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Vault Lines Featuring Cathy Davey // Feature With Repeal Project’s Anna Cosgrave
 Not Gospel Stranger Things // The First Time Hilary Woods // 88mph Primal Scream ISSUE #016 | SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2016 | FREE

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FONDA // JESS KAV // DROWN // OTHER VOICES // DOTT // LISA HANNIGAN // WHIM GRANDADDY // MALOJIAN // ANOTHER LOVE STORY // RAINY BOY SLEEP // SAVAGES


Foreword / Contents

RIP Muddied Wellies

Editor Brian Coney brian@thethinair.net @brianconey Deputy/Photo Editor Loreana Rushe loreana@thethinair.net Art Director Stuart Bell Reviews Editor Eoin Murray eoin@thethinair.net Guide Editor Stevie Lennox stevie@thethinair.net Contributors: David Boland Caolan Coleman Brian Coney Aaron Corr Jamie Coughlan Cathy Davey Kelly Doherty Aaron Drain Lucy Foster Zara Hedderman Colm Laverty Joe Laverty Stevie Lennox Alan Maguire Cathal McBride Sean McCormack Aidan Kelly Murphy Eoin Murray Ciaran O Maolain Steven Rainey Moira Reilly Loreana Rushe Conor Smyth Tara Thomas Jonathan Wallace Dalyce Wilson Cover Photo: Sean McCormack

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And Banjaxed Tents

h, the post-summer festival lull. How downright insufferable it would be if it didn’t instantly offer up a whole new season of activity. That’s the great thing about this happening little island of ours: when one door creaks closed, another quickly opens. Each year, in every single corner of the country, new homegrown festivals and events crop up – usually fully-formed – and seamlessly feed into older, varyingly legendary institutions. Muddied wellies and banjaxed tent flung to one side for the guts of a year,

a cursory glance at the next two months will see the likes of Light House’s Cinema’s David Lynch Season, Metropolis Festival at RDS and Hard Working Class Heroes mingle with Belfast Festival at Queen’s, this year’s Northern Ireland Music Prize and Cork Jazz Festival to name but a few. The list is perfectly never-ending. The next time you hear someone utter the immortal words, “There’s just nothing on” please gently remind them that they’re off the mark by some distance. It’s all happening right here and now. Brian Coney

Contents Photo Of The Month ��������������� 4 Projection ����������������������������� 5 Inbound �������������������������������� 6 The First Time ���������������������� 10 Feature: Another Love Story ���12 Feature: Malojian ������������������ 14 Vault Lines: Cathy Davey ������� 16 Track Record: Jess Kav����������� 18 Feature: Everything Shook ����� 20

Feature: GameSparks ������������ 24 Feature: Repeal Project ��������� 26 Tribute: Rainy Boy Sleep ������� 29 Primer: Kevin Mallon ����������� 30 Reviews: Releases ����������������� 32 Reviews: Live ����������������������� 34 Not Gospel: Stranger Things��� 36 88mph: Primal Scream ���������� 38

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– Photo of the Month

Photo of the Month Alan Maguire

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Savages at Electric Picnic Image: Alan Maguire

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ach month our photo editor Loreana Rushe selects one standout gig image from our fantastic team of hard working photographers. The photographer gets the opportunity to showcase their pic and share a few insights into how they captured it.

Loreana: Savages are one of those endlessly enigmatic groups where their sets exude a certain moodiness. Despite having quite a darkly light set up, great photos always seem to emerge online and in print.

The Thin Air Magazine

Alan: I wasn’t expecting any great results in shooting Savages; their lighting is generally dark and moody, and the uniform strictly black, so fitting with the music but not the best mix for photos. I’d covered them at Electric Picnic a few years ago and come away with very little. This time was much better - still fairly dark, but with shafts of white light that captures some of Jehnny Beth’s brilliant presence and intensity. Shot with Canon EOS 6D, 43mm, ISO 1250, 1/160sec at f/2.8


Review: Morgan

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licia Vikander wowed in last year’s Ex Machina, Alex Garland’s celebrated fembot fable, as Eva, a luminous android from the uncanny valley. But, as the viewer learns, she was the final product of a long chain of prototypes, updates and discarded designs. New sci-fi slasher Morgan, the directorial debut of Luke Scott (son of Ridley), is what you would get if someone went dumpster diving in the lab recycling and turned one of those basic models into a movie. Every review of Morgan is going to namecheck the ways it is an inferior copy of Machina so it’s not worth belabouring the point (and there’s some Splice and Hanna in there too), but a brief outline makes the similarities obvious. Morgan follows an outside observer, the pristine corporate troubleshooter Lee (Kate Mara) sent to a remote facility deep in Northern Irish lushery. Her assignment is to assess the viability of an artificially-created person, the synthetic young woman of the title (The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy), introduced through a plexiglass screen. The subject is, we’re told, a genetic hybrid, though exactly of what, and for what purpose, is unclear (the science, like everything else, is fuzzy). Fully grown thanks to an accelerated lifespan, the staff who orbit around Morgan view her as one of the family, especially Toby Jones’ ruffled genet-

icist and a sympathetic behaviourist played by Game of Thrones’ Rose Leslie. There is an interesting idea here about the ways people are compromised by their attachment to artificial lifeforms, framing the threat as human rather than the meta-human, but as soon as Paul Giamatti (seriously, this cast) shows up to implausibly, idiotically botch Morgan’s psych eval, any hint of psychological or thematic subtlety is ditched in favour of solid but ordinary thriller violence. The screenplay, a previous occupant of Hollywood’s Black List, comes from relative newcomer Seth W. Owen (who wrote and directed 2010’s Peepers) and it’s at least two drafts away from the compelling genre piece it’s aiming for, running through the story with a beat-ticking perfunctoriness and not giving its performers nearly enough to do. Despite the dialogue’s insistence that Morgan is special snowflake, little attention is paid to her interiority or attendant existential questions, and Taylor-Joy’s features are shrouded in silver makeup and a boring hoody. Morgan’s value, on a technological or emotional level, is never established, making the stakes hard to buy. For all the trouble it took to make her in the first place, her only discernable super-ability is being really quite good at kung-fu, which seems especially tame after Stranger Things’ fun with waffle-munching psychokinesis. Recommendation: return for beta testing. Conor Smyth

– Projection

Projection Morgan

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FONDA

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ONDA are the sound of power pop having grown older and that bit more cynical: imagine Big Star replacing tickets to the dance with overpriced bars and the inevitable morning-after introspection. There’s a sense of displacement and longing that characterises the band’s music, a possible result of the group’s varying backgrounds, with band members Liam O’Connor, Laura Kelly and Patrick Burke hailing from Limerick, Galway and Glasgow respectively. The trio have been performing together since 2015, releasing debut EP Social Services that August. It’s four songs tackled everyday ennui with assured understatement, both in O’Connor’s lyrics and baritone delivery, and in the band’s lo-fi assault, with So Cow’s Brian Kelly assisting the EP’s unfussy production. Possessing a flair for mixing ragged, fuzzy guitars with

