So I think I finally figured it out. And by ‘IT’ I mean the reason for my absence from this self built web-presence (not the Stephen King novel about scary clowns). This blog is over 4 years old. I created it, set it up with its imaginative title (ahem), wrote some blog posts and here we are. This blog, my blog, started out merely as a place for me to share and catalog my taste in music. (Well it actually started its life as a film review blog, but it didn’t take long for music to take over).
I just wanted to put up a quick post and let you know what has been happening here. As you may have already noticed, there are a few shiny new badges on the right-hand-side of the blog. One will be somewhat familiar to long time readers but the other is new for us all (myself included).
Keeping in the same vein as last weeks post where I looked back at Wild Beasts fantastic 2014 album Present Tense, I’ve decided to keep the proverbial ball rolling with yet another ear-pleasing offering from the year just gone. It’s hard to mention the emergence of a new and exciting Icelandic band without availing of the over-obvious analogy. But I am going to try to do just that.
The Icelandic singer-songwriter, Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson, erupted (I just couldn’t leave it go) onto the scene in the early months of 2014 with a powerful debut in the form of In The Silence. But of course he’s talent had been bubbling under the surface (last one I promise) for years prior, with native language hits on the national airwaves in his homeland.
But a musical partnership with John Grant (the multilingual singer-songwriter from US of A) saw the album translated into the more familiar English and the rest as they say, is history. Well not quite, but it’s certainly history in the making for the relatively young Asgeir.
For those of you already familiar with this humble blog, you’ll have read all about Asgeir in the past. And as I’m not in the habit of repeating myself, I’ll leave you now with something a bit different. It’s not every day you get to post Miley Cyrus on your blog without damaging ones credibility:
I’m clearly going soft in the head. Two festive songs up on my blog and it’s not even Christmas week yet! But some things are just worth posting, right?
We Cut Corners, a vocally captivating duo out of Ireland, have affixed this rather satisfying cherry to the top of an already stellar 2014. Following on from the success of ‘Think Nothing’ (their second studio offering) We Cut Corners have only gone and recorded a Christmas song. Well it’s a Christmas cover, but let that take nothing away from this fantastic track.
The Indiependence Music and Arts festival has gone from strength to strength since its original formation back in 2006. At the time it was a free festival which took place in the square in Mitchelstown. But as the popularity and subsequent crowd numbers grew, Indiependence was moved to the 5000 capacity Deer Farm. As the festival expanded over the years so did the line-up. This year sees one of the strongest to date with the likes of White Lies, Tom Odell and Public Enemy taking over the main stage for the three nights. Below is a handpicked list of 8 acts who under no circumstance should be missed over the weekend.
- White Lies
I normally try to tip-toe around the headliners with these lists. Sure if you’ve gone to the bother of buying a ticket I’m guessing you’ve at the very least glanced at the 3 big names on top of the line up? But either way, there’s no avoiding the big Saturday night headliner, White Lies. The UK trio originally headlined the festival back in 2010 with only a debut album to their name. This year, they are returning with a wealth of festival experience as well as two more highly acclaimed albums to their names. Closing the main stage on Saturday night, White Lies are certainly, as the title suggests, not to be missed. (Saturday Main Stage 23:00-00:30)
Delorentos are no strangers to Indiependence and have graced various stages of the humble festival over the years. This year however sees them step up to the main stage for what is sure to be a highly charged set. As one of Ireland’s most exciting and entertaining live acts, Delorentos are a band who will not disappoint. (Saturday Main Stage 21:15-22:15)
I knew nothing about Findlay prior to the Indiependence line up announcement. Don’t look at me like that! Sure I could have used Google, looked up a few facts and played the ‘all knowing music blogger’ card. But in saying that, I have been listening to her music. And if tracks like ‘Off & On‘ are anything to go by then Findlay’s one-woman, rock n roll assault will go down a treat. (Saturday The Big Top 20:00-20:30)
Hozier has been flying the flag for Irish music as of late. With a deep soulful voice and a small but captivating array of tracks to his name, it’s not hard to see how the Wicklow native has built such a following. (Sunday Main Stage 20:00-20:45)
With raspy throat-wrenching vocals packaged within the confines of a sometimes subtle yet always captivating indie band, Kapitals is a name which should be on everyone’s ‘to see’ list. I had the pleasure of watching these guys play an early set at last year’s festival. The crowd was sparse but the band’s talent was there in abundance. (Sunday Big Top 15:30-16:00)
- Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip
With Indiependence being their last ever Irish performance as a duo, it’s only fair that Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip get a mention here. They’ve played the festival in the past and also individually (well Pip did anyway). But with their musical endeavours coming to a close it would only be fair to expect something special. (Friday Big Top 23:30-01:00)
The last time I saw Raglans at Indiependence was 2012 (the year of the mud) where they had the unfortunate task of opening the main stage. With nothing more than a self-released debut EP in their arsenal, the would-be indie rockers pulled off one weekend’s best sets. Unfortunately though, only a handful of people got to witness the above. This year, they return to the main stage, with a new album in place of the previous EP, a major record deal and a wealth of live festival appearances under their belts. (Saturday Main Stage 18:00-18:30)
- We Cut Corners
We Cut Corners have the uncanny ability to deliver pulse-racing rock ballads in a manner that is both subtle and sublime. With an array of hand-crafted, ear-pleasing tunes I’m sure the guitar and drum duo will go down a storm Friday night. (Friday Big Top 22:00-23:00)
The Riptide Movement have worked hard over the years to not only associate themselves with, but in turn become, a beacon for the never-dying spirit of good ole Irish Rock music. Invoking the spirit of Lizzy and co. each release has acted as a steady and determined stepping-stone towards something great. The most recent of these steps took the Lucan rockers to Vicar Street last Friday night to launch their new record ‘Getting Through’ to an adorning mass of 1,500 or so, die-hard fans.
