Monday, 31 May 2010

Album Review: Redtwelve - Mines

Mines is one of the better Irish Rock Albums released this year by highly talented Dundalk band.

In Ireland now there are many new rock bands attempting to make the breakthrough such as Kopek, I'd Fight Gandhi, Red Queen Contest and this Dundalk band Redtwelve. Mines is full of big indie rock sounds with a formula. That formula is good vocals, basic lyrics, gentle intro before building up to an intense harmony for the chorus. In general this works to a point but at times it's difficult to distinguish between tracks.

The best tracks off the album are Oh My God, Neither Friend Nor Enemy and the song available to listen here called Afraid. Redtwelve are a band I'm hoping to catch live real soon. Mines is the sound of a band with big ambition and big sounds.

Redtwelve - Mines [9 out of 12]

Redtwelve - Afraid by 2uibestow

Friday, 28 May 2010

Mixtape4Melfi invades 2uibestow [Part 5]

This week on the blog I'm bringing the best posts from my first blog 'Mixtape4Melfi' over to 2uibestow. With the IMRO thing I've decided to delete that first blog altogether from the internet archives!

One of the features I had on Mixtape4Melfi was 'Irish Artists on YouTube' ... here's the best of those posts:

An Emotional Fish – Time Is On The Wall

Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club (formerly known as An Emotional Fish) is an alternative rock band from Dublin, Ireland. An Emotional Fish were formed in 1988 and consisted of Gerard Whelan (lead vocals, percussion), Martin Murphy (drums, percussion), David Frew (guitars, vocals), and Enda Wyatt (bass, vocals, keyboards).

The Pale

Stolen from Wikipedia: "The Pale are an Irish band of varying genres including: eastern european, reggae, ska, bluegrass, world music, and pop. They were formed in Dublin in 1990 with Matthew Devereux on vocals, Shane Wearen on mandolin, Sean Molloy on Bass, and a drum machine. They released an award winning debut album on A&M records in 1992 called Here's One We Made Earlier. The debut album and live shows received critical praise internationally. The singles from that debut Dogs With No Tails, Butterfly, and Shut Up Venus did well in both Ireland and the UK.

The highest chart positions came in Turkey, Israel and France, and have given rise to successful cover versions of their songs released in Turkey. As the group have toured they have added and subtracted instruments and players to the line-up. The mainstay of the group has remained the sound conjured up by Matthew and Shane - one of ethnic fusion."

The Pale - Butterfly

Berkeley – New Star

Donegal band released a wonderful indie rock debut Hopes, Prayers and Bubblegum in 1993 with the legendary Steve Albini at the helm. Unfortunately it never worked out the band. Hopefully they are still together and working towards future releases.

Berkeley - New Star

I genuinely think these guys were destined for the best because the singer has a wonderful voice and they had a strong sound. More info on the band here!

I adore The Devlins. I will do a major post on them in a few weeks when 1 of their songs turn up in my Friday feature of Top 100 tunes! The Devlins should have been massive. They can do a Glen still and after 4 albums become massive but i don't know. I'm sure Peter and Colin Devlin now have day jobs. Maybe not because their music has found their way onto soundtracks for films and TV progs!

The Devlins - I Knew That from Feila 95 (First of their songs i loved)

My Little Funhouse from Kilkenny I think were signed by Geffen around '92. Bare in mind Nevermind was making millions for Geffen and well it was thought that David geffen can do no wrong! My Little Funhouse proved that he didn't always get it right. The hope was that My little Funhouse could have been the new G'n'R to the extent that the guitarist in the video clip had learned all of Slash's shapes! The band even had the support slot in Slane in 1992.

My Little Funhouse - I Want Some of That!

Ah the memories are all flooding back to me! I did actually believe the hype and bought the tape! The drummer Graham Hopkins moved on to become the skin beater for Therapy? and formed the band Halite. He has toured and recorded for the likes of Gemma Hayes, David Kitt and the Frames. In Malahide Castle recently Graham played the drums for The Frames and is the current drummer with The Swell Season. My Little Funhouse is where it all began!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Mixtape4Melfi invades 2uibestow [Part 4]

This week on the blog I'm bringing the best posts from my first blog 'Mixtape4Melfi' over to 2uibestow. With the IMRO thing I've decided to delete that first blog altogether from the internet archives!

I wrote my first post on Mixtape4Melfi on the first of March. As part of the special posts for St. Patrick's Day I wrote three special posts:

For St. Patricks Day 2008 I posted three Irish artists related posts:

Post 1

We have about a week to go until all Irish around the world sing to their hearts content about the wonders of our culture, history and its people. Our cultural unity is very strong. Our history as a people is drilled into us all by our elders and the textbooks. Our people own a sense of unity about their culture that is rare these days. Already I noticed a few St Paddys layouts on Myspace!

Post 2: The Pogues, Mark Dignam and Damien Rice

With just a few days to go to the St paddys day celebration I posted two tunes for your listening pleasure.

