A handpicked selection of some of the best festivals, gigs and events coming up in the next three months this summer…

Body & Soul Festival @ Ballinlough Castle Co. Westmeath (€139 / €55 for Sunday)

Friday June 20 – Sunday June 22
A growing reputation as the best boutique festival in Ireland that draws in a serious lineup into its eclectic programme. Caribou, Darkside, Goldfrapp, John Grant, Shabazz Palaces and Mount Kimbie are the big name draws but there’s plenty of Irish talent with the likes of Young Wonder, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Come On Live Long and DJ night lineups curated by Mother, Nightflight and Hidden Agenda.


Arcade Fire, Pixies @ Marlay Park (€61.50)

Sunday June 29
Reflektor, the latest album from Arcade Fire, is a double release, that at 75 minutes took weeks to unlock its best moments. But now that its been digested some highlights are obvious: We Exist, Reflektor, Here Comes The Night Time, Afterlife to name several. The band’s live show has been trucking around playing songs tied to the city they’re playing in. My guess for June 29th? U2? Too obvious? The support band Pixies are on a second or third reunion at this point (sans Kim Deal of course) but their discography is loaded with classics enough to make you forget about those new unrequited songs. You can also catch the Pixies Live At The Marquee in Cork on June 30th.


Kanye West And Pharrell @ Marlay Park, Dublin (€59.50)

Wednesday July 2
An odd pairing at first glance but for the price of €59.50, one that’s pretty economical. On the one hand, Pharrell’s latest album Girl is a bit lightweight but he has the prescience of his audience to include a smattering of hits like Frontin’, Hollaback Girl, Drop It Like It’s Hot and Beautiful. As for Kanye? Well a lot has happened for him since Yeezus (baby, marriage, going to the cinema in Portlaoise) dropped but it’s unlikely that there’ll be any letting up in the spectacle department as the Yeezus tour is his most ambitiously staged yet.


The Prodigy @ The Marquee, Cork (€60)

Wednesday July 2
If you’re of a certain age, enough time has passed without you losing your shit to the sound of Liam, Keith and Maxim that it’s probably time to worship at the firestartin’ altar once more. You’ll be rewarded with a heavy dose of raved-up punk classics: Voodoo People, Breathe, Smack My Bitch Up, Their Law and Out Of Space. That’s hard to say no to.


Seven Quarters: Patrick Kelleher and Magic Pockets @ Whelan’s, Dublin (€10)

Friday July 4th
Seven Quarters is a new club night which happens four times a year in Whelan’s with a limited seven inch vinyl from each band given to the first 150 members of the audience. The second edition sees the alternative pop of Patrick Kelleher line up alongside the synth electronics of Magic Pockets.


A Fest Called Tribe @ The Bernard Shaw, Dublin (Free)

Saturday July 5
I always associate the summer with the sound of A Tribe Called Quest so this is an appropriate use of the season. Kicking off at 6pm with a screening of the Beats, Rhymes & Life documentary, the night continues with Joints&Jams DJs playing some Tribe music and related-material. The Big Blue Bus will also be putting on a special themed pizza , The Ham N Eggs (roast organic ham, free range egg & spinach) named after their 1990 track.


Little Green Cars @ Iveagh Gardens, Dublin (€28)

Saturday July 12
Watching the rise of LGC has been fascinating, not least because I first saw the band win a battle of the bands competition as a group of raggle-taggle 15 year-olds. They’re now in the world-class league thanks to heavy gigging and a collection of harmonic indie-folk songs that have found a rightful sizeable audience. This is their biggest headline show in Dublin but it won’t be their last.


Hall and Oates @ Olympia Theatre (€33)

Tuesday July 15
Daryl and John are still some of the biggest hitmakers in the business, and remain the top selling duo in U.S. chart history. That’s because of the HITS: I Can’t Go For That, Maneater, You Make My Dreams, Rich Girl, She’s Gone and others. Classic pop music and a rare chance to see the creators in the flesh.


The National @ Iveagh Gardens / Live At The Marquee @ Cork City / Big Top, Galway

July
Mid-July is all about the maudlin indie-rockers from New York who play four different outdoor gigs in Ireland. Kicking off at The Marquee in Cork on July 14th, the Big Top in Galway on July 16th and two nights in Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens on June 18th and June 19th. Phosphorescent support on all dates except the 19th where Owen Pallett steps up. I recommend an advance watch of The National film Mistaken For Strangers, a fascinating and funny documentary about lead singer Matt Berninger’s brother Tom, who comes on tour with the band.


