Saturday, 31 January 2009

Irish Bands on YouTube - Kitty & The Can Openers

One of my favourite unsigned bands at the moment is the ridiculously named Kitty & The Can Openers. The band are from Belfast and make beautiful melodic folk pop songs. I found this 25 minute documentary style TV programme called Kick Out The Jams which includes interviews and live performances.

Check out the band in Whelans 23rd Feb where they are supporting the equally brilliant I Am Not Lefthanded!

Friday, 30 January 2009

Something For The Weekend

As a lover of Irish Music I still think Hot Press do a great job with their magazine every two weeks. However, I was a tad annoyed at the current failure to feature any news of Mark Dignam's homecoming gigs as guests to The Swell Season next Thursday and as headliner in Whelans on the 8th Feb with very special guests.

Now I know I'm at risk of flooding the blog with Marky news so I do apologise but I wanna focus on who those special guests might be! Remember we are talking about Very Special Guests! Here are my guesses and their odds! [Disclaimer: I have no knowledge at the moment of writing who the special guest(s) are!]

Favourite at 3/1 is old busking pal Paddy Casey

Can't Wait 2 C U Again

Glen Hansard at 7/2 but this is a tad too obvious!

LIAM Ó MAONLAÍ with Glen Hansard, Mark Geary, Brendan O'Shea - Forever Young (Bob Dylan Cover)

The last time I seen Mark in Whelans Declan O'Rourke was the support!

Declan O' Rourke at 8/1 - Big Bad Beautiful World

Long Shot from Birr: Mundy at 12/1

To You I Bestow

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Ruby Tuesday - I Am Not Lefthanded

I love bands with a female singer like The Plague Monkeys, Alphastates or The Chalets. Joining this list is the band 'I Am Not Lefthanded'. I cannot recommend them enough. The band are Kathryn - Vocals/Guitar, Daniel - Vocals/Bass and Benji - Drums and have relocated to the Uk to make big ripples in a larger pond. I love how they have Roddy Doyle as an influence on their MySpace. The introduction on their website is so good I'll have to paste it here:
"We don't play pop music, we don't write music for art's sake, we don't represent any movements, we're not hip, we're not cutting edge, we don't dress to be cool. We do manage ourselves, we write our own songs, we do our own recordings, we shoot our own videos, we design our own covers, we made our own website. We're not generally negative people - oh yes, and we're not lefthanded."

The single was released on their website as a free download and can be found here:

Long Goodbyes

Check out the links for more info:

I am not lefthanded - Endline (choose nothing)

forthcoming dates

20/02/09 - The Pavilion, Belfast
21/02/09 - The Sky Venue, Portlaoise
23/02/09 - Whelans (Upstairs), Dublin with support from blog favs Kitty & The Can Openers!

Friday, 23 January 2009

Something For The Weekend - Ro Tierney Free Album

Ro Tierney is giving away his 2007 debut album Tics & Politics in return for your email address. Sign up to his mailing list and a few hours later get the link to the album which on first listen is a real find. I love it. Best to let his website describe Ro.....

"Ro Tierney is a 27 year old singer/songwriter from Dublin, Ireland. He began teaching himself guitar and piano at the age of 16 and began writing songs almost immediately. He went on to form and front the band, “Echo Indiana,” with a few schoolmates....... Although the prospect of fronting a commercially successful band was extremely tempting, Ro’s gut feeling told him this was not the route he should take as it would limit his creative freedom. He decided to go at it alone and began opening for acts such as Damien Rice, Bell X1, Mundy, Jack L and many others. The boundaries of a 4-piece rock band no longer caged his inspiration as he went on to write a new breed of song. He drew influences from people like Dave Matthews, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan and discovered a new and infinite horizon of where he could go with music as a solo act."Ro to me sounds like the wonderful John Butler Trio on some tracks and reminds me of Paul Noonan on others.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Barretstown Fundraiser 27th Feb Academy

Barretstown House presents: Inspirations fundraiser

Barretstown House was founded by the late actor Paul Newman as part of his Hole in the Wall Camps. Barretstown run a programme of adventure and activities for children with Cancer and other life-threatening illnesses from Ireland and rest of Europe.

