Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Single Review: Eleanor McEvoy - Harbour

Eleanor McEvoy's beautifully sung single 'Harbour' is this week's Play Irish track on Galway Bay FM and is another wonderful track I'd delighted to review on the blog.

Young musicians out there should look on Eleanor McEvoy's career for inspiration. While maintaining a fan base in Ireland Eleanor has been busy in the UK and Europe touring the folk clubs and reaching new audiences all the time. Her sound is always evolving and her songwriting gets better with time. 'Harbour' the new single first featured on 2010's 'I'd Rather Go Blonde' album but the single is lifted from last year's 'Alone' album of hit songs stripped back to just Eleanor alone.

The lyrics of the piano based love song 'Harbour' are enriching and comforting. Eleanor is reaching out for someone to shelter and shield her like a harbour. It's a piano based balled full of imagery sung with Eleanor's distinct vocals. With singles like this Eleanor deserves her place as a modern and respected legend.

Eleanor McEvoy - Harbour [10 out of 12]


Monday, 27 February 2012

Introducing a Mix of New Irish Music #11

Here's a mix of new Irish music that made it onto my radar in the recent weeks!


Hailing from Co. Meath, Shannon is a twenty year old singer who is bursting onto the scene with a debut EP, an official video shot in Slane Castle and a headline date in Whelans booked for March 12th. The EP entitled 'A Million Miles' showcases Shannon's extraordinary vocal range on the Jazzy rocking tracks 'Trouble' and the title track while lovesong 'Romeo' and the gentle 'Can't Hide' are sublime.

Buy The EP: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/a-million-miles-ep/id505515374

EP Launch: Whelans March 12th




Swords are a three piece electronic rock band based in Dublin and are already achieving the kind of positive press most bands can only dream of. It's not my favourite type of music but there are some really nice moments on their debut EP 'Black Balloon' such as this track 'Special'.



The Rambleers

Alternative blues rockers The Rambleers have been going strong since 2005 but for some reason they never got featured on the blog. The band are touring in March to promote their new music:

One new track is 'Layman' and it's free to download!


From Donegal, Sweet Little Lies make fun rock/pop with a hint of reggae to jazz it up! Think a chilled out Wallis Bird with a brass section! I'm loving the sounds of Sweet Little Lies!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Album Review: Cars Love Girls - Skip School

Cars Love Girls release a funky happy little album on March 8th entitled Skip School and it ain't too bad!

So Cars Love Girls are brother and sister Bres & Orla! Thankfully it's not Bressie! Oh wait Niall Breslin is also in the family. I bet he must hate the fact that his siblings write way better music than him! Anyway that's way too much sarcasm for one review.

'Skip School' is a good album of ten songs which are well written, sung and have the right amount of cheese. It's similar to the pop/rap of The Republic of Loose without being a Carbon Copy! It's perfect for pop radio without being annoying. It's got a number of good tunes but suffers from them sounding the same! It's an album I liked listening to without it getting me excited!

Cars Love Girls leave the best song until last. In that wise tradition of ending an album on an epic note, the seven minute anthem 'Funny Little Thing' is a superb track. Influenced by seventies soulful sound the track consists of wonderful guitar rifts and outstanding vocals which really hit the high notes. Other highlights include 'Left Us Sly' and the current single 'Future Ex-wife'.

'Skip School' is a decent album which will turn the band into minor celebrities in Ireland for a few months. The launch is on March 8th in the Workmans Club.

Cars Love Girls - Skip School [8 out of 12]


Friday, 24 February 2012

Live Review: The Purple Sessions - Boyles Feb 23rd

February's 'Purple Sessions' took place last night in Boyles of Slane and it was a superb night of music!