The first is a collaboration between Sinead O'Connor and Shane McGowen of the Pogues. The song is called Haunted and its a love song sung beautifully by Sinead and accompanied by Shane distinct gravelly voice. The song first appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Sid and Nancy!


Damien Rice's Rootless tree off his album of 2006 called "9". I love this tune and the CD. Alot of fans have turned away from him due to this CD but for me it was a return to the Damien Rice that was the frontman with Juniper in the mid 90s.

For tonights post I'm gonna talk about 2 Irish artists who should have got more international acclaim and recognition. The first is a band called The Fat Lady Sings. They were formed in Dublin in the late 1980s and realeased two wonderful albums, Twist 1990, and Johnson 1993. The band’s second album “Johnson”, produced by Steve Osborne was preceded by the single “Show Of Myself”. The second single from the album, “Drunkard Logic” gave the band their highest ever chart placing in the UK, just falling short of the Top 40. The band once more threw themselves into a punishing 6 months of touring, culminating in a 3 month US stint that ended with a storming pre-Christmas show in New York punk mecca CBGBs. In January 1994, the band split with Nick Kelly’s surprise announcement that he was quitting.


Nick Kelly has since realeased two albums independantly without a record lable. He has also gone into directing advertisments including the following Guiness advert:

The next artist I posted a tune from in the colours mix! The prayer Boats "POLICHINELLE," is a collection of exquisitely crafted songs, marked by the Irish band's evocative acoustic-based musical backdrops and songwriter Emmett Tinley's astonishing vocals. Clear and pure and true, Tinley's urgent tenor is a magnificently resonant instrument, a voice which sends shivers up the spine and sweeps the heart away. "POLICHINELLE" is a true gem, a brilliantly multi-faceted work which already has the feel of something timeless. This song Saved is their second single from the CD!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Mixtape4Melfi invades 2uibestow [Part 3]

This week on the blog I'm bringing the best posts from my first blog 'Mixtape4Melfi' over to 2uibestow. With the IMRO thing I've decided to delete that first blog altogether from the internet archives!

Part 3 - More Ruby Tuesday posts!

Ruby Tuesday – Junah [Appeared on 11th November 2008]

I caught Dublin band Junah last month when they played The Village with Doris and Tuner. Junah are a 5 piece who are on the cusp of greatness. They have begun recording with Karl Odlum who is like an Irish Brian Eno or Steve Albini because the most successful Irish artists have hired his services. Junah is a rock band with massive potenial to be huge. Their radio friendly style of music brings together rock, pop and elements of Irish folks to produce a sound not too far removed from Bell X1 or Damien Rice. Take a listen, add them on MySpace and pop along to their gig!


Junah - I'm On Your Side

Ruby Tuesday – Wallis Bird [Appeared on 4th November 2008]

Wallis Bird is a 25 year old Irish Singer Songwriter with massive potential. Her debut album Spoons released at the end of last year is wonderful mature album full of guitar driven pop gems similar to Fiona Apple and Ani DiFranco. On her MySpace you can check out demos of new tunes which sound like Wallis is maturing as an artist and bodes very well for another excellent album on the horizon.


Wallis' version of the classic Depeche Mode song 'Just Can't Get Enough' is on the TV campaign for The Sun:

Ruby Tuesday – Fiach [Appeared on 21st October 2008]

Dubliner Fiach is a going to be a massive star in the singer-songwriter genre. He has a great voice and lots of cracking tunes. He has supported the likes of Declan O'Rourke, Damien Dempsey, Paddy Casey and Jenny Lindfors. Another worthy Ruby Tuesday name for the future!


Ruby Tuesday – The Flaws [Appeared on 7th October 2008]

The Flaws are an Indie four piece band from Co. Monaghan who are on the cusp of greatness. The band have been releasing EPs and singles since 2005 and last year released their debut album Achieving Vagueness. The band have toured Ireland and the UK practically non stop in the last few years and played many of the big summer festivals. The band have been busy working on their second album and they hope to showcase a few tracks in their upcoming gigs. The Flaws are Ireland's next big hope for world domination. The band remind me of the great UK indie band Swervedriver and of our own Whipping Boy.


The Flaws - My Sharona

Paul from The Flaws - 1981 Acoustic

Ruby Tuesday - Alphastates

Alphastates are a Dublin four peice who have been on the Irish scene for a long time. Around the beginning of the decade they were known as Babelfish and released a few excellent singles. Alphastates formed in 2001 and released their debut "Made from Sand" in 2004. The band have shared the stage with the likes of Sinead O'Connor, The Beta Band and Cat Power. What makes this band stand out is the wonderful singer Catherine Dowling and her stage pressence which you can see in the videos below!

Alphastates - Sometimes

Alphastates - The Model (Kraftwork)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Mixtape4Melfi invades 2uibestow [Part 2]

This week on the blog I'm bringing the best posts from my first blog 'Mixtape4Melfi' over to 2uibestow. With the IMRO thing I've decided to delete that first blog altogether from the internet archives!

Ruby Tuesday was a feature where I plugged a band that was at the very least new to me. I did find some wonderful jems. Here's part 1 of the archive!

