Dublin four-piece Let’s Set Sail – Warren McCarthy, Ian Dunphy, Robert Molumby and Marian Hughes – have just unveiled ‘Canaries’, the first track taken from an EP they plan on releasing in 2017. They’ve been around a little while, releasing a couple tracks in summer 2015, and return with a madcap video that will leave you both scratching your head and laughing your ass off. Directed by the band and David DeBarra and Naomi Keenan O’Shea, it’s a “bizarre tale of one man’s dream to capture his artistic vision on camera”. The song itself is quite plaintive and soul-searching, with dreams about being an old man, “the intensive struggles with myself… but I enjoy what I can”. Just shy of five minutes, ‘Canaries’ goes through a couple of cycles and is quietly ambitious. It was recorded by Stephen Dunne in Lamplight Studios, Dublin.
“The sky falls to the sea,” repeats Stevie Lennox on ‘Do You Ever Think About Existence, Adrian?’, the second track on Belfast band Junk Drawer‘s debut EP, For The Cult Fat Guy. “You’re going nowhere fast,” he proclaims on ‘Black Cat’. So it’s safe to say that Junk Drawer aren’t the most optimistic of bands. But For The Cult Fat Guy is one of the best EPs to come out of the island of Ireland this year. A four piece completed by Stevie’s brother Jake Lennox, Brian Coney (the Thin Air, doncha know) and Rory Dee, “each member sharing vocal, instrumental and songwriting duties, driven by the near-telepathic sense of chemistry and harmony that comes only from a sibling rivalry at the helm”, Junk Drawer have been going just over a year. They’re not the most original of bands – influences they list on Facebook include Built To Spill, Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, Weezer, and Grandaddy – but they just do the guitar-rock thing so well. It’s a little slacker, with a few ‘ripping guitar solos’ sprinkled throughout, it’s a bit shoegaze. You’ll be able to spot the influences a mile off, but it all just sounds so damn great! ‘Black Cat’, which sounds like the Horrors at their best (which is Suede at their best?), is probably the highlight of the four tracks, featuring a ‘solo into breakdown into solo into declaration of love’. Junk Drawer, endorsed by Bitch Falcon, recorded the EP live at Smalltown America Studios, Derry, by Caolan Austin and Chris Cassidy. They play the Belfast Empire on November 9 and support Galants at their debut EP launch in Whelan’s on December 3.
What with James Blake coming to Dublin this week, it seems apt that Proper Micro NV has unveiled a new single. Blake’s influence looms large over Limerick producer Rory Hall. ‘Flaws’ is the first single from the 21-year-old’s second EP It’s Always Raining, released on December 7. It follows EP1, which came out in June (I wrote about ‘Revive’ here). “Oh we got flaws, but we can make an exception,” he sings on ‘Flaws’ over a nonchalant background drone. “And if there’s hope in the world, then this will go on longer. And if not, well I’ll find something stronger.”
Currently in the middle of an extensive European tour, which included gigs in Galway, Cork and Limerick last weekend, Marc O’Reilly has just unveiled a video for ‘Of Nothing’. Taken from Morality Mortality, his first release for Virgin Records/Universal Ireland (the album is out this Friday), the track showcases an emotionally wrought side of O’Reilly. “How does it feel looking back? Nothing was real, all in black. Slipping away, can you hear me,” he cries. The video for ‘Of Nothing’ was directed by Simon O’Neill. After returning from Germany, Netherlands etc, Marc O’Reilly will be playing another couples dates in Ireland, including:
November 24: Whelan’s, Dublin
November 25: The Crescent, Belfast
November 26: Spirit Store, Dundalk
December 3: St Patrick’s Gateway, Waterford
The Grey Merchant is a new project from Neon Atlas bassist Enda O’Flaherty and a collection of friends and fellow musicians. He says: “Recorded with friends in kitchens and abandoned buildings, mixing at Cork’s Whitewell Studios, and Studio Silo, Stöðvarfjörð, the result is some noisy mood-rock that combines guitars, bass, and drums with a vein of political irritation; the old-fashioned way.” ‘Spotless (The Protecting Veil)’ is a rousing first look at what to expect from the Grey Merchant. Over a pulsing, Walkmen-like riff, Charlie Chaplin’s speech from The Great Dictator plays. It’ll get the juices flowing and the blood boiling. ‘Spotless (The Protecting Veil)’ is released on Demeanour Records on November 8, and O’Flaherty promises more singles and an EP will follow in 2017.
Naoise Roo released their debut album, Lilith, last year, and this weekend play Hard Working Class Heroes for the first time. Their gig downstairs at Tengu (10.20pm, Friday) is part of their Whore Tour (they played the Roisin Dubh last week, Ruby Sessions and at the end of October play Spirit Store in Dundalk). I talked to Naoise as part of the TPOE HWCH preview podcast, which you can listen to via Soundcloud (or iTunes). You can read highlights of the interview below – lots of tips of who to catch this weekend as well.
Dublin-based quarter Galants – David Kennedy, James McDonald, Colin O’Dwyer and Ruairi Paxton – are gearing up to play their second Hard Working Class Heroes this weekend (Workman’s Club, 8.20pm, Saturday). I saw them two years at the Mercantile and really enjoyed them. They’ve just released a new single, ‘Evergreen’, and promise their debut album in the middle of November. I talked to them for the TPOE HWCH preview podcast, which you can listen to via Soundcloud (or iTunes) or you can read highlights of the chat below. (Check out our previous interviews with Shaker Hymn and Bitch Falcon)