Bobby Green rounds up his 2017
Dec18

Bobby Green rounds up his 2017

Review by Bobby Green Looking back on 2017 I’ve noticed a large amount of ‘alternative’ or ‘indie’ bands really coming to the forefront of the Irish music scene.  The Strypes as always impressed but we saw bands like Touts and Otherkin really make some noise with storming live displays along with their impressive releases. It truly is the mark of a band to see if they can play live and these bands certainly smashed up so many stages this year and their reputations are now firmly cemented going forward into 2018. Also on the alternative scene going into 2018 The Grey Merchant will be ones to look out for with a superb debut album to promote and I’ve heard through the grapevine that More Than Machines will have an album ready for 2018 also. But my biggest joy on the alternative scene had to be the return of Stoat I’ve had a sneaky listen to their album due to be released in 2018 and I’ve already made it my album of next year, there’s going to have to be something truly amazing released for that not to be everyone’s favourite album of next year. Away from the alternative we heard some truly beautiful music coming from NC Grey, My Fellow Sponges, Nile St James and SÍOMHA. I don’t mind admitting to falling in love with so much of this music in 2018, the raw emotion flowing from these artists is infectious in its delivery. But we can’t talk about emotion without mentioning Hally who has released a single and video every week during 2017. Every release is an unadulterated outpouring of honesty. As far as artistic authenticity goes I don’t think anyone could hold a candle to him this year, it’s certainly been a year to remember for him. There has been so much to get excited about this year, and I’m doing so many great artists and superb music an injustice by not mentioning them in my end of year round up.  Bands like Fontaines, The Henry Girls and Felonies impressed me along with so many others, it’s why I hate doing these end of year round ups because there has been so much, again, to get excited about on the music scene in Ireland in 2017 that I’m just going to write what I felt were my favourites in 2017, not the best, but my favourites, music is all about taste and interpretation and these are the ones I fell in love with the most. Favourite Single- Stoat – ‘Trampolina’. It was a joy seeing these lads back and ‘Trampolina’ is an Indie classic. Otherkin and Touts both...

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The Grunts release new single ‘Heal Your Heart’
Dec13

The Grunts release new single ‘Heal Your Heart’

  “When life turns on you and you are squashed into the ground by slow, endless, formless, unrelenting blackness, you fight back”   In response to the relentless destruction and cruelty of mankind in recent events across the world and closer to home, The Grunts released their new single ‘Heal Your Heart’ on December 8th 2017.   Together for over 10 years, core members of the band, Liam O Shea (songwriter & guitarist) and James Spillane (drummer) maintained their influences from early 80s and 90s bands such as Echo and the Bunnymen and the Pixies, creating their own brand of raw energy fuelled indie rock. Bringing in new blood more recently with the addition of Eugene D’Arcy (vocals) and Jay Fowley (bass) to the lineup, has given the The Grunts a new impetus adding a more subtle melodic flavour, The result is a fusion of alt rock, new wave and punk.   “Love is only a kiss away” sings Eugene D’Arcy on the raw choral rallying cry of the single, ​Heal Your Heart. Driven by the uptempo rhythm section, ​accented with shimmering guitars ‘​Heal Your Heart’ ​is The Grunts most mainstream single yet and with sharp production from Kevin Power and mastered by Fergal Davis, it’s sure to drag anyone from their stupor. Magic Hour Video have also filmed a fantastic music video for the up and coming single Heal your Heart. B-side track ‘Shake Babylon’ was forged in the dark heart of the city of London, on the anvil and fires of corruption and parasitic capitalism. Melding Asian infused music with a Velvet Underground style disconnect, ‘Shake Babylon’ unfolds an eerie​ soundscape beyond the flesh and bones of reality. To date The Grunts have released 7 Ep’s and 2 albums including the acclaimed Reflections in my Mirror Shade and Cult Before Country with the track ‘Cult Before Country’ featuring on the global release of Orion / Maurice Carroll’s production ‘Dead along the Way’. Their track ‘Party Weirdo (dance with me) ‘ has also appeared on the Tae Talk, a black comedy about roles of the sex’s. (Mary McEvoy, Sinéad O’Riordan, Jenn McGuirk & Conor Clear).  The Grunts have also appeared on Dead TV playing a live show at the Boogaloo, London. Live Dates Sun – Dec 17    Fibber Magees , Dublin (IRE)   www.thegruntsband.com   Buy the single...

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Jack O’Rourke and freezerRoom join forces for Pieta House
Dec13

