Feature Derry’s Abbazappa Records // Fight Like Apes’ MayKay On Female Inspiration Not Gospel With So Cow’s Brian Kelly // Musicians On Film Featuring Adrian Crowley ISSUE #005 | MARCH 2015 | FREE U
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W I T H
M U S I C M U S I C & &
O L A L
L B A L O B A L O
A C C A C C E N T
GIRL BAND // TWINKRANES // AUTUMNS // INTERPOL // SHOOKRAH // MYLES MANLEY THE RECORD: R.S.A.G. // CAT PALACE // JAPE // SISTER GHOST // MICHAEL MORMECHA
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A C C A C C E N T
M U S I C M U S I C & &
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Foreword / Contents
Editor Brian Coney email@example.com @brianconey
The Malaise of the Everyday?
Deputy Editor/ Photo Editor Loreana Rushe firstname.lastname@example.org @loreana Art Director Stuart Bell @stubell_ Reviews Editor Andrew Lemon email@example.com @_andrewlemon_
Cover photo: Brid O’Donovan
Guide Editor Stevie Lennox firstname.lastname@example.org @stevieisms Contributors: Brian Coney Richard Davis Aaron Drain Mike Dwyer Mark Earley Mary Kate Geraghty Sarah Gourley James Hendicott Jeremy Hickey Eoin Holland Brian Kelly Joe Laverty Andrew Lemon Stevie Lennox Joe Madsen Sara Marsden Cathal McBride Dee McEvoy Colm Moore Shaun Neary Brid O’ Donovan Michael Pope Loreana Rushe Gerard Ryan Conor Smyth Isabel Thomas David Turpin Dean Van Nguyen Jonathan Wallace thethinair.net @the_thin_air fb.com/thethinair
Collaboration is The Cure
eeing an issue of the Thin Air magazine emerge from a totally blank slate – the journalistic version of tabula rasa – to thirty-six pages brimming with culture, colour and ridiculously readable columns, is a hugely enjoyable and only slightly stressful process. Okay… perhaps I underestimate the latter a little (deadlines, man) but the sheer pleasure I take in witnessing each issue take shape - month in, month out - never grows old. The reason for this couldn’t be
simpler, really: our contributors are, without a shadow of a doubt, some of the most naturally gifted people around; boundlessly eager individuals spurred on by initiative for the common good, i.e. the totally free Irish music and culture publication between your thumbs. So, let it be known: that list of people to the left are an absolute pleasure to work with, and I hope that their work, and the creators who they’ve captured here, inspire you in some small way, too. Enjoy issue #5! Brian Coney
Contents Photo of the Month ����������������� 4 Projection������������������������������� 5 Inbound ��������������������������������� 8 MayKay ��������������������������������� 11 The First Time ���������������������� 12 Stacks on Deck ����������������������� 13 Feature: Abbazappa Records ���14 Track Record: Twinkranes ����� 16 Feature: The Altered Hours ���� 18
Primer: Eleanor McCaughey ���� 22 Reviews ��������������������������������24 Live ���������������������������������������26 Musicians on Film ������������������28 The Record: R.S.A.G.��������������� 31 Not Gospel: Galway ����������������� 32 88mph ����������������������������������34 Agony Uncle �������������������������� 35
Grab an exclusive free download of ‘Family’ by Michael Mormecha: goo.gl/y9Zc7M
– Photo of the Month
Photo of the Month Brid O’Donovan
Elastic Sleep, Triskel Arts Centre Image: Brid O’Donovan
ach month our photo editor Loreana Rushe selects one stand-out 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: Since we’re launching our magazine in Cork this month I felt it was only right to showcase one of the county’s - and country’s - finest bands and photographers respectively, Elastic Sleep and Brid O’Donovan. Brid: I took this photo of the beautiful Muireann from Elastic Sleep in the
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TDC in the Triskel Arts Centre. They were playing as part of the Quarter Block Party which was taking place on North Main Street and South Main Street in Cork city. I like shooting in this venue as there’s no big stage - you can get really close to the musicians. Lighting can be quite a challenge in the TDC, lots of dark backgrounds and highlighted faces. It makes it difficult to figure out how to balance your ISO and shutter speed. I always shoot at between f/1.4 and f/2.8. When a venue uses a projector to illuminate the band it either helps or hinders your photographs. I was lucky with this gig as the projections were just simple colours and shapes. Less is more, I
guess! Muireann was just lost in the music, staring deep into the shadows, almost oblivious to the existence of the audience in front of her. She looked so beautiful and so hypnotised by the music. I think most of us up front were spellbound by her. There were these two lights reflected in her eyes which made her all the more mesmorising. I almost forgot to start shooting. The photographer who forgets to take a photograph. It’s pretty bad, isn’t it? But that’s the power of music, and Muireann Levis.
SHOT ON A CANON 5D MI WITH THE CANON 50MM 1.4 LENS. ISO 1250, 1/100S, F/1.8.
