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.
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.
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.
Saturday @ Castlepalooza, Sunday @ Indiependence
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.
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.
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’.
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.”
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.
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.
Sunday @ Castlepalooza
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.
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.
‘Is There No End’, from Shit Robot’s newest album is a song that is narrated by Jayson Green ( singer of piunk bands Orchid and Panthers). in a stream-of-consciousness at the club who rambles to the party, isn’t let back into the club, leaves his jacket inside and drifts off into the ether.
New Jackson’s remix of the track, to be released alongside a remix by Khotin this Friday, takes a different tack.
His trademark waspy vocoder replaces the excited mumblings and the rhythm goes deeper, more of a comedown than a come-on lad.
I’ve made an Electric Picnic DJ Mix every year since 2008. It’s always been a blast to make and a highlight of the site for me personally. 2016’s mix features 22 artists on the Electric Picnic lineup over 20 songs in just under 55 minutes.
It’s for bumping for your festival prep for the next week or in the car on the way down to Stradbally. Last year’s mix.
The focus is on Irish music happening now, emerging and trending. I want this to be the definitive collection of new Irish music throughout the year in one place which I’ll be featuring as it comes on the site. Subscribe below.
A surprise demo album called untitled unmastered. dropped Thursday night.
Kendrick Lamar’s untitled unmastered. in its title and track listing suggests a temporary unfinished state. A collection of demos recorded from 2013 to 2016 without a place to go. Lamar has performed two of these songs live on TV shows Colbert and Fallon, but they’ve evolved much since these recordings. This temporary missive gives those songs a home while also showing us a jazzier side to his craft.
Despite this status, there’s much to enjoy and most of it comes from Lamar’s rhymes. An appearance from CeeLo Green is a highlight but the most well-rounded track is ‘untitled 03 05.28.2013’, an urgent rhyme matched by a celebratory beat that sounds close to completion.
‘Do It, Try It’
M83’s new song is grandiose and cheesy yet great
The music of Anthony Gonzalez, M83, over his discography has transformed from ambient electronic pop to the kind of large-scale electronic compositions that work well juxtaposed with Hollywood blockbusters. Sitting in between, was an 80s-inspired synth electronic pop that brought the former to the latter.
Nostalgic grandiosity has always been key to M83’s music.
On Junk, the new forthcoming album (April 8th), arriving five years after Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming and that album’s apex – ‘Midnight City’, Gonzalez says he’s returned to the influences of his early career – Tangerine Dream, Kevin Shields, Aphex Twin and Brian Wilson, yet has tried to expand his sound again.
That epic quality is still evident on the album’s first single, after all Gonzalez excels at it. ‘Do It, Try It’ has its backbone in synth and electronic pop and pushes into ’80s French pop, ’80s prog and as the chorus suggests – “A dance on repeat / A trance of a heartbeat”, a kinship with dance music’s more euphoric elements.
“Listen to a sound of a new tomorrow,” the song’s introduction goes. When it comes to M83, the sound of tomorrow, is always primarily the past, and it works.
Marcus Lambkin aka Shit Robot will release his third DFA Records album What Follows on May 6th this year.
Guests include Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, David Kitt’s New Jackson, Jay Green (of American punk bands Orchid and Panthers) along with regular collaborators Nancy Whang, Museum of Love (Pat Mahoney and Dennis McNany) & Juan Maclean.
Now based in Stuttgart, the Dubliner’s release is a fully-analogue centric album, with Lambkin saying he moved away from the computer in favour of a more tactile approach.
“This is the first time that I actually sat down and said, ‘I’m going to make an album now and I’m going to finish it by a specific date and time.’ I wanted to make a record that was more cohesive, that sounded like it all came from the one session. I wanted it to reflect my DJing style a bit more, less pop, less disco, more machines. There’s no live bass and barring a few hi-hats, there’s no live drums.
Shit Robot & Reggie Watts collaborated twice on Marcus Lambkin’s recent Shit Robot Album We Got A Love, on the title track and ‘The Secret’.
The pair are back again on the propulsive classic house throwback ‘Where It’s At’. Watts even does his best Thriller voiceover impression to kick things off.
The track was mixed by James Murphy and is out now with a remix by Johnny Aux.
