Tag Archives: Ireland

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Auxiliary PhoenixCarlow beats/jams

What you may need to know…

01. Whether working solo or at the centre of a live trio, James Strain, aka Auxiliary Phoenix, specialises in jazzy, hazy beats.

02. New single Night Light features the vocal talents of hip-hop legend Vast Aire, one-half of Cannibal Ox and former collaborator of Run the Jewels’ El-P, as well as Delaware MC Gentle Jones.

03. Streaming above is the VHS-riffing lyric video, premiered via Nialler9 last week.

04. It’s taken from upcoming EP Power Cosmic, available later in Spring via Dublin tape-based label Little L Recordings.

Thoughts: A polished yet relaxed effort that manages to breathe easy under the weight of the star-power of its featurees.

Auxiliary Phoenix

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The Winter PassingTipperary post-hardcore

What you may need to know…

01. Post-hardcore, indie, emo, and so forth: signifiers seem to make less difference to Tipp outfit The Winter Passing and their pristine pop as time goes on.

02. Having paid their dues over the past five years with endless Irish and UK touring, solo and in support of touring acts, the band last year released their debut album A Different Space of Mind.

03. Streaming above is the band’s new single, Significance, coming from the band’s upcoming E.P. Double Exposure, releasing through Big Scary Monsters in the U.K. in April.

04. Says guitarist Rob Flynn to DIY Magazine on the E.P.:

”This record is a lot more personal than any of our previous work. The songs touch on mental health and well-being themes, a central point being the anxiety caused by stability and instability in your life and dealing with your ability to ‘be ok’. This time the writing is more personal to each of us individually, and from a new stand-point in each other’s lives in comparison to ‘A Different Space of Mind’.”

Thoughts: Strident yet sensitive. Inspiring in its honesty, The Winter Passing’s perseverance is reaping its just reward.

The Winter Passing

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From left: Clare McLaughlin, Niamh Briggs, Ireland Women’s head coach Tom Tierney, Nora Stapleton and Alison Miller at the Pool Draw for the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 in Belfast City Hall last November

Too many caps.

Not enough integration.

An open letter by frustrated supporters of the women’s game.

To whomever cares,

When we were returning to Ireland after the women’s Rugby World Cup in France in 2014, we were exhausted but so excited about the future of women’s rugby in Ireland.

We had beaten New Zealand, the first International team in Irish history to do so. We eventually lost to England in a tough semi final but anyone who was in Marcoussis that day knows the feeling of anticipation and expectation that lay ahead of this team.

Ireland had been underestimated by New Zealand and even by some of their fans but they over-delivered and it lead to one of the greatest days in Irish sporting history.

Naturally after a World Cup a team goes through a transition period, Philip Doyle retired as head coach of the team and Ireland’s most capped players, Fiona Coughlan and Lynne Cantwell stepped down along with Siobhan Flemming, Laura Guest and Grace Davitt. However the future was bright for the Irish team, Niamh Briggs was named in the team of the tournament (Scrumqueens) and took over the captaincy from Fiona Coughlan.

Alison Miller who scored one of the most famous tries of the tournament was coming into her own and a wealth of players who had stood up at the world cup were ready for the next challenge.

From the first game of the 2015 6 Nations to the Italy match two weeks ago 32 new players have been capped under Tom Tierney and the management team, ie. 32 new caps in 16 games since the 2014 World Cup.

And to put that into context, during Philip Doyle’s last four years as Irish Head Coach, 21 new players were capped across 4 seasons, including 1 World Cup and 4 6Nations tournaments. 14 of those 21 caps came in the first two years of the World Cup cycle.

Not only did this give the players time to gain invaluable test match experience it also allowed them to develop and implement structures while building effective partnerships on the pitch.

New caps and inconsistencies in positions means that with three competitive games to go before the World Cup, it appears the management team still do not know who their best 23 are.

Four different scrum-halves have been used, three different 10’s – Nora Stapleton, Nikki Caughey and Sene Naoupu who played there against England in the November International in 2015. If they do indeed pull Sene Naoupu from this weekend’s squad against France, Ireland have no experienced 10 in the current set up to call upon should Nora Stapleton pick up an injury. Nikki Caughey remains the most realistic option and we would be surprised not to see her included this weekend but she has not played since being dropped after the Autumn International against Canada and wasn’t even listed in this year’s 6 Nations squad that was named back in January. With out-half such a key position, our lack of depth and over reliance on Stapleton is worrying.

Six hookers have been utilised with the potential for this to increase to seven depending on who is selected to cover for the injured Jennie Finlay this weekend. Meanwhile, two capped Irish International hookers are playing club rugby on a weekly basis – Zoe Grattage (Highfield) and Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians) who has over 50 caps to her name and whose club are currently sitting on top of the AIL League.

Since 2015 the management team have used 8 different centre partnerships – Sene Naoupu a stalwart in the 12 position has played with 5 different 13’s outside her – how can an effective partnership be developed with so much change? Nine different wingers have started the last 16 test games while he has also capped eight different props – Ailis Egan and Lindsey Peat being the only two consistently called upon.

