.

The jazz-arrhythmia of the original has been stripped, exposing an unobtrusive piano melody now refreshed by a scintillating adagio of strings and classical percussion. Thom Yorke re-recorded his vocal part for this re-work, and the quality of both his reach and hold, prove that this master of falsetto has lost none of his youthful vocal dexterity. The end result is a wondrous, quasi-orchestral triumph of understatement and finesse.

Radiohead are currently pursuing solo projects. Ocean Bloom isn’t on Spotify so instead we’ve included the original version of Bloom plus the Zimmer theme to Blue Planet II on our playlist below.

We may have already alluded to Ocean Bloom in a previous post, but we feel so strongly about the devastation being caused to our planet (to which Blue Planet II filmmakers can attest) that we’ll grab any opportunity to promote awareness.

MORE SPILLS, SENDING A SEARCH PARTY FOR THE THRILLS

Ruven Afanador

SAM SMITH – The Thrill of it All (Album)

DervSwerve is all up for giving artists who we’ve previously ‘naysayed’ the benefit of the doubt; so it was with an only partially shuttered mind, eye and ear that we decided to give the new Sam Smith album a spin. It was all so far, so familiarly vanilla until we got to track four – Midnight Train – the pulse, riffs and general demeanour of which sent our normally LBP to dangerously high.

Too Good at Goodbyes is a lacklustre poppy ballad written with nothing but $$$ in mind – it has all the kerching of Smith’s previous chart hits – tear-jerking whiny vocal, nod to the gospel choir and a few finger clicks to give it a bit of bluesy cool. Say it First is more of the same moan and teenage groan – what age is Smith, 16? His falsetto is so beyond false it could easily be a sample of one of the cauldron hugging witches from a ridiculously bad production of MacBeth. Next up is One Last Song, more rent-a-gospel-choir blancmange with none of the gutsy sandpapered force that this blend of blue-eyed soul demands (think Paul Young and weep!).

So, we arrive at Midnight Train. If we get into the nitty grittys we’ll probably be had for libel. So I’ll our opinion of this track will take the form of the following video. And on that note, we’ll leave Sam Smith and his less than thrilling compendium of torch songs and move onto artists who are shall we say, come across as being a little more original …

NO SOLE MIO FESTIVE FUN WITH PADDY HANNA

PADDY HANNA – Mario Lanza (Single)

Former member of left-of-centre Grand Pocket Orchestra Paddy Hanna, has unveiled another single, Mario Lanza, from his forthcoming second solo album entitled Frankly I Mutate. Scheduled for release in 2018 via Strange Brew Records, the Daniel Fox (Girl Band) produced album, which the Dubliner recorded with a new band, features inputs from Cian Nugent and the Cosmos, Saint Sister and the Trinity Orchestra.

A tight interplay of myriad strings (electric, acoustic, banjo, violin) and some fantastic swing-style percussion form an uplifting, uptempo soundscape onto which Hanna throws down a quirky yet formidable vocal. Notwithstanding its lighthearded vibe, Mario Lanza has its roots in a more serious real-life episode, as the singer explained:-

My Father, not too long ago, went through a terrible illness which left him in a coma for two weeks”, “While struggling to deal with the strain I began listening through some rough demos I had, one of which was a minute-long ditty about Mario Lanza,”, “(I) realized very quickly I was channelling my pain through this particular track.”

Mario Lanza is out now on the Strange Brew imprint. Paddy is about to hit our EU funded roads, with dates scheduled across Cork, Dublin and Limerick.

PADDY HANNA TOUR DATES
Fri 17th Nov – Levi’s, Ballydehob
Sat 18th Nov – Bello Bar, Dublin
Fri 24th Nov – Connolly’s Of Leap
Sat 2nd Dec – Kasbah, Limerick

UNLAOISEING HER INNER MATERIAL GIRL

LAOISE – Rich (Video)

Turning her attention to visualising her musical concepts, Galwegian Laoise has once again turned to filmic collaborator Christian Tierney, to translate the lyrical storyline of her latest single Rich into a pictorial tale. Which he has done, with sophisticated, understated aplomb.

