Girl Band today cancelled their live gigs for the third time in three years citing health issues.

Affected dates include Castlepalooza, Best Kept Secret Festival, Patronaat, Festival Cabaret and End of The Road Festival.

“Unfortunately, due to health issues, Girl Band have had to cancel all remaining live dates this year. We sincerely apologise to all the promoters and fans affected by this.”

Singer Dara Kiely has battled mental health issues throughout the band’s lifespan. Get well soon.

Posted on May 9th, 2017

Artists:

Castlepalooza have announced the first bands and comedy acts for this year’s festival in Charleville Castle, Tullamore from August 4th to 6th this year (the festival moves back to its original dates this year).

Announced today are:

  • Wild Beasts
  • Girl Band
  • Waze & Oddysey
  • I Have A Tribe
  • Shit Robot
  • David Kitt
  • Lumo Club
  • Heroes In Hiding
  • King Bones

Also announced is the first names for the Laughter Lounge

  • PJ Gallagher
  • Deirdre O’Kane
  • Kevin McGahern
  • Colm O’Regan

More to be announced including the Sunday headliner. Lumo Club will play on the Sunday night.

Day tickets from €59 and weekend tickets from €119.

Posted on February 14th, 2017

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Girl Band announced a special gig in aid of Pieta House for Vicar Street on February 17th 2017 earlier this month.

Today, they’ve announced their guests and they are:

Lynched, Rusangano Family & DJ sets by James Vincent McMorrow, Geoff Travis (Rough Trade) & Aisling O’Riordan.

Solid.

Tickets priced €30 are on sale now Ticketmaster.ie & usual outlets nationwide.

Posted on November 30th, 2016

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With only over two weeks to go to this year’s TV shoot and mini-festival event in Kerry, Other Voices is gearing up for a big weekend of music in Dingle. So far they’ve announced the first round of music trail of acts and the main church artists which include Lisa Hannigan, Rejjie Snow, Girl Band, Margaret Glaspy, Pixie Geldof and more, with some bigger names to be announced.

Those latter gigs take place from December 2nd to 4th in St. James’ Church. Tickets for which are allocated at random – Nialler9 is one of those places. Accommodation is already booked up in the entire town this year, so you should enter this if you have a place to crash already for the weekend, as these passes get you into the church for the TV recording on each night. Otherwise, you’ve got a fair bit of travel on your hands each night.

Enter here to win tickets before Tuesday:

Other Voices festival tickets

Posted on November 17th, 2016

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Fresh from Metropolis Festival over the weekend, Girl Band have announced a special gig in aid of Pieta House for VIcar Street on February 17th 2017. There will be guests on the night to be announced.

Tickets priced €30 go on sale this Thursday 10th November at 9am through www.ticketmaster.ie & usual outlets nationwide.

Proceeds will go to Pieta House, a non-profit suicide and self-harm crisis centre.

Pieta House offers free counselling to people who are feeling suicidal, people who are engaging in self-harm and those bereaved by suicide. It has 18 centres across Ireland and operates the free 24/7 suicide helpline 1800 247 247.

We’re very happy to be organising this event as mental health is an issue that is very close to the four of us as a band. We hope this can help raise both much needed cash and awareness for the cause.
Hope to see you there,
Adam, Alan, Daniel, Dara”

Posted on November 7th, 2016

Artists:

Other Voices have announced the bands to play the festival in Dingle this year from December 2nd to 4th in St. James’ Church.

Lisa Hannigan announced the acts in a video in which he plays a song from her new album At Swim:

The first names are:

  • Lisa Hannigan
  • Rejjie Snow
  • Girl Band
  • Margaret Glaspy
  • Pixie Geldof
  • Kojey Radical

Posted on November 3rd, 2016

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The Bernard Shaw is celebrating 10 years on South Richmond Street and Bodytonic are planning a series of 10 gigs to celebrate from October 14th – 29th this month.

The Shaw was only supposed to be open for 2 years but the recession benefited it and it’s still going.

Highlights of the run include Optimo (see this recent post) and Mister Saturday Night headlining the 14th, Math + Math = Maths – a Girl Band & Meltybrains Supergroup and Don Conroy drawing class paired with a Homebeat show.

