It’s festival bank holiday weekend and that means there are 3 major music festivals happening in Dublin, Cork and the Midlands (four if you count the smaller Arcadian Field in Bellurgan). Here are 10 recommendations for acts and performances I would see if I was at all of Beatyard, Castlepalooza & Indiependence.

1.

Air

The Beatyard, Sunday

The soundtrack to the end of the chillout phenomenon when Moon Safari, the band’s debut of French electronic pop was released in 1998, this French duo went on to create a body of work that incorporated ’80s synth experimentalism and a very particular retro French style of studious songwriting. They’ve not played here in a long time (last reference I can find is from 2001) so this will be a rare sight. To a lesser extend, see Morcheeba who play before them.


2.

Shit Robot

Sunday @ Castlepalooza


Marcus Lambkin is known as the Irishman who disco infiltrated DFA Records and there’s a good reason for that. The man has talent in creating propulsive electronic music that crosses the boundaries between disco, house and techno and still has a pop edge.


3.

Le Boom

Saturday @ Castlepalooza, Sunday @ Indiependence

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Christy Leech & Aimie Mallon are a party band who make music that moves between house, pop and electro and they’ve been building a great live reputation in the past year. They are one of the hottest tickets on Irish festivals so it’s no surprise with only one single out, they’re playing at the late end of the festival bills this weekend.


4.

Wild Beasts

Friday @ Castlepalooza, Sunday @ Indiependence

One of the best live bands to come out of the UK in the last 10 years. Their albums may vary but they are a singular proposition, creating intricate imaginative indie-rock. Live, their drummer is one to watch as he’s a subtle master.


5.

Larry Heard

Saturday @ Beatyard

Larry Heard aka Mr Fingers is an electronic music pioneer and this is his first ever live show in Ireland so that counts for something. Most recently, he was sample by Kanye West on ‘Fade’.


6.

BARQ

Saturday @ Beatyard, Sunday @ Indiependence

BARQ are seasoned musicians having played with Hozier, Kodaline, Monster Monster, Damien Dempsey, Loah, Lethal Dialect, Ryan Sheridan and Zaska in the past and are establishing their own rap-tinged soulful R&B jazz sound under a genre they’ve coined as “agrosoul.”

7.

Romare (Live)

Saturday @ Beatyard

A full live band set from a producer who has mined American folk music for sampling purposes but has worked them in a more textured way than Moby. His two recent Love Songs albums were excellent releases and the prospect of a full live band has the potential for a Bonobo-style live show.


8.

Sing Along Social

Saturday @ Beatyard

Full disclosure. The ringmaster of Sing Along Social is my wife Aoife but I’m not the only one who agrees that Aoife has hit upon a great concept that as you can see below works very well at a festival. Sing Along Social like karaoke en masse but there are no stars showing off, it’s a guilt-free choir where everyone sings together, it’s a singing party where you could be singing Mariah’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’ in June, TLC, ABBA, Enya, Beach Boys or Journey. At Beatyard, the theme is Seaside vs. the City. And watch out for the craic attack of Bingo Loco before hand.


9.

Cinema

Sunday @ Castlepalooza

Cinems

A rising talent from my hometown of Newbridge, CO. Kildare, Peter Fleming’s electronic project left a mark with a full album of instrumental cosmic electronica but he’s since been embracing a sound draws from more upbeat tempos, retro electronic pop styles and vocals.


10.

LYRA

Saturday @ Indiependence

This young Cork lass based in the UK makes pop music in the vein of Florence and keeps her accent intact. Combining Scandinavian pop dynamic productions with her Emerald hear made for some suave pop. I put her on the TV show Striking Out earlier this year in my other job as music supervisor and that got her a lot of traction if I do so so myself. Live, she’s a charmer too.

Posted on August 3rd, 2017

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This Thursday May 11th at the Music Cork conference and showcase, I’m hosting a showcase of emerging and personally-recommended Irish artists at Cyprus Avenue.

We have rising upcoming Dublin singer-songwriter Ailbhe Reddy (8.15pm), Cork pop artist Lyra (10.15pm), electro-pop partystarters Le Boom (11.15pm).

Just announced: Cork singer-songwriter Jack O’Rourke (9.15pm) and a Kormac AV set (12.30am).

The showcase gigs are free but limited so if you want a wristband for Cypress Avenue for guaranteed entry, drop me a line.

Other showcases:

Wednesday May 10th @ Cork Opera House – The Coronas, Callum Stewart, Talos, Columbia Mills
Thursday May 11th @ Triskel – Jafaris, Cry Harridan, Super Silly, Little Hours
Thursday May 11th @ Crane Lane – Rob Burch, Alex & Echoes, Barq, Fangclub
Thursday May 11th @ Old Oak – Bad Bones, Ryan McMullan, Heroes In Hiding, Gypsies On the Autobahn, Audible Joes.

Music Cork is a new conference and showcase event taking place in Cork city from this Wednesday 10th to Friday 12th May. Here’s an interview with Shane Dunne about it.

Featuring talks from industry professionals at The Clayton Hotel throughout the daytime, announced speakers include: Darcus Beese, President of Island Records, booking agents Geoff Meall (UTA / Muse), Steve Zapp (ITB / Biffy Clyro) and Josh Javor (X-Ray / Coldplay), publishing like Martin Toher (B-Unique) and Tommas Arnby (Locomotion).

Tickets are available from €110 for the conference.

See schedule and other showcases.

Posted on May 9th, 2017

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Body&Soul has added more acts to the festival in Ballinlough Castle, Co. Westmeath from June 23 – 25th.

