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.

22 Irish Acts Will Be Showcased At International Festivals Inc TGE & Primavera

Music From Ireland Announces Names of Irish Acts Being Showcased at Both TGE18 and Primavera Pro. 22 Irish Music Artists Will Line Out for Two of the Biggest Summer Festivals On The Euro Circuit

Music from Ireland has announced the names of those emerging Irish music artists selected to play two of this Summer’s biggest showcase festivals. Of the 22 up and coming acts, 19 have been lined up for Brighton-based The Great Escape while a further three will pitch up for Primavera Pro, the ‘pro-am’ leg of renowned Spanish summerfest, Primavera Sound. Two of the total acts, Le Boom and Fontaines DC will be showcased at both festivals.

TGE18, which will run from 17th to 19th May, will play host to nineteen Irish acts out of a staggering total line up of 450 emerging music artists set to light up the southern seaside town across the three days of the festival. The Irish team lining out for TGE18 is, in alpha order,

Æ MAK | ÁINE CAHILL |   JOSHUA BURNSIDE  | THE ESKIES | 

FONTAINES D.C.  |JEALOUS OF THE BIRDS |  DAVID KEENAN | DERMOT KENNEDY  |

LE BOOM  |  CATHERINE McGRATH | MONCRIEFF  | PILLOW QUEENS  |

REWS | RUTHANNE | TIM CHADWICK | TOUTS  |

LILLA VARGEN |WHENYOUNG  | WYVERN LINGO 

Roe Photo: Hotpress

Music from Ireland will host two Irish music showcase events at TGE on Thursday 17th May – details here:

10.30 – 11.30am Thursday, Networking Brunch (as part of Culture Ireland’s GB18 programme of events).

12.00 – 5.00pm Thursday, Series of Lives The Prince Albert venue, line up as follows:-

12.00 Tim Chadwick

13.00 Pillow Queens

14.00 Fontaines D.C.

15.00 RuthAnne

16.00 Æ Mak

In addition to the 19 artists giggin’ and rockin’ out at The Great Escape, two of those plus a further three are being given the chance to peddle their wares at the Primavera Pro spin-off of the illustrious Primavera Sound. The two lucky double dippers are Fontaines DC and Le Boom, who’ll be joined at PP by singer/songwriters Ailbhe Reddy, Roe and Paddy Hanna.

This is the first year that up and coming Irish music artists have been invited to showcase at the event which is a magnet for (Spanish & South American) industry insiders, tipsters and professionals. We have no doubt that all five acts will do themselves proud and then some. The Irish PP showcase is scheduled for Friday, 1st June at the Day Pro Stage.

All credit to Culture Ireland and Music from Ireland for working together to ensure the funding was put in place to support the promotion of Irish music through expansion into new global territories.

Listen to sounds by all 22 acts on out Music from Ireland – TGE & Primavera Playlist here.

It’s An All-Irish Go-Live for Forbidden Fruit

With a line up that features The War on Drugs, Kieran Hebden’s Four Tet, Warpaint, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Superorganism, the RHK-based Bulmer’s Forbidden Fruit Festival looks set to be one of the highlights of #summerfest2018. Scheduled to run across the full June Bank Holiday weekend, #FFF18 is a renowned hot-bed for both established and emerging ‘left-field’ music acts. Now, to add fuel to its already scorching fire, the Dublin-based music festival has just announced the return of its All-Irish Bulmers Live Stage featuring twenty Irish acts playing across the three day festival programme.

Rising stars such as Ailbhe Reddy, Lilla Vargen, Erica Cody, AE Mak, the Fontaines and Sylk will join the already stellar cast lined up to entertain the hordes set to take over the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham from 2nd to 4th June next. To celebrate all things emerging and Irish, we’ve whipped up a short Bulmers Live Stage Playlist to help you get both in the know and more importantly, in the mood for the first big Irish festival of Summer 2018. Listen to it below,

In what is has become an annual feature at FFF, the Bulmer’s Live Stage – 100% Irish Music Artists – is platform that plays host to a selection of emerging artists over the three days, promoting the best in new Irish music

Forbidden Fruit will play host to an array of innovative and off-mainstream acts during its three day festorama over the June bank holiday. With acts as diverse as Four Tet, The War on Drugs, Glass Animals, and Bonobo set to light up its many stages, #FFF18 once again looks set to be the ‘hard-shoulder’ of the Irish festival circuit. Amen to that!