Projection Julianne Moore
he actress of her generation and a modern day Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore is nominated for an Oscar for Still Alice and hopefully by the time you are reading this she will have won at the fifth time of asking [Ed: she won – hurrah]. In Still Alice Moore plays 50-year-old Alice Howland, a successful academic who is married with three children. One day out of the blue she stumbles over a word in a lecture, completely unable to grasp the right one and it turns out she has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. A lot of people view these kind of roles actors playing people with disabilities or diseases -
and the Academy Awards in general with a bit of cynicism, but it’s hard to be cynical about Julianne Moore. When I first heard Moore was the favourite for this year’s Best Actress Oscar, my brain automatically thought, ‘that’ll be two she’ll have then.’ Except it won’t. Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry and Julia Roberts all have Oscars. Cher has an Oscar! Whoopi Goldberg has an Oscar for Ghost. Yes, THAT Ghost. But Julianne Moore has never won an Academy Award [Ed: she has – hurrah]. Her outstanding collaborations with directors Todd Haynes (Safe) and Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights and Magnolia) and her terrifically deadpan turn as Maude in The Big Lebowski made Moore one of the most underrated
actresses of the nineties. Safe in particular is a little seen gem featuring a tourde-force performance from Moore. Since the turn of the millennium she has moved from mere actress to screen icon, beginning at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003 when she was nominated for two Oscars for The Hours and Far From Heaven. The quiff himself, film critic, Mark Kermode went as far as to say history should have repeated itself again this year with Julianne Moore’s performance in the excellent Hollywood satire Maps to the Stars going unrewarded in favour of Still Alice. It’s hard to quantify exactly what Moore has that sets her apart. Moore goes to places other actresses don’t even dare, but there’s always a grounded believeability to everything she does. She has a fearlessness and an unwavering ability to meet the camera’s glare; In the words of her 30 Rock character, Nancy Donovan, she’s simply ‘wicked awesome’. Richard Davis Still Alice is showing at Queens Film Theatre from Friday 6 to Thursday March 19
J-Mo: Still Wicked Awesome With Queen’s Film Theatre’s resident cinephile Richard Davis
March New Releases
ld age hits in different ways. While veteran British thesps sip tea in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a mouthful of a title, Sean Penn and Liam Neeson are limbering up and cocking rifles for blasting sessions in The Gunman and Run All Night. Things are a little closer to the bone in Still Alice: it seems like something cooked up in a lab to hoover up little gold statues, with Julianne Moore as a professor and mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but we know Moore can bring the goods. The arthouse is where it’s at though. Desiree Akhavan’s breakout auteur indie Appropriate Behaviour is a winning rom-com about bisexuality and New York hipsterdom, while David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows, fresh
from killing it on the festival circuit, promises some fresh, stylish, sexually-transmitted terror. Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo returns with White God, which is basically the anti-Lassie. It’s a canine revenge flick which broke the record for the most hounds used in a feature film, partly a parable about the resentment of the oppressed and partly a gnarly B-movie about what happens when man’s best friend gets tired of our shit. Down, boy!
It Ain’t The Size Of The Gun: Film Devour 15 Review
n Oscar nom and BAFTA victory for Belfast-set Boogaloo and Graham, written by Ronan Blaney and directed by Michael Lennox, attests to the good health of the Irish short film scene, fully showcased at the Film Devour festival in Belfast’s Black Box. The night began with trailers for new work from film-
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makers familiar to the crowd, Leo McGuighan’s debut feature Braxton and Aidan Largey’s RTE mini-series Farr, both starring QUB graduate Shaun Blaney. The shorts themselves were a mixture of monologues, genre riffs and Youtube sketches from the irreverent Notorious Barrick Boys and others. Audience Choice runnerup mockumentary The Realm of Error, from David Shaw and Wes Lowry, charted the rise and fall of pornographer Eugene Cairns, who was too avant-garde for ‘70s rural Ireland: an offbeat vintage piece with a hint of Christopher Guest. Campbell Miller’s Respite at Christmas, a glossy WW2 drama about soldiers indulging in festive respite, picked up the top Audience prize. Directors Choice went to John McGovern’s farcical Barty Carty, filmed in a Meath primary school and starring Tim Casey as an intense principal conducting trials for his chess team. Casey could easily be one of Father Ted‘s weird fringe priests, bothering Ted with his insanity. A random Lennox Lewis gag confirms the Linehan vibe. Devour returns in April. Conor Smyth
rogression is, for one reason or another, not so readily associated with soul in recent years, the genre’s inherent knack for broad strokes and personal resonance remaining its most potent tool. Enter Shookrah, a multi-headed groovebeast from Cork City who strike the balance between moving the genre forward, and retaining this relatability. Combining elements of the aforementioned soul nous, the emphasis on musicianship and technicality of a bigband funk outfit, while donning a grand big prog/ math-rock thinking cap, it’s clear something more than the sum of its notinconsiderable parts is
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coming together with the combo formerly known as Moustache Latte, as evidenced by debut EP Implicit Content, released last year. It’s a record built on dichotomies. The big, feck-off structure of ‘Woman’, paired with razor-sharp lyrics riffing on humanism and the power of femininity shows a penchant for welding perfect pop with keen intellect. ‘Unrequited’ marries a sad, raw earnestness that only can be really gleaned from very real heartbreak with an unreasonably funky undercarriage. ‘Rein On’ is by far the most complex proposition on the record, but also rings with a day’s hard work and the hope of a young lifetime,
while ‘Babahdah’ is its polar opposite, a cool and collected soul number with a pensive eye on life. They’re not without experience - vocalist Senita Appiakorang has guested with wunderkind Daithí on his record, while drummer Emmet, aside from losing his leg on Game of Thrones once, has served time on strings/vox with prog outfits Lamp and Plinth. This polish, variety and accomplishment is brought to the fore in Shookrah, and the result is that rare thing: a band equally as suited to a Saturday night’s chaos and revelling as they are to the headspace and grey matter necessary for the walk home. Mike McGrath Bryan
Photo: Brid O’Donovan
– Inbound –
Inbound Cat Palace
Cat Palace Nile, Talk Talk, Jason Molina and Bonnie Prince Billy, his unaffected, ache-laced vocals and superbly stripped-back acoustic liturgies forge to concoct something bordering on the mystical on his recently-released, selftitled debut EP. Earnest and cunningly simple in their composition, the release’s five songs – including singles, the
