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This month we feature:

SEPTEMBER 2011

Ruby and the night hawks... Seven Days... The Ruby Sessions...

Artist of the month

Swords Exclusive interview on pages 10-13

Featured Reviews Plus much more..... Elavator

WWW.MUSICREVIEWUNSIGNED.COM


Contents Amanda Burns: Oh Music, Where Art Thou? check out this months rant about the unsigned versus the signed..page 3 The Cujo Family: Live review at the button Factory Dublin...page 4 What The Folk: Live review of the finals at The Workmans club Dublin...Page 5 Ruby and the night hawks: Feature ...page 7 Seven Days: Feature ...page 8 Artist of the month/SWORDS: Exlusive interview..page 10-13 CD REVIEWS: page 15-18 Gig guide: page 19 The Ruby Sessions: live review page 20-21

Contacts: Editor/ Trevor Halpin trev@musicreviewunsigned.com Articles/ ezine@musicreviewunsigned.com Writers: Amanda Burns Arne Eichler Angela Macari O’Looney Emer Kelly Jennifer Ormsby Phillip Ó'Baoighealláin http://dragonphotography.yolasite.com WEB PAGES: http://www.musicreviewunsigned.com http://www.myspace.com/musicreview_unsigned http://www.youtube.com/MusicreviewUnsigned http://twitter.com/musicreviewU http://www.facebook.com/MusicReviewUnsigofficial

Photographer: Alison @ Dragon Photography


Oh Music, where art thou?

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By Amanda Burns So, I’m late, again. My poor editor, I’m never on time! But here is why; I have a plan for the next 4 months worth of articles and left myself short for September. Genius, Amanda. So I’ve been trawling through MySpace waiting for something to jump out at me. I kept taking breaks, so I could look through my findings with fresh eyes (ears?). And then it happened. At last. I have, of course, heard of Dead School before. Mentioned to me by a friend sometime during the summer, I did the whole ‘like’ the Facebook page, have a listen yada yada.... and I had been meaning to get around to it; I thought they’d make a great feature. So, it was while reading through their Bio that the tiny trigger I look for to peak my interest enough for me to go searching for links and listening to music with which I am not entirely familiar came, with a thump. Now, if you haven’t heard some of their material I want you to go to Facebook, MySpace, YouTube or wherever and listen to a song, and then read the next sentence. Dead School were formed in...... August 2010. That’s just over a year ago. And, while that in itself is an unremarkable fact, it is what turned my head. Because, had I not seen it before me in cold hard print, I would not have believed it. Contrary to the offerings of many more ‘mature’ bands, Dead School managed to form, create and release their debut double single in just 8 months. ‘Frailties/Standing on the Edge’ was released to great acclaim on April 28th of this year, and there is no doubt as to why. As yet, I have not had the pleasure of seeing Dead School perform live, but from the recordings I’ve heard and the videos I’ve watched, I have been convinced that I must. They tick the boxes; tight, even sound, excellent vocals by Donal Mc Donald, who’s voice is clean, distinctive and vaguely

Picture: Dead School

reminiscent of a man pouring out his entire soul, and just heavy enough. Just enough that you feel it and it doesn’t intrude too much to be enjoyed. It’s all and all an excellent job by Donal McDonald (vocals/percussion), James McDonald (guitar/drums /vocals), Cathal Maher (guitar/drums /keys) and Ruairi Dale (bass). Their latest offering ‘3.17’ is very much in line with all of this. After having played at many festivals this past summer, including Indiependence, and receiving a lot of air play with previous material (on both National and Regional Radio since the release. The Band has already recorded live sessions for Red FM, 96 FM, Beat FM, Tipp FM, Galway Bay FM and KLCR.) I can definitely see this new piece being a big go for both. Turn it up, it belongs in the LOUD. Of the many bands I’ve been wading through over the last few days, it is a huge testimony to the commitment of this band that they can put together track like these and their others, and look as though they have been doing it for years. Many amazing acts that I see all the time go from strength to strength over time, honing their sound, getting it right for them but to do it this quick, this early in their career is truly rare. This is a hard-working bunch of young lads and, believe me, they mean business. They are establishing themselves at no fixed rate of

speed, and, if this is just the beginning, we’re all in for a massive treat down the line. The post-punk thing has been done, but these guys do it their own way. This is unapologetically there, demanding to be heard, and coming right at you. To do it like they are doing it would not be an easy task. Ready your ear drums world, Dead School is coming to get you, and I promise you want to go along for the ride! Dead School’s single ‘3.17’ / Exude are out now and available for download on ReverbNation. Linkage!! http://www.reverbnation.com/d eadschool http://soundcloud.com/deadschool http://www.myspace.com/5633 40786

On the other hand.... And the award for worst song/video of the most recent ones I’ve heard/seen goes to...........Maroon 5! I recently moved, so I was spending a few days at home. I decided that since daytime TV is such utter muck, I’d flick through the music channels and see what I could give out about this month! It was then that I realised the pain I had brought down on myself. Growing up, there were 3 musical constants in my life, courtesy of my Dad; The Eagles, a man who’s name I could never

remember , which I’ve learned as an accidental-adult was Tom Waits, and The Rolling Stones. It was these strange images of Sir Mick Jagger dancing his, eh, interesting moves across my screen on a pointedly pop channel that caught my attention. I’d seen all these Facebook ‘Like’ thingys about having “moves like Mick Jagger” but this was when I’d first heard the song. On hearing and watching ‘Moves like Jigger’ two things struck me: 1. Adam Levine looks better with his shirt ON 2. This was the ridiculous song that had inspired said groups. It’s awful. It’s like a bad jingle of that ad you hate that sticks in your head. And the video? What is this awful-ness?? “Let’s all dance around like Sir Mick cos we’re cool enough to pull it off??” No.... No, you’re really not. And then, another artist trying to tread enough water to avoid her inevitable future as “washed up”, Christina Aguilera. Thankfully, the track keeps her ooh’s and ahh’s to a minimum, by her standards at least (Yes, Christina, we get it-you can sing! But remember, the crazy vocal exercises need to happen BEFORE you go on.) But still, why is she there? She makes no improvement to this display of desperation, and she’s so clearly shopped into that video! Did they not save enough on the absence of Adam Levine’s shirt to afford a decent effects crew?? No?? Anyway, I can hear all the smelly fresher’s singing it as they walk by my house at night, and it of course has charted, and, as I speak (type?) it sits comfortable at number 2. Puke. I despair of these little ones; didn’t anybody explain that there’s more out there than this?? Can only hope that this junk has stopped stalking me when next I venture out. Complete solitude looks good, given that thought.