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pop melodies and emotional sincerity, at it’s best the band occupy a rare sweet spot between The National, The Lemonheads and Pavement. Having been busy on the live scene, playing dates with the likes of Slow Riot and LA’s Gun Outfit, FONDA are a band perfect for 3am post-gig soul searching too. This is clearer than ever on latest single ‘Dreaming’. O’Connor is at his most Bernigeresque, his heartfelt croon riding over an infectious melody, with bassist Kelly adding warm vocal harmonies as the track reaches an uplifting climax. It’s a low-key instant classic that demands repeated listens and is the band’s finest moment to date. If it’s indicative of the quality of the other three tracks on their forthcoming second EP, it’s shaping up to being one of the most exciting Irish releases of the year. Caolan Coleman

Photo: �Moira Reilly

– Inbound –

Inbound FONDA


Inbound Drown

Drown Tracks like ‘Descent’ and ‘Narcos’ are insistent and infectious, creating the sound of a band that is simultaneously in control but also seems to be on the verge of implosion. In frontman Robert Dalton, they possess a singer who sounds like he is from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. However, their secret weapon is undoubtedly synth/vocalist Laura McGennis whose unadorned synth lines give the songs a focused direction and whose harmonies with Dalton recall Black Francis and Kim Deal or Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield. Remarkably, the group already have another EP written and ready to record which they plan to get on tape before the end of the year. They also have shows in the pipeline in Dublin for September/October. Best to keep an eye on their Facebook and Bandcamp for updates on those. Jamie Coughlan

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– Inbound –

Photo: Sean McCormack

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t’s pretty apt that this year is the 25th anniversary of Nirvana’s performance in Sir Henry’s in Cork and that Ireland currently finds its alternative music scene in pretty rude health. Leading the pack are Girl Band with their idiosyncratic and innovative post punk no doubt. However, there a slew of other equally excellent bands popping up throughout the whole island at what seems like a weekly basis. Galway quintet Drown are one such group. Named after a Smashing Pumpkins song and only forming late last year, the level of confidence and familiarity they play with on their self titled debut EP, released just last week, is remarkable all things considered. Throughout, the group do a wonderfully adept job of melding the synths of post punk with the fuzz and smash of late 80’s/early 90’s American indie/alternative rock.


Inbound BDBR

– Inbound –

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ollowing a several-odd year nadir for Northern Irish music, it looks once more like there’s an emergent wave of genuinely interesting Northern acts influenced by a whole new set of cult favourites. BDBR is a bedroom project and the pseudonym under which singer-songwriter Ryan Mills operates, armed only with his telecaster, pedalboard and back-ofthe-throat vocal tones. So far, he’s got a five track EP of demos so far, none of which reach the 3 minute mark, recorded in his bedroom and mixed by Robocobra Quartet’s Chris Ryan. His sound, he tells us “came around through trial and error and playing hermit”. Musically, it’s most obviously macerated in a lo-fi Mac Demarco-esque slacker pop sensibility, but there’s an underlying sentiment, a sensitive vulnerability

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in his delivery that’s altogether less quantifiable than the signature ‘verb-drenched vocals and twangy, effects-laden guitar melodies. Understandably then, Mills’ songwriting is spontaneous, having “turned out to be pretty reverse, recording the songs in the moment then actually rehearsing them after”. “I’ve always wanted it to be a three piece, with rhythm to shake a few people”, Mills says of the idea to expand the project, but is in no rush. “Less is more, but sometimes more isn’t enough”. It’s that undercurrent, reminiscent of Elliott Smith at his least produced that renders Brown Dog Black Rake more than just ‘A E S T H E T I C’, which really just functions as artifice. Wrapped up in an indiewave aesthetic, it’s cool and it’s current, but more importantly, it’s good. Stevie Lennox

Photo: �Dalyce Wilson

BDBR


Inbound Inbound Franklyn Whim

Photo:�Ciaran O’Maolain

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him AKA Sarah Di Muzio was born and raised in San Francisco but moved to Portland “in favour of rain and indie Pacific Northwest music”. A visit to Ireland in April 2015 saw her fall in love with Galway, probably for the same reasons, and she has lived here ever since. At only twenty years old she possesses an ability to craft clever indie-folk-pop tunes, the kind that wouldn’t seem out of place in that particularly American brand of quirky hipster rom-com. In fact, her second EP, The Funeral Guest – released in 2015

– was soundtrack to a movie of the same name. Her debut release as Whim, the Small Infinity EP, was released in 2014 and recorded when Sarah was just seventeen (there are rumours of a full length album recorded at only fifteen but she refuses to be drawn on this). For a young songwriter to have such a sense of self, composition and trajectory is a rare thing. Whim combines these with emotional depth and charming, unaffected vocals. Expect big things.  Whim’s debut album, 400 Days, will be out “soon-ish”. David Boland

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– Inbound –

Whim


The First Time HIlary Woods

– Hilary Woods – First album you bought? I’m not sure. I just remember the first batch: Blur’s The Great Escape, Mariah Carey’s Daydream, The Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. First single you bought?
‘Do Wop (That Thing)’ from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Loved her. Went to a Fugees’ gig at 15 with my friends singing lyrics in unison on repeat. Lauryn Hill is the biz. First live concert/gig?
A gig in my sitting room of my brother’s band News for the Deaf. The entire neighborhood came along. We built a stage, made posters and promoted it; happy times. First album you properly loved?
Nirvana’s Nevermind. First artist/band to change your music-listening/making life?
Sonic

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Youth’s Washing Machine (listening life) and Sufjan Steven’s Age of Adz (music-making life!) First festival experience?
My first festival experience was playing Glastonbury at 18 with JJ72 to a packed tent. I remember going on stage and being completely taken a back at the amount of folks who had rocked up to see us. First favourite film soundtrack?
 Wim Wenders’ Paris Texas. I love minimal Ry Cooder guitar, that swooning reverb. First time you knew you wanted to make music?
Ironically, when I’d already left a band.
 First riff/song/piece you learnt from start to finish?
Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’. I remember I really wanted to pick up harmonica too during this phase, went out and bought one in D another in G. The entire album inspires.

Photo: Joe Laverty

– The First Time

Photographer Joe Laverty shoots and delves into the music-making, listening and loving firsts of Dublin musician and ex-JJ72 bassist Hilary Woods.