Ruby Tuesday – Odi [Appeared on 9th Sept 2008]

Wexford born and leeds based singer ODi (Claire Oldum) has wonderful raw talent that should bring her all the success she deserves. Out now through her MySpace is a 5-track EP with the following tracks:

1. A Superman
2. What You Deserve
3. Tears and Wine
4. Crawl (Live on Future Radio)
5. Leaving My Love in New York (Live on KCLR FM)Buy

I really hope ODi gets noticed because she has everything to compete with Lisa Hannigan, Gemma Hayes or Cathy Davey. A visit to her MySpace to listen to her tunes will confirm that ODi has a superb voice, great songs and strong lyrics.

ODi - Crawl

Ruby Tuesday – Ian Whitty [2nd Sept 2008]

This week's Ruby Tuesday is Cork singer Ian Whitty. Ian has been on the Irish Music scene for over three years and October 24th sees the release of his debut album entitled "The Lucky Caller No. 9" Since Ian's emergence, he has been a highly active figure in the thriving Cork scene. Ian has performed with many of the luminaries of the Irish scene including Declan O' Rourke, Josh Ritter, Damien Rice, The Frames and Roderigo y Gabriella. Ian Whitty has a voice that is calming and soothing at the same time as being a voice of wisdom. His voice sounds like Stephen Malkmus crossed with Mic Christopher. The sound of Ian Whitty & The Exchanged is different to the regular singer-songwriter sound we are used to here. Ian's lyrics are clever and funny backed by string accompanied pop music. Go read up about Ian, download the brilliant Houndstooth Shirt sample and support him live!

The Band's first ever Music Video for the second single "Not On Your Side"

Ruby Tuesday – One Day International [Appeared on 26th Aug 2008]

One Day International formed last year and they have recently completed their debut album "Blackbird" ready for release on October 3rd. The band are fronted by Australian Matt Lunson who in 2005 achieved critical acclaim and moderate success in Ireland with his debut album Miss Vaughan. Now safely within a five peice band, One Day International have supported the likes of Elbow, Crowded House and Richard Hawley. They are at the Electric Picnic this weekend. One Day International are a band I'm looking forward to seeing live and to listen to their debut. Sleeping on Trains is from that album.

Ruby Tuesday – The Aftermath [Appeared on 29th July 2008]

Irish band The Aftermath are this weeks subject of Ruby Tuesday where I bring to attention new music from Ireland and beyond. Brothers Johnny Cronin(Guitar,Keys,Vox) and Michael Cronin(Drums,Percussion,Samples,Vox) returned to Ireland in 2004 from Leeds and set in motion a plan that would lead them to form The Aftermath. The 4 piece now with Justin McNabb(Guitar)and Martin Gray(Bass)are fast becoming Ireland's great hope to follow in the footsteps of The Frames and U2.

The Aftermath - Are You Not Wanting Me Yet

The band have a very comprehensive biography on their MySpace which is worth checking out! The band are currently touring their asses off around Ireland. They have also supported Pete Murrey in the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. The album Friendlier Up Here was released in April this year includes their three Irish top 20 hits. It is a classic Irish rock album. It includes some singalong big chorus anthems, some grinding bop your head tunes as well as a few seductive tracks! It's a very mature offering for a debut album and reminds me in many ways of Parachutes!

Ruby Tuesday – The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock [Appeared on 6th May 2008]

Ruby Tuesday time again folks. The Spook are a four piece band from Dublin who I believe are creating a new Psychadelic Celtic Folk genre all by themselves. I caught about ten minutes of their set in Road Records on Record Store day a few weeks back and I was intrigued. I remember thinking if Joseph Arthur was Irish he would sound like this band. Their self titled debut album is on my checklist of CDs to get in the coming weeks and I'm looking forward to seeing a full set of them in the near future! CD is out today.....order @ Road below!

+ MySpace + WebSite

The Very First Ruby Tuesday – Maeve O’Regan [Appeared on April 8th 2008]

I found a Jem of an artist....

Maeve O'Regan from Dublin is a piano based singer songwriter of exceptional talent.....i really have found a Jem and you all need to explore her MySpace page and send her some kudos. She describes her music as

"If Rufus, Regina and Amanda Palmer made babies in the toilet bowl of the ladies bathroom in The George. And those babies made music."

For non Irish readers The George is Dublins infamous gay bar! I do hear the Regina Spektor influences in the following song posted here but I think the sound is alot closer to Fiona Apple. The song Junkies Can't Swim here sounds so professional it deserve to be on a CD soon in your local record store. Also have a read on her page about how she met her drummer in Dublin! (A Sequal of Once maybe! ......called Twice!.....ok I'm being silly!)

If you like this track pop along to her MySpace and get another amazing tune from a star of the future!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Mixtape4Melfi invades 2uibestow [Part 1]

This week on the blog I'm bringing the best posts from my first blog 'Mixtape4Melfi' over to 2uibestow. With the IMRO thing I've decided to delete that first blog altogether from the internet archives!

When it was announced that The Frames were to play support to Neil Young in Malahide Castle I had to cover it on the blog:

A surprise addition to the Neil Young bill this Sunday in Malahide Castle.