Longitude @ Marlay Park, Dublin (€149 for weekend / €59.50 per day)

Friday July 19 – Sunday July 22
Last year’s Longitude established the festival as an essential part of the summer calendar and while this year relies more on the new names than the big names there’s plenty to recommend spending time in an suburban park with: Haim, Disclosure, Massive Attack, John Talabot, James Vincent McMorrow, Chvrches, Hozier, Le Galaxie, Talos, Banks and Roosevelt.


Mountain Dew Festival 2014 @ Cork

Saturday July 26
Maybe it’s a bit silly putting an invite-only event on a guide but Mountain Dew is doing something different and deserves some kudos. Events like this should be encouraged. Run by Colm O’Herlihy from the garden of his family home, the musical lineup includes Talos, Slow Skies, Stevie G, Samaris, Meltybrains? Daniel Martin Moore, Conor Walsh and there’ll also be some Jim Carroll-hosted Banter and good food by The Rocket Man. Besides, maybe if you ask nicely, he’ll invite you along. Or maybe you should start your own small festival?


BadbadnotGood @ The Sugar Club, Dublin (€10)

Wednesday July 30
This Toronto Jazz trio who play hip-hop instrumentals for the head-nodders have worked with Tyler, The Creator and most recently, Ghostface Killah on the superb Six Degrees. They’ve already played here in May but they, and we, liked it so much they’re coming back.


Castlepalooza Music & Arts Festival @ Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co. Offaly (€89 / €50 for Sunday ticket)

Friday August 1 – Sunday August 3
If you’re the kind of person that gets lost at a festival then the walled garden of Charleville Castle where Castlepalooza is set is for you. Pitch your tent around the back of the (haunted) castle and make the short jaunt to see the likes of Gruff Rhys, Giles Peterson, Andrew Weatherall, Daithí, Meltybrains?, Norman J and Ships.


Electric Picnic @ Stradbally, Co. Laois (€229 / €90)

Friday August 29 – Sunday August 31
Now in its eleventh year, EP continues to set the bar for a combination of eclectic programme, some big big names and a plethora of stages featuring food, discussions, trailer parks and stranded boats. The marquee names include Outkast, Beck, Portishead, Pet Shop Boys, Foals, St. Vincent, Lily Allen, Chic and Blondie. I’m also looking forward to seeing Jungle, Omar Souleyman, Twin Shadow, FKA Twigs and Kaytranada. Electric Picnic remains the biggest and best festival in Ireland.

Brought to you by Jameson.

Posted on June 18th, 2014

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As featured in the Irish Independent’s Insider mag every Thursday. Spotify and Youtube playlists below.

Mr Williams and his giant hat have been all over the place in the last year and a half, engineering hits for Robin Thicke, singing on the song of last summer, ‘Get Lucky’, releasing his own debut album, and most recently, turning 40 while still looking like a skateboard kid. Good genes and good tunes. Here are ten tracks of note Pharrell has had a hand in since changing the sound of pop with The Neptunes in the late-nineties.

1. Old Dirty Bastard feat. Kelis – ‘Got Your Money’

There was a time where the song was basically a requirement at every club in the land.

2. N.E.R.D. – ‘She Wants To Move’

Yes, that is Britain’s Got Talent judge/ former Mis teeq rapper Alesha Dixon in the video.

3. Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell – ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’

It’s some sort of production genius to make a beat out of tongue clicks.

4. Gwen Stefani – ‘Hollaback Girl’

This shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. This still sounds futuristic 10 years later.

5. Kelis – ‘Milkshake’

An instant classic the day it was released in 2003.

6. Clipse – ‘Grindin’

More minimal bass and beat sumptuousness.

7. Britney Spears – ‘Boys’

This song was originally intended for Janet Jackson.

8. Future – ‘Move That Dope’

Pharrell rapped for the first time in ages this year and equipped himself well among some heavy-hitters.

9. Justin Timberlake – ‘Senorita’

The perfect curtain closer to any good night out, because it holds the key to a dancefloor by encouraging the boys and girls to mingle.

10. Pharrell – ‘Happy’

Luckily for Pharrell, Cee Loo Green passed on this song, which means Cee Lo is almost directly responsible for Pharrell crying on Oprah.

Listen to the Spotify playlist:

Previous Insider playlists:
Italo Disco

Posted on May 15th, 2014

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Yesterday, eminent remixer and Montreal beat producer Kaytranada dropped a ZIP file featuring 19 different remixes, edits and off-cuts.

There’s lots of good stuff in there for your ears and DJ sets including remixes of Missy Elliott, Jay Dee, Jill Scott, Azealia Banks, Ciara and more. There’s original tracks in there too as well as an edit of Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’ titled ‘Forever Lasting Night’

It’s all badly tagged but all very worth your effort. He also separately dropped his remix of Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ this week. Kaytranada has a new EP coming on XL Recordings this summer and plays Electric Picnic this year.

Download the ZIP bundle.

