Something that may interest your readers: Dublin chillwave dance act The Swedish Railway Orchestra, led by indie musician Rob Smith (top) will be launching their debut album, Northern Lights, in the cozy (and unorthodox) confines of O’Donoghues’ Bar on Suffolk Street, Dublin 2 tonight.
01. At last, an excuse to talk about Corkman Sean Murphy, a.k.a. rapper and beatsmith Spekulativ Fiktion.
02. Emerging earlier in the decade with scattered live appearances and periodic single releases, Spekulativ Fiktion arrived seemingly fully-formed with 2013’s Deathly Words, a gritty, incisive extended-play that touched on external themes & internal monologues. This was followed in 2014 by Slave Labour, a transcendent piece of collaboration with Limrock beat god Deviant & Naive Ted.
Kojaque – Sunday Roast mixtape and upcoming YESTIVAL appearance
What you may need to know…
1. We’ve been sleeping on Kojaque. A confessional, Dublin-accented patter is married to polished, jazzy self-production.
2. Garnered attention online last year from the likes of Noisey, for the video to single Midnight Flower, in which he rhymes for over three minutes with his head underwater.
3. Streaming above is his recently-released Sunday Roast mixtape in its entirety. It’s also available for download here, via his own Soft Boy Records.
4. Next appearing at Mother’s inaugural YESTIVAL on May 21 at the Tivoli, Francis Street, Dublin, a fest marking the first anniversary of the marriage equality vote. Also confirmed are Peaches (!), the Rubberbandits and Sugar Rush (girlband/supergroup featuring Panti) among others.
Verdict: Capable of vitriolic outbursts and noise, but more given to cool, cracked-leather holdings of court, suited to his more subdued sonics.
1. Cork post-metal/post-rock trio Ealadha have quietly set about impressing a lot of fans of the genre in the past year…
2. Not the least of whom are 2FM/2XM’s Dan Hegarty, who’s been somewhat of a champion for the band, giving their past two singles regular airtime.
3. Sticking their heads above the live parapet, the band gigged consistently throughout 2015, including a featured slot of IndieCork festival’s new music programme, and making the trip to Dublin for the Mother Fuzzer’s Ball.
4. Hurricanes is taken from upcoming debut EP Limit of Our Sight, the artwork for which was revealed yesterday on the band’s Facebook. More details impending.
Verdict: Atmospheric, soaring stuff that doesn’t spare their own tendencies toward heavyweight tones and riffs in pursuit of beauty.
1. Hardy perennials of Cork’s DIY music community, four-piece Hope is Noise trade in noisy, heavy, hardcore-inflected, yet immediate and accessible alt-rock.
2. Last year celebrating ten years under their current moniker, the lads’ history extends all the way back to their secondary school days in the early ’90s, with the same core line-up remaining intact over the course of several bands over nearly 20 years. Eagle-eyed observers may remember them as The New Messiahs, among other names.
3. This year will see the release of fourth album Demons, and the completion of a documentary on their life and times both as a band, and as a group of lifelong friends.
4. Streaming above is Bad Code, a single taken from the upcoming album released back in November to coincide with their tenth-anniversary gig.
5. Next Friday, the band takes a rare sojourn to Waterford, where they play The Thirsty Scholar as part of the venue’s Voodoo Sessions. Kickoff at 9pm, support from The Smoking Giants.
Verdict: A furious, focused outfit that channels a wide range of influences, themes, and emotions into their music, and a formidable live proposition with a stage presence honed over the better part of two decades together.
1. Limerick producer Graeme S. and vocalist Senita Appiakorang (also of neo-soul outfit Shookrah) are electronic/afrobeat duo Lakerama.
2. Coming together last year as a collaborative musical project, the band has stepped into the live sphere, including appearances at Dublin’s Bernard Shaw and Cork’s Quarter Block Party.
3. Debut EP One is streaming in its entirety in the widget above, including much-fancied lead off tune Take.
4. Catch them this Friday evening, supporting the mighty Rusangano Family, with whom Graeme has previously collaborated, at the Kino in Cork.
Verdict: A potent combination of ambient, house and Afrobeat influences, Lakerama’s standout quality is their command of dynamic, with Senita’s massive voice adding presence to Graeme S’ diversely informed electronica.
1. Beginning to garner praise, Leeside young neo-psychedelic four-piece The Sunshine Factory arrived in February when they packed out the Cork Community Print Shop, launching an eponymously-titled tape EP in the process.
2. From said cassette comes Cruelest Animal, streaming above. The band’s Soundcloud is also full of rough demos, painting a picture of a band that’s been slowly putting the pieces together over the course of the past year.
3. Next gig is on April 16, supporting Dublin shoegazers September Girls (launching album Age of Indignation) in Cyprus Avenue, Cork, presented by Leeside rock raconteurs Alliance Promotions.
4. The band have the biggest break of their young run so far next month, touring in support of English psych-rock legends The Telescopes. Thursday 12 at Brewery Corner in Kilkenny, Friday 13 (!) at The Thirsty Scholar in Waterford, Saturday 14 at the Crane Lane Theatre in Cork, and Sunday 15 at Dublin’s Workman’s Club.
Verdict: With inflections of post-punk and psychedelia amid the band’s noise, The Sunshine Factory will appeal to genre enthusiasts, as well as anyone of lo-fi/possible C86 sensibilities.
Twin-Headed Wolf – released/gigging pre-debut album The Long Decay
What you may need to know…
1. Julie and Branwen are Twin-Headed Wolf, a pair of twin sisters from Lahinch, Co. Clare, specialising in wonky, playful folk, making heavy use of the pair’s way with vocal harmonies.
2. Having spent the last few years perfecting their offbeat, ethereal take on the folk oeuvre with an array of non-traditional instrumentation and charismatic live presence, the duo serves us a curveball with an acapella album of folk standards that functions as prelude to their upcoming debut LP proper: The Long Decay.
3. The record is named for its recording in the Emmanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, back in January, a tomb/acoustic chamber with up to 14 seconds of echo.
4. With the record released in February and launched in Dublin’s Unitarian Church, the pair turn their live attention to Cork Community Print Shop, with a live engagement in the non-profit arts space on Friday, April 8th.
Verdict: Gleeful, joyfully demented folk antics with a bold experimental streak. Their impending debut LP of originals ought to be a treat.
01. The gatekeepers of the Irish underground are in rude health as always. Twenty-seven years and counting in the game, with their fourteenth album Disquiet hitting shelves last year, Ballyclare/Larne’s Therapy? unleash their best ‘pop’ single in years with Tides.
02. Though many casual observers associate the boys in black with their major-label heyday in the mid-Nineties, they never went away.
04.Disquiet, from which Tides is taken, acts as a sequel of sorts to 1994’s million-selling Troublegum, and sees the band revisiting that album’s teenage protagonist as a middle-aged man in the throes of further tumult.
05. The song itself is inspired singer/guitarist Andy Cairns‘ time living in Dun Laoghaire [Co Dublin], as evidenced by the single’s artwork.
06. Keen punk fans will spot the other reference in the cover art immediately, and it’s intentional: Bob Mould, of hardcore trailblazers/accidental college-rock inventors Hüsker Dü was a major influence on the song’s writing.
Verdict: Though the album itself feels a little retro after the band’s insistence on forward-thinking for the better part of three decades, Tides is one of its highlights. Here’s hoping for more of this somewhat psychey, washed-out pop in the not too dim ‘n’ distant.