- LIVE: Rancid (The Academy, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
- INTERVIEW: God Is An Astronaut (Goldenplec)
- LIVE: The Minutes (Whelan’s, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
On life after Kai, how surroundings influence their styles and the mysterious tales of Emerson Lonestar on latest album ‘Radlands’.
- LIVE: Honningbarna (Upstairs at Whelan’s, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
- LIVE: Villagers Whelan’s (Goldenplec)
- LIVE: 2 Many DJs (Olympia Theatre, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
Justin Young and co. on how reality compares to the hype, the early discomfort of fame and walking out to a full field on Reading’s made stage and realizing The Vaccines had made it…
As a former resident of Seoul, and employee of a company based in the now infamous district of Gangnam, I couldn’t resist having my say on the what’s now the world’s most viewed YouTube video…
- LIVE: Joshua James (Upstair’s at Whelan’s, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
- LIVE: Jack Daniel’s Birthday: The Vaccines, Mystery Jets and Tribes (The Devil’s Arse, Peak District) (Goldenplec)
- INTERVIEW: Bowling for Soup (Goldenplec)
- UP & COMERS: Hudson Taylor (Goldenplec)
- LIVE: Cold Specks (The Sugar Club, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
- LIVE: Bowling for Soup (The Academy, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
- LIVE: Rubyworks 10 – Rodrigo Y Gabriela & Ryan Sheridan (Olympia Theatre, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
- LIVE: The Scipt (The Academy, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
- UP & COMERS: Toy Soldier (Goldenplec)
- LIVE: Paul McLoone and Meteor Live Sessions Present Delorentos, Fionn Regan and The Strypes (The Workman’s Club, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
- LIVE: Dragonforce (The Academy, Dublin)
- LIVE: Billy Bragg & Andy Irvine celebrate Woody Guthrie’s Centenary (Vicar Street, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
Featuring a trip to Buckfast Abbey, Night of the Living Dead, Irish cheese, the literary travesty that is Fifty Shades of Grey, a chat with Laura Sheeran and an insight into Limerick’s thriving craft industry.
- LIVE: Swedish House Mafia, Tinie Tempah & Snoop Dogg (Phoenix Park, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
- UP & COMERS: Sounds Of System Breakdown (Goldenplec)
- LIVE: Wu Tang Legends (Button Factory, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
- LIVE: Rufus Wainwrights (Iveagh Gardens, Dublin) (Goldenplec)
The SnoFlo double header is full of eurphoric pop-highs, but doesn’t always hit the right notes. With Florence’s voice at less than its peak, Snow Patrol take away most of the plaudits.
Ed Valberg talks about his take on politics and the Palestinian problem, as well as introducing his band’s unique brand of cello-infused punk. Valberg might come from a conservative corner of Norway, but he’s every bit the young revolutionary.
- LIVE REVIEW: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Croke Park Dublin (Goldenplec)
- UP AND COMERS: Leading Armies. (Goldenplec)
- UP AND COMERS: Amoric (Goldenplec)
- REVIEW: We Are Losers/ Runaround Kids, Twisted Pepper (Goldenplec)
De\C0de returns with a summery theme grabbed from Panini’s infamous sticker albums. Inside, we look at Ireland’s print industry, explore Irish theatre in the US, take a trip to Poland pre Euro 2012 and mourn maurice Sendak.
A chat with the enigmatic Leeds act during the year in which they were eventually to win the Mercury Music Prize, on why they don’t show their faces in press shots, and where they’ve been hiding whilst writing ‘An Awesome Wave’.
The bereted captain on hiw extended life in punk rock, from the modern day fixation with surveillance culture to the sneaky ‘genres changes’ that got the band early venues…
LIVE: Alt-J (Academy 2, Dublin) (AU Magazine)
Leeds newcomers play their first ever gig in Dublin, and succeed in reproducing ine of the year’s most acclaimed albums live. Their percussion set-up’s about as weird as they get live, too. Get out and buy this album, fast.
Spector frontman Fred MacPherson makes the argument that Spector have a whole lot more to offer than just straight up indie-pop, dropping in the odd reference to the undead along the way.
Three of Ireland’s top new acts are joined by a few well-known extras to form a massive cover band, and trawl through an impressive archive of Ireland’s greatest music. Raucously original.
Dublin’s answer to The Gossip are the first to feature in my new Goldenplec column, looking at off-the-radar bands. Their live show in particular is one to look out for.
The newly relocated Dundalk festival proves to be a musical humdinger, if still slightly sparsely populated. Enticing by day, vibrant by night, and inordinately friendly.