I followed this up with a mini-review and setlist:

The band played for nearly an hour as the opening act for Neil Young in Malahide Castle. They were chuffed at getting the gig and at one stage told the crowd that they were in for a wonderful night as Neil Young were on top form during the soundcheck. I was delighted by the inclusion of 7 day mile, Fitzcaraldo and a new song Happiness.

Setlist in Full:

Red Chord
Seven Day Mile
The Moon
When Your Mind's Made Up
The Stars are Underground
Santa Maria

Followed by the posting of my first video clip from any artist on YouTube:

Shakey debut video from yours truely! Enjoy!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Herm Invades 2UIBestow [Part 5]

Me and my band The Hermanos – or my band The Hermanos and I - are launching our new single in Whelan’s, Dublin, this Saturday night so I thought I’d write about what goes into preparing for a gig like this…

The B-side

Me and the Hermanos have never recorded anything as a band in a studio before, so we decided to record a new song to use as a B-Side to ‘Rearrange’. We went into Porchlight Studios a couple of weeks ago and emerged a few relatively stress-free hours later with a good version of a new song. ‘Who’s Blue?’ harks back to the early 1990s, when bands such as Pavement and Nirvana ruled the world…

In my tight-fisted wisdom, I decided to mix it myself. Mixing is both a science and an art and is more complicated than I think I’ll ever understand. But I love a challenge (and hate spending money). So, after a few days in reverb, compression and EQ hell, and with help from the Hermanos, here’s what we settled on ..... check it out on our MySpace!

Who's Blue? by Hermwork

Big thanks to Herm for the week's residency of the blog!

Get yourselves here tomorrow:

Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Guggenheim Grotto - The Universe is Laughing [New Album Details]

This is the artwork of The Guggenheim Grotto's new album 'The Universe is Laughing'. This is the third offering in roughly five years from a band making waves in America with constant touring.


1. Trust Me I'm A Thief
2. Map Of The Human Heart
3. Wings And Feathers
4. Never Before
5. Concentrate
6. Wisdom
7. Ruby Heart
8. The Spiegel Song
9. The Universe Is Laughing
10. Diamond

Buy The Album:

Free Download here:

Herm Invades 2UIBestow [Part 4]

I'm delighted this week to give Herm the platform for this week's series of guest posts. Herm [] released their debut album 'Monsters' in March 2009 and is playing Whelans this coming Saturday to launch their new single 'Rearrange'.

7 Songs That Inspire Me

Tom Waits - Hold On

The master. We’re not fit to clean the mud off his boots. This song is just beautiful. The groove, the melody, the lyrics. Everything. His voice makes you feel like everything is alright with the world.

The White Stripes - Icky Thump

We’re gonna be covering this live on Saturday night. Not many people talk about Jack White’s voice but I think that’s the best thing about this band. This is my kind of song – lots of semi-incoherent shouting in between bursts of the kind of guitar riff electric guitars were made for.

Beck - Lost Cause

We get compared to Beck a lot, though I don’t actually own any of his albums. On the other hand, this song grabbed me from the first time I heard it. It’s off ‘Sea Change’, his break-up album and is one of those songs that I wish I could have written.

Manu Chao - Me Gustas Tu

I’ve been to Spain a few times and the bits and pieces of Spanish I’ve picked up from Manu Chao albums helped out no end. His nursery-rhyme, almost childish lyrics tend to get lodged in the brain. This is one of his better known ones. Nice video too…

Nick Cave - Straight To You

From when he was at his peak. I love the way he can write such beautiful songs which take such a jaundiced view of love. This appears to be a celebratory love-song but when you listen to the lyrics carefully, you realize that it’s the furthest thing from it…

The Beatles – Happiness Is A Warm Gun

I had to include one of their songs. An annoying band for a songwriter in that you always end up finding your great ideas on one of their albums… This is them at their most adventurous: a song in three parts, each utterly brilliant.

The Velvet Underground - Pale Blue Eyes

This song doesn’t get talked about as much as some of their other ones but for me it’s a masterpiece. Lou Reed wouldn’t be the best singer in the world - or even on his street - but his voice really gets you. (He also has a really great cameo on the new Gorillaz album if you get a chance to check it out…)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Herm Invades 2UIBestow [Part 3]

Me and my band The Hermanos – or my band The Hermanos and I - are launching our new single in Whelan’s, Dublin, this Saturday night so I thought I’d write about what goes into preparing for a gig like this…

“The Merchandise”
So, our singles arrived in the post yesterday. In the nick of time…

Hugh from the band has been doing our artwork for the last number of releases. Like many creative processes, this usually starts off with us doing a brainstorm. The title ‘Rearrange’ triggered ideas involving jigsaws, puzzles, etc. Hugh finally hit on the Scrabble-tile effect for the text on the front cover. The lyric ‘Went away without you’ put us both in mind of a holiday or trip abroad.