October 14 – Bodytonic & RBMA present Optimo, Mister Saturday Night, K15, Adultrock and FeatherFree to members.
October 15 – Hang Tough present 10 years of the Shaw Exhibition & DJs
October 16 – 12 Sunday’s with V. V. Special Secret Guest
October 20 – ‘Jameson Presents’ Live – full line-up coming ASAP
October 21 – Draw with Don Conroy + HomeBeat Live show
October 22 – Coffee Together present: Sagra dell’ Arrosticino, Italian food Festival with Toejam DJs
October 23 – Evolve Paint Jam, Dublin’s finest street artists & music
October 27 – Good Name presents Math + Math = Maths (Girl Band & Meltybrains Supergroup)
October 28 – All City Present Handsome Paddy 93 til’ Infinity
October 29 – The Bernard Shaw Flea Halloween Night Market

Posted on October 3rd, 2016

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If you caught Girl Band’s main stage performance at Body&Soul, it was yet another reminder that no-one in Ireland or otherwise is making rock music like this: that pulverises the audience with sonics, that uses a guitar to sound like industrial chains, that switches up rhythms and howls with guttural approval. The only pity was not enough of the festival goers were there on Friday night.

Nevermind, Girl Band may remain a curio to most but they are one of the best bands around right now. ‘In Plastic’ from their debut Holding Hands With Jamie, is the latest song to receive a Bob Gallagher video. – this time around a tense dystopian security check is the backdrop for the song.

“I think I pitched the idea to the band as the fever dream Kafka might have if he ever read 1984. It’s not set in a particular place or period. Some of the references and inspirations are historical and some are quite recent. It’s a mish-mash of influences, and a lot of it was shaped by conversations with the band. The video is obviously totally ridiculous in many ways, but it touches on themes of surveillance, paranoia, and how arbitrary the construct of a border can seem, which are all very contemporary anxieties. When I see clips of Donald Trump talking about deporting people and building walls I have to remind myself that I’m not watching an absurd alternate reality.“

The song gets a limited edition release of 500 x 7” Vinyl Single “In Plastic” b/w “The Last Riddler (Live)” out July 8th on Rough Trade. The band are off to the US to play the Pitchfork Music Festival & more.

US Tour Dates
July 14th – Brooklyn, NY – Baby’s All Right
July 16th – Chicago, IL – Pitchfork Music Festival
July 16th – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen (Official Pitchfork Afterparty)

 

Posted on June 21st, 2016

Artists: ,

Girl Band have cancelled all upcoming dates in January, February and March due to health issues but the April 1st gig in Dublin’s Vicar Street is going ahead.

Best of luck to the band in dealing with this. Mental and physical health trumps any gig commitments. We know that Dara Kiely has been open about his mental health in the recording of the band’s debut Holding Hands With Jamie telling of how he coped with depression and dealt with erratic behaviour.

Health is wealth. Send good vibes Girl Band’s way.

Posted on January 28th, 2016

Artists:

Best of 2015: Albums | Songs | Videos | Readers’ Albums | Readers’ Songs Readers’ Gigs, Clubs & DJs | Your Intl. albums & songs | Top 10 Lists | Nialler’s Irish choices


In association with:

tpwer

Readers’ best Irish albums of the year

25. Evvol – Eternalism
24. Glen Hansard – Didn’t He Ramble
23. Lakker – Tundra
22. Little xs For Eyes – Everywhere Else
21. Somadrone – Oracle
20. Anderson – Patterns

19. Ham Sandwich – Stories From The Surface
18. Leo Drezden – Multi-Moment
17. Ciaran Lavery & Ryan Vail – Sea Legs
16. Not Squares – Bolts
15. Tucan – Towers
14. Fight Like Apes – Fight Like Apes

13. New Pope – Youth
12. No Monster Club – People Are Weird
11.
Roisin Murphy – Hairless Toys

 


10.

The Jimmy Cake

Master

Jimmy Cake

Extended explorations into synth, noise, kraut, rock and ambience for the band’s first album in seven years.