profoundly impressive ‘Cage’ and ‘Hear Me Lord’ – command, brood and sate in fine, almost timeless fashion, capturing an Irish singer-songwriter doing something very singular indeed. Better said, Blaney – not unlike his fellow “shouldactually-be-massive” countrymen Ciaran Lavery, Myles Manley and Our Krypton Son – perfectly encapsulates the archetypal underthe-radar, tale-wielding master teetering on the brink of being discovered and deemed nothing short of a straight-up songwriting great. Listen to Cat Palace a handful of times via the link below and see if you’re inclined to agree. Brian Coney catpalace.bandcamp. com/album/cat-palace
– Inbound –
Photo: Colm Moore
very once in a while - absentmindedly streaming music on auto-pilot - you stumble across a voice that just stops you dead in your tracks. A self-proclaimed “devotional” artist, Dublin’s David Blaney AKA Cat Palace falls firmly within that all-too-rare bracket. Placed somewhere between The Blue
Inbound Sister Ghost / We, The Oceanographers
Sister Ghost Belfast, O’Neill hails from Feeny in County Derry, and is currently working on new material and stretching her artistic muscles with shows like the Oh Yeah Centre’s Björk-inspired International Women’s Day gig, ‘Her World’. New double-single ‘Spineless Whisper’ and ‘Little Lamb’ both have desolate themes and a Factory Records bent over notably cleaner guitar tracks. Nevertheless, it’s the
messy angst of the garage rock aesthetic peering out from the undercarriage – and the accompanying potential for blistering live shows - that serves up the act’s greatest intrigue. James Hendicott
We, The Oceanographers
ormed in 2014, We, The Oceanographers have been somewhat of a muted outfit until recently. In terms of output, there isn’t an extensive back catalogue (yet) that would define or even imply a set of musical guidelines to which the Dundalk
group adhere to, but and that’s a resounding “but” - from what we’ve heard so far, there doesn’t immediately need to be. Lo-fi electronica with indie overtones is the name of the game thus far and the tracks that are out there are very much in the vein of downbeat, considered musical daydreams. The future? Our predictions are bigger things and evolving sounds. Take 2014’s ‘Same Old Story’ for example. It’s a well-formed, chilled
excursion into subtle guitar hooks and soft, rounded synth bass-lines. The vocals could easily fool you too, into thinking there is no bite to be found here, until a gentle crescendo begins to build into a melodic and delicately sanguine finale. If this track is representative of We, The Oceanographers’ debut album @ventures one, due for release this coming March, then there is plenty to be excited about. But a mellow, blissfuly melodic excitement, mind. Aaron Drain
Sister Ghost: Sara Marsden, We, The Oceanographers: Joe Laverty
– Inbound –
pointedly scrappy, infectious guitar track and rustic, anguished vocal defined Sister Ghost’s early offerings, which saw Shannon Delores O’Neill take on a garage punk/ shoegaze vibe in ‘Scent’. The track garnered attention from BBC’s Electric Mainline, and saw O’Neill go lo-fi and less poppy than her catchy punk-edged outlet Vanilla Gloom. Now based in
MayKay Female Musicians
Weird & Wise Women
t doesn’t seem right to speak about women that have been important in my life without first acknowledging the men that have played an equally important role. Even the bad ones. Even the one that stole my wallet post-break up.
Photo: Loreana Rushe
I remember seeing The Immediate play in Whelan’s and thinking that I definitely needed to learn an instrument and that I definitely needed to shout. I remember meeting Jamie for the first time and thinking that humour was the most important thing on earth. I remember dancing with my Dad at a wedding when I was eight and thinking he was probably a superhero but it made total sense that he couldn’t tell me. I hope I haven’t broken his trust by telling you this. There have been lots of brilliant men with wicked wit and charm that have changed the course of my thinking.
Fight Likes Apes frontwoman Mary Kate Geraghty AKA MayKay praises the influential – “stubborn, self-deprecating and kind” women in her life. The ones I like the most are the ones that are aware that this simple truth still exists as strongly as ever: if a man and a woman are instructing people in the exact same way as the other, in a firm, authoritative way he will be called confident and she will be called a nag.
for that. It has always been women that managed to seem entirely unhinged but utterly in control at the same time that I found most attractive.
Anyway, let’s keep this positive. The women that spring to mind straight away when I think of the most important ones are not afraid to look stupid. They are romantics, they love laughing, they play devil’s advocate in any given situation just to spark a good argument. They are stubborn, self-deprecating and kind. They’re also all really good at making salad dressing. I’ve worked with some amazing women with Fight Like Apes. They didn’t try to change anything about us. In fact they saw maintaining our control and ideas as their main role. I love them
In relation to music it was no different. I was drawn to women who weren’t overtly sexual. They didn’t flutter their lashes or sing about gyrating up in d’club, but they were absolutely intoxicating and you’d never forget seeing them – that effortless strength and mystery and intrigue. It’s why a certain Barbadian twerker saying it doesn’t matter how she behaves because she never signed up to be a role model would boil your blood. On stage you have the power to influence how other young girls feel about themselves and whether or not they see music and performance as the incredibly powerful, life-changing thing that it is. I really don’t like Rihanna. MayKay
March March 2015 2015
The First Time Gerry Norman
Gerry Norman – A Plastic Rose
First artist to change your musiclistening/making life? Radiohead - OK Computer. It blew my mind a little. First festival experience? Witnness (Ed: it was actually Oxegen but come on, Witness just sounds better) when Green Day headlined, with the Foo Fighters just before. I got chatting to Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan and I nearly dropped dead. First favourite film soundtrack? Grease. Not even ashamed, it’s lethal. First song to make you cry? Christy Moore – ‘The Voyage’. I also remember crying seeing Lauren Hill play a song about her son Zion that had me in bits. First time you knew you wanted to make music? Shortly after getting obsessed with
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Damien Rice... for the first time. I learned the entire O album. First riff/song you learnt from start to finish? Like many young lads it was ‘Good Riddance’ by Green Day. First original song you wrote? I can’t remember the name but it was about this amazing mountain in Sligo called Ben Bulben that I could see from my bedroom window. Oh, wait… it was called ‘Window’. It was awful. First musical hero/idol you ever met? Apart from Damo the first time I met Gary Lightbody was pretty memorable. Final Straw is a big album for me and I bumped into him and Lisa Hannigan (she’s always about when I meet my heroes) in Belfast the day the Oh Yeah Centre opened. All I did was tell him ‘An Olive Grove Facing The Sea’ is the best song ever and shook his hand. He laughed. The man is a legend.