Something we’ve tried to do with our last few projects is get friends on board and get a kind of cottage-industry feel going so we sent the word out to our friends to get some of their holiday snaps to us. Our friend SP sent us on a great one and Hugh treated it to give it a retro and sun-kissed feel…

Obviously them only arriving today didn’t leave us much time to get the singles out to radio in advance of Saturday’s gig. Late last week we decided to do up promo copies ourselves to get in the post sooner. We hadn’t really thought it through…

“Friday the 14th”

Because ‘someone’ had been emailing the wrong email address, our regular printers weren’t going to be able to get us the printed wallets we were after in time.

To Plan B, which involved a printing shop and a scissors. Would we be able to get the covers printed up and folded, the labels and press releases written and printed and the CDs mixed and burned by 5pm ie. in time for the last post? Probably not but we were damned well going to try…

4.30pm –“Hugh, where are you?” “Still at the printers”

4.45pm - “Where are you now?” “Still at the printers. You?” “Just burning a couple more
CDs. You?” “Still at the printers”…

4.55pm – “Are you on your way?” “I quit the band” “No, you can’t” etc.

In the end, and after some last minute cutting and folding in the local Post Office, we got them in the last post. Which turned out to be at 7pm.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Herm Invades 2UIBestow [Part 2]

I'm delighted this week to give Herm the platform for this week's series of guest posts. Herm [] released their debut album 'Monsters' in March 2009 and is playing Whelans this coming Saturday to launch their new single 'Rearrange'.

Me and my band The Hermanos – or my band The Hermanos and I - are launching our new single in Whelan’s, Dublin, this Saturday night so I thought I’d write about what goes into preparing for a gig like this…

“Two turntables and a microphone”

And some amps, instruments, a PA, more microphones, a roof over your head and some walls to plug everything into.

We haven’t played in Whelan’s main room in quite some time so we wanted to do it there. It’s a lovely venue to play in and we’ve always had good nights there in the past. Touch wood…

“If you book it, will they come?”

Here comes the science… I wish. The reasons people choose to go to one gig over another are manifold and mysterious. Basically you have to make sure people know it’s on and also that they have a reason to come along. Gig often but not too often. Make sure people know about it but don’t hassle them. Make it cheap but not too cheap. Get good support acts but not too good (only joking, guys…). Then, all you have left to do is put posters up around town, get on to all the online and print listings, get DJs to give it a plug and - crucially and cringingly - ‘social network’ like hell. After that, it’s in the hands of the gods…

“The product” or “These babies sell themselves”
Well, this probably deserves a posting all of its own…

More tomorrow!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Album Review: The Butterfly Graveyard [Self-Titled]

Ambient Indie Pop from a relatively unknown Cork duo full of charm, atmosphere and some really good tunes.

Due to the arrival of cheap recording many artists are ripping up the rule book and recording their album before building up a fanbase. The Cast of Cheers is a perfect example of this. The Butterfly Graveyard are another band who are using their beautifully packaged debut album to open doors and build a fanbase using music blogs and local media sources to get to as many people as possible:

Read Ronan's review here:

Here's the Review on Golden Plec:

The album packaging is very nice but as I've heard or read nothing about the band until the album arrived to me my first thoughts was that the album will be full of Enyaesque Celtic Mysticism! How wrong was I? The album is the closet I've heard to The Devlin's 1997 album 'Waiting'. Some of the tracks here are radio friendly pop songs such as the splendid 'Sunburn' and the delicious 'I'm Lost (When I Can't See The Stars In The City)'. The opening track and free download below 'Writing You Off' is a great song with strong melodies and a catchy chorus.

The lyrics are very descriptive, colourful and multi-layered. 'Falling' for instance is beautifully written with delicate vocals. The album is most definitely a grower as was mentioned in the Golden Plec review however some of the tracks come and go without leaving much of an impression on me. This presents another paradox because when you dig deep at the lyrics they are very much inspirational and powerful yet get lost within a maze of an ambient soundtrack.

There's enough really good songs here for me to recommend this album to you. It's perfect background music on one level yet would suit a listener wanting some seriously good lyrics set to an indie pop backdrop! It is brimming with charm and atmosphere yet in many ways it fails to make a real connection with me.

The Butterfly Graveyard - Self-titled [9 out of 12]

The Butterfly Graveyard - Writing You Off by 2uibestow

Friday, 14 May 2010

Paws For Thought Invades 2uibestow [Part 5]

This week Jennifer Doherty, the writer of the popular blog 'Paws For Thought' is the guest blogger. I'm really excited about this because I don't know many people more passionate about music than Jennifer.

Guest Post 5

Music fans were recently reminded of the great work that independent music shops do, during record store day last month. It’s a pity that we need a particular day to remind us, but the music scene has changed so much recently.

Cool Discs in Derry is the Northern Ireland equivalent of Road Records. Opened since 1996, it has done a lot to promote Irish music in the area. Its owner, Lee Mason was responsible for bringing many well-known artists to Derry, and promoting their work by telling any customers who might be even slightly interested.

I remember my first time in the shop. I was 10, and really starting to love REM. I was obsessed with their song ‘stand’ (probably because of the silly lyrics) and needed it on CD. I bought their album Green for £6.99, and saw it in Virgin the same day for a pound dearer. I loved cool Discs right away!

