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RTÉ Choice Music Prize Awards Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Earlier this month, I headed out to The RTÉ Choice Prize Awards at the jam-packed Vicar Street in Dublin 8, south of the Liffey. Arriving early, we grabbed ourselves a pint of Guinness’ Hop House 13 and took our seats in anticipation of an exciting, music-filled evening. During the course of the night, we were treated to a range of live performances, as well as the announcement of the winner of both the RTÉ Choice Music Prize single and album of 2016.

The first act of the night was Wallis Bird, whose yellow-white hair glowed onstage like a beacon of light. Bird captivated the audience with her heartfelt a capella as she stood alone onstage during ‘Home’, the title track of the album for which she was nominated. On another track, she banged against a microphone and used a loop pedal to create a rhythmic and organic backdrop for her incredible lungs. It was a raw and vulnerable performance. In a post-performance interview, Bird recounted the significance of ‘Home’ and living in the house where she first met her girlfriend.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmd3wDnRJpM[/youtube]

Next up was Bantum (Ruairi Lynch), nominated for his album ‘Move’, who I’d had the pleasure of seeing before at the Shortlist Sessions, but the last time I saw him he was alone onstage with his laptop and guitar. This time, he was joined onstage by the singers who feature on his tracks. The first track ‘Feel It Out’ featured Farah, and the second featured Loah and two backing singers on the song ‘Take It’. It made a huge difference with the singers being live, really fleshing out the music, and he looked like he was a lot more comfortable. After the performance, he discussed his love for funk sounds, and how the album was released completely independently.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky1xy600BKc[/youtube]

We Cut Corners, who I’d also seen at the Shortlist event, took to the stage next and played a hugely varied set in terms of tempo and sound. Nominated for their album ‘The Cadence of Others’ the duo confidently took to the stage to perform their tracks ‘Middle Kids’ and ‘Of Whatever’. Considering their smart and wonderfully wordy lyrics, you’d never guess the pair are teachers. At one point, the two stood side by side at the microphone, singing a capella with a smoky, moody spotlight allowing their voices to carry over the crowd. Then, at other times, Conall Ó Breacháin was banging one handed against a drum kit with one hand whilst John Duignan was strumming away at his guitar.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl1sJLwtmUo[/youtube]

Next to the stage was indie legends and former winner of the Choice Prize, The Divine Comedy. Neil Hannon,sat at a piano to perform some tracks from his latest effort ‘Foreverland’, Divine Comedy’s 11th studio album, reviewed by editor Mary back here. He and his live band kicked off their three-song set with ‘Catherine the Great’, before playing the witty and evocative ‘How Can You Leave Me On My Own?’ and drawing a number of laughs from the audience.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehxil2jZiok[/youtube]

Following The Divine Comedy’s performance, the winner of the Song of the Year was announced. Unable to be there on the night, winners Picture This (winning for ‘Take My Hand’) had recorded a video accepting the award and thanking all who had voted from a studio in the States where they are recording their new album. You can listen to Carrie’s interview with Picture This in Austin after that recording experience here.

Lisa Hannigan then took to the stage. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t heard Hannigan sing live just how powerful, yet calming her voice is. Ethereal and waif-like, Hannigan seems to command the stage without really trying to draw attention. I’m trying not to sound like a super fan. Armed with a banjo on one track, and what I believe was a tabletop accordion on another, Hannigan’s album ‘At Swim’ (reviewed by Carrie here) was nominated for the Album of the Year, and she played a few tracks from the album, including the spooky and slow-marching ‘We, The Drowned’ and the folky ‘Undertow’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSnaQAv77JE[/youtube]

The sixth act of the evening was the all-in-black Katie Kim, nominated for her third studio album ‘Salt’, whose morose, moody sound I fell in love with right away. Standing at first with her guitar, then moving onto a keyboard, Kim’s unusual and rich sound filled the room, and in particular her tracks ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Day is Coming which are the first two tracks on the album. ‘Salt’ is an emotive and powerful piece of work, and seems even more incredible when considering Kim is a solo artist.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cspN1Zk3L7Q[/youtube]

A little different to Kim’s haunting melodies, eventual Album of the Year winners Rusangano Family (for ‘Let the Dead Bury the Dead’) virtually erupted into life and had the audience on their feet during their fast-paced set. The title track of their LP opens with the tolling of a funeral bell, before MCs God Knows and MuRli began to do what they excel at, capturing the crowd’s attention with their fast-paced and lyrical verses.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ap_P-poNuY[/youtube]

Rapping about Irish identity and asylum seekers, they engaged the crowd by dancing and jumping enthusiastically throughout the set, even joining the audience out on the floor, while DJ mynameisjOhn was at the decks. After just a few minutes of their performance, former TGTF contributor Tom turned to me and said, “I want these guys to win”.

