Altered Hours‘ debut album, In Heat Not Sorry, is out now on Penske/Art for Blind. Ahead of its release I got to chat to three-fifths of the Cork-based band, co-vocalists Cathal and Elaine, and guitarist Kevin, for the TPOE podcast. You can listen on Soundcloud or iTunes (you can also subscribe to both so you never miss an episode). I’ve transcribed a little bit of the interview after the jump.

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ros steer

In the latest episode of the Point of Everything Podcast – guest-hosted by Bríd O’Donovan (who also took the two photos in the post) as I was feeling sick – Ros Steer, formerly of Saint Yorda, talks about her current band Morning Veils. Completed by Aisling O’Riordan and Elaine Howley, the Cork-based three piece have just released their debut album, Her Kind, on Ros’s own label, Kantcope, which she runs with Mary Kelliher. In the interview, Ros chats about how she developed as a musician and as a music lover, chats about the confidence that being in Saint Yorda gave her, her creative process, why the Kantcope released have been done on cassette, and more. I’ve transcribed some of the highlights from the interview below, but if you want to listen to the interview, click the Soundcloud player below or listen (and subscribe) on iTunes here.

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Kicking off the first TPOE podcast of 2016 is the renowned Irish writer Kevin Barry. Last year I made a concerted effort, probably as part of my resolutions, to read more books. I think the goal was 100 books (I failed). Along the way I came across Kevin Barry and his two collections of short stories, There Are Little Kingdoms and Dark Lies The Island. I loved them. His style is so distinctive, every sentence getting a kicking and a licking and leaving you exhilarated by the time you reach the full stop. He’s one of the most influential writers around – try to find an Irish fiction writer in their 20s or 30s who doesn’t reference him. His first novel is City of Bohane, and his second, Beatlebone, came out in the second half of last year. It’s based around the story of John Lennon, who did genuinely own the island of Dorinish in Clew Bay, Co Mayo. From there, Barry tells a fictional account of Lennon trying to reach the island in 1978, just to get away from it all, to scream, to find calm and to be at peace with himself. It’s a stunning piece of work, which has already won Barry the £10,000 Goldsmiths Prize for innovative fiction. It also found its way onto many writers’ end-of-year lists. Towards the end of 2015. So I was delighted to get a chance to sit down with Kevin Barry for my podcast. We talked about his living in Cork, Limerick growing into itself culturally, acid house, Beatlebone, Lennon, writing City of Bohane to dub reggae, Winter Pages, and a lot more. You can listen to the podcast below, via Soundcloud, or subscribe on iTunes by clicking here. (It’s also available on the likes of Podcast Republic and Podcast Addict.) I’ve also transcribed the whole piece, which you can read below, though why would you pass up the chance to hear Barry spinning yarns in his distinctive drawl?)

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It proved much easier than expected to put together this mix of Irish acts getting in the Christmas spirit, through covers or indeed original tracks – an original Christmas song in the mid-20=teens!?! I know! It’s 14 tracks long and could’ve been at least four tracks longer, but it was a little impromptu and kind of on a whim – I should’ve been in the gym but got distracted putting the mix together. I’m hopefully going to do more mixes and radio show-type things in 2016 – no, it won’t be new Christmas songs every week, which I presume would be close to impossible and potentially maddening. It’ll be new Irish music mixed with classics and stuff like that. That’s the plan, anyway, so make sure you follow me on Mixcloud to ensure you don’t miss out. Soundcloud and iTunes will only be for podcasts. That’s the plan, anyway…

Here’s the tracklist for the Christmas Mix:

1. Naive Ted – ‘They Wasted Lewis’
2. Frankenstein Bolts – ‘Driving Home For Christmas’
3. Lauren Bird – ‘Christmas Time’
4. Rest – ‘Walking In The Air’
5. Sleep Thieves – ‘November Christmas’
6. Adebisi Shank – ‘All I Want For Christmas’
7. Casanova Wave – ‘I Believe in Father Christmas’
8. Eoin Dolan – ‘Sail That Boat, Santa Claus’
9. Imploded View – ‘It’s Xmas 2015’
10. Croupier – ‘Carol Of The Bells’
11. Giveamanakick – ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’
12. Christmas Hearts – ‘Christmas Is In Your Heart’ (which was made for charity last year and can be downloaded here)
13. The Mighty Stef – ‘Shit Christmas Without You’
14. White Boys – ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’