Two times Choice Music Prize winner on winning the prize, moving to Scandanavia, how he juggles his various musical projects, and the construction of latest album ‘Oceans of Frequency’.
Dublin’s rock and roll monsters roll back in to town after an extended trip around Europe, to tell me about how the last year has changed their lives, being broke, and exploring their musical roots in the up and coming JD show.
Ireland’s newest festival – a spin off from the London Camden Crawl, and located around Camden Street to add some weight to the name – was a great chance to check out a whole pile of lesser-known artists as well as the big names. Here are my five favourites.
Richter Collective’s partnership deal with Sergeant House bears it’s most spectacular fruit to date, with two of the label’s most spectacular acts landing on Irish shores. Loud, loud, loud…
Northern Irish hardcore rockers on the progress of their new album, car crashes in Germany, crossing the north/ south divide and how the single Port Na Spaniagh has helped develop their fanbase.
The young fiddle player on how his televised, trad-themed performances have adpated into a synth-led style, and how trad music has the potential for a huge amount of evolution.
Featuring Delorentos, Myles O’Reilly, Ireland’s alternative museums, the saga of the Late Late Show, punks on politics and Forbidden Fruit on the cover, plus news, reviews and events on the horizon.
Florence’s new album showcases her live show through a mellowed, refined MTV performance, but hits a few too many bum notes along the way. She might generally have an excellent live vocal, but the studio stuff tops this comfortably.
A very first listen to Paranoid Visions’ 2012 full-length ‘Escape From Austerity Complex’ whilst its still very much in the heart of the recording process. It’s every bit as cuttingly political as you might expect, rounding on the government and apathy at almost every corner.
A coast to coast cruise from Dublin to Achill Island and back, taking in 18 bands in 13 counties, and highlighting just a little of the hidden talent Ireland’s corners hides. As well as knackering five people into submission…
The first Issue of De\Code (a new urban culture magazine I co-own and co-edit) – online only – and featuring my own articles on North Korea and reviews of The Mars Volta and articles on use of urban spaces, hip-hop culture, Stuart Hall and Last Days of 1984, plus plenty more.
A charitable drive across Ireland and back on Easter Friday, taking in a band in every county along the way, and finishing with a blow-out in Malahide Yacht Club. Can’t wait!
The safest day in Irish music in a long, long time, at least from my point of view. After nine years, the doors closed on Northern Ireland’s best music mag today. This is my take on it, as a contributor.
“The main problem is cash flow. Before you start getting any money in, you have to pay for recording, pressing and PR. And then you have to wait a huge amount of time before you get the expenditure back from sales”
“The set-up is simplicity itself: an entirely gimmick free arrangement that eschews even the most cursory of stage adornments or banter, in favour of letting the tunes speak for themselves.”
“If second-album New Boots was Wallis’ exploration of euphoria, its follow up is more serene; a release that maintains a generally sunny disposition, but carries a far darker undercurrent.”
“‘Itchin’ On A Photograph’ might have lyrics that probably require group story time to truly understand (“I’m scratching on a thermostat…”, sure you are), yet it’s a compulsive singalong. The entire set has enough stick in its hooks to climb the Eiger.”
“When ‘Spoiling Ivan’ is introduced as “a song about a six year old boy”, the hilariously syrupy ballad’s title evokes worried looks; what follows is all the more hilarious for how it contrasts with expectations.”
“Few lyricists are capable of putting together the kind of poetic phraseology that come across almost as strong when read as on record, yet at times ‘Port Of Morrow’ edges into that territory. ‘Simple Song’, for example, is a deceptively named slow-build epic that’s part euphoric life story.”
“The old classics remain the crowd pleasers. There’s a simplicity to ‘Love You Better’, for example, that could have it tagged as throw away, yet it’s delivered with such regret, and screamed back from The Academy’s heart with such fervour that the repetition somehow seems beside the point.”
“There’s the whiplash-inducing rave-dance moves, the banter about their love of ‘gas cunts’ and Willie O’DJ’s fabulously moronic dirty-old-man act, yet this doesn’t feel at all like a joke to which we’ve heard the punch line.”
“I think we just came back to rehearsal because we were four people who were really into music and we challenged each other. We had lots of bands to show each other. It’s been a battle sometimes with stylistic choices and song writing.”
Jonquil, Camille O’Sullivan, Perfume Genius, The Jezabels, The Caretaker, Grimes, The Decemberists reviewed for The Agenda Supplement over the course of February.
With so much cluttered, bubbly gloss on the latest effort, the effect is still a little ‘through the looking glass’ to make sense of comfortably. Perhaps that’s the point.