With the venue close to capacity and the band ready to explode with a setlist jam-packed with shiny new material, the atmosphere was, if you’ll excuse the overused analogy, electric. Kicking off with the instantly recognisable crowd pleaser ‘Hot Tramp’ the crowd were unleashed and the stage was set. Ireland had once again scored the opening goal in the Rock n Roll World Cup. But then it happened. Enter stage left (or was that my left), a neatly matching four-piece troupe of backing singers and to the right an equally enthusiastic brass section. All of a sudden, the rough and ready rockers were engulfed in an homage to something not unlike The Commitments.
And when the collective talents of The Riptide are taken into account, the distractions flanking the stage seemed to be an unnecessary gimmick. A collection of hits such as ‘Thieves in the Gallery’ and ‘Hard to Explain’ taken from their critically acclaimed album, ‘Keep on Keepin’ on’ do well to feed the hungry revelers. But once the newer tracks are unveiled it all becomes clear as to why the band may have wanted to hide on a busy stage. Songs like ‘All Works Out’ (the current single) and ‘How Can I Let You Go?’ seem but a cloudy memory of The Riptide Movement’s musical ferocity. It seems that they are a band in transition and with a new major record deal with Universal Music you’d forgive them the odd experimental slip up (even if ‘You And I’ sounds a bit like something lifted from Aslan’s back catalogue).
Overall the band have done well to propel themselves from the days of busking on Grafton Street. But it seems that all their early efforts have left a positive and permanent mark. No matter where their all but certain fame and fortune brings them, there’ll always be a warm welcome waiting back home.
My Tribe Your Tribe is the solo project of musician and former Boy Lights Fire frontman, George Mercer. Since the disintegration of previous band related activities earlier this year, Mercer has been proactive in his quest for musical development and in such he has discarded the humble guitar in favor of keyboards, drum machines and other such digital apparatus which has allowed My Tribe Your Tribe to experiment and grow whilst churning out captivating, ear-pleasing and utterly relaxing electronic music.
Such aspects mentioned above were present in Mercer’s premier offering, the aptly named Vol. 1 EP, a record which offered up a glimpse of the Dubliners potential musical talents. But as to be expected with debut E.P. releases, Vol 1. was far from refined (which is more inevitability than criticism). But thankfully though, the latest offering from My Tribe Your Tribe, the Vol. II E.P. has more than picked up the slack and in such hones in on a more unique and personal sound and identity.
The E.P. was launched on November 4th with the release of the ‘upbeat dancefloor track’ Sunset. Following on from this, MTYT released their second track off the record on the following Monday and the third on the Monday after that. Tomorrow, Monday 25th, marks the release of the final track, Brave Reunion which in turn will finalise the release of Vol. II.
‘These songs are intentionally intimate, and collectively about coming to realize a kind of deeper connection with people and the universe’…
I wanted to let broader influences determine the outcome, instead of forcing myself down any particular avenue. It seems to be a healthier and more satisfying journey’.
It’s hard to nail down a standout track from the E.P. as each is seemingly designed to support and compliment each other. But in saying that Brave Reunion (tomorrows release) most definitely contains shades of something special (and you only have to wait 24 hours to find out for yourself).
At present, My Tribe Your Tribe perform as a 4-piece full live band with a vinyl release and spate of gigs coming up in the new year. You can find MTYT on Facebook and all tracks mentioned in this post can be downloaded from Bandcamp.