Tickets for Bulmer’s Forbidden Fruit Vary in Package/Price

Monday Day (4th) €64.50

Two Day Weekend (Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd) – €119.00

Three Day (Sat 2nd, Sun 3rd, Mon 4th) – €162.50

All tickets available via Ticketmaster.ie

Listen to the DervSwerve #FFF18 Bulmers Live Stage Playlist here,

Wyvern Lingo Snow II : Soulful, Unnerving Intimacy

Photo: Ruth Medjber

2017 has been a fantastic year for Irish music artists, not least for trio Wyvern Lingo whose stream of percipient releases has reflected a striking, stylistic evolution that has seen their music move to a whole new level. To bring their stand-out year to a rather festive close, these adventurous pioneers of alt-r&b have unveiled soulful new single, Snow II. 

Snow II is a re-imagining of the song of the same title. A quasi-acoustic track coloured with subtle hints of synth and some mellow flute sequences, Snow originally featured on the 2014 EP, The Widow Knows. Underpinned by a rolling tumbleweed of acoustic guitar, the song’s expansive instrumental spaciousness allows the trio’s close-harmony singing to take a much-deserved centre-stage.

In the re-worked Snow II, Wyvern Lingo have retained much of the spaciousness of the original. The key change comes in the form of additional textures and atmospherics. While the same interwoven vocal harmonies preside, the instrumental takes on more prominence with the inclusion of pulsating synth beats – recalling the heart beating in the “womb” – and a more vocal electric guitar.

The track opens with repetitive solo beat and sparse synth chords that provide the perfect open soundscape for Caoimhe Barry’s intuitive vocal, one into which she pours just the right amount of expressive nuance. Textured layers and subtle strands are interwoven into the song’s melodic and harmonic progression as it evolves into sensual, bass-driven bluesy RnB. The overall effect is one of soulful, unnerving intimacy.

“It sifts from leaden sieves, It powders all the wood, … Then stills its artisans like ghosts, Denying they have been” – Emily Dickinson

Snow obscures familiar objects, rendering them strange and ghostly to us.

Snow II captures the spectral beauty of snow, as well as its unerring ability to eradicate our personal landscapes. The falling snow covers the world outside, creating a disconnect that causes us to retreat indoors, just as during the dog days of a dysfunctional relationship, we pull down shutters to cut ourselves off, creating an emotional no-man’s land that keeps us outside touching distance.

Snow II is the version of the original the band “always imagined it would sound like“. Inspired in part by the Simon & Garfunkel classic, I am a Rock, the song was written from the perspective of the person trying to reach an ex lover who is in that dark place, cutting themselves off from the world.” explains Caoimhe Barry. “It’s about wanting to comfort them, but you can’t speak to them or hold them like you might have when you were in a relationship, and how sad and confusing that is.

“Darkness falls, The sky is white, Street lights, Inside the candle burns … And I know my love grows, Like the silence of snow”

Snow II was mixed and produced by Berlin-based Cork musician and producer Wife and London-based Mix Engineer Neil Comber (Glass Animals, Florence & The Machine), who were drafted in to work their magic on the band’s new material.

This captivating track is yet another taste of what we can expect from Wyvern Lingo’s upcoming debut album, which they started recording in February 2017.

An album launch party is set to kick off a nationwide tour in February 2018, with UK/Euro dates coming down the tracks. The launch, which was originally planned for No.22 South Anne St. (tickets for which are still valid), has been moved to the larger Button Factory venue and is scheduled to take place on 23rd February, 2018, tickets from http://www.wyvernlingo.com

Wyvern Lingo is: Caoimhe Barry (vocals/drums), Karen Cowley (synth/ bass synth/vocals) and Saoirse Duane (guitar/vocals)

Snow II is out now on RubyworksWyvern Lingo play the Button Factory on Friday 23 February. Tickets €19.50 including booking fee are on sale now. Follow Wvyern Lingo on Facebook to keep savvy … you can give us a follow as well, DervSwerve x

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!

