It’s a credit to Aaron Page and Harry Bookless aka Carriages that new song ‘Moving Parts’ is an alt-pop belter rather than coming across as gimmicky. Their press release explains how the 4.25-minute track came about: “‘Moving Parts’ began life as a recording of Harry’s nephew Alex, who was three years old at the time, singing as he played with some percussion instruments. A short loop was cut from the recording and a chord sequence was written around it and this became the basis for the song. Aaron wrote the lyrics and melody around Alex’s singing and the main hook of the song became a duet between the two. The beats for the song were recorded in Delgany, Co Wicklow, using drainage pipes, gravel, puddles and branches continuing on with the band’s preferred use of found sound and self-made sounds to provide beats for their songs.” ‘Moving Parts’ is an easygoing, cute song that takes you on a journey “between the ocean and the river of broken hearts”. It’ll be difficult for you to go back or get out of things – you’ll want to listen again and again. I hope Carriages are forming plans for a debut album – I’d hitch a ride on that (groan).
Sorcha Richarson, from Dublin and living in Brooklyn, keeps up her steady stream of singles with the bass-driven ‘Walk Away’. She told Nylon, which premiered the track, that she wants to be more honest in her songwriting. “I had just decided to scrap an EP that I’d spent the last few months working on and wanted to spend some time changing the way I was making music. Without really meaning to do so, I started writing in a way that was far more honest than anything I had done before. I stopped trying to disguise the thing or person I was writing about and stopped thinking about how uncomfortable it would be to have to sing the songs in front of them.” ‘Walk Away’, telling a tale of a love gone awry, conjures an image not unlike the self-portrait of Richardson above, sitting in an apartment having been left to your own devices after deciding that “I can lie and say I’ll follow you but we know, we know… I cannot follow you, soon you’re gonna be so far away.” In a note accompanying the release, Richardson writes: “When a relationship has an end date before it even starts. There’s a plane ticket booked for a flight out of New York on a date that will not change. When you try to keep someone at a distance, not wanting to say hello and goodbye in the same sentence, but you can’t. The point at which you realise that you’ve crossed a line, you’ve said too much, you’re in too deep and you can’t stay numb.”
Ambient Shirts Vol 1 is the debut album from Cork artist Arty Pawsey aka Arthuritis. Comprising some long ambient tracks, field recordings and instrumentals and samples, the collection is one that soothes, relaxes and stimulates. Pawsey has released a couple of EPs to date, but most of the 11 songs here are far longer than anything he’s done before. The opener, the verbose ‘I Imagine my Brain Imagining Itself Imagining Itself.. and so on’, is a beautiful, subtle sojourn. There are similar tracks whose beauty will prove irresistible: ‘Moths Tide to the Moonlight’ and ‘Waterfall Pt2’, featuring the cello work of Sillk‘s Chris Schmidt-Martin, in particular stand out. You can download the album for a fiver from Bandcamp. Pawsey launches Ambient Shirts Vol 1 at Gulpd, Tobin St, this Sunday, August 28, at 8pm – Facebook event page. I asked Pawsey a couple questions about the making of the album – you can check it out after the Bandcamp embed.
John of Silence is the pseudonym for the new sideproject by O Emperor member Richie Walsh. New Flowers Grow is his debut release and features some familiar collaborators such as Elaine Howley (Altered Hours, Morning Veils) and O Emperor bandmates Brendan Fennessy, Alan Comerford and Phil Christie. Consisting of seven tracks, one of which (‘No Lie’) we heard earlier in the year, the EP radiates a lounging yet uplifting, Beatles-tinged atmosphere. The opener and title track is the most radio friendly of the seven songs here, driven by a killer bassline as Walsh declares there are “no regrets now, from the times we had” and that “cheap imitations” won’t suffice. ‘Leaves of Love’ skirts glorious MOR territory with a sick sax segment “recorded in a short session one night at the former O Emperor studio on York Street Hill”. ‘Weeds of Time’, the longest track here, coming in at 3.32 minutes, is the highlight of the collection, a wondrous slice of Americana with Dave Murphy’s pedal steel helping it reach a higher level. However, the closer, ‘The Merry Weathers’, featuring the vocals of Elaine Howley, is simply irresistible, lullaby-like and tinged with nostalgia. It’s a wonderful end to a stellar debut EP – a special word for the amazing artwork; it was created by freelance artist Anne Walsh Moore. Some of the EP, as mentioned above, was recorded in O Emperor’s former studio Big Skin on York Street, which has now been closed. Of the space, Walsh says: “The space was known to many a fine fellow musician, band and various visitors over the years – well located and equipped creative spaces and institutions like CIT CSM are an important part in nurturing artistic expression within communities to enrich our lives and cultural landscape and should always be advocated for in re-development plans.” You can download New Flowers Grow on a name-your-price basis on the John Of Silence Bandcamp page.