Photo: Joe Laverty
– The First Time
Photographer Joe Laverty shoots and delves into the music-making, listening and loving firsts of A Plastic Rose vocalist and guitarist Gerry Norman.
Stacks on Deck Jay Electronica
In the first installment of his new hip-hop column, Dean Van Nguyen examines the curious case of Jay Electronica ahead of the New Orleans rapper’s upcoming appearance at Whelan’s, Dublin.
Dean Van Nguyen
he career of Jay Electronica more closely resembles a Chris Gaines-esque side project than the career of a fully functioning artist. Plausibly, this could only be the work of invention. Here’s a guy who, while drifting from city to city, found his way to recording with J Dilla, and later appeared on tracks with Kendrick, produced for Nas, jumped on stage with Diddy, and called Jay Z his boss over at Roc Nation – all without actually releasing an album. It’s as if someone of significant influence is behind the guise, pulling the strings in some kind of mad experiment. Electronica – a real person, I assure you – commands a level of respect that defies his tiny output, which thus far consists of just one multi-track release in Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The
Pledge), a 15-minute piece put out in 2007 that sees the MC rapping over a series of drum-less samples taken from the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack. It was a cool start, but for eight years now he has teased the release of debut album Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn), with little suggestion that the record will see the light of day anytime soon. For someone who has been a critic of modern hip-hop, Jay hasn’t added a whole lot to the genre in terms of output. “I have enough material for many albums,” he told MTV last year when asked if he had enough finished content to put out a record. “You know how it goes. I don’t even know what to say to this stuff...”
other multi-millionaires who take up to – and over – a decade to release an album, not a new artist looking to drop the first long-form artistic statement of his life. Some have lost the faith, but those who see Electronica perform in the small setting of Whelan’s on March 12, will see that the dude certainly has something. A potent rhymer and razor-sharp lyricist, he channels the spirit of golden age hip-hop greats Kool G Rap and Guru, working over instrumentals few would dare touch, and somehow making it all work. The thing is, it’s completely within Electronica to put together an album loaded with tracks as good as his 2009 single ‘Exhibit A (Transformations)’, the deftly lyrical ‘Dimethyltryptamine’, or the Dilla-helmed demo ‘So What You Saying’. All it would take is a single jolt to the system to convince him that now is the time to focus. Dean Van Nguyen
This is the kind of bullshit douchebaggery usually seen from Axl Rose, Dr Dre and
– Stacks on Deck
In Search of Jay Electronica
Photos: Joe Laverty
Abbazappa: – Record Highs
fter the demise of Soundsaround record shop, Derry had little choice when it came to genre and decade-spanning records, aside from the few gems found in a charity shop every now and then. Abbazappa Records came along on August 2013 and changed all that. Being a strong advocate of record shops that stock second hand, re-released and new vinyl (especially if it has a good post-punk section) I spoke to Ben Allen, owner of Abbazappa Records, to find out more about his shop, the origins and why he decided to go ahead with his venture after the eventual demise of a shop similar to his. Despite the fact that the shop is situated in Derry’s
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city centre, it’s still not the easiest of shops to hunt out. Saying that, if you happened to pass through Pump Street, you would struggle to miss the giant piece of patchwork across the Bedlam building. Walk in and you will be confronted with just that bedlam. A mix and match of everything from the spiritual arts to a book shop and from vintage clothing to a rather peculiar florists. In the back of the building, you’ll find Abbazappa records. Of course, it isn’t just the setting that’s intriguing - the name of the shop itself sparks curiousity for many. Who in their right mind would combine Abba with Zappa? Ben explained: “It took about three days to figure
that name out. We thought of about fifteen or sixteen names that we thought were definitely gonna be it, but we researched them and they all existed. Some people say we’ve got everything - and we have got everything from Abba to Zappa. That’s where it came from and there wasn’t anyone else with the name. It happened because it didn’t exist.” After a little hesitation, he continued with a laugh: “The only trouble is, though, we don’t have any Zappa at the
“A record shop is an education.”