I started liking The Frames in 2001, beginning my love of Irish acoustic, folk and alternative music. I tried to buy as many albums as possible, and would save for weeks for a particular album. This was when I was in school, with no money, so buying an album then was a big deal. I bought many albums, singles and gig tickets in Cool Discs. I remember buying The Frames album ‘Dance the Devil’ with birthday money my granny gave me, and when I went to Pay, Lee changed my copy for a copy that Glen had signed when he visited the shop previously. Needless to say I was very impressed, even though I’m blind and can’t even see the signature!!

It’s a pleasure to buy music from people who know what they are selling. The staff in Cool discs often recommend albums and discuss the ones I bought the next time I come in. I sometimes hear music playing while I’m in the shop, go and ask what it is, and come out with something that I hadn’t planned on buying. I can go into the shop the day an album from a band I like is released and the staff nearly know what I’m looking for before I ask.

CD sales are decreasing rapidly due to the Internet, music downloads, and people who rob the industry by not paying for music anymore. I’m not a fan of downloading, preferring to have a physical copy of the music I buy. Flicking through someone’s CD collection is more enjoyable than scrolling through x number of gigabytes on a computer or mp3 player, not to mention the difference in sound quality. I’ll admit I have bought albums from stores like Tesco’s and HMV, because they are often cheaper, but many of these people are only interested in making money, and couldn’t care less about the music they are selling. Its handy to be able to download songs individually, and I would sometimes do this if I really need something in a hurry for a radio show. I would rather put on an album from start to finish and hear how all the tracks fit together. I enjoy learning about the process a band or artist went through to make a particular album sound the way it does. Obviously then if I prefer particular tracks I’ll listen to those individually, but by not hearing a full album, you could be missing out on some great tunes. How many of your favorite album tracks never get played on radio?

I think independent music shops have to play their part and work hard to promote the work that they do in order to attract customers and keep them interested. This is something that road records have done very well recently, through their use of the internet and twitter. It’s a business I definitely wouldn’t want to be working in these days, but I will keep supporting independent music shops as long as they are around.

Here's 7 Day Mile from Dance The Devil:

[Thank You Jennifer for these five posts. I know how busy this week has been for you and I really appreciate the time and effort you put into the five guest posts.]

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Paws For Thought Invades 2uibestow [Part 4]

This week Jennifer Doherty, the writer of the popular blog 'Paws For Thought' is the guest blogger. I'm really excited about this because I don't know many people more passionate about music than Jennifer.

Guest Post 4

I never did become a professional DJ, but I enjoy working as a volunteer at
Inishowen Community Radio

Every week I produce a music show, which is broadcast on Sunday evenings between eight and nine PM. I enjoy having the freedom to play music that I like, both old and new. I haven’t had the opportunity to do too many interviews with musicians so far, but hopefully that will change in the future.

Many people misunderstand the purpose of community radio, and dismiss it as unprofessional, just because it doesn’t have the listenership that a national or commercial station would have. In ICR, more than 50% of the station’s output is produced by volunteers, who do it for the love of radio, and not for money. It is an inclusive organisation, with people from all backgrounds having the opportunity to participate in many different aspects of radio. Best of all, we always have good craic!

I have created different packages and documentaries for radio, on topics ranging from the showband scene in Ireland to music therapy and guide dogs. I have interviewed some amazing people from my local community, and hopefully provided them with some enjoyable programs as well.

The frustrating thing about working at the station is that the technology there is not fully accessible for a blind person. There is a very limited budget available to cover the cost of running the station, so having accessible equipment isn’t really a priority for the couple of blind people who volunteer there. The fact that I don’t have complete control over the production of my show has made me more interested in internet radio broadcasting. I like the idea that I could work from my own accessible computer, and edit my show independently. I also like how social networking sites such as twitter are becoming a popular means of communication for radio stations.

So to add to the list of things I want to buy is a mixer, some microphones, a sound card and lots of music to play on my show each week. Anyone got any spare cash?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Paws For Thought Invades 2uibestow [Part 3]

This week Jennifer Doherty, the writer of the popular blog 'Paws For Thought' is the guest blogger. I'm really excited about this because I don't know many people more passionate about music than Jennifer.

Guest Post 3

The revelation that The Frames are brilliant didn’t occur to me until half way through the year 2001. I remember hearing ‘Revelate’ on the radio and thinking it was catchy. I remember Uaneen Fitzsimons interviewing the band. I knew the name Glen Hansard and knew he was the lead singer with The Frames, but I have no idea why I didn’t pay proper attention to them until 2001. Lay me down was getting a lot of radio play and I discovered it was beautiful. During the next few months I heard their live performances at Witnness and in sessions and it hit me like a train how amazing they were live. I found their message board and wanted to find out as much about them as I could. I recognised a lot of their songs from Uaneen’s show, and I should have known when she liked them that they were good.

