For a young artist in his twenties, Dubliner Cian Nugent is inspired by music of another age. His debut album Doubles was a favourite around here, featuring elongated John Fahey (revered American guitar bluesman) style songs.
Since then, Nugent as released on on small but respected independent American labels like Matador and No Quarter. Musically too, there was an expansion of exploration with a band called the Cosmos (Brendan Jenkinson on organ and piano; Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh on viola; David Lacey on drums; Conor Lumsden on bass) augmenting the songs in new folkier and country ways.
New album Night Fiction, released this week on Woodsist, is a culmination of all of those folk explorations, country, blues and alternative indie. The band are here to help out effectively on some of the seven tracks but it’s the introduction of Nugent’s voice that sets this album apart from the rest of his work.
For the first time, Nugent’s age, through his cracked, tender loped voice gives his songs a youthful vigour and a new light. The new focus doesn’t leave space as it did before but it brings a new energy to this old music. He fumbles finding notes sometimes but it’s a charm that adds to proceedings, buoyed by his already-established expressive guitar playing. New forms for his old music.
1 – Lost Your Way 2 – First Run 3 – Shadows 4 – Lucy 5 – Things Don’t Change That Fast 6 – Nightlife 7 – Year of the Snake
If you’re in Cork this weekend or looking for something to do nearby, then Quarter Block Party is the one you want. Three days of music, theatre and art as presented by Makeshift Ensemble and Southern Hospitality Board is promised from Friday to Sunday this weekend in venues like Triskel Arts Centre, Cork Vision Centre, BDSM and more.
There’ll be music from O Emperor, Shookrah, Adultrock, Women’s Christmas, Brigid Power Ryce, Cian Nugent, Tandem Felix, Hags, Partisan Crowds, Elastic Sleep, Ben Bix, Roslyn Steer and Chris Power.
There’s free events, Banter discussions with Jim Carroll, Young Hearts Run Free, Stevie G presents Vinyl Love 777 and some theatre shows with names like Britney Spears Custody Battle and African Baby & Dirty Donkey.
Update: Damien Rice, Cian Nugent and Kid Karate added.
The music industry’s standard bacchanalia that is South By Southwest (SXSW), has announced its third round of bands to play and among them are a lot of the Irish acts confirmed to play the Austin festival during March.
International acts playing include Woman’s Hour, Chloe Howl, London Grammar, Dum Dum Girls, East India Youth, NONONO, Gardens & Villa, Ryan Hemsworth, Twin Shadow, Sharon Van Etten, Wave Racer, Young Fathers, Arthur Beatrice, Black Lips, EMA, Future Islands, Gary Numan, Prides, Royal Blood, Wolf Alice, Avi Buffalo, Vance Joy and thousands more.P Diddy is a featured speaker.
Cian Nugent is a young Irish guitarist in the vein of John Fahey, who, in the last few years has released an impressive Doubles on VHF as well as a single ‘Hire Purchase’ on Matador Records. An impressive feat for any musician, not least one in their early twenties.
Nugent has been playing with a live band The Cosmos over the last while and that Matador single was the first release as Cian Nugent & The Cosmos. The Cosmos is Conor Lumsden, Ailbhe nic Oireachtaigh, David Lacey and Brendan Jenkinson. There is now an LP on the way too produced by Karl Odlum – Born With The Caul coming out on No Quarter.
The opening track shares the title with a single from Cian released last year this ‘Grass Above My Head’ is an embellished wander in a blues guitar-assisted melancholy. It’s a beaut.
Continuing the four part series this week, in no particular order, in which various artists, media and music fans I trust answer the question: “What are your five best new musical discoveries of the year?” Their answers were then rummaged through by me and I picked a cross-section list of 40 of the most interesting, diverse new artists from their choices.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 Continuing the four part series this week, in no particular order, in which various artists, media and music fans I trust answer the question: “What are your five best new musical discoveries of the year?” Their answers were then rummaged through by me and I picked a cross-section list of 40 of the most interesting, diverse new artists from their choices.
Last year, Cian Nugent came to a lot of people’s attention with his full-length album Doubles. With just two songs at 45 minutes long, the album was no hop skip and jump easy release. It was an album of steely guitar music inspired by the American fingerstyle legend John Fahey with a spot-on full-band diversions over its running time.
This new 7″ is much more easily digestable but no less impactful. A tense and taut acoustic rendition of Black Flag’s ‘My War’ brings punk and folk into the same hands and hints at Nugent’s generation before taking us into hurtling blues territory and laying us down gently. That cover is proceeded by ‘Grass Above My Head’ a swirling bluesy sprightly Nugent original.
The 7″ is available from VHF Records and all good local shops if you ask.
Here we are. The end of the sixth year of the Nialler9 poll. Thank you all once again for voting. We had about 100 or so votes that made up the results in songs, new artists, EPs and now, the big one – albums. Our ultimate winner has topped the poll before that doesn’t negate the indisputable fact that there’s plenty of superb Irish music contained within this list…
Following the recent closure of his long running Small Hours show on Today FM, Donal Dineen is currently taking a month out of broadcasting to spend some down time back at the drawing board, but watch out for collaborations with Myles O’Reilly in the new year as well as podcasts/pictures/videos/articles & Parish music on a new website in the spring and a photo exhibition in The Joinery in April/May.
Donal plays The Pavilion in Cork on 22nd December. Here are his favourite new artists of 2011:
All this week, we’re having guest posts from various people involved in different strands of Irish music – record shop owners, writers, bloggers, promoters, radio presenters, bands and more, telling us what Irish bands or artists they are really into right now.
Donal Dineen is a Radio DJ, music curator, filmmaker and photographer. Currently presenting The Small Hours on Today FM from midnight – 2am, he also has a monthly DJ residency for Twisted Pepper. His curated irish music series Fresh Air returns in May with four live shows around the country and a month of live on-air interviews and music sessions from some of Ireland’s freshest soundmakers. Donal publishes mixes as Fresh Air on Soundcloud.