And that illustration above is from SR’s Facebook page – his contribution to the Yes For Love project by Richard Seabrooke, Gianni Dolce with a ton of creatives in support of the Yes Campaign on May 22nd.
For the ninth year, I’ve handed the mic over to you guys to see what Irish albums made you move or moved you. This year 92 individual albums voted for and if you want to see the top 50, it’s at the end. But here’s a focus on the top 25 Irish albums released in 2014 as voted for by Nialler9 readers.
If anything tickles your fancy, be sure to drop into one of the Tower Records in Dublin, on Dawson Street or Eason’s, O’Connell Street and support the artist by buying a copy, preferably on vinyl.
NYC-based robotic Dubliner’s second album on DFA Records
With artwork from fellow Dublin globe-travelling artist Maser, Marcus Lambkin’s second album for the influential label is thoroughly of the DFA cannon. Those drums often associated with the label are felt throughout: post-punk-style yet filtered through Lambkin’ productions.
For the most part, the songs rely on club textures and modes: filtering from synth-disco to rave to electro to house. Dance and pop tropes are reinforced by vocalists Nancy Whang, Jenr and particularly by Holly Backer on ‘Feels Like’. The title track featuring the comedian Reggie Watts doing his soulful warble thing to a house-piano beat is a highlight.
Fourth album from the rejuvenated Dublin indie rock band.
“Assured from start to finish, Delorentos can even offer a peon to their hometown (‘Dublin Love Song’) that doesn’t leave you curled up in a ball of embarrassment. Yes they’re not exactly swimming against the musical tide but that makes the results all the more impressive, that in a world full of guitar bands they can still leave their mark. Another potential hurdle cleared with few difficulties, there’s even the feeling that the real Delorentos story is only just starting.” Phil Udell – State.ie.
The Galway kid moves from fiddling around into EDM pop circles on his own.
From his first forays into fiddle-assisted electronica, Daithí O’Dronaí has really raised his own bar and his sights. The music on his debut album In Flight (Co-produced by rising talent Ian Ring of Young Wonder) was unlike any other Irish album made this year as it was unabashedly a pop record: albeit one with the underlying structure of house, pop, trad and electronic music
Granted Irish radio is less accepting of this type of music than the UK is which maybe explained why the album didn’t spawn a big hit but in tracks like ‘Case Closed’ with Cork singer Senita, ‘Chameleon Life’ with singer Raye and ‘Have To Go’ featuring soul singer Jesse Boykins III there are certifiable chart house-pop bangers. No-one else in Ireland is making that kind of crossover music right now. Time for some catchup.
Yes, the electronic music pioneer is from Limerick so his first record in 13 years has been claimed.
“We know now that the contents of Syro is just some of the material recorded in the intervening years in one of James’ many studios. The oldest track stretch back six or seven years, using a massive 138 pieces of musical equipment (all listed in spiral on the artwork).
What appears before it also echoes the heavier side of Druqks but repeated listens reveal new textures, new moods, new avenues explored by James. The trademark eeriness of melody and general cheeky humour is still evident throughout but the greatest part of a new Aphex Twin record is that is truly allows you to get lost in its puzzle, a completely different musical terrain even when there are expected imprints of ambient works, electro, acid, jungle and squiggly funk.
The 10 minute experience of ‘XMAS_EVET10 [thanaton3 mix]’ feels different every time with environmental listening experiences changing the focus and feel (headphones, outdoors, late-night) as all the best electronic music can do. Syro still offers much to explore, many repeat listens in.
And that is the key to why Aphex Twin is pored over so minutely, because he goes into such detail in his music. James’ intricate compositional skills remains his biggest asset. While his sounds have been copied over the years, his brain is still peerless.”
A brilliant grimey hip-hop collaborative album via Clare, Zimbabwe and Limerick..
“As they describe it, ‘a Zimbabwean Christian and an Irish pagan sit down with a pot of tea’ with the expressed interest of changing the game.
What God Knows, the founding member of the Random Acts Of Kindness collective and Ennis-born mynameisjOhn came up with (along with MuRli) is a game-changer in the way it drags Irish hip-hop into a fully-formed album/mixtape format with a confidence and skill that is unfamiliar in this country’s rap output.