There is horse riding and archery, painting and creative writing, singing, acting, film making and a lot more. After taking part in the programme children go home with more confidence, self-esteem and most importantly the reassurance that happiness is not just for healthy children. Every year over 1,000 children between 7 and 17 come to Barretstown. Inspirations fundraiser in aid of Barretstown House The Academy, Friday 27th February 2009.

Featuring performances by Sinead O'Connor, Shane McGowan, Republic of Loose, Fun Lovin Criminals, The Blizzards, The Walls, Engine Alley and many more. Artists will perform songs by David Bowie, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and others.

Tickets €28 including booking fee from Ticketmaster.

Engine Alley - Song for Someone [ from James Whale Show]

Friday, 16 January 2009

Blog Co-Operation: Top 10 Upcoming Irish Acts

This post represents blog co-operation at it's best. Ronan over at Swear I'm Not Paul and myself have been working on creating a list of 10 Irish acts who we believe will make considerable progress towards world domination in the coming 12 months. Ronan picked five acts and I picked five acts ready to dominate your music world in 2009.


Aortal are a three piece power alternative rock band with an amazing vocalist. Their MySpace with 20,000 plus friends describes the band as " ..... a Dublin three piece fronted by James O' Toole on guitar and vocals with Conor Friel on bass and Jay McNamara on Drums. This exciting new act combines striking vocals and visuals with the raw energy of a pumping heart." Due to their search for a drummer I have a feeling Aortal's debut won't be released in 2009 but what I do think will happen is that the band will create a big buzz in Ireland. The beginning of this buzz will be in February where they will be competing in the JD Set rock band competitions after been chosen from hundreds of bands! An initial Aortal comparison has to be JJ72 with a slighly harder edge. James is a great singer and it's that voice that will carry Aortal all the way to success.


Aortal - 'In Light'

Armoured Bear

Armoured Bear come from down south, and like all southern bands, come packed with attitude. It doesn't only apply to US bands that southern thing, you know? Armoured Bear were a hit at last year's CorkXSW Festival, and after the release of their stunning Honeycomb Moons, they should be much bigger nationwide. The appeared on RTE's The View last week, and this is only the start of their rise in popularity. Expect big things from this upcoming Irish indie quartet. Oh and you should check out their wonderful website. It's almost as clever as the music.

Official Site

Armoured Bear - 'Imagination'

Laura Izibor

Laura Izibor from working class Dublin was first discovered at the age of 15 when she won a national song contest. This was five years ago. Now at the age of 20 and on the cusp of releasing her debut album "Let The Truth Be Told", Laura is fully prepared for superstardom. Laura is a pop diva with an Irish attitude! I feel her Irishness will seperate her from similar artists such as Joss Stone and Duffy. She has full financial backing from Atlantic records and her music is already familiar to us due to the clever placement of Laura's songs in movies and on advertisements. Her songs can be heard in PS I Love You, The Nanny Diaries, Greys Anatomy and Seven Pounds. Laura has also supported the likes of James Blunt, Estelle and the legendary Aretha Franklin in New York City. Did I mention she actually can write a decent pop tune?


Laura Izibor - 'Mmm'

Lines Drawing Circles

Lines Drawing Circles are probably not a band you've heard of. Yet. Their debut single will be released in February, with a special release party in CrawDaddy on 7th February 2009. We've been lucky enough to hear that single, and have to say it sounds very, very promnising. It's one of those infectious pop songs, but never becomes syrupy. You know the kind of stuff Nada Surf do best? A bit like that. They released a self-titled EP last year, which had glimpses of greatness. The new single, 'Thebes' is even better.


No videos available yet.

Susan Enan

Susan Enan spent many years living in Northern Ireland but is now a resident of NYC who has a debut album ready for release during 2009. There are many similarities between Susan and Laura Izibor in that you may well be familar with Susan's sound due to the placement of Bring on the Wonder (ft Sarah McLauchlin) in the tv programme Bones and is the closing song of that soundtrack. I became aware of Susan's talent when her song Moonlight appeared on the Ruby Sessions Compilation in 2003. Moonlight is such an amazing song which has to be discovered this year. When the debut appears, she will already have a massive pool of fans due to the Bones soundtrack and will hopefully become massive in the year 2009.