RTE Choice Music Prize 2016 winners Rusangano Family

Then we had All Tvvins, the enigmatic indie pop duo Conor Adams and Lar Kaye, nominated for their album ‘IIVV’, which Adam reviewed back here. They started with the catchy ‘Thank You’, a track with a seriously addictive guitar hook. Up next they played ‘These 4 Words’, followed by ‘Darkest Ocean’, receiving huge cheers from the audience. Bouncing around the stage, the pair looked like they were having a great time.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6agMJjr2TK0[/youtube]

The final act of the night was Overhead the Albatross, nominated for their album ‘Learning to Growl’. An instrumental-only act, live they have what seemed like 6 million guitars, a drum set and a violin. They finished up with a well-earned standing ovation and certainly deserve some real props for making instrumental-only music so interesting and feel so accessible. I’m going to be honest, I couldn’t tell you what tracks from their nominated album were played, but they were certainly impressive with a mixture of funky rhythms, moments of slower paced violin solos, and with an evident passion for the music that they were playing.

All in all, we had a pretty spectacular night. It was great to catch a glimpse of what the all too underrated Irish music scene has too offer. Perhaps underrated isn’t the best term, as the people that I’ve spoken to in my newly adopted home can’t help but rave about the music that is out there by Irish artists. This is music too often under the radar in terms of the global picture aside from the occasional artist that will break through: Hozier jumps to mind here.

I can definitely say that I’m excited to see what’s in store for the future of Irish music, particularly now that I’m able to access more of it living on Irish soil. If the eclectic and talented mixture of music that I heard at Vicar Street is any indication of the variety of music there, then I’ve got high hopes for the music that I’m going to be discovering over the coming months (maybe even years) now that I’m rooted here in Dublin.

 

Album Review: All Tvvins – IIVV

 
By on Monday, 15th August 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

All Tvvins IIVV album coverWho in our readership enjoys math rock? Who within that group remembers Adebisi Shank and Cast of Cheers? If so, this is the album for you. ‘IIVV’ is the debut album by Irish duo All Tvvins. Released last week on Warner Brother Records, it is packed full of anthemic choruses and guitar riffs unimaginable within the world of pop, creating a new brand of synthpop suitable for rockers. You must be thinking, synthpop for rockers? Yeah okay… But once you hear the history of the band, it will all become clear.

When Adebisi Shank unfortunately announced their split and played their final two shows in Dublin the same year, guitarist Lar Kaye teamed up with Conor Adams, former singer and guitarist for Cast of Cheers, to form what we now know as All Tvvins. Almost instantly, the pair gathered attention from a wide-ranging audience around Ireland. Within 1 year of forming, the pair were signed to Sargent House Records (And So I Watch You From Afar, Mylets). I had the immense pleasure of catching one of the duo’s first ever-gigs in a small bar called McHughes in Belfast in 2014. I was instantly hooked and now, just 2 years later, they are signed to one of the biggest labels in the industry and have released their long anticipated debut album.

The album begins with a song the pair only previously released via a live session video from The Meadows studio in Dublin. ‘Book’ is essentially an introduction to All Tvvins and a snapshot of what they do best: produce catchy, gritty, powerful synthpop, whilst somehow keeping things guitar-orientated. Kaye’s strong, heavily rhythmic guitar riff acts as the main feature, taking the place of a top line and a chorus. This proves a common feature throughout the album, where the chorus isn’t a traditional chorus with memorable lyrics and a catchy melody, but the return of a potent riff and all elements of the music gluing perfectly together.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUh8X705Xrc[/youtube]