The ‘purple haze’ video sees the singer, who is trapped in a cocoon of material wealth, become more fixated with tangible luxuries the more they come into her possession. Speaking of video the singer explained: “The song is about a love that’s been compromised for possessions, and how easy it was for money to gain control over their mind. You can see this in the video where certain materials and surroundings can quickly alter personality and behaviour, and with every new material someone owns, the more superior they feel.”

Rich is taken from Laoise‘s upcoming EP due out in early 2018. We’re looking forward to it girl!

BOYS TO MEN

 

Photo – Southend Who?

THE TRUSTED – Boy (Single)

Following on from their stand-out Summer single Sunlight and fresh from a plethora of live dates (they’ve played 70 gigs this year alone), Southend four-piece The Trusted return with single Boy.

Switching gears and stylistic direction, Boy leaves behind the honeyed mellow hues of downtempo Sunlight for an altogether darker, grungier vibe. Filled with blues basslines, tense guitar riffs, punchy drumming and frontman Tom Cunnigham’s alluring vocal, this latest single is an exciting insight into The Trusted’s constant evolution. Their unceasing desire to explore, boldly lane-hopping from one genre to the next, trialling and excavating sounds, has seen their songwriting mature to a level where they should now be looking to cut their first EP.

Boy explores the centuries-old headwreck of transitioning from teenager to adulthood and all the internal struggles the ‘strung up boy’ goes through to mature.

Having picked up support from Hoxton Radio and BBC Introducing, London, The Trusted have seen their fanbase explode over the past 12 months, a fact borne out by the ever-increasing numbers at their live shows. They play the Dublin Castle, Camden on 25th November and with their reputation for blistering live performances, this is one pre-Christmas gig that Londoners should mark on the ‘to do list’ now.

There’s also a tour in offing, so keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook page, here. Boy is out now on all digital platforms.

 A MATCH MADE IN TROPICAL HEAVEN

THE UNION FEAT. LOVESPEAKE – Never Gonna Work (Single)

Norwegian band Lovespeake are particularly adept at coining Summer hot, dude cool tunes. Fronted by Alexander Pavelich, they released one of Norway’s best albums of 2016 – DNA – you can read The Monitors review of it, here. Most recently they’ve been touring Asia, but a return to colder climes has seen them once again cosy up with Swedish duo The Uniøn to produce electronic adventure Never Gonna Work.

An addictive tropical-house track in the mould of Kygo, Never Gonna Work opens into a spacious electroscape with nothing but Pav’s lush vocal tip toeing through micro beats before bursting into a full-on, juicy dance track. Infectious, dynamic, and irresistible, this galloping floor filler is one that’s sure to have party-people shaking their booty on this season’s festive club circuit.

Never Gonna Work is out now via the Toothfairy label.

TURN UP THE FREQUENCY, THIS IS NO ILLUSION

 

YOUNG EARTH – Frequency Illusion (EP)

Young Earth are a four-piece from Dublin formed at BIMM, who’ve taken 90’s style 60’s jams and twisted them into 21st century indie-rock songs with all the punchy instrumental weight of the Arctic Monkeys and flourish of the Beatles.

Since unveiling their debut single Maggie in 2016, the band have had four more releases culminating in their debut EP Frequency Illusion. A five track cut, it veers very much in a 90’s indie direction – sounds like SuperGrass, the LAs, Kula Shaker – but with the noughties savvy of successors like the Vaccines and Alex Turner et al.

The EP title track is a retro, guitar driven, stop-start energiser filled with tight licks, clattering percussion and inviting vocals. Second in, Worth it, will be remembered for it’s crowd pulling chorus and Shadows-esque guitar riffs. The more you journey into this EP the more you’ll notice slight similarities with both The Academic and The Strypes – two other up and coming Irish bands at different stages of their evolution but equally successful in their own right – which can only augur well for this emerging four-piece.

