Wednesday, December 29, 2010

STL's Top Songs of 2010: 40 - 21

The Morning Benders get prepared for their placement on the list
Following on from Part One, here's the second installment of STL's favourite tracks from 2010, counting down from 40 - 21.


40) Kid Karate – Feel For You

Urgent, synth-rock from a band more renowned for their TV screen debut on Fade St ("and you fuck off") than their music career. It's impact wanes on repeated listens but that first listen is a knock-out blow.
Feel For You by KidKarate

39) Morrissey - Happy Lovers United

The re-released Bona Drag album unearthed this gem from the vaults, bringing dry self deprecation, and a jangly, simple tune, all the way from 1988.

38) British Sea Power – Zeus

Rollicking title track from the EP which bodes well for next years new album.


37) Broken Bells – The High Road
Like The Shins on acid, this is the glorious result of a collaboration between Danger Mouse and James Mervers, the lead singer of Shins.


36) Avi Buffallo – What’s in it for?

Lo-fi, summery tune from another Sub Pop disciple.


35) Perfume Genius - Learning 

Fragile and emotive work from Seattle resident Mike Hadreas. He wrote his haunting debut as a cathartic act to purge his own demons and has deservedly seen it gain international attention as a result.


34) Apparatjik - Antlers

Going against the trend that all supergroups need be loud and brash, the members of Coldplay, A-Ha and Mew combine to form a decidedly Scandinavian, tranquil sound.


33) Cathy Davy – Little Red

What a voice. Cathy Davey's work doesn't always hit home with me but this is a magical retelling of the childhood classic.

32) Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – Get Better

If the duo's second album didn't quite reach the majestic heights of the debut overall, it came mightily close on occasion and most notably on the lead single - a call to arms for a broken society from a genius wordsmith, which is engulfed in a sumptuous beat. Their gig at The Workman's Club was a highlight of the year also.


31) Darwin Deez - Constellations

The title may allude to vast scope and infinite possibilities but this is in effect a simple, low key and unashamedly funky pop song. Extra points for that tache also.

Somadrone – Vapours

Redneck manifesto member Neil O'Conner has been a mainstay in the Irish music scene for quite some time now and the latest release under his Somadrone guise,
Depths of Field, has been well received across the board. This is the most accessible slice from an album brimming with texture and intricacies.

Somadrone - Vapours by Somadrone

Cults – Go Outside

Arriving with virtually no information, this song swept into our ears with little fanfare, leaving the flowing, joyous melody to do the job instead.

28) Warpaint – Undertow

The all-female indie hipsters attracted equal amounts of love and derision this year but there's no denying the virtue of this hazy, mid-tempo, lead single.

27) Halves – Growing and Glow

Halves debut is an incredibly rich and rewarding experience; akin to finding yourself lost in the most detailed of forests, with a fascinating sight at every turn.

Growing & Glow by halves

James Vincent McMorrow – This Dark Old Machine

McMorrow's debut is an alluring affair, and in truth there could be half a dozen songs in this spot. That this song has grown on me so much in recent times is an indication of the album's depth and its enduring appeal from a singer-songwriter whose recent success is well deserved.

Tame Impala – Solitude is Bliss

Trippy and symphonic, never has a video reflected the songs content so well.


24) Spies – Liars Call Me King 

The finest cut from a triumphant debut EP from this Dublin five-piece, who bear a slight resemblance with The National's heavier output. Brooding and strident riffs combine to underpin a wonderful concoction of baritone vocals and lyrics which are drenched in romanticism and intelligent introspection.

Download their debut EP for free over at Bandcamp


23) Pepper Rabbit – Older Brother

The soft strum of a ukulele, sun drenched vocals and a joyous climatic chorus: perfection.


22) Deerhunter – Revival

A captivating, sauntering tale from the outstandingly dreamy new LP.