Lots more gold on his Soundcloud.

Posted on May 15th, 2014

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It was suggested last week on Twitter that Kanye West would be playing one of the Dublin parks soon but news is out that Kanye will be joined by Pharrell Williams for a gig in Marlay Park on July 2nd.

Tickets are €59.50 plus fees on sale on Friday April 11th at 9am from Ticketmaster and usual outlets.

Here’s what the Yeezus tour has looked like:

Pharrell on SNL over the weekend:

Posted on April 7th, 2014

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Tracks of the Week playlist


1. Shamir – ‘If It Wasn’t True’

Simply one of the best things I’ve heard in ages. The sound of DFA disco house filtered through a 19 year-old Las Vegas kid Shamir Bailey. Playful, danceable and both modern and vintage at the same time.


2. Talos – ‘Tethered Bones’

Cork blooms again with Eoin French, formerly of now-defunct Hush War Cry singing and Young Wonder Ian Ring at the controls.


3. Fort Romeau – ‘Her Dream’

Seven minutes of luscious ambient dance music from the Her Dream EP out on March 17th on German label Live At Robert Johnson.


4. Lxury – ‘Never Love’

Young UK producer Lxury provides one of the standouts of the recent Kitsuné compilation (yes, they’re still making them). Also check out his Chvrches remix and the pretty damn amazing ‘J.A.W.S.’.


5. Hundred Waters – ‘Cavity’

There’s a new Hundred Waters album on the way in May. I’m excited. ‘Cavity’ is probably the closest Hundred Waters have come to the xx-style dynamics The song is on iTunes.


6. Wallis Bird – ‘Hardly Hardly’

First single, from her fourth album, Architect out on April 11th finds Wallis Bird showing signs of sonic progression without losing her core characteristics. The song has a fervent acoustically-rendered rhythmic section that make it sound taut and controlled like a Simian Mobile Disco track. This is definitely a song that could look good on the dancefloor.


7. Rocstrong – ‘Go’Head’

Andre J.P Bangala is a Congo-born Dublin musician and ‘Go’Head’ is his debut track showing some pop swing, some funk, some doomy blues and is a bit of fresh air.

Rocstrong plays State’s Faces gig on Saturday night in The Mercantile with The Clameens and Carriages. Free in.


8. Shura – ‘Touch’

A pleasant soulful R&B debut single from London’s Shura. The video is an absolute shiftfest.


9. Future – ‘Move That Dope’

Pharrell, Pusha T, Schoolboy Q guest on Future’s new single – an absolute jam. First Beats Music product placement in a video I’ve seen too.


10. YOGI – ‘Burial’ feat. Pusha T

This silly big Yogi production is the logical conclusion of Skrillex’ dubstep, Major Lazer EDM and TNGHT’s Trap with Pusha T representing the rap force.

Posted on March 7th, 2014

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Artwork by Fatti Burke.

This is a personal list of the 20 music videos that stuck with me for various reasons, some explained below, some because they are great examples and some because they lifted the song into a new realm. These are my 20 favourites as opposed to my best.


20. Biggles Flys Again – ‘Chambers’

Video by: Colm Russell

A Wes Anderson-style clip of Dublin looking beautiful soundtracks the 28 stages of a relationship breakdown.


19. Grizzly Bear – ‘Gun-Shy’

Video by: Kris Moyles

You won’t thank me for watching this one – it’s a plain weird video featuring Grizzly Bear band members getting various surgical and medical samples taken in an idyllic place to the soundtrack of their gorgeous song.


18. Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Doris’

Video by: Hiro Murai

A dark menacing beat gets a roving urban foreboding video.


17. Lizzo feat. Sophia Eris – Batches & Cookies

Video by: Ryan Kron Thompson

If a video is a designed to introduce to an artist and give you a short time frame in which to “get” them, Lizzo’s video does that all right here. The Detroit MC is just one of those great videos that gives you a snapshot of the artist’s character and does so in a three and a half minute burst of fun. It also lifts the tune which is what any great video does.


16. Fryars – ‘Cool Like Me’ (Original and Mike Skinner remix)l

Video by: Ian & Cooper / Mike Skinner

Two videos for the same song: the original and the remix. The former is the cinematic one, focusing on a cult of body-popping evangelical bell-ringers while the latter for the Mike Skinner remix and also directed by him, is a play on the title of the song, takes pleasure in putting Fryars’ Benjamin Garrett and Mike Skinner as the photobombing background focus of a host of cooler-than-thou people at London Fashion week.


15. Glasser – ‘Design’

Video by: Jonathan Turner

Cameron Mesirow’s Interiors is an album that is inspired by “architecture, a physical imposition in my life, and the fluid emotional boundaries of relationships.” This clip for ‘Design’ fits that aesthetic and the song’s arpeggiated synths and nuanced production.