‘For The Birds’ and ‘Breadcrumb Trail’ were the first albums I bought, and I couldn’t wait to see them live. They played their first ever gig in Letterkenny in November 2002. I spent the day entertaining kids on a bouncy castle at my nephew’s fourth birthday, but secretly I couldn’t wait until it was over so I could get to the gig. The only friend who might have possibly liked the frames at the time heard a couple of songs and told me they were “shite”, so I persuaded my thirteen-year-old cousin to come with me. There was a good chance she wouldn’t like them either, but she was delighted to be allowed out without adult supervision so I bought her the ticket.

I can still remember more about that gig than a lot of gigs I’ve been to recently. The audience were quiet and Glen sounded nervous as he opened with ‘Plateau’. Colm’s electric violin started and gave me Goosebumps, and I knew it was going to be special. A few songs later and Glen had the audience captured and charmed. He even asked a girl in the front row to zip up her top because it was distracting him (only Glen could do that without causing offence!)
The Frames lived up to their great live reputation, and my cousin and I came out knowing that it would be the first of many Frames gigs for both of us.

Discovering The Frames has introduced me to so many great people, both at gigs and online. I have brought some of my friends to see them, and they usually come away with the same reaction as I did after the gig in Letterkenny in 2002. Even the friend who dismissed them at first has seen them lots of times since. I have found new bands and artists and rediscovered old ones. I have tortured Glen’s head many times at this stage I’m sure, but he has always been genuinely appreciative, friendly and sincere. There is a magic and an energy in Glen’s performances, whether it is as a solo artist, with The Frames or The Swell Season, and no other performer will ever match that for me.

Here's a video clip of 'God Bless Mom' and a short interview with Glen and Dave on No Disco presented by the late Uaneen Fitzsimons.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Paws For Thought Invades 2uibestow [Part 2]

This week Jennifer Doherty, the writer of the popular blog 'Paws For Thought' is the guest blogger. I'm really excited about this because I don't know many people more passionate about music than Jennifer.

Guest post 2

During the summer of 1995, Bon Jovi played their first ever outdoor gig in Dublin, in the R.D.S arena. I remember the day so well, July 2nd and it was a Sunday night. I remember it because I was nine years old and my parents said I was too young to go to the concert. I was devastated. I remember having dinner with my cousin in our Aunt’s that night, almost in tears.

I obviously drove my parents nuts, because when Jon and the boys returned to Dublin the following year, I was allowed to go. 13th July 1996 [blog account and setlist here] was the day I went to my first ever concert, when I realised that there was a lot more to music than learning an instrument or playing tapes and CDs. Live music was a whole new experience and I loved it.

The following few years saw me attending gigs by the Corrs, Boyzone and REM. A second turning point in live music was when I saw David Gray for the first time in Marley Park in 2001. Discovering his music opened my mind to songwriting and how powerful it can be. This encouraged me to explore the music of Dylan, Cohen and Van the Man beyond the classics.

Being blind can sometimes be frustrating when I want to go to a gig. I have a guide dog but he doesn’t like drums and loud music. My friends and I have very different musical tastes, and the ones who like the same bands as me rarely have money to spend on music. I have often bought people tickets to a gig just so that I don’t miss out, and as you can imagine, this works out quite expensive. The area that I live in means that I often have to travel at least an hour, sometimes two to Belfast or four to Dublin to go to a particular gig. This adds travel expenses and accommodation to the cost of often already overpriced gig tickets.

The first time I went to the cinema I was about four years old. My older brother brought me up to pay before my parents could, and when we got to the counter he asked if I could get in half price because I couldn’t see the film and could only hear it. The owner of the cinema let me in free and has done so ever since. I rarely go to the cinema, but it’s a pity the same rule didn’t apply to live music venues as well!

I have been to many amazing gigs, and seeing Bruce Springsteen during the ‘working on a dream’ and ‘magic’ tours in Dublin were no doubt two of the highlights. There is one band who have affected me like no other, but I think my appreciation for them deserves a post of its own.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Album Review: Anthony Furey - I've Been Here Before ...

The debut album from Anthony Furey & The Young Folk is a folk album full of charm, melodies and personality.

I've been meaning to review this album since before the weekend but I've resisted writing my thoughts because I'm struggling to pinpoint why I like it so much. Anthony's voice reminds me of Conor Oberst or Fionn Regan with warmth and a personality. The ten songs are brimming full of charm that when he sings

' ... yeah these are our Sad Days'

in the opening song or sings about an unknown girl liking biscuits you can't help but sing along! The charm exists in the honest lyrics, melodies and overall uncomplicated structure of the songs.

There are some great tracks on this album. 'Grafton St.' has beautiful lyrics and passionate vocals which remind me of David Ford. 'Hold Her Down' is about a girl under the strain of drug mis-use which flirts with the sound associated with troubadours like Damien Rice! The best tracks on the album contain the strings section of Cello, Violin or Viola. My personal favourite track is 'Adjust'.

'I've Been Here Before ... ' isn't a perfect album. There are a few blips in quality on one or two of the tracks. So while I love many of the tracks on the album I won't be claiming this as a revelation of an album. If you want an album of really good songs, well written with a personality and charm then check out this album!