21) Morning Benders - Excuses

Beautiful and joyous to the nth degree, this tale of lovers trying to rekindle those precious first moments is as emotive and stirring as it sounds.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

STL's Top Songs of 2010: 60 - 41

So here we are. I'm not quite sure why I settled on 60 but it's a nice number regardless, and one which holds the tracks which have most pleased my ears throughout the last 12 months.

I'm sure I've missed some obvious choices but it's a nice representation of what has been a great year in music none the less, particularly on an Irish front.

Have a listen, find something you may like/have missed and make sure to post your own!

Here's Part 1 with songs 60 - 41

60) Rubberbandits – Horse Outside   

Sure, who else? Love 'em or hate 'em there's no doubting that Horse Outside will be on the 'Reeling in the years' montage for 2010 in another decade or so...

59) Surfer Blood – Floating Vibes

Summery indie-vibes which are as fuzzy and warm as the name suggests.

58) El Guincho - Bombay 

An outstandingly nonsensical video which almost detracts attention away from a great tune from Spain's Animal Collective influenced El Guincho.

57) Mountain Man - Animal Tracks

As with the best things in life this is simple and beautiful, and if you will excuse the lazy comparison, sounds close to an all female Fleet Foxes - which is never a bad thing.

56) Blur – Fools Day

An unexpected treat from a band presumed defunct; not a Blur classic but it holds more than enough to suggest a proper reunion is a worthy proposition.

55) Ham Sandwich – The Naturist

The greatest achievement yet of a band whose earlier praise baffled me, lovely voice.

Ham Sandwich - The Naturist by tigger_sinclair

54) Robyn – Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do

Scandanavian pop-let lets loose to wondrous effect.

53) Laura Marling – Needle and the damage done   

A charming retelling of a Neil Young classic; her incredible voice suits it perfectly and there's a smashing stop-motion video to boot. 

52) Owen Pallett – Midnight Directives

Sufjan-esque, operatic splendour. 

51) Rory Grubb – Take Your Own Advice

Lush acoustic ramblings; Ireland has never been short on singer-songwritrs but Grubb's latest album 'Sketches From The Big Sleep', does enough to keep his head well and truly above the water.

No videos unfortunately but have a listen over at Breaking Tunes.

50) Rihanna – Rude Boy

A pop song that the indie kids will dance to, no wonder it has 133 million YouTube hits...

49) Stornoway – Boats and Trains

A beautiful seranade from the thinking man's Mumford and Sons.

 48) Tindersticks – Black Smoke

With our very own David Kitt in tow, Tindersticks produced a strong new LP in the form of 'Falling Down A Mountain', with this track in particular appearing as the perfect accompaniment to a 'Cohen' Brothers classic.

47) Everything Everything – My Keys, Your Boyfriend

Will no doubt infuriate many but these off-kilter melodies have enough originality to stick around

46) Belle and Sebastian– I Want the world to stop
Modern indie royalty arrive back with a good new album, of which this is a highlight. 

45) The Flaws – Part of you 

Jangly return from Monaghan's finest; which is the equal of anything on their excellent debut.

44) John Grant – TC and Honeybear 

Wherein the members of Midlake combine with a singer to make an arguably more compelling set of songs than the band's own new LP.

43) Patrick Kelleher - Wonder (Jape Remix)

Emerged late last year but only officially released this year on the stellar You Look Colder remixes album. That good that it deserves as many listens as possible; genuinely spine tingling reworking of the splendid original. The Kittser remix would have made it also were it not for fear of an overload.

42) Nouveounoise – Cinnte

A sumptious pebble-dashed array of colours and shapes, which build and latch onto your snyapses in the process.

41) Solar Bears – Primary Colours at the Back of My Mind

The sound of the cosmos and equally as life affirming. Beautiful and in no way immediately recognisable as 'Irish', Dublin/Wicklow's Solar Bears are the perfect example of the depth and variety which Irish music has been offering lately.