‘Thank You’ follows ‘Book’ in the track listing and continues this trend. However, this time, a bass riff is utilised instead of guitar, which is supported brilliantly by a pre-established huge, simple drum groove. This paves the way for Adams’ bass line, soaked in chorus, to continue as a prominent feature, carrying the fundamental harmony of the song as well as strengthening the vocal melody. Essentially, ‘Thank You’ is two rockers from Dublin taking on common subject matter: relationships. With lyrics like “did I want to be awake all night / surely that would end in another fight” and “I feel no love for you, I feel no pain for you” it’s easy to see a scene of emotional abuse. As the track progresses, Adams cleverly blends lyrics from the verse and those from the chorus together to construct an inner conversation with oneself as the relationship crumbles. Only after they are relieved of the despair can they profess their thanks.

The first three tracks of the album ooze upbeat feels and memorable lyrics emanating playfulness, with a hint of vigour and adrenaline to them. However, by the time we reach the midpoint, passing the Foals-inspired ‘End of the Day’ and meaningful ‘The Call’, we reach a more serious side of All Tvvins, shown on ‘Too Young to Live’ and Darkest Ocean’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0N9gIm1wQg[/youtube]

With its Temper Trap-style guitar part and a Kate Bush-influenced drum groove, it was inevitable ‘Darkest Ocean’ would be a single for All Tvvins. In its form prior to this album, the song carried a lot more body and grit, so much so that the lyrics to the pre-chorus seemed more like an order than merely a lyric. But with the new team of producers, including Cam Blackwood (George Ezra) and Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys), the production acts as an instrument in itself. Clean, smooth guitars which are intertwined with some warm pads and samples shimmer across a tight and punchy low end. This provides the perfect ornamentation for a beautiful instrumental, which is glued together by the short, rhythmic phrases of Adams’ swarthy vocals.

As we travel towards the end of the album, the emotions lift to present a sense of accomplishment. Uplifting choruses and encouraging lyrics from tracks such as ‘These 4 Words’ and ‘Unbelievable’ create a perfect end to the album. At first I felt they were the weaker tracks on the album. However, after a few consecutive listens, I finally fully appreciated them. The attention to detail put into ‘Unbelievable’ in instrumentation and use of sonic space is incredible. With very little accompaniment, the track is heavily based around the drum groove and of course the lyrics, somet that without a doubt will be screamed back at the pair at every gig.

‘IIVV’ combines the attitude and drive of guitar-orientated pop/rock with the groove and intricacies of synth.pop. All Tvvins have created something very fresh and invigorating, paving the way for a new breed of pop.

8.5/10

‘IIVV’ is out now on Warner Brothers. All Tvvins embark on a European and UK tour this autumn, which you can find the dates for here. Make sure to check them out live if they come through your town. They are not to be missed.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUzT5MHOLhY[/youtube]

 

Deer Shed Festival 2015 Review (Part 2)

 
By on Wednesday, 12th August 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

To catch up on part 1 of Martin’s coverage of Deer Shed Festival 2015, head this way.

Saturday at Deer Shed Festival belongs to the kids. The workshops are in full flow, the bizarre moving sculptures are operated to the verge of destruction, and the bubble man does well to escape being trampled to death by a million over-excited feet. As if seen through the eyes of a 3-year-old child, this is what we did: “We went first to the craft and singing tent. We made a bug out of pipe cleaners and some foam. We watched the singing but didn’t join in because we were shy. We found a table with some ink stamps and played with those, including stamping our own arm. We met a friendly but slightly scary man who taught us how to make a really good paper aeroplane. Daddy helped me make it. Then we stood on top of a really high platform and threw the aeroplane down to Mummy. It flew really well!

“We watched some older children make computer-controlled Lego robots that moved by themselves. They looked very exciting! I’ll play with those myself when I’m a bit older. Daddy helped me cut out some cardboard fins that we stuck to a bottle of water to make a rocket. Then a man put it on a launcher, pumped it up and we counted down from 10. When everyone shouted “Lift-off!” I pressed the button and my rocket shot into the air and landed on the roof of the tent! It was the best rocket of all! I’ve still got it in my bedroom.

