Cork band Former Monarchs are gearing up to release their debut album, The Cost Of Living, in two weeks, on March 24. It’s been a few years in the making, with college and work commitments meaning practice sessions were only grabbed here and there. Former Monarchs have released a couple of EPs and ‘Origins’ is our first taster of new music in about two years. It continues in a similar vein to what’s come before: it’s a spiky, shouty affair which adds some orchestration to take things to the next level as Kevin Mulcahy proclaims that “the people losing time will ask us all to pray, but our shooting star means nothing to them these days”. In the vein of Pulled Apart By Horses and Reuben (I was listening to a lot of Reuben last week – what a band!), Former Monarchs’ new material was produced by Christian Best, responsible for O Emperor’s Vitreous and the Shaker Hymn’s forthcoming debut LP Rascal’s Antique. The video for ‘Origins’, meanwhile, was produced by Damien Murphy of Limbo and was performed at the Circus Factory by Heist Darling. Former Monarchs launch The Cost Of Living, whose artwork was done by Brad McLaughlin, in Cyprus Avenue on Saturday, April 19, with support from Lamp.
Finally, some new music from No Spill Blood! It’s about damn time. No news on an album, but the Irish trio – Matt Hedigan (Elk), Ruadhan O’Meara (Magic Pockets) and Lar Kaye (Adebisi Shank) – are due to release an LP on Sargent House sometime this year. To whet our appetites, here’s a video of a NSB practising ‘White Out’. I believe pounding is the word you’re looking for. No Spill Blood are playing Cork in March.
The Hard Ground are nine days away from the end of their Fund:It campaign to help them ultimately release a new album, Triptych, and three preceding EPs. You can read all about that here and contribute to the Fund:It campaign here. I emailed the Hard Ground a few questions a couple of weeks back. Here are the answers, provided by co-vocalists Pat Carey and Marlene Enright.
On Sleep Thieves‘ current pile of influeces, I think the Drive OST is resting on top. Judging by forthcoming single ‘City Of Hearts’, the Dublin trio would do a pretty good job of soundtracking a Ryan Gosling-starring, slow-building noir film. Previous single ‘Sparks‘ saw the band relishing in 80s synth and sound, and Sleep Thieves seem happy to stay there. The bass squelches along at a monotonous pace while Sorcha Brennan offers up a bunch of contradictions: “I wanted not to be lonely but still alone, walking slowly but nearing home.” Her sighs of “I wanted” then trail off, as if she’s not sure where she’ll go from here. Such a tale of unknowing is hardly new, feeling half alive at 24 or 25 – the Smiths revelled in it – but the way it’s wrapped up in an almost indistinguishable chorus, which sees Sorcha hit high notes you might only expect from the best alter boy in the class, serves to almost mask the solution to her problems. Completed by Wayne Fahy and Keith Byrne, Sleep Thieves release ‘City Of Hearts’ via the US label Minty Fresh Records tomorrow, February 25. An album follows later in the year.
Lisa Lemur and Plugd Records have teamed up to take on the “annual drink-n-puke fest known as St Patrick’s weekend” and have revealed a tasty weekend lineup that will stop you working on a float for the parade – I was sure I was going to win best float this year and everything!
On Friday, March 14, Stanley Brinks & The Wave Pictures will play the TDC, with support from French singer-songwriter Freschard, and JohnofSilence, marking the first outing of O Emperor’s Richie Walsh’s new solo project. Tickets for that show are €5. On Saturday, March 15, Cork is in for a treat as Katie Kim finally returns, with an early show (doors 8pm) in the TDC. Support for that gig is from local trio Morning Veils and costs €10. Finally, on Sunday, March 16, No Spill Blood will play the TDC, with doors from 9pm. They should have an album arriving on Sargent House later in the year and this will hopefully be my first time catching them – I’ve been spinning their Street Meat EP forever, man! Support is TBA and tickets are €7.
So if you’ve done the maths you’ll have counted up to €22 that you’ll have to splash out for all three shows – which would totally be worth it. But Lisa and Plugd are offering handmade weekend tickets – ie for the three shows – for €15. Tickets go onsale from Plugd on Tuesday, February 25. The poster is down below and after the jump is a few bits and bobs from the press release about each band in case you’re not familiar – YOU’RE NOT FAMILIAR WITH KATIE KIM?!!? WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING WITH YOUR LIFE??