First up was Galway based Rory Bowens and his mix of quirky indie pop songs. He revealed his parents were at the venue listening to songs of heartbreak and lust! Standout track of Rory's set was this song 'John':

Next up was the folk sound of Polly Barrett from Cork. The set featured songs from her debut album 'Mr. Bookshop' as well as a new upbeat song reflecting her life in the now. Polly's vocals were superb throughout the set and brought to life the thoughtful lyrics of her songs. Standout track for me was 'Almost Friend' about how you can briefly meet new interesting people while busking and never get to know them!

Marc O'Reilly was up next with a superb set showcasing his amazing guitar skills and pure voice. Marc got a great reaction from the crowd who fully appreciated the quality of talents Marc possesses. Marc's debut album was reviewed on the blog last month and his set consisted of the guitar heavy tracks like 'Tell Old Joe' and 'Get Back'. I think Marc has such a wonderful voice and was disappointed not to hear my favourites from the album 'Family Reunion' and 'La Question'. Standout track from Marc's set was an amazing version of this instrumental:

Headlining the night were The Riot Tapes who once again proved to me that they are ripe for success. The tight set of pop rock tracks showcased Elaine's wonderful vocals over songs that make you want to move, sway and dance to!  Standout track for me was the encore song which was an acoustic version of their debut single 'Photograph'. 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Single Battles #2 - The Dirty 9s Vs The Frank & Walters

This is the second battle of a regular feature where I'm going to compare and contrast two singles from current Irish Artists.

Battle #2

The Dirty 9s released a new single from their soon to be released second album. Straight away I hear a clear difference between 'Hey' and their earlier debut album. The indie edge is still there but there's a freshness about 'Hey'. This fun three minute pop song epitomizes what the band are about. Fergal's vocals are pivotal to the song and along with it's all round catchiness makes this song one of the best new Irish releases of the year.

There's a wonderful video for it too!


The Frank & Walters have released another fine pop song called 'Indie Love Song'. The lyrics remind me of the single from The Divine Comedy last year 'At The Indie Disco'. While Neil Hannon's song was brilliant I felt an unease with the lyrics in the same way as it doesn't make much sense to me to have a band with their 'Hey Day' two decades ago singing about writing 'Indie Love Songs'! The single is pure to the Frank & Walters sound and will please their fans. There's also a really cute video to accompany the song!


In many respects The Dirty 9s could be the modern day version of The Frank & Walters! They both have vocalists with distinct styles and have the ability to write three minute pop wonders. I would hope however that the song themes develop with time for The Dirty 9s which on the basis of 'Indie Love Song' can't be said about The Franks!

The Dirty 9s - Hey [11 out of 12]

The Frank & Walters - Indie Love Song [8 out of 12]

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Album Review: Daniel Thomas - Vandals in Eden

'Vandals in Edan' the debut album from Dundalk's Daniel Thomas is an average album I can't stop myself from listening to!

When I listen to singer-songwriters I can generalise a bit by stating they were primarily influenced by either Dylan, Waits or Cohen. However while listening to 'Vandals in Eden' I'm finding it difficult to generalise in that same way. There is nothing groundbreaking in the collection of eleven songs. They are all well written tunes each one with a central theme. Mostly it's Daniel's voice and an acoustic guitar rift at the core of the tacks while some tracks includes strings, trumpets, drums and bass. It's very much an independent release with limited information on the cd sleeve and when I take that into account it's amazing how good some of the tracks are like 'Ghost of Our Estates' and the title track.

Other standout tracks for me include the charming opener 'Darlin' Tonight', the poppy sound of 'Miracle Like You' and 'Blind Piper' with it's intricate trumpet. This is a super album to have on in the background and as mentioned above it's been my background noise for the last week. 'Vandals in Eden' is a good, honest debut album.

Daniel Thomas - Vandals in Eden [8 out of 12]


Monday, 20 February 2012

Single Review: Keywest - In The Fight For Love

Lead single taken from Keywest's recently released debut album 'The Message'. Just like The Coronas but without the wedge of lime!