MC God Knows is a fervent presence, an MC with command, as heard on the soulful clip of ‘Standard’, an easy album highlight. MynameisjOhn provides the horn-soul hip-hop backing but doesn’t rest there, the beats bang, the strings stab and God Knows goes double time to the beat slowing to let the soul sample breathe.
The versatility extends to MynameisjOhn too. ‘Throw The Spear’ reminds me of an MF Doom production – Dangerdoom era, meets Machinedrum. ‘Habbahuk’ is more plaintive, ‘Twentyfourseven’ is psychedelic funk and there are hints of a knowledge of electronic subgenres, even African dance on ‘African Shirts’.
Aspects of being an African boy growing up in Ireland seeps through the lyrics in details about being black in an Irish school. He’s Joined by MuRli and Guide on ‘Words Of Our Fathers’, a track which, in the short history of Irish-African rap would have never been made twenty years ago, and serves as an aural document of one small thing that multi-cultural Ireland has given us.”
The electro-rock band’s swansong leaves us stranded on a Mario Kart cloud.
“It’s facile to call the band math-rock or post-rock because there aren’t many of the standard tropes of those genres really left in the Adebisi Shank sound.
Post-rock used a traditional band set up to create something new with the same instruments but Adebisi strive for euphoria through a larger palette of sounds that they’ve incorporated from 80s music and video game soundtracks through vocoders, one of their dad’s saxophone playing, electro synths and Japanese pop culture. This Is The Third Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank is a whizz-bang of flag waving exuberance.”
The two teachers’ second album rocks out with brevity and lyrical craft.
“The first album from John Duignan and drummer Conall O’Breachain as We Cut Corners clocked in at 27 minutes but packed in more passion, melody and meaning than most manage at twice that length. That brevity is one of the band’s greatest assets, the delivery of short, sharp gut punching tracks that bow to the three-minute rule has become a trademark.
The band’s second album Think Nothing, recorded in Donegal with Villagers’ producer/guitarist Tommy McLaughlin is no different in that regard. Two years in the making no less but running at just 34 seconds extra, it wastes little of that duration. We Cut Corners are not a band made for indulgences.”
Martin Hayes’ trad supergroup create an album that breaks many moulds.
“Those self-imposed challenges over the years lead fiddle player Hayes to to form The Gloaming, a group featuring two other Irishmen: singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh, playing his hardanger fiddle (a special instrument of Norwegian origin with eight or nine strings rather than four) and two Americans, the guitarist and frequent Hayes collaborator Dennis Cahill and American pianist Thomas Bartlett.
The Gloaming does create new ideas in old ones, by gelling the different experiences of the players. “I don’t recognise the lines that the rest of this band sees,” Bartlett says in a documentary about the band. ‘They’re very happy to go outside of those boundaries, but the fact that I don’t even know the tradition helps make them disappear.’
The Gloaming achieves a spacious temporal glow. Its evocative arrangements let the tunes breathe between the players, using familiar language in what feels like fresh ways. It communicates with the outside world from Cork to Clare to Vermont to Chicago to Norway and beyond. It has a context in that wide open world and does something delicate with the weight of history that informs it.”
The Wicklow bluesy/rock singer was Spotify’s most viral artist of the year and defied expectation. My, how he’s grown.
“The Wicklow man’s debut album’s 13 songs reveal an assured lyricist, a powerful singer and dedicated blues guitarist that is a stern reminder, despite his growing ubiquity, of exactly why the dude is only going to get more visible.”
“Taken all together in album format, it’s the howl, the voice that keeps drawing you back. Hozier-Byrne proves he knows how to write a good song or 13, and he knows how to use his Bill Withers bellow to memorable effect. Hozier has the confidence where it matters – in the tunes. Everything else is already on the cards.”
The Dubliner transitions from the folk tag to something much more effervescent.
“Post Tropical is all about breaking away from conventions of McMorrow’s previous form. It is more nuanced and less traditional. Since appearing as a bearded man in a flannel shirt with a guitar, McMorrow has talked about how appearing as a bearded man in a flannel shirt with a guitar has pegged him as a folk artist. Certainly, much of Early In The Morning fit in with that pastoral idea of a folk musician, even going on song titles like ‘Follow You Down To The Red Oak Tree’ and ‘To The Woods!!!’ alone.