The full run down from 40 - 1 will follow in the next couple of days...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Introducing - Pepper Rabbit

The influx of sun-washed, dreamy indie-rock bands from America has been steadily rising in recent times and now, we've another addition to that category. Don't worry about over-kill though as two-piece Pepper Rabbit are a worthy addition to the fold. If the output of artists such as The Morning Benders and Local Natives has floated your boat then this is sure to hit the spot with these LA natives possessing the very same ability to craft a beautiful hook. Expect the buzz to follow...

Judge for yourself by listening to debut single Older Brother below or you can download it for free from here.

  Pepper Rabbit Older Brother by kaninerecords

Friday, November 19, 2010

Video: Jape - RTÉ 2FM Studio8 Session

About a year ago Jape performed for the 2FM Studio8 Session, with two new tracks emerging in the process. Since then there has only been a smattering of views for these videos so I reckon they may well have slipped under the radar for a lot of people.  

'Downpour' and 'If You Can Hear Me' are as good as anything Richie Egan and pals have done and are a throwback to the early, more acoustic work on Cosmosphere and The Monkeys in the Zoo Have More Fun Than Me. 'Downpour' in particular is also very similar to 'At The Heart Of All Of This Strangeness', the highlight from Jape's 2008 Choice Award winning album - Ritual.

Jape are currently performing as part of FMC tour with And So I Watch You From Afar and Fionn Regan and they roll into the Whelans this Saturday - click here for full details. On the night you can expect material from Jape's new album which is currently being finalised. According to the man himself these tracks won't be on the new album but will hopefully see the light of day in some form, at some stage.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Album Review: Phil Selway - Familial

A review I did a while back of Philip 'the drummer from Radiohead' Selway's lovely debut. 
It's all part of a general restructuring process...apologies for the inconvenience but don't worry, full ergo minimal service will be resumed shortly...

So, this is what it sounds like when the drummer of one of the biggest bands in the world leaves down his sticks and goes it alone. While Thom Yorke's The Eraser furthered the more eclectic streak of Radiohead's work, Selway's endeavour is surprisingly hushed and lands firmly under the title of 'acoustic singer song-writer'; a penchant which tends to yield nothing more than a stifled yawn these days such is the plethora of guitar-clad troubadours emerging.

With vocals bordering on a whisper and a general air of restraint present, Familial does little to break such pigeon-holing on first impressions. Yet, as the gentle croon and delicate licks fall into place it becomes clear that Selway has crafted a complete record; one to be absorbed in it's entirety and one which only shows it's true beauty upon repeated exploration. For a man who spent his years battering pig skin, Selway certainly has a canny ear for melody with the hushed opening ode to depression, By Some Miracle, and the sprightly The Ties That Bind Us holding particular harmonious virtue.

Those expecting In Rainbows Part II need not apply, instead Familial arrives as it's own entity entirely. This is a record of reflection and poignancy, characterised by a series of wonderfully gentle hooks to usher in and complement the approaching Winter months perfectly. 

Having apparently held off on such solo ambitions due to doubts over how to approach it, Selway should be applauded for choosing a tone which could so easily have been derided as stale and unimaginative, but instead possesses a lingering warmth in it's sparsity. One suspects however, that the strength of such songs will likely bring him the due plaudits regardless.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Concern Fastival 2010: Nouveaunoise, Patrick Kelleher, The Jimmy Cake + Clockwork Noise

A quick reminder of a great cause happening this Friday night in Whelans where an excellent selection of Irish acts will be out in force for the Concern Fastival 2010. Read the blurb, sample their respective delights below, and make your way down on Friday night...
The Concern Fastival is 24 hours of fun, friends, fundraising and fasting to help raise one million euro to treat malnourished children. We are still asking people to Fast for 24 hours and to raise sponsorship but this year it will be with a difference. We’re going to make it a fun, social experience that people can do with their friends. There will be a variety of events throughout the country which Fasters can attend for free during their 24 hours fast, registration is necessary so please go to to do so. Friends are welcome to attend by buying a ticket.
Whelan’s, 25 Wexford St, Dublin 2
Friday 26th November, 8pm
Tickets €10 + booking fee available from & WaV

Patrick Kelleher - Contact Sports/Coat To Wear

Nouveunoise - Cinntie

The Jimmy Cake - Jetta's Palace

Clockwork Noise - Choose Your Words

Friday, November 12, 2010

EP Review: Kid Karate - Heart

This is my review of the debut EP from promising dublin pair Kid Karate. It was originally featured @ so I've thrown in a few new pics for good measure. Have a listen for yourself over at their Myspace.