Hailing from North Dublin Keywest are a very accomplished band. There really is nothing to dislike with their single 'In The Fight For Love'. It's a pop/rock tune about Love that was written to be on regular radio play. While it's hard to dislike the song the band give you very little reasons to be excited either. Is it so wrong for a band to be attempting to follow a similar successful business plan?

Keywest - In The Fight for Love [7 out of 12]

Have a listen and judge for yourself:

Keywest are this week's chosen artist for the PLAY IRISH initiative on Galway Bay FM.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Album Review - Cafe Irlandaise [Various Artists]

Cafe Irlandaise is an alternative mix of female voices from Ireland and it's completely free to download!

I think this is a superb compilation with a simple function to celebrate "the unique sounds coming out of Ireland at the moment ..". The ten tracks chosen for the compilation come from bands, duos and solo artists but all of them are sung by females. I've discovered some wonderful acts through this compilation as well as being delighted that some of my favourite acts got chosen for the album.

Tara Masterson Hally's 'Lingering' is the opening track. Tara was tipped by State.ie as a 'Face of 2012' and I can understand why based on this track. Her vocals are amazing over a gentle guitar rift with the haunting backing vocals you'd find on a Kate Bush track. It's followed by the jewel of the compilation. Described as Baroque folk pop, Sí from Cork is one amazing artist. The haunting vocals and superb and the instrumentation is wonderful. The track is called Toy Soldiers (alla marcia funebre) and deserves to be listened to. 

The haunting vocals continues with Laura Sheeran and her sound of electronic/orchestral soundtrack which can only be described as epic. The compilation flows onto another epic song from Foxglove with vocals from Niamh Murphy. Their sound fuses folk, pop and electronic to create another superb track. The album moves onto Cocteau Twins style indie pop with the song 'Higher' by In Valour. With some many different genres on the album there has to be at least one skipable track and that for me is the 'Low Sea' track 'Never Yours. Luckily we're back on form with this little happy pop song from the wonderfully titled act 'Femmepop'.

With comparisons to The Pixies and The Lemonheads, 'Femmepop' is another band for me to watch out in 2012. The final three tracks on the compilation are acts that have featured regularly on the blog. Recent favourite Bona Fide Federation impressed me big time with their gig in The Grand Social last month. Vocalist from Bona Fide Federation Triona O'Neill has such a great voice and the 'Juanita Cadenza' song on the compilation showcases her fine vocals. The indie folk of Sive and their song Sunkissed fits in well after Bona Fida Federation. The album closer is from Odi whose wonderful debut album was released in 2009. Her folk song 'One in a Million' with it's slow handclap and fine strings brings the album to a satisfying end. 

I think it's obvious from what I wrote above that I've been impressed big time by this compilation. I hope you all either download it using the link at the top of the page or go here to get it one track at a time!

Cafe Irlandaise - An Alternative Mix of Female Voices [11 out of 12]

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Single Review: The Aluskas - Backwater Woods

Backwater Woods is the rocking debut single from Dublin band The Aluskas. It's a cliche but it suggests a really good debut album on the horizon!

'Backwater Woods', the debut single from The Aluskas is one of them rare unpretentious goodtime rock'n'roll songs that works. It has a superb catchy chorus about 'Dancing in the Backwater Woods having a hell of a time'. It's a two verse, two chorus song with a guitar solo and plenty of opportunities to tap your foot or nod the head while thinking about having a hell of a time in the Backwater Woods!

The Aluskas - Backwater Woods [10 out of 12]

Check out the quality video to go with the song!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Single Battles #1: Bressie Vs Myles Manley

This is the first of a regular feature where I'm going to compare and contrast two very different singles from current Irish Artists.

Battle #1


         Bressie                   vs                    Myles Manley

Bressie's new single is the 'Breaking My Fall' from his debut album entitled 'Colourblind Stereo'. The first impression I get from the track is 'oh dear'! I'm thinking poor Bressie, after the demise of The Blizzards and the music executive heads are forcing him down the road of thrashy radio friendly fuzz. Then I remember that Bressie is an expert in the business and deserves no sympathy. Here's the single 'Breaking My Fall' coming to a popular radio station near you this Spring!

