Corner Boy – Morning Morning E.P.

Corner Boy

Bluegrass, folk, a big double bass and an ole banjo thrown in for good measure. Sound familiar? Of course it does! Corner Boy are relatively new kids on the tweed covered block, can a block be covered in tweed? We’ll it was only a metaphor, but disprove me if you must. The ‘Irish Folk Rockers’ formed under the guidance of singer and guitarist, Michael D’Arcy, and have recently released their debut EP Morning Morning.  The 5 track EP, recorded in the secluded railway town of Lennoxville, Quebec, contains many points of reference within the modern folk scene. And before we go any further with this review it’s only fair to get these over-obvious comparisons out of the way so I can keep the focus on musicians at hand.

In 2011 Corner Boy packed a bag full of all things musically related to Irish and English folk and headed for the bright lights of Montreal. There the band garnered as much Americana Bluegrass and Gospel as their baggage allowance would permit and returned home with their debut E.P. Morning Morning and  a hefty fine for excess baggage. The overriding sound produced from this intercultural pick n mix is nothing short of an impromptu jam session between Mumford and Son’s and The Lumineers  in an Irish pub. Sure it’s not highly original but everyone is tapping their feet, clapping their hands and having a great time. Session on!

And that is what this E.P. is all about. From the explosive opening title track to the subtly crafted ‘Move to Paris’  you are bombarded with ‘catchy melodies and instant sing along lyrics that radiate energy; bringing the marriage of the new folk revival and Irish trad into the 21st century.’ For a debut record, Morning Morning is a very positive sign of things to come. They have already graced the stages of Other Voices Derry and have picked up nominations in the MRU Awards. Big things are most definitely around the corner….boys.

Check out their official website for updates.

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Introducing: Rohan Healy

rohan healyRohan Healy is an Australian born singer songwriter currently based in his ‘ancestral home of Dublin’. To date he has recorded no less than 10 solo albums and somehow manages to fill the remainder of his free time as an author, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, blogger and professional music producer.

Rohan has written and published two books, the first “Greeks to Geeks: Practical Stoicism in the 21st Century” in 2010 and in 2012 he published his second book “The 7 Things That Made Me Genuinely & Irreversibly Happy: And How They Can Do The Same For You”.

Rohan’s musical style can best be summed up as a fusion of Indie, Folk and Punk Rock, a mix sure to satisfy almost all musical tastes. He has also performing and recording with a wide variety of artists including David Virgin, Dan Rumour, Cat Power, Billy Bragg, Jimmy Willing, Quiffs N Coffins and Christa Hughes (Machine Gun Fellatio).

As for the future, Rohan is currently working on a 7 track E.P. due for release sometime next month. All of Rohan’s music is available to download for free over on his website. Also be sure to check out his blog rohan7things.wordpress.com

Introducing: Madeline Mondrala

cloud

The Introducing section is starting to fill up nicely here on my blog. Over the last few days I’ve received some albums and EP’s from a number of exciting Irish and International artists who I will be featuring in the coming weeks. But first, here’s something I was sent last month.

Singer, Songwriter, Pianist and Composer, Madeline Mondrala, grew up in Venice Beach, Los Angeles.  She has been writing songs since she was a child and recently released her debut EP, Cloud. Recorded and produced at SUNY Purchase College, New York, with a team of fifteen musicians it’s fair to say that Cloud is an ambitious experiment, especially as a debut. The use of organic samples from original instruments is refreshing and provides a distinctive edge to the overall sound of the EP. From the self styled hip-hop sounding ‘Blood Brother’ to the subtle frailty of ‘Busy’ it is clear that Cloud is book-ended by individuality.

As a demo tape Cloud works exceptionally well, effortlessly showcasing  the multi-faceted talents of Mondrala and co. But as a record it is rather disjointed and unsure of itself. Each track, though expertly polished, differs and bears no relation to the others. For the future perhaps Mondrala may have to focus on one particular style or at least find a better way of amalgamating the current mix. Either way I have no doubt that we will be hearing more from Madeline Mondrala in the not so distant future.

Cloud can be downloaded for free on Bandcamp, or streamed below.

Musicians of the World, Lend me your Ears…and your EP’s

I am always looking for new bands, artists, musicians, DJ’s, Orators or even Avant-garde spoon players to feature on my blog. If you know such a person or happen to be such a person then please do not hesitate and get in touch. Submissions can now be made directly through my soundcloud dropbox, the link to which is situated on the right sidebar of my blog under the title ‘Submit Your Music’. Sounds simple enough.