ERASERHEAD THE ELEPHANT MAN DUNE WILD AT HEART BLUE VELVET TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME THE STRAIGHT STORY LOST HIGHWAY INLAND EMPIRE CINEMA BOOK CLUB: DUNE Light House Cinema, Market Square, Smithfield, Dublin September / October 2016

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Feature Another Love Story

Camaraderie and intimacy are what lie at the root one of Ireland’s most enticing summer spectacles, Another Love Story. Just off the back of its marvellously successful third year, Homebeat founder and festival curator Emmet Condon talks to Eoin Murray about what separates ALS from Ireland’s larger music festivals and about the very real love that fuels it above all else.
 It’s been a few weeks since Another Love Story. Now that you’ve had some time to let it digest, what were some of the highlights of the festival for you? Highlights are a bit tough to fully grasp to be honest,

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The intimacy of the festival is something that is central to its uniqueness and appeal. Do you think if the festival were to expand it would risk losing that? ALS was conceived as something that was to be an alternative to the homogenized experience of the field festival in every sense. We’re trying our very hardest to replace scale with ‘special’ in all aspects of what we do, that goes from elements of production like Toby Hatchett’s beautiful bespoke PA systems that we had this year, to making sure that there is no barrier be-

Photo: Aaron Corr

Tales From The Manor: Another Love Story

it’s run by a very small, very hands on team, so the weekend itself tends to be something of a beautiful blur - but genuinely it’s the astounding hard work of our team in the build up, the subsequent joy of seeing it all come together and the real pleasure of people enjoying it (despite the rain!) that is the real highlight - though I was particularly pleased that people went and discovered our tribute to Conor Walsh deep in the woods as it was really important to me personally. All the shows over the weekend had great crowds and were really well received too, so I was chuffed with that.


Feature Another Love Story

“We’re trying very hard to replace scale with ‘special’ in all aspects of what we do.”

tween the artists and the audience. Myself, Sam and Peter who run and work on the weekend are particularly concerned with the idea of community and shared experience and the size and intimacy of the festival is central to that. We don’t have ambitions to make it larger. Is the introduction of more international acts like you did this year something you want to pursue further? Or do you think it’s important to focus mostly on this country’s own wealth of artists? It’s primarily about championing the incredible wealth of indigenous talent that we have on this island, but also adding select and idiosyncratic international artists if they are the right fit for the moment in question. It’s all about adding the right act at the right moment and that, for me, is the really fun part of getting to fully book an event like ALS from start to finish it’s the opportunity to create a flow of energy and atmosphere. I don’t think most of the audience comes to ALS for a specific act for the most part, but for the atmosphere. Within that we have the opportunity to promote and put great acts at the right place in the line up. I would very much be of the opinion that we have more than enough Irish talent to fill those spots. If the opportunity comes to bring an international over that fits the flow perfectly though then we’ll jump at it.

You mentioned in a previous interview that “joy and hurt in love both being represented is really important” in Another Love Story. Do you think finding meaning and concept in certain areas of nightlife and festivals is something we need to think about more? Oh dear, I’m getting a bit deep. But, yes I do think that. We strive very much to create the sense that Another Love Story is not a make-believe fairytale escapist weekend. It takes place in and around a real family’s very beautiful, very real home, and that incredibly generous act of trust is an unmistakably real thing - it’s the cornerstone of what the whole thing is built around. I think there is too much focus on nightlife as complete escapism. Festivals should of course be a break from our busy lives, but should also be something at least relatively restorative. It shouldn’t just be about promoting non-stop happiness, it should stay rooted to real life which, like real love, holds happiness and sadness - there should be some element of reflection of both these sides within the space of the event. It is, of course, first and foremost about having a good time, but also just maintaining a sliver of realism and reflection. I think that is more powerful in the end. Bag of cans in a field anyone? What’s on the horizon for Another Love Story then? As for ALS - we’re going to take a breath, talk about what we did right and got wrong and then start thinking about next year. We have done a NYE party as well for the last few years, so let’s see if we’re in the mood to roll that out. Right now it’s nice to try to take a moment to appreciate what just happened before moving on to the next chapter of the beautiful struggle.

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Feature Malojian

Malojian: Far From Nowhere

The name and artwork for the new album seem a bit… dark? Are you exploring darker themes with This Is Nowhere? The title came from one of the songs ‘This Is Nowhere (Aren’t You Lonely)’. I went between two or three names for a while before I settled on this one. The artwork came about from an in-store gig we played in Rollercoaster Records in Kilkenny. They had a class, framed illustration of Neil Young and I asked Willie and Dave (Rollercoasterheads) about it. They showed me another one of Tom Waits and told me the artist is a guy called Conor Langton. He’s from Kilkenny too. I contacted Conor

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and he was up for doing something for the cover. He’s class! There are some dark themes I suppose but no more than usual. Once you put three-part harmonies on it, you can sing the darkest stuff and it’ll sound like sunshine. How did the whole going to Chicago to record with Steve Albini happen? Was it always an aspiration? Ever since I got into music I’ve always wanted to make at least one album in America. You read books, see pictures/footage of your favourite bands in class studios and it makes you want to do it too. I had a list of three or four “producers” who I thought would be cool to work with. Albini and Electrical Audio were top of the list and they were the only ones I contacted as they came straight back and said yes. They’re great for independent artists as they have a “daily rate” which isn’t as mental as you’d think. Was he vocal about trying to shape what you were playing? Or was it more of a “yeah just do that but louder” kind of affair? He doesn’t get involved in arrangements and is even reluctant to offer an opinion sometimes, which takes a while to get used to as most studios you go into will have

Photo: Colm Laverty

Having released Southlands last year to critical acclaim, Malojian’s subsequent announcement that they’d be jetting off to Chicago to record the follow-up, This Is Nowhere, with the illustrious Steve Albini was just cause for much excitement within the Irish music community. Now, on the cusp of its release, we pinned down Stevie Scullion - Malojian’s driving force - to get the scoop on recording with Albini, the writing of the new album, and more.




Feature Malojian

someone trying to put their stamp on things. That’s why he refers to himself as an engineer rather than a producer. He was more interested in the sound so he would record us playing our instruments, let us hear it back and then, once everyone was happy, we’d go for a take. I don’t think anyone was ever not happy! Did you find that you all had to make adjustments going in to the studio? Even in terms of time/space/equipment? We definitely had to prepare differently this time. We usually just dive in and see what happens but that’s easy when you have time to go back and redo stuff etc. This time we did a lot of pre-production, recording good demos so that we could work out the arrangements etc. We recorded and mixed the whole thing in four days, straight to 16-track tape, so we had to be on the ball with our performances and the arrangements had to be minimal. Even in the studio we were stripping the

arrangements back further. Albini freaked out a bit on the first day when he saw what we were planning for each track. When did you set out to write for This Is Nowhere? It hasn’t exactly been ages since Southlands. We had already started making another album at Mikey’s place (Millbank Studios), where we recorded Southlands. Then because of the Arts Council grant, we put it on hold. Those songs are still there so we’ll hopefully have another record ready soon enough. We had the option of taking the songs we’d been working on and re-doing them with Albini but when we talked about it, we’re happy with how those are sounding so decided to go for a new batch. That meant I had to come up with a lot of new stuff quickly, which I really enjoyed as it focused my mind. Aaron Drain Malojian launch This Is Nowhere at Belfast’s The MAC on Saturday, November 5

