Monday, June 27, 2011

Introducing: Hello Moon

"It's only with the heart that one can see clearly..." 

So goes the intro to Hello Moon's 'Vanity' and given my love of random bits of dialogue it's fair to say me and this Dublin outfit hit it off straight away. Another member of the Popical Island collective, the 'three guys and a girl' of Hello Moon produce indie-pop that has one foot in the 80s and a clear affection for all things jangly and jittery. Though hook laden and chirpy, it's far from throwaway, with each of the tracks also encapsulating enough intelligence and substance to demand repeated listens. As you bop your head to 'The Calculus Affair' for the umpteenth time you'll get the picture...

Find Hello Moon on: Facebook // Myspace // Breaking Tunes // Twitter

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Listen: Brand new Villagers track - 'Beatitudes'

Villagers' Conor O'Brien popped into 98FM's Totally Irish session earlier tonight and took the time to debut a brand new track called 'Beatitudes'. A tender and delicate creation, O'Brien's heart is firmly on his sleeve throughout this earnest little number, tenderly crooning his way through several doe-eyed couplets. "I weep like a baby when I think of you / But I sleep like a baby when I dream of you" - that, Mr O'Brien, is worthy of the finest Valentine's Day Card. Lovely stuff.

Villagers play Marley Park with Beach House on July 23. Tickets on sale now.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

TempleHouse Festival 2011: Interviews with Declan O'Rourke, Preachers Son, Land Lovers and The Danger Is...

On behalf of Music Maker I had a few words with some talented musical people at the recent Temple House festival in Sligo. It was my first proper time on camera and yes, the cringe-o-metre does go off the scale at a couple of points but you gotta start somewhere, eh? Below you'll find my moving-picture-conversations with Declan O'Rourke, Preachers Son, Land Lovers and The Danger Is... 

The festival itself suffered from a lack of attendees, with some bands only getting to play to a dozen or so souls at a time. From talking to punters it seems this was largely due to a huge jump in ticket prices, which rose from around €60 in 2010 to around €120 this year. Also, the 'health and safety' issues which prevented us from getting into the arena for an hour at 5pm on Friday - despite bands already playing on the stages - beggared belief and was followed by a similar scenario briefly on the Saturday. In terms of positives, the staff and security were all very friendly, while the location and camping facilities were great too - with the few minute walk from the car park to the camp site particularly welcome. Highlight of the weekend music wise was definitely The Minutes, who were energetic, passionate and downright brilliant. Whipping Boy were also great to see and though Fergal's vocals may have disappeared for 'Twinkle' and he may have seemed on edge throughout, the closer of 'We Don't Need Nobody Else' made it feel like the 90s again for a few sweet minutes. In a saturated market one can only hope that this year's meagre attendance hasn't hindered the festival's potential future too much. A revised price structure and they could easily rebound with a much improved performance next year. Here's hoping...

Hidden Irish Indie Hits #7: Pony Club - 'Single'

Limping around since the turn of the millennium, Dublin lads Pony Club were long championed to come good. A few brief flirtations with success later and they've yet to better their 2002 debut Home Truths, from which this ardent ballad is taken. Oft-cited as a vehicle for front-man Mark Cullen, the lyrics display Morrissey-esque levels of observational wit and self-deprecation ("And if I'm honest, If I'm truthful...But I can't be") so it make sense that Moz himself is a fan. A long-gaze in a retreating sink of water, this is self-pity at its finest.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hidden Irish Indie Hits #6: Simple Kid - 'Serotonin'

As Blur once confidently proclaimed 'Modern Life Is Rubbish'. And yet, for all their laddish bravado, they never quite explained why. Enter Simple Kid aka Kieran McFeely, who, in five minutes and 38 seconds manages to encapsulate the nagging frustrations, sputtering hopelessness and eternal, internal struggles that so often define this modern experience. An earnest, matter-of-fact, autobiographical account of a man confused, this is as essential, compelling and universally poignant a song as I've heard in the last decade. You'll probably recognise his song off that ad, but having hung up his guitar earlier this year, it should be 'Serotonin' for which Simple Kid is best remembered.

"It all boils down to how the chemicals flow to your soul..."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: Forbidden Fruit Festival :: Homegrown Talent Shines

So, the inaugural Forbidden Fruit Festival has come and gone and beyond the discussion over drink (or lack thereof) and waiting times for the toilets (not so lack thereof), there was the small matter of some bands playing. From the outset, much was made of the organiser's coup in attracting some international big hitters such as Flaming Lips, Aphex Twin et al. And yet, as the heads eased, and the moans about queues heightened, I can't help but feel this was a festival in which the local talent soared highest.

Bitches With Wolves' glam-disco-pop kicked things off with a bang, while Jape's new songs enlivened a particularly reserved Saturday afternoon crowd - with 'Please Don't Turn That Record On(?)' and its Smiths-esque riff, sounding particularly essential. It was the The Lighthouse Stage that really shone, however. Comprised solely of Irish bands (bar the invited Richter Collective pals Tera Melos), the smallest of the three huts proved anything but the weakest. As Aphex Twin were glitching the audience to sleep and Wayne Coyne was shouting "C'mon, C'mon Mutha-Fuckers!" for the twentieth yawn-inducing time, the best the country has to offer were playing out of their skin. Particularly commendable was a Not Squares outfit whose bristling tunes came alive with an unmissable mountain of energy and ingenuity, which deservedly attracted a healthy crowd. 
The Cast of Cheers meanwhile, stole half of Aphex's crowd and then blew them away with a jarringly emphatic performance, with each of the new tracks scaling Chariot's mightily impressive peaks. This was the point where the Dublin outfit became one of Ireland's most important bands - as if they weren't already. Spies meanwhile, on their first festival appearance and biggest gig to date, exuded a confidence worthy of festival veterans. Assured and passionate, they rose to the occasion with a performance that should secure them a healthy and well deserved spurt in their fan base and profile. Elsewhere you had Land Lovers' melodic pop hooks, or Bipolar Empire's thudding driven anthems, to cater for your needs and that's not even counting Enemies, Kid Karate, Ham Sandwich, Solar Bears and much more, all of whom received glowing report cards.

Of course, it would be illegitimate to deny the quality of some of the others acts on show. Caribou's vigorous creations were a tremendous riot, with the final mass chants of 'Sun!' surely standing as the closest many will get to a satanic ritual experience. Wild Beasts' sophisticated new tunes, though more suited to the calm of dusk, also shone in the evening heat - their decadent, swirling structures and goosebump-inspiring embraces marking them out as an important, intelligent modern band. It was undoubtedly the home-grown heroes that shone brightest, however. Those of the blogging variety have been championing these bands consistently for years, believing this to be something of a golden period. Here's hoping that such a prominent outing for local talent will see an even larger pool of punters fall under their collective spell. In a post-Cast of Cheers haze, a random Australian man, who knew nothing of the band, excitedly proclaimed that they were the best band of the weekend. And you know what - he wasn't wrong.


Main Stage Hill


Wild Beasts

Land Lovers

Flaming Lips...Style > Substance

Flaming Lips


Bualadh Bus ar fad!