I wrote about the workaholic Laurie Shaw a couple of weeks ago and in that time, he’s uploaded yet another full album to his YouTube page, Her Majesties Secret Service. He’s got a couple of live shows coming up in Cork this week, first playing a free show downstairs in the Pavilion on Thursday, from 9pm. The following night, Friday, he’ll be playing Mr Bradley’s as part of the Rumble on Barrack Street. He played his first show as ‘Laurie Shaw’ a couple of weeks ago in Cork Community PrintShop – it was a solo affair but he promises a full band this time round, which should prove memorable. Below, Shaw talks about his nonstop creative process and why, excluding sheep, there’s not much to do entertainment-wise in the Kerry mountains.
After six years, Wicklow five-piece Croupier have decided their chips are up and it’s time to call it a day. With an album and an EP under their belt, Croupier can certainly feel proud of their time together, which has taken them across Europe with Enemies and around Ireland a number of times. The first gig I put on, in Limerick in early 2011, saw Croupier play first, and they headlined the last gig I put on, the We Play Here weekender last Sunday. We knew it was going to be their last Cork show and they went out not with a whimper but with an electrifying bang. Singer Oisin Murphy told Eimear in We Play Here 2 some of the reasons behind the breakup: “There were five guys, we’re getting older and we’re all doing different things. It’s also, financially, really hard to keep it going as well. It costs money to do this.” Bassist Rob Riley told her: “We all, in a sense, are going in different directions. It’s just too hard – it got to a point where it felt a little bit forced to even get a practice going.” You can read the whole interview with Croupier in issue 2 of We Play Here, available here. (The picture above was show for the zine by Bríd O’Donovan.)
Croupier released a statement about their breakup today, and have put that self-titled debut album and last year’s The Visor EP up for free download. They will play their last show at the Twisted Pepper on May 30. Croupier said: “As some people may already know, as of June 2014, Croupier will be coming to an end. It has been a difficult decision to make, however, we feel it is the right moment for us to finish. It’s been an amazing experience in which we have had the opportunity to not only play music as five close friends but also make a heap of friends along the way. We would like to thank our friends, family and anyone who has supported us and come to our shows. Of course, we won’t be leaving without saying a proper goodbye! We’ll be playing a show on at the Twisted Pepper on May 30. As a final gift, all our music will be free to download from our Bandcamp! So enjoy and thank you again from Harry, Rob, Niall, Charlie and Oisin.”
There were a plethora of good bands and acts playing around the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork City over the weekend, APril 19 and 20, in a joint celebration of Record Store Day and our launch of We Play Here issue 2. On Saturday night, Twin Lights, Nativism and the Keep on Jumpin’ DJs kept people entertained in Gulpd, while in the TDC, WPH issue one stars the Great Balloon Race and the Shaker Hymn were joined by Popical Island’s Paddy Hanna, who performed a solo acoustic set. He’ll be back in Cork in June. Shaker Hymn, meanwhile, were celebrating the release of their first 7″ single, which features ‘The Runaway’ and ‘Hunter & the Headsman’. You can pick the record up in Plugd, Records & Relics and the Cork Community PrintShop. On Sunday, we brought together three acts featured in issue 2 of We Play Here. The Careers, who are currently in the process of completing the Leaving Cert, opened things up with short, sharp surf-rock punctuated songs. I really love their debut EP, Atomic Cosmosaurus, and the tracks aired here, like ‘Try (Try Try)’ never fail to excite. Carried By Waves played their first set as a band on Saturday. Ostensibly the work of Ronan McCann, he’s joined here by John Synnott, David Nelligan and Ronan Dineen, and puts on a stunning set. It’s Carried By Waves, but bigger. Wicklow five piece Croupier, disregarding one or two support slots, played their first Cork show in about two years to headline. A vastly underrated band, they put on an amazing live show, with Oisin Murphy cutting a tall, beguiling figure, airdrumming throughout and gesticulating wildly while bassist Rob Reid is like a five-year-old hopped up on piles of coffee and full of sugar after scoffing all of the Easter eggs. Pictures from Saturday are below, while the Sunday night shots are on page 2, here. All pictures, as usual, by Bríd O’Donovan (Facebook/Tumblr).
Thanks to everybody who came out over the weekend. If you’d like to get your hands on a copy of We Play Here 2 you can order it online now.
It was Unholy Thursday at the Pavilion last night, April 17, and the soundtrack was Black Sabbath, done by local band Elastic Sleep. Their new EP, Leave You is out next week and they’re having a listening party in Plugd at 6.30pm on Record Store Day, Saturday, April 19. (Our We Play Here weekender kicks off afterwards.) Did you see Elastic Sleep were featured in the latest issue of NME? All pictures below by Bríd O’Donovan (Tumblr/Facebook).