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Vault Lines Cathy Davey

Cathy Davey on Sunbear The Dublin singer-songwriter recalls a hidden gem that holds a special place in her heart

Cathy Davey photo: Joe Laverty

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here’s an Irish band whose memory makes me all fizzy and excited with residual youth-joy. I’d forgotten someone did that to me (loads have done that but I can’t remember who now). Annoyingly, I can’t find a recording of the song that made the most magic bloom in me. I haven’t heard that one in over 17 years. ‘The Bits (That Float Around When You Close Your Eyes)’ by Sunbear came drifting down the hallway of a very studenty flat in Sunbury Gardens when I was 19. I was in the throes of my first big love, about to go to college, and smack bang at the height of that sponge-like quality you have when all you do is absorb and morph, you are moved by something and therefore changed forever. It’s all terribly emotional. So when this song came drifting towards me with its hypnotic melody of slightly out of tune violins threading through the soupy guitars and that voice! Innocent and kind, talking about light sparks that you alone thought were a sign of madness setting in. Well, I lost a bit of my soul to the universe that day as it surged out to embrace that

cacophony, the only thing a melodramatic teenager’s soul can do. I may have learned all I needed to know about melody with that one song. It’s a simple one-way conversation that sets down a truth for you to look at and turn over and ponder on. It has one very bold and striking brushstroke that scoops you up and slides you into a pool of melancholy sweetness. It’s tangible, even now, as it plays in my head. I kind of don’t need to hear it now because it changed who I was and where I was going. I like thinking about it though, because it recalls that period of Awakening that glows in the gloom of grownup land. I remember opening up like a sunflower to beauty, beauty I would scoff at today because I now recognise the tell-tale signs of influence and can trace a line back to the obscure and far less exciting origin. More fool me. It’s way less fun being in charge of one’s emotions. I keep my soul firmly tucked in these days, though now I’m not sure to what end. Cathy Davey Cathy Davey’s new album, New Forest, is out now

September September // October October 2016 2016

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Track Record Jess Kav

– Jess Kav from BARQ – Dublin musician and BARQ frontwoman Jess Kav handpicks a selection of records that have left an indelible imprint on her music and life.


Future-Soul deliciousness from Australia or, to quote them, “polyrhythimic, multidimensional gangsta shit”. The album kicks you in the face with glitchy vocals and operatic intensity from the first song ‘By Fire’. Nai Palm’s voice can hold so much sass and vulnerability simultaneously. God, I fucking love her. I feel like she’s life-coaching me with her lyrics.

Stevie Wonder Hotter Than July When I lived in London and was too afraid to write or collaborate, I would

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listen to this album (and Earth, Wind and Fire) on repeat. At that time, I was investigating different sounds for my own creative endeavours, so there was no harm in listening to the greats to inspire me. Love songs can easily sound trite, but Stevie Wonder always nails it.

Chaka Khan Rufusized Chaka fucking Khan. Jesus Christ. I remember putting this on and my jaw dropping while listening to her vocals. She is so young and just hitting notes that are otherworldly. ‘I’m A Woman, I’m A Backbone’ is full of empowering female pride. The lads are just grooving

Photo: Moira Reilly

Hiatus Kaiyote Choose Your Weapon


Track Record Jess Kav

and letting her be Chaka. When it comes to vocal technique and emotion, she’s in a league of her own.


ics, and is able to weave that self-deprecating humour and intellect into his music that is so intrinsic to Irishness.

Earth Wind and Fire I Am

Flying Lotus You’re Dead

Myself and some very talented musicians put on an Earth, Wind and Fire show in The Sugar Club about 2 years ago. The songs we picked for the show were mainly from this album, so I always smile when listening to this record. Singing the songs from this record live was probably some of the most difficult vocals I have ever performed.

I am always attracted to musicians and artists who are able to look at darkness in beautiful ways. The arrangements on this album are gorgeous and his collaboration with Kendrick Lamar in Never Catch Me moved me to tears when I watched the music video for the first time. The way we consume music is changing and there is an impetus on musicians to make their creations more multi-platform. You can feel this with You’re Dead, the visuals on the vinyl are incredible and the tour that accompanied its release was breathtaking to experience. It’s kind of like... DMT: The Musical!

Ella Fitzgerald Swings Gently with Nelson When I was very briefly in LA, we had no time to go to the famous Amoeba Music, so I sneaked off during soundcheck and found a record store behind a hipster-barbers. There, I bought this record and was so happy that I found it.

Jape This Chemical Sea I was recently given this as a gift from Jean Hannon of Faction for working with Jape. He truly is a master with lyr-

Joe Pass Montreaux ‘77 This is one of my boyfriend’s records that I appropriated over time. His passion is jazz guitar. When he comes home from work he immediately picks up the guitar and starts playing riffs from jazz standards. For some reason now, when he’s not around I end up putting this on.

September / October 2016

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Feature Everything Shook

Words Kelly Doherty

Rupturing The Scene Photos Sean McCormack

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Feature Everything Shook

Everything Shook In an age when everyone has seen and heard everything, it’s difficult to stand out from the pack. That hasn’t stopped Dublin band Everything Shook from making an impact with their outlandish live shows and challenging, gothic twist on dance-punk. We catch up with the trio off the back of their critically acclaimed debut album Drinking About You, an unapologetically abrasive journey through the seedy underbelly of the human condition, to discuss the process behind the record, their infamous live shows and the state of Repeal the 8th as it stands. Hi guys. Tell us about the songwriting process for Drinking About You. Áine: We created ten songs for Drinking About You over the last two years. For many of the songs we began with lyrics, keys and bass guitar. Then we added in drums and drones to make it heavier and more danceable. The songs are quite vocal driven and this is something we expanded a lot during the recording process, which took around 6 months. This gave us time to listen to each track over and over (to the point of madness!) and rework them to include a lot of harmonies, chants and spoken word. I particularly enjoy writing lyrics, and my bass and keys are usually quite melodic. You have a history of playing alternative spaces and venues. Do you prefer these spaces to typical gig venues? Why?