Seven years on from album #3 and Master finds The Jimmy Cake, a band apart once again. Lineup changes (seven now: Paul G. Smyth, Lisa Carey, John Dermody, Dara Higgins, Vincent Dermody, Thomas Parke and Patrick Kelleher) and life has occurred since. The album is uncompromising in its delivery, making no concessions to convenience. There are three tracks with the shortest at just over 15 minutes and the longest just past the 32 minute mark. The individual tracks are elongated passages that segue into new movements.

The strongly-titled 32-minute ‘Death Can Fuck Off’ rings out with dangerous intent, building to a wall of galloping rhythm with synth vistas leading the pack of instruments before they are engulfed by a kraut-rock chug. A bassline changes and the track goes off in a different direction and a rhythmic pulse regains control as synth notes spiral above.

‘Observatory Destroyer’ is awash with horror-soundtrack style textures at its most minimal, building to a sonic heavy-rock dirge and piano release, while the final track ‘Teen Mist’ has a space-rock feel that gives way to a diptych of ambient and engulfing noise.

That’s just an overview. Master is about the journey, a multi-movement of a variation of styles and sounds. That’s about the only thing that The Jimmy Cake can be defined by.

9.

Owensie

Dramamine

Owensie

Former Dublin rocker finds his sweet spot.

Three years on from the Dublin singer-songwriter’s second album Citizens, Owensie has followed it up with a sturdier and more elegant collection of layered folk music anchored by Michael Owens’ brittle falsetto and bright Spanish guitar playing. Conor O’Brien gives his seal of approval by supplying backing vocals and playing drums.

Listen on Spotify

8.

Girls Names

Arms Around A Vision

Girls Names

Ireland’s best alt-rock band.

For their third album, the Belfast-based band have transitioned from expansive post-punk to a space between it and their former garage-rock jangle.

The band say they approached the album with a view that they had nothing to lose. “We’ve got nothing. We’ve never had anything. And we don’t expect to. The only person I ever wanted to impress was myself,” said frontman Cathal Cully.

In that regard, Arms Around A Vision is indulgent in the best way possible with the band soaking up the weight of their alternative retro influences and embracing their own visions in the process.

Listen on Spotify

7.

Young Wonder

Birth

Young Wonder

The Cork electronic duo embrace pop dynamics and grander emotion.

After two superb EPs, the Cork pair of Rachel Koeman and Ian Ring carved out their own niche in the electronic pop sphere. Where previous songs, great as they are, were maybe too close to influences like Purity Ring, Birth finds the band creating their own textured world and deepening their songwriting prowess.

Previously-released songs ‘To You’ and ‘Time’ were among the most heartfelt so they fit right in with the new tracks like the airy ‘Intergalactic’ linking the cosmos to the romantic (“feel the rocky planet move / just for us,”), the anthemic electro-pop of ‘Enchanted’ and their most unabashed pop song yet – ‘Sweet Dreaming’.

Ian Ring remains one of the best and most nimble producers in Ireland and Colm O’Herlihy adds live instrumentation with electric guitar work. As the title suggests, this is just the beginning.

Listen on Spotify

6.

The Strypes

Little Victories

Strypes

The Cavan boys are nearly men.

The BBC aired a brilliant Julien Temple documentary about the Cavan kids who were thrust into a rock’n’roll major label lifestyle in their early teens. It left no doubt that The Strypes would be able to handle themselves into the future, marking themselves apart from the world of pop. They love retro rock and have no interest in the modern zeitgeist. What’s more they deplored any musician getting off their face over answering their craft. The lads just want to make music, wherever it takes them.

The answer to the question about where the Strypes would go next is contained in Little Victories from the off. Where as the first album Snapshot was exactly that, an account of a band in thrall to the bluesy rock’n’roll of the early ’60s and late ’50s, Little Victories finds the band (oldest member just turned 20) toughing up their sound by incorporating harder-edged rock sounds and rhythms. While they may not have brought their music up to date, they’ve taken a leaf out of the book of the Arctic Monkeys with an album that brandishes a distinct teenage indie/rock energy. Perhaps this is at the expense of what made them stand out in the first place but the band’s youthful vim still shines through.

Listen on Spotify

5.

SOAK

Before We Forgot How To Dream

SOAK

Derry singer-songwriter releases her Mercury Prize-nominated debut.