Choosing to forgo her surname, Dublin-based singer Tara specialises in big pop music; think Foxes and her latest single ‘Let Go For Tonight’. The accompanying press release for Tara’s single ‘Stars’, meanwhile, references Sia, Delilah, Corinne Bailey-Rae and Shaekspear’s Sister. In a bio similar to Liza Flume, Tara hails from Australia, choosing Dublin as a home because of her dad’s roots here, apparently. Her band is completed by Anthony McMahon, Paul Flood and Ally Donald, and ‘Stars’ is Tara’s debut single, built around some big lungs and even bigger choruses. “Everybody said they’d never leave me behind, but they did,” she sings, soundtracking the experience of emigration. ‘Stars’ is out April 6.
Having just received her critically acclaimed second album Burn Your Fire for No Witness on Jagjaguwar, Angel Olsen has revealed that she’s coming back to Cork in the summer for a very special show. Presented by the G-Man and Triskel, in association with Low Trees Production, Olsen will play the Triskel Christchurch on Saturday, June 7. Tickets go onsale Wednesday priced €13, rising to €15 in time. You probably shouldn’t play the waiting game on this one – I missed her when she played the Half Moon last May and everybody who went wouldn’t stop talking about her. Olsen will be in Dublin the night before, Friday, June 6, playing Whelan’s, in a show presented by Skinny Wolves. Tickets for that are €14 and are also onsale this Wednesday. You can listen to Olsen’s latest album for a limited time over at NPR.
Belfast indie-pop band Go Swim have released a video for ‘Call Sign’ that features highlights from their first year as a band: Shots! Fans dancing! Naps! Laughter! Oh, and some gigs are thrown in too. The song itself is a skittish and exciting four and a half minutes where Steven Smith and Julianne Shawe trade verbal shots over math rock guitar lines. Smith told the Thin Air: “We picked this track for a video as it was the one we felt was the most energetic and the one we felt we really could ‘let loose’ to on stage so I guess we wanted to really capture that energy in the video so we decided on trying to make the video come across as live as possible and to show what we have been up to over the last few months.” The video for ‘Call Sign’ was directed by Darren Lee.
Windings are releasing a split album with Land Lovers on February 28 through Out On A Limb Records/Popical Island on 12″ vinyl and download. You can preorder the album here. ‘Neverwood’ is our first taster of Windings’ half of the record – and neither the song or video was what I had expected. The song does follow a well-worn path for the Limerick group but then it delves into Scooby Doo territory towards the end – the quality guitar work on display wins me over though. The video is, er, um, well… it’s Windings’ go at winning the internet. I don’t think the drummer is keeping time in the video though. You can listen to a new song from Land Lovers below the video, ‘Vittima di Cucina’.
We Cut Corners release second album Think Nothing on the Delphi label on April 25 (and May 12 in the UK). We’ve already heard ‘YKK‘ and ‘Every Thief‘, and now we get a taste of ‘Best Friend’. It’s a seething couple of minutes that revolve around the sneery advice: “Do you really want to sit around playing guitar.” Like both the debut album and those tracks we’ve already heard from Think Nothing, ‘Best Friend’ doesn’t deviate much from the We Cut Corners template – it’s short, sharp and, well, sits around playing guitar. From the press release: “Think Nothing was recorded in Donegal with Villager’s guitarist/producer Tommy McLaughlin and mixed by renowned producer Ben Hillier, who has worked with Blur, Depeche Mode, the Horrors and Elbow among other luminaries of indie music’s recent past. The album includes three songs for which the strings were scored by prolific contemporary Irish composer John Buckley, and recorded in Rathgar Methodist Church. Reflecting these collaborations, Think Nothing is a very different record from the first all whilst still recognisably their own. In these ten new songs, the band demonstrate the wide range of influences and ideas they have taken on since their debut.” ‘Best Friend’ will be released on February 24. Album tracklisting and Irish tour dates after the jump.