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s w e i v e R LivByePhillip Ó'Baoighealláin

busy summer for the band with a lot of the festival circuit taken in by them this year, and their gig at the Button Factory was hot off the back of their gig at The Salty Dog stage at Electric Picnic. Getting things off was "Hours Of The Wake" and the band got straight into things. With no signs of burnout from a busy summer, they delivered the song with their usual assuredness. Then without missing a beat they were into second number "Patti Girl" and this too was delivered with the same punch. But the rolling in from the first song into this shows how much the music is worked in with the band too. Then "Bruce Lee" followed up. This is a song that gets better every time I hear it. There is just a real hype that is a constant to the song, and it runs all the way through it too from takes the band into their folk roots signs of burn out from a busy start to finish. Taking the pace of things down and it is a really grand song too summer of gigs on show here. was "Dog Gone Crazy". This song and their musical influences show Another one of the new songs has a bass line that is prominent here. Moved away from the from the band was next. "Mary and hangs in the air, but even bluegrass sound of the set thus far, Brown" grabs your attention. With though things are slowed down on this takes the band back to more some strong banjo on this one too, it, it still keeps a high tempo of their musical roots. Keeping in it is a song that was banged out going. And the Dobro playing on with the slower tempo again was with some proficiency. "Cage the song is also something of a "Sign On". A poignant number Rattler" slows down the feel of standout. Crowd pleaser "Half Of from the band here which gives it the set again, but nothing to be taking away Bray" was next up from the “Blasting out from the start from the band, this band for. It is song plays with a with "Fool I’ve Been", there was no another one real zip too and the performance side of mistaking the urgency and the flow of their new tracks and set things was nailed of the song. The thing about this up the slow down pat from the band is that there is no complacency set in a way band here. The b ecause Button Factory from them, and no signs of burn out " H o l y seems to be the from a busy summer of gigs on show Moses" was home away from here” next up from home for this band the band. because they always With Gav McCabe going electric seem to turn up and turn it on a bit of added charm with the passion that the song is delivered this time out. But even though it when I see them play here. "Sleep Lemonade" followed with. This also had some excellent moves it away from the original that, and minus the violin on the slide guitar on it too, but the acoustic aesthetic, it still bosses song, the Johnny Cash "Folsom overall from the band is worth just as well. The very simple approach Blues" undertone stills comes mentioning. continued with next track "Green Blasting out from the start with through on it. While it sounds Trees" and delivered with real different with this noted absence, "Fool I’ve Been", there was no effect. There is a high likeability it is not that poorer for it because mistaking the urgency and the for this song because of the effort the rest of the instrumental on the flow of the song. The thing about that is put into it overall. It starts song shines on it too. A new track this band is that there is no off slow and then the rhythm is called "Alozaina" was next. This complacency from them, and no

The Cujo Family The Button Factory/Dublin (10-09-2011) worked very well. Not an easy thing to accomplish, but the electric guitar in it works for the set here too. I was undecided on what to make of this being added to the band?s sound until this song, but it does work. Then they played "Where The Blue Flowers Grow". A song that any band would be proud to call their own because it is a song that could charm anyone who hears it. But it is also one of the songs they always seem to lash out of it when they play it live. Top drawer work from the band here and again, without missing a beat, they dropped the sound and broke into "Shoplifting In Tesco". This song has a UB40 appeal to it and it is a song that even Mary Byrne would grow to like. It is marvellously well worked, and while the title might suggest it is not to be taken seriously, it holds up against that misconception/preconception rather well. This is for all the right reasons too. "Water Into Wine" is another signature Cujo Family song as it has a high pitch opening too. Again a high degree of likeability to this one because it holds a sway on there too that has a good bounce that the song goes along on. Then closing off the set was "You Choked". Great delivery here on this song too, and overall it flies through the air. It is well worked and the lyrics and vocals have it nailed on the head. The band has a new sound and a new approach to go with the new set list. It works too for them because it is their ability to go against the grain and always be progressing with their sound that is one of the best things about them as a band. A shout out also goes to Ciara (Sully) Sullivan too. Check out The Cujo Family at: http://thecujofamily.bandcamp.com


s w e i v e R Live 3 Acts 1 Winner

Review by Phillip Ă“'BaoigheallĂĄin

What The Folk?

Final round, Workman's Club/Dublin (12/09/11)

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xactly one year to the day of joining the MRU team, I found myself writing about unsigned music at the What The Folk final at the Workman's Club. It also happened to be the launch night of MRUTV in Cork. With the first prize being a slot at the inaugural "What The Folk Festival", the lights dimmed, and two men in tuxedos came out to get the night's proceedings under way. The first act taking to the stage to the stage was LOU MCMAHON and first song up was "Wide Eyed Lady". The song begins in something of a lull, but there are some fine vocals on show here too. And the lady looks comfortable on stage holding a guitar. The song follows a good rhythm and gets banged out with a shining light of commitment. A song to warm too I must say. The same could be said of second offering on the night ?Evergreen?. The story behind the song is that it was written in response to a request after supporting Mary Coughlan to write a more uplifting song. But the doors open on this one too. Lyrically it is very beautiful and has a wonderful feel to it. You can get lost in the lyrics too because the whole is masterfully worked. A beautiful song fashioned with real meaning, which makes it more composed when performed. "The Gypsy" moves the pace on the set up a gear. A lot hits the target here because the song is a very good all rounder. Lyrics, vocals, rhythm and tempo are profoundly swimming about and then complimented by the a cappello denouement on the song. One of the tracks on the "Delicate Dancer" EP was next. "A River" has an unmistakeable undertone that harks of "All I Want Is You"