However it wasn’t until the Autumn Series in 2016 did we see the most inconsistency from the Irish camp. We were setup to play England, Canada and New Zealand, the top three teams in the world, an ambitious series however you want to look at it. In the England game three players received their first cap’s for the women’s team. But this is what Autumn Series are for isn’t it, trial and error? For Canada there were 10 changes to the side that lost to England and two new caps again. And finally New Zealand, the first matchup since our historic victory, again saw ten changes from the team that lost to Canada. We finished the series 0-3.

At this stage, we were less than 12 months away from a Rugby World Cup and it appears that the Irish management team really has no idea who their best 15 are, because your best 15 are those whom you should have sent out to take on the 3 top ranked nations in the World. It should then be up to new players to break into this squad and rightfully take a position.

So following this we now have a wealth of players capped for Ireland, but what has this given us? There are a large number of players with 2/3 caps to their name, with very limited time on the pitch, who were brought in for a match here and there and then released back out to the extended squad to continue with the International S+C programme with no clear information from management on whether they are still in the plans for the looming World Cup.

Would it not have been more beneficial to integrate players gradually into the team whilst having them surrounded by experience? Tierney may argue that he has developed a wider pool of experienced players but are players with 2/3 caps and limited playing time really experienced players? Would it not have been more effective to cap fewer players and give those involved more playing time? If the argument is that there are not enough competitive internationals to test players then why has the IRFU not developed the inter-pro series further or started an U20’s side like England and France?

While all this is going on we need to remember that the women’s 15’s set up in Ireland is still non-professional, these players are still in college or working Mon-Fri and training in the morning, evening and at the weekend. These players are sacrificing their personal life for the women’s game. And in our opinion are not getting the same level of commitment from the union in return for their inputs.

If the current rumours are true and the team is to lose three starting players ahead of the crucial clash against France, a team they will also face in this years World Cup, it is just another way of telling the players in the 15’s setup that they are not going to be given the opportunity to have a consistent build up to the World Cup in Dublin and Belfast this August. In 2016 the focus was on 7’s, and this is perfectly acceptable, the squad were chasing qualification for the Rio Olympics. This year Ireland are hosting the world’s biggest competition in 15’s rugby and they are still not been given the support of the union to fairly compete at the tournament. Anthony Eddy, an internationally recognised 7’s coach, has a clear plan for the 7’s development but unfortunately we have not seen the same approach for the 15’s game.

Accountability is a term often used by coaches, be accountable for your position, for your player, for your job. We would like for Tom Tierney, Anthony Eddy and the management team to be held accountable for the inconsistencies that are rampant within this setup. We want someone from the IRFU to clarify how less than three years after beating the world champions and with just 6 months remaining before hosting the World Cup and 32 new caps later how we are just narrowly beating Scotland, a team who we have not lost against since the 2006 World Cup.

IRFU, Eddy and Tierney, please do not underestimate us like New Zealand underestimated Ireland on the 5th of August in Marcoussis in 2014. Please do not think that we, as a nation, are happy for you to throw away our chances of reaching a World Cup final on home soil. Please do not think that we, as Irish supporters, do not expect to win every match that Ireland step out to play.

And please do think about how seriously we support the women’s game in Ireland and how much we want to see it grow and flourish in the weeks, months and years to come.

Anyone?

Has 15’s In Ireland Been Kicked Into Touch? (Women’s Rugby In Ireland)

Ireland Women may lose three players to Sevens team for France game (Irish Times)

Women’s rugby on Broadsheet.ie

Pic via IrishRugby.ie

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Destriersprogressive hardcore from Dublin

What you may need to know…

01. Formed last year and already shod of their debut extended-player are Dublin hardcore outfit Destriers.

02. The lads would know about heft and delivering it with velocity: guitarist Shaun Cadogan is a former member of Cork hardcore lads Harboured,

03. Streaming above is the band’s debut, Cynosure, released last December. Available for streaming and free download from Bandcamp.

04. Making their Galway debut on April 8th, supporting Ilenkus on their hometown E.P. launch gig, alongside Corkmen Rest.

Thoughts: The Botch/Hydra Head Records comparisons are valid, taking the weight and angularity of the aforementioned and focusing it with a brevity bordering on vicious.

Destriers

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RíRáIrish hip-hop legend lasts the test of time

What you may need to know…

01. One of the founding fathers of Irish hip-hop, Tullamore man RíRá helped lay the foundations for our homegrown beat game as part of Scary Éire, alongside DJ Mek, Dada Sloosh and Mr. Browne.

02. He’s been more than active since Scary Éire’s initial album-shelving-induced disbandment, with a string of singles, extended-plays and LPs, all self-released. In addition, he’s had countless features on Irish hip-hop releases, most recently of note, his collab with Waterford’s Nylon Primate.