Sligo's Myles Manley's debut single 'Music for White People' was released last week and is available for the month of February as a free download. The single kicks off in fine style but it hits the wall with Myles' vocals. The vocals are very distinct and unusual and not to everyone's taste. However the lyrics in Myles' songs are well thought out and meaningful. The song is very catchy and became my earworm last weekend. This is a song unlikely to get widespread radio play so I'd encourage you to get the single for free here:

So Bressie can sing well, and at the 2 min mark of 'Breaking My Fall' can mix the singing with a bit of rap! Myles has an unusual voice but can write a good tune. Bressie's audience consists of late teens free spirited college students. Myles appeals to the self conscious of us! Both songs have their merits but I enjoyed Myles Manley's 'Music for White People' far more than the pop from Bressie! 

Bressie - Breaking My Fall [5 out of 12]

Myles Manley - Music for White People [8 out of 12]

Monday, 13 February 2012

Mixtape: Valentines Special

Here's a few Irish love songs to listen to on this special Hallmark Day! If we still did actual mixtapes I think this is possibly one I'd make for the good wife! 

The Crayon Set - No. 1 Fan

Julie Feeney - Valentine's Song

Fiach - You Dear

Maria Byrne - All You Need

A Band Called Wanda - Roses are still Red

Declan DeBarra - Beautiful One

Little Xs for Eyes - Kind Hearts

Miss Paula Flynn - Lovebirds

The Lost Brothers - Who Could Love You More?

The Cranberries - Dreaming My Dreams

James Vincent McMorrow - Higher Love

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Introducing a Mix of New Irish Music #10 Vantastival Special

No matter how much Irish music I come by when the Vantastival line-up is announced there's always at least a dozen or so bands I have no idea existed. Here's the best of those new bands on the line-up that's yet to be featured on the blog.

Cars Love Girls

Brother & sister duo Cars Love Girls have a pop/rap sound similar to Republic of Loose! Oh wait it's because they are two members of Republic of Loose! There's a lovely 80s feel to their sound which is full on nostalgia! Potential 'Smash Hits' cover stars!


Vickers Vimy

Galway based roots act Vickers Vimy writes laid back folk tunes in the style of Paul Simon or Jack Johnson. It's very chilled out and very good!


Soldiers Can't Dance

Kildare indie rockers have been together since 2010 and have supported some of our best alternative rock bands like ASIWYFA, Bipolar Empire, Kopek etc. They will rock at Vantastival!

  Soldiers Can't Dance - Who goes, you go by soldierscantdance


Slow Motion Heroes

I've just discovered an epic electronic pop song from Cork's Slow Motion Heroes. You can hear the 10 minute 'If'' below which has a five minute intro before it become big in sound and ambition. This is a band I'll have to see at Vantastival!


Originally from Kildare but now based in Kerry, Inni-K is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer who writes indie folk songs. Comparisons will be made to Feist, Regina Spektor etc...


Layne County

Hailing from Mayo, Layne County is a folk rock band "infused with dark lyricism and a touch of oldschool chaos" . This is another band I'll have to check out at Vantastival!


Sticky Digit

Wexford Hard Rock band Sticky Digit bring to mind the grunge sounds of Alice in Chains and early Soundgarden. Guaranteed to draw a huge crowd at Vantastival!


Vantastival, 4th – 6th May 2012

Vantastival is a family-friendly festival which takes place over the May Bank Holiday Weekend. Three stages of live music and entertainment host up to 70 acts over the course of the weekend, while a range of activities focusing on the campervan lifestyle bring an extra dimension to the only festival of its kind in Ireland. Other attractions include gourmet food stalls, festival traders, scheduled kids’ activities, documentary cinema, art, craft and theatre, ensuring that Vantastival has something for everyone, with or without a campervan!
Campervans are welcome to park on site at no extra charge, but you don’t have to have a campervan to enjoy all that’s on offer and there is a dedicated tent campsite for those without vans! Children are welcome and kids under 14 get in for free.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Single Review: A Plastic Rose - Build From The Ground Up

A Plastic Rose take their career to a new level with this amazing single 'Build From The Ground Up'.

