To say I’m excited about Altered Hours‘ debut album would be an understatement. I’m ecstatic about the news, delirious about the idea of around ten tracks from the five piece all in one place. But let’s try and get through this post first, and the fact that they’ve given us the first taster of In Heat, Not Sorry. Recorded at Funkhaus Studios in Berlin, where Altered Hours have recorded the likes of ‘Sweet Jelly Roll’, the album is coming out on Art For Blind Records and Penske Recordings in January 2016. ‘Way of Sorrow’, meanwhile, will be relatively familiar to people who have seen Altered Hours live, though I don’t remember acknowledging the Joy Division-ness of it before. It’s a crunching 145 seconds that sees Cathal Mac Gabhann’s vocals emanating from the distance, through a haze, crossing with Elaine Howley’s cries of “let me go”. “Tell me what to feel tell me what you see in the dark of night,” they urge, before the track fades. What a taster of things to come. Altered Hours play Hanger, Dublin, as part of Hard Working Class Heroes next week, on October 1, and support Girl Band in the Pav, Cork, two days later on Saturday, October 3. You can buy ‘Way of Sorrow’ on iTunes.
It’s a big weekend in Cork as Culture Night tonight combines with Sounds From A Safe Harbour for a stellar lineup. There are too many highlights on both programmes, but for our latest The Point of Everything show we managed to pick out a few things that should make for a great weekend. Everything on Culture Night is free, so at the very worst, just wander around the place and you’ll find something of interest – the College of Commerce being lit up in colour by artist Simon McKeown from about 8.30pm should be a particular highlight. You can find out everything that’s happening (well, try to anyway) on the Culture Night Cork website. As for Sounds From A Safe Harbour, pick up the programme around town or head for the website – Nialler9’s music trail is FREE and has a stellar lineup (picture below). The Fractured Air exhibition in Filter is brilliant too, so make sure you head to that over the weekend too – the Wild Beasts picture is wonderful. Have a listen of our podcast over the weekend, which features Niall talking to Aisling about the music trail, if you need more advice on what to catch – or to tell us what we shouldn’t miss. You can subscribe to the show on iTunes too.
Sam Clague has been playing music for a long time – I remember walking down the main street in Clonakilty years ago and seeing Sam, barely in his teens busking. He’s only gotten better since, with plenty of shows, solo and with various bands, under his belt. And Clague is now ready to reveal his debut EP, Balloons. The EP is a gorgeous slice of harmonious pop music that touches on the big themes of getting older, love, home, death and friendship, and played out and ruminated on over a delicately struck acoustic guitar. Opening track ‘Waves Make Foam’ is the first single to be taken from the collection, and you can listen to it below. It’s almost like a nursery rhyme, built around the softly spoken, reassuring line, “We crash back home, like the waves make foam, to disappear again”. Like the surf, the song swells to the point where “I’m sinking at some predetermined pace”. Clague sings: “I’m struggling my friend to see an end, juggling all these things as we bend, up and down we stretch from side to side, just something to do as we wait for the tide.” And back to that friendly greeting as we crash back home, knowing we can always return and find our safe place, and disappear again.
Sam Clague launches debut EP Balloons , with the help of Ambiguous Fiddle at the Emmet Hotel, Clonakilty, at 9pm on Saturday, September 19. Entry is free.
In the latest episode of The Point of Everything, I went to Clonakilty to chat to Ray Blackwell of De Barra’s and Kevin McNally of various guises, including the music department at UCC, West Cork Ukelele Orchestra and Cork Gamelan Ensemble – the pair are also members of the organising committee for Clonakilty International Guitar Festival, entering its 11th year this weekend, September 17-20. We had a long-ranging chat, taking in everything from Straight Outta Compton, bipics vs music documentaries, the importance of community in music, special discounts for the unwaged, encouraging young people to pick up an instrument and, of course, who they’re excited to see in the various venues around the West Cork town. You can listen to the show below, via Soundcloud and Mixcloud, and you can subscribe to the Point of Everything on iTunes. More on the Clonakilty International Guitar Festival after the jump and we’ll be back later in the week with a preview of Sounds from a Safe Harbour.
While it’s been relatively quiet on the blog over the last little while, if you’ve been paying attention you’ll have notices the podcast that we’ve started up. We started at the height of summer (when it was raining) and we’re now eight episodes in by the start of September (when it’s still raining). For the latest episode, we talk to people who were at Electric Picnic over the weekend, either playing the festival or just attending as a punter. So in just over an hour we talk to
– Paul Savage of O Emperor, who played the Jerry Fish stage at 9pm on Sunday. Rubberbandits were one of the best things he saw all weekend, surprisingly
– Senita of Shookrah, who played the Body & Soul stage early on Sunday, and Chris Somers of Elastic Sleep, though he was there as a punter
– Luke O’Neill of Damsel, who made their debut by opening the b&s stage on Friday afternoon (Damsel are supporting August Wells in Coughlan’s, Cork city, tonight)
– Cork DJ Stevie G, who talks about how the festival has changed over its lifetime
Finally Aisling and Caoilian chat about their respective experiences of the weekend – Aisling was at End of the Road in England while Caoilian was at Electric Picnic. Here’s the Humans of Electric Picnic link I was talking about in the intro
You can listen on Soundcloud/Mixcloud below (and can subscribe to either) and you can subscribe on iTunes and never miss an episode.