Having gained notoriety for their live shows over the past year, Heart arrives as the first proper release from Dublin duo Kid Karate. Indeed, it was live where they first shot to my attention following an outstanding performance at last month’s Hard Working Class Heroes festival (pictures below). The pair swept away the Mercantile’s intimate confines in a blistering set which culminated in participatory drumming and with vocals delivered from a lead singer who lay convulsed at the feet of the audience.  From that performance it was clear that Kid Karate possessed an unrestrained and impatient streak to impress and just as it paid off that night, so too does it on Heart.

This is a thunderous debut EP; urgent from the off and with a pace that never threatens to let up as the duo deliver four riotous anthems full of strident guitar riffs, chest thumping vocals and crashing drum-beats. Lead singer Kevin Breen’s vocals possess a definite primal element and his venomous refrains are suitably undercut with Steven Gannon’s driven percussion and backing vocals. Lazy comparisons to the other famous duo, The White Stripes, will no doubt ensue and while there’s a comparable rock edge to Kid Karate’s work, the clever use of synth’s throughout  succeeds in propelling the band into an almost dancey-phase. This is most notable on highlight ‘Feel for You’ which is a pulsating, toe-tapping number, while the synth-led title track dominates proceedings and leaves you with the stirring couplet of ‘If I had a heart I would love you’ ringing in your ears. Rambunctious, rowdy and a hell of a racket for two people, Kid Karate have announced their arrival in style.

Heart EP is released Thursday November 25th.

An official launch party will take place the same night in Crawdaddy, with performances from the band themselves plus guests. Full details available here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Introducing - Warpaint

Hailing from sunny LA this all girl quartet have been attracting a serious amount of interest in recent months and it's easy to see why. Possessing a soulful combination of haunting vocals, shimmering hooks and a melodious unpredictability which ranges from tranquil to psychedelic, Warpaint are the real deal.

Have a listen to the instantly loveable lead single 'Undertow' and decide for yourself. If you're as taken with them as myself then the bad news is that you've just missed the ladies, after they played Crawdaddy last night. There's no other Irish dates confirmed but with don't be surprised if you see a lot of Warpaint in the near future.

Debut LP 'The Fool' is out this Monday and it's currently streaming in it's entirety via The Hype Machine.

// Myspace //

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Release: British Sea Power to release new EP

Those wonderful purveyors of artful indie rock, British Sea Power, are back with a new EP - Zeus! Their first release since last year's niche-soundtrack 'Man of Aran', it's good to see BSP back to basics and doing what they do best with the title track arriving as a sweeping, epic anthem.

Billed by the band as a 'wild and wunderbar-wonky precursor' to the band’s fourth studio album' which is set for release in 2011, it's good to see that BSP have enough material under their belt to allow for such a release and if they can go some way to matching 2008's 'Do You Like Rock Music?', then we're in for a treat.

Zeus is out from Monday and you can listen to the title track from HERE now.

Video: The Flaws - 'Part of You'

I've always had  a soft spot for The Flaws and I'm glad to see them back with a new album entitled Constant Adventure. The video for latest single 'Part of you' raises the poignant issue of what the world would be like if those cool kids who decide to be zany and dress in Morphsuits for festivals were forever trapped in them...more information on a helpline to follow soon.