MFI Series Of London Events To Showcase Irish Acts To UK Music Industry

A series of London-based gigs to showcase up and coming Irish music acts has been announced by Music From Ireland.  The Irish music export office in conjunction with hosts London Irish Centre, will this  month bring the best of emerging Irish talent across the sea to the UK capital for a succession of gigs.  Kicking off on Thursday 29th June in the LIC’s Camden HQ, the series is expected to run until the end of 2017, if not beyond.

The platform was developed with the UK industry in mind, as it bids to bring contemporary Irish acts to the attention of a wealth of music professionals ranging from promoters to PRs to programmers.  The project is supported by Culture Ireland, the government subset of the Dept. of Arts, responsible for the promotion of Irish arts worldwide.  Speaking of the showcase series, Christine Sisk, Director of Culture Ireland explained:

“Culture Ireland puts showcasing at the centre of its strategy for international promotion of the arts as by reaching international promoters showcasing succeeds in generating further career opportunities for artists globally. The new quarterly ‘Music From Ireland’ showcase, run by the London Irish Centre in partnership with Music from Ireland offers a great platform for Irish musicians in London to reach promoters, agents and programmers and gain UK touring contracts.” 

The series opener on June 29th will feature three non-Dublin based acts: Cork native Talos, Northern Irish artist Naomi Hamilton who performs under the Jealous of the Birds moniker, and Limerick based Rusangano Family.

Three extremely diverse acts, they make for a broad and colourful representation of the modern Irish music scene in 2017.

Jealous of the Birds is an everything and then some singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who dabbles in myriad sounds so as to render her style impossible to nail into one single classification.  Travelling through the dark into light, her songs are a fine balance of hushed poignancy and electric vibrancy.

Having released her debut Capricorn EP in early 2015, this young songwriter has gone from strength to strength amassing a strong fanbase that includes media from both North and South of the border.  Her leisurely indie-folk meets hyperactive post-punk debut album Parma Violets, was released to broad critical acclaim in April, 2016.

Check out the video of the chanteuse’s live BBC N/Ireland performance Leonard Cohen’s sublime Famous Blue Raincoat; I challenge your spine not to tingle.

Breaking Tunes profile: http://www.breakingtunes.com/jealousofthebirds
• Web: https://www.jealousofthebirdsmusic.com
• Twitter: @jeliofthebirds
• Facebook: @jealousofthebirdsofficial

Cork native Eoin French is the man behind the Talos music project.  With a voice not unlike that of legendary Talk Talk frontman Mark Hollis (there, I’ve finally said it), like his mysterious predecessor, his voice flits through bars of insanely emotive instrumentation. Brimful of the Cork man’s vocal nuances and peppered with stark imagery and keenly felt lyrics, his debut album Wild Alee is a sure fire cert when it comes to best album 2017 nominations further down the road.

Check out the breathtaking visual accompaniment to Talos’s latest single Contra, a devastatingly and beautifully eerie song about loss and death crafted in a delicate shell of hope and light. Shot in the West of Ireland , the film was directed by the singer’s friend, renowned photographer Brendan Canty (of feelgoodlost)

• Breaking Tunes profile: http://www.breakingtunes.com/talos
• Web: http://www.talostalos.com
• Twitter: @talostalostalos
• Facebook: @TalosTalosTalos

Last but most certainly not least, Limerick based Rusangano Family is a triumvirate comprising two MCs and a DeeJay. Winners of the Choice Music Prize album of the Year 2016 for their self-released album, Let The Dead Bury The Dead, this hip hop/rap/Afro beats outfit are at the cutting edge of the contemporary Irish music scene. In fact, they are everything that is good about the rapidly changing, diverse Ireland in which we now find ourselves.

Check out their searingly on-point new single I Know You Know the lyrics for which you’ll find laid out underneath the video on YT and I strongly urge you to read them! Slick funk bass-lines and silky synths blunt somewhat the sharpest edges of the damning lyrics.  A song about depression, place and isolation within society (least that’s my interpretation), the striking visual accompaniment, below, makes compelling viewing.

That’s a ‘rap’.

• Breaking Tunes profile: http://www.breakingtunes.com/rusanganofamily
• Web: http://www.rusanganofamily.com
• Twitter: @RusanganoFamily
• Facebook: @RusanganoFamily

A limited number of ticket for the inaugural showcase gig on 29th June in Camden are open to the general public. Full details and tickets here.