03. Streaming above is the visual for new single Still Around, released on Monday, created and edited by Cras Cassidy.

04. Available for download and streaming now from Bandcamp and iTunes Music Store, if that’s more your bag.

Thoughts: One of the true “lifers” of Irish independent music affirms his commitment to doing things his way, waxing philosophical in his distinctive gritty tones.

RíRá

imroawards

The IMRO Live Music Venue of the Year Awards happened at their HQ in Dublin last night. Who got the gongs, you ask?

The National Venue of the Year went to Wexford’s National Opera House.

The regional awards for outstanding venues went out thusly:

Dublin – Vicar Street
Rest of Leinster – Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny
Connacht – The Quays, Galway
Munster – Coughlan’s, Cork
Ulster – Voodoo, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

IMRO Music Festival of the Year: Sea Sessions, Bundoran
IMRO Small Live Music Festival 2016: Kilkenny Tradfest
IMRO Tech Crew of the Year: The Olympia

IMRO Outstanding Contribution to Live Music: Frank Murray (manager of Thin Lizzy/The Pogues)

Special commendations were also handed out to venues by Hot Press head Niall Stokes:

“It has been an outstanding year for live music in Ireland. That is, of course, true in relation to what is happening in the big venues, like The Olympia Theatre, which has just been refurbished with spectacular results, and at festivals – which are so important to the ongoing health of Irish music.

But from the point of view of working Irish musicians, it is really encouraging also to see the emergence of venues in smaller towns around the country, where they can go and gig – and both find an audience and earn their wages. Which is why I am so pleased to have presented awards tonight to Mike The Pies in Listowel and Boyle’s of Slane.

It is the hard work and dedication of the people who make things happen in venues and bars like these – and countless others around the country – that make all the difference. Long may they flourish.”

IMRO

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Telephone Explosionselectronic pop duo from Dublin

What you may need to know…

01. Comprised of singer Dolores Fogarty and Adrian Mee, Telephone Explosions are a pop two-piece based in Dublin.

02. Citing number stations and other clandestine transmissions as influences, they’ve been quick to get the grá from Irish music press, with Nialler9 and The Last Mixed Tape singing their praises.

03. Streaming above is debut single Pocket, available now for free download from their Bandcamp.

04. We’re reliably informed an extended-player is due this summer, off the back of the aforementioned tune.

Thoughts: Dreamy, otensibly easy, minimal, harmony-laced pop with a foreboding undertone.

Telephone Explosions

Talos by Brendan Canty lowres

Talosmuch-fancied electro-pop Corkman announces debut album

What you may need to know…

01. Last we heard from Talos in this column, Eoin French and collaborators were unveiling a debut extended-player after an enviable run of electronic pop singles.

02. Following a wait of years, extensive touring and some stunning visuals, his debut album Wild Alee has been confirmed for release on April 21st.

03. Streaming above is the lyric video for the album’s lead-off single Odyssey, released last Friday. In case you missed it, etc.

04. A full Irish tour has been announced for April-June in support of the long-player, including dates in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Waterford, Kilkenny, Dundalk, and Leap. Full listings here.

Thoughts: Astounding electronic music from an artist and his collaborators that have been ready for bigger things for a long time.

Talos

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JoggingDublin post-hardcore lads back from a break

What you may need to know…

01. At last, an excuse to talk about Jogging, a power-trio with a deft way with riffing, alongside belted, barking vocals.

02. While Minutes, released in 2010 on the sadly-missed Richter Collective label/co-op, came in for critical acclaim, its follow-up Take Courage truly shines as one of the best albums of the current of Irish music, a collection of taut, whipcrack broadsides.

03. Streaming above is a live performance from 2012 for the Practice Tapes webseries, where the lads perform Take Courage standout Stand Still with no frills or extras.

04. Appearing next, for the first time in a bit, alongside No Spill Blood and Horse at the Bello Bar on March 31st.

Thoughts: Math-rock-friendly hardcore, with indie-pop sensibilities. If you think that sounds convoluted, just dig in.

Jogging

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Farah ElleDublin singer/songwriter/pianist

What you may need to know…

01. Farah El Neihum, a.k.a. Farah Elle, is an alt-pop songwriter living and working in Dubland, with a Libyan background.

02. Graduating from BIMM in Dublin, Farah Elle kicked off in earnest in 2015. Debut single So Scarlet was followed by last year’s single Silk, and attendant critical acclaim. Also recently appeared on Bantum‘s Move album, on standout track Feel it Out.

03. Streaming above is Curfew, taken from her appearance at the December installment of Sofar Sounds in Dublin, alongside backing vocalists Cat Smyth and Fiona Harte.

04. Appearing at the 50th-episode special of Headstuff.org’s No Encore podcast, happening at the Workman’s Club on the 2nd of March. Also on the bill: We Cut Corners, Bantum and Windings performing live, and guest appearances from Michael Pope (Le Galaxie) and MayKay (Other Voices/Fight Like Apes).

Thoughts: Ridiculously talented, and with her whole career/body of work ahead of her, it’s surely only a matter of time before Farah Elle hits upon bigger things.

Farah Elle

Photo: Tara Thomas