San Fermin‘s self-titled debut album, which came out last September, is happily residing near the top of my favourite albums of 2013 list (in my head). I love its National-based, kitchen sink melodrama. Written by keyboard player Ellis Ludwig-Leone, vocals are provided by the depths-plunging Allen Tate and Charlene Kaye (who has seemingly replaced Rae Cassidy) over a cacophony of brass, with punctuations of guitar and drums filling in any gaps. It’s epic in scale. Live, San Fermin keep things widescreen. With Ludwig-Leone almost directing things from behind his small keyboard at the side of the Pavilion stage on Tuesday night, April 15, it’s impossible to take your eyes off the other seven members. The trumpet player and saxophonist battle with Tate and Kaye for attention. ‘Sonsick’ is their calling card, both live and on the album. The heartbreaking frankness of Kaye/Cassidy’s line, “Now I know it’s just another fuck cos I’m old enough”, gets me every time. Morrissey wishes he had come up with that heartbreaker. And then comes the grandiose whoosh of a tight group trying to prove they’re not just another band. Three new songs are played on Tuesday: ‘Give Into Love’, ‘Parasites’, and ‘Demon Lover’, which features the chorus “it’s gotta be perfect”. One can imagine that Ludwig-Leone has that mantra hanging over his bed at home. He promises that the tracks will all feature on San Fermin’s second album, next year. I can’t wait. The only misstep was an encore (I wish bands didn’t think they were de rigeur) consisting of a cover of Strokes song ‘Heart in a Cage’. San Fermin are better than that – and they’re going to prove it around Europe over the next month. Support came from the Great Balloon Race, whose own new songs also promise great things. If you missed GBR, they’re playing our Record Store Day/We Play Here weekender on Saturday. All pictures below by Bríd O’Donovan (Facebook/Tumblr)
After Jape’s reworking of We Cut Corners’ last single ‘Best Friend’ comes Daithí’s remix of ‘Blue’. It’s the second track on We Cut Corners‘ second album Think Nothing, which is out in Ireland next Friday, April 25. I’ve had a couple of listens to it at this stage; first thoughts – it’s as electrifying as Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards. It’s darker lyrically, which contrasts with the brighter music. I interviewed Conall from WCC during the week and he said that’s exactly what the pair of them wanted. It was brought to life by Tommy McLoaughlin (Villagers, Soak) in his Donegal studio and should sound great live. Daithí, meanwhile, who plays the Button Factory this Saturday, strips the guitar from ‘Blue’ building a wobbly bass line around some histrionic vocals screaming “I am not a loner, I am just alone”. You can listen to his remix of ‘Blue’ below via Soundcloud, while the original is underneath it, via Spotify.
Having started life as a four-piece guitar band, Rory Caraher and James Hyland have cut Peaks back to just the pair of them and some electronics. Their sound has slowly evolved into percussion-loving techno, as evidenced by two new tracks, ‘IJWU’ and ‘Barrels’. Things are not as hard, fast or technical as the likes of Lakker (my goodness, that Containing A Thousand EP!) but Peaks still scale some heights. The drum hits slowly slide into a rhythm that masks an evolution in the background of ‘IJWU’ while ‘Barrels’, like a lawnmower with a questionable motor, takes its time to get going, but when it does, when the hi-hat hits arrive halfway through, you’ll find it difficult to resist. The EP, out on iH Audio, is at once subtle and overt. A promising start for Peaks. You can download ‘IJWU/Barrels’ for free from Bandcamp and listen to more Peaks’ music at their Soundcloud page.
The Shaker Hymn are readying their first 7″ single and are releasing it this Saturday, Record Store Day. It comprises their two singles to date, the still utterly exhilarating ‘Hunter and the Huntsman‘, and ‘The Runaway‘. The single comes ahead of their debut album, Rascal’s Antique, which should be out soon enough. The double-A side single will be available to pick up in Plugd, Cork Community PrintShop and Records & Relics (wow, just like that, Cork has three good record shops. That’s nice). You’ll also be able to buy it on Saturday night as the Shaker Hymn play our Record Store Day/We Play Here weekender in the Triskel, alongside fellow Cork group the Great Balloon Race and Popical Island’s Paddy Hanna. Doors at the TDC are at 7.30pm. The Shaker Hymn will be onstage at 8pm. You can listen to (and watch the videos for) ‘The Runaway’ and ‘Hunter and the Headsman’ below.
Susan Dietrich Schneider – the Space Lady – was in Cork on Saturday night, April 12, to put on an utterly unique show at the TDC in the Triskel. If you haven’t heard of her, the Quietus has an excellent interview with her here. ‘Synthesize Me’ in particular sounded wonderful, surrounded by a plethora of psychadelic covers (it wouldn’t be a Space Lady show without the Starman, she quipped, before starting into the David Bowie song). It was a special gig. She was supported by School Tour, who performed some dark, escalating sounds for about 45 minutes all in front of a strobe light that proved disorientating – I’m still getting flashing images now. All pictures below by Bríd O’Donovan.