“We saw a big table full of metal toys that Daddy said was Meccano, and we bolted some bits together to make a flying helicopter chair. Then we played with the bubbles that the bubble lady made. She could make lots of bubbles all at the same time! Then Daddy bought me a bubble saxophone so I could make my own bubbles. Then we were all very tired so we went for a sit down.” Phew. There’s some great stuff for all ages, and particularly for the older kids the wackier sideshows – like the battle game that uses a measure of brain activity to move a ball back and forth – seem particularly unique. And I’d single out Andy Chipling and his expert method of folding a paper aeroplane for giving this particular big kid a skill that I’d always wanted to refine but never been able to. Ten minutes well spent!

At Deer Shed, it’s folly to make a long list of ‘must-see’ bands. Who you can actually get to see very much depends on circumstances, rather than forward planning. One or two of our group ‘saw’ no bands in the conventional sense: there was plenty of music in the background, but they had the good grace to be guided by the needs of their kids, rather than chasing down the music. Having said that, this is how some of the bands went down on Saturday.

In the Lodge stage it was Celtic day. The Pictish Trail is Johnny Lynch, who hails from Eigg and lulls us all into a false sense of security by making his first few numbers gentle acoustic ditties. Which had me reading my programme with incredulity: “This is supposed to have electronica in it!” All good things come to those who wait, however, as all of sudden Johnny breaks out the drum machine and wild synth sounds: add in a dose of surrealist humour and all is well with the world.

Hinds are brilliant on the main stage. The four Madrid girls create dreamy garage songs perfect for languid singalongs…if anyone knew the words. Actually, ‘Davey Crockett’ is pretty simple to sing. And play, by the sounds of its three chords. This sort of thing is widely called lo-fi, although that relates more to the relaxed vibe than any reflection on their sound quality. A lovely slice of sunny Spanish insouciance. All Tvvins are a Dublin trio who make spacey slices of bass-heavy electro-pop. The guitarists comprehensive pedal board tells its own story – the guitar work is heavy on the delay, rapid strums generating a wide soundscape that brings to mind another Edge-y son of Ireland’s fair city. Superb toe-tapping stuff.

It’s tradition not to have rain at Deer Shed, but tradition went out of the window this year as the heavens opened mid-afternoon. Given that two of the stages were under cover meant that, if anything, more people got to see more music. But what of the main stage? If there was any band that could entice punters out from under canvas to have a boggy boogie, it’s Dutch Uncles, and they don’t disappoint. If there’s a sharper band this side of the equator, I’d like to hear them. Duncan Wallis’ remarkable body moves never fail to impress, and he does well to throw them given the increasingly slippery stage. Those that braved the rain were rewarded a couple of songs in with a break in the cloud, waterproofs steaming in the sunshine. I can’t be far off double figures seeing Dutch Uncles now, and every time it feels like a treat. Their music is fractal-like: no matter how familiar one thinks one is with it, each repeat listen reveals further hidden details, whether they be time signature changes, details of instrumentation, or lyrical insights. A fine achievement.

Damien Dempsey‘s none-more-Irish passionate delivery is the discovery of the festival for me, for three very important reasons: 1. You know exactly what he’s saying, at all time. 2. He talks about stuff that is relevant, and real, to everyone who has to suffer the human condition. 3. He means – properly means – every word he sings. He stridently complains about the historical treatment of the Irish (and half the rest of the world) on ‘Colony’; you might not agree with his interpretation of history, but you can’t deny how effective a cheerleader he is for the dispossessed. ‘Serious’ paints a brilliantly-acted picture of a malicious drug dealer trying to convince an innocent to sample his wares in a seedy Irish pub using a narration with a spectacular Dublin accent. Really powerful stuff, with hints of two Bobs – Geldof’s uncompromising attitude and Dylan’s storytelling passion.

And so we come to the pinnacle of the entire festival, John Grant: in his own catty way, one of the least appropriate headliners for a child-friendly festival this side of Marilyn Manson. The entirety of sweary solo début ‘Queen of Denmark’ is devoted to documenting his drug, alcohol and homosexual relationship problems. Granted, this isn’t your usual bargain-bin autobiography, illustrated as it is with beautiful piano playing and lucid wordplay, but still. Thank goodness my kids are too young to pick up on lines like “I’ll sell your Grandma on the street to buy crack”, “that little ass of yours looks just like food”, or crowd favourite “I casually mention that I pissed in your coffee”. What’s that man singing about, Daddy?