I've seen this band develop over the last few years. They were one of the best bands at HWCHs 09 where I wrote this about the band: "Over to The Button Factory for Belfast's 'A Plastic Rose' who I knew nothing about. The set was amazing. The twin vocals on most of the songs work well for me as the distinct vocals compliment each other. The sound is probably as big as their ambition and will be a band to watch out for in the future." Fast forward 2 and a half years, a few hundred gigs and an EP or two later we have this single 'Build From The Ground Up'. 

The song kicks off with smooth strings but it's not long until we're into the alternative rock sound of A Plastic Rose. Gerry takes lead vocals on this track and his vocal intensity suits the empowering lyrics on the song. The band have taken their raw talent and have produced a glossy intense anthem perfect for mass consumption. 

A Plastic Rose - Built From The Ground Up [10 out of 12]

Another sign that things are looking good for A Plastic Rose is that they are supporting Snow Patrol in the O2, London tonight!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Video Review: Orphan Code - My Meaning Your Feelings

The video for the single My Meaning Your Feelings is a return to form for Dublin 3 piece alternative band Orphan Code.

The song reminds me of early 90s indie tracks from the likes of Slowdive or even a hint of Spiritualized. The black 'n' white effect of the video compliments the song nicely. The seemingly aimless walking around Grafton St. in Dublin works well with the feelings within the songs. The tempo in the video and the song remains constant. This is the best aspect of the song and has me very excited at the prospect of hearing an Orphan Code album this year!


Live Review: Dropkick Murphys - Vicar St. Feb 9th

Dropkick Murphys prove they are one of the best live bands at a Sold Out Vicar St. gig in Dublin.

from  http://www.withguitars.com/ 
Irish American band Dropkick Murphys are regular visitors to Ireland over the last number of years and tonight's packed show was high on entertainment value, musicianship and surprisingly high on song quality. The best song for me was 'I'm Shipping Up To Boston' which resulted in a Pirated Banner being displayed like this in an archive picture above.

The seven members of Dropkick Murphys regularly come and go from the stage. During one song only four of the band remained with the others taking rest breaks. The band's instruments consists of Accordian, Pipes, Tin Whistle, Banjo, Mandolin as well as the rock stable of guitars, bass and drums. The lead vocalist has a gravelly voice which you'd associate with old style traditional Irish singing. Bassist Ken Casey was on vocals duty for most of the tracks and was much more listenable. The set of well over an hour and a half included a four song acoustic set on stools which gave the moshing crowd a breather. It was the interaction between the band and the crowd that provided most of the entertainment. For the encore the band brought onstage a few dozen ladies for a great version of 'Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced'. The onstage invasion lasted until the end of the gig with the crowd in an appreciative mode for this hard working band.

  Dropkick Murphys - Blackout - 14 - Kiss Me I'm Shitfaced by sonicdm

Dropkick Murphys gained a new fan tonight. Their versions of 'Irish Rover', 'Fields of Athenry' and 'TNT' were great fun and as mentioned earlier this was a gig of high entertainment value!


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Fund It .... Are You In? Part 2!

I might make this a regular monthly update on the blog this year and Irish bands aim to battle the recession by thinking of new ways to fund the release of an album. Here I talk about the ways Delorentos, El Hombre Jokes, Yngve & The Innocent, The Walls and The Pale are attempting to bring their sounds to the masses!

Delorentos - Pop-Up Shops

I know it's a case of 'If the mountain won't go to Muhammad ...' but according to the various twitter and facebook updates out there this pop-up shop worked really well. The all ages shows in the retail space brought the band to a whole new audience and offered a new opportunity to sell merchandise to people out shopping on a Saturday afternoon. I have no doubt that other bands and labels will follow Delorentos' lead on this!


