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).
Let me introduce you to my latest obsession. Asgeir, or Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson, is an Icelandic singer songwriter who has been on a sort of meteoric rise (never really knew what that last expression means) since his emergence back in 2012. Having been forged in the land of Ice and Fire, Asgeir has had somewhat of a head start coming from a family rooted in music and poetry. And these factors are prevalent in the atmospheric brand of rhythmic indie-funk (not really sure what else to call it if I’m to be honest).
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Asgeir up close and personal in the confides of St James Church (Dingle) for the world-renowned Other Voices festival. And it was whilst sitting in the front row of the miniscule chapel/music venue/tv studio that I first encountered this curious musical medley.
Originally recorded in his native tongue, Asgeir’s debut album features most prominently in english. This of course was made possible through translation work by the enigmatic American singer, John Grant (who also made an appearance at Other Voices).
The debut offering , from the Icelandic singer-songwriter, ‘In the Silence’ is deep, dark, atmospheric and laden with lyrics and metaphors passed down from his ‘wordsmith’ father. This marriage of hard-hitting, thought-provoking lyrics with captivating electronic musical accompaniment does well to provide a fresh listening experience. But not so fresh to the point where the listener feels somewhat alienated. A sort of happy medium.
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.
Remember Analogue Wave, the Dublin based electro duo I wrote about a couple of months ago? (https://keelanfoley.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/introducing-analogue-wave/) Well they’ve only gone and released an album, a debut album to be exact. And it’s a cracker. But don’t worry, you won’t have to rely on my solitary opinion for long. I’m working on an exclusive album stream which should be live on the blog Monday.
But for now, with it being Saturday and all, I’ve decided to dip into Analogue Waves new record, N.L.G. W.V., for this weekends song selection. Devils, is both album opener and embodiment of the groups commitment to high quality electro dub music. I could go on with a spate of flattering adjectives but I’d rather let the music do the talking (singing).
- Analogue Wave – Devils
Indiependence really has to be commended for the addition of the Bier Halle stage to this year’s festival. Situated within a huge barn, it is more of a music venue than stage with its own bar stocked with the finest local craft beers, lounge area with comfortable seating and even ping-pong tables. But it is the line-up itself which makes the Bier Halle so special. The honour of kicking Saturday off early fell to Wexford band, Redwoods. Their upbeat blend of indie-pop ballads including the newest single, ‘Don’t Take Me Down’, were the perfect antidote for the tired heads camped out on the hard but dry concrete floors of the Bier Hall.
Staying put for Kapitals proved to be a wise decision. Their throat-wrenching vocals and pleasing guitar riffs did well to blow the cobwebs away and recharge empty batteries for the long day of festival merriment that lay ahead. With songs like ‘Paris is Burning’ it’s easy to see why this North Dublin band have been tipped for big things.
A search for pastures new ended in the Maxol Big Top with Irish electro-synth band, Le Galaxie. What followed was one of the weekends best live sets. The band, all male band, were decked out in matching sparkly outfits and spurred on by the mad antics of frontman Michael Pope and his ‘questionable’ dance moves. The set list trawled the bands back-catalogue, especially the ‘Laserdisc Nights 2’ album, with noticeable fan favourites coming in the shape of ‘Midnight Midnight’, ‘The Nightcaller’ and ‘Solarbabies’.
Unfortunately Kodaline failed to replicate the same levels of energy and enthusiasm over on the Main Stage. Their careful and subtly crafted set seemed lost amidst the inadequate sound levels emitted from the premier stage. But that didn’t stop the band forging an instant connection with the crowd. Kodaline may have come a long way in a short period of time but it is apparent that their roots are not forgotten. With announcements regarding the bands humble campsite accommodation and songs such as ‘All I Want’ and ‘Love Like This’ it’s not hard to see why Kodaline are fan favourites.
Headlining duties at the halfway point of the festival fell to Bell X1. In a day that did so well to showcase the current strength of Irish Music it would have been hard to find a more fitting headline act. Adoring fans relished the display of instantly recognisable hits including ‘Flame’, ‘Velcro’ and ‘The Great Defector’. But it was the encore of ‘Rocky Took A Lover’ that cemented the Dublin group’s place on the Indiependence Main Stage.
With the formalities of day two at an end, all left to do was to enjoy the post-apocalyptic jam session that is King Kong Company. The glow stick laden musical conglomerate did well to keep spirits high and ensure the longevity of late night festival revellers.
Sparkle Motion is a three-piece alternative rock band from Castlemaine, County Kerry, with their sights set on nothing less than the coveted headline slot at Glastonbury. The band consists of brothers Kevin and Thomas O’Brien as well as bass player DD Foley who I recently caught up with to talk about life as a musician from the Kingdom.
For a young band, Sparkle Motion have a wealth of experience when it comes to playing live gigs. They have graced the stages of the Rose of Tralee festival with a triumvirate of performances, where they have had the honour of opening for bands such as Delorentos.
“When there is a good crowd at the gigs playing in Kerry can be unbelievable. We played in Courtney’s bar in Killarney once at a gig for the Pieta house foundation which was great.”
They played their first gig at the Tralee KDYS and are grateful for the support they have received through-out the years. “We owe John Buggy a lot for organizing our gigs, he always gave us advice on our music.”
So what does the future hold for this Kerry trio? As a band they are committed to their trade with both Kevin and DD studying music courses in college.
“At the moment education comes before the band but in a few years we will certainly be putting the band first. And eventually headline Glastonbury!”
With both youth and talent on their side it seems that the future is shimmering brightly for Sparkle Motion.