The Point of Everything Christmas Mix 2015 by The Point Of Everything on Mixcloud

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While it’s quite daunting just thinking about reading a 600-plus-page book, David Cavanagh must have thought it impossible trying to sum up the legacy of John Peel and chronicle 35 years of his shows in only 600 pages – he must have expected it to top a thousand. But that’s what he’s done with Good Night and Good Riddance: How 35 years of John Peel helped to shape modern life. The subtitle is a little misnomer: it’s mostly confirmed by Peel playing ‘God Save The Queen’ by the Sex Pistols when the BBC had banned the song, his championing of reggae and rap when nobody else was taking a chance on it, bands doing renowned Peel sessions before their debut album’s been released, before their next record’s been announced. He plays your new favourite band before anyone has heard them.

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After last week’s hour-long show about our favourite albums and shows of 2015, I’m again joined by Chris (Elastic Sleep), Darren (Hags) and Niamh (Across The Line) to talk more generally about the albums making waves on lots of end-of-year lists. There’s talk on: Eagles of Death Metal, Meltybrains, DJ Paypal (yup), Sufjan Stevens, Foals (‘What Went Down’ is one of my favourite songs of the year. Chris: “As soon as I heard you say ‘What Went Down’ I thought, ‘Their ability to write a good song.’) Blur, Sleater-Kinney, Owensie, Roisin Murphy, The Jimmy Cake, Girls Names, Villagers, and Bjork. Then we look forward to albums of 2016, particularly Altered Hours’ In Heat Not Sorry. Plus our favourite Christmas songs. See you next year!

the lie ins

Lie Ins, comprising Mike Stevens, Mark Chester and Ruan van Vliet, released their debut album, Death To Lie Ins, almost three years ago. Today the two-piece have released a new single that you can download for free from their Bandcamp page. With a chorus built around cries of “1-2-3-4” on a song that lasts less than three minutes, it’s hard not to think of the Ramones when listening to ‘Love in the Attic’. “You’re no good, you won’t do, here comes another one that’s better than you,” they huff as the song grows to encapsulate a classic surf-rock riff. ‘Go Back To Billy’ opts for a lo-fi sound, which isn’t really surprising considering the EP was recorded only last week by Chester in the Pop Inn, and harks back to a more care-free Josef K. Both tracks pack a lot of fun into six minutes – and all for free! Lie Ins are one of at least nine bands playing the fifth Popical Island all-dayer, taking place upstairs in Whelan’s this Saturday, December 19. Tickets are only a tenner. The other acts due to play, with more expected, apparently: Squarehead, Skelocrats, Ginnels, No Monster Club, Owensie, Walpurgis Family, The Number 1s, and Me and My Dog.

quarter block party

After a successful inaugural year, Quarter Block Party, presented by Makeshift Ensemble and Southern Hospitality Board, returns to North and South Main Street, Cork City, on February 5-7, 2016. The likes of Elastic Sleep and Altered Hours starred on last year’s music programme and this second installment looks like being just as exciting. Here’s the list of who has been announced so far – apparently there are more music acts to be announced, as well as the full theatre and performance programme.

Acts announced so far:
Spook of the Thirteenth Lock present ‘Lockout’
Bitch Falcon
Daniel Knox
Chris Power
Stevie G presents a J Dilla special
Donal Dineen
Laurie Shaw
Paddy Hanna
Duende Dogs
Alex Petcu
Steven Sharpe and the Broke Straight Boys

Here’s a Soundcloud playlist of most of the acts:

It’s a doozy of a lineup. Headlined by the Spooks’ Lockout event, which will be only the show’s second outing, and the first in Cork, “the band will be joined by an electric guitar orchestra, bringing this unique sound into the world of contemporary Irish traditional music in the stunning venue of St Peter’s Church (formerly Cork Vision Centre)”. Bitch Falcon are one of the hotly tipped Irish acts for 2016 as they reach back to the early 90s for a raucous grunge sound. Other highlights for me include Lakerama (Graeme S and Senita) and Sillk, both of whom should also feature on many tips for 2016 lists. The beguiling singer-songwriter Somerville, the soul/blues duo Basciville, the workaholic Laurie Shaw, Popical slacker Paddy Hanna and Joni, whose song ‘Running’ was one of the defining sounds of Web Summit, all ensure that Quarter Block Party should be a must-go for music fans.