The opener kicks in as if pulled straight from a live show; the step-on-stage breakdown and mosh-pit inducing riser that has a cheering audience plugged in to the speaker wall the two-piece use to batter their listeners into submission.
‘Ants’ is extraordinary, particularly in its sing-along live rendition, in which the slow-building power of the chorus has the chance to really take off.
Instead of a flamenco meets rock output with a serious head banging edge and highs hung firmly on brilliantly speedy subtlety, the portions of tonight’s show that feature the backing band are jingly and atmospheric.
The band is operating in a market that’s popular yet notably unrefined niche: it’s a stylistically limited form of rock that’s certainly not intrinsically bad, but somehow seems to lack substance.
The urgent, screeching vocals offered up as part of ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’ are particularly exceptional, far surpassing the recorded form in a genuinely exceptional moment. ‘Money’, the album’s ironic, capitalism-bashing smash, is substantial and wonderfully cutting.
The Big Pink, Delorentos, Errors, Craig Finn and First Aid Kit reviewed for the Sunday Business Post Agenda supplement over the course of January.
“The encore is a charade of all-girl snogging, flag-waving and bassist-groping. We’re sweating as one, Mohicans poking at eyeballs, and songs that belong to banjos – adapted for bass – swirling bitterly yet amusingly in our skulls.”
Pictures of Dropkick Murphys insane encore at Vicar Street, Dublin in February 2012.
“Lyrics, not hooks, really push the boundaries though: they’re thought provoking and life and love-applicable yet cunningly shimmy around agonizing cliché.”
“If we were feeling particularly unkind, we might label this outing a vanity project. A fairer call, though, might be that it’s a glance at Paul’s ultra-conservative side. It’s an unnecessary one, sure, in that the McCartney vocal is particularly mellow and, to be brutal, does little to develop the original.”
“As a front man, Deko is an absolute monster. Clad in trench coat and gentleman’s black hat, he struts and snarls his way through a set that leans on the newer end of the back catalogue, with tracks like ‘Braindance’, ‘Wearside Jack’ and the feverishly relevant ‘High Cost Of Living’ exuding fury.”
“There’s a simplicity that throws one-dimensional pop-punk out the window in favour of just plain old fun. Why worry about changing the world when you can enjoy so much as it is?”
“There are moments, like the seemingly unintended comedy chorus line of ‘That’s What She Said Last Night’, when it’s a toss-up between jesting and sheer ridiculousness. The rest of the time, though, a set that comfortably surpasses two hours exudes class.”
“Frankly, The Beatles could get away with screaming and urination. Just. When it happens with a relative unknown like Never Shout Never, we think twice about whether we actually belong in The Academy tonight at all.”
A full overview of everything I watched performed live, music wise, in the latter half of 2011, including a whole heap of festivals, Julie Feeney in a tiny hill-view house and Scroobius Pip going solo…
“Tonight, the last night of the festival, feels exactly like a closing party should: crammed, messy, enthusiastic, and with just enough references to the cause behind things to remind us of why we’re here.”
Why Richter’s latest deal is their greatest yet, even at 100 Euro. Help support Ireland’s best independent record label…
“The Drums are increasingly looking like a band defined by Jonathan Pierce. The enigmatic frontman has his indie dance down pat, and while he struts and sways at stage front, the rest of his band – live-only drummer Danny Allen aside – are a disappointingly statuesque bunch.”
My views on the very best 2011 has to offer, featuring two Irish acts, a bit of punk, a Swede, some Aussies and absolutely no Brits (am I abandoning my homeland? Who knows…)
“In Dingle itself, pubs might double up as clothes shops or bike hire outlets, ice cream shops feature weird and wonderful flavours like sea salt and brown bread, and a dolphin lives in the harbour. No wonder it was deemed the perfect spot for a festival so otherworldly.”
“The sound is slick and almost blasé, a blend of modernised happy-go-lucky pop that has an intense likeability factor when delivered with such energetic enthusiasm”
“I tend to be quite dismissive of straight up pop music in general, largely because it just seems so contrived, soulless and throwaway most of the time. You can’t throw any one of those accusations at this”
“We love Limerick, but needed a bit of a holiday, so we got an eight-man tent on the roof of RTE. There were all these lads on the roof of RTE, so they just put us on TV for the laugh. We were living off pigeons, and they gave us canteen vouchers.”
“Pip’s is a harsh yet strangely optimistic assessment of society, one delivered in barbed prose and broken up by stage antics that seem no less opinionated.”