Got a Secret is one of the strongest tracks on the EP – brandishing some seriously cutting, clean guitar lines and dark melodies. That darkness is countered by the slick n’ sassy sway of Undercover onto which frontman Mark O’Keeffe pours some seriously honeyed vocals. The song, which also features a rather neat if short guitar solo, adds a provocative touch of the ‘lush’ to what has hitherto been a pretty blistering tracklist. EP closer Let Go flaunts some serious pop sensibilities under the cover of several layers of reverb. Wet, hazy and dreamy, this’ll possibly be the one to get the girl’s screaming during the lives.

A neatly packaged, well balanced debut from a band who know their stuff. For their age, Young Earth are a surprisingly well-oiled machine. Innovative well honed musicianship, confident vocals and an ear for good tunes with plenty of ‘je ne sais quoi’ should stand them in good stead for a pretty rock n roll 2018.

Frequency Illusion is out now on all digital platforms.

SIXTY SECOND NEWS

Classy Norwegian pocket-orchestra Einar Stray‘s highly acclaimed Dear Bigotry album has been nominated in the Best Norwegian Album cat of the annual Gaffa Awards – you can vote for this or any other category that tickles your fancy over at gaffa.no/prisen

Irish feist-rock band Bitch Falcon‘s latest single, live favourite Of Heart, which is due out 24th November is currently on pre-order here

Canadian mega-star Michael Bublé has just been announced for a Summer sesh at Croker. Pencilled in for Saturday 7th July, 2018, tickets for Bubbles will not doubt be gone before they begin so have the fam on standby, fingers on your buzzers – tickets from Ticketmaster 9am Friday 17th – he who dares wins (the bruises will heal eventually) – link here – all the very best!

Norwegian artist Susanne Sundfør has just announced that she is to bring her Music For People In Trouble audio visual show to London’s Barbican Centre on May 21st, 2018. Unfortunately, this has resulted in her having to cancel the previously advertised gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire (Refunds will be available at the point of purchase or exchanged on a first option basis for seats at the Barbican). General sale tickets available from November 24th. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!

We have way more news and views to share with you so stay tuned because VoD newsletter #7 will be with you before the end of the week! Busy times. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to stay in the loop, DervSwerve x

2FM Xmas Ball ’17 – The Script Headline – Tickets On Sale Friday 10th November

The 2FM Xmas Ball, which is jointly hosted by RTE 2FM and MCD productions, is set to return to Dublin’s 3 Arena on 19th December, 2017. The annual musical jolly in aid of the I.S.P.C.C and Childline, has already lined up a host of top Irish music stars to take part in its Christmas themed extravaganza.

Headliners are Dublin boys, The Script, with The Coronas and Gavin James the other big names so far announced to play the charity ball. Hudson Taylor and Hermitage Green have also booked slots on the line up, along with newbies Wild Youth and Little Hours. More acts and special guests are yet to be announced.

Presenters on the night will be made up from the 2FM radio family including Nicky Byrne & Jenny Greene, Eoghan McDermott, Bernard O’Shea, Jennifer Zamparelli, Keith Walsh, Tracy Clifford and more.

Last year’s event raised over €460,000 and organisers hope that the 2017 follow-on will generate even more badly needed funds for the two Irish children’s charities. Just in case you were under the misapprehension that I.S.P.C.C and Childline are state funded, let us be very clear – they are not!

ISPCC/Childline had to close its centre in the past week due to a shortage of funds, depriving vulnerable children of its much needed listening service. The funds generated by the 2FM Xmas ball will raise just under 10% of the funding required by ISPCC/Childline for an entire years operations.

Help these charities support child victims of bullying, discrimination, neglect, poverty etc by dipping into your pocket and buying a ticket for what’s set to be one of the entertainment highlights of the festive season.