El Hombre Jokes - Fund It: http://www.fundit.ie/project/el-hombre-jokes-debut-album

The power pop trio have a great debut album in them but need the funding to keep going. They've just set up a Fund It page and they are looking for a modest €3000 to record and market their debut album.

Sample Reward: €100 + gets you Signed, Personalised Physical Copy of the Album posted, 4 Tickets to any of our Irish Tour Dates, Limited Edition T-Shirt plus a full promotional Press Pack, Handwritten Lyrics


Yngve & the Innocent - Fund It: http://www.fundit.ie/project/yngve--the-innocent-debut-album-release

Irish raised Yngve and his band have recorded their debut album. They are looking for €5000 to pay for cd duplication and PR to enable their music to reach the masses. They state the funding will go "towards efficient promotion through Bloody Awful Poetry a PR company we used for our last single 'Draw A Line' which got us lots of favourable coverage in print and online media and got us played on BBC Radio 2 by Steve Lemacq." So there .... fund the band to help pay for PR!

Sample Reward: €30 + gets you: Happy Birthday sang to you or a friend of your choice over the phone and a copy of the album signed by the band (includes shipping)


The Pale - Mobile App Tour of Dublin http://www.thepale.ie/wp/?p=762

While this isn't a Funding project this is an interesting initiative from The Pale. "The App takes the form of a tour of Dublin, which sees the band taking in some of the more interesting, innovative and inspirational sights the city has to offer. Along the way they perform acoustic versions songs from the album at each location, chat to the patrons of the various businesses and initiatives they visit and give their own unique insight into a lesser spotted side of Dublin." .... http://www.thepale.ie/wp/?p=762

The logic is great. People are into apps these days so why not flog one with our music on it! Simple and I'm sure will become a marketing tool in the future!


The Walls - Fund It: http://www.fundit.ie/project/the-walls-stop-the-lights

The Walls along with Julie Feeney must be the most high profile band to fund an album using Fund It! The band are looking for a whopping ten grand! €10,000? Apparently it's "To pay for the mastering, artwork, manufacturing etc .... We’ve set the target at €10,000 but we really hope to raise more as the overall costs far exceed that amount." Hmmm I'd be surprised if they get close to the 10K mark!

Sample Reward: €75 + gets you: A high quality 12inch photo-print of the album artwork + a signed copy of the new (limited edition digipak version) + a download voucher for b-sides & rarities album ‘Folk Muzak’. (Limited number of these rewards available).


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Mixtape: Vantastival 2012

There's a really nice mix of acts confirmed for this year's Vantastival. In particular I'm delighted by the inclusion of blog favourites such as I Draw Slow, Marc O'Reilly, Ana Gog, Huey & The Hobgoblins, Miss Paula Flynn and the hardest working band in Dundalk 'Redtwelve'.

More info: http://www.vantastival.com/

A limited number of earlybird tickets now on sale from the website at €70 for three nights camping. Here's the initial line-up with a mix of 10 tracks from the line-up!

Frankie Gavin & De Dannan
Ham Sandwich
The Original Rude Boys
Le Galaxie
I Draw Slow
Jinx Lennon
Eoin Dillon
Preachers Son

Wyvern Lingo  

Master and Dog
Cars LoveGirls
Trap Door
The Bionic Rats
Watson Ace
Fox.E and the Good Hands

Rev. JM’s Panic Worship
The Trampz
Vickers Vimy
Cold Comfort
Marc O’Reilly
The DirtyValentines
 Loco Swing
 SoldiersCan’t Dance
Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters
The Rambleers
I’d Fight Gandhi

Tarantella Fall
Slow Motion Heroes
 Miss Paula Flynn
The Amazing Few
Champagne Animal

The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock

Gypsy Rebel Rabble
Layne County
The Barley Mob
Trumpets of Jericho
Third Smoke
The Viking Project

Ghost Estates
The Fitzafrenic

Karma Parking
Sticky Digit  
Lotus Eater
Ana Gog

Willow Sea
SJ McArdle
Town Criers

Huey and the Hobgoblins
Cold Steel Feel

Monday, 6 February 2012

Single Review: The Aftermath - In Loneliness Lives Love

The Aftermath released their best ever song on Jan 20th and it's entitled 'In Loneliness Lives Love'.