Feature Abbazappa Records
minute, but we do have some Abba. Zappa is a big seller.” Initially, it was just a ‘popup shop’ during the Fleadh festival in 2013, but Ben explained that he was offered a price for rent and “thought for two seconds” before deciding to do it permanently. “It was very plain to me and people were thanking me for opening up the shop. They were like ‘wow, look at all this’ - it was like they hadn’t seen a record shop for a long time - a good second hand record shop. There isn’t anywhere you can buy Tom Waits LPs in Derry, as far as I know - only here.” Within record shops, it’s usually clear that the staff will go out of their way to help you find what you’re looking for. Even if it is just a certain sound you’re after, those who run record shops
tend to be audiophiles themselves and can guide you to an artist, just by comparing them to what you like. Ben explains that one of the huge benefits of the record shop is that you can recommend music, one thing that cannot be done well from online sellers. He said that “it took me a while to get used to because I’ve been selling online for about fourteen years. Selling online is very isolating and you don’t go out. You don’t meet anybody. You just sit and you do your thing then go to the post office.” Not only does Abbazappa ensure a ‘merchant presence’, they actively endorse Northern Irish acts to sell their own LPs without charge through the shop: “I wouldn’t take any money either - whatever it sells for, it’ll go straight to the artist. I wouldn’t want to make money off them at all.”
browsing and soaking in the sounds around them. “A record shop is an education,” he says. Speaking about a staff member of the store finding a new record he’d never heard of before, he continues, “he bought the record here and just thought it was amazing. To see him listen to something new like that, his eyes just lit up.” He continues with another anecdote, recalling a teen in his school uniform coming into the store looking for a pretty surprising record: “We even had a fourteen year old who paid forty quid for an early Kinks album - but he wouldn’t have bought that on CD and that’s incredible. That just wouldn’t have happened two years ago.” The society of record shops certainly proves to be an unpredictable one but, as Abbazappa Records have shown in the seventeen months they’ve been active, a very strong one with much to offer. Gerard Ryan
For patrons of record shops, you’ll recognise that they are not your run-of-the-mill retail outlets, but can be a rather social and informative experience. He explains that people have been introduced to new sounds that they had to ask about, just from
For more information on Abbazappa Records and some of their stock visit: facebook.com/ abbazappashop
March March 2015 2015
– Twinkranes – Anto Patterson from Dublin psych band Twinkranes selects a handful of stellar (and interstellar) records that have left an indelible imprint on his life and music.
Cabaret Voltaire Red Mecca
Broadcast record on it’s like opening a really great book.
I picked this record up in Manchester on a lost weekend. It’s is a mad mixture of industrial, synth-pop, noise and new wave; abrasive and strange but still accessible. It’s interesting when an environment dictates the sound of its bands: Sheffield was like that around this time and a lot of Manchester bands from that time also have a distinct sound. You can really hear that in some of the German Krautrock bands like Cluster and Neu! I don’t think we’ve had a similar thing within pop and rock music in Ireland.
See pg. 34 for Jonathan Wallace’s 88MPH column on The Noise Made By People
Broadcast have been a really big influence over the years. It’s mad to think this record is fifteen years old. There’s so much depth and craftsmanship in the albums, every sound and texture is meticulously laboured over and the songwriting and lyrics are just amazing. When you put a
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Syd’s Pink Floyd and the album Piper at the Gates of Dawn is pretty much a ground zero moment in terms of psychedelic music and, again, could have easily featured here but I really love Animals. It’s a bit of a change from the group’s earlier work and it’s quite melancholic in parts so you wouldn’t bang it on everyday. I love the sleeve art - that image of Battersea power station with the pig flying over has become so iconic.
Brian Eno Another Green World The amount of ideas, the level of playfulness and the sense of adventure
How do you like them apples? Photo: Shaun Neary
Broadcast The Noise Made By People
Pink Floyd Animals
Track Record Twinkranes
and experimentation contained in Eno’s 1970’s albums is nothing short of breathtaking. Another Green World is an album that straddles the pop, rock, classical, soundtrack and jazz worlds all at once.
The Carpenters Carpenters When compiling this list I realised that a lot of my favorite stuff comes from the 1970’s, although most of it would probably sit comfortably in any decade. This record, though, is quintessentially 1970’s. Whilst The Carpenters are seen as being quite cheesy or kitsch these days, ‘Superstar’ from this record is killer. I’ve added them to this list for that track alone (and also for the fact that Karen Carpenter was a shit-kicking singing drummer).
Silver Apples Silver Apples Silver Apples are an electronic duo from New York who got together around the tail-end of the 60’s. The music they created is some of the most influential and original you’ll find from the 1960’s. These guys sounded like nobody before them. They have been an influence on us and have influenced a multitude of artists. ‘Oscillations’ is probably one of their most famous tracks - when the drums kick in it’s just like, “Wow!” The way the vocals
and electronics and drums are put together on this album is amazing. Simeon Coxe is a god.
Wire Chairs Missing A bit more progressive than their debut, Chairs Missing is the second album from this legendary post-punk group. Tracks like ‘Outdoor Miner’ and ‘I am the Fly’ are instant pop classics. I love the way with Wire you get real cerebral subject matter rolled in to a pop format. They have a very progressive way of putting stuff together but in a very simplistic way.
Can Tago Mago Tago Mago is probably Can’s most expansive record and it’s them in their most experimental phase. Each member of this special group plays a pivotal role on these records but none more important than Holger Czukay, the master craftsman who painstakingly put a lot of the tracks together by splicing tapes of long extended jams. ‘Halleluwah’ is great: I love the way it’s edited kind of disjointedly. ‘Mushroom’ and ‘Oh Yeah’ sound like they’re from another world. I listened to Can incessantly for a long time and burnt them out for myself a bit but each time you put them on, even now, you find something new in the tracks. I’d say this version of the band, live, was a force to be reckoned with.