Susan Enan - 'Bring On The Wonder'

Television Room

Television Room is a band formed out of the ashes of The Marshall Stars who in 2004 were signed by Vertigo records. The Marshall Stars were a three piece power pop band ready for national success. Hotpress regularly featured the band's singles and gigs with a next big thing tag attached to the band! However a new direction was sought by the Marshals Stars Michael John and James O'Brian and Television Room was born in 2007. Television Room are a five piece indie pop band ready for national and then global domination. Their first single Tinabelle can be found on the Faction 2 compilation album and the band have finished recording and mixing their debut which will be released this year also on Faction Records. I predict big things for Television Room this year.


Television Room - 'Coffee Houses'


Tenaka is one guy: Ronan Carroll. He's this year's RSAG. Yes, he's that damn good. His name reminds me of a wrestler, or T-Hawk from Streetfighter, but who cares about names? It's the music that matters. He recently released his debut EP, EPonymously Titled to much acclaim, and has even been featured on BBC Radio across the water. Some of his tracks are instrumental, but add in the word "multi" and it makes them all the more interesting. A supremly talented musician, if his live act stands up to his studio stuff, 2009 could well be his year.


No videos yet.

The Funeral Suits

A band can become successful due to one or two specific influencial endorsements. In the case of The Funeral Suits, getting an endorsement from BBC's Steve Lamacq has given the band band clear motivation to succeed. The Funeral Suits are an indie band with great tunes and dynamic musicians. In the summer of 2008 they released their first EP Oh Dear. It looks like 2009 will have The Funeral Suits touring up and down the country, getting as much exposure as possible and recording their debut album. The Funeral Suits certainly belong to the indie genre of Fight Like Apes and Los Compesinos and this will be their year!


The Funeral Suits - 'Black Lemonade'

The Kanyu Tree

If there is justice in the world, this summer should be the summer of the Kanyu Tree. Their songs are a pop masterclass. The band is a trio of Galweigan brothers (the Cluskeys). Last year they supported The Hold Steady (where I found out about them), The Feeling, Ocean Colour Scene, The Bluetones and the Stunning. 2009 can only get better. If you've heard them, you'll know why. If not, get to their MySpace page now and download 'Crocodile'. A sing-along sensation. Check them out at a free gig in Whelan's on 21st of January, 2009.


The Kanyu Tree - 'Crocodile'

The Kinetiks

One small problem with this band is the sheer amount of "k"s in their name. One too many if you ask me. However, in Gaz Harding, they are blessed with one of Ireland's finest frontmen. Charming and sincere, but with a no-care attitude, you can tell he really feels every word and every note he plays. They're set to release their new EP, called Aye Aye Aye on March 6th, and look set to increase their already-decent exposure by hopefully moving up the Oxegen stagelist. They're on RTÉ's The Café tonight (Friday, 16th January), so check them out.


The Kinetiks - 'A Smile Crack'd Your Face'

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Ruby Tuesday - Percolator

The purpose of this feature is to plug a lesser known band that I have been impressed by. This week I'm going to talk about a brand spanking new band. So new they have no known website, no video on YouTube, no bibliography on their MySpace but Percolator are a special talent who I think will make it.

I caught Percolator live as a support slot to Swedish indie band Immanu El. Percolator consists of Ian on guitar and vox, Ellie on drums and vox and Jason on Bass. Their sound is indie rock at it's best. A reference comparison point would be My Bloody Valentine due to the wonderful male/female harmonies and distorted guitars. Ian sings like Swervedriver's Adam Franklin. The band performed that show a few months back as a neat tidy unit of three excellent musicians creating wonderful indie rock music. Go on.....add the band on their MySpace!