It’s easy to forget how far Derry musician Bridie Monds-Watson has come in such a short time. Like the Strypes, the young singer-songwriter impressed from an early age with appearances on Other Voices with effective songs simply-constructed with an acoustic guitar and Bridie’s sweet colloquial voice.

Her Rough Trade debut, produced by Tommy McLaughlin, sheds the simplicity of those early EPs and settles for a multi-layered debut album that adds piano, strings and extra percussion to bolster the songs. Monds-Watson’s appealing simplicity is sacrificed for a more serious atmosphere but her personality and her rounded vocal style shines through on songs like ‘Blud’, ‘B A Nobody’, ‘Reckless Behaviour’ and ‘Shuvels’. Before We Forgot How To Dream bagged the young Derry musician a Mercury Music Prize for her efforts but it’s likely her best is yet to come.

Listen on Spotify

4.

 Le Galaxie

Le Club

Le Galaxie

The Dublin electro band have made an album of joyous bangers.

For their second full-length, Le Galaxie enlisted the help of producer Erik Brouchek to solidify what most Irish music-loving people know from seeing the band live, that Le Galaxie are the best band for delivering gigantic song-led bangers built on dance music dynamism with live instruments.

Le Club feels like a victory lap, the band’s retro neon-electro having found new sinewy rhythms and strident sounds. Songs like ‘Put The Chain On’, ‘Streetheart’, ‘Le Club’, ‘Lucy Is Here’ and “Carmen’ already feel like modern Irish classics, the soundtrack to many a great festival night and gig. The new version of the Le Galaxie essential, the uplifting ‘Love System’ adds a sax-solo for extra celebration. A trip to Le Club is always fun.

Listen on Spotify

3.

Villagers

The third album from Conor O’Brien might just be his most important.

Stripped back to accompaniment that rarely goes beyond piano, mellotron, guitar and voice, Darling Arithmetic is a clear line in the sand for one of Ireland’s best living songwriters and as a result, there’s a sense of a songwriter really revealing and exploring his own self: his sexuality, his feelings, his pain and his love.

The 36 minute album’s opening song ‘Courage’ lays it all out. “Took a little time to get where I wanted / It took a little time to get free / It took a little time to be honest / It took a little time to be me,” O’Brien sings accompanied by guitar, light brushes, bass and some faraway blurry synths.

The stripped down nature of the album highlights what a great songwriter O’Brien is. These songs are captivating enough in their demo-style form because O’Brien is an elegant arranger and musician too; he has things to say we can relate to, and sentiments that comes from a heart, his heart, with an underlying confidence that comes from experience and learning from it.

Listen on Spotify

2.

Jape

Richie Egan’s fifth album is a collection of serene electronic songcraft.

For most of his creative endeavours as Jape, Richie Egan has been juxtaposing traditional guitar-based songwriting with electronic synth textures.

The fifth Jape album, This Chemical Sea, made with band member Glen Keating, is the first released since Egan uprooted his life and family to Malmö in Sweden and that distance has encouraged a clarity of vision that translates to these two sides being more suitable bedfellows than ever.

There’s soft transparency to the production helped greatly by David Wrench who mixed and mastered the album, and whose considered imprint can most recently be heard on top notch productions from Caribou, FKA Twigs and Jungle; three of the best sounding records of the last year. Those albums have a clear spaciousness that they share with This Chemical Sea.

This Chemical Sea often feels like its floating above the physical and unmoored from the sum of its parts, that give the songs a unique identity in the Jape discography. It is a collection of serene electronic songcraft: meditative, lucid and unbound.

Listen on Spotify

1.

Empress Of

The Dublin band have made the highly-strung album of the year.

There weren’t more uncompromising sonic albums made in 2015 than this one and while it took its toll on its creators, their efforts have not gone unappreciated.

Holding Hands With Jamie is a bare psychosis, the breakdown of Dara Kiely soundtracked by dissonant, piercing and pulsing noise. Kiely spends howling into the pressurised turbulent wall of noise, fending off life expectations and minutiae.