THE ALTERED HOURS
IN SEARCH OF HONESTY WORDS: MIKE McGRATH BRYAN | PHOTOS: BRID O’DONOVAN
Feature The Altered Hours
he Altered Hours came together because of a shared gravitation towards music,” muses Elaine Howley, vocalist and one fifth of one of Cork’s most distinct and progressive bands. It’s a succinct way of describing the common bond between the band’s musically disparate parts. Cathal MacGabhann (guitar/vocals) delves further: “We have had a couple of formations in the past few years, from a seven-piece to a five-piece, and a couple
the songs we recorded as an exploration of sound. We had recorded previously but this project really tested our ability with the limited resources we had”.
initially as a psych-inflected folk group, something that remains at the roots of the band’s output and influences despite the aforementioned line-up changes. 2011 saw the release of the band’s debut record Downstream, a dreamy statement of intent, that would be a catalyst for the band’s development. “Downstrean was recorded by Cathal in our studio at the time, which was in the old FÁS office,” recalls Elaine. “This was the first time we had our own space to make
“SOMETIMES IT’S MAGIC, AND SOMETIMES IT’S NOTHINGNESS.” of people have come and gone. The current line-up came together because we all seemed to gravitate towards each other naturally. There is a lot of respect between the five of us now and it feels like a real group process. The Altered Hours began because we just love music, and I think we all have too much energy so it would be bad for us if we didn’t do this.” Coming together in 2010, The Altered Hours began life
music in. We had previously recorded some of these songs at home, and the resulting sound wasn’t what we were after. When we recorded again the songs had more character in them, and we had some time to mess around. The songs on Downstream exist parallel to music we made after that and music we make now”. Bassist (and Cork sound-engineer regular) Patrick Cullen chimes in his agreement. “Downstream for me was as much about
From that space to explore, the band thrived, and proceeded to develop exponentially, distilling the individual members’ influences into something more than the sum of its parts. “As a band, I think we’re all very different people, with varied influences,” says Patrick. “I think it’s only natural for our creative process to explore these personalities”. On said process, Cathal gets a little more personal. “Sometimes it’s magic, and sometimes it’s nothingness. I have been writing songs roughly 11 years now, and it all feels like the same journey to me. I’m still just chasing my true self and trying to be a more honest musician every day. My hope is that our music changes naturally as we change throughout our lives, and remains relevant to the world we see around us. We don’t really know what we are doing enough to pigeonhole ourselves, but we know we have something to do.” This honesty and instinct is a common thread between the band when asked separately: “I don’t make music with the
March March 2015 2015
Feature The Altered Hours
intention of it fitting into a particular framework. A question on my mind when listening to or making music is, ‘can I feel it?’”, says Elaine. ‘Sweet Jelly Roll’, a hazy, reverbladen treat, followed in 2013 - an ornate debut release 10” for the band’s label home, A Recordings (run by Brian Jonestown Massacre man Anton Newcombe) - and took the band to Berlin to record. Their connection to the German capital has had its influence on the band, but it’s one Cathal downplays. “I’m into Spacemen 3, and Sun Ra, and stuff like that, and a lot of the messages in their music are telling me to escape geography, and just feel a cosmic truth, so I don’t spend much time thinking about places. Berlin, Paris and Cork are all lovely places though, but we would be making the same music if we lived anywhere in my opinion. Working with Fabien (Leseure, producer) on the ‘Sweet Jelly Roll’ EP and this new album we have coming out has been great though, he has taught me a lot and I’m really grateful for his efforts.” Patrick has his own take on the experience: “Being in Berlin made it easier for getting into the headspace - we were putting in so many hours a day in the studio. It was our job to record an album, and that’s what we did. Being in the Funkhaus in East Berlin, in an old DDR broadcasting building - yeah, I’d say that stark Bauhaus architecture definitely influenced me.” While on the subject of places in the world, your writer asks about the
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current resurgence happening in their home city. On its current boom, Elaine is enthusiastic, explaining it from her own perspective. “Most of the bands and people that I know in Cork have been playing live music and making art for some years now. I think it’s good that there is music and culture in Cork City. I come from the country where there is very little by way of music or culture to soak up. I learn a lot from the people in my band and other musicians in the city”. When quizzed briefly on the importance of physical releases after two vinyl records (the other being 2014’s ‘Dig Early’ 7”, on Art for Blind), her enthusiasm is tinged with the band’s trademark pragmatism: “I enjoy physical releases. If it’s up to me, I like to have copies of the music exist physically rather than solely on the internet. I think people are more likely to re-visit music as listeners when they have a hard copy. That said, it’s getting the music we want to put out reaching the people who
Feature The Altered Hours
want to listen to it that’s the point, and if that can be in our chosen format then great, if not we would release it another way”. On the topic of the new album, guitarist Kevin Terry, formerly of Cork minimalists Saint Yorda, speaks up, detailing its continuation of the band’s natural disparity. “The album is a collection of songs written organically without any unifying concept or theme. I guess we write in response to our experiences and anxieties, and as such there are a few overriding and overlapping threads in the album. These threads are not intentional, in the same way that narratives which emerge from diary entries
are not intentional, but are not accidental either.” Cathal is a tad less philosophical: “We’re trying to continue to find our place in the world, and become more honest with ourselves and make music that feels genuine to us. It’s as simple as that, really.” The next year is a vital one for the band. More touring, including more European shows, will precede an album, again released on A Recordings, but Cathal is as direct as ever about the impending mayhem, and perfectly summarises the band’s raison d’etre in the same stroke: “We don’t really make plans, beyond trying to be a good band, and doing a few shows”. Mike McGrath Bryan
Primer Eleanor McCaughey
Primer: Eleanor McCaughey
n the latest instalment of Primer, Mark Earley talks to Eleanor McCaughey, an Irish artist living and working in Dublin. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally including The National Portrait Gallery London, The Royal Ulster Academy Belfast, the Royal Dublin Society and the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin. Hello Eleanor. Can you tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment? I’m packing up my workspace this morning because I am moving into a new studio today - exciting! I’m getting ready to begin a new body of work. I’ve been collecting lots of new imagery and doing lots of research for new paintings and possibly sculpture. That’s the hard part! The making of the work is the fun part. I
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Who and what is currently influencing your work? And, who would you say has influenced you over the course of your career as an artist? I am constantly looking at art. I visit shows around Dublin weekly. I live within walking distance of a lot of galleries which makes it easy for me to check out whatever exhibitions are happening. I sometimes pick up art magazines but mostly I scour the internet for inspiration - how did we ever get by without it? I had painted a lot as a child and teenager but before I got my BA in Fine Art I studied Animation and Graphic Design. So at that time I was looking at other graphic designers and animators for inspiration. I think I realised pretty early on that graphic design wasn’t for me! Working a couple of years in the industry nearly
killed me; I hated being confined to my computer and I was dying to get back into painting. So I did a few night classes in painting and returned to college. I did Fine Art in DIT and my tutors really opened my eyes in terms of exposing me to some fantastic artists that have greatly influenced me such as Karin Mamma Andersson, Michael Borremans, Andreas kasapis, Adrian Ghenie... the list goes on. What is your preferred medium to work with and why? Since returning to painting I cannot get enough of it - I am completely obsessed. It is definitely my preferred medium to work with as it’s so versatile and leaves a lot of room for experimentation. Why figurative painting? In the beginning I was mainly
Photo (top): Mark Earley, photo (left): Eoin Holland
am hugely interested in film, and some of the imagery I work with comes from film stills which means a whole lot of watching time. I also make work taking reference from found imagery, such as found photography online, old books, anything I can get my hands on, really.
