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John Blek is leaving the Rats behind to release his debut solo album Cutting Room Floor on November 28. A collection of songs that Blek has been working on over the past 18 months, ‘Portland, Oregon’ is our first taster of the nine-track collection. As the name suggests, it’s a lovely acoustic number that’s bathed in Americana. “We used to drink a lot and stay out til dawn… we fell around the floor in the Oregon bars,” Blek soothingly sings, recalling the good old days before they grew grey and old – and yet they “still dance around the room in our Oregon home”. You can watch the video for the track, made by Barra Vernon and filmed in the Beggarman bar in Cork city, below. From the press release: “Recorded over one 20-hour session in a friend’s home. Cutting Room Floor is an intimate collection of nine alt-folk songs compiled by John since the release of John Blek & the Rats’ last album 18 months ago. This solo endeavour began simply as a longing to document some songs that had fallen by the way side, but turned into a strong collection of live acoustic performances that needed to be shared. The process involved very little overdubs and focuses on the strength of John’s lyrics and vocal performance.” You can preorder Cutting Room Floor here.

The October bank holiday weekend is almost upon us which can mean only one thing – the Cork Jazz Festival. There’s always a great buzz on the streets and plenty of music – and possibly some alcohol – to go around. Below are some of my recommendations for Thursday to Sunday, though they are but a fraction of what’s on offer. From the Sextant to the Everyman to the Triskel, loads of places should be packed with punters and musicians alike. There are loads of ‘Jazz Camp’ classes happening at the CIT School of Music over the weekend, too, usually during the day. Check out all the events here. Keep an eye – and ears – out for three street bands marching around all weekend: the nine-piece Beat n Blow from Berlin; Lamorotte Jazz Band from the Netherlands; and the New York Jazz Band from, er, obviously, Yorkshire. For a comprehensive look at the weekend, go see G-man’s gig guide. For those looking for actual jazz music over the weekend, Gulpd has you covered. And Hobo Convention also has some tips, including the Sextant using the yard of Carey’s Tool Hire to put on a mini festival.


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It’s been a while since we heard from London-based, Limerick/Clare trio Sisters. They were back in Dublin for a show at Hard Working Class Heroes but there hasn’t been any new music since ‘Hush Hush‘ aaaages ago. At just over three minutes long, ‘February’ thankfully ends the withdrawal symptoms. A free download via Soundcloud, it’s built on a super-solid pop base, with bassist Aoife taking the vocal reins. “You said you know this too will pass, hope this February moves fast,” she sings, providing you with your earworm for the week. The video for ‘February’ is below, directed by Margaux Renaudin. Sisters are currently in New York for CMJ, which is pretty cool.


Dublin trio Women’s Christmas have just released their excellent debut album, Too Rich For Our Blood, and played a free gig in the Crane Lane in Cork to showcase it. Released on Out On A Limb – the second album the label has put out this year, after the Windings/Land Lovers split – the 12 tracks will leave you bouncing off the walls right up until January 6. Featuring members of Jogging, Villagers and No Monster Club, you’d be right in thinking they put on a great show. They play the Kasbah Social Club in Limerick and the Pop Inn in Dublin on November 1. In Cork, support came from the prolific Laurie Shaw. You can listen to Too Rich For Our Blood below. All pictures after the jump are by Brid O’Donovan.

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Girl Band played their final Irish show at the weekend, filling the TDC in the Triskel Arts Centre for their first sold-out show in Ireland. They’re easily one of the best live bands in the country so expect plenty more sell-out gigs to follow in 2015, a year which should also see the Dublin four piece release their debut album. Until then, you can listen to one of the tracks of the year, ‘Lawman’, below. Kudos, too, to Southern Hospitality Board for putting on a stellar show. Hopefully they have a few more great ideas and bands up their sleeves. Pictures below by Brid O’Donovan.

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Seven months after revealing his debut track ‘Tethered Bones’, Cork producer Talos, aka Eoin French, unveils another beautiful, wrenching song. A few mournful piano keys intertwine with solemn guitar and French’s cooing and wooing. “Try and share my youth, these things I waited for, I am bound to you… We bloom, feathers bloom for you,” he quivers. ‘Bloom’ was produced by Ian Ring of Young Wonder and dips its toes into a post-dubstep world for the second half of a track that is never less than mesmeric. ‘Tethered Bones’ and ‘Bloom’ will be released on 12″ vinyl on December 1 via Feel Good Lost, who will be revealing a video for the new track soon.

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Dublin duo/trio Subplots ride their inner Foals on ‘Future Tense’, the second track they’ve given us from forthcoming album, Autumning. Phil Boughton and Daryl Chaney have been subplotting for a few years – debut album Nightcycles came out in 2009 – and they’ve now added a drummer and honed their sound to a, well, a future tense. The perfect pop length, the track is jittery and atmospheric, until it finds its feet and soars for the closing minute or so. There’s a hint of Last Days of 1984 there too, but it’s Foals to whom Subplots lean. Phil says: “‘Future Tense’ was one of the first songs written for the album, and went through a metamorphosis throughout recording. Our new drummer Ross Chaney had a big influence on the second half – shifting the feel of the song completely. It was one of the toughest songs to finish on the album but ultimately probably the one we’re proudest of.” You can download ‘Future Tense’ here, where you can also preorder Autumning, though, despite its name, it won’t be released until January. Subplots play the Pepper Canister Church with Luke ABbott on November 15.

jetsetter promo

Clocking in at little over two minutes, the new single from Dublin four-piece Jet Setter doesn’t overstay its welcome. A super surf-pop song, it finds Ross Hamer in a passive, indecisive mood. “First time I didn’t know what to do, I just sat there stupid…”. He still doesn’t know what to do second time round. So what should he have done? By the fifth time, he concludes that, “I shouldn’t have met her.” Well then, I guess he is just dippis his toes into relationships. The single has been pressed to 300 limited edition 7″ heavyweight vinyl and is out this Friday, October 17, on Any Other City Records. Jet Setter tour dates after the jump,

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I really enjoyed Armagh band Silences‘ show at Hard Working Class Heroes last week. They’ve just released their second EP, ‘Sister Snow’, which confirms that they’re making some of the most soothing music in the country at the moment. I talked about the title track here, and while what follows is along similar lines, it shifts closer to the fireside to tell tales that will warm the coldest of hearts. The EP is a showcase for Conchúr White’s gorgeous, smooth vocals: He woos his way through ‘Stones’ and James Vincent McMorrows all over ‘Cops and Robbers’, a track which philosophises that “if all the cops and robbers were replaced by the ones you adore, then all your grief you would bequeath but in the grief you grew”. He ends it with a question: “Who do you think makes these rules?” ‘Chase Me Home’ threatens that “for the quiet alone, I’d cut my tongue”. Hopefully an empty statement, it’s played out over the most up-tempo backing track of the collection and points to an exciting future for Silences. You can download the Sister Snow EP below, via Bandcamp.

september girls veneer video

Arriving in time for Halloween is the video for September Girls‘ new single ‘Veneer’, which I talked about here. The video was recorded “deep underground in Guerilla Studios, Dublin” and looks like it cost about a fiver. Set against white drapes, the fivesome, who look like witches deciding their next victim while sat around a candle, set about abusing a glass of milk – milk is good for you! Stop throwing it against the wall! Other than their blatant anti-dairy stance, it’s a cool video, directed and edited by Jessie Ward O’Sullivan. ‘Veneer’ is taken from the EP of the same name, due on November 24 via FortunaPop!