14. Bob Dylan – ‘Like A Rolling Stone’

Video by: Vania Heymann

The concept is simple. An interactive TV where every station is lip-synching to the Dylan classic.

Watch/interact: http://video.bobdylan.com/


13. Dizzee Rascal – ‘I Don’t Need A Reason’

Video by: Emile Sornin

Video techniques loop like animated GIFs. Brilliantly effective and suitable for the track’s minimal beat.


12. Hozier – ‘Take Me To Church’

Video by: Feel Good Lost

‘Take Me To Church’ is the most complete song from Hozier’s nascent career, a soulful high-spirited track which seeks redemption in the flesh through metaphors around church worship – “if the heaven’s ever did speak / she’s the last true mouth piece”, “i was born sick but I love it / command me to be well”. Andrew Hozier-Byrne is a perfect vessel for that sentiment: his voice also plays on that dichotomy, a gospel-fused and sensual soul instrument.

It’s a clever ploy, playing the incongruous relationship between sex and religion off each other. Fittingly, Feel Good Lost’s black and white video for the track also addresses that issue: by showing what can happen to a gay couple who, in 2013, these modern times, are not recognised by the church and subsequently by prejudiced peers at a time when homophobia is proposed as a law by the Russian authorities. The video has a powerful synergy to it.


11. Arcade Fire – ‘Afterlife’

Video by: Emily Kai Bock

Kai Bock’s ‘Afterlife’ video has a sumptuous dreamy quality that wraps itself around in the song in a cinematic haze.


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Posted on December 17th, 2013

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The 30 tracks that made the month of music awesome in a Soundcloud playlist with links to where you can find the track.

The 30 tracks:

  1. Pharrell – ‘Happy’
  2. Busta Rhymes feat. Q-Tip – ‘Thank You’
  3. New Jackson – ‘Of A Thousand Leaves’
  4. Daniel Avery – ‘Drone Logic’
  5. Somadrone – ‘Reckoning’
  6. Katharine Philippa – ‘Pawns’
  7. Lisa O’Neill – ‘Come Sit Sing’
  8. Roosevelt – ‘Montreal’
  9. Daithí feat. Senita – ‘Case Closed’
  10. Todd Terje – ‘Q’
  11. Metronomy – ‘I’m Aquarius’
  12. Lethal Dialect – ‘School Dayz are Over’
  13. A$AP Ferg – ‘Shabba Remix’ feat. Busta Rhymes and Migos
  14. Sampha – ‘Too Much’
  15. Ellie Goulding – ‘How Long Will I Love You’ (EMBRZ remix)
  16. Fight Like Apes – ‘Carousel’
  17. ZZ Top – ‘Legs’
  18. Go Wolf – ‘Voices’
  19. Benihana – ‘Tell You’
  20. Majical Cloudz – ‘Savage’
  21. Flume and Chet Faker – ‘Drop The Game’
  22. Chvrches – ‘Lies’ (Ikonika remix)
  23. Four Tet – ‘KOOL FM’ (Champion remix)
  24. Penny Penny – ‘Dance Khomela’
  25. Bobby – ‘Tame The Shrew’
  26. Deady – ‘Lightning and Thunder’
  27. Angel Olsen – ‘Forgiven /Forgotten’
  28. Sam Smith, Disclosure, Nile Rodgers & Jimmy Napes – ‘Together’
  29. Tinashe – ‘Vulnerable’
  30. Janet Jackson – ‘If’ (Kaytranada Remix)

Posted on December 3rd, 2013

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single+art

If you’re like me you’ve been singing the chorus to this new Daft Punk song for the last week or so (alternating it with “go rub a Mexican monkey” soundalike). The song is now on iTunes. I’m of the opinion that ‘Get Lucky’ is a masterful pop record. A lot of people were crying foul yesterday saying it must be fake and that Pharrell’s vocals were done by somebody else. Clearly, these people were obviously projecting something of their own hopes on the return of Daft Punk being something closer to shake up the world of dance music, that would help rid the tide of poor-quality “EDM” from our Soundclouds and iPods. Instead, ‘Get Lucky’ is just a great pop tune.

For me, getting Pharrell and Nile Rodgers in for their comeback single is a smart move. It indicates that Daft Punk are perhaps happy with making great pop music rather than changing the dance game as they did before. Daft Punk are the elders now. ‘Get Lucky’ is basically a great funk record. I’m sure the kids listening to Trap music probably hate it. And lest we forget their last album proper Human After All was pretty uninspired. Away from the amazing marketing campaign they’ve created, this makes them relevant musically, for now. Random Access Memories, the album is a whole other story.

Posted on April 18th, 2013

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