The band match his intensity spectacularly with guitars that whirr and buzz like nasty synthesizers, drums that engulf the room in a live fashion and low-end that wipes the floor and shits on it afterward for good measure. The harshness of it all is a suitably foil for the discombobulating frame of mind that Kiely displays throughout. It sounds like post-punk, it sounds like garage-rock, it sounds like no-wave, it sounds like dirty bleedin’ techno.

The coiled wrestle between confrontation and escapism, both in the music and in the lyrics, is what makes Holding Hands With Jamie such an uncomfortable yet singularly brilliant album. That it uses the familiar language of rock music to do so makes it one of the albums of the year.

Listen on Spotify


Best of 2015: Albums | Songs | Videos | Readers’ Albums | Readers’ Songs Readers’ Gigs, Clubs & DJs | Your Intl. albums & songs | Top 10 Lists | Nialler’s Irish choices


Posted on December 22nd, 2015

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Best of 2015: Albums | Songs | Videos | Readers’ Albums | Readers’ Songs Readers’ Gigs, Clubs & DJs | Your Intl. albums & songs | Top 10 Lists | Nialler’s Irish choices


My top albums of the year with context and links plus it’s all in one place on Spotify. This is part of the Best of 2015 Series.

Best Albums of 2015 Spotify playlist


30. Beach House – Depression Cherry
29. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color
28. Boot & Tax – Boot & Tax
27. The Chemical Brothers – Born In The Echoes
26. Floating Points – Elaenia

25. Young Fathers – White Men Are Black Men Too
24. All We Are – All We Are
23. Wax Stag – II
22. Four Tet – Morning/Evening
21. D’angelo – Black Messiah
20. Villagers – Darling Arithmetic 

19. Jessica Pratt – On Your Own Love Again
18. !!! – As If
17. Braids – Deep In The Iris
16. Anderson – Patterns


15.

Roisin Murphy

Hairless Toys

hairless

A peerless singer makes a fearless record.

Roisin Murphy’s third album is a sophisticated and layered album that furthers the career of an outlier and a creative artist, making accessible but avant-garde music that draws from pop, dance, disco and jazz.

From the elongated elegance of ‘Exploitation’ to the spooked ‘Gone Fishing’ to the warped ballad of ‘Unputdownable’ to the poppy bass-slung groove of ‘Evil Eyes’, Murphy creates duality throughout: intimate and anamorphic, detailed yet sparse, Glamourous yet grubby, Loungey yet dancy. Murphy remains the magnet at the centre of Hairless Toys as she has been throughout her career. Where-ever she goes, I will follow.

Listen on Spotify

14.

Grimes

Art Angels

Grimes

This is what 21st Century pop music is supposed to sound like.

Claire Boucher’s followup to 2012’s breakthrough Grimes album Visions is wildly different. Art Angels is the result of three years of growth, touring, a decision to scrap a previous album and an hardening of artistic resolve. Grimes’ has often talked about her love of pop music and on Art Angels she’s made her own version of it with sugar-rushing rhythms, bubble-pop melodies and bright instrumentation. The album feels like it has its own internal logic and palette and inherent in its DNA, is Grimes’ own split personalities, adept at pairing up for a screaming match with Korean rapper Aristophanes on ‘Scream’, delivering clattering guitar pop on ‘Flesh Without Blood’, roping in Janelle Monae for a EDM-style banger and my personal favourite ‘World Princess Part II’, an electro pop crescendo. Boucher continues to write her own story.

Listen on Spotify

13.

 Le Galaxie

Le Club

Le Galaxie

The Dublin electro band have made an album of joyous bangers.

For their second full-length, Le Galaxie enlisted the help of producer Erik Brouchek to solidify what most Irish music-loving people know from seeing the band live, that Le Galaxie are the best band for delivering gigantic song-led bangers built on dance music dynamism with live instruments.

Le Club feels like a victory lap, the band’s retro neon-electro having found new sinewy rhythms and strident sounds. Songs like ‘Put The Chain On’, ‘Streetheart’, ‘Le Club’, ‘Lucy Is Here’ and “Carmen’ already feel like modern Irish classics, the soundtrack to many a great festival night and gig. The new version of the Le Galaxie essential, the uplifting ‘Love System’ adds a sax-solo for extra celebration. A trip to Le Club is always fun.

Listen on Spotify

12.