Tickets priced Euro 39.50 will go on sale at 9am Friday 10th November via Ticketmaster – link here – http://www.ticketmaster.ie/2fm-Xmas-Ball-tickets/artist/2292502

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

5 WEBSITE MISTAKES MUSICIANS NEED TO AVOID MAKING

As someone who has to trawl through seas of benign websites and whose inbox is chock full of links to less than user/reviewer/fan friendly websites, I feel it’s incumbent upon me to impart a few wise words on the topic of online plugging and the art of creating a snazzy website with on-point, well laid out, engaging content. In this part 1 of 2, I’ll outline the five most common mistakes musicians make with regard to their website.

Now some of you might point out that my own DervSwerve site isn’t exactly bells and whistles – but guys,  it doesn’t need to be. I am selling nothing but YOUR music. I’m not in this to earn a crust or flog any wares other than the musical ones submitted to me.

While many of you have built your own professional websites – some via home-DIY with the aid of YT videos, others with the help of web ninjas – having tech design tools, dev savvy and a relatively blank canvas are only the first step in creating a cracking website.

Design, lay-out, flow and content are key to building a website that will not just attract but win over potential fans, engage current fans, and impress industry gatekeepers.

Having had to cruise thousands of websites over the past two+ years, I’ve noticed the same issues time and time again. Here are some of the biggest web-related mistakes musicians make – mistakes that should be avoided at all costs.

NOT USING PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS

Cardinal sin number 1. When it comes to PR, online plugging and your website, we cannot over-emphasise the importance of using professional photos.

Professionally taken, clear, high-res images are your calling cards. They help create good first impressions on fans, as well as industry and media.

Badly cropped, low res, poorly lit or unfocussed images will hinder rather than help, creating negative rather than the desired positive brand awareness.

If you don’t believe us, just hop over to IG and see the difference in follows and likes on profiles that churn out high res, colour-pop, or imaginative high quality shots vs those that limply flick out uncentered, fuzzy, grainy shots, taken by the bessie on a S5 without any thought being put into them.

If you don’t take your image seriously, people won’t take your music seriously, fact.

Think we’re joking? When landing on any website for the first time, it’s the photos that are the headliners. Attention grabbers, images are what will give potential fans their first impression of you and your music.

Ensure your header and background images act the part and fit the bill. Always ensure your press pack or digital press kit if you prefer, contain variations of high-res images (at least one landscape image and nothing below 250 pixels or they won’t pull onto social media!).

NOT HAVING A MOBILE FRIENDLY SITE

Er? If not using professional photos is a cardinal sin, not having a site that’s mobile friendly is a mortal one. In today’s world of mobile and zing zing tech, musicians need a mobile-friendly website. It’s all about mobile digital media – if it don’t fit, the kids will swipe left!

Your mobile-centric site must:-

Load instantly, be easily navigated, and have clear content, accessible samples of your music and ‘buy now’ tools that are in perfect working order.

Fun Fact! Google-search punishes sites that aren’t mobile-friendly. So, if you want your band to achieve higher SEO search results than a similarly named brand of stain remover, get your mobile act together asap.

NOT KEEPING THE SITE REGULARLY UPDATED

If you go into a newsagents to score the latest editions of your favourite music mags only to find half-stocked shelves containing last month’s issues, there’s a strong chance you’ll leave, right?

Okay, so ditto when someone parachutes onto your site only to find a track released three years ago, a photo of the band aged 18 (you’re now 22) taken at a now defunct festival, and that the last ‘latest news’ is dated Jan 2016. What would you think? That the band has jacked it in? That they’re too lazy to be bothered to do some ‘social’ housekeeping?

The potential for negative impact here is greater when it comes to media and industry. It is a time-wasting pain in the ass for any reviewer, DJ or a.n.o industry professional to arrive at an artist’s website expecting to find bios, tour & ticket info, release dates etc, only to find dust-coated, stale news.

Always have your latest news clearly visible on the Homepage, via Blog, newsfeeds or otherwise.

Other features that should be updated regularly are events calendar, photos, videos, and your music, natch. Embedding social media feeds onto your website takes a lot of the pain out of site maintenance.

Even though other elements of the website may not be always totally up to date, at least people checking out your site will see that you’re still alive and kicking!