Primer Eleanor McCaughey
concerned with technique, trying to get to grips with the medium. I found painting skin tone a challenge and really worked at it - I still do - but I think now my main concern with my paintings is trying to create some sort of narrative and an atmosphere. I have always been really drawn to figurative painting. What kind of response do you hope to achieve from your work? I enjoy removing images from their original context and giving them new meaning through painting. That’s why it’s always interesting for me to hear people’s interpretations of the work. I like referencing found imagery that the viewer may find familiar. The work plays on the idea of the uncanny. Last year you got married – to another painter! Do you
feel like you have much of an imprint on each other’s work? What do you think you could bring to his work? And he to yours? Yes, I think we definitely have an influence on each other’s work. Cian has exposed me to a lot of inspiring artists that I wouldn’t have necessarily have come across myself. Cian’s work is heavily influenced from a background in graffiti so our work is pretty different from one another’s. I think we are both very honest with each other about our work and I trust his opinion, about, oh, 90% of the time! Tell us about the piece (bottom left) you have included with this interview. This piece was one of a series of works commissioned by the new Dean Hotel on Harcourt Street. I was commissioned alongside many other amazing Irish artists like Cian Walker,
James Earley, Tony Byrne, Peter Monaghan, Colm Mac Athlaoich, John O’ Reilly and Le Bas to name but a few. This piece was painted with Oil on Canvas, and measures 100x100cms. Finally, what would make 2015 a perfect year for your career? If all goes well I am hoping to get a body of work together for a solo show in late 2015.
March March 2015 2015
Michael Mormecha Lofi Life Taking yet another step or three back from the panoramic alt-rock splendor of Mojo Fury, Michael Mormecha’s debut EP under his own name perfectly distils his peerlessly eclectic, genre-spanning songwriting wizardry to ten tracks that burrow, revel and intrigue in gloriously faded lo-fi technicolour. Whether you look to the likes of the fuzzladen ‘Happily Lost’, the brilliantly bobbing ‘Mixtapes’ or closing highlight ‘Family’, subtlety and bombast go hand-in-hand throughout Lofi Life, married in a melodydrenched netherworld of twisted pop triumph that, whilst equally evoking Mojo’s more restrained efforts and Mormecha’s work as Clown
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Parlour, operates very much on its own wavelength. At the root of it all is the Lisburnbased multi-instrumentalist’s very apparent ease and knack for traversing all but every conceivable sound and approach, impressively unpredictable permutations of – often wonderfully layered – vocals, synth, guitars, drum machines and everything in between consistently delivering the goods. Whilst it doesn’t necessarily need re-confirming, Lofi solidifies Mormecha’s status as a daring artist following his very own path, worthy of being mentioning in the same breath as the likes of TuneYards, Trent Reznor and Sparklehorse. Brian Coney
Autumns Blonde EP Recorded in a single day at their first ever studio
recording session at Belfast’s Start Together, Blonde by Derry noise-pop trio Autumns is a frenetic four-track release hinting at some great things in the making for the Christian Donaghey-fronted band. Skilfully swamped in a heady haze of feedback and fuzz, these reverb-drenched offerings – including highlights, the rabid ‘Je Vous Être’ and closer ‘You’re Not Tough Enough’ – manage to capture some of the patent urgency and electricity of the three-piece’s increasingly impressive live show; one that has already won over a small yet burgeoning legion of fans in Derry, Belfast and elsewhere. Above all else, though, perhaps the most charming element of Blonde – and Autumns, generally – is a self-aware, almost swaggering enthusiasm informed by the Donaghey’s obvious appreciation of some of the more feedback-soaked and blustering ‘gaze and noise-pop bands of yore. This brash confidence and sonic fearlessness should hold Autumns in the very best of stead, so long as they continue to tread curious and uncarefully. Sarah Gourley
than Jape’s Richie Egan. Having since relocated to Sweden, for album number five Egan has stripped things back to just himself and regular collaborator Glenn Keating and recorded in his own Malmö studio, which seems to have resulted in a greater sense of focus and cohesion. This Chemical Sea builds on the more electronic, less nostalgic aspects of Ocean Of Frequency, but this time round everything sounds more confident and assured. Guitars are nowhere to be seen for once and rom the opening bars of ‘Séance Of Light’ the listener is plunged into the depths of Egan’s chemical sea, with basses, synths, drum machines and Egan’s melodic vocals swirling through the brain, and not allowed to reemerge until the very end. n the end, This Chemical Sea emerges sounding like [2008 album] Ritual’s more assured older brother – perhaps not quite as ‘fun’, but more mature and interesting in a different way, and by far Egan’s most accomplished work to date. Cathal McBride
arrangement through the filter of a grunge production quality.