Jack O’Rourke and freezerRoom join forces for Pieta House

Jack O’Rourke brings 2017 to a close with an intriguing electro pop interpretation of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s classic, ‘The Power of Love’. Released as part of A Co-Present Christmas Album,featuring tracks from 15 Irish artists in aid of Pieta House, Jack’s version of ‘The Power of Love’ was recorded with production maverick Graham White of freezerRoom. 2017 saw recognition for Jack O’Rourke’s live prowess scale new heights, following the release of his debut album Dreamcatcher. Jack performed the album in its entirety with a full orchestra at Cork Opera House, while appearances on the Other Voices Stage at Electric Picnic, Indiependence, Groove and Sea Sessions have cemented his place as one of Ireland’s rising songwriters and live performers. Jack also collaborated with the likes of Wallis Bird, Tracy K and Joe O’Leary (Fred) with Christian Eigner (Depeche Mode ) on drums on Freezer Room’s Fire on the Ocean album, which was also performed live at Electric Picnic. ‘The Power of Love’ is a further collaboration with White, bringing a classic 80’s track to a new audience with a perceptive slant. “’The Power of Love’ is such an amazing song, to attempt to copy it would have been futile,” says Jack, “so myself and Graham approached it from a different point of view, trying to do the melody, the message and Holly Johnson’s vocals some justice. We’re delighted to have it included on such a superb compilation of music like A Co-Present Christmas, among some very talented musicans and brilliant songs. We hope people will buy the album and support a very good cause.” Jack begins the new year with shows at the Dublin Trad Festival on 25th January  and also in Paris with Roisin O, while writing and recording tracks for his second album due out later in 2018. A Co-Present Christmas Album can be purchased here: https://thecopresent.bandcamp.com/album/a-co-present-christmas-3 Animation and video was designed by D!VE Live Dates: 15th December – Live at St Luke’s, Cork (with Marlene Enright) 20th January – Trad Fest – Dublin – Saint Werburgh’s Church, Werburgh Street, Dublin 17th February – Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick 15th February –  Le Centre Culture d’Irlandais, Paris – with Roisín O...

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Doors Alive for Cork show
Dec12

Doors Alive for Cork show

The Doors Alive are widely regarded as the closest and most enthralling representation of the legendary 1960’s rock gods The Doors in the world today. The band re-create the sound, look, presence and magic of a real 1960’s Doors concert, perfectly and effortlessly transporting the crowd back in time with classic hits such as ‘Light My Fire’, ‘When The Music’s Over, Riders On The Storm, The End and many more. Doors Alive play AMP, Hanover Street, Cork on Saturday, Decembers 16. Mike Griffioen captures the look, attitude, and rich baritone voice of the late, great Jim Morrison with ease while his compadres showcase the musical chops of original Doors members Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore with finesse and skill. To achieve that authentic Sixties sound, the band use the very same instruments that members of the Doors originally used. These include a vintage Fender Rhodes Bass keyboard, a vintage Gibson keyboard and a vintage Gibson S.G guitar. They have left awestruck audiences all over the world and repeatedly sold out some of the most respected venues in the business . “Truly AMAZING… They capture the true spirit of The Doors” – Zane Lowe, BBC Radio 1 “The best tribute band I have EVER seen” – Clint Boon, XFM “The Doors Alive is the best Doors “tribute” band that I’ve seen…Sometimes they sound more like the Doors than the Doors” – Doug Cameron – Assistant Road Manager to The Doors 1968/69. www.thedoorsalive.co.uk Doors Alive play Amp, Cork, December 16 tickets €20 including booking fee from...

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My Fellow Sponges release new single The Schlieffen Plan
Dec08

My Fellow Sponges release new single The Schlieffen Plan

  Review by Bobby Green In a world where so many things that are abhorrent to us are normalised and served up to us on ever increasing regularity it’s beautifully refreshing to find something to love. It was ‘A Cold Hand’ that turned my head and my heart last year when I first encountered this Galway collective, and since then My Fellow Sponges have danced around my consciousness with such glee and gay abandon. I find their music uplifting and a delight to listen to. You can feel their genuine affection for their craft seeping through their charming melodies as they encapsulate your soul with every note. ‘The Schlieffen Plan’ is a gentle affair that effortlessly floats its way into your heart with its undemanding inflection, the horns will carry you along a gentle ride from verse to chorus and back again in a gentle dance that’s not too fast but certainly enough to make you dizzy. But this old fool could just be high on the fact that amongst all the shit that normally gets released at this time of year there’s a flower that grows from heart of Galway that will blossom in the lives of whoever welcomes them in. ‘The Schlieffen Plan’ is out now....

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Bobby Green reviews the debut album from The Grey Merchant
Dec07

Bobby Green reviews the debut album from The Grey Merchant

   Review by Bobby Green  When I first heard ‘Spotless (The Protecting Veil)’ and following singles ‘The Last Transmission’ and ‘Convenience’ I was genuinely excited about this Cork collective. Their use of samples may not be groundbreaking but when samples are used well they bring a track to life as effectively as a guitar sound or bass line does. But there’s more to The Grey Merchant than a few cheeky samples thrown over an awesome alternative soundtrack.  This multi textured debut album highlights the possibilities that The Grey Merchant are only starting to scratch. It’s bursting with ideas and will restore anyone’s faith in the album as an art form. Don’t get me wrong, this album isn’t groundbreaking but Avenue De Rennes certainly delivers a knockout punch and is so much more than an introduction to their sound. Their full on flavour has the maturity of a fully seasoned band. The lead single from the album that shares the same name is a glorious stomper of tune but there isn’t a tune on this album that isn’t a riotous treat. Even the slower tempo numbers have a mischievous feel to them with edges so sharp you’ll be in danger of slicing your ears open if you’re not careful. This is highlighted in the difference between the stomping attack of single ‘Avenue De Rennes’ and the anthemic album track ‘The Exchange’. To bridge the gap between these two glorious examples of their sound you need great tracks in-between so the album doesn’t sound disjointed or just a collection of songs, but as I said at the top of this review, this is a great album full to the brim of great ideas woven together so well that as an album it’s refreshing to know that bands can still use this art form to the best of its ability to create what is my favorite mode of transport.  The Album. And Avenue De Rennes  will certainly take you places.   Avenue De Rennes is out Dec 15th   Pre-order Avenue De Rennes on Bandcamp here: https://thegreymerchant.bandcamp.com/album/avenue-de-rennes...

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