IRELAND’S FREE ARTS & CULTURE MAGAZINE www.wewilldecode.com
Our picks for Dublin’s city music, arts and comedy festival June Bank Holiday Weekend, Royal Kilmainham Hospital TEA AND TOAST Coast to coast with Goldenplec
MUSEUM PIECES Butter, leprechauns and Dublin’s recent past
MYLES AHEAD Casting an eye on Ireland’s best filmmakers
MONTHLY MEETING Creativity is on the agenda
Climb 4 4 highest mountains in the 4 Provinces of Ireland over 4 different weekends Your challenge Due to the success of our first Climb 4 Concern challenge we are back to summit the highest mountain in each province in Ireland over 4 different weekends.
What we are doing From March through to September you will be able to climb the highest mountains in Leinster, Munster, Connacht & Ulster. Have you ever climbed: Leinster’s highest mountain Lugnaquillia? Munster’s highest mountain Carrauntoohil? Connacht’s highest mountain Mweelrea? or Ulster’s highest mountain Sliabh Donard? Or have you ever considered climbing all four?
Are you ready? Our 4 summits are: Mweelrea Co Mayo 31 March 2012 Height 814m - CLOSED Sliabh Donard Co Down 12 May 2012 Height 850m Lugnaquillia Co Wicklow 23 June 2012 Height 925m Carrauntoohil Co Kerry 15 September 2012 Height 1040m
Fundraising To secure your place on the challenge you must pay the non refundable deposit of €25 per climb or €80 for all 4 climbs. We are asking for a fundraising target of €50 to be raised for Mweelrea, Lugnaquilla and Sliabh Donard and a target of €100 to be raised for Carauntoohil (€250 for all 4 events). Money is to be given on the day of the event. For more information please click on our fact sheet here
Make a difference Last year we raised a staggering €45,000 for our work in the developing world. Can you help us to exceed that target? Register for one or all 4 climbs and join in the fun. To find out more about our work please visit www.concern.net
To find out more about this, or any of the Concern events that take place throughout the year, visit www.concernchallenge.org
IRELAND’S FREE ARTS & CULTURE MAGAZINE www.wewilldecode.com
It’s not a sentence I ever thought I’d be writing in De\Code, but Mike Murphy is right. The presenter publically criticised his employer RTÉ recently over the broadcaster’s decision to air his show Masterpiece: Ireland’s favourite painting at 10.15pm. Murphy quite rightly compared the timeslot to a “Cromwellian edict of arts programming being banished into the Connacht of broadcasting, i.e, at, or past most people’s bedtime”. In response, RTÉ trotted out the usual guff about how the national Forbidden Fruit broadcaster has a commitment to the arts, claiming it was one of only a handful of public service broadcasters to air arts programming at peak times. That’s simply not true though. Where are these programmes? The “If love were a dolphin with fact it cited Today with Pat Kenny as an example tells you everything wings and a unicorn’s horn, being you need to know. ridden by a blind leprechaun While it’s true that Kenny has the odd author and musician in dressed like Rasputin, would you studio, arts content is generally relegated to the role of filling time believe in second chances for between what I assume they believe to be ‘grown-up’ and ‘important’ love at first sight?” segments. -Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Where’s Arthur Murphy’s ‘Mailbag’ when you need it? Sale. Steven O’Rourke Our picks for Dublin’s city music, arts and comedy festival June Bank Holiday Weekend, Royal Kilmainham Hospital
TEA AND TOAST Coast to coast with Goldenplec.
MUSEUM PIECES Butter, leprechauns and Dublin’s recent past.
MYLES AHEAD Casting an eye on Ireland’s best filmmakers.
MONTHLY MEETING Creativity is on the agenda
Contemplating Your Future? Find options on..
The De\Code Team: Steven O’Rourke: Managing Director/Editor James Hendicott: Managing Director/Editor Claire Dalton: Music Editor Elaine Kirwan: Arts Editor Eoghan O’Sullivan: Subeditor Ken McGuire: Production and Design Kevin Donnellan: Featured Columnist Kieran Frost: Photography Editor
Contributors: Steven Byrne, Peter Jones, Vanessa Monaghan, Andrew Donovan, Ken Fallon
tells Enda how it should be done
Advertising Enquiries: Steven O’Rourke (086) 3653118 email@example.com
Our top events for the coming month
19 Indie Outlets
Keeping Irish art strong through tough times
8 (Join The) Recession Klub 21 The Museums Of Paranoid Visions’ Peter Jones Modern Ireland 9 From Blog To Book
The irresistable rise of food blogging
De\Code magazine is trademarked worldwide. All work is copyrighted to the author or artists. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reporduced without permission from the publisher. Published by Steven O’Rourke and James Hendicott trading as Hendicott O’Rourke Publishing.
10 Needling About
De\Code Magazine c\o Flat 6 20 Lower Dorset Street Dublin 1 firstname.lastname@example.org www.wewilldecode.com
14 Irish Film
Knitting Gets Social
12 Delorentos Return Dublin’s pop-rock icons’ revolution is complete
Leprechauns, butter and a love of JFK
The latest music and books given the once over
30 Forbidden Fruit
Hand picked highlights of Dublin’s urban festival
Myles O’Reilly and Feel Good Lost lead the charge
Distributed by Hendicott O’Rourke Publishing. Information correct at time going to print.
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Eleveight Our pick of April’s arts and culture events 3
International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival Throughout Dublin city 7 - 20 May gaytheatre.ie Drifting from its Oscar Wilde-inspired beginnings, Dublin Gay Theatre festival explores LGBT issues both directly and obliquely, and occasionally not at all. The Rock N Wrestle Road Show should prove a highlight, but there’s a whole host of variety to search out.
Close Encounters: A John Williams Celebration National Concert Hall, Dublin 2 10 May nch.ie Golden Globe and Academy Award winning film music composer John Williams has created some of the most instantly recognisable scores of our time, including Star Wars, Indiana Jones and E.T. He is celebrated in this musical extravaganza by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.
Camden Crawl Various city-centre venues, Dublin 11 - 12 May camdencrawldublin.com A host of Ireland’s best-known musicians (Rubberbandits, Jape, Fionn Regan) raid over a dozen city centre venues alongside a spattering of international indie stars (Mystery Jets, Ghostpoet, We Are Scientists) at the frankly giveaway price of €40 for two nights. It’s venue-hopping time…
Tale of the Bamboo Cutter Chester Beatty Library 11 May - 5 August cbl.ie The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is the oldest Japanese work of prose fiction, written in the early Heian period (7941185). It is one of the most important stories in Japanese classical courtly literature. This exhibition provides a unique opportunity for visitors to enjoy the scrolls on their return to Dublin.
Guns N Roses The O2, Dublin 17 May ticketmaster.ie/guns-n-roses After the on-again offagain shenanigans of their last Dublin appearance, Axl’s Guns N Roses return has controversy stamped all over it. View them as a glorified cover act or one of the greatest rock bands of all time, this is a guaranteed talking point. Thin Lizzy, marching on without Phil Lynott, support.
Lilliput Kayathlon Outside Mullingar, Co. Westmeath 27 May bit.ly/kayathlon A great introduction to the adventure racing scene, Lilliput involves 2km of kayaking, 17.5km of cycling and 3km of running. Kayaks, training and optional camping are all included at the bargain price of €20, and you don’t have to be superman to take part.
Forbidden Fruit Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 2 - 4 June forbiddenfruit.ie Dublin’s maverick, mud-free urban festival hosts New Order, Death Cab For Cutie, Wilco and Leftfield (plus plenty more) across three nights in the hospital grounds, Kilmainham. Expect a chaotic, atmospheric vibe chased into the night by the impressive after parties. Tickets from €49.50.
Bavaria City Racing The streets around O’Connell Bridge 3 June ticketmaster.ie Bavaria bring the deafening ruckus of Formula One to Dublin for the first time ever, with Jenson Button and others set to wheel spin their way through the streets in a series of high-speed exhibitions and wild demos. Bring earplugs and watch the world’s best burn some serious rubber on our doorstep.