Mullingar band The Aftermath gave it a go with a decent enough debut album back in 2008. It was an album with three really good songs and the band went on a major PR campaign to get their name out there. However the quality wasn't there. They have kept going and are back with a new single which actually gets better on every listen.

It kicks off with nice strings and keys, the vocals are clear and the chorus is catchy. There's a clear nod to The Beatles and The Kinks with this track and that's not a bad thing. I love the big radio friendly sound on the track. There's even a great video to accompany it!

The Aftermath - In Loneliness Lives Love [10 out of 12]

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Introducing: A Mix of New Irish Artists #9

The 'Introducing Mix' post is nearly becoming a weekly feature on the blog. Every week I come across new bands that I've never featured on the blog before and here's my way of opening up their music to the online world of elbo.ws and The Hype Machine! Hopefully these acts will find new fans, friends and receptive ears!

My Fellow Sponges

First up is a Galway band who played the 'Bagfull of Songs' sessions night in Drogheda recently and impressed all present. Their quirky folk brings to mind the 'Anti-folk' sound of The Moldy Peaches and are a band to watch out for!

                                                               Wendy Jack

Wendy Jack is a singer-songwriter from Co. Tyrone who writes really good radio friendly tunes. The vocals on the single from 2011 'Sunset' are really impressive. This year is all about Wendy touring Ireland and beyond.


Daniel Thomas

Dundalk's Daniel Thomas is on the cusp of releasing his debut album. From the demos that are on Soundcloud this may well be one of the best albums of the year. I love the strings in this song.


Third Smoke

Already Third Smoke are celebrities in their home town of Dundalk and making a name for themselves in Dublin with their live performances and for songs like this:


Ciaran Lavery 

The Northern half of Ireland is featuring strongly this week. Ciaran Lavery from Co. Antrim has a splendid husky voice. I've ignored the songs which act as nods to the influence of Cohen or Waits and shared this wonderfully charming lo-fi song called 'Move'. Catch Ciaran on tour this Spring with Aaron Shanley.


I'm genuinely excited by Dublin based three piece 'Red Sail'. Their indie-folk sound is simply gorgeous and reminds me a little of a lo-fi 'Belle & Sebastian'. The track 'Paper Cuts' will be released in March and it will be supported by tour dates around Ireland.

Single Review: Wallis Bird - Encore

'Encore' is the new single from Wallis Bird's new self-titled album that'll be released on March 9th. This single will demand you wanting more from Wallis Bird!

This short single has everything you'd expect from Wallis Bird but she's now heading for that new higher level of songwriting and performance. 'Encore' is driven by the fantastic rhythm section, intertwined stadium rock style keys as well as Wallis' distinct vocal style. The catchy chorus is made for mass fan participation somewhere around the 'Encore' section of the gig. The official video is part one of a 5 part rockumentary directed by Philipp Käßbohrer of the Bild- und Tonfabrik in Cologne. 

If there's any justice in the messed up music world out there 'Encore' will be all over the radio with Wallis becoming a household name in Ireland and beyond. 