Empress Of

Me

Empress Of

Lorely Rodriguez’s personal yet brisk electronic pop debut.

With the graduation to a self-produced debut album, Lorely Rodriguez also makes the leap from pleasing hazy synth pop to a gilded form of dance pop. Rodriguez’s lyrics address what it’s like to be a young woman in 2015.

Rarely does a personal album brim with so much danceable briskness. Me makes use of of pleasing discombobulating rhythmic pop sequences, buzzing synths, bouncing bass, drum machine stabs and an clearly elevated confidence. No longer covered in gauze, Empress Of’s talent is greater than was initially suggested.

Listen on Spotify

11.

Empress Of

The Dublin band have made the highly-strung album of the year.

There weren’t more uncompromising sonic albums made in 2015 than this one and while it took its toll on its creators, their efforts have not gone unappreciated.

Holding Hands With Jamie is a bare psychosis, the breakdown of Dara Kiely soundtracked by dissonant, piercing and pulsing noise. Kiely spends howling into the pressurised turbulent wall of noise, fending off life expectations and minutiae.

The band match his intensity spectacularly with guitars that whirr and buzz like nasty synthesizers, drums that engulf the room in a live fashion and low-end that wipes the floor and shits on it afterward for good measure. The harshness of it all is a suitably foil for the discombobulating frame of mind that Kiely displays throughout. It sounds like post-punk, it sounds like garage-rock, it sounds like no-wave, it sounds like dirty bleedin’ techno.

The coiled wrestle between confrontation and escapism, both in the music and in the lyrics, is what makes Holding Hands With Jamie such an uncomfortable yet singularly brilliant album. That it uses the familiar language of rock music to do so makes it one of the albums of the year.

Listen on Spotify

Albums #10 – 1

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Posted on December 18th, 2015

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Girl Band recently cancelled a whole lot of 2015 dates due to illness but it seems things are looking up as the band have just announced a pretty big show on April 1st in Vicar Street. Ticket info forthcoming.

“You just shit in my neighbour’s garden / sit on a lap / professional cat,” is how ‘Baloo’ is how a song from Girl Band’s Holding Hands With Jamie memorably begins. The song was recorded live by Rough Trade recently

All Girl Band Tour dates

Fri 22nd Jan – Brewery Corner, Kilkenny, Ireland
Sat 23rd Jan – Gabo’s, Castlebar, Ireland
Wed 17th Feb – Trix Antwerp, Belgium
Fri 19th Feb – John Peel Centre, Stowmarket
Sat 20th Feb – Concorde 2, Brighton
Mon 22nd Feb – The Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
Tues 23rd Feb – The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
Wed 24th Feb – The Buyers Club, Liverpool
Fri 26th Feb – Tunnels, Aberdeen
Sat 27th Feb – Summerhall, Edinburgh
Mon 29th Feb – Village Underground, London
Tues 1st Mar – The Exchange, Bristol
Fri 1st Apr – Vicar Street, Dublin

Posted on November 18th, 2015

Artists:

Girl Band have announced the cancellation of the band’s remaining tour dates in Europe and North America in 2015 due to health issues. Writing on their Facebook page, the band said:

We are extremely sorry to announce that we have to pull all of our upcoming European and North American tour dates in…

Posted by Girl Band on Monday, 26 October 2015

Frontman Dara Kiely has been open about his mental health in the recording of the recent album of the week Holding Hands With Jamie telling of how he coped with depression and dealt with erratic behaviour. He recently tore his ligaments on tour as you can see above.

It’s not clear whether this is the cause of the cancellation of the tour dates but one thing is paramount, the physical and mental health of musicians is often neglected. A life on the road with even a fraction of the typical “rock’n’roll lifestyle” can and will take its toll. This decision is for the best.

Cancelled dates are here. They include shows on New Year’s Eve in Coughlan’s, Cork and Button Factory Dublin on November 7th.

Posted on October 27th, 2015

Artists:

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how Girl Band made the jump from another rock band to one who were pursuing an entirely idiosyncratic hybrid of guitar and industrial techno but it’s probably fair too say, you don’t make that leap without something significant to kickstart it.