At this point I must stress that I am extremely busy and so may not be able to get back to you right away. But please don’t let that stop you from sending in tracks. I will try my best to get back to everyone, I promise!!

But of course if you prefer email, or have press releases to send then be sure to use the contact form here.

Here are some of the bands I’ve featured in the past

Cold Blood – Hannes Fischer Edit

hannes-fischerI stumbled across this back in November and it’s  been stuck in my head ever since. And so to answer the two questions that nobody is asking. What is this mysterious track that has taken up permanent residence in your head? and Why have you waited this long to post it on your blog? Both are very fine questions but I’ll start with the what.

I know very little about this tune or its background bar the fact that it is a remixed version of the theme music from a German film called ‘Cold Blood’. The mix is by the Berlin based DJ Hannes Fischer and contains samples from country music as well as the original ‘Cold Blood’ tune.

And now for the why, which is slightly easier to explain. For those of you familiar with my blog you will know that there has never really been a place for electronic music. So I felt that if I posted this tune it would stick out like a sore thumb. But now I realise that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’ve always claimed to have an open ears policy when it come to music and so without further rambling…

  • Hannes Fischer – Cold Blood

Golden B.C. Interview (Part 2)

What’s more important to you at the moment, Live gigs or studio sessions?
Right now, live appearances.  I’ve written music for years without ever intending to try and recreate anything live.  Now that I’m doing just that, I realise how incredibly fun it can be once you get over the whole “nervous shakes” thing.  But recording music will always be my first and most abusive love.

Do you enjoy playing live gigs?
I love them when they go well.  I’ve gone to a lot of concerts so I know what has connected with me when I see someone playing an acoustic show.  It supposed to be personal, yet not put you above the audience even though you’re up on stage.  It’s a tricky line to walk, but I’m figuring it out.

Do you find it a solitary experience playing as a solo artist?
It does get lonely up there sometimes.  I’m enjoying playing the songs in a stripped down fashion but I’m starting to realize that they’re meant to be powerful.  I’ve been considering getting some other musicians together to help me present the album in the way it was intended: really loud

How do you manage to ‘fill the stage’?
I usually get models to stand around me, ala Robert Palmer, and they mime playing instruments and just generally look pretty.  But with an acoustic show, moving around the stage while playing is difficult because if you screw up something you look a lot less like David Lee Roth and a lot more like an asshole that can’t play.  I just try to give the songs the right amount of emotion in my singing and playing so that people will hopefully be moved enough to ignore their waitresses.  Sorry, waitresses.

What scale is your recording operation? (Home Studio, Production team etc)
A couple of Shure mics, a stereo mic, a mac and instruments all set up in my home office.  I booked time in a real studio once, but realised quickly that if you’re going to experiment with songs while there, you better have some serious cash.  It’s just so easy to set up a home studio now that it’s kind of crazy to pay to use someone else’. I MacGyver’d a studio and I’m happy with that.

Does this add/subtract to Golden BC’s overall sound?
I think that it adds infinitely.  While I understand that engineers and producers have years of knowledge that can really add to a recording, I know what I want to hear coming out of those speakers and it may take longer at times, but I’ll get it.  Experimenting with sounds while recording the new record would never have been possible for me if I had used a studio outside of the one I built.

Do you have any experience in the area of music production and recording?
Besides my own work, no.  I started recording with Audacity, then Garageband, now Logic Express and have taught myself the whole way.  I’m not exactly going to produce someone else’s record, but I’m getting better at perfecting my processes as you can tell in the difference between “The Truth in the Facts” and “Just Take It”.

Does your skill level hinder your ability to truly express yourself?
What are you trying to say? J

Sometimes, but I think that’s the case with most musicians, even the amazingly talented ones.  To me, music is always the best when it’s simple in structure, lush in sound.  So you could have a song like “Get Rid of It” where there is so much shit going on in the song but the whole thing comes from two chords that play the whole time.  So skill is kind of irrelevant when it comes to expressing myself, I’m just going to start playing the guitar like a percussion instrument and sing to that if I can’t come up with something better.

What do you aim to achieve with your music?
I want to have a truckload of Junos dumped on my lawn.  Otherwise, I think the biggest aim of my music is simply to get people to listen to it and buy it.  I know that sounds kind of shitty to say, but honestly, the money all goes back into making and releasing more music.  I see it as an encouragement to create more music, and an investment from a fan that I will repay tenfold.

How close are you to satisfying these goals?
No Junos yet, but if Celine Dion doesn’t put out an album this year it could be a possibility.