by U2. But the song is carried off overall and it is a strong piece of music. From its name from the Thai "to rest" was next song "Sabai", which was dedicated to a friend. Another song that is very well held together and holds up when measured against the rest of the set. It floats along on a melody that wafts through the air. It is artistically pushing the artist herself and showcase that she is worthy of a place here on the night's billing. "Ferris Wheel" then moves the set to the midtempo. Another song with very good lyrics and it dances around itself, but the effort is put in for the song. And there is a little bit of sexiness too with the performance here. Currently recording with TERRY WOODS, closing song "Into The Wild" will be the new single that will be released in October. It is a song about not feeling sorry for oneself that is comfortable in its own skin when performed. For more info on Lou McMahon check out the following link: http://breakingtunes.com/loumc mahon The second finalist taking to the stage tonight was DAVID HOPE. Another case of one man and his guitar, but he sat down and played with heart. First song "The Scarecrow" carried off on a riff that just makes you sit up and notice the talent on show. There is a very strong hint of some BO DIDDLEY with the undertone, but it has this gritty and grizzled sound to the lyrics. A combination that serves it well and the source material is well tapped into on this one too. "See The Ghost" moves along with a very steady tempo. It plays to something that is a bit cinematic in the approach to the art by playing like a piece of redneck getaway music, but it

holds off from taking the tempo too fast. A cover of a TOMMY EMMANUEL song was up next. "The Tall Fiddler" was a frenetic instrumental with a strong performance to accompany the chord work. A lot of key changes involved in this one, and while it is a short song, it is definitely a case of quality over quantity. It starts slow but rises to a fast build towards the end. But certainly a piece of music on the night that was stand -out. Another short track with "Chasing Time" which draws a comparison to CHRISTY MOORE because of the way it sits pleasantly. The whole of the song is rich and definitely worth a second listen. "Flow" was next and this one has a very positive vibe coming off it. A lot of charm and simplicity goes on display here with this one, and those two things are the ingredients that make the song. It has a strong uplifting intro and it sets the bar for the song to continue with. Then "Hell Or High Water" draws the same comparisons as "Chasing Time" on the vocals. The whole of the song is measured just right and is let flow free with all that in place. Nothing drags on the song here. For more info on David Hope check out the following link: http://www.davidhope.ie The third of the finalists on the night was MIRIAM DONOGHUE. There is a lot to be said for the potent ability of her opening song "Street Car". The same can be also said for her as an artist. The metaphors within the lyrics draw up very concise and vivid imagery, but there is also a grand feeling here too when you hear her play. There is a lovely aura off this song, and the guitar rolls out and is worked in all the right places too. "The Plassey"

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was second on her set list. This is a ballad about the boat from the opening credits of Father Ted. But hearing it for the second time, I managed to hear more behind the lyrics and pick up on more things. The lyrics warn of temptation and bear up to the standard set on the night from the previous two acts. Third song was called "Lover?s Lament". This is a melodic tune that is capable of sitting well with the listener. It has soft lyrics, gentle chord work and the correct rhythm that is deserved to accompany it. There is a lot to like on this song. Everything that is applied on it is very practical and polished. "Playing In The Garden" has reams of nostalgia churning in the lyrics. Definitely a pleasant song to get the taste buds around because it just floats on the breeze. The pace of it plods along too and this gives it a vibrancy that adds to the appeal. Definitely a song that is easy on the ear. "Dollar Avenue" has the pace in the right places too. There is nothing to find fault with on the song here. It is taken down to a simplicity with the approach by the second verse. With the crowd behind her too and giving some more atmosphere to the evening's proceedings with the finger clicking bit. Closing number "Nuts and Bolts" is a song that grows on you. I liken its feel good factor to "Manic Monday" by THE BANGLES. It just has sense of timelessness that is all of its own making. There is nothing to dislike about this one. It is a song that Postman Pat would probably whistle to while he does his rounds. And if jess could, he'd join in too. The appeal of the song is that strong. For more info on Miriam Donoghue check out the following link: http://breakingtunes.com/miria mdonohue With the three finalists having played the stage for their shot at the "What The Folk Festival", a winner had to be chosen. The winner on the night was David Hope.


Feature

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By Jennifer Ormsby

Ruby and the Night Hawks

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magine been a solo singer realising an album and touring it around your hometown. Suddenly you get bored of people not receiving your music the way you want to. ‘’ People would always notice the voice but not the hard work that goes into the creation of the music’’. Wanting the music to be fast paced different and something you know people will respect for the creation well that’s when Ruby Spilsbury found her band in what some people would call faith. James Ryan (Drummer) was in a cover band with Ivan Nagib (Bassist) and jamming with Ruby on the side. ‘’ When the cover band split, James dedicated himself to my band and we needed a bassist so Ivan joined too.’’ Ruby explained. David O'Callaghan (Lead Guitar) was in a band and Ruby knew him through gigging around Cork. When the band David was in broke up suddenly Ruby contacted him as they had been searching for the right guitar player for half a year. Some would call that faith and so it was that The Night Hawks had their final line up and next was the music. Ruby explained about the band’s name, it is quite unusual and catchy which is a good thing in the music industry as it can people look twice at a band. ‘’We're Night Hawks, we stay awake all night, play music, wake up at 7 o'clock in the afternoon and rock as hard as we possibly can live.’’ Very rock and roll I do say. Ruby and The Night Hawks blend different styles of music together for a new sound but they deffentiatley don’t shy away from their rock roots. ‘’It's good and fun to be diverse as people will always find that sound that they like whilst we keep our

‘’ Take the music everywhere, live and breathe it.’’ foundation sound of rock’’ Ruby explained. Each member in the band has different influences as one can only imagine but the band insist that this makes them work well together. They love the way the combinations work and in fact so do many of their fans. On asking Ruby about the inspiration for the songs she simply replied ‘’ from past, present, future experiences’’. The good thing about the bands song is you can take your meaning from the songs and relate to it yourself. Ruby confirmed my theory ‘’ I like to write my songs though with a deep hidden meaning so that the listeners will make up something that they can relate to about the song.’’ Speaking about the creative

process Ruby explained that she had the lyrics and cords written and show them to the boys. But don’t worry the lads get their input as they sit down and play the cords of the new song they add in their ideas. They create this process and all hear each other out. ‘’ We all help one another out and share idea's and get the creative flow going so we get each song down really tight.’’ With each member of the band having different styles this ads to the unique sound and the interesting creative process for The Night Hawks. Speaking of their dreams for the band Ruby replied with an answer that shocked me. Many bands always want sell out tours number one records but The Night Hawks

want to ‘’ Take the music everywhere, live and breathe it.’’ They have no desired path for the band only that their music will be full of dedication and nonstop rocking. They have faith and so do their fans that they will get there in time. The next stop for Ruby and the Night Hawks is England. They hope to tour round England and also play as many festivals, gigs and concerts that they can. They have also begun recording their first album with the hope of it been completed by mid spring 2012. ‘’ next year so it's gonna be very exciting’’ beamed Ruby. If you can’t wait until then to hear this rocking band search for Ruby and The Night Hawks on Facebook and Youtube.


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e r u t a e F

By Jennifer Ormsby

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here are not many young bands out there that take the elements of past music and melt themselves so effortlessly across genres. However the hotly tipped Irish band ‘Seven Days’ successfully take elements from the past blend them together to make Seven Days one of the most unique and contemporary bands on the music scene today. Across their music you can hear an infectious blend of Soul, Blues, Funk and mature pop music a sound that is much wiser than their age. The band consists of Ian White (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar and Piano), Nicky Brennan (Vocals, Lead Guitar), Darren Sweeney (Vocals, Bass) and Ricky Byrne (Drums, Percussion). ‘’Seven Days was used to fill a gap and the name just stuck’’ explained Darren. After playing to a crowd of over 3000 people at Oxegen in 2009, playing support to the likes of The Blizzards, Aslan, The Cornas and Republic of Loose it is no surprise that they bet stiff competition to be crowned the winner of the Hotpress Tiger Untamed competition, artist of the month on Music Review Unsigned in October 2010. 2010 also saw the boys travel across the water to the UK to record material with acclaimed producer Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers). ‘’ Outside ‘’ was the debut single form the recording session and the climbed into the Irish top 40 where it stayed for two consecutive weeks. During those two weeks ‘’we were the only unsigned artist in the chart’’ explained Ian. As a new year started (2011) Seven Days were eager to make their mark. So far this year the boys have played endless gigs, recorded their debut EP, toured Germany and are alls et for another Irish tour and the years not over yet. I think I’m going to nick name these boys the hardest working unsigned act in the world. An intense 20 day tour of

Seven Days

Photo by Ian Downes

Germany and Austria in August 2011 saw the boys bring their epic sound to a new mass audience. ‘’what a fantastic time we had there, we met so many nice people, we had so many great gigs’’ Seven Days explaining about their European tour. As soon as they arrived on Irish soil again it was time to launch the eagerly awaited debut EP All Falls Down. The EP contains four epic tracks, What I Do, All Falls Down, Again and Harder to Breathe. The EP showcases why this band deserves to go all the way. Across the EP Ian’s

distinctive voice will send shivers down your spine and certainly put a smile on your face. The drumbeats, bass lines guitar riffs they all blend so perfectly so elegantly and most important they make it seem easy. The official launch party was held in Crawdaddy Dublin and the boys lifted roof as they always do. They have just embarked on a 30 date Irish tour, be sure to catch them in a town near you. So what’s next for the most promising Irish act since the script well the answer is simple more hard work. They are currently

writing new material and hope to be recording in December and January which means new material is not very far away. Seven Days are also hoping to head back to Europe early next year. The boys hope to release an official album in summer 2012 with a nationwide tour to promote it. Seven Days debut EP is available to buy on ITunes now and make sure you check them out on www.sevendaysireland.com.


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w e i v r e t n I By Arne Eichler

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words are made up of vocalist and keyboard player Diane Anglim, bassist Jarlath Canning, with Ian Frawley on drums. Apart from having the honour of being MRU Magazine’s newlycrowned “Artist of the Month” for September 2011, Swords have been treating the Irish music scene to their catchy and unique electronic-inspired sound for some time. With the Irish Times complementing their “neatlyclipped, electro-pop tunes” and Hotpress admiring their “ticking rhythm” and “brilliant hooks”, MRU thought it was high time that Arne Eichler went and found out all about them. Welcome, guys. Feel free to take a moment and introduce yourselves to the MRU readers. Diane Anglim: I'm 28, from Dublin. I played recorder for years as a kid, and also play some saxophone and guitar. Jarlath Canning: I’m 30 and from Carlow. I started teaching myself guitar when I was 15 so that I could play all my favourite Beatles and Oasis songs in my room. A few months after saving for and getting my first guitar, my dad bought me my first practice amp that had built-in distortion and a crazy reverb. I’d say he instantaneously regretted that decision, but after that I was hooked. I loved the idea of one person being able to make so much noise, which I did plenty of. Ian Frawls: I'm also 30 years old and from Kilrush. I started drumming when I was 15, and a few years back I enrolled in the Irish Drum Academy under Dave Hingerty which shaped my drumming. Excellent. Now, your sound is definitely quite unlike the drum and bass/techno/dance sound that most people today might associate with “electronic” music. Are you inspired by a specific era of electronic music,

SWOR

Photo by Alison@Dragon Photography

and would you consider your style to be more popular in certain parts of the world than in others? Diane: I don't think we’re trying to come at what we do from any one influence/band or part of the world. In terms of popularity I actually don't know if we would be more or less popular in Ireland as opposed to other places. To be honest I never think about those things – I really try to just write what comes into my head and

play what I feel on that particular day. I suppose that's what makes it interesting at the moment, ‘cause we’re still developing our style and aren't too eager to pigeonhole it. Jarlath: I think we’re more inspired by sounds and ideas as opposed to specific genres or scenes. It just so happens that some of what we do dips its toes into what might be referred to as “electronic”. Whilst the guitar will always be

a huge love of ours, as well as the great guitar bands of the last 50+ years, there is something interesting about the capabilities of modern synthesisers and effects, and even certain types of DJ equipment and how it can enhance your sound. We’d like to think that as a threepiece we are capable of creating soundscapes that are far greater than the sum of its parts. Ian: We all probably started out in our younger days as being into rock, indie, brit-pop, grunge and


w e i v r e Int

RDS

the likes. So I think we’re still indie/alternative at the core - we just like to add quirky sounds, hooks and sometimes fast tempos. I noticed that you have no guitarist. Any particular reason for that? Diane: There is no guitarist because what we have works for us. I was definitely sick of the sound of guitars in indie bands and I'm not a huge fan of angular guitar solos and riffs but that's just a personal taste thing for me.

At the moment the keys/synths/bass are the melody instruments, and if we introduced a guitar we would need to make sure the person and the melodies were right for us and were working with the songs rather than taking them over. Jarlath: The guitar is such an integral part of music, but with the thousands of guitar bands that are out there, we feel like there’s room for other instruments to take centre stage sometimes. In a way we enjoy not using a guitar as a

crutch to fill up our sound. Ian: Jarlath plays guitar on one of our songs called Skin You – it’s a heavy one –so in general I think we are not coming at it from an angle of "no guitars". It’s more about the right people writing the music that’s honest for them as a group and that excites each member. If it calls for a guitar on one song then so be it, but right now the synths and effects are inspiring us a lot. Most people would already consider your sound as being

11 fairly unique and distinctive, but are you maybe already planning to tweak it somehow in the future? Jarlath: I think we’re constantly conscious about developing our sound and the songs we write. We have had such a busy year that we feel like we’re just getting back into the swing of writing new material and so far we’ve been happy with what we’re producing. I guess lately we’ve been trying to incorporate the use of loops into certain songs and spoken about how a launch pad might work in our set-up. Ian: We really are just getting started – anything could happen sound-wise. I think it’s going to keep getting more interesting and working with established producer Karl Odlum on the EP recording will teach us a lot. Jarlath never stops surprising me with effects and riffs, and I like to sit at the drums, learn and get more technical. As long as it has hooks and feels new then it’s all good. Before Swords, did you all play in any other bands, and how did Swords come into being? Diane: I had been singing for years and had worked with a few people in the past around Dublin. I’d also been playing sax in a great Dublin funk band called The Candidates - which I loved - but I needed to leave to have time to start writing my own songs and meet people who wanted to play those songs with me. Jarlath: I had played guitar in a number of incarnations of pretty much the same band since I was in college, which I loved but which had pretty much ran its course in terms of creativity. Swords was the first time I put down the guitar for another instrument in a band set-up. I was interested in the challenge of trying to change the perception of the bassist being the poor relation of the guitarist. There was a lot of freedom in putting down the guitar and


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exploring how to make the most out of my role as bassist. It also gives me the opportunity to use other effects and synth-based gadgets or DJ effects. I guess the thing I love most about Swords is that the music has a recurring sense of positivity – even if we can’t convince you to like our band or songs, it’s nice to see your foot tapping while you’re in the crowd. Ian: For years, I was in a band from the age of 15 in Kilrush called The Oryx. Then me and my friends started another band that was never really given a name but code-named “The Electric Heater Project”. Because it was a "mates band" there's always that chance that we’ll write material again in the future . . . and maybe support Swords! Would you mind revealing the inspiration behind the name Swords?

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Ian: Along with liking the sound of the word, there's a Leftfield song and a Morrissey album of the same name - which we all liked ‘cause it identifies with our diverse sound and very diverse influences. Interesting, thanks for that. So, can you tell us a bit about your main musical influences? Diane: Radiohead, Elbow, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, Super Furry Animals, Outkast, Wilco, The Beach Boys, Vampire Weekend, MGMT, Blur, Weezer, The Go Team, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, John Martyn, Aretha Franklin. I like pop and passion and good lyrics. Jarlath: The Beatles, Elbow, Enter Shikari, Sigur Ros, We are Scientists, The Beastie Boys, Crystal Castles, Radiohead, Muse to name a few – I enjoy music that’s interesting, progressive and epic but that also has a thread of Photo by Alison@Dragon Photography accessibility. really intelligent and I couldn't Ian: I’m influenced by drummers better them; intelligent lyrics & from bands like Radiohead, The inventive effects are massively National, Passion Pit, Death Cab important to me. For Cutie, Santogold & Kelis - Now, very importantly, tell us about your upcoming EP. you have to be diverse. How do you guys go about What’s the plan? writing your music? Do you all Jarlath: We’ll be recording our get equally involved in the debut EP in November with Karl creative side of things? Odlum and hope to have it ready Diane: Sometimes one of us has for release either before Christmas an idea that they bring into or in the first week in February. practice, and sometimes we come We’ll definitely be having a big up with ideas while playing launch night for that as we're all together. After that it’s a case of really excited about it. There will working on the ideas and coming be a magical throne reserved for up with song structures together. MRU! I usually work on the lyrics and On the subject of recording: vocals myself at home and after a would you mind sharing where while the song starts to come you normally record and what together. the facilities are like? Ian: The great thing about the Diane: We recorded our demo as band is that it’s a band in the truest a home recording with Micheal sense of the word: we work Sheil, who is a sound engineer together. and also plays in the band Town If Diane has a drum idea she’ll put Criers. it across to me by singing it; if I The home recording worked well have a bass idea I’ll wreck Ja's for us because we were trying to head until he’s playing what’s in work quickly at the time, but in my head, and so on. the future we’ll be looking at We stay away from Diane's lyrics, studios in Ireland. Photo by Alison@Dragon Photography generally. To me her lyrics are Micheal Sheil is currently setting


w e i v r e Int up a studio in Roscommon called Cold Room Studios and we would certainly recommend that as a great studio retreat where bands can record. Thanks for the information. So, you recently played the MRUorganised Ballyfermot Rocks Festival. How did your set go and were you impressed with the facilities and organisation? DA: Our set went well, and it was great to play an outdoor gig. It's always a good experience to be involved in the first year of something as you can see the potential for future growth of the festival. I suppose we would have liked to play a longer set on the day, but that’s maybe something we can achieve next year with a later slot. I always like to ask people what advice they would give to musicians looking to break into the industry. Any tips? Diane: Keep trying. It can be tough to meet people and to stay motivated, but hard work and persistent e-mailing pays off. Play as many gigs as possible, never turn down a gig, and always get in touch with the venue after to say thanks and book your next date. Ian: I think getting lessons is good, constantly try to improve, use your head, try to meet people, and meet the right people that you’ll get along with and be able to work with. Be sound, be relentless, be positive, and sometimes thickskinned. Good advice. Can you give us a rundown of your favourite venues and why you like them? Diane: We played the Saucy Sunday gig in the Grand Social a few months ago and that was one of my favourites. Every sound was crystal clear and the Saucy Sunday crew were so organised and helpful and really in tune with what bands need to set up quickly and play well. The audience were great, too really into music and listening to the gig. Sweeney’s is a really exciting

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Photo by Alison@Dragon Photography

venue to play, too, as the crowd there are always up for it and the music after the live bands is always great. Jarlath: Saucy Sundays is great: a nice cosy musical retreat on a Sunday afternoon. We love every gig we play but the ones where you can see people really enjoying themselves are brilliant. As a whole we just want people to have a good time when we play and whether it’s through listening or dancing or kissing it’s fine by us! Ian: Playing The Galleon in Kilrush was a favourite for me we got a great reception from a

very loud crowd and we reacted to that. Talking of gigs: do you enjoy playing live more than recording? Diane: I love playing live because every gig is different and the energy you get from the crowd is amazing. I find recording challenging because I find it hard to let some of my mistakes go and to just be happy with the take. Now then, what’s the best online channel for your fans to keep in touch with you and check your gig schedule and updates on the band?

D i a n e : www.facebook.com/swordsband is probably the best link to everything Swords. It’s where you’ll get updates of everything from SoundCloud to YouTube. And finally, what are your plans for the immediate future? Diane: Record the EP, release the EP, take over the world. Ian: Yep, we've put down a lot of gigs now, written 13 or more songs, so we need a quality recording that represents us as we are now.


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Struck EP Review: Friends in High Places Review by Angela Macari O’Looney

This new single from a young and extremely talented Punk/Pop trio from Castlebar, is due for release at the end of September. Band members are Sean Walsh – Vocals/Guitar, Dylan Chambers – Vocals/Bass and Ger Duffy – Drums/Backing vocals. Opening up with explosive drums and distortion laden guitars, the lads command your attention with shouts of “Hey!” Upbeat, with plenty of staccato

riffs and Sean’s young, clear vocal style; it has poignant lyrics about quitting the delinquent life that his peers seem to have embraced and escaping pressure to waste his time on boozing and hanging out: My watch is broken, but time ain’t freezing. I particularly enjoy the chorus. The melody and beat pack a great punch! Chord combinations, fab backing vocals and exciting

drum rolls keep things lively throughout. Plucky guitar notes take you into a first class guitar solo with elaborate notation and a powerful bass line framing it. Things wind down with a pullback of instruments and Sean singing the last lines from the chorus. Struck have youthful optimism that inspires me. This enthusiasm and treasure trove of talent have taken them quite far in a very

short time-frame. They launched their debut E.P. “Three Cheers for lying” back in April 2010, and have shared stages with top acts such as Scuba Dice, The Shower Scene, Zulu and The Coronas. With the energy and feel good factor that their songs to date involve, they will undoubtedly prove a great success! https://www.facebook.com/str uckofficial


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Elavator reminds me of a younger and much better version of "Republic Of Loose!" Yet again with this group there is a usage of instruments and amazing vocals. Extremely catchy songs and whilst they do remind me of "Republic Of Loose," they also remind me ever so slightly of "Bon Jovi," in particular when they sing "It's Time Girl." Yet again I am really looking forward to getting my hands on more of their music and attending their gigs in the not too distant future. Elavator are most definitely going to be around for a long, long time to come because they are simply amazing!

Who Do You Think You're Fooling Review by Emer Kelly

http://www.facebook.com/Elavator


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Red Light Inferno EP Review: I Design This Fake Life

Review by Emer Kelly

Red Light Inferno- you are on the road to success! This band has an amazing sound, great songs and lyrics. Red Light Inferno has some great usage of instruments on their EP, which is something that really impressed me. This band wouldn't usually be a band that I would sit down and listen to but I have to say I really enjoyed listening to Red Light Inferno for a few hours and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on more of their music and seeing them in somewhere like Whelan's in the not too distant future. Their music has a really funky, unique sound. I would listen to this band anytime but particularly when you are getting ready to go out as their music would put you in good humour and make you want to put you're dancing shoes on! The songs are extremely hard to get out of your head and you will be going around humming the songs for days!

http://www.facebook.com/redlightinferno


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Fort Lauderdale, Florida is home to some fine musicians including Marilyn Manson and famous for its seven mile sunny beach, being such a large city it must be extremely hard for unsigned bands to gain any recognition or break into the scene, but one band called Shatterglass has been sitting on the WDAR 96FM unsigned charts for six weeks, yes six weeks, who are they? Well the band is made up of four members Zoog (Vocals), Jinx (Guitars), Donnie J (Bass), and RonJon (Drums & Percussion). Their infectious sound is made up of catchy guitar melody’s and a hard sharp rock ego, they released their three track EP called Shatterglass, boasting a real commercial rock sound and very easy on the ears, without the usual screaming down the microphone you would here from bands of this category, Shatterglass lead singer Zoog injects the softer side of the sound with his voice and marinates the sound to create a fusion of rock music with an original flare, Coming Undone is definitely a crowd pleaser. Psycho Girlfriend is another one of the tracks on the single; with its catchy guitar hooks and honest lyrics, the heading of the song explains it all, I’m sure we all had one! The chorus is definitely one of those that will have you singing over and over again, the repeat button might get jammed on this track. The final song on the EP is called Talk about, it move in a slower pace more like a ballad or anthem style tune or another way to put it a love song, if your into Nickeback or like your rock music with a drop of sugar you will love this band, if they can conquer a west Dublin radio show I’m sure they will move on to conquer bigger things in the future.

Review by T.Halpin

photos by Betty Jean Jones

http://www.shatterglass.cc/


Gigs The Grand Social 35 Lr Liffey Street Dublin 1 Ph: 01 8740076 www.thegrandsocial.ie Monday 3rd October: Scullion with special guest Lisa O’Neill Doors: 8 pm Admission : €18 bookings tickets in advance from (www.entertainment.ie) Conor Byrne proudly presents Scullion featuring Sonny Condell, Phillip King & Robbie Overson for a 4 week residency on Monday nights. On return from her North American tour with David Gray exciting new Irish singer-songwriter and force of nature Lisa O’Neill will perform her first Dublin show with full band. Lisa sings folk songs full of humour and tenderness with a great Cavan twang. Tuesday 4th October : The Liffey Bank Sessions – Lunasa Doors: 8pm Admission : €16 bookings tickets in advance from (www.entertainment.ie) Seán Smyth (fiddle); Cillian Vallely (Uilleann Pipes / Whistle); Kevin Crawford (Flute/ whistles); Trevor Hutchinson (double-bass); Paul Meehan (Guitar) Since their formation in 1996 Lúnasa has become one of the single most influential and innovative bands performing Irish instrumental music today. What Lúnasa has accomplished in their now decade-plus career has made them entirely unique in Traditional Irish music circles.

Sold out shows at Edinburgh Fringe & Galway Comedy Festival 2008, Award Winning Show at Hollywood Fringe Festival, LA 2010. "Way beyond superficial satire... Absorbing, intricately woven, challenging and highly entertaining." – Time Out. “With his rapid-fire delivery, wit and taste for paradox, he calls to mind both Swift's Modest Proposal and Robin Williams” - LA Weekly . “A rising star” - TIME

VIBES,VARIOUS YAAD AND INT DJS,YAAD DRINK:REDSTRIPE JAMAICAN BEER,MAGNUM,JAMAICAN RUM AND MORE:YAAD SNACK:SPICY JAMAICAN JERK CHICKEN,LET THE YAAD MAGIC HAPPEN,ALL ARE WELCOME!!!!

The Mercantile, D2 Dublin. Every Sunday:8pm till late We are a free musical night that Thursday 6th-7th-8th October: promotes live music with free potatoes! Hard Working Class Heroes Each week we showcase the Doors: 7.30pm Admission: €45 for 3 day pass or most amazing local and international talent in an open €20 per day. fun environment. It is always Tickets in advance: free and always free spuds. www.entertainment.ie/tickets The night is organized by John Beyond Olden Acres, The Followers of Otis, Cat Dowling, Brereton (Sack, Louisiana 6) and Keiron Black (The Amazing The Dying Seconds, Windings, Few, King Kong Radio RTE) Dhaiti..plus many more! If you want to play at the Sunday Ireland’s Annual Showcase Festival and Conference for New Roast email us links to eardrumbuzzdublin@gmail.com Music, 100 Bands, 6 Venues, 3 or just drop us a line here! Days. Hard Working Class Heroes returns to the streets of Dublin over the weekend of Thursday 6/ BEWLEYS THEATRE Dublin 78/79 Grafton Street Friday 7 / Saturday 8 October 2011 for its 9th consecutive year. Dublin, Ireland

Dublin indie country/ urban twang 6 piece SpiritRiders http://www.reverbnation.com/spi ritriderband play a once monthly gig at Kiely's Mount Merrion http://www.facebook.com/profile .php?id=100001985664648 Upcoming gigs @ Kiely's: Saturday 8th October Saturday 5th November JULYO's "LiMEN" : Saturday 3rd December Performance & CD Release Wednesday 5th October: Abie ambient•downtempo• Philbin Bowman - Eco Friendly THE TAP PUB 44-47 North nujazz Jihad - (live DVD recording) BEWLEYS THEATRE Dublin King Street Dublin 7 Doors : 8pm SATURDAY 29th October, Vigamighty Don Admission : €5 10.00 pm REAL YAAD VIBES!EVERY Just back from another http://www.bewleyscafetheatre.c FRIDAY STARTING THE successful stint at the Edinburgh om/ 16TH SEP,THE BEST OF Fringe Festival, Dublin satirist RSVP if you can come to the REGGAE AND R&B YAAD Abie Philbin Bowman kicks off DUBLIN preview performance STYLE,YAAD 6 nights filming at The Grand and CD release party for Julyo's GAMES:DOMINOES AND Social with the comedy show bin LiMEN at BEWLEYS LUDO GAMES,NONE STOP Laden took seriously.

19 THEATRE! - Limited seats Julyo will perform music from his down-tempo / ambient release 'LiMEN' along with Italian saxophone player and band mate Antonello d'Orazio and Mauritian percussion player Khalile Vial. A must for all the lovers of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ludovico Einaudi, William Orbit and Vangelis.

Send in your gig listings to: ezine@musicreviewunsigned.com


Gig of the month

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By Phillip Ó'Baoighealláin

THE RUBY SE N Doyle’s Bar (27-09-2011)

ow in its 12th year, and with all proceeds from the night going to the Simon Community, the Ruby Sessions has been a staple feature of the Dublin music scene. During which time it has built up an incredible wall of fame with high profile acts coming to play and share the stage with unsigned acts. The latest big name act to pop in and play a set being Ed Sheeran only last week. At Music Review Unsigned we have decided to get behind this excellent night of music that is all for a good cause and helped promote the unsigned artists that play on the night. The Ruby Sessions can also be educational you know. Taking their name from the model of aircraft that made the first transAtlantic flight, first act taking to the stage were VICKERS VIMY. The band has been very busy of late with a lot of gigging and touring around Ireland, with support to acts such as LIAM O'MAONLAI and MARIA DOYLE KENNEDY. First track from the band was called "Devil On Your Back". The song opens up with a low hum and a good piece of harmonica playing. From the off it is a fairly decent sounding track, and then it has a high point going for it with the vocals when they kick in. It plays something like a lullaby and floats along, but they also have some good lyrics thrown in for good measure too. Maybe that was the benchmark for their set, because next song "Southbound" was an incredible toe-tapper. The guitar on this one is again some very catchy work and it does merit a mention for the intro alone. The song might be about heading south, but all the signs point upwards for the band on this one. Next up from the band was a track called "Broken Star" has a lull to