If you don’t go, you are missing one heck of a line up and what promises to be one hugely memorable night.  In the meantime, you can feast your ears on more sounds from the three featured artists by streaming this 9-track playlist which I’ve pulled together from their various catalogues.  Enjoy.

DervSwerve.

 

Discover Ireland – Irish Music Under The Microscope

Talos – Photo : Olga Kuzmenko

At a time when worldwide music sales continue to decline notwithstanding the ‘great’ vinyl revival and continuous rise of more online music platforms than behoves the industry, the resounding success of the current wave of artists making up the Irish scene is quite the quirk in the global musical landscape.  It’s almost as if many of our current crop of artists are creating music both in and for a parallel universe, such is the remarkable quality, unorthodox nature, and uncharted ingenuity of their idiosyncratic outputs.

But just who makes up this ever-growing Celtic tribe whose unquenchable creativity knows no populist constraints? Who are the Irish artists currently gifting us with a wealth of musical treasure; unpolished, untarnished, glistening in its rawness?

In the first of a new ‘Discover Ireland’ series we look at some of the Irish artists who are not just sealing their credentials on the local landscape, but whose sound is in such stark contrast to that of the current flock of vanilla chart-toppers that they are making international industry veterans sit up and take notice.

Photo of Catherine Mc Grath Uncredited

In part one of the Discover Ireland series, we put ten artists with varying degrees of success under the microscope, finishing off the piece with a tailored Spotify playlist which you can follow or from which you can select a pick n mix to add to your own homespun choices.

Who? HUDSON TAYLOR, Unsigned folk duo from Dublin made up of brothers Harry and Alfie HT. Already have a huge online following as well as a couple of releases under their belt.  Around since 2011, they’ve been steadily building a solid fanbase for their ‘bro-brand’ of acoustic folk, although pegging them into the ‘folk’ hole makes them sound more twee than their pop sensibilities would allow.  Currently gigging whilst working on material for their sophomore album.  2017 should see them considerably up their musical game including stints at several of the big Summer festivals including Wilderness.

Who? THE ELATION, A Cork four-piece who share a love of “Music, Travelling, Writing, Recording, Performing” in any order you care to throw at them.  While they name-check both Kodaline and Hozier in addition to forerunners of the ’80s alternative zeitgeist Talking Heads, it is probably Brit Award Winners The 1975, also referenced, to whom their sound bears the most resemblance.

Debut release ‘Xo‘ is like a mashup between the Mancunians (think 2016 hit ‘The Sound’) and a combo of Haircut 100 and Aztec Camera flying the ’80s funk meets new wave flag. All funky foundations and groove bass floodlit by iridescent synths and fuelled by a healthy dose of blood pumpin’ beats.  They’re only at the start of their voyage and already the future looks XoX.

Who? TALOS, Experimental music project of another Cork native, Eoin French. Like the trademark slow builds in his songs, French has been gathering followers along the winding, visionary roads of his continuous musical travels since Talos’ inception back in 2013. And, like the fantastical zeniths of some of his more audacious compositions, 2017 looks set to bring its own dramatic highs when the multi-instrumentalist releases his debut album, ‘Wild Alee’, through Feel Good Lost on 21st April, the same day as his upcoming Irish tour kicks off in Dublin’s Button Factory. Full details on his FB page. Check out the official video for his current single ‘Odyssey’ here,

Who? CATHERINE MC GRATH, Co. Down born London based 19 year old hailed as the new Taylor Swift. There’s plenty of Taytay pastoral-pop ‘fluences going on but Catherine’s sound isn’t without a touch of LeAnn Rimes and Trisha Yearwood.  Leaning towards Nashville for its stylistic direction Mc Grath’s vibe isn’t without its pop sensibilities.  Plenty of finger-picking to keep the double denimers happy yet enough soft-pop to steer her into the mainstream flow.  New single ‘Starting From Now’ was released on 10th March and judging by the Spotify count (66k+ in its first week) is gonna seal her fate as one of the Taylor-type stars of the not so distant future.