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(Join the) recession klub Peter Jones of legendary Dublin punk band Paranoid Visions offers a plan that nobody in the Dáil seems to be cheerleading: putting money into the economy, rather than taking it out. So our “illustrious and utterly competent” environment minister Phil Hogan is embarking on another attempt to fleece the public with austerity “measures to raise money and safeguard” our futures by introducing a water tax. And not only are we going to reluctantly pay for the water, but we are going to get a bill for the meter too. Isn’t that a bit like charging the relatives for the bullet/rope/ electricity/drugs involved in the death penalty? I don’t pretend to be an economist, nor do I pretend to be a politician - but that’s the difference between me and these clowns: I know my limitations. If they ask me to explain how to make a DIY punk album, put on a gig, write a punk song, or - in my day job - ask me how to run and execute a direct mail campaign or recommend the best way to produce a brochure, then I’m your man. Ask me to sort out the banking crisis and I’m slightly at sea. But that’s the fundamental problem here. The previous government was run by a family solicitor and this one by a schoolteacher. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Brian Cowen would be a great man to get to do your will, and Enda Kenny would be a great, trendy and fun-loving teacher; but as far as running countries and sorting out the mess we are in, they are as clueless as me. That’s the crux of the problem: no member of the government are captains of industry. Like a lot of Celtic tiger cubs, they did well coasting on the coattails of a fabricated and self-perpetuating property bubble, feeling like financial geniuses. The reality was that the financial geniuses were hiding in the shadows making a fat pile of cash and then liquidating, or absconding, with the spoils and leaving the common man - the government ministers included - high and dry. eight
Maybe I’m being a bit too simplistic here, but let me have a bash at a scenario. We can all just about make ends meet. So this weekend you won’t buy those new clothes you wanted, and you won’t be going out to dinner. So the vendors are suffering and have to let a staff member go. Their suppliers have also been hit and they’ve let somebody go. The company that delivers the supplies to the shops and restaurants has also slimmed down as a result. Because petrol is so expensive, you limit your driving, so the petrol station is also feeling the pinch. There are more people unemployed and there’s less money going into the coffers due to reduced VAT and tax payments. And now there’s a negative flow of money back out of the coffers to pay the dole to those who have just lost their jobs. Would it not be better to have a bit more disposable income and encourage people to spend it? While they should be considering flooding the economy with cash to get the wheels turning, Enda the teacher, Hogan the health board worker and Noonan the health minister-turned-financeguru have simply given us more taxes. Imagine if they were totally upfront and said, “Right, we’re in a bad way: we need to get an average of €1,500 extra off everyone this year. So we’re going to do this with a one-off payment that will be apportioned according to your income. In return, taxes, earnings and VAT will revert back to prerecession levels. That will raise us €9 billion. If you haven’t got the money, the banks will lend it to you and it’s tax deductible. Thank you, good evening and goodnight. “(PS: Sorry for making a bollocks of your life.)”
From blog to book Think your blog can bag you a book deal? Ken McGuire looks at some of the Irish food bloggers currently occupying shelf space in a book store near you I’m a cookbook junkie. I admit it. I buy cookbooks of every shape and size, new and secondhand, often parking them on the shelf in my kitchen without ever opening the book once I get it home. I’m also a food blogger. I spend what little spare time I have during the week digesting food blogs, in particular, Irish ones. Five or six years ago you could probably count the number of regularly maintained Irish food blogs on one hand. Nowadays, they’re not only well maintained and numbering in their hundreds, but they’re also making the transition from the computer screen to the book shelf as food bloggers - and Irish ones at that - continue to find success in their writing and bag themselves a book deal in the process. Here’s some to keep an eye out for. Donal Skehan \ Kitchen Hero Step into your local Spar and there’s little doubt you will find a poster of Donal Skehan hanging, somewhere, promoting his latest TV series. Before he was a TV cook, he started the Good Mood Food Blog, Mercier Press bringing the blog to a bookshelf near you in 2009. Since then he’s released Kitchen Hero: Bringing Cooking Back Home and this month releases his third book, Kitchen Hero: Great Food For Less. Not bad for a chap yet to hit thirty. If you pick up a copy of the first Kitchen Hero, try the white chocolate and blueberry cheesecake. Trust me. Niamh Shields \ Eat Like A Girl Of Waterford extraction, though currently resident in the UK, Niamh Shields Eat Like A Girl blog is a must-read, whether you’re in the UK or here at home and her blog continues to win accolades the world over. In 2011 she made the transition from blogger to published author with Quadrille Publishing releasing her first book, Comfort &
Spice, as part of their new voices in food series. It’s a gorgeous book to hold and one that definitely belongs on your bookshelf. Lilly Hggins \ Stuff I Make, Bake and Love Baker, blogger and now published author, Lilly Higgins cookbook, Make, Bake, Love, has been staring at me from the corner of the kitchen for months, taunting me with its temptuous cakes, buns, and dessert treats. Gill & Macmillan published the book in October 2011, complete with all images and food styled by Lilly herself. Anyone for a chocolate peanut butter cake? Sheila Kiely \ Gimmetherecipe I’ve met Sheila a few times, most recently at a food bloggers weekend in Inchydoney where I got the lowdown on Sheila’s first book, published in March through Mercier Press. In a real DIY effort, everything about the book is her own, Sheila having stepped behind the lens for the majority of the photo work as well (her husband may have taken a few snaps) - and all while she has six children of school-going age to look after. If you’re planning family meals or you think you’re too busy to cook, then this one might be right for you.
Get Reading & Tweeting Donal Skehan (@donalskehan) http://www.donalskehan.com Niamh Shields (@eatlikeagirl) http://eatlikeagirl.com Lilly Higgins (@lillyhiggins) http://lillyhiggins.blogspot.com Sheila Kiely (@gimmetherecipe) http://gimmetherecipe.wordpress.com nine
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Needling about Elaine Kirwan talks all things knitting, with a look at upcoming events for the social knitters among you If you are anything like me, and a number of other 80s babies, knitting was something you either learned from your Nana or were introduced to in school during Friday afternoon’s craft hour. It’s also probably something you swiftly parted ways with as soon as that scarf or teddy bear project was somewhat complete. With staying in being the new going out, we are all looking for new and enjoyable ways to spend our evenings. Knitting has experienced a resurgence of interest over the last year or so. The Irish people put their mark on it, of course, and the addition of wine, tea and friends have made it all the more sociable. With its newly attained cool status, knitting has brought a whole heap of you folk together in cosy, crafty circles to show off the skills you acquired all those years ago. Get Knitworking If you would like to get your fingers tangled up in all things woolly, check out Dublin Knit Collective (dublinknitcollective.wordpress.com), a blog that will give you all the details you need to connect with groups of knitters in your area. For those of you looking for knitting groups outside of Dublin, check out stitchnbitch.org , which will also provide you with information on how to register your own group. If you are new to knitting and interested in formal lessons, here are a list of Dublin knitting shops to contact: Stitch, Beaumont, Dublin 9 01 email@example.com The Constant Knitter, 88 Francis Street, Dublin 8 087 firstname.lastname@example.org ten
This Is Knit, Powerscourt Townhouse, South William Street - 01 6709981 Winnie’s Wool Wagon, Woodbine Park, Blackrock 01 email@example.com What’s On Craft Festival 2012 Showcasing all disciplines of creativity, including knitting and crochet. Admission is free. 20 May, 10am-5pm at Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin. More information: craftfestival.wordpress. com. “Seamless Knitting – Moving Beyong Raglan” A workshop by Carol Feller, where students will learn to make their own perfectly fitted garments. 20 May at This Is Knit, Powerscourt Townhouse, South William Street. For more information phone 01 6709981. Workshop with Maire Traenor A workshop in Irish crochet with a crafter who specialises in clones lace. 26 May at The Constant Knitter, 88 Francis Street, Dublin 8. For more information call Francis on 087 9967197. Hat Design Workshop with Woolly Wormhead 12 August at This Is Knit, Powerscourt Townhouse, South William Street. For more information phone 01 6709981. The Knitting and Stitching Show Established as the textile event of the year, the Knitting and Stitching Show is a fantastic event for anybody interested in knitting, stitching, quilting and all other crafts. Admission: Adults €15, Concessions €14, Children (4-18) €7. This takes place 1-4 November at Hall 1, RDS Dublin. More information: twistedthread.com.
The play’s the thing... There is a huge amount of theatrical treats on offer around Ireland this month. Kevin Donnellan previews the pick of them Dublin Dance Festival Dublin, 11 - 26 May May provides something of a builder’s holiday for Dublin theatre types as dance takes over many of the city’s stages. There will be the usual mix of festivals, performances, classes, outdoor shows and panel discussions. But this year’s highlight is undoubtedly the three-night performance by the Trisha Brown Dance Company at the Abbey. The hugely influential ‘Set and Reset’ will be included in the performance. Dance aficionados will have already booked their tickets; for the rest of us this is a golden opportunity to finally ‘get’ contemporary dance. Plays by Tom Murphy Druid Theatre, Galway, 23 May - 9 June Ahead of a run at the Lincoln Center Festival in New York and an appearance at the London Cultural Olympiad (like the Olympics but with quieter crowds and less doping) Irish audiences get a chance to revisit Tom Murphy’s best known works. Famine, Conversations on a Homecoming and A Whistle in the Dark will all be performed under direction by Garry Hynes. It’s a good chance to get reacquainted, or just acquainted, with a writer who timeshares the ‘Ireland’s Greatest Living Playwright’ title with Brian Friel. The Civilization Game Lyric Theatre, Belfast, 29 April - 26 May Basically carrying the polar opposite to David Cameron’s ‘hug a hoodie’ message this is a new comedy-thriller which puts a ‘wee shite’ at the mercy of four possibly unbalanced suburbanites. It’s from Tim Loane who has written for Channel
4’s ‘Teachers’ and that Shane Ritchie remake of ‘Minder’. Impossible to say which way this will go but the premise is promising at least. The Love Hungry Farmer Everyman Palace Theatre, Cork, 21 - 26 May Not a spin-off from the Take Me Out franchise (though readers are free to pitch that idea to their nearest TV executive) but an adaption of John B Keane’s Letters of a Love-Hungry Farmer by Des Keogh.He’s an old hand at this act but, in fairness, playing a lonely, virgin farmer of ‘indeterminate age’ and making it not creepy or too pathetic is no mean feat.
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Back from the brink Subtler, smarter and a far cry from their major label hell, Delorentos tell James Hendicott about the lows of ‘You Can Make Sound’, and the changes that brought them back Three years ago, Delorentos were a spent force. Sick of the music industry, the Dublin four-piece called time on their recording and played a series of ‘last ever’ gigs, sick of, as guitarist Ronan Yourell sees it, “the pressure to promote our band, to go in a particular direction, and the demands that were being made on us”. In hindsight, the pressure of record label associations seems to have been a major contributing factor. “We’d been told to get our passports ready, we were going on world tours,” Yourell recalls. “We got distracted, taken in a direction that we just didn’t want to go as a band. Album two, You Can Make Sound, was basically a case of just putting out what we had. The reason it is what it is, essentially, is that the band had collapsed while we were writing it.” Not the most glowing of reviews for a huge-selling album, perhaps, but the honesty’s refreshing. Kieran McGuinness concludes: “We ended up drawing a line under it and doing things the way we wanted to do them. We looked at everything, and without wanting to get too mushy, we had a heart to heart and started again.” You don’t have to be much of a music fan to know that second incarnations of bands aren’t renowned for their success. Sure, Delorentos’s comeback didn’t involve periods of ageing, sad attempts at twelve
reigniting old glory or suchlike, but with a number two-charting album, SXSW appearances and a plethora of high-profile support slots under their collective belts, the comeback was arguably the most daring decision of all. Looking back, the major label experience seems a surreal one. “It was a tough time, but an amazing one, very highend,” Yourell reminisces. “They were very straightup people. When it came to the press release they asked our ages, we told them 25, and they said, ‘we’d better put 23’.” Having taken a step back, and ultimately made the decision to give things another go, Delorentos locked themselves away and got to work. The Little Sparks EP offered a taste, but the strength of the subsequent Little Sparks album showed its first strong hints when a gloriously mellow, melodic, unplugged version of ‘Bullet In A Gun’, performed in a Madrid backstreet, made its way onto YouTube. The album has a similar, charmingly simplistic bent, putting an emphasis on the newly independent band’s musicianship. Little Sparks was put together with the help of Irish super-producer Rob Kirwan, but entirely on the band’s own terms. “Rob was amazing”, guitarist Ross McCormick explains. “He gave us extensive notes on all 26 songs we had written, the pedals, the effects, everything. He gave us ideas for a complete rewrite on one song.
He wasn’t happy with it at all; we’d never worked with that kind of depth. We write better songs as a result. It was a good time to meet, as we were also really challenging ourselves.” There are other aspects to the rejuvenation, too. McGuinness in particular describes a side of the old Delorentos he’s been happy to set aside. “I resent the need to be a celebrity, to have mad controversial opinions about everything. The reality is I want to use music to express myself, and it’s something very personal. It feeds back into your life. But I don’t feel I need to have a ridiculous haircut or be on TV to supplement that. You shouldn’t have to do stuff like that to be a musician.” Instead, Delorentos are generating their own sideproducts; their own alternative way of offering something extra to the fans. When the EP release was accompanied by a band magazine and the album by a nationwide tour of pop-up shops and acoustic sets, that just seemed to hammer home the point: things had changed, and Delorentos planned to do things exclusively on their own terms. “There’s an honesty that people seem to relate to,” Yourell argues. “We found the old way of doing things depressed us. We wanted to do things
that will feed into what we do next, instead of the monotonous standard approach. The problem seemed to be second guessing what people want, rather than doing things because they’re fun. Now we’re looking for reasons to do things, rather than reasons not to, and it’s helped to get us out of a box. All we can do is the best we can, and we’ve lost our fear. You’re never going to please everyone, so now we’re doing it for ourselves.” ‘Did We Ever Really Try?’, a highlight of Little Sparks, is a profound lament to missed opportunities in love. The refrain “did we just run cos it’s too hard” could equally apply to the band themselves. With a new happy-go-lucky vibe surrounding Delorentos - accompanied by a musical change of heart that already seems to have elevated the band far beyond their previous pop-rock status - hindsight makes the previous issues painfully apparent. Today? With the creativity surrounding the new incarnation palpable, things suddenly seem far too fun to land in the same old ruts. Delorentos will be exploring their musical heritage as part of the JD Roots series at the Button Factory on 18 May, where they’ll be joined in on-stage collaborations by the Minutes and We Cut Corners. www.JDRoots.ie thirteen
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The ninja filmmaker Every musician in Ireland wants the Arbutus Yarns treatment, that visual seal of approval from Myles O’Reilly. Claire Dalton sat down with the man with the golden touch, who Lisa Hannigan calls a ninja Sat in the corner of one of Portobello’s finest establishments, filmmaker Myles O’Reilly is cradling a pint alongside friend and manager/ agent/drinking buddy Bryan Quinn. Extremely tall (6ft 6in) and sporting a flat cap, Myles is softspoken and articulate to the point of being almost literary in speech. Every sentence uttered seems as if it has been carefully thought out over a period of many years, yet, thankfully, escapes in seconds. Under his own ‘Arbutus Yarns’ and aided by Simon O’Neill - “my neighbour since we were 12 years old... we work well together, we have the same eye” - O’Reilly has worked with the best in Irish music, filming live performances, music videos and documentaries. The list is long and packed with indigenous acts such as Lisa Hannigan, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Villagers, Liam Ó’Maonlaí, Julie Feeney and Katie Kim to name but a few. The one-time frontman of Juno Falls admits, “I felt I grew out of the type of music I was good at writing and playing.” After two years of “messing around, not knowing what to do”, O’Reilly “started editing bits and pieces, shooting stuff with friends”, before he was introduced to the world of HD cameras. “A friend had one and I was amazed by the quality in the palm of your hand; that this was something that could potentially look like film.” In a world saturated with churned out YouTube videos, O’Reilly disagrees that the art of film is dying, instead describing it as a ‘golden age’. “I believe it helps those that do have an eye and a talent, as they immediately surface above everything else.” If this is the case, O’Reilly’s most recent works are fourteen
very much afloat. A sort of visual vigilante for Irish music - “I believe that underground music, if given room to breathe, has the potential to explode and cause a new international and inspirational impression of our country’s musical identity” O’Reilly’s work is entrenched in the arts and that’s where he wants it to stay: “I don’t really want to communicate anything other than music and art.” You’d be hard pushed to find someone who doesn’t know somebody that ‘knows’ Myles O’Reilly; within Ireland’s acute, knitted musical community he is well known and better liked. Knowledge, familiarity and respect for this native industry are intrinsically linked to the feel and integrity of his work. “As filmmakers we act within the boundaries and the etiquette of the music industry - I know nothing about the film industry.” This, combined with a deep-rooted affection for Irish talent, has served his art well and paradoxically is leading to exciting projects further afield, edging Arbutus Yarns’s wares towards a wider audience. One such project is with Dutch cello virtuoso Ernst Reijseger, known for recording soundtracks for a number of Werner Herzog productions. “His versatility is incredible. He is a musician that dumbfounds me every time. By sheer chance, Reijseger got in touch some time ago after seeing a video I made, just of my girlfriend swimming, as I had coupled it with his music. I made 120 films and then wrote back to him. I wanted a body of work, before I contacted him. It’s a very exciting project.” Also in the works is a piece on Scottish songwriter James Yorkston. “I’ve just spent time with him
happens, in its truest form; a documenting of the moments. The more the artist lets me in to their private self; backstage, their home or during the writing process... if I can be in those places I get very excited and I try and magnify those moments in the pieces.” O’Reilly adds that since the end of Juno Falls any musical void has been well and truly filled. “As soon as I point a camera at a performance I feel like I am part of it. The same gratification I get from writing a song I get from recording someone performing, filming them in a beautiful way. In that sense I don’t miss music, as I’m just really proud to be a part of it in this different way. I never thought I could have this much passion for music without recording it myself - but I do and it’s amazing.” This passion is portraying Irish artists in a gallant light and exposing hidden treasures. Myles O’Reilly’s work, at its best, is unlocking a secret; the viewer peers in through a pulled back curtain or a door slightly ajar - unbeknown to the subject - revealing something entirely honest and duly fifteen
Photo: Simon O’Neill
in Wales, we had some really amazing conversations,” O’Reilly says. He’s also looking forward to working with Conor O’Brien: “There are huge plans for Villagers. I’ve just heard their new music and they have taken a more uptempo direction. I love the way they can do that and be so consistently melodic at the same time.” Mick Flannery is also in the pipeline: “I adore him, he’s very straightforward, honest, self-effacing and folky - I just love that. I like folk a lot in general, it’s a true form of pop music and I enjoy focusing on folk artists.” As he candidly chats about the inevitability of corrupted SD cards and faulty technology, O’Reilly gives away a sense that he is always personally invested in the subject matter and genuinely loves what he does. The ‘diary clips’ filmed with Lisa Hannigan exemplify this quality. “With Lisa I feel a real part of it. I have a real passion for what I’m turning out. I feel part of something that’s growing, something that’s beautiful and not just as a periphery or a satellite. The more they let me in, the more privileged I feel. Weirdly, the more I’m welcomed in, the more invisible it seems I become and the less obtrusive to the environment. Lisa calls me a ninja.” Appreciative of various strains of artistic expression - “my mother is an art collector, it’s what I have been brought up on” – O’Reilly’s work embraces the real, or to call on a phrase coined by Herzog, moments of ecstatic truths. “I love the honesty of Herzog’s work; the sincerity of it - it’s never commercial. It’s open. I’ve always liked musicians who, lyrically, invite you into their songs rather than force them upon you. Herzog does that in a film sense. His cinematography appeals to me the most - his overall process and where he allows his camera to go.” Many of O’Reilly’s films exhibit an ability to capture extraordinary moments, naturally: “Sometimes it’s so appropriate for something natural to show off. It’s almost spiritual, fated to happen - and makes me feel like I’m on the right path.” These engaging and alluring moments feed in to the notion of “bearing witness to exactly what
vol 1. issue 2. mesmerising. The mundane made beautiful, the Magic, Keep Shelly In Athens and Sun Glitters. extraordinary made accessible. Despite working with these artists of international For more, visit arbutusyarns.com acclaim, Cork-based Feel Good Lost feel they have everything they need for a video in the county, so why bother moving. “There’s so many great locaFeel Good Lost: Eoghan O’Sullivan tions: the old head of Kinsale, Camden fort, this explores how two 23 year olds became amazing waterfall, a stunning beach, and it’s all just within half an hour. So it’s perfect for shootmusic video big shots ing all our videos. Whereas if I went to London you’re just in a city. So I’m starting to think I might Barely one year old, Feel Good Lost has garnered get stuck in a place like that.” plenty of admirers in the music world. A selfCanty admits Feel Good Lost could not have styled creative production house based in Cork, it worked even five years ago, but thanks to high is the work of Brendan Canty and Conal Thomson, quality SLR cameras that shoot in 1080p definiboth 23 and barely out of college. tion, which can be edited and put online, garnerNamed after the debut album by Broken Social ing an audience, in seconds, anything is possible. Scene, their style, like that of Myles O’Reilly, is “If it’s a good video to a good song it all works instantly recognisable: shots of artists intersperse together,” he says, bluntly. They have bigger plans, with the landscape, which flows at one with the too. Under Feel Good Lost Records, they released music creating something akin to a dream. The the debut EP by Young Wonder, as well as shootfirst video Canty made, unofficially, was for a Broing videos for the band, of course. ken Social Scene song, ‘Guilty Cubicles’. “I was just Canty is not slowing down anytime soon. “I really obsessed with the name Feel Good Lost. And with want to land a bigger job,” he says – the dream is that video I tried to capture the phrase... it’s about directing an episode of Game Of Thrones. “I’d love how it is to feel good lost.” to make a successful short film and maybe move Videos for Dáithí Ó Dronaí and Mmoths soon folinto something like that in the future. What we’re lowed, fuelling the hype of both the artists themdoing now but on a bigger scale. And we’re getselves and the men behind the camera. But it was ting there; our profile keeps rising.” when Jape came calling that Feel Good Lost felt For more, visit Feelgoodlost.me their creation was starting to flower. After making Have you an interest in the world of film? Would you the perfect accompaniment to ‘The Oldest Mind’, like to contribute to an upcoming issue of De\Code? they have since made videos for the likes of Slow Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
A heavenly trio: tea, toast & music
Strokestown - a sleepy Roscommon corner with a population of less than 1,000 - could hardly be called the heart of Irish musical culture, yet here we are, perched in front of a set of ornate castle gates watching a sensational performance of a subtle folk rock track from newcomers Red Sail. It’s five minutes of calm among a day of storms: we’re running late, there are half a dozen more bands waiting for an Achill Island turnaround, and with each performance limited to just one song, the stop-start hubbub of Coast to Coast soon becomes a flailing rhythm of cameras, guitars and tea. The trip is in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland, an inventive concept that combines Aidan Cuffe’s charitable leanings with his site Goldenplec’s musical compulsion. Bands were picked in the simplest of ways: the first to offer their services to the event got the nod and were asked to turn out at roadside stop-offs at a range of towns. On the day, it quickly became clear that Tea and Toast was set to demonstrate more than intended. Irish media is often accused of being Dublin-centric, especially when it comes to entertainment, and while The Statics, Sive and Liz Seaver certainly hold up Dublin’s end of the bargain, the quality of bands stumbled upon in more rural corners is seventeen
Photos: Sean Smyth
James Hendicott joins the Goldenplec.com team for a charity drive from Dublin to Achill and back again, bingeing on tea and live music along the way
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sometimes genuinely breathtaking. Red Sail are the standouts, but the varied settings and disparate, unpredictable genres throw up plenty of gems. _Strays - virtual unknowns from Mullingar - serve up a playful slice of glorious indie pop. Galway’s Mr Ebby greet us pub-side in tiny Ballymoe to run through an exceptionally charming piece of ukulele pop and the final band on the road, Fighting For Jane, set up against the backdrop of a well-lit Newbridge river and turn their soaring riffs into delicate acoustic harmonies. None of these acts are show-stopping names; perhaps they have no desire for fame, simply playing music for their own enjoyment. Perhaps it’s a geographical issue or perhaps we’re simply witnessing a single strong track among an otherwise uninspiring selection. Under the circumstances it’s impossible to know. After more than 14 hours of driving, featuring performances in front of dumpsters, in community arts centres, petrol station car parks and bands propped up against wire-mesh fences on dirty footpaths, we arrive in the plush surroundings of the Malahide Yacht Club. We enjoy a dozen local acts closing the day in front of an audience slurping tea and chomping toast through the Easter Friday booze eighteen
ban. Coast to Coast Tea and Toast was always about far more than music, but in its own ramshackle way, it’s shown that Ireland’s less acclaimed corners, far from the ready promotion of big city gig scenes, have just as much talent to unearth. You can listen to every participant yourself, through the wonderful recordings over at http://bit.ly/teatoast. Coast to Coast Tea and Toast was kindly backed by Meteor, Lyons Tea and Johnston Mooney & O’Brien. A documentary on the experience, recorded by photographer Sean Smyth, will be unveiled shortly.
Providing an outlet In spite of the recession, the arts are thriving around the country. Even though there’s very little money to be had, a number of philanthropists are giving up their time and resources simply to provide an outlet, as Eoghan O’Sullivan discovers “If I was running any other type of business, I think I would have given up before.” Now, Michael Roe is nothing if not realistic regarding the financial aspect of the music industry. One half of the Dublin-based independent label Richter Collective, Roe says the days of big money in music are over. He claims it will operate on a two-tier basis: the artists just trying to get by, treating music as a job, and “then there’s going to be the super-rich rockstars who can operate on a mass-market basis”. “I think people just need to readjust their sights on what they want. There’s just not going to be that huge amount of money flying around anymore. I think for bands as well, if they can readjust their sights that it’s just going to be a job… I think that money is still there but you need to be really smart about it and really diversify your revenue stream.” Roe could be talking about a number of the arts, not just the music industry. Making money from the arts in Ireland is more than a difficult task - it’s a mountainous one. And yet it seems there are more outlets than ever before. Richter Collective is the biggest of the small independent record labels in Ireland, a group that includes the Delphi label, Bluestack Records and Quarter Inch Collective. For many, it’s a hobby and not about making money; it’s about arts for arts’ sake. And people are willing to support this notion. The crowdsourcing website Fund It claims to be
the most successful of its kind in the world. Many of the projects seeking funding are first-time performers, artists staging their first show or bands making their debut album. Yet founders Business to Arts recently told the Sunday Times Fund It has a success rate of 78%, making it the most successful crowdfunding site in the world, according to chief executive Stuart McLaughlin. Some €600,000-plus has been donated to various projects on Fund It to date. So the appetite for arts has not dampened, despite Ireland being in the midst of recession. Rachel Warriner and her husband Jimmy Cummins are heavily involved in providing an outlet to new poets in Cork. In between running a small publishing company, Run Amok, they put on nights at the Triskel, which are “mainly about reading a variety of innovative and modernist work that people might not otherwise come across”. They are also among a cohort that run the SoundEye and Avant festivals, which celebrate poetry as well as the wider arts. Rachel says: “Making money has never been a thought in the things we do. It probably wouldn’t be even if it were possible, which it almost certainly isn’t. I’m not sure that I would describe what we get out of it as pleasure; I would say that it’s an ideological drive for both of us. I think it’s important to promote culture that is different from the mainstream, to create a space for types of thought and arts practices that are independent nineteen
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or going to the banks looking for money.” Though it has grown naturally, he points out that “staying afloat is an issue”: “We’ve never seen ourselves as a business per se, but we’re not stupid either. The operation needs to keep generating income one way or another.” With the myriad outlets available to artists (Soundcloud, Bandcamp) and consumers (Spotify, Grooveshark) Ryan admits there could be difficulty ahead. “The move towards a more digital age has seen income on physical sales drop somewhat, but if labels are savvy enough, they can adapt. We’ve dropped the amount of units we’d physically get pressed in many cases from what we did a few years back. For us, if the releases get to the stage where they just aren’t selling that much, we’ll probably have to end the label.” Get connected, get social with De\Code You might be reading Ireland’s all new arts and culture magazine online, but did you know we’re also available in shops and selected outlets? Web: wewilldecode.com Twitter: @wewilldecode Facebook: facebook.com/wewilldecode
Photo: Kieran Frost
and not motivated by money. I think we have a sense that this work is crucial in a small way and want to promote and support those who make it.” “It’s hard to say if there is a better scene for poetry than a few years ago, we are certainly more involved in things at the moment than we were, there are great things in the Irish Writers Centre, particularly through John Kearns and the Wurm im Apfel readings in the Loft Bookshop in Dublin, which have some interesting readers. “Cork is full of people who set things up that they believe in and it leads to some fascinating events and exhibitions. I think Sample Studios and the Basement Project Space put on some excellent work, for example, and Black Sun is one of the best events that Cork has to offer, and their curator, Vicky Langan, almost always loses money on it, I think. I don’t see that as tied into the recession, though; many of these things existed before it, and it seems that people are doing things they believe in regardless of money, that has little to do with austerity.” Another independent music label - and one of the veterans, having been around since 2003 - is Out On A Limb, based in the midwest. One half of the label, Ciaran Ryan, says it started out haphazardly: “Like a lot of indie labels, there was no business plan
The museums of modern Ireland When you visit Ireland, it’s very easy to get caught up in some of its bigger attractions, but what about its quirkier museums? Steven O’Rourke reports
Little Museum of Dublin A relatively new feature on the tourist landscape, the Little Museum of Dublin provides a snapshot of life in the capital in the 20th century. The museum boasts over 400 artefacts, donated by ordinary Dubliners as well as celebrities and businesses who’ve also called the city home. The collection includes art, photography, advertising, letters, postcards, objects and ephemera relating to cultural, social and political life in Dublin as well as artefacts relating to famous visitors including JFK and Muhammad Ali. It’s not the largest museum in the world, as the name suggests, but it really does give you a sense of what life was like before mobile technology, social media and all the other distractions we fill our lives with in the 21st century. This is one little museum that could. Cork Butter Museum When my wife first suggested a visit to the Cork Butter Museum, I knew I’d married the right woman. The museum had fascinated me since I first heard about it, and now I was getting a chance to visit one of Ireland’s most interesting tourist attractions. How can they fill an entire museum with just one dairy product? Well, quite easily actually. twenty one
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Opening Times & Information features
The Little Museum of Dublin 15 St Stephen’s Green Dublin 2 Opening Hours Open daily 11.00 – 18.00 Open until 8pm on Thursdays Located in the historic Shandon area of Cork city – and up one of the Rebel county’s many hills – the Butter Museum tells the story of the central role played by dairy in Irish culture since before pre-Christian times. The museum goes on to describe the internationally important Butter Exchange in 19th century Cork, the traditional craft of home butter making and the modern success of the Kerrygold brand. Over the course of this story, the commercial, social, and domestic life of Ireland is recalled through exhibits, models and audiovisual guides. Best of all, it’s even suitable for vegans. National Leprechaun Museum This is not the twee-aimed-at-the-Americans experience you’d expect. Instead, the National Leprechaun Museum takes you on a tour of Irish history and mythology. Based beside the Jervis Street Luas stop, it’s a great distraction from the endless, faceless, shops that surround it. In parts, it’s hands on. Giant chairs, cups and lockers are designed to make you feel as if you’ve taken a role in the remake of Darby O’Gill and the Little People. Elsewhere, it’s informative. The tour guide explains that leprechauns are not, as Hollywood and cereal boxes would have you believe, brightly coloured sociopaths. Instead, they – in terms of folklore – are shy, sombre types who dress in earthen clothes and will only use their powers when they absolutely have to. The guide will also ask you questions to keep you engaged with the tour and explain the real life stories behind traditional Celtic mythology. On the surface, this is the type of museum I’d expect to hate. However, it’s well worth a couple of hours of your time if just to find out the name of the Salmon of Knowledge. twenty two
Admission Full €5.00 Seniors/Students €3.00 Unwaged Free The Butter Museum The Tony O’Reilly Centre O’Connell Square Cork Opening Hours Open daily March – October 10.00 – 17.00 July – August 10.00 – 18.00 Admission Full €4.00 Seniors/Students €3.00 School Students €1.50 National Leprechaun Museum Jervis Street Dublin 1 Opening Hours Open daily 10.00 – 18.30 (Last entry 17.45) Admission Full €10.00 Seniors/Students €8.50 Booking essential Should your local museum be making the list? Have a fun memory about butter or leprechaun museums? Let De\Code know by mailing email@example.com.
Let the meetings commence Andrew Donovan reports on the Monthly General Meeting, an eclectic mix of arts established to combat the malaise that has descended on Ireland You could walk straight by it without even noticing. The Hacienda Bar is tucked away off Capel Street and a knock on the door is required to get inside. A few months ago, it played host to the inaugural creative public forum entitled the Monthly General Meeting, a free night that mixes comedy, music, film and discussion under a different theme and in a different venue each month. Ideally, the theme matches the venue, which is why the Hacienda was chosen for the ‘Secrets’ of the first meeting, and the Dublin Conservative Club, with its austere decor and pungent carpets on Camden Row, chosen for ‘It’s All Politics’ in March. Though a date had not been set at the time of writing, the theme of the next meeting is going to be the law, says co-founder Shane Langan, writer and performer with the comedy troupe The Diet of Worms. “Brushes with the law, breaking the law, all that stuff, we’re looking to get a pub near the Four Courts at the moment.” Langan set up the Monthly General Meeting with friend Níal Conlan, bassist in the Delorentos to combat the general malaise of the recession. “We don’t even know what the goal is, per se,” Langan claims. “The most exciting thing for me is meeting new people because this city is still so vibrant despite a lot of people leaving.” At the politics night, Jarlath Regan performed stand-up, Dylan Haskins, an independent candidate in last year’s general election, did a Q+A
session on his campaign, We Are Losers played an acoustic set, Sarah Griffin read her poetry and two documentary makers screened their film, Tea Party Rising, on the tea party movement in America. James Vincent McMorrow arrived towards the end and sat down in the audience. “Because some of the people we have on aren’t used to performing in front of people, we want the audience to be as warm and attentive as possible,” Langan says, “We don’t send out any press releases because we want this thing to spread by word of mouth; we only use Twitter to publicise it.” Langan has run a few comedy nights before that were Facebook-heavy - with invites and events. “Rather than inundate people with requests we want people to seek us out, because it’s not a straight-up comedy night or just one thing we want people to want to be there,” he says. “You could have put this night on five years ago and charged €15 at the door and no one would have batted an eye lid,” comedian Jarlath Regan exclaimed during his routine. The night does have a recession-style feel to it. Everybody involved is giving up their time for free; Langan and Conlon even passed around a bucket at the end for donations to cover the cost of the night. “We got €110 from the bucket, so we lost a tenner from the rental and the cost of the programmes,” Langan openly admits. Follow the Monthly General Meeting on Twitter to keep updated with future forums: @MonthlyGM. twenty three
The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock THE BRUTAL HERE AND NOW [TRANSDUCTION RECORDS]
The Brutal Here and Now is the follow-up to Spook of the Thirteenth Locks’ well-received self-titled debut. Although unfaltering in their devotion to their Irish traditional-steeped roots, this trilingual record is also inspired by Indian and Italian influences. Released on Transduction Records and produced by Stephen Shannon and the band’s own Enda Bates, the album expands on the melting pot of sounds established on their 2008 release. Named after an Arthur Griffith poem about a haunted canal lock, Spook is made up of Bates, Allen Blighe, Ronan Hayes, Donnachadh Hoey and Brian Higgins, while The Brutal Here and Now also features guest musicians such as Adrian Harte on violin and Kim Porcelli on cello. First track ‘The Tantarella’ is sung in Italian with, thankfully, an Irish accent, and opens up the gate to the rest of the album on a slightly frenzied and invigorating note. ‘Suffer the Wait’ follows, starting with a looping tune that melts into unrelenting, rebel-like twenty four
choruses, leading to softer vocal sections which peak and fall throughout, drawing the listener in. The album sustains a sense of vitality, and is a far cry from any pre-conceived and tired notions of ‘Celtic-rock’, yet seems to run the risk of a ‘fusion’ overload at times. Despite this, The Brutal Here and Now has many standout tracks including ‘Bóthar Crua Larthar’ which embodies a struggle and evokes a backdrop of ‘hard times’. Emulating an evolving Ireland as it embraces Gaeilge lyrics and a progressive, modern mix of rock and traditional. The title track comes in two parts and the first promises much, with a hooky refrain and quality musicianship punctuated by rebellious undertones that flow through the entire record. A multilayered and essentially Irish album, The Brutal Here and Now is packed with ideas that suggest the best is yet to come from the Spook of the Thirteenth Lock. CD
EO’S: Eoghan O’Sullivan; VM: Vanessa Monaghan; SO’R: Steven O’Rourke; Elaine Kirwan;
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The Gandhis After Autumn 1969 Records
After Autumn, the second album by Dublin quartet The Gandhis Clocking in at 43 minutes and is a collection of slow burning just seven tracks long, Last Days Of 1984’s debut is a static-ridden, slurred take on folk melodica and jaunty, happy-sad skiffle. The their psychedelic brand of dance music. With layer influence of stripped back Spiritualized, and upon layer of distortion masking their vocals and Submarine-style Alex Turner, can be felt alongside extended periods of atmosphere-leaning, bleepy more obvious folk inspirations. From the opening asides, Wake Up To The Waves falls somewhere track ‘Brother’ there’s an impressive emphasis between moody background music and spaced- upon backing vocals - and thankfully The Gandhis deliver with authentic four-part harmonies. ‘There out midnight dance-off. Live, tracks like the euphoric slow-builder ‘River’s Is A Place’ even hints at a barbershop quartet, while Edge’ and the extended, swirling loops of ‘Season’ ‘Hunting’ leaps forward thanks to its instant chorus pulse headily, and that’s translated well on to of “You don’t know how hard I’ve tried”. record, with subtle production and a focus on After Autumn may prove a difficult listen initially, intoxicating feel rather than lyrical brilliance. due to the amount of musical styles on display, Electro-clubbers will lap this up; for the rest of but persevere with songs such as ‘Maybe Maybe’ us, the refrained, intelligent beats make for a and you’ll struggle not to fall for its considerable charm. promising introduction. SB
Dott Buttons Popical Island
The Riptide Movement Keep on Keepin’ on Self released
Galwegian quartet Dott’s debut EP Buttons is a four-track collection of rip roaring, harmony heavy, garage rock n roll. Due to the ad hoc nature of the recording sessions, the EP lacks a professional sonic lustre, especially on the drums. However, the DIY nature of the recording adds a gritty authenticity to the instrumentation. Anna McCarthy’s vocals are reminiscent of Tanya Donnelly (Belly, the Breeders), with Kim Deal and Dinosaur Jr the major influences on Dott’s fuzzfuelled, melodic happy-sad songwriting. ‘Let’s Do It’, the standout track on the EP, comes with a memorable chorus of “Lets do it, let’s fall in love”. Dott should prepare themselves for the Breeders comparisons for all the right reasons. SB
You may know The Riptide Movement even if you’ve never paid to see them live. One of Ireland’s hardest working bands; the Dubliners are often seen busking around the capital city. This, their debut album, is a curious affair. Reportedly costing €40,000 to produce, it doesn’t sound as sterile as most albums might with that much cash thrown at it. Unfortunately, it also fails to accurately capture the energy the band put into their live performances. The layers and layers of guitar and Mal Touhy’s affected vocals begin to grate very quickly, no more so than on ‘Cocaine Cowboys’. There are some good tracks on here, Keep on Keepin’ on benefits from a sparseness not afforded to many of the songs but, ultimately, it’s too sameish for my ears. SO’R twenty five
Last Days Of 1984 Wake Up To The Waves Osaka Records
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On the release of Teen Dream in 2010, Beach House skyrocketed. Though it was their third album, many will have greeted it like a debut release. Here was a band fully formed and totally confident in their ability. While other groups try to fit hundreds of ideas into three minutes, Alex Scally and Victoria LeGrand stick to a simple formula, never letting their instruments get ahead of them. If you haven’t already fallen for Beach House, Bloom is unlikely to change your mind. There is nothing here that wasn’t already in place: the androgynous vocals and piano take centre stage, augmented by drifting guitar lines that never really stand out but rather whirl around (that’s where the term ‘dream-pop’ comes in, I guess), in full knowledge of their own self-worth, and add to the occasional flicker of lo-fi that Beach House nod towards. “Find yourself in a new direction,” LeGrand sings on the opener, touching on the newfound pressure the band faces. But that pressure never shows. Like its predecessor, Bloom is always totally assured. ‘Wild’ is anything twenty six
but; with LeGrand asserting that everything is going to be alright. This reassurance is something that crops up again and again. She slips into the mother role throughout Bloom, proclaiming on ‘Lazuli - with a frustrating juxtaposition - that “like no other, you can’t be replaced”. On ‘The Hours’, she sings about “frightened eyes looking back at me”, while on the following track, ‘Troublemaker’, Legrand says, “Like a hand, you reached out to me... Tiny fingers on the edge, watch it unravel, pulling everything apart.” The big songs came one after the other on Teen Dream and it’s a similar trek here, with ‘New Year’ the stand out track in the collection. It keeps you waiting for the glorious crescendo and when it arrives, LeGrand teases: “Can you see it coming?” “It’s a strange paradise,” she coos as the album fades 40 or so minutes later. Fans won’t think it all that strange, though. Bloom will be familiar to many; bigger, more expansive but ultimately the same immersive dream it’s always been. EO’S
JH: James Hendicott; CD: Claire Dalton; SB: Steven Byrne
BLOOM (SUB POP)
Rufus Wainwright Out of the Game Polydor
This latest album from Jason Pierce was created while he was housebound for eight months and undergoing experimental drug treatment for degenerative liver disease. But despite this harsh and unlikely creative environment, Sweet Heart Sweet Light is strangely uplifting. Those familiar with Spiritualized’s six previous albums will feel comfortable with the Jesus references, strings, a bit of gospel and chemically inspired album artwork. It’s no Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space, but opening track ‘Hey Jane’ has a persuasive ending that forces you to warm to Pierce and his ongoing plight and, as a consequence, to the rest of the record. Standout tracks include ‘Get What You Deserve’ and ‘Headin’ for the Top Now’.
It may be called Out of the Game but with his seventh studio album, Rufus Wainwright proves he ain’t going anywhere yet. With elements of synth-pop (‘Bitter Tears’), smooth soul (‘Barbara’), and 70s pop-rock, Out of the Game is an ambitious affair that borders on selfindulgence. ‘Montauk’, dedicated to Wainwright’s daughter, is the worst offender, with its fussy arrangements and overly sentimental lyrics. But Wainwright does score cool points for hauling in Mark Ronson as producer and bringing Wilco’s Nels Cline and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner along for the ride. Wainwright says it’s the poppiest album he’s made, but this only applies if you’ve set your time machine to 1970. Rihanna need not develop a defence strategy just yet. EK
Clock Opera Ways To Forget Moshi Moshi
Best Coast The Only Place Wichita
After much acclaim from the blogosphere over the past 12 months, Clock Opera finally unveil their debut full length. Entitled Ways To Forget, it doesn’t disappoint, staying in mind long after the first listen. Opening with the radio-friendly ‘Once And For All’, it just gets better and better. Guy Connolly, who started Clock Opera on his lonesome, has managed to incorporate clever lyrics and melodies to his guitar-based electro fun while 80s influences will leave you at ease with the music. Ways To Forget rises and falls as it goes through the singles of the last year, including ‘Man Made’ and ‘Lesson No 7’. Laid out together, it makes for one impressive collection. Guitar-synth music at its best. VM
Not every band can be innovative with every new release. Look at Radiohead: last album The King of Limbs was basically a redux of In Rainbows. Best Coast have a defined sound and a couple of obvious lyrical touchpoints. If a song doesn’t mention California (have you seen the album cover!?) or boys, then maybe Beth Cosetino isn’t involved. The Only Place sticks to the above rules. The title track and opener sees California take centre-stage as the duo’s muse. Though you have to endure such poor-me lines as “I used to believe in diamonds and things,” on ‘Why I Cry’, Best Coast’s second album will sound perfect in summer. And in closer ‘Up All Night’, Cosetino has created the most endearing and teary track of her short career to date. EO’S
Spiritualized Sweet Heart Sweet Light! Domino Six
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On May reading Elaine Kirwan gets cosy with some new page-turners.
The Light Between Oceans Publisher: Doubleday Tom Sherbourne is a First World War veteran and lighthouse keeper stationed at Janus Rock, off the Western coast of Australia. The only inhabitants of the island, he and wife Isabel, live a quiet life away from the rest of the world. Still aching from their third miscarriage, the couple are going about their chores one April morning when a small boat washes ashore, carrying a dead man and a crying infant. Faced with an impossible decision, Tom and Isabel struggle with the intermingling of right and wrong, and the consequences of choosing to follow their hearts. A tragic story that opens up to reveal devastating consequences when the baby’s real story unfolds, The Light Between Oceans captivates from beginning to end. Enriched with beautiful imagery, poetic language and engaging characters, the novel is mesmerising in its depiction of love, loyalty, forgiveness and the nature of moral dilemma. Written by ML Stedman, an Australian-born lawyerturned-author, The Light Between Oceans is a mustread, a truly stunning novel and an incredible debut. The Last Dance Publisher: New Island The Irish showbands were a genuine phenomenon in this country. Packing dance halls to capacity most nights of the week, showbands were at their peak in the 1960s, when almost 760 bands were twenty eight
touring all across Ireland. Written in the style of a band biography, The Last Dance tells the story of the Playboys from Castlemartin, a showband from the heyday of the era. A love story at its core, the book explores the journey of Martin McCelland and his complicated love affair with Hanna Hutchinson, his childhood friend and eventual sweetheart. Written by music agent Paul Charles, The Last Dance is essential for any fan of Irish music. Brimming with wry humour and affection for the genre, it provides insight into the history of a great showband and the lives of those at its heart. Nostalgic and funny, The Last Dance will stay with you long after the final page. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Publisher: Doubleday Recently retired Harold Fry lives with his wife in a small English village, where every day seems the same as the last. One day, he receives a letter from Queenie Hennessey, a woman he hasn’t heard from in years, who is writing to bid him farewell from her hospice bed. Convinced he must deliver his response to Queenie in person, Harold sets out on a 600-mile journey, along the way meeting one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks feelings buried deep inside of him. While prone to sentimentality, Rachel Joyce’s book is one of this year’s finest debuts. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is a charming and utterly irresistible story of how normal people can be quiet heroes.
Alternative late late #lls or #latelate inevitably trends every Friday evening but, as Ken Fallon points out, it’s not always for the right reasons
Times are tough at RTÉ. Recently, it was revealed that the station had suffered a drop in revenue of €70 million since mid-2008. According to RTÉ’s Director General, Noel Curran, the organisation’s operating deficit was ‘not sustainable’ and a series of drastic measures are on the way to shore up its finances. With the age of austerity now at the doors of Montrose, has there ever been a better time to tackle the station’s supposed jewel in the crown The Late Late Show? Curran took swift action in the aftermath of the Prime Time Investigates debacle. Could he be just as decisive in radically overhauling the show or, better still, cancelling it altogether as a cost-cutting measure? To be fair, The Late Late Show is a symptom of a wider dilemma at RTÉ, in that the station has never successfully devised a proper television chat-show format in the post-Gaybo digital age. The Saturday Night Show seems to exist primarily to allow Brendan O’Connor to creepily flirt with his female guests while the risible Craig Doyle Show sees RTÉ continue to struggle to find a suitable vehicle for the laboriously unfunny UPC salesman. Doyle is clearly struggling to make the show work but lacks the essential quick-witted humour necessary for the ‘irreverent’ style his show is trying to achieve and even appears uncomfortable fronting a live show. As host of The Late Late Show, Ryan Tubridy is more at ease than Doyle but he is, in fact, a poor interviewer with a predictable, and at times, tactless questioning style that has rubbed some of his guests up the wrong way. Tubridy’s approach is just one of the show’s manifold problems. What has come up for most criticism has the been the lack of quality guests but throw in its
ludicrously protracted two-hour running-time, tiresome viewer-competitions, pointless audience interaction and that insufferable house-band and you have a show that is a kind of national broadcasting embarrassment. This jarringly weird amalgam of serious discussion, celebrity interviews and God knows what else, all steered by a host desperately trying to mould himself as Ireland’s answer to David Letterman, virtually guarantees it to be a trending topic on Twitter every Friday night. Defenders of the show espouse the theory that it continues to exist as Ireland is a small country, with a ‘community’ rather than a population and we watch it to enjoy a communal viewing experience, but for me The Late Late Show should have gracefully bowed out with Gay Byrne when he retired in 1999. He brilliantly helmed the show in a different era, when shows like this had relevance in a time before social networking and shortened attention spans. The Late Late Show now is an anachronistic relic of a bygone age, which has too long been a sacred cow on RTÉ’s schedules. It’s time for it to be humanely put out of its misery.
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vol 1. issue 2.
Picking Forbidden Fruit The De\Code team look ahead to this year’s Forbidden Fruit festival and pick their ones-to-watch this coming June bank holiday weekend The Cast Of Cheers The band that had the Dublin music scene sputtering with superlatives throughout 2010/11 makes a long-awaited return from their selfimposed London exile. The math-rock maestros have since wowed Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe - who loved debut label single ‘Family’ so much he played it twice in a row - and flitted about Europe. Chariot, the free album that kicked things all off, is to be replaced with a second ‘debut’ shortly after Forbidden Fruit, so expect plenty of newbies alongside scene classics like ‘Auricom’ and ‘Derp’. Frontman Conor Adam once told us he didn’t learn his own words before The Cast Of Cheers, as nobody ever knew the difference. Those days are past: this is tense, blaring and electric live. Bring your dancing shoes! JH James Vincent McMorrow When I interviewed James Vincent McMorrow in the wake of the release of his debut album, I asked what hopes he had for his music: “I want it to get out into the world slowly and organically... and hopefully over the next year that will lead to bigger and bigger stages and more and more exciting things.” He was right to hope. Since the release of Early in the Morning, McMorrow thirty
has garnered massive attention from both fans and critics alike. The Dublin singer-songwriter has gone from strength to strength, stunning us with his beautifully lush folky songs and his captivating live shows, which have included performances at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Dublin’s Peppercanister Church and the Mitchelstown Caves. After lengthy tours, which have seen him take to stages across the US and Europe, McMorrow returns to his hometown for an appearance at Forbidden Fruit. His eerie serenades coupled with his warm, warbling vocals and chilling falsettos are best appreciated live; this is definitely not one to be missed. EK Ardal O’Hanlon Monaghan’s funniest son won’t be talking about small and far away. Hell, he probably won’t even bring too many lovely girls, but the ruder, sharper comic style the Father Ted star has taken on in his stand up show is zany, self-loathing and bears little resemblance to the clergymen half-wit O’Hanlon’s best known for. Expect a little God commentary along the way – the man in the sky’s one of Ardal’s favourite topics – but mostly, if you’re new to postTed O’Hanlon, expect to go through phases of
shock, denial, and eventual acknowledgement: he might just be the sharpest tool in the box after all. JH Julia Holter Fresh off the back of an incredible second album Ekstasis, this LA-based experimental artist, who also works as part-time tutor with a non-profit organisation for teenagers in South Central LA, has been making serious waves of late. She has been the apple of many an eye, critics and public alike, since her delicate, ‘Euripidesinspired’ debut in 2011: Tragedy. A classically trained, multi-instrumentalist and a graduate of CalArts (founded by Walt Disney! Cool!) Holter specialises in ethereal, chanting dream- pop and has collaborated with Nite Jewel and psychedelic folk artist Linda Perhacs. Possessing an ‘unusual fascination with thought and art of the middleages’, her live shows are intimate, elevated by her enchanting singing voice and somewhat ecclesiastical style of music. Even though weirdly reminiscent of Enya at times, Holter comes superrated. Bewitching, ambient and enthralling the upcoming performance at Forbidden Fruit comes highly recommended. CD Le Galaxie 2012 has made busy boys of Le Galaxie. As well as tantalising audiences with an endless string of live shows, the forerunners of Irish electronica have been busy recording five of what they feel are their best songs yet. Their new EP Fade 2 Forever drops 22 June, and follows their hugely successful debut album, Laserdisc Nights II. I spoke to the four-piece about their upcoming Forbidden Fruit Festival appearance, and they had this to say: “[It’s] going to be something special. Our Electric Picnic show last year was the elevated moment of Le Galaxie’s career, but we plan on eclipsing that with this year’s Forbidden Fruit slot. We love the ‘urban’ festival idea. When the shows are over you get to go to the pub...not spend the night sleeping on the ground surrounded by pink-cowboy-hat-wearing meatheads who play badly tuned acoustic guitars ALL FUCKING NIGHT. Also, sharing the bill with The Bloody Beetroots, Booka Shade, Factory Floor, Bear in Heaven, Friendly Fires, New Order, The Rapture et al, well what’s not to like?” EK For all the details on Dublin’s urban festival for 2012, check out forbiddenfruit.ie
25 Wexford St, Dublin 2
WaV Tickets 1890200078
ARBOURETUM + HUSH ARBORS
Saturday 5th May // €14 + fees
“It’s stoner-folk-rock, like a heavier version of Midlake or an opiated Fairport” - The Independent.co.uk
Keep Shel l y in Athens
WEdNESday 9th May // €15
Eleanor harMoNIc presents
thurSday 17th May // €15 WhELaNSLIVE & QuartEr INch coLLEctIVE presents
FrIday 18th May // €15 + fees WhELaNSLIVE.coM presents
Howe Gelb (Giant Sand)
thurSday 24th May // €17.50 WhELaNSLIVE.coM presents
RAGLANS - LONG LIVE EP LAUNCH FrIday 25th May // €8 Mcd.IE presents
one of the most heavily tipped bands to break in 2012
tuESday 29th May // €12
The Men WhELaNSLIVE.coM presents
+ Pulled Apart
WEd 30th May // €12 + fees rItuaL MuSIc & daNdELIoN ProMotIoNS presents
Dr. Feelgood thurSday 31St May // €22.50
COMING SOON 06.05 09.05 13.05 18.05 19.05 26.05
KITTy, DaISy & LewIS PeTer MuLvey (up) SIx60 SharON vaN eTTeN She’S a BeauTy FIxerS
27.05 NewTON FauLKNer - SOLD OuT 02.06 TheOrIGINaLruDeBOyS 17.06 GreG PrOOPS 30.06 FraNCeSCa MarTINez 17.07 The PuNCh BrOTherS
Tickets & Info: www.whelanslive.com