Jessica: We prefer to play alternative spaces as they seem to suit us better. We can mould the space to what we want it to be and curate the night/the audience to how we like. There is less expectation about what type of music should be heard in a place that is not a typical music venue. It is more of a challenge to get proper quality sound in theses more unusual venues, but not impossible. Robyn: We’ve played a few festivals at this stage too, and find those suit us well also. There is something nice about playing outside and to a possibly more adventurous/ boisterous audience. Do you feel, as an all-female band in a largely male-dominated Irish music scene, a pressure to be politicised? Áine: I’m interested in making art that is political, but it’s not forced in Everything

September September // October October 2016 2016

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Feature Everything Shook

“Someone recently said to me that we should be playing gigs in New York to people on coke.” Shook. We are very much ourselves in the band and the songs are written from personal experience. We each have strong opinions about political and social issues, so all these factors combined results in a sound that carries strong underlying motivations, even if they are to an extent unconscious or abstracted. What’s your view of the Repeal the 8th campaign? Do you think we’re getting closer to a referendum? Áine: I fully support the Repeal the 8th campaign. We are playing their fundraiser on September 17th at Newmarket Co-op a week before the 5th annual March for Choice on September 24th. Be there! To be clear about this extremely important campaign I spoke to Need Abortion Ireland who quoted, “Despite a complete lack of inaction on the part of the government (the proposed Citizen’s Assembly, represents, in our view, just another delaying tactic), public momentum for a referendum has undoubtedly been steadily building for the past few years. Pro-choice groups have sprung up across the country, the Coalition to Repeal the 8th and Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th have been established. Latest opinion polls also strongly suggest a very real desire to repeal the 8th and pressure from human rights bodies has increased.” Jessica: We seem to be getting closer to a ref-

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erendum, but ‘closer’ is still far away. I think we are a long way off from where we should be. Things seem to be moving very slowly and sometimes in a backwards motion. With particular emphasis on the album, where do you draw your influences from, musically and aesthetically? Jessica: We have been called ‘experimental electro’, ‘dance-punk,’, ‘electro-goth’, ‘freak folk’, and the Irish Times recently called us ‘wonkypop’. The sound has been described as dark, visceral, gothic, hypnotic, bleak, haunting, seedy and unrelenting. Someone recently said to me that we should be playing gigs in New York to people on coke. We’ve been compared to Kraftwerk, The Slits, The Specials, Tom Tom Club and a few random crazy bands from the ‘70’s. We are not particularly influenced by these bands but impressed by the wide comparisons! Aesthetically – we tend to wear specific themed costumes for our live shows. Two of us are professional dancers and choreographers, so performance/theatricality is something we are accustomed to in our worlds. We perform choreographed and improvised dance routines in our live shows, and also use a food blender to make (strong) cocktails during a song. The blender is mic-ed, so we hear the grinding, whirring noise as part of the sound. It’s a colourful performance. Robyn: I mixed most of the album (huge shout out to Brian Conniffe for his mixing work on ‘Misericord’ and ‘I Walked Past Your House’) and I’ve always really liked the bands we get compared to, so there’s definitely some influences sneaking in, but we never deliberately try to emulate a specific band or sound. We would lean in many directions, towards punk, dance, industrial, pop, electronic etc etc. Sometimes we had to strip songs right down as they would be too confused, contain too many elements of too many things.

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Feature Everything Shook

Áine: Film (in particular horror and science fiction), everyday life, scraping by, repeating mistakes and hangovers. To me the album sounds like a horror soundtrack, my teenage niece finds it terrifying, ha. I’m really inspired by electronic group Fujiya & Miyagi, I love their lyrics and vocal delivery. Their music feels very honest and relatable on an abstract level. I also have an interest in chanting, and more recently Schranz – but that’s for the next album! What’s your plans for the rest of the year? Jessica: It’d be cool to get over to New York again; we had a great time playing there and we are starting to write new songs, which is fun and hard and often aided by beer. Áine: Lots of big massive difficult plans. I’d love to play a really big gig before the

end of the year, and to see how we can relate to a larger audience. I want to push the album internationally and arrange touring outside of Ireland for early 2017. Hopefully we can return to New York after the positive reactions we received there last year. I’m really proud of the album, I think it’s great, so I want to push it as much as possible. Speaking of which, it’s available to buy on Bandcamp. Robyn: For the most part I leave the planning up to the others while I focus on the production side of things, but I would like to get some music videos in the works, and definitely play some bigger gigs. It would be amazing to get a publisher or support from a label, and Jools: we’re available any time! everythingshookband.bandcamp.com

Everything

September /August October 2016 2016

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Feature GameSparks

GameSparks: Achievement Unlocked

Can you give us some background on Gamesparks; its origins and development? Jamie: GameSparks was founded in both York and Dublin in 2013, at the time server side development for a single game was largely a pretty intensive thing requiring whole teams of engineers, so we thought we could both make it better and easier. The founding team built and maintained some of the largest online TV and streaming services, which, at first you might not think would map well with what a video game needs but it gave us a fresh perspective that people working from inside the games industry might not necessarily have had. When combined with the staff who live and breath video games, the resulting tech is flexible enough to meet any demand, game or otherwise. Shane: Since then we’ve had some of the biggest names in games history using us from Pac-Man, to Lara Croft, and even Angry Birds! What is a typical day in the Dublin office like? Liam: A typical day starts with everyone getting just enough caffeine

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into their system to make them functional human beings, we generally have a “standup” in the morning to discuss what everyone’s done and what we will be doing. Then we all get cracking.
 How is Gamesparks changing the world of gaming? Jamie: Back in the day, you made your game, you crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s, made absolutely sure your game worked and you shipped a product and hoped all went well. Shane: Nowadays, games are so much more than a product, they’re a service, and services evolve with time. With GameSparks we make it easy to make changes to fix minor issues with your game to pushing massive updates completely revamping the player experience, all without having to go through Certification, which is a process that can take weeks before the player’s see any changes! Can you discuss anything interesting you’re working on right now? Jamie: The latest game on GameSparks is none other than the pixelated yellow dot gobbler PacMan. We’ve also just had 7 Days To Die, a multiplayer zombie survival game published by the highly acclaimed developers of The Walking Dead adventure series, Telltale Games. Shane: We have quite a number of games I’m personally excited for in the works, but that’s about as much as I can say, the games industry is one of many secrets!

Photos: Moira Reilly

GameSparks

One of many shining lights being championed by our friends at BeKreativ, we chat to Dublin’s GameSparks about the service they provide for modern gaming in Ireland.




Feature GameSparks

How does Gamesparks support gaming culture in Ireland? Jamie: We are very proud of the game dev scene in Ireland, most of us found it when we needed it most, during our college years. Most of us are members of the various groups such as GameDevelopers.ie and IMIRT, we also try to attend as many local events as possible. Shane: We want to encourage more people to make some games and give them a good space to do it in, it’s important for future devs to have the opportunities we had a few years back. Finally, how healthy is gaming in Ireland at the minute, in terms of business

and infrastructure to support budding developers and smaller companies? Liam: Gaming in Ireland has grown considerably in recent years, and it will only keep getting stronger. In recent years more game development courses have been popping up around the country. Every day we have more people with exceptional skills and talents showing up to help us all make better games. Irish Indies such as Lowpoly Games and Pewter Games Studios have caught the eye of Microsoft and will be releasing games on the Xbox platform in the coming months.
 www.gamesparks.com

Be Kreativ is a support platform from Beck’s to give up-and-coming creatives an opportunity to showcase their talents in Ireland. Here, and on BeKreativ.ie. We’ll hero YOU, the creatives. So whether you’re a musician, painter, writer, sculptor, fashion designer, coder or beyond… All you have to do is #BeKreativ.