Who? BURNT OUT, punk cum rap cum ‘wherever the sound needs to be apropos the moodscape’ kinda band from North Dublin.  Two songs in and already the media big cheeses are drooling.  Their latest, ‘Joyrider‘ is full on Roddy Doyle without the laughs.  Don’t be put off by the heavy-set Dublin vocals, this is more ‘mission statement’ than song.  Tackling Dublin ‘street’ culture with its inherent notion that violence, intimidation and general ‘gittery’ define current day inner-city masculinity, the song seeks to highlight the destructive influences this lads mentality has had and continues to have on young Irish males.  Social commentary doesn’t get more unequivocal than this.

Who? TOOFOOLS, “the brainchild of multi-instrumentalists Steven McCann & Lorcán O’Dwyer”. These Dublin based BIMM alumni are the cog around which many collaborative projections are formed.  While the pair are the project’s masterminds and its only permanent members, they onboard a cohort of fellow musicians to flesh out their live performances.  There’s a lot going on here and like many of their peers, TooFools aren’t foolish enough to box themselves off by sticking to a readily labelled style or sound.

There are some similarities with Norway’s chillwave, feelgood pop scene (yes, it is a thing) where the likes of Lovespeake reign supreme and like their Norwegian counterparts, TooFools muddle gold standard ingredients – funk, retro soul and Tropical pop accessorised with an infectious falsetto – to create a year round Summer sound full of rhythm and sway.  The only single released thus far, ‘Touch’ is a bloody good example of golden sounds with an expert touch on production. TooFools have hopefully, started as they mean to go on. Top Notch.

TooFools @Button Factory Photo: Claudia Verdecchia

Who? SOULÉ, Balbriggan native whose urban with a touch of class sounds are fast gaining her industry-wide recognition. Astonishingly, this part time musician cum student had her first single, ‘Love No More’, nominated for a Choice Music Prize. Soulé is one of a growing number of artists utilising the Dublin based collaborative hub Diffusion Lab and when not studying, can be found there working on new compositions, songwriting being a way of life since her childhood days.

This upcoming talent cites a plethora of influences from Macy Grey to Nineka but one can’t help recalling greats like Aaliyah, Caron Wheeler and Paris Grey as you listen to the Dubliner’s latest single, ‘Good Life‘ (even the title is redolent of what many consider to be the Inner City frontwoman’s finest hour). Creating sounds that cross over from classic soul and R&B to beat driven electronic pop,  Soulé has nailed a fresh take on tried and tested formulae.  Possibly one of the most exciting talents on the scene, get to know her before she goes global.

Who? EDEN aka Jonathan Lei Ming or the next Hozier.  The 20 year old Dublin multi-instrumentalist and vocalist extraordinaire has repeated the impossible already achieved by the Bray man by going from zero to hero without even breaking into a sweat.  In a minute period of time, he has garnered 135k followers on Spotify alone.  How the hell? Whelans bedamned, this genius of EDM dance-pop sold out prime venues from NYC to LA to Berlin and more taking in 43-dates last year alone, and as if that wasn’t wow enough, has signed up to team SB – Scooter Braun – manager to Bieber, Usher, Ariana Grande & various other elite members of the gilded world of music US stylee.

Suffice it say, we can safely assume that Eden has ‘arrived’.  His seven track mini-album, I Think You Think Too Much Of Me’ from which ‘Sex‘ is the opening track, received nothing but five star reviews for its lo-fi perfect blend of wilful electronica and smooth R&B. Move over Andrew, the new kid on the block is moving into your star-filled stratosphere.

Who? BONZAI, another 20 something about to set the world on fire.  Originally hails from Wicklow now living in London, this newbie cut her teeth with Guernsey born electronic producer Mura Masa, something which not only stood her in good stead but got her name very much in the frame.

Another crossover artist who seems to have allowed a myriad influences seep under her musical skin without the prerequiste labels, Bonzai’s style incorporates everything from grime through Brit-soul to sophisti-pop. There are, for example, some interesting nuances of Simply Red (Fairground) on the intro to the track ‘Stepping‘ from her ‘Sleep Hungry‘ EP.  Gigs and festival slots are stacking up nicely including a stint at Dublin’s District 8 weekend 25th March as well as sets at Parklife and Blissfields.

Snatched up by Colombia records, this Irish innovator is yet another firework set to explode onto the international scene.