Anthony Furey & The Young Folk - I've Been Here Before ... - [10 out of 12]

<a href="">BISCUITS by Anthony Furey and The Young Folk Band</a>

13 May 2010 18:00 Tower Records instore City Centre (6pm), Dublin , IE
16 May 2010 20:00 Upstairs Whelans ( City Centre, Dublin , IE
4 Jun 2010 20:00 Whelans (FREE SINGLE) City Centre, Dublin , IE
6 Jun 2010 20:00 Dame Quarter Festival City Centre, Dublin , IE
12 Jun 2010 20:00 Taste of Dublin Iveagh Gardens City Centre, Dublin , IE
13 Jun 2010 20:00 Taste of Dublin Iveagh Gardens City Centre, Dublin , IE
19 Jun 2010 13:00 NPLD festival ( Temple House Estate, Sligo , IE
20 Jun 2010 13:00 NPLD festival ( Temple House Estate, Sligo , IE

Paws For Thought Invades 2uibestow [Part 1]

This week Jennifer Doherty, the writer of the popular blog 'Paws For Thought' is the guest blogger. I'm really excited about this because I don't know many people more passionate about music than Jennifer.

Guest post 1

When Peter asked me to become a guest blogger, I was honoured but confused. I’m not primarily a music blogger, but my love for it is obvious in many of my posts. I wondered what I would write about, and more importantly, where to begin!
I went to my room yesterday and found that my mum had left a box on my bed. My sister had borrowed it when my eldest nephew was small, and it was filled with children’s cassettes. I realised that this is exactly where my enthusiasm for music began.

I got a fisher price tape recorder for Christmas when I was two years old, and I took it everywhere. I listened to tapes constantly, starting off with nursery rhymes, then tapes teaching counting, the clock and the calendar, to tapes about dinosaurs, to stories, including every Roald Dahl tape available. I got my first walkman years later, and I’m sure the headphones were a welcome feature of it. My family had silence at last!

My dad must have spent a fortune on blank tapes, because I recorded things constantly. My tape recorder was like a camera, and wherever I went, it came too. When I discovered mainstream radio and my sister’s music collection, I began making mixed tapes. Remember when you’d love a new song and be dying to record your own copy. You’d run to the stereo with your finger on the record button, hoping the DJ would play it and praying he wouldn’t talk over the end. I listened to the Hotline with Tony Fenton, Dusty Rhodes and Aidan Leonard on night time 2fm religiously. I wanted to be a DJ, and used to practice with my friends regularly.

My music tastes moved from nursery rhymes to ballads that my dad listened to, to whatever my brother and sister had on, which introduced me to REM and Christy Moore, who I still enjoy listening to today. I liked a lot of what was in the charts when I was seven and eight, but slowly became more aware of my own preferences as well. I didn’t follow the trend of liking what was popular within my circle of friends, and I’m still very different from most of them nowadays when it comes to choosing music. Back then I thought you could only like one band and that was it. I remember loving the Crash Test Dummies for a while, and then realising that I possibly liked Bon Jovi more. I felt like I was betraying the dummies when I bought crossroads, the best of Bon Jovi, but they soon faded away from the music scene anyway, and my obsession with Bon Jovi became almost ridiculous!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Album Review: Eric Eckhart - This Is Where It Starts

Excellent collection of songs from self-confessed late bloomer to music. Contemporary adult rock album from well travelled Berlin based American who gained recognition and fans during a period living in Ireland.

'This Is Where It Starts' is the debut from Eric Eckhart. One of the best things to say about the album is that it's not easy to select a genre for the album. In many ways it reminds me of the contemporary rock of Athlete's album 'Tourist'. The wonderful song 'Lost' reminds me of Coldplay's Yellow and has a great video to accompany it. There are some nice singer-songwriter tracks like 'All My Life' and the album closer 'I Saw A Light'. He rocks out on some other songs while he plays the blues on 'I'm Gone'.

The album was produced by Eric Eckhart and Fab Leseure (worked with Brian Jonestown Massacre & The Frames) and features a number of excellent musicians including Dave Hingerty (Swell Season, The Frames, Josh Ritter) and blog favourite Nina Hynes sings backing vocals on in my opinion is the best track off the album 'Running'.

While there's a huge amount of variety in the album there's a lovely sense that the album represents a very personal journey. 'Lost' is such a beautifully written song with great harmonies. In fact many of the songs are about leaving or being on a journey. Here's the chorus of the opening song 'From Whence I Came'

"Once I hid away my hopes and dreams
‘Til I had to say goodbye
I felt a little like a drowning man
So I had to say goodbye
I had to say, I had to say goodbye"

I find it's a rare thing to get a complete album sent to me. 'This Is Where It Starts' is an honest album of great tracks. It'll make you sing, think, contemplate, meditate, nod your head and in general make you happy to have this CD in your possession.

Eric Eckhart - This Is Where It Starts [11 out of 12]

Have a listen to the album:

<a href="">From Whence I Came by Eric Eckhart</a>