September September // October October 2016 2016

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Feature Repeal Project

Repeal: Merch For Choice

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ashion as political activism is a powerful medium to raise awareness and create a sense of solidarity. Vivienne Westwood was one of the first designers to utilise the immediacy of clothing to start conversations about universal issues. Recently in Ireland, men and women have been wearing jumpers with the word REPEAL across their chest. They represent a nation wanting their country to be progressive and respectful by giving women a fundamental human right that has been denied throughout the

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history of Catholic Ireland and inhumanity of the Eight Amendment in our Constitution. 

 Anna Cosgrave, founder of the Repeal Project, has campaigned to bring unity and clarity on an issue that is, inherently, black and white. The impact of the initiative has been an invaluable contribution to eradicate the antiquated prejudices of both past and present generations. Cosgrave talks about giving a voice to a silenced issue, along with Vivienne Westwood and music’s association with The Repeal Project.

Photo: Lucy Foster

Words Zara Hedderman


Feature Repeal Project

“I wanted the design to be as simple as this issue should be.”

How and when was the Repeal Project conceived? Repeal Project was conceived out of frustration over the fact that every single day up to twelve Irish women are failed by our government. I left feeling haunted after Savita Halappanavar’s vigil and listening to Colm O’Gorman speak about the pro-choice movement in Ireland I felt I had to move the conversation offline and make a micro-contribution to a movement spanning decades. I could no longer be passive as I read stories of women being temporarily exiled, stigmatised and criminalised. Why did you choose to convey the message through the visual medium of a ubiquitous item of clothing such as a monochrome crew neck? Outerwear gives people a voice without having to speak. A message on a jumper can be multifaceted; a symbol of solidarity, a stigma buster, a fundraising mechanism. I wanted the design to be as simple as this issue should be. For me, it is not a grey issue. It’s choice or anti-choice. It’s human rights, it’s basic healthcare, it’s simply equality and bodily autonomy. Can you recall the turning point for the project when demand for the jumpers exploded? It’s hard to pinpoint an exact moment. You start something in hope it will somehow, someway contribute posi-

tively. I think when there was a queue at the pop-up, I realised that so many people are ready for Ireland to change. This gave me a deeper understanding of the magnitude and grave injustice inflicted upon hundreds of thousands of Irish women. I have met some of the most awe inspiring people throughout the process and I’ve been moved and motivated to keep going not for me but for them. You’ve had a number of pop-up shops throughout the summer at music festivals. Was there any particular reason why you chose these events to sell the jumpers, do you feel like there’s an alignment between activism and music? Volunteer and Human Rights Organisations have presences at festivals as it’s a massive opportunity to reach, engage and educate potential supporters. This year Repeal Project’s partner organisation, Abortion Rights Campaign, had a stall beside OXFAM and Amnesty. I think music readily reflects social and political movements. It’s a galvanising force, as shown throughout history in mobilising collective political action around social causes. Musicians are wearing the jumpers and there have been several fundraising gigs held for the Repeal Project. Do you think Ireland’s music scene embracing the campaign has helped promote the message effectively amongst younger demographics? Absolutely. Nothing can negate the experiences of the women of Ireland that have been effected by this issue but visibility is absolutely paramount to push this issue. Musicians performing automatically have a platform to which they can easily resonate with people. It’s really encouraging to see Irish musicians, comedians, actors and those who have influence and platform use it willingly.

September / October 2016

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Feature Repeal Project

What has been one of the more surreal moments of the Repeal Campaign for you? Seeing Vivienne Westwood, Róisín Murphy and Annie Mac with jumpers was really incredible. However, if someone you have never met before tells you that seeing a word on a jumper has impacted their life positively or made them feel less of a criminal that’s far more surreal.

lyrics applicable but, for me, this quote from Seamus Heaney’s, “The Cure At Troy”:


Was there a band or album that you would return to whilst developing the project? Is there a lyric that captures the message of the Repeal Project for you? Whilst developing the project I was listening to a lot of John Talabot, Dirty Projectors, mmoths, Cass McCombs and Savages. There are so many

What does the rest of 2016 look like for the Repeal Project? Hopefully it will look like it’s getting closer to the right side of history, when the jumpers are no longer needed but wanted.

Joe Panama of Overhead, The Albatross at Roisin Dubh, Galway. Photo by Vincent Hughes.

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History says, don’t hope On this side of the grave. But then, once in a lifetime The longed-for tidal wave Of justice can rise up, And hope and history rhyme.

www.repeal.ie


Tribute Rainy Boy Sleep

A Tribute: Rainy Boy Sleep

Photo: Joe Laverty

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s anyone who has ever had the pleasure of chatting with him – no matter how briefly – will know, Stevie Martin AKA Rainy Boy Sleep was a truly endearing and incredibly humble individual. For a musician so respected – for an artist with a head always bustling full of ideas – Stevie never neglected that wry smile and extraordinarily sound demeanour that he effortlessly carried around the country and beyond, guitar case & towering dreams in tow. One night last month word started to circulate around Stendhal Festival of Art in Limavady that, having been reported missing for three weeks just before, Stevie’s body had been found. Immediately: that feeling in the stomach; a sucker-punch that can’t ever be prepared for. Exactly twelve months ago, Rainy Boy Sleep had just finished delivering a particularly memorable set at the Air Stage at the very same festival, a young hero in a neck of the woods where love and respect for his craft – and most importantly, he as a person – was rife.

The spectre of deep worry that hangs over that very particular kind of wait – that knowledge that someone probably isn’t coming back in the form they left – can very rarely be fully rationalised in thought or done justice with words. And yet the sense of closure that surely offered his family some slight sliver of respite is something small that can be taken from what was, as just one long scroll through social media more than attested to last month, resounding confirmation that Stevie Martin was a very rare breed indeed. While “tragedy” is a word the weight of which is all too often lessened by clumsy appropriation, Stevie’s passing – and the reality of the fact that it was through the result of suicide – is most definitely that. With fans, fellow musicians, collaborators, friends and acquaintances from every corner still trying to fathom the news, it’s no overstatement to say Irish music was shook to its very core. The collective heartache was – and continues to be – seriously tangible. Rest in peace to a bona fide one-of-a-kind. Brian Coney

September September // October October 2016 2016

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n this latest edition of Primer Irish artist Kevin Mallon chats to Aidan Kelly Murphy about his methods, influences and plans for the future.