What people want as their reward after spending £200 to drag the kids around a field all day is to stand, sit or lie down together in the darkness to something that they know, can sing along to, and can feel good about, preferably something that reminds them of the fun they had in the years BK. Not some lonely chap complaining about his boyfriend’s inadequacies, regardless of how eloquently those sentiments are expressed. After Johnny Marr‘s triumph last year, the hope was that future years would essentially duplicate the pattern for well-regarded contemporary indie band on Friday for men of a certain age, big name from the parents’ past on Saturday for everyone. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Whilst there will have been true fans of both headliners in the crowd, neither were the unifying force that one would ideally want, which is a bit of a shame.

Deer Shed isn’t even close to being all about the music. But the music is an integral part of the experience (and the price), otherwise we’d just take the kids to scout camp and sit around rubbing sticks together and singing Kumbaya. Of course it’s a little churlish to criticise an event that gets so much right, but the headliners have such a dominant influence over the feel of the whole event, who plays at the top of the bill really matters. Having said all that, in 2015 Deer Shed joined the big time – in common with the vastly bigger festivals we all know about, regardless of the headliners, people flock to Deer Shed because they love the vibe, they love the company, and they love the setting – chilled out, friendly, and beautiful. What more could you ask for?

 

SXSW 2015: the full Irish breakfast at B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub – 20th March 2015

 
By on Thursday, 9th April 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

The Full Irish Breakfast at B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub on the Friday of SXSW 2015 drew a full crowd throughout the day, probably in part due to the rainy weather outside, but in greater part because of the talented and widely varied lineup of musicians on the docket. After a last minute interview with Frank Turner, and by the time I found Mary sat at a table enjoying her full Irish, the pub was already starting to fill in. Mary had to leave early for her other engagements while I stayed to navigate the fun, hectic madness that would ensue throughout the day.

Orla Gartland at Full Irish Breakfast 20 March 2015

First on the day’s lineup were two very different female singer/songwriters, Dublin’s Orla Gartland and Derry native SOAK. Gartland’s bright and catchy brand of pop was just the burst of energy we needed to get the grey and drizzly morning off to a good start, and her onstage charm matched her offstage persona when I interviewed her a bit later in the morning. SOAK, otherwise known as Bridie Monds-Watson, captured our attention with a very different mood. Her delicately poignant songs might not have translated as well to the pub atmosphere at B.D. Riley’s as well as they had to Latitude 30 earlier in the week, but her name was certainly on everyone’s lips after her set was finished.

SOAK at Full Irish Breakfast 20 March 2015

After taking advantage of a break in the rain to step outside for interviews with both Gartland and SOAK, I ducked back into B.D. Riley’s to catch the end of Colm Mac Con Iomaire’s solo violin set. I had heard him play the previous day on the Lost In Austin boat ride, and I was pleased to see that his music wasn’t completely overwhelmed by the somewhat more disorderly audience in the pub. I almost missed the following act, Dublin punk act Girl Band (pictured in the header above), while interviewing Mac Con Iomaire, but I saw enough of their set and the crowd’s enthusiastic response to get the feeling that these four guys are well and truly on their way up.

Colm Mac Con Iomaire at Full Irish Breakfast 20 March 2015

Next I had an encore performance from Walking On Cars, whom I’d seen at their sparsely attended Wednesday night set at the Music From Ireland showcase. While their performance that night hadn’t been lacking in any way, they were more energetic at B.D. Riley’s on Friday morning, feeding off of the more enthusiastic crowd. They elected not to perform their medley of pop hits here, wisely allowing their own energetic pop tracks to make an impression on our ears instead.

Walking on Cars at Full Irish Breakfast 20 March 2015

I was scheduled to interview self-described “cosmic reverb rock band” Buffalo Sunn ahead of their afternoon set, but they arrived to the venue later than they had planned due to the uncooperative weather outside. They did turn up in time to play, and their vibrant guitars and rich vocal harmonies were a perfect accompaniment for the mellowing ambience of the late afternoon. Luckily, the band were available to do the interview after their set; you can listen back to it here.