McMorrow revels in defying those tags here. Recorded largely by himself, possibly all of the instruments and all of the layered harmonies which are also his, in a studio on a pecan farm in Texas on the Mexico border, Post Tropical is all about keeping away from the obvious.
It’s worth stating again, that the album is the work of one talented man’s intense schedule in isolation. It’s a towering achievement in that case but even without knowing that fact, Post Tropical stands up as a less-immediate release to its predecessor. It’s an emphatically unconventional yet rewarding album and a considerable achievement for its creator.”
Shit Robot and Nancy Whang have proved a fruitful pairing in the past so no surprise for Shit Robot’s second album We Got A Love out on March 14th, that’s next week, on DFA, they’ve teamed up again on a funky-dance track with the lo-fi video featuring lots of Nancy dancing.
POD & Abstract Present Greenhouse over two-days on Sunday March 16th and Monday March 17th in Meeting House Square & NEED, opening at 2pm every day and featuring Mano Le Tough, Laurent Garnier, Japanese Popstars and more.
Sunday: Japanese Popstars, Ian O’Donovan, David De Valera, Aaron Nolan, Philip Galvin Jnr, Jonathan Kiely & Melodic DJs, special guest Laurent Garnier + more to be announced
Monday: Mano Le Tough (3hr Set), Cassy, Hidden Agenda V NightFlight DJs, DICE DJs, Bedlam DJs, Abstract DJs, SouthPaw DJs & Sense DJs + more to be announced
After visiting The Academy last week, Danny Brown along with Angel Haze (Irish debut) will support Macklemore/Ryan Lewis and Ellie Goulding at Marlay Park on July 10th. Tickets €49.50 plus fee on sale now.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre, the subject of Dig! aka one of the best music documentaries around are playing The Academy on July 9th Tickets priced €22.90 plus fees on sale Friday. Harmonic Presents is bringing a few names to Dublin soon.
First there’s witch-house-style electronic grimeyness from Eyedress who play Whelans Upstairs on May 1st. Tickets €13 plus fee from usual places like Tickets.ie and Ticketmaster.
He might be known as a comedian primarily but his Reggie Watt’s reputation on a mic isn’t far behind. The man has a soulful vocal range that dips from Barry White to falsetto, a skill he demonstrates on this new Shit Robot single ‘We Got A Love’. Shit Robot sets up the funk bass and house piano stabs and lets Watts fly, nay, SOAR.
Shit Robot’s forthcoming album on DFA Records is also called We Got A Love. It’s out next year. Doesn’t that look like Alan Partridge on the artwork? Video by Tom Kenney. iTunes link.
The new single from Marcus Lambkin’s Shit Robot finds the trademark disco synth swagger in full effect. What sets ‘Feels Real’ apart from last year’s ‘Space Race’ single is Luke Jenner of The Rapture’s discotastic falsetto. Here, he’s credited simply as JENR. The song is out on a 12″ on Monday through DFA with remixes by Luke Solomon and Larse.
Also next week, Shit Robot is playing Cypress Ave, Cork on May 3rd, Roisin Dubh, Galway on May 4th and Button Factory, Dublin post Camden Crawl with The Field on May 5th. If you’re in NYC, he’ll be playing the DFA/RBMA closing party alongside a whopper lineup. Stream the track below via the Vimeo vid:
As announced by On The Record last week, the lineup for the Little Big Tent at Electric Picnic has been announced and includes in order of excitement:
Onra Star Slinger Factory Floor Shit Robot AV show Toby Kaar Andrew Weatherall Rainbow Arabia Laser Tom And The Blast Crew Jacques Lu Cont Tensnake Crazy P Zinc The 2 Bears Kormac Av Set David De Valera Lrb Gretta Gunn Trainwreck Djs
After his music video work for Sarsparilla (now Diamond Dagger) and Deep Burial, Fergal Brennan gets into stop-motion mode for the latest Shit Robot video featuring Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip. With help from Graham Lambkin, Peter Symes, Elizabeth Brennan, Jeannie O’Brien, Ian Pierce and Richard Gilligan.