Wallis Bird - Encore [11 out of 12]

Tour Dates:

07.03.12 IRE-Wexford // St. Iberius Church

08.03.12 IRE-Cork // Cyprus Avenue

09.03.12 IRE-Dublin // Academy

10.03.12 IRE-Limerick // Dolan's

11.03.12 IRE-Galway // Roisin Dubh

Musikexpress, Tape.tv, Akustik Gitarre, Kulturnews, Motor.de, Gaesteliste.de und ADticket present:

20.03.12 GER-Ulm // Roxy

21.03.12 AUT-Vienna // Flex

22.03.12 GER-Munich // 59to1

23.03.12 GER-Mannheim // Capitol

24.03.12 GER-Stuttgart // Club Zentral --> moved to 21.04.2012 !!!!

26.03.12 GER-Kassel // Schlachthof

27.03.12 GER-Cologne // Kulturkirche

28.03.12 GER-Hamburg // Knust

29.03.12 GER-Berlin // Lido

01.04. BE-Brussels - Ancienne Belgique

02.04. NL-Amsterdam - Paradiso

03.04. NL-Nijmegen - Merleyn

04.04. France-Paris- Nouvelle Casino

05.04. UK-London - Dingwalls

11.04. GER-Magdeburg- Projekt 7

12.04. GER-Bielefeld- Forum

13.04. GER-Bremen-Tower

14.04. GER-Münster- Gleis 22

15.04. GER-Duisburg- High5Club

17.04. GER-Leipzig- Moritzbastei

18.04. GER-Würzburg- Posthalle

19.04. GER-Jena- F-Haus

20.04. GER-Nürnberg- MUZclub

21.04. GER-Stuttgart- Club Zentral (moved from 24.03.2012)

23.04. GER-Freiburg- Jazzhaus

24.04. CH- Basel- Kaserne

25.04. GER-Konstanz- Kulturladen

26.04. CH- Luzern- Konzerthaus Schüür

27.04. GER-Karlsruhe- Substage

28.04. GER-Frankfurt-ZOOM

UK Solo-Acoustic Shows:

09.05. UK - Liverpool, Leaf on Bond Street

11.05. UK - Glasgow, Captain's Rest

12.05. UK - Leeds, College Of Music

14.05. UK - Nottingham, Bodega

Friday, 3 February 2012

Album Review: Valentine Black - Desire Lines

Impressive debut album from Kildare band Valentine Black. For a bit of PR gold this album is out on February 14th and would actually make a decent Valentines gift! 

Valentine Black's album 'Desire Lines' is like a homage to the 70s folk rock of Dylan, Bowie and Elton. However the one artist who comes to mind for comparison purposes while listening to the album is Billy Joel. The key thing with 'Desire Lines' is that while this isn't original music it's still a decent album filled with catchy songs, good vocals and fine lyrics.

Key tracks for me are 'A Town at the End of the World', the album opener 'The State We're In' and the wonderful album closer 'Love Oceans'. There's a number of love songs on the album which fits the whole 'Valentine's Day' launch. 

Lyrically the best song is the single from last year 'Take Me to Your Leader' which is a protest song against governments. The worst song lyrically is the mildly cringing 'More Than New York' but it's still not a terrible song. I fact there's no song that demands a quick skip to the next track.

If you're a fan of good time folk rock with a tendency for the odd love song then this is up your street. It's an honest album of decent tunes that has me in complimentary mode yet it's not an album to get me excited!

Valentine Black - Desire Lines [9 out of 12]

Album Launch in Whelans on Feb 10th:

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Single Review - Pearse McGloughlin - Bright Star

Dreamy folk pop from Sligo's Pearse McGloughlin and his new band Nocturnes. 

After a bit of a hiatus in 2011 where he was focused on writing and recording a new album, Pearse McGloughlin has released the first single 'Bright Star' as a free download:

'Bright Star' is a return to form for an musician and composer I rate very highly. It's a gorgeous dreamy melodic pop song which trickles along nicely. The lyrics seem to be about being on life's journey with someone special and comparing them to a 'Bright Star'. This is a really lovely song which should be 'discovered' by all fans of indie folk.

Pearse McGloughlin - Bright Star [11 out of 12]

More info: http://www.walkperson.net/#home/