Holding Hands With Jamie is one of the more pummelling sonic albums that has come out in the last few years that isn’t readily classifiable in the genre of metal or industrial music and that’s partly why it’s such a great album. To arrive at something this noisy, this dissonant, this brutal with so much black humour, there has to have been a big catalyst.

For frontman Dara Kiely, the lyrics on Girl Band’s debut album were written after the depths of a breakup that brought on mental health issues that manifested itself with psychotic episodes, a breakdown and depression.

Kiely spends the album, narkily namechecking the minutiae of modern life or snatches of narrative, more often howled into the pressurised container of the music at volume: “garlic curry cheese chips!”, “spend my time watching Top Gear with my trousers down”, “why d’ya act like a bitch for?”, “Klinsmanned the taxi driver”, “nice ronnie”, “at the minute I’m throwing biscuits down O”Connell Street” or singing “petit pois” and “nutella” repeatedly.

The band match his intensity spectacularly with guitars that whirr and buzz like nasty synthesizers, drums that engulf the room in a live fashion and low-end that wipes the floor and shits on it afterward for good measure. The harshness of it all is a suitably foil for the discombobulating frame of mind that Kiely displays throughout. It sounds like post-punk, it sounds like garage-rock, it sounds like no-wave, it sounds like dirty bleedin’ techno. All and nothing.

Kiely sounds like someone who’s lost it but aware of how much (non)sense he’s making. Sometimes when young lads don’t know how to cope, they say some wry shit to hide it and Kiely’s vocals are cathartic yet skirt around the source. Kiely’s voice is a gutteral howl, a dramatic flair, a performance of confusion, often relying on the same cadence. ‘The Last Riddler’, the album’s shortest and most telling track has Kiely in a dialogue with a doctor about his state of mind, unable to directly confront himself – “Dara take a seat / no I’ll think I’ll stand … d’ya reckon Batman and Robin ever kissed?”

Holding Hands With Jamie doesn’t feature the band’s previous singles ‘Lawman’ and ‘De Bom Bom’. Their presence would have fitted sonically but negated the album’s live feel. Much of the album follows Kiely’s disturbed mood: lashing out with dynamics and shrill notes. ‘Paul’ lurches forward with a headnodding low-end but soon unravels in a wall of barrel of squall. ‘In Plastic’ sounds like a rock band trying to draw an outline of an ambient track they hear in their heads. ‘Pears For Lunch’ is the most concentrated distillation of the all the above.  Only ‘Baloo’ and ‘Texting An Alien’ feel unfinished. Largely, these songs are monuments of distorted columns, leaning and looming with manic intent, unravelling and coagulating back together again: visceral and in meltdown mode.

The coiled wrestle between confrontation and escapism, both in the music and in the lyrics, is what makes Holding Hands With Jamie such an uncomfortable yet singularly brilliant album. That it uses the familiar language of rock music to do so makes it one of the albums of the year.

Listen on Spotify

Posted on October 2nd, 2015

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Artists:

Just a few weeks on from ‘Paul’, Girl Band are here to freak out your Thursday with a new video by serial collaborator Bob Gallagher for ‘Pears For Lunch’ from the band’s forthcoming LP Holding Hands With Jamie (25th September, Rough Trade).

“In a way the Pears video continues a theme from ‘Paul’, the idea of wearing one face that is at odds to how you actually feel. In this case it’s more about aspiration towards a paradigm of self-improvement or fulfillment. There’s this idea that if you present an image of yourself that people buy into, you might actually become that person.

I think especially online we’ve become very sophisticated editors of our own lives. We document everything and then edit it into a digestible feed of the personality we want other people to think we have. We sort of curate ourselves for other people to observe. There’s an honesty to the song that’s very stark, and it’s a refreshing when most of the time we’re just presenting the best possible versions of ourselves to everyone around us.

I thought it would be funny to have a character who selectively expresses themselves through ads, and stock footage that are supposed to represent ideals, the perfect couple, body etc. Ads are so emotionally manipulative that I liked the idea that you could thread together all the phoney emotions to give a character some personality. He’s kind of liar in that regard, but so are the rest of us a lot of the time. ”

Some more background about the album from the recent NME interview

Pre-order the single on 7″.

Posted on September 3rd, 2015

Artists: