cloud castle lake bonfire cover

I’m very excited about Cloud Castle Lake releasing their debut album – that’s set to happen early 2018 via Bright Antenna Records. The Dublin foursome’s Dandelion EP in 2014 is one of the best releases of the decade so I have high hopes, which have only been stoked by ‘Twins‘ and now the six-minute-plus ‘Bonfire’. A slow-paced, atmospheric couple of minutes showcasing Daniel McAuley’s fabulous falsetto mutates into an almost haunting experience He says: “‘Bonfire’ is based around a pretty simple melody I came up with a few years ago. I kept being drawn back to it periodically and steadily adding and expanding it until it grew out into a full song. Writing it felt like a meditative task – what I’d imagine knitting a scarf is like. The choir parts were performed by our pals Tonnta, a contemporary choral group from Dublin. The giddiest day of recording for me was probably the first day they came in and sang through their parts. Getting to hear such talented musicians turn all that midi data and notation into music feels like magic. The lyrics have to do with doubt and denial and keeping secrets. They’re very loosely based on an old Irish/Welsh myth about rival tribes trying to find out the secret name of the other’s god in order to defeat them.”

the number ones

Cian Nugent and the Number Ones return with a new EP in tow, Another Side of the Number Ones. Opening track ‘Lie To Me’ features a simple but devastatingly effective chorus: “If you’re gonna lie to me, make it short and sweet.” It’s a song that’s in a rush to sort out the situation. I’ve been here so many times and I don’t know what to do,” they bluster. The drama plays out over a scuzzy surf-pop riff that the Vaccines would love. The EP is out on Static Shock Records the first week of January – order a digital copy here (it looks like the limited-edition red-vinyl 7″s are already gone).

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It sounds like Rusangano Family, who had a stellar 2017, playing loads of festivals and winning the Choice Prize, are going away for a while to work on their next release. There’s another few dates left, including at Tramline Dublin on January 13 as part of First Fortnight, but Saturday night at Cyprus Avenue was Cork’s last chance to see them for the foreseeable. Again it was a masterclass – they’re the best live act around. It’s a freezing cold night and Dublin rapper Mango, with producer MathMan, fresh from releasing his Wheel Up EP, are only playing to a few heads. He’s got great confidence and swagger – we’ll be hearing a lot more from Mango in 2018. Rusangano warm up the crowd slowly – but before long we’re all swinging jumpers over our heads (control your zips, people!) and dancing along. A Rusangano Family show is infectious. There are a few new songs that fit seamlessly into old favourites – ‘Lights On’ was the crowd-favourite highlight. I’m already counting down the days to John, Murli and God Knows’ return.

All pictures by Brid O’Donovan (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram)

Bonus podcast content: TPOE 53 – Rusangano Family interviews at De Barra’s earlier this year
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crevice in heart cover

Cork-based trio Roslyn Steer, Irene Buckley and Elaine Howley are very busy in their own rights but have been collaborating as Crevice for a couple years, winning the IndieCork Music Award in 2015. The PR for the awards said: “The group have a unique atmospheric sound, combining experimental textures and rhythms in a way that is both accessible and captivating. The award is made in the belief that Crevice… will be a significant voice in Irish music in the near future.” Over two years on, ‘Black Box’ is the first taster of their incoming debut album, In Heart, mixed and mastered by Cathal Altered Hours and released on cassette via the Fort Evil Fruit label. It’s experimental, woozy and the perfect soundtrack for the long winter nights. Artwork by Carolyn Collier.

altered hours on my tongue ep cover

It’s been a while since we last heard from Cork-based five-piece Altered Hours, almost two years on from debut album In Heat Not Sorry. But they’ve just unveiled ‘Open Wide’, the first of four tracks comprising the On My Tongue EP, released on February 24 via Art for Blind/Penske. The track is a long-time live favourite, driven by Patrick Cullen’s bass, interspersed with Cathal and Elaine’s vocals, chanting “it’s how you lie”. You can order the EP on 12″ (pink!) vinyl here.

Altered Hours tour dates:
February 1: Roisin Dubh, Galway
February 10: Seoda Shows’ 5th Birthday, Kasbah Social, Limerick
March 10: Night & Day Cafe, Manchester
March 13: The Shacklewell Arms, London
March 16: Supersonic, Paris
March 29: DBD Vevue, Dublin
March 30: Letterkenny Regional Cultural Centre
March 31: The Menagerie, Belfast
April 13: It Takes a Village festival, Travolgan, Cork

naive green elephant room

The Elephant Room are a three-piece band from Cork, Wexford and Louth who are now based in Dublin. Frank Shortle, Shane Martin and Ian Hand released a debut album, Body, in 2014 and after another EP and single, return this week with ‘Naive Green’, a breezy, Real Estate-y three minutes. “Now you wait, you watch, you fall down, but now you’re safe but you’re not alone,” sings Shortle, surrounded by doo-doo-doos. The perfect winter warmer, alluded to at the start, when “you’re freezing to your bones now”. The Elephant Room play Fibbers in Dublin on November 30 and Sin E on December 7.

‘Naive Green’ has been added to the TPOE New Irish Music Spotify Playlist – listen/follow here.

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I think 2018 is going to be the year of Wyvern Lingo – and ‘Snow II’ makes me sure of it. Caoimhe Barry, Karen Cowley and Saoirse Duane are releasing their debut album and Neil Comberin February, this track being their third single of 2017, following ‘Out of my Hands‘ and ‘I Love You, Sadie‘. ‘Snow II’ premiered on Atwood Magazine. Barry told Atwood: “’Snow II’ is partly written as a response to Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘I Am A Rock’. It’s from the perspective of the person trying to reach an ex-lover who is in that dark place, cutting themselves off from the world. 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.” ‘Snow II’ was produced and mixed by James Kelly (Wife) and Neil Comber (MIA) and is out tomorrow, November 24. Wyvern Lingo are playing Other Voices next weekend.

Picture by the brilliant Ruth Medjber – go buy some amazing prints from her online store (a great Christmas present, natch)

patrickfreeman

It’s been a while since we heard from Patrick Freeman‘s solo venture – he’s been busy working with the Bonk, who released a super debut album recently. But Freeman’s still vexing, this time with ‘Reality TV’, proclaiming that he just wants to rock and roll, while taking aim at, well, reality TV stars, singing that “you’ve got a whole lot of balls getting up there knowing you ain’t special”. The simmering anger plays out over his favourites 60s-like lines. The song was recorded at Big Skin Studios with O Emperor’s Brenden Fennessy (also recording the new Shaker Hymn album), and the video’s by O Emperor’s Paul Savage – the band returns at Quarter Block Party in February and I’m VERY EXCITED to see them again. Patrick Freeman has a couple of shows lined up himself:

Thursday, November 23: Arthur’s Blues’n’Jazz Club, Thomas Street, Dublin w/ Comrade Hat
Thursday, November 30: Coughlan’s, Cork supporting The Shaker Hymn

Bonus content:
Phil Christie from the Bonk on The Point of Everything podcast #67
Patrick Freeman on The Point of Everything podcast #19

colm k heights cover

Colm K, one of the best DJs around, releases a new EP, Heights, on Dublin’s All City Records, on November 27. His The Love EP from 2013 is one of the best releases of the decade so I have high hopes for this. Three of the four tracks are available to listen to now, ‘Affinity’ having been premiered on Bolting Bits, who quite rightly call it “a tripped out groover”. Keep listening to hear Colm’s nephew Ben adding in some drum bits at the end. Resident Advisor, meanwhile, said ‘Water’ is “a riff on smoky, golden-era hip-hop, executed tastefully”. The PR says it’s “inspired by a variety of styles and musical sources with one common thread throughout: Samples. Two tracks for the dancefloor dusty reprises, most of the music found here is a collage of sounds that zig zags from the soulful thump of Seeing to the laid back strain of ‘Summary’.” Colm K explains: “I grew up in a place called Silverheights, Mayfield. Hence the name of the EP. The music on here represented musically where I came from and Cork’s fusion of Soul, Rare Groove, Hip Hop and House. Cover art is by Cork-born artist Conor Harrington. Shots of a work in progress which resonated with me, and fitted perfectly with the music, and I’m very grateful to him for allowing me to use it!” Listen to ‘Affinity’ below via Soundcloud, and ‘Water’ and ‘Seeing’ on the Bandcamp player – order the 12″ record here.

ealadha

Cork trio Ealadha – Dom Murphy, Cormac Shanley and Peter Crudge – follow up last year’s debut EP, Limit of our Sight, with new single ‘Bathe’. The five-minute track reminds me of still-just-about-going instrumental Cork-based band Sideproject; after a slow, atmospheric opening, the pedals are hit and things escalate into epic territory, Murphy singing about doubts circling like clawing vampires. ‘Bathe’ was recorded and mixed by Shauny Cadogan (Last Light Recordings) at Sun Studios, Temple Bar. The song features on their forthcoming EP, Versions Of You.