Musically it doesn't stray too far from their original concept of a catchy verse, nice riff and a sing-along chrous but this is standard 'meat and two veg' indie done extremely well and you can expect a decent bit of airplay from daytime radio I'm sure.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Video: Bandwidth Sessions - The National

The last video I posted just there showed Kittser on the streets of Belfast courtesy of The Bandwidth Sessions and low and behold they've also worked with none other than The National. Way back in 2008, Bandwidth got Matt Berninger and co in for a stripped down version of a few tracks and the result is truly special with Berninger's distinctive baritone suiting the acoustics perfectly.

They stole the (slow) show at Electric Picnic last weekend and I honestly cannot wait to see them in the Olympia this coming December. Tickets, priced at around €30 go on sale tomorrow (10th September) and will be gone in minutes in all likelihood such is the continually growing stature of the Ohio natives.

The National - Apartment Story (Part 1 of 3) from Bandwidth on Vimeo.

The National - Slow Show (Part 2 of 3) from Bandwidth on Vimeo.

The National - You've Done It Again Virginia (Part 3 of 3) from Bandwidth on Vimeo.

Video: David Kitt - Deadly Sound Underground

This is a brilliant version of David Kitt's 'Say No More', which was originally on his 2006 LP Not Fade Away. Slightly spruced up, yet ultimately toned down, the video shows Kittser strolling through the streets of Belfast with only his acoustic guitar (and camera man) for company. There's something quite endearing about these types of videos; with the minimal, almost naked approach allowing for a level of empathy and appreciation not usually found in your average promo-vid. And it sure helps that it's a great track also. Here's hoping for a new album from him sometime soon.

BANDWIDTH / David Kitt / "Say No More" from Bandwidth on Vimeo.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Road Records Farewell Party: Full Details Announced

July 24th was a sad day for Dublin as one of the most revered music establishments to grace the city shut it's door for the final time. Road Records had stood as a haven for local music lovers and a helping hand to many aspiring Irish artists for over 13 years but sadly it's time had come. The manner in which we acquire music had simply changed too much, the world itself had simply changed too much and as the final statement from owners Dave and Julie concluded there was simply "no room in it for kooky little indie stores like ourselves". 

All great entity's deserve a great send off and thus independent concert promoters u:mack are hosting a farewell party for Road to take place in the Button Factory on Friday September 10th. Originally ear-marked for last Friday, the festivities were withheld to ensure a suitable could line-up could be assembled and they've done a great job with funk-instrumentalist's The Redneck Manifesto and the genre-hopping brilliance of Patrick Kelleher (download latest single Conact Sports for free anseo) among the artists. Kelleher recently played Road Records during Record Store Day, while TRM's early singles were released via the Road Records endorsed label Road Relish and it's great to see acts who have benefited from Road's work returning to send them off. Running a record store in modern day Ireland is no easy feat so it's likely that Dave and Julie have amassed some debts in their plight to keep their store alive. Thus, this is perfect way to show your appreciation, to ensure their hard work over the years is recognised and to say farewell to one of Dublin's greatest musical signposts.

The full line-up is below and tickets priced €16 are on sale now City Discs, Sound Cellar and online at

The Redneck Manifesto
Female Hercules
Legion Of Two
Patrick Kelleher and his Cold Dead Hands
Cian Nugent
& Road Records DJ’s

Doors 8pm till late

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Introducing - Squarehead

Squarehead are a band you should listen to. Having first come to my attention through the truly excellent Popical Island compilation (free stream HERE) earlier this year, I then caught them last week at the Love SCOOP, Hate Racism night in Sweeney Mongrels and they nailed it. They also did a nifty collaboration with Patrick Kelleher on the night which would be well worth another look if I could get my mitts on it. Alas, these tunes will have to suffice for the time being. Standing somewhere between surfer-sunshine pop and a languid Weezer these lads sound a million miles away from the homely environs of Rathmines, where they're based, and are all the better for it.

You can see them live for yourself at this years Hard Working Class Heroes, which incidentally has an incredible line up.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Video: Patrick Kelleher - 'Contact Sports'

Having played his You Look Cold LP to death since it's release last year I've been desperate for new material from Patrick Kelleher, such was the effect that hypnotic debut had on me. While that record was characterized by a beautiful bleakness this new single, released by Skinny Wolves earlier in the year, is glisteningly romantic and marks an unexpected foray into 80's synth-pop. Brooding and original, it signifies an exciting dismissal of the status quo and ensures my anticipation of new material is only set to grow.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Indiependence 2010 - My top picks

This bank holiday weekend sees the return of Indiependence music festival in Mitchelstown, Cork, which has been growing in stature each year and is now probably the biggest of the 'smaller' music festivals here in Ireland. This years line up is particularly strong with the promoters pulling off a great coup in signing up festival favourites White Lies along with a very strong selection of great up and coming Irish bands. With a silent disco and a dedicated comedy tent as well as over 100 bands in total this promises to be a cracking to slaughter a sheep as a sacrifice to the sun God in the hope of good weather!

Below is a quick run through of some my favourite acts appearing at Indie this year. Although part of the fun of a festival is to wander round and discover a little gem by yourself this should serve as a decent indication of at least some of the best acts to check out over the weekend.

The full line up and stage times are available here!


Ah yes, the Jape man. Also the bassist in cult funk-instrumentalists The Redneck Manifesto, Richie Egan AKA Jape is among Ireland's most talented and exciting songwriters. Last year's Ritual was underpinned by catchy synths and thought provoking, philosophically charged lyrics and deservedly picked up the Choice Music Prize at the end of it all. Perhaps best known for Floating (even Jack White and The Raconteurs covered it donchyaknow...) and I Was A Man, the rest of Richie's set is of equally anthemic value and you can expect sing song a-plenty come Saturday night when he takes to the stage. Busy at work recording the follow up to Ritual, you can also expect the appearance of several exciting new songs including Hands Of Fire and Ocean Of Frequency. All together now..."Flo-o-o-o-o-ooooaating"



Hailing from Kildare this mish mash of lads also won the Choice Music Prize in 2008 and despite undeserved criticism of their win, they responded with a magic follow up in the form of last years Night Horses LP. Having collaborated with a diverse range of acts including everyone from Heathers and RSAG to Canadian rapper Cadence Weapon these lads are the perfect example of a band who can’t be pigeon holed. Famed for their live show you can expect an exciting array of memorable indie-electronica beats which are among the most refreshingly original this island has produced in recent years.


Arriving on the scene in 2005, these lads from Monaghan ultimately lived up to the billing of their debut album ‘achieving vagueness’ as they failed to replicate the commercial success of their fellow bretheren Delorentos and The Blizzards. Such an occurrence may have been down to the lack of a certain pop factor but what you get in it’s place is a tremendous set of songs driven by a powerful voice and a knack for a belter of a chorus. Sixteen, Out Tonight, 1981 are all lung-bursting indie numbers with more depth than most who ply their trade within that realm and latest single I Don't Wanna Dance is an indication that they're still well worth a look.


Despite being one of the newest bands to make the list Cork natives O Emperor arrive in Mitchelstown as one of the most hyped Irish bands of the year. Lead single Po arrived as a hazy ode to a lost soul with positive inklings of early Radiohead, while Don’t Mind Me recalls dreamy 70's sunshine pop and these lads possess a polish and maturity beyond their tender years.



Rebounded from their split furore earlier in the year ( it has more on-off’s than Ross and Rachel) with You Can Make Sound and another host of vibrant numbers, most notably the title track and S.E.C.R.E.T. An excellent festival band, who always guarantee a great set.


Despite being spotted playing Grafton Street on numerous occasions in recent times these lads are more than mere buskers and having put in some serious graft over the past year they are now reaping the rewards with their brand of extremely likeable rocking tracks.


Hailing from Belfast this gang have been dominating my ears in recent weeks with a set of tracks which combine shouty vocals, catchy beats and a bundle of hooks. Top stuff altogether.