And if that’s not enough, then read this, from the press release: “Quarter Block Party ‘15 was founded in unusual events in unexpected spaces, and rooted within the community of North and South Main Streets, and this year sees an expanded and inclusive community event programme. One of the aims of the festival is to provide a legacy – an ongoing improvement of the North and South Main Street area. This year sees the beginning of this in ‘Welcome to Paradise’, with the creation of a permanent mural in Paradise Place by up and coming artist Peter Martin. Creative activities like gardening can have significant positive effects on mental health, and so ‘A Growing Conversation’ invites you to have a relaxed cuppa and a chat before taking part in a spring gardening workshop in the Basement Resource Centre. Going international this year, the EBC-Project is a conversation of three cities Eleusis (Greece), Budapest (Hungary) and Cork around the past, present and possible future of abandoned manufacturing sites. This project is developed in collaboration with Motus Terrae (GR) and Placcc Fesztival (HU) with parallel conversation events happening in the two cities creating invisible links to Europe. The Festival will also provide an opportunity to play the unique instruments of the Central Javanese Gamelan, an ensemble of instruments consisting of gongs and metallophones, an experience not to be missed. Storytelling workshop Shop Around the Corner aims to start a process of sharing and artistic exchange between the traders serving the neighbourhood and other active members of the community.”

Ticket info for Quarter Block Party 2016:
Weekend ticket:
€35 + booking fee (Includes priority booking for all events as part of the festival, excluding Spook of the Thirteenth Lock)
Weekend ticket + Spook of the Thirteenth Lock: €40 + booking fee (Includes priority booking for all events as part of the festival including Spook of the Thirteenth Lock)
Spook of the Thirteenth Lock: €12.50 + booking fee; ‘Lockout’ – St Peter’s Church, Saturday, February 6

bad machine

It’s been ages since we’ve heard from Cork band Elastic Sleep. Last November they gave us live favourite ‘Slip‘, but ‘Bad Machine’ is our first taster of new music since then (though we did get an awesome cover of Jon Hopkins’ ‘Open Eye Signal’). Over nearly four minutes, it’s a reminder of just how powerful a punch this band can throw. It also sounds like a natural progression for them, Muireann Levis’ ethereal voice wriggling and writhing with the spiralling guitars, while the bass and drums remain stoic, before giving in for a raucous outro. “Take me to your bed, show me where the flowers grow/Take me by the hand, help me understand,” Levis implores early on. But later, she’s ready to give in: “Take me to the stones, lay me down and break my bones/take me to the trees on my hands and on my knees.” The accompanying video, by Echo Tree Studios, manages to capture the claustrophobic, disconcerting nature of ‘Bad Machine’. You can get the track as a free download from Elastic Sleep’s Soundcloud and Bandcamp pages. The artwork, which I’m in love with, is by the incredible Sunless Designs. Elastic Sleep have a handful of dates coming up and it sounds like they could be last shows for a while. They wrote on their Facebook page: “Because some of us will be travelling and have other commitments for 2016 these will be our last shows for the foreseeable future. if you were hoping to catch us live now is your time. we’re very lucky to be playing alongside some amazing bands for these gigs, including our old guitar player and current friend Brendan’s (remember him?) new project Barchester Chronicles début. So come out let you and raise your knees with a parting glass.” The gigs are after the jump.

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altered hours album

We got our first taster a couple months ago of Altered Hours‘ debut album, In Heat Not Sorry, with the thrilling ‘Way Of Sorrow‘. The Cork five piece had latest track ‘Silver Leather’, a pulsating, intense five-minute listen, premiered on the Fader earlier this week. Lead singer Cathal Mac Gabhainn described how the title came from staring at Iggy Pop’s Raw Power for too long: “Iggy is wearing silver leather pants and I felt like this resonated with this track; the song stands for a general disgust and rebellion against modern life and harks back to an ancient form of rock and roll.” Over a big bassline, Altered Hours have created a swirling, unsettling atmosphere. “We were young then we were brave, we had nothing but our children to save,” Cathal intones, later switching the line, worryingly, to: “We were young then we were brave, we had nothing but our bones to break.” ‘Silver Leather’, already a live favourite, is a thoroughly engaging and layered piece of psychrock that brings your into its world and doesn’t let you see the exit signs. In Heat Not Sorry is out via Art For Blind Records & Penske Recordings on January 29. Altered Hours’ lengthy tour dates are after the jump.

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