Eight years on from their stellar debut, Lucky Caller No 9, Cork band Ian Whitty & The Exchange have announced details of its follow-up, and revealed its title track. Cash Crop is released on October 29, though if you preorder the album on Ian Whitty’s Bandcamp page, you can expect the CD to come through your letterbox at the start of the month. In a Facebook post, all of which you can read below, after the track embed, Ian says: “Making a record is a genuinely difficult thing to do, simply put its easier to make a mess of it than to get it right. That said we are ready to walk away from this one feeling like we have captured something with a real identity, that we haven’t let any of the songs down and that we have challenged ourselves creatively in the process. We called in a lot of favours on this one and would like to extend a genuine word of gratitude to everyone who helped us to make ‘Cash Crop’, for the generosity, creativity, expertise, belief and all round artistry that they brought to it.” I’m so excited to hear the full thing – but for now I guess the title track will have to do. ‘Cash Crop’ is a gently escalating guitar track with a story built around an apathetic seller of suits (and houndstooth shirts, presumably) who gets his kicks online and on a Saturday night, away “from a town I had outgrown”. Whitty sings that “the harvesting never stops” as the instruments cascade around him. It’s a thumping return for the Exchange.
A couple days on from her interview with Donal Dineen, filling in for Tom Dunne last week on Newstalk, Katie Kim has announced details of her third album. Comprising nine tracks, Salt is released on October 14. You can preorder the limited-edition (500 copies!) heavyweight vinylover on Katie Kim’s Bandcamp page now. It was all recorded at Guerrilla Studios. The press release states that it has “become an integral part of the independent Irish music scene. Guerrilla has hosted live performance video collective the Practice Tapes as well as being the studio where releases by the Jimmy Cake, Hilary Woods and much more have been recorded”. The video below, ‘Salt’, is actually a clip looking behind the scenes at the making of the album – the actual song doesn’t appear on the album. But ruminative, atmospheric, dark and dense, it’s new music from Katie Kim and how can you say no to that? Of recording the new album at Guerrilla Studios, Katie Kim told Donal Dineen: “I’ve recorded my albums in my bedroom. I used to have fuzzing cackle on the tape and I didn’t have the best recording software, but I liked it that way and that’s the way I liked to make the albums. Whereas this time around it feels like I’m a little bit grown up now.”
Donal Dineen was filling in for Tom Dunne on his Newstalk show (Sunday 9pm-11pm, Monday-Thursday 10-pm till midnight) last week – and it was essential listening. He had a plethora of guests, including Si Schroeder, Sunken Foal, Lisa O’Neill, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Cathy Davey and Katie Kim, who as well as revealing three new tracks, was a, absolutely brilliant, honest interviewee. It was great to hear Donal back on the airwaves, where he belongs. Every time he makes pronouncements about the state of radio, everyone should listen – following his Newstalk stint last week, Donal took to Instagram to post his feelings.
“After a redemptive five nights in the radio spotlight it’s sadly time to unplug the machines & turn my face towards the hillside. It’s back to the Kingdom for me, a perfect place to retreat. Thank you all for listening in this week and proffering so much support. I had such a great time on @newstalkfm & I got to play at least a fraction of the mountains of music I had amassed. There was an embarrassment of riches in the record bag, a significant amount of which I never got to play. I think it’s worth pointing out that there’s enough explosive Irish music around right now to power the national grid. It’s never been better. The problem is exposure. That’s where the disconnect is. There ought to be more and better platforms for this work to shine. The best stuff is hidden from view. The brightest stars are still underground. All the pedestals are taken up with the same old innocuous bullshit. The real stuff is a threat to the sameness that is dulling our senses. More should be done to make room for the significant streams of glorious sounds that are springing up all over this island. We should foster the talent and strive to celebrate it. If we don’t, not only will the party be over but everyone will be gone home before we know it. Make use of the transmitters and the radio waves. There should be magic in the air.”