Buffalo Sunn at Full Irish Breakfast 20 March 2015

Unfortunately, rescheduling the Buffalo Sunn interview meant that I once again missed out on Dott, who played the Irish breakfast showcase at SXSW 2014 as well. Again, I heard just the end of their set, but it was enough to confirm that the band have refined both their sound and stage presence in the past year, as well as working up some new material for their upcoming studio album.

Dott at Full Irish Breakfast 20 March 2015

By this point in the afternoon, B.D. Riley’s was fairly packed in with people escaping the rain outside. Despite the tight fit throughout the venue, it was a favorable situation for experimental five-piece band Meltybrains?, who channeled the room’s restless energy into an ambitious and dynamic set including their by-now-famous face masks, which were floating around in the audience as well as on the stage. Their quirky stage antics and infectiously danceable rhythms made them instant crowd favourites, and their natural enthusiasm translated from the stage into my lively interview with them.

Meltybrains? at Full Irish Breakfast 20 March 2015

Hard rock duo All Tvvins followed Meltybrains? with an equally energetic set of their own, gearing up the crowd for the unabashed joviality of the final two acts, Fight Like Apes and Le Galaxie. Fight Like Apes lead singer MayKay was in particularly fine form and fine voice, engaging the audience both with her vocals and her seductive stagecraft. She was called back to the stage to join in on Le Galaxie’s recent single ‘Carmen’, adding even more fuel to their already pulse-racing electronic dance set and bringing the afternoon’s festivities to a sensational finale.

All Tvvins at Full Irish Breakfast 20 March 2015

Le Galaxie with MayKay at Full Irish Breakfast 20 March 2015

The annual full Irish breakfast event at B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub has gained a not-to-be-missed reputation, which is well-deserved both for the high quality of the musicians on the showcase and its ever-present atmosphere of warm hospitality. This was my second time attending the event, and I must say that while this year’s showcase was a bit more eclectic than what Mary and I saw in 2014, Music From Ireland once again hosted a spectacular and memorable show. Cheers!

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015: Artists from Ireland and Northern Ireland showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 3rd March 2015 at 11:15 am
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2015 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite band is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the band’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Today’s installment of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015 previews showcasing bands from Ireland and Northern Ireland. This year’s acts are predominantly rock-oriented, with a few notable exceptions, including a pair of exceptional singer/songwriters and representation in the festival’s dance and avant garde/experimental categories as well.

All Tvvins (rock) – Dublin-based Conor Adams and Lar Kaye premiered their debut single ‘Thank You’ on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show back on the 10th of February. If you missed it, you can hear the relentless energy of the guitar and bass riffs under paired lyrical couplets building slowly to the climactic final lines “I may hate you, I thank you” in this live video recorded for Press Record Asylum Sessions.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/noesFmUw0Wc[/youtube]

BP Fallon (rock) – BP Fallon released his first album ‘Still Legal’ in 2013 with backing band The Bandits. The album came after a lifelong career in the music business, including jobs as a disc jockey, photographer, writer, publicist and manager. Fallon has recently released a new LP ‘Live In Texas’, which includes the single ‘I’m Still Legal’, streaming below.

Buffalo Sunn (rock) – this quintet comprises Daniel Paxton, (songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist), his brother Conor (bass and pedal steel), Patrick McHugh (guitar and backing vocals), Jimmy Cullen (keyboards and backing vocals) and Donagh O’Brien (drums). The group describe themselves on their Facebook page as “a cosmic reverb rock band”. Their album ‘By The Ocean By The Sea’ was released in Ireland last October, with subsequent release in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. In the surreal video for ‘By Your Side’, frontman Paxton confronts past, present and future versions of himself.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/LnhKniNclg4[/youtube]

Dott (rock) – the Galway garage pop quartet have recently premiered the video for last year’s featured single ‘Small Pony’ (watch it below). According to their Facebook page, they are currently working on their next studio recording, which will include a track called ‘Beautiful Face’. Perhaps a preview of that song will be on their set list in Austin next month. TGTF coverage from Dott’s appearance at SXSW 2014 can be found here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1nM6Wb6yUE[/youtube]

Fight Like Apes (pop) – this Dublin-based five-piece are best known for their quirky humour and verbose titles, for example, their last studio album ‘The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner’. SXSW organisers have filed them under “pop”, but I lean toward the heavier alt-rock label for their sound. Their Facebook page indicates they are planning to release details of an upcoming third album in the near future. In the meantime, have a listen to ‘Jenny Kelly’ below.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/8IQUxXvnZ88[/youtube]

Girl Band (punk) – as far as I can tell, there isn’t a single girl in this band, but so much for truth in advertising. Comprised of Dara Kiely, Daniel Fox, Alan Duggan and Adam Faulkner, this Dublin-based four-piece signed to Rough Trade Records back in December. Melding a hint of blues with their progressive post-punk, Girl Band looks like an upgrade from last year’s heavily-hyped quartet The Strypes.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/nqxe3NZKYL0[/youtube]

Go Wolf (pop) – Go Wolf will launch a new EP titled ‘Running’ just before their trip to Austin. The release launch will see the Belfast synth-pop quartet play a hometown show on the 6th of March, also featuring TGTF and SXSW alumnus Travis Is A Tourist. You can stream the uptempo title track from Go Wolf’s EP just below.

James Vincent McMorrow (singer/songwriter) – January 2014 saw the release of McMorrow’s album ‘Post Tropical’, which marked a very deliberate change in direction from his previous acoustic folk rock style. The video for the album’s smooth r&b-tinged single ‘Cavalier’ is the first in a three-part series about “the heartbreak of a boy in a small town”.

[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/78293068[/vimeo]

Le Galaxie (dance) – the self-described “grids vs. guitars” quartet have recently signed to Universal Music Ireland and plan to release their next album ‘Le Club’ in April. Recent single ‘Carmen’, streaming below, features vocals by MayKay of the aforementioned Fight Like Apes.

Meltybrains? (avant/experimental) – according to their Facebook page, “Meltybrains? are a 5-piece, experimental, electronic band, based in Dublin, Ireland. Their sound is quite at odds with much of what is on offer from the music scene, yet takes its inspiration from hip-hop, IDM, rock and contemporary classical music, among other things.” Have a listen to their recent single ‘IV’ and judge for yourself.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/E2Dv9qPEGb8[/youtube]

More Than Conquerors (rock) – TGTF recently featured the video for More Than Conquerors’ upcoming single ‘Red’ as a Video of the Moment. The single itself is due for release on the 2nd of March, just as More Than Conquerors begin a brief UK headline tour ahead of their SXSW appearance.

Orla Gartland (pop) – this Dublin-based pop songstress first gained attention by posting videos of cover songs on YouTube. Gartland is currently unsigned to a record label, but her second EP ‘Lonely People’ is available digitally on iTunes and Amazon. In a nod to her humble YouTube beginnings, Gartland solicited fan-submitted clips for the EP’s title track video, which you can watch just below.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/FiKXjTUESPo[/youtube]

Protex (punk) – inspired by The Clash’s historic visit to Belfast in 1977, punk band Protex was originally active in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, splitting up in 1981 after releasing singles on Good Vibrations, Rough Trade, and Polydor. Original members Aidan Murtagh and David McMaster reformed the band in 2010 after a New York record label unearthed and re-released some of their old Polydor recordings. Protex’s current line up comprises Murtagh (guitar/vocals), Norman Boyd (guitar/backing vocals), John Rossi (bass/backing vocals) and Gordie Walker (drums).

SOAK (singer/songwriter) – Derry native and skateboard enthusiast Bridie Monds-Watson has already been featured as part of editor Mary’s preview of the SXSW 2015 BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation showcase. SOAK’s first EP ‘Blud’ was released last year on Goodbye Records, but she has recently signed to Rough Trade for her first LP release, scheduled for later this year.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/EwmeF9aDy20[/youtube]

Walking On Cars (rock) – the Dingle indie pop quintet signed to Virgin EMI Records last year for the release of their EP ‘Hand In Hand’. They have a busy spring schedule ahead of them, including headline dates in Ireland and the UK in March prior to their trip to America for SXSW. Following is the video for their recent single ‘Always Be With You’.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/dzk9GPpfyv8[/youtube]

We here at TGTF will be bringing you even more preview coverage of SXSW 2015 in the coming weeks leading up to the big week in Austin in March. To catch up on any of our past reporting or if you want to keep an eye on our coverage as it continues, head this way.

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

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