So you released an album last year, Just Take It. Are you happy with how it turned out?
For the most part.  There will always be things that I’ll wish I had done differently but once it’s out, I’m not about to George Lucas anything.  But really, its my most fully-formed record and I’m very proud of it.

How did you find the overall process of creating an album?
Tedious at times.  This was the first time I had attempted to have an ongoing theme through an entire album and sometimes getting the pieces to fit took a little smashing.  “The Idiots” was rewritten about 4 times before it ended up as what you hear on the record.  It was a folk song, then it was very ambient sounding, then I ripped apart everything and made the final version.

How has it been received?
Pretty well so far, its kind of strange record to review because it can be all over the place from song to song.  But I’m hoping people will give it a few chances to grow on them because, (and I’m not biased at all) it’s a pretty great record.

So finally, what do you have planned for 2013? Any new projects on the horizon?
After taking 2 years to make one record, 2013 is going to be hyper productive.  I have a plan to write, record, and release 40 songs this year.  There may be a full length album here or there, or maybe just a lot of EPs, I haven’t really decided how to divide it up yet.  But yeah, there’s going to be tons of new Golden B.C. stuff this year as well as some live appearances, maybe even with a full band.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

Golden B.C. Interview (Part 1)

I recently caught up with Brian Offredi A.K.A. Golden B.C. to talk about life, the universe and everything but somehow ended up discussing the merits of ‘Robert Palmer-esque’ stagecraft, stealing the limelight back from waitresses and even modern day umbrella jousting. I’ve had to split this interview into two posts as Brian was more than generous when it came to answering questions. I’ll put part two up later this week. But for now, enjoy the wit, humour and genuine talent of Golden B.C.Golden BC

So let’s start with the name “Golden BC”. Where exactly does it come from?
It was the only place I’ve seen someone impaled with an umbrella.  I was enjoying a coffee in a nice café in Golden, a small town in British Columbia, when I saw two men fighting over an umbrella in the middle of the street.  One man overpowered the other and thus, impalement.  I knew then that I would name my band after this odd town.

As a solo artist why do you feel the need to hide behind a stage name?
I picked a stage name not really to hide behind, but just in case I ever wanted to bring in other band members.  When I first started making music, I was 17 and had a hard time finding anyone willing to play around with as many genres as I did.  So I figured I’d go solo but use a band name just in case I found others to collaborate with.

Rather than ask about your musical influences, who or what made you first fall in love with music?
All of my earliest music was Weird Al.  And weirdly, it was Tenacious D’s first album that made me first want to get a guitar.  I thought it was amazing how they would rock the hell out while making you laugh and I thought that was just fantastic.  Comedy has always had a weird relationship with music, with rock stars wanting so hard to be taken serious that they become so humourless.  That gets really old.  I take my music seriously, but I make fun of myself relentlessly.  I hope I’ve found a good balance.

Why do you make music? What made you pick up the guitar and put pen to paper?
I make music because I feel like I have to.  I get really antsy if I haven’t written anything in a while and start to behave strangely.  Nervous twitching, scratching, singing Billy Idol songs at people in the park.  It is the most rewarding thing in the world to put something creative together and it does wonders to expand my ego.

As for what made me start writing music, it was my little sister who was always far braver than I and it usually took her doing something first for me to get competitive and do it myself.  She bought a guitar first, and I ended up stealing it from her room when she wasn’t home so often that my parents made me buy my own.  So I guess it was part love of music, part sibling rivalry.

Your music is like the soundtrack to a gritty b-movie. How important is the theme/back story to your music?

On my first two records, not at all.  I was just excited to be putting out an album and didn’t really pay attention to a unifying theme.  But with “Just Take It”, I spent a lot of time trying to find a way to get everything to align in both the lyrics and the music so that the album sounds like one long piece that tells the story of these kids.  I wanted it to be subtle enough so that listeners had to pay attention to get the whole story, but not too subtle and lose narrative completely.  Hopefully, I’ve done that.

What comes first when writing new music, the story or the song?

Always the song.  Lyrics can be rewritten dozens of times, and don’t really even have to be good.  But if the music sucks, then the whole thing fails.  Music is supposed to stick in your ear on the first listen, then maybe the lyrics pop out later.  If you can’t hook people early on, they’ll never come back for another listen.
Whilst your music may be very thematic, what genres do you think it falls into?

Pretentious. But seriously, “Just Take It” jumps around to a bunch of different styles that, if press, I’d have to say alternative rock.