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Elements of both the spiritual and psychedelic exist within your works. Are these two themes that are close to your heart? I am drawn towards psychedelic art as it represents a visual manifestation of the subconscious. In this respect any art that tries to depict the inner workings of the mind can be considered psychedelic. The relationship between sacred geometry, patterns found in nature and the way our minds can manifest these patterns enforce a belief of oneness with nature. This connection with the natural world is what spirituality use to be based on. I look at megalithic symbols as one of the first artforms to explore this relationship. The single spiral representing consciousness and unity and thus expanding outwardly. In this sense these themes are close to my heart.

Was a career/life in the arts something you always wanted to pursue or something you gravitated towards later? I always knew painting was my calling but I was open to exploring new avenues of creativity. After school I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship to Lynn University in America. There I got a Masters in film production and for a while I thought that this would fill that creative void. I then spent 3 years working for a TV production company and making experimental films. After that I knew I needed to make a change in my life and decided to return to Europe. I spent the following 2 years in London and in 2013 I decided to return to Ireland and become a full time artist.

You rework on some of your pieces afterwards digitally, amending colours and creating video pieces. Would you view this as more of a continuation or an exploration of past works to formulate new ideas? With regards to colour changes and effects, it’s more of an effort to get something out of a piece that I feel I wasn’t able to achieve through paint alone. Rather than paint over or cast them aside I try to give them new life through digital means. I also enjoy creating limited edition versions using this method. The animation side is more of an exploration into my art, it allows me to portray a specific narrative that a still image is unable to do. By been able to communicate motion and sound it enables me to build tension and add depth.

Primer: Kevin Mallon

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Photos: Brian Mulligan

Primer Kevin Mallon


Primer Kevin Mallon

I’ve seen instruments used as canvases for some of your pieces, and you’ve also worked on visuals for live events; would you say music is something that is essential to your work? Music has always had a huge impact on my life and influences my art in ways I’ll probably never fully understand. I rarely work without some form of sound in the background and I pick that sound in accordance with the imagery I’m trying to create. Been the elusive creature that it is, music conjures up images and this translates onto the canvas. I also like to showcase my work at music events as I feel my art can resonate better with people in a natural environment. It’s a great way to interact with people of similar tastes and I like the chaotic setting it provides. What does the future hold? Do you have any projects on the horizon? At the moment I’m working on an original set of live visuals using my art. My aim is to create a

visual experience to accompany DJs and bands as well as installation work involving 3D mapping. I’m working with motion effects artist David Letelier and it should be ready by March. I’m also working on clothing and apparel featuring original artworks and designs. My site has been updated to facilitate this as we speak, so I’m using my Facebook page (Kevin Mallon Art) for all inquiries. My next showcase will be at the Irish Decompression in mid-November and after that I’m working on a solo show in Dublin. If you had one piece of advice for a young artist in Ireland what would it be? I would advise them to go out and experience the world and draw from these experiences in their art. From a painting standpoint, I don’t see what anyone can get out of 4 years at art college. That time would be better spent in a place outside of what they know surrounded by working artists.

September / October 2016

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Reviews Releases

– Reviews

WIFE Standard Nature Inspired by his time spent working as an environmental researcher, Standard Nature, the new EP from experimental electronic producer James Kelly AKA WIFE is a stark, intense affair rooted in the juxtaposition between machines and nature; that which is alive and that which destroys. 

 Opening with ‘Wide Nine’, you are immediately met with the jarring dynamic shifts that Kelly utilises to great effect throughout. Metallic keyboard melodies spear through the composition while dense percussion clamours in and out, evaporating into the soundscapes hidden beneath. In his other life, Kelly also makes up part of Atmospheric Black Metal outfit Altar of Plagues

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and that capacity to comb through ferocious intensity with melodic textures plays a key role here. Much stands in enormous contrast to the vicious vocals of his other project. There is a violent beauty Kelly the way he has sampled the sound of machines like chainsaws throughout this EP, a tingling head rush in the colourful bursts of sound that occur in ‘Native Trade’. Standard Nature is a fireworks display of a release. Eoin Murray

Lisa Hannigan At Swim Lisa Hannigan’s At Swim is an enchanting reintroduction to her music after a five year absence. Eleven beautifully crafted songs lasting a

concise thirty-nine minutes are a more pared back offering, but by no means feel compromised in content or tone to her previous albums. The discernment gone into making this record, co-producer by Aaron Dessner of The National, adds to the timelessness of the songs born from sublime arrangements, emotional experiences and intelligent lyrical compositions. Love and nature are central themes throughout At Swim. The use of the elements in the songs, notably in ‘Ora’, invites the listener to connect their surrounds with their emotions to a wistful harmony of mournful piano and a longing in Hannigan’s ethereal vocal. While the majority of the content is fuelled by longing and loss, there is an autumnal warmth running throughout At Swim that sweetly entices you into that last burst of golden haze before the total grim darkness of winter takes over. At Swim asserts Lisa Hannigan as an accomplished and innovative songwriter, whose words are full of depth and sincerity. Zara Hedderman


Reviews Releases

August Wells Madness is the Mercy Over 20 years since his emergence with shoegaze band Rollerskate Skinny, Dublin native Kenneth Griffin shows no sign of letting up from his multifaceted musical pursuits, with his latest venture August Wells – formed in 2012 with New York pianist John Rauchenberger – recently signing to Cork’s FIFA Records for this second LP. Griffin’s impressive croon is a fine match for the album’s laidback piano and strings, especially when paired with the roguish charm of his lyrics and his way around a whiskey-soaked witticism (“I don’t mind waking up on the kitchen floor/Men like me, we kinda think that’s what a kitchen floor is

for.”) Obvious comparisons are to be made with the likes of Scott Walker, John Grant and Neil Hannon, while Rauchenberger’s jazzy arrangements on tracks like album highlight ‘She Was A Question’ echo elements of their Scottish namesake Bill Wells. Madness is the Mercy may lack some of the excitement and urgency of Griffin’s early 00s band Favourite Sons, but the more fleshed out instrumentation and use of percussion make it a lively and engaging listen. Cathal McBride

Dott Beverly Baldwin EP

 Relocation to Toronto and marriage has resulted in a period of sea change for

Galway natives Dott over the past year. Now operating as a duo, Anna McCarthy and her husband Evan O’Connor released their first new music since early 2015 last month in the form of Beverly Baldwin, a four track EP named after the part of Toronto in which it was written and recorded. When operating as a fourpiece in the west of Ireland there was always a heart tickling melancholy in Dott’s music. Now however the sound is more akin to the garage-pop stylings that always danced on the sidelines of their previous releases, the lo-fi recording adding to the heightened playfulness that exists on Beverly Baldwin. ‘I Found You’ is a hook laden pop song that sits on the edge of the mind, giddily swinging its legs about while ‘Slow One’ breezes by with fuzzy guitars and brittle vocals. ‘Beautiful Face’ is all uplift and heartwarmth with a nice guest vocal spot from Torche’s Andrew Elstner. Beverly Baldwin might not be Dott’s strongest work, but it is representative of the way art and music changes with the individuals who make it. There is joy and love in this little EP, and excitement about what may come next. Eoin Murray