After a redemptive five nights in the radio spotlight it's sadly time to unplug the machines & turn my face towards the hillside. It's back to the Kingdom for me, a perfect place to retreat. Thank you all for listening in this week and proffering so much support. I had such a great time on @newstalkfm & I got to play at least a fraction of the mountains of music I had amassed. There was an embarrassment of riches in the record bag, a significant amount of which I never got to play. I think it's worth pointing out that there's enough explosive Irish music around right now to power the national grid. It's never been better. The problem is exposure. That's where the disconnect is. There ought to be more and better platforms for this work to shine. The best stuff is hidden from view. The brightest stars are still underground. All the pedestals are taken up with the same old innocuous bullshit. The real stuff is a threat to the sameness that is dulling our senses. More should be done to make room for the significant streams of glorious sounds that are springing up all over this island. We should foster the talent and strive to celebrate it. If we don't, not only will the party be over but everyone will be gone home before we know it. Make use of the transmitters and the radio waves. There should be magic in the air. Thanks to @caoimhinoraghallaigh @lisaoneillmusic @rhobcunningham @wearevillagers @ciannugent @brigidmaepower @sischroeder @lauraannbaby @ross_turner @sorcalou
On his second EP, O Sanctum, released today, August 19, via Feel Good Lost, it feels like Eoin French has finally hit his stride. In fact I knew he had hit his stride when I caught Talos at De Barra’s earlier in the summer as the Irish part of an Ireland-Iceland mini tour of the country. A going concern since about March 2014, when ‘Tethered Bones’ was revealed, Talos in Clonakilty sounded stratospheric, a bulked-up sound helping French easily scale new heights. The live band is one of those shifting propositions: sometimes it’s just French, a floppy-haired six footer towering over keys; other times it’s a three piece, with David O’Connell on strings and keys and Josh Sampson on drums; and on that tour and probably going forward it’s a six piece. O Sanctum‘s opening track, ‘Your Love is an Island’, was the standout at De Barra’s and it’s no different here, the way it escalates simply providing a feeling of euphoria. “No one can hold us now,” he declares on ‘Reborn’. There’s certainly no holding back for Talos now. I’m really excited about where they go next. Well, we know what’s actually next for them: Talos are playing Another Love Story this weekend – 8.30pm Saturday at the Ballroom. They’ve also been announced for Hard Working Class Heroes in October.
Brian Casey has been plugging away at things for a few years now, and a debut album, Stories From The South Shore, is due out in the next few months. ‘Oh Now’ is the first taste of it. Built over a Kurt Vile-type riff, Casey, not really feeling the colours, just wants to let out the blues: “Sun’s come out the day’s got a beautiful view, my head’s clear now and it’s feeling beautiful too, and you feel real proud of the things you managed to do.” Casey told me: “It’s the first single in a series that I’ll be releasing ahead of putting out my debut album early next year. I think I’m finally after figuring out what I want to say and how I want to say it at least for the moment with my music, and this is a stripped-down kind of introduction to that.” Casey was also this week announced for Hard Working Class Heroes in October so keep an eye out. You can download ‘Oh Now’ below, via Bandcamp, on a name-your-price basis.
One of the highlights from their second album Age of Indignation, Dublin five-piece September Girls have revealed the video for ‘Catholic Guilt’. It’s a 360-degree video which is really cool. They say it’ll also work on a VR headset and Google Cardboard so it’d be like you’re standing in the middle of the room turning around watching the band plus a couple of lighting folks do their thing. I’ve noticed some 360-degree holiday photos doing the rounds on Facebook too so they’re obviously getting easier to produce. Whether they’ll last beyond the novelty factor in a couple years is the question. The song itself, as you might expect, is brewing with anger. The video sees the band being marked with words by the lighting people who also tie them up. They say: “‘Catholic Guilt’, deals with anger towards the Catholic Church, particularly from the viewpoint of being a woman. The Catholic Church in Ireland still exerts a patriarchal force over women’s bodily autonomy, (evident from our draconian abortion laws) something which would be unthinkable in most other progressive countries. This force is exerted by the same Catholic Church who covered up years of child sexual abuse by its members.” Jessie Ward O’Sullivan told Noisey what words were being written on them: “Messages that we feel powers that be are trying force onto our female bodies. Words like; vessel, subject, fear, control, guilt. Messages that are forced upon us on a daily basis, both subconsciously and not, to keep us toeing the line. As a woman you sometimes feel that your body is not your own, that it is something anyone can comment upon or judge, or a vessel or weapon that you’re unable to control yourself. In 2016 it’s pretty frustrating that we still need to fight for for bodily autonomy.”
September Girls play Bello Bar on Saturday, August 20, with all proceeds going to x-ileproject.com (a member group of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment. Tickets are €5 and also playing on the night are Alien She, Sissy, and M(h)aol. Listen to Age of Indignation below the video.