NOT ENOUGH MUSIC / NO DIRECT-TO-FAN PURCHASE OPTIONS

At the end of the day, the bottom line is that you are trying to sell your wares.

It’s all well and good having an “I want millions of people to hear my music” mission statement but bills have to be paid, the dog fed and guitar strings replaced. That takes money, so be practical.

The first place a discography of YOUR music should be found is on your OWN website. And a full one at that.

Fans should be able to land on your full music catalogue at the press of a tab. Offering up samples and then ushering them off to iTunes or Deezer is the commercial equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.

Have all your music available to stream. Offer ‘a free download when you sign up’ deal to bag email addresses that will help build your mailing list.

Vitally important for healthy coffers is the inclusion of direct-to-fan purchase options. These will ensure you retain most of the money (85% with Bandcamp), and again, allow you to gather valuable contact information that can be later used in marketing drives.

Once those elements are in place, you can then provide links to external online shopping options and streaming services.

Always bear in mind that despite the fact that they are selling your music, these 3rd party services will, for reasons of Data Protection, never share their customer details with you.

Invaluable opportunities to follow up directly with those fans about future albums, tours, or merch offerings will be lost at the click of a link.

NO MAILING LIST SIGN UP

Too often bands don’t have a mailing list sign up, or if they do, it’s lost in a jungle of content.

It’s imperative that your website has a sign up link (usually placed at the top right hand corner of the landing/homepage). Add in a short blurb or giveaway … “be sure to sign up for new of our upcoming tour/album etc” … “sign up now to get a free download link to our cover of XYZ” …

Why is it imperative?

Your mailing list is YOURS. It is your contact database, one you don’t have to share with anyone else.

Email marketing is 40 times more effective than the power of Facebook and Twitter combined (Mc Kinsey). So, if you want to sell your music, that merch, those gig tickets, you’ll reap more rewards with direct mail blasts than with endless repeat posts on social media.

“If email is not the biggest part of your social strategy, then you are giving the power of communication with your fans to companies who will gladly take them and whose advertisers will thank you to no end for providing them with eyeballs.”

In part two, we’ll bring you the Online Plugging Bible. Tune in next time! DervSwerve

Wyvern Lingo – That Love For Sadie Just Keeps A’Growin’

Such has been the success of their latest single, I Love You Sadie, that gawjus gals Wyvern Lingo have now released their mucho bueno acoustic version, and it’s available now via Rubywax Records on all digital platforms!

The stand-out track, which the trio performed on RTE’s Saturday Night with Miriam has been a runaway favourite with radio-heads, journos and fans alike, with everyone raving about its exciting fresh folk-take on R&B as well as it’s colourful, uplifting verve.

The girls describe the track as being about “loving the feminine qualities of a man, and encouraging him not to worry about fitting into the male stereotype and just to be himself”. There you go now Paddy, find your inner Patricia and let her rip!

Fresh from their much raved-about performance at Longitude Fest, Wyvern Lingo have announced a Party and then a post-party-party after the original launch party! Confused much? Pay attention grasshopper.

WL will host a Launch Party for their new single I LOVE YOU, SADIE – the lead track from their forthcoming debut album, due early 2018 – at Dublin’s Grand Social on 25th August.

This will be followed by (dramatic pause), an after party in a SECRET LOCATION 😱 .

What can you expect on the night?  DJ sets from the Lingo ladies, as well as RTÉ 2fm presenter Tara Stewart – and FREE BEER TASTING from Bray’s O Brother Brewing on arrival at the after party.

Full details on FB events here with limited tickets still available via Ticketmaster.

PARTEEE!!! DervSwerve

Wicklovians Wyvern Lingo are Caoimhe Barry, Karen Cowley and Saoirse Duane 

Will Gregory To Moog The Night Away At NCH

News has just filtered through that the Will Gregory Moog Ensemble are to play a unique concert at Dublin’s NCH on Sunday 1st October ’17.

The show, which is a Science Gallery (TCD) Dublin collaboration, will see Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, and Adrian Utley of Portishead fame, bring their unique synthesiser-showcase to the NCH stage.