Bonzai Uncredited

Who? LYRA Last but by no means least, this London based Cork native (yes, another one!) recently scored perfect tens all round when she delivered a blistering, high-octane performance on the Irish version of Dancing With the Stars – watch it below. Whilst comparisons with Enya and Marina Lambrini Diamandis (of The Diamonds fame) are not unfounded, for me there is more of an affinity with the wilful instrumental theatrics and free spirit Baroque pop of Florence Welch.

Her four-track debut EP, ‘W.I.L.D’, released in 2016, includes current single, ‘Emerald‘. The song, which is about remaining true to oneself, is a compelling fusion of intangible other-worldliness and widescreen warrior style instrumentals that could have led the charge of Queen Medb into Ulster, in which Lyra’s demi-operatic vocal delivery in the mould of Kate Bush, is an octave sweeping triumph. Currently riding high in the iTunes Top 10, Lyra is currently notching up some super cool dates for her Summer calendar including the biggest UK emerging artist showcase, TGE – The Great Escape.  Doubtless great things await for this unique and exceptionally talented songstress.

From melodramatic High Queens to the stark black and white realism of on point social commentary, crossing hip hop, soul, EDM and folk, this is Irish music in Ireland 2017.  Check out the first cut of my Discover Ireland playlist here … follow if you like.  You’ll find me on Facebook and Twitter @DervSwerve.  While you’re listening to the playlist you might check out Ireland.ie, the new Creative Ireland cultural website and portal to Ireland.

The Discover Ireland series will continue showcasing Irish music fortnightly.

Come On Live Long Break Bread Along With Some Bones

Photo Rich Gilligan

“It is a truth universally acknowledged” that some of the best musical relationships are those that come about purely by chance. Personally speaking, I pride myself on the number of happy accidents (Lina Kasa remains #1) that have befallen me during the 18+months since I started, as in Tom Robinson seriously started, writing about music.

My latest accidental discovery is upcoming Irish band, Come On Live Long (there’s a story there surely … unlike Killer Kid Mozart who swear there isn’t!), a four-piece who dabble in a myriad genres from dirty electronica through soul-lite to dramatic pop with flecks of folk and urban in between.

Their FB states that their hometown is Dublin though judging by some of the accents I would imagine that denotes place of residence as opposed to ‘natives of’.  How do I know this?  Because these clever dudes have only gone and uploaded a backstory to their latest single, ‘Bones to Break‘, in the form of an ‘here’s how we did it guys’ audio, onto their Soundcloud page.

This short audio tracks the construction of the song from the programming of the initial beat to the complex building of layer upon vocal layer until the production was a perfect ten. It’s a fascinating listen, not just for self-confessed studio-dummies like myself, but also for any would be, will be musicians out there, scrambling around the ‘IoT’ for scraps of wisdom thrown down from the tables of those who have themselves cut their teeth and worn the tee-shirt.

It’s 10-minutes of well thought out, unfussy home-truths about composition and recording. Stream it here…

Now, listen to the finished product!

‘es to Break’ is the lead single from the band’s upcoming sophomore album, ‘In The Still’, due for release in May 2017.  While that excited storm is brewing, one of the gigs that the band will be busying themselves with is a new Irish music meets craft beer initiative.  ‘Future Proof‘, a new live music series showcasing the best of emerging Irish talent will kick off in Bello Bar on 22nd March – tickets are available online or at the door (if they’re not already sold out!), details here.

I’ll leave you with a track from Come On Live Long’s debut album ‘Everything Fall‘.  The song is called ‘For The Birds‘ and it was its title which caught my eye on Soundcloud.  Given my current state of mind, it resonated!

With its reverbed echoey vocal and intergalactic sound fx it leans towards dreamy electro-pop but blues-hued guitar licks and sexy lounge percussion drag it back down and anchor it to a very gritty earth.  That is, until the whole thing explodes sky-high. A gloriously unexpected firework, this dramatic flourish of guitar drone and spectacular synth flares and dazzles, bringing the track to a spectacular close fading out with one last breathy note.

Check out ‘For The Birds’ and the rest of Come On Live Long’s published music on Souncloud, MySpace and Bandcamp.  You can check in with their FB and Twitter pages to keep up to speed with album and tour-date (yes, there will be a promotional tour) developments.  Derval.