On paper Sicario is the latest film to explore the violent depths of Mexican drug cartels. And whilst it does this very well I have to admit that when I saw the posters I was somewhat underwhelmed. The plot is one which has popped up in a variety of films, TV series and even documentaries in recent years so hopefully my reluctance and overall lack of interest is understandable.
Irish band Enemies have re-emerged from a two-year hiatus with a new single. Play Fire, a somewhat rejuvenated track which draws a fine line between the meticulous world of mathematically inspired rock (too far with genre specifics?) and joviality of pop music, sees the four-piece pick up from where they left off almost 24 months ago.
Bearing the signature Enemies style and layered attention to detail, Play Fire is an immediate return to form. The hook laden track is as captivating and attention grabbing as the accompanying video (which you can watch below).
For those of you unfamiliar with Enemies, you can listen to their back catalogue as well as download the new release over on Bandcamp.
The one thing certainly not lacking from the current music scene is solo male vocalists. And whilst Noel O’Brien, the 21-year-old singer/songwriter from Tipperary, may be just that, he does little to blend into the crowd. Having just released a self-titled EP (his debut offering) O’Brien seems to be set on proving that deep (somewhat emotional) acoustic folk can still carry a unique appeal.
Opening with “Yet To Come” probably the most accessible track on the EP, O’Brien conjures up deep atmospheric imagery with little more than a guitar and haunting vocals. The remainder of the EP follows in a similar vein and works well as a showcase of one man in tune with his guitar.
A favourite of mine off the record “The Night” demonstrates a deeper musical sensibility and belongs somewhere in the realm of Conor O’Brien’s Villagers (no relation I’m sure).
The EP eventually draws to a close with “Reprise” a well worked, thought-provoking track that will stay with you long after listening. And perhaps this is the true magic of the EP. On the surface it’s a well put-together ‘easy-listening’ record but digging that little bit deeper uncovers a wealth of creative intrigue and subtle talent.
Download Noel O’Brien’s debut release on Bandcamp
So festival season is well and truly upon us. And to mark the occasion here’s an interesting Infograph from the guys over at Oxygen8. It’s packed with some strange and unusual facts about smart phone usage at music festivals. The most notable of which being that “Almost double the number of men preferred their outfits to match the colour of their phone cases than women”. I knew that guys were becoming more fashion conscious, but really?
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.
Some new music for you on this fine Sunday afternoon, all the way from the ‘People’s Republic of Cork’ (they made me say that). Former Monarchs are a four piece ‘Math Rock’ outfit (I hate the name of that genre) who have been on the scene for a couple of years now, learning their trade from support slots with the likes of And So I Watch You From Afar. They have spent the past 9 months working on a debut album ‘The Cost of Living’ (which is due to be released tomorrow) and if the following offering is anything to go on, I’m sure it will be anything but disappointing.
Origins, the album’s opening track, is a pacey, upbeat and generally ear-pleasing tune. It’s hard not to draw comparisons to the uncrowned ‘math rock’ champions, This Town Needs Guns (well the newer Henry Tremain version of the band anyway). The combination of highly tuned guitar and vocal explosions pared with the atmospheric music video by Damien Murphy, which features a hula-hoop exhibition from the performer Heist Darling, is as visually as it is aurally captivating. In other words, this is a really good track and a solid first step for the Cork hopefuls. Check back soon for more news on Former Monarchs debut release.
- Former Monarchs – Origins