Percolator MySpace

17 Feb 2009 20:00 The Whisky Cork [Oxford Collapse Support]

Monday, 5 January 2009

Monday Under The Covers - Perry Blake

I mentioned in my lists of the year a few weeks back that Perry Blake simply has to get the recognition he deserves in his home country in 2009. Perry is about to release his 8th studio album entitled "Folks Don't Know" and take it from me it's brilliant.

A concise little biography of Perry Blake is below from that wonderful resource wikipedia:

Perry is moderately successful in France where his debut went top 40 and he has been awarded a variety of songwriting awards. Remember that the French were the first to recognise the talents of my favourite international artists Jeff Buckley and Ben Harper. Perry's style is similar to that of Jack L and The Divine Comedy and his interpretation of other people's songs are amazing. Below is a live version of Diana Ross's I'm Still Waiting from his live album entitled Broken Statues.

Perry Blake - I'm Still Waiting

Go forth and explore the world of Perry Blake!

Perry Blake - Folks Don't Know

Further Reading:

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Sunday's Seven Degrees of Memories

It's not yet 2 weeks since we lost our dear friend. Here is a musical celebration in memory of a wonderful person.

Eleanor McEvoy - Only A Woman's Heart Mp3 MySpace

Damien Rice - I Remember Mp3 MySpace

Jack L - If We Only Had Love Mp3 MySpace

Katell Keineg - One Hell Of A Life Mp3 MySpace

The Prayer Boat - It Hurts To Lose You Mp3 MySpace

The Devlins - Alone In The Dark Mp3 MySpace

Clannad (& Bono) - In A Lifetime Mp3 MySpace

..... remember the links last just a couple of weeks and please support the artists as best you can!

..... join me on MySpace

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Irish Bands on YouTube - Irish Music Central

Irish Music Central is the mecca of databases for anyone interested in Irish Music. The site has a huge amount of information about the cream of Irish artists with approximately 50 featured artists having an individual mini-site consisting of pictures, bios, videos, mp3s and links.

A Small Selection of MP3's from the site:

The Radio - Remember Me

The Plague Monkeys - Short-Cut

Bell X1 - Slowset [Live]

Republic of Loose - Ignition [R Kelly]

I have noticed a decline in activity on the main site. However the Irish Music Central YouTube Channel is flourishing with a recent upload of 7 music videos from The Devlins.

The Devlins - Almost Made You Smile

The YouTube Channel consists of 223 [and counting...] Irish Music video clips. The Best of these include:

Mark Geary - Fanfare

Berkeley - New Star

Emmett Tinley - Snow Dome

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Irish Achievement of 2008

This is primerily a repost from Mixtape4melfi. Winning the Oscar this year is in my eyes the greatest thing for Irish Artists since The Cranberries exploded on the college radio scene in the 90's. Add to this the fact that they appeared in The Simpsons! How mad is that?

Glen Hansard and the Frames have been around the Irish Music scene for two decades now. Glen played Outspan in the 1990 Movie The Commitments. He formed the band the Frames and to date he has released five studio albums, one live album, a b-sides album and formed a side project called The Swell Season with his oscar winning girlfriend Marketa. Glen loved playing live and busked for years around Dublin's main shopping streets such as Grafton Street, College green and St. Stephens green. He was at the centre of a young musical network of mates in the late 80s and early 90s. His mates included Paddy Casey, Mark Dignam (who incidentally grew up across the road from me), Terry Sutton and the late great Mic Christopher. I bet money on the fact that Glen would have had a pint to Mics memory this week.

The Commitments - Dark end of the street.

1995 Live version of Angel at my Table

The Frames - Fake (glen gets shot)

Clip from the Movie Once

The concise bibliography of Glen and the Frames:

Fitzcarraldo 1996

Dance the devil 1999

For the Birds 2001

Burn the Maps 2004


The Cost 2006

Further Listening: [found on Live Music Archive]

The Frames
Date: September 8, 2007
Venue: The Hideout Block Party
Location: Chicago, IL

People Get Ready
God Bless Mom
Stars Are Underground
Caution To The Birds
Lay Me Down
Falling Slowly
Rent Boy Blues
Red Chord
Pavement Tune
Your Face