Will Gregory is an innovative creator and re-imaginer who together with Utley, pushes the boundaries of composition using Moog synths. The duo together with their ensemble, add their own flavour to music from pop culture and films, whilst also showcasing new works side by side with fresh interpretations of classical compositions.

To mark the tenth anniversary of synth-innovator Robert Moog’s death, Will Gregory will premiere a new piece of music. The composition features a new clocking device that enables the syncing of all ten synths, resulting in a new, idiosyncratic soundscape.

This unique event should make for the perfect confluence of old and new, and a truly inspirational as well as well as hugely entertaining evening.

Portmanteau fans can chew over the Portisfrapp and Goldhead options during the interval!

Will Gregory (Goldfrapp), Adrian Utley (Portishead) and ensemble. NCH, Dublin, Sunday 1st October 2017

Room: Main Stage 
Prices: €30, €25

Tickets from NCH Box Office Tel: 01 417 00 00 or Nch.ie

 

Gash Collective : Moving the Needle to Equalise Music

Ellen King Courtesy of Irish Times

When the line-ups for the three biggest Irish festivals were announced earlier this year, there was universal outrage across social media at the gross lack of female representation. The stark reality is that female artists constituted a mere 27% of the total 2017 line up across the top 3 Irish festivals. We wrote about it on the blog, have a read here.

Ironically this comes at a time when Irish DJ Jenny Greene has never been so popular, with the rise and then some of her uber-super Ibiza Proms-like showcase of trance-classical in collab with the RTE Symphony Orchestra; a show which has sold-out every single performance since its inception for last year’s Electric Picnic.

Tackling disproportionate representation along with other gender imbalances within the music industry, is what Irish based Gash Collective is about. So, in response to club and festival gender bias, whether intentional or nay, this Irish collective, run by women for women (and those identifying as female), has been running a series of curated workshops aimed at encouraging females to get involved in the world of electronic music.

Sponsored by Smirnoff, the workshops provide an opportunity for women over the age of 18 “to get stuck in, in a completely non-judgemental atmosphere”. The sessions focus on DJ and production skills, enabling women to learn how to use Ableton software, equipment such as turntables and CDJs (digital music players for DJing, the most common of which are produced by Pioneer) and how to mix them some musical magic.

Discussing the workshops with the Irish Times, Cork based DJ Ellen King explained, “The main thing is that no experience is necessary. The big thing, especially with CDJs and decks, is they’re very expensive equipment and a lot of people don’t have access to them, unless they know someone who owns a bar etc”.

All equipment – laptops, decks etc – is provided, with training led by female Irish producers and DJs. All the participants have to do is pitch up and immerse themselves in the vibe. It’s all about getting yourself out there with like-minded gals, having a go, enjoying a few laughs, and making a few mistakes along the way.

All of the workshops are now full, but you can still register to receive info-mails about future events. So sign up and go along at nearest opportunity! Remember – She who dares wins!

ABOUT GASH COLLECTIVE: Gash Collective Irish based collective focused on supporting women in the field of electronic music; a platform to encourage women to create, share and collaborate together in the field of electronic music in Ireland. Through safe space initiatives, carefully curated parties and events, as well as production and DJ workshops, GASH intends to shine a light on female identifying producers and DJs in Ireland. 

GASH was inspired by Female:Pressure’s VISIBILITY project and collectives like SIREN London and DISCWOMAN NYC. 

Gash are on Twitter and Facebook. Do show your support and give them a follow! DervSwerve.

 

Julia Holter Covers Depeche Mode In Honour Of Late Artist Friend

American artist Julia Holter has released a new 7″ double-A set of covers of the legendary Mode track, Condemnation, adjudged by many to be one of the British band’s finest compositions.

A collaboration with Ramona Gonzalez, Cole M.G.N and Nedelle Torrisi, the charity single is being released in honour of their late close-friend, artist and music video director Travis Peterson, who tragically died at the end of 2016. Depeche Mode were one of Peterson’s favourite bands.