September / October 2016

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Live Other Voices @ Electric Picnic

Other Voices ELECTRIC PICNIC 2016 Photographer Tara Thomas captures the pick of the Irish acts at the Other Voices stage at this year’s Electric Picnic. Above: Le Galaxie feat. May Kay; right: Word Up Collective; below: Sibéal NíChasaide & Ferdia Walsh Peelo; bottom: Loah

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Live Grandaddy

Grandaddy VICAR STREET, DUBLIN


Photo: Loreana Rushe

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urrently working on their first new studio album in 11 years, U.S. indie rock legends Grandaddy comprehensively confirmed that reunions don’t necessarily have to be bloated, awkward or auto-piloted affairs in Dublin last month. With the vast majority of the Vicar Street crowd comfortably edging into full-blown, adult-human-with-mortgage territory, it was – by virtue of the considerable time that has passed since they were a fully-fledged, creatively active band – an extremely nostalgic proposition before the first notes of ‘Hewlett’s Daughter’ got things under way. But despite the crowd being more statuesque than one might imagine – not least during the more emphatic moments – the likes of ‘El Caminos In The West’, ‘Lost On Yer Merry Way’ and the timeless ‘AM 180’ made for rapturous mid-set peaks in a 19 song set that never yielded to excessive sentiment or eluded the significance of the moment. Better

still, with frontman Jason Lytle’s career-long preoccupation with home and belonging threaded throughout, new songs (or “disasters” as Lytle pre-emptively jested) ‘Check Injin’ and ‘Way We Won’t’ elicited a collective sigh of relief from the more fervent heads in attendance, confirming the band’s earworming alchemy remains as potent as ever. Not that that was especially in doubt, of course.

 Positively sealing the deal on the band’s first show in 4 years (barring an intimate hometown warm-up show in Modesto, California three nights before), an encore of ‘So You’ll Aim Toward The Sky’ and bona fide fan favourite ‘Summer Here Kids’ leave Vicar Street all but feverish with admiration at the end up. A quarter of a century on from forming, Grandaddy aren’t a band back to ride on the coat-tails of maudlin retrospection or the ever rife, cool band reunion cash-in. Here’s hoping album number five marks that fact in expectedly impressive fashion. Brian Coney

September September // October October 2016 2016

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Not Gospel Stranger Things

– Not Gospel

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tranger Things exploded onto the hive mind like an 80s-shaped bolt from beyond, a heady brew of intrigue and nostalgia that was as potent as it was addictive. Peeling the rug back on a small town, it gave us jealousy, action, and a neat ending, with just enough to keep us coming back for more. And with season two on the horizon, it’s seems this is one small town with plenty more secrets for our D&D loving friends to uncover. Growing up in a small town, I always felt that the real world was happening somewhere else, somewhere far from me. And the best remedy for that was to go somewhere in my head that no-one else could go to. So whilst the Troubles was still casting a shadow over Northern Ireland, checkpoints were still a thing, and our news broadcasts spoke of nightly atrocities, my fellow adolescent role players and I were in a far off kingdom, battling with warriors and wizards, shielded from the frightening realities at our front door. Regardless of the rose-tinted view of the current age, it was not cool. We roleplayers were a rare

The Thin Air Magazine

breed; isolated (by necessity), awkward, and generally only comfortable in the presence of likeminded souls. Whilst our contemporaries flirted with the opposite sex and drank cider in the park, we flirted with danger, and drank flagons of mead in taverns that only existed in our heads. But the world changed, and perhaps the strangest thing about Stranger Things is that those awkward, isolated roleplayers went on to find a place in the future, writing, acting, and creating. The misfits inherited the earth, and now in a massive reversal of fate, an affectionate look at kids playing Dungeons & Dragons can become the biggest TV show of the year. So while we root for our heroes complete their quest, find their friend, and save the day, we’re really rooting for them to grow up and become the best they can be, to share their adventures with everyone. And that everyone watching who has a passion that drives them lets it help them become the best they can be.Or, as we would have said at the time, “+ 5 experience.” Steven Rainey

Illustration: Loreana Rushe

– Chairmen of the Bored: Nostalgia’s Tight Grip on Stranger Things


September / October 2016

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88mph Primal Scream Screamadelica

– 88mph Primal Scream Screamadelica (SEPTEMBER, 1991)

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ince they did The Byrds on their debut, the ballsy, rock swagger of Primal Scream’s self titled follow-up showed early evidence of their ability to mix things up. Nevertheless, precious few were prepared for what would come next. With the 90s in their infancy, ‘Loaded’ was a little revolution. DJ Andrew Weatherall reconstructed a track from that 2nd LP into a largely instrumental, genre-bending, instant classic. A Stonesy, gospel groove with Italian house piano and some movie samples, it quickly became an anthem of the Ecstasy Generation. A galvanised Scream proceeded to immerse themselves in rave culture and Screamadelica gradually began to take shape. Summer brought ‘Come Together’, the extended mix of which was a towering behemoth sequel to ‘Loaded’, pushing the gospel quotient off the scale and expectations sky high. But then nothing. Almost a whole year passed. Would they deliver? Or were they just spiralling in an E-whirlpool? Thankfully (The Orb produced) ‘Higher than the Sun’ surpassed everything before it. A blissed-out epistle from elecro-space it was even more astonishing in Weatherall’s ‘Dub Symphony’ form, featuring monster Jah Wobble bass.

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Still no album, but the promise was raised further with ‘Don’t Fight It, Feel It’ a trancy gospel-house banger with Denise Johnson putting in a killer vocal performance. What had they left to give? Surely when Screamadelica would finally arrive, it could only be 4 brilliant singles plus filler...Actually, far from it. Instead the album kicked off with a fresh classic in ‘Movin’ On Up’, a gospel rocker that seemed instantly familiar and what followed that was an hour of joy; original yet steeped in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Classic, modern and futuristic all at once. Not only was the music spectacular, but the whole LP essayed the ups and downs of a trip. And it’s in the comedowns and chill outs where the unexpected treats of the album are found. ‘Damaged’ is an aching ballad with an irresistibly lazy rhythm, ‘Inner Flight’ a lush instrumental Brian Wilson would be proud of and best of all ‘I’m Coming Down’ accepts the downside of this lifestyle, but sumptuously, over a mesmerising saxophone. Drug music is often base, unchallenging and mindless. Screamadelica reminded us that it can instead be beautiful, luxurious and timeless. Jonathan Wallace


OUTERWEAR TO GIVE A VOICE TO A HIDDEN PROBLEM, PARTNERED WITH THE ABORTION RIGHTS CAMPAIGN. SHOP AT REPEAL.IE September / October 2016

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Profile for The Thin Air

The Thin Air Magazine: Issue 16  

The Thin Air Magazine: Issue 16  

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