“Get ready for the new dark ages, the credit crunch and the banking crisis, all around is breaking down, capitalism is on the ground. Who’s winning? Well it’s plain to see, not the people like you and me, we’re the victims of the rich man’s greed, the scapegoats of society”
“Theirs is a set that’s surprisingly heavy on vibe: crammed with soaring crescendos and bass/drum fuelled rock-out moments, it’s tracks like ‘The Sun’ and ‘A Wolf In Geek’s Clothing’ that send things pummelling forward.”
“There’s not really any chance of getting back to where we were without the Britpop thing. What you have to remember, though, is that we had to pay to record ‘Shining Light’ as the record company didn’t think it was a comeback single.”
“we’re regaled with stories of The Clash’s late cancellation here in 1977 – an event struck off due to Strummer & co. missing a flight – that led to a near riot. If being a punk in London in the late 70s was difficult, being a punk in Belfast was a full on ballsy nightmare”
“Maybe people try to lump us in with American pop-punk and things like that. Fair enough, if that’s what you hear, but it was never our intention to be one of those bands with hoodies on and all that.”
“The rumours that Cashier No.9 ‘stormed off stage’ are certainly untrue, they kind of wondered off confused and stood at the side for a moment wondering what to do. I interviewed lead singer Danny on Saturday and he told me they were even thinking of going back on.”
“Malian actor turned singer Fatoumata Diawara is another stunner, with a serene, soulful and subtly toned down acoustic style that captivates from the off. Offering up the calmest corners of this raucous display, Diawara lets her voice do the talking”
“The entire event featured buzzing helicopters overhead and a weirdly tense atmosphere, the perfect vibe for some good old sweaty rock and roll.”
“It seems Pierce is still sat on that beach, the same faintly repetitive rhythms and melodies informing his style, but the motivation to turn them into anything but a darkly nostalgic glance at “what could have been” has long-since been dashed somewhere in the surf.”
“We absolutely love Russell, he’s a great guitarist. He’s a great guy to have on the road. We’d have him back in a heartbeat, and I think he had a lot of fun as well. He knows there’s always a place for him in Ash if he wants it.”
“Yes, it’s incredibly upbeat, but it also has a bit of a twisted underbelly. It’s difficult to be happy about everything, and we like our songs to have a bit of critical realism”
“Affecting acoustic pop melodies sweep through Every Kingdom, an effort steeped in slow-building crescendos and heart-in-mouth splendor”
Quips about treating relationships like a pirate, and a first listen to an album that, with any luck, should be one of the top new records of the year. What a band. Now to persuade them to release half the album as singles…
A night of celebration, face-caking and star-gazing raves for team Goldenplec at the Irish Web Awards, where we picked up a highly unexpected win, and the culmination of ten years of hard work for the inspiring Aidan Cuffe.
Zombies, the launch of the Northern Ireland music awards (NIMA), Grouplove, Jape, Gary Numan and Patrick Wolf. Hollywood’s endless remakes, stand up comedy, Tony Wright on leaving ASIWYFA to take on VerseChorusVerse full time and the end of R.E.M.
“Ten seconds after arriving on the Whelan’s stage tonight, Mark’s launched his guitar up over the front rows, balanced himself on his wedge and started knocking out a series of heavy, driving rhythms that pulse through the venue’s very foundations.”
“They seem to fall nicely between accessible pop rock and having a real vicious edge… I can imagine the whole loud/ quiet thing causing quite a buzz live”
“To see Rubberbandits live is to realise how talented they actually are musically, too. Behind all the silly satire, it takes considerable talent to perform in character and produce tracks with credible enough beats and twisting, rhyming lyrics.”
“The lyrics aren’t just about telling a story, they’re also about painting a picture along with the music, and what the lyrics evoke. You know, like surrealist writing. It’s very daunting to write.”
(on Le Galaxie) – “Tonight’s show is a sweaty riot of glow sticks and pogoing, a scattered plethora of electro-crescendos and work-out intensity”
“The sense of camaraderie is fantastic – I was dragged backstage to listen to an entire album of unmastered tracks they recorded only a few days before”
“They’ve been known to make journos ask questions whilst made to look at a wall by security, or to distract people from actually asking any questions by heading off on a very sarcastic tour of their ‘home town’”
“Tonight’s set is abruptly beautiful, with the duo demonstrating that their stripped-down guitar/drum combo is far from a limitation”
“I kind of knew it was happening a couple of months ago, but at the same time if it had got out, you never know, the band could have turned around and gone ‘you know what Ciaran, thanks very much, but no thanks’”
“Like their previous efforts, the songwriting unravels with time to become unexpectedly deep. Unlike the core duo’s previous outings, this one’s delivery is jarringly haphazard and increasingly multi-faceted.”