The double-A which is released via Holter’s home label Domino Records, features two covers – one live and one synth version of the ’93 single that saw Mode frontman Dave Gahan deliver one of his best vocal performances.

“Aside from being an authentic and talent artist and collaborator, Travis was a great friend and beloved by many in Los Angeles and around the world,” Holter, Gonzalez, M.G.N., and Torrisi said in a joint-statement. “Known for his infectious laugh, sense of mischief, and passion for art, music, and architecture, Travis was simply a pleasure to be around.”

While the live version is an heavenly chorus of harmonies that floats slowly over a solemn tide of accordion, the second cover is a masterclass in synth understatement that stays true to the aesthetic of early ’90s Mode.

The deeply touching live-acoustic version of the song is accompanied by a sublime Jennifer Juniper Stratford video, which you can watch below.

All proceeds will be donated to  Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a Los Angeles-based non-profit dedicated to providing mental health and substance abuse services in underserved communities.

The limited edition Condemnation vinyl can be pre-ordered here.

HWCH Tickets Go On Sale As First Round Of Delegates Announced

Ahead of the ‘big-reveal’ of its line-up Hard Working Class Heroes has announced ticket info for its September event.

The Irish music showcase and conference, which is held annually in the capital, will this year run from Thursday 28th to Saturday 30th inclusive, with the event being split into two parts.

The first, which will be held in the Chocolate Factory on the opening night of the 28th, will be a networking event aimed at encouraging visiting international delegates to network with both Irish media and music artists alike.

The second ‘double-nighter’ will see a run of live showcases in various venues throughout Dublin across 29th and 30th September. With over 400 applicants to chose from, the adjudicating panel will no doubt have had some tough calls to make but the final line up is likely to be as diverse and talented as in the past.

Similar to international models such as Norway’s Trondheim Calling and the UK’s The Great Escape, HWCH, which is supported by The Arts Council, Culture Ireland and Failte Ireland/Tourism Ireland, plays host to international delegations to its showcase/conference event.

These visits enable overseas promoters, producers, bookers, labels and media alike to make connections with their Irish counterparts and see a wide range of innovative Irish music.

Through attendance at HWCH, delegates can:

– See exciting new and innovative contemporary Irish music performed live in a specially curated list of venues

– Create new links and/or strengthen existing ones between the contemporary music sector in Ireland and contacts overseas

– Meet with peers from both Ireland and other countries to discuss possible creative collaborations, co-commissions and partnership projects

HWCH has over the years attracted numerous international figures from a broad range of musical backgrounds and this year would appear to be no exception. The first round of international industry delegates has been announced and features some serious music credentials.

NYC based freelancer Laura Parker (Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair), Reeperbahn Festival’s ‘Head of Showcase Programme’ Evelyn Seeber, and The New Yorker’s John Seabrook are just some of the top notch names flying in for HWCH17. Read the full first cut here.

Across the breadth of the HWCH weekend, artists, delegates and music professionals will be able to attend a mix of workshops, discussions and panels. Artist-Professional 1:1’s will also be part of the HWCH mix.

This unique programme of sessions aims to help artists to grow awareness and get their music heard. They also provide an invaluable open-forum for artists to gain industry insights and hook up with professionals to whom they would otherwise never have access.

Some of the HCWH16 success stories with whom you might be familiar are SouléAilbhe Reddy, Talos, A.S Fanning and Le Boom. Previous HWCH incumbents have included Saint Sister, Rusangano Family, HozierSoak, and boys about town, The Strypes who’ve just dropped a new album, and Otherkin whose debut is on the way.

Make sure to get your tickets early as like every other live music event in Ireland, they sell out pretty darn quickly. DervSwerve

Tickets (incl charges) via Eventbrite are priced as follows:

Conference & weekend live €55.00 / Weekend live €35.00 / Conference €25.00

Nightly live €25.00 / Single venue €12.00

https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/hard-working-class-heroes-festival-2017-tickets-35351423058