Additions include:

RÜFÜS – Australian dance outfit
Kelsey Lu – Brilliant cellist
Brooke Bentham – Newcastle indie-rock
Lyra – Cork electro-pop
Ships – Dublin synth-pop duo
I Have A Tribe – piano-folk pop

Pagoda Stage:

Ryan Vail – electronic contemporary composer
Auxiliary Phoenix Trio – Jazz and hip hop fusion
Dowth – synth drones and samples
PrYmary Colours – electronic pop
Wastefellow – electronic experimentalism

Reckless in Love:

On Friday – irregular ‘pop-up party’ Alice will feature Byron Yeates and his rotation of residents, oscillating between hardware-heavy analog sets, dreamy house tracks, balearic beat downs and experimental electronics from Automatic Tasty, Breen, Cáit and Eoin Ryan.

Saturday – festival favourites Homebeat curate a night of choice selectors and contemporary beat-makers from across the country. Kicking off with left-field gems from the Homebeat DJs there’ll be sets from Lumo Club, DIP DJs, Major Problems DJs, Neil Flynn (Lossless), Bantum, ELLL and John Daly.

Sunday – Berlin-based label maeve will unleash a surprise line-up that is primed to bring the festival to a spectacular close.

The 2017 Art Trail

Dublin-based collective Algorithm have created an otherworldly portal in the form of their Space Mandala; a vortex that undulates with colour and wills the viewer to relinquish their sense of self and dive headfirst into a shifting and uncertain future. Fusing architecture, engineering and art, Rae Moore has created the Funicular Folly, an explorable terrain that uses light brickwork to create an alternative tent structure that’s begging to be climbed. As festival-goers make their way around the grounds they’ll be greeted by surprising, twinkling, provocative and inspiring pieces from artists such as Felix Power, Jane Groves, Jason Kearney and our resident land artist Christy Collard to name but a few.

Line up: Metronomy / Vitalic / Lambchop / Sleaford Mods / Mykki Blanco / Austra / Optimo20 / La Femme / Sinkane / Birdy Nam Nam / RÜFÜS / Hundred Waters / The Moonlandingz / Songhoy Blues / Tiggs Da Author / Anna Meredith / Formation / A Tribe Called Red / Kelsey Lu / Idiotape / Mammút / King Kong Company / Parcels / Brooke Bentham / Mario Batkovic / Elaine Mai / DBFC / Ailbhe Reddy / TooFools / Weval / Avalon Emerson / Mr TC / Æ Mak / The Bug ft. Miss Red / Loah / Kelly-Anne Byrne / Shookrah / Sing Along Social / Ships / Ollie Bell / Le Boom / Lyra / Jinx Lennon / Barq / Katie Laffan / Joni / I Have a Tribe / John Conneely Inc.


Posted on April 20th, 2017

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Dancing With The Stars is definitely not my buzz at all but delighted to see Cork’s Lyra build on her recent success with placements on Teen Wolf and Striking Out (I was lead music supervisor on that) and Shazam and iTunes chart placements. She appeared on the show to sing ‘Emerald’ backed with some epic drums.

Lyra plays Bello Bar Dublin on May 12th and Nialler9’s Music Cork gig on May 11th.

Here’s the song in full recorded mode.

Posted on March 13th, 2017

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The Cork-born London-based artist Lyra has had some recent success with big placements in two TV shows – Teen Wolf and RTE’s Striking Out (I was music supervisor on the show//playlist here).

Her song ‘Emerald’ ended up at #2 in the Shazam Irish charts after the song aired on Striking Out on RTÉ two weeks ago and there was a lot of reaction to it all round, after half a million people watched it.

So she won a lot of new fans. Nice one.

She’s just announced she’ll be playing the Bello Bar on Friday May 12th. Tickets €13 go on sale this Friday 27th at 9am from Ticketmaster.

Posted on January 24th, 2017

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The London-based Cork artist Lyra debut with an impressively polished ambient pop song called ‘Rabbit In The Headlights’ last month that simultaneously recalled Kate Bush, Enya, FKA Twigs and Swedish pop.

Last night, Lyra played her debut gig at Communion Music’s night in London and she dropped ‘Emerald’, her second track just before it.

That song was largely about embracing her Irish accent – something she does here too. Also embraced, big drums and production, sustained chords and a grand chorus.

This song was also featured in the RTE TV Show Striking Out starring Amy Huberman in January 2017.

Production comes  from Rupert Christie (Kate Bush, Coldplay, Aurora, Say Lou Lou).

Check out ‘Rabbit In The Headlines’ post for more info on Lyra.

Posted on May 17th, 2016

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Hear the Lyra song from TV Show Striking Out here.

Lyra is a new artist who has debuted with an intriguing ambient pop track called ‘Rabbit In The Headlights’ in which you can hear traces of Kate Bush, Enya, FKA Twigs, Swedish pop sensibilities and a strong Irish accent too.

The song has big drums, an underlying electronic production and a big ethereal chorus with Lyra singing “Glorious! You are glorious.”

Flattery gets you everywhere Lyra.

Interestingly, the song is about that strong Irish accent of hers – something she’s embraced.

“I tried to sing differently for so much of my childhood – I even tried singing with a British accent! It made me unhappy trying to be something that I wasn’t. Ultimately I learned I couldn’t be anything other than my true self – I wrote this song to help myself and others realise, there’s only one you on this earth – be it”.

The song was produced by Rupert Christie (Kate Bush, Coldplay, Aurora, Say Lou Lou)

Lyra grew up singing in church before her older sister taught her harmony singing. Lyra plays the bodhran and drums. She has recently moved to London to concentrate on music.

Follow Lyra on Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Posted on April 18th, 2016

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