Cork band Great Balloon Race released debut album Cardboard almost three years ago and in the interim have set about becoming one of the most intense and exciting live bands around – their set supporting Jennifer Evans in Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh earlier this summer was stunning. The four piece – Marcus Gordon (guitar/vocals), Jonathan McNicholas (guitar/vocals), Declan O’Shea (bass) and Dan Walsh (drums) – have been busy recording the followup to Cardboard this year; we heard ‘Why Meddle?’ back in February and now we get a live favourite, ‘Daryl & John’, which ring-a-ring-a-rosies around a Real Estate-style bassline. It’s a delicious song that woos and cajoles, leaving you weak at the knees before it brings you to a higher plain – and just wait til you see them play it live. You can download ‘Daryl & John’ via Bandcamp and stream it from Soundcloud below. The video was shot by Blair Alexander Massie at Mother Jones Flea Market on McCurtain St, Cork city.
Fans of Cork band the Careers will be in familiar territory with ‘A Signal Sent’, the first track from Damsel. It’s the work of erstwhile Careers frontman Luke O’Neill (ably assisted in the live show by his former colleagues Eoin Conway, James Moone, Fergal Hennesy plus new boy Graham Cooney on guitar. Anybody who saw the young band in their previous guise might remember ‘A Signal Sent’, one of the many highlights of a vibrant live set. There’s a fuller sound here, less a race to the end than a pleasant sojourn in the evening when there’s nobody around, heavy breathing and thinking aloud. There’s still a playful attitude inherent here, though: “There was a time, there was a place, there was an alien race.” ‘A Signal Sent’ is the first track to be taken from Damsel’s forthcoming EP. They open the Body & Soul stage (4.15pm-4.45pm) on the Friday of Electric Picnic.
The Sunday School Sessions is a music collective from Dublin. It grew from an idea by engineer and producer Ian McNulty In Dublin’s Charthouse Recording to record some folk and country tunes in homage to the old records that had inspired him over the years. Gathering together friends and members of the bands Hidden Highways, The Ambience Affair, Master & Dog and The Crayon Set and others, a two-year writing and recording odyssey began. Stealing time in between writing, touring and performing with their own bands, new original songs were mixed with some very old tunes and some contemporary songs got the old-time treatment. The resulting body of work is now a fully fledged album and is touring Ireland this November. The vinyl record will be released on November 7.
Sunday Sessions tour dates:
Friday, November 7: The Green Room, Letterkenny;
Saturday, November 8, The Model Arts Centre, Sligo;
Thursday, November 13, Coughlan’s, Cork;
Friday, November 14, De Barra’s, Clonakilty;
Friday, November 21, Dolan’s (upstairs), Limerick;
Saturday, November 22, Cleere’s, Kilkenny;
Friday, November 28, Whelan’s (upstairs), Dublin
“I want to live and die to a beat.” That’s a good way for a debut single to grab the listener’s attention. Cork artist Jack O’Rourke channels his inner David Bowie – you can almost imagine him wearing Bowie’s red shoes from ‘Let’s Dance’ – for ‘Naivety’, a four and a half minute pop song that is sure to stir some part of your soul. Classically trained, there are strands of various genres such as the blues and roots in O’Rourke’s delivery The video was directed by Barra Vernon, shot at Glenville House and Longueville House, and features dancers Aisling Keating and Wesley Van Oeffelen. The track is taken from Jack O’Rourke’s debut album Dreamcatcher, due out in summer 2015. He launches the single in Coughlan’s in Cork city tonight, Wednesday, October 29. Tickets are €6.
It’s been a while since we heard from Berlin-based Dublin band Kool Thing. The trio released their self-titled debut album in March 2013 but bar a few random gigs this year, it’s been quiet on the Kool Thing front. But now they’re back with new promo art (above, by Denis Laner) a new song, ‘I See You (I Am You)’, and news of a second album. As the title of the track might suggest, this near-five minute track is a dark listen, so Julie Chance, Jon Dark and Valentin Plessy haven’t changed that much. Atmospheric, confident and having decided they’re “bored of love”, it plays out over a brooding electronica background that concludes: “Turn me out for all to see, watch them disappear.” ‘I See You (I Am You)’ features on Kool Thing’s forthcoming second album, due out early next year.