the approach and the tempo. But when the song gets into full flow you see that all of this is matched up nicely with the lyrics here. This is a very decent offering too from the band. The xylophone playing on it adds a sense of the quirky to it, but it gives the bridge some added substance too. There is a large degree of charm and it is high on the pleasantry too. And you can't help but get wrapped up in the song too. Their next song is also pencilled in to be a single off the album that is coming out next year. "Days Are Getting Better" and this just hits the right spot. It is well arranged and the metaphors hiding underneath the lyrics compliment the whole of the song. It also has some good banjo on it too. There is a great deal to appreciate from this one, and taken in the context of the whole of their set up to this point, it holds its own. A lot of likeability from the set and the same was true of their closing number "Route 48". Overall, the whole set was taken down to an intimate level and suited the ambience of the Ruby Sessions, but this was another good song. A very good choice to close on because it is a song to make the time for. Definitely worth a listen and the a cappello approach to the closing is spot on and hits the nail on the head. The band is in town tonight and playing the Zodiac Sessions. The next gig from them in Dublin will be Whelan's on Monday, November 7th From Toronto, Canada via Switzerland was next act LARA MARTIN. With the gig in the Ruby Sessions being the only Irish show on the tour, we were truly honoured to have them stop in and play for us tonight. Joined on stage by SEAN JUREK (pronounced URICK) with his guitar, it was a really good set too.

"Your Song" was first up and was written by Sean to express his Irishness and there was a high degree of elation that was exuded by him that was all down to him actually getting to play it here for the first time. The pace on this song is also frenetic. So much so, that for an acoustic song it has a strong ability to rock out. But it is also a fairly strong piece that is worked in the right places. With some thank yous going out to Darragh for the use of a keyboard and Fintan for the guitar, the rest of the set got underway. The keyboard took prominence on next track "Radio Bell" and that takes the song along and sweeps it up. The build up on this one is weighed properly and the signer does have a good voice. The tempo on the song moves up and changes too, but all of it is done in proportion to the song and makes it work. Some parts of the song are light, but it is that deftness of touch that breathes life into the song. Some more tinkling on the ivory for next song "Castle Painted Blue" and the tone on the opening here is something on the sombre side. But it has this knack for holding your attention when you are listening, and the playing of the piano is the standout element on the song. With there being a steady slant on the playing that can be picked up if you listen out for it. "Terrible Wonderful" was up next and there is a story behind this song that time didn't permit for it to be told. So we will have to live in wonder. That aside, the song has a nice melodic opening that is very tranquil. The vocals are shared on it too, and the opening suggests that the song will be relaxed in the delivery, which it is. With a certain warmth too which gives it something wonderful to write about. A track of the debut E.P. "Forgiving" was

closing song "Love Will Find A Way". The piano playing is heavier here when compared to the rest of the set, and it has an underlying pace too that is on and off and then constant when the guitar comes in on the song. With the pace being picked up on the bridge too and again when it closes. The pace actually being picked up very strongly as it closes. Overall, this was a grand set and it was well delivered too. Another band busy gigging and making a return to the Ruby Sessions was SHADOWS AND DUST. A band that are picking up the famous fans along the way with GLEN HANSARD and ELLIE GOULDING being known to have tweeted about them recently. The electric guitar opened up the first song "Each Year Forever". When it does it hangs in the air and the whole song appears to be built around that sound. But it is a very solid pieced of guitar though. The arrangement of the song too all comes together in a case of everything in its place and all of it in the right place. This band would appear to be marked out as a band to follow because they exude a high degree of promise. "Snow Road" has a good vibe coming off it too with the intro. The cajun blends in nicely and there is a good bass line on the song too. The band has put down something very good here with this one and the lyrics speak for the band too. "The Hunter?s Tale" is carried off with some xylophone and some very good string work on the violin. The strings are the stand-out sound on this one here, but also the slide guitar is much more than it appears to be. The tempo is all held together and everything on this one is a collaboration of all these elements. A well deserved


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ESSIONS pat on the back for the band for this one it must be said. A short and brief set brought to a close with an untitled track that is also a brand new song. The tempo on this song is worth caring about. It is justly paced and then shifted to a slowed down effort that is collective. The chord work is a good change too in the song when it happens. But taking nothing away from it, might be a short song, it still holds up and makes the grade. The band is playing the Odessa on Wednesday, October 26th. Closing off the night was a band who had played support to THE STEREOPHONICS and PAOLO NUTINI at the Guinness Storehouse for Arthur's Day. They also happen to be gracing the front page of Hot Press this week too. "Happy Here" was first up from LEADERS OF MEN and this is a solid opening track. A song that matches the ambition of the opening with the substance that goes into making the song work. The whole of this song has a lot going into it, but the earnestness of the endeavour is pulled off. This is a top drawer effort that nails it when it gets going. The opening of "Up Against The Wall" carries the song. This is some more genuine good work from the band that is soft and slow, but picks up gradually. When it does it gets very catchy, and the chorus and the rest of the song overall epitomise the DNA of a class tune. "Bite Your Tongue" is some more stellar work. This is a stomper of a tune. It is delivered with a sway and verve, but the guitar on this is excellent again. It takes the tempo on the song and picks up the pace, and when that happens things get taken up a notch. Then things got slowed down with "Out Of My Hands". This is a song with a great sound.

Simple approach to it too, but not in a way that you could take anything away from the band or find fault in. With next song "Lonely Window" the band brings something to the table. The opening to it is acoustic, but then it moves from it being a solo effort, to the whole band coming in on things. With three of the band sharing vocals on it too, and

when the third vocal share happens the drumming takes prominence for the track too. "Who's Waiting For Me?" makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. This has some very good drumming and chords through the whole thing. But it does grab the attention and you realise that you are listening to this band for their music when you hear it. The band

has a gig coming up in Whelan's on Wednesday, December 7th. All the proceeds from The Ruby Sessions go towards the Simon Community. Which is a very worth charity, so in addition to checking out some really excellent music you can also do you bit for charity. This is what makes the Ruby Sessions a little gem of a night in the crown of the Dublin music scene and if you are interested in playing you can contact Conor Donovan at the following e-mail: conordonovan@hotmail.com

http://www.facebook.com/therubysessions


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MRU Magazine  

Artist of the month/ Swords plus features and interviews and live reviews...

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