Myles Manley More Songs EP Aptly dubbed More Songs, Sligonian Myles Manley’s latest EP poses a nice addition to the indie-pop family of Dublin’s Trout Records. The set plays at six songs, yet Manley manages to showcase an array of tastes and interests across the entire piece. There are bare essentials (‘Grinding’) and there are piquant production effects (‘Slip Into The Sea’). There are ballads and there are songs that hardly stay. Some give an ear to romance (‘I Love Her Family’), others find a voice for Manley’s sense of humour (‘Pay Me What I’m Worth’). ‘January’ lets Manley’s vocals mollify, delicately dancing on feather-light toes across a floor of soft acoustic. Meanwhile, ‘Ordinary Love’ funnels the makings of a pop
The collection as a whole makes perfect sense as an EP. The tracks pull Manley into different stylistic directions, and the production choices represent his varied interests as to how he wants to deliver his sound. With two EPs, a collaborative LP, and a compilation album under his belt, this latest venture feels like a workshop of what is hopefully later to come on a fully conceptualized album. Joe Madsen
Jape This Chemical Sea How do you follow up not one, but two Choice Music Prize winning albums? This is a dilemma that so far no one has ever had to face other
nterpol seem to have With last year’s El Pintor an affinity with Ireland, being something of a return evidenced by the fact to form, newer material like that we’re at the first night of ‘Anywhere’ and ‘Breaker 1’ another sold out three night fits neatly alongside material residency at Dublin’s Olympia from the first two albums; Theatre. Openers HEALTH these three records making seem to divide the gradually up the bulk of the set. We’re arriving audience somewhat, also treated to 2010’s ‘Lights’ alternating as they do and two Our Love To Admire between the hypnotic groove highlights, including the of tracks like ‘Die Slow’ and long awaited return of fan the more experimental noise favourite ‘Pioneer To The of ‘Crimewave’ – half of Falls’, which sees Paul the crowd seem into it and Banks’ soaring vocals and the other half look slightly Sam Fogarino’s thunderous confused, although they still applaud politely throughout. Interpol receive one of the warmest responses you’re ever likely to see, on the other hand, and it seems to put the band in very high spirits. Daniel Kessler unleashes each riff with a look of absolute relish, while current live bassist Brad Truax does a fine job filling the Carlos D-shaped hole on the stage.
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THE ACADEMY, DUBLIN drumming reverberate around the whole theatre. Elsewhere, the set peaks with a stunning run through of ‘The New’ - immediately after ‘Evil’ elicits the biggest singalong of the night - and following up ‘PDA’ with a second encore of ‘Untitled’ makes for a glorious finish. While their recorded output may not be quite as essential as it once was, they once again prove that on stage, they are still a force to be reckoned with. Cathal McBride
Main: Interpol frontman Paul Banks: coolest man alive? Probably. Above: HEALTH drummer BJ Miller Photos: Isabel Thomas
Girl Band w/ Robocobra Quartet
Main: Girl Band tearing up Belfast’s Bar Sub. Right: Robocora Quartet’s frontman at the back, Chris Ryan. Photos: Dee McEvoy
vant-jazz-hiphop – with all the daring of DC’s finest hardcore – led Robocobra Quartet open a night of two peerless Irish acts. Their mesmerising grasp of meter, a warm and curious sax pairing, along with drummer and vocalist Chris Ryan’s cult-like, hallucinogenic Gene-Wilder-on-Dahl’s-RiverStyx ramblings is undeniably effective on this excellent showing. We last caught up with Girl Band at Electric Picnic, where they played a nigh-onapocalyptic set and tonight feels, like many of their recent shows, one of those
“you had to be there” nights. Indeed, frontman Dara Kiely has a mercurial presence unmatched by anyone on Irish stages right now – bar none, to TTA’s knowledge perpetually in an anguished tantrum, never breaking character and slurring even his greetings.
BAR SUB, BELFAST
and canvas, they’re creating something vital that people need to see during this, their most exponential period of development, because if – and when – they reach levels beyond this, given its genericity, Girl Band could be one of the most poetically ironic monikers of our time. Stevie Lennox
In the not-too-distant future, they could be the band that anyone who’s anyone in a band will claim to have been one of the attendees before they broke – we’re talking the Factory in 1979. By disregarding the conventions of role of the instrument and instead treating a fretboard and pedals as a noise-palette
March March 2015 2015
Adrian Crowley I n the first of a new monthly series, Musicians on Film, David Turpin talks to Galway indierock/folk singer-songwriter Adrian Crowley about the influence and imprint of cinema on his work.
Your music often has a very evocative sense of place and narrative. Has cinema played a role in shaping the imaginative world of your work. Which films and filmmakers have been most influential on your music? I suppose I’ve always had a visual sensibility when it comes to making music. [Songs] are not something I qualify with notes and words alone. Also, I’ve been hooked on films for many years, and I’ve been affected – and I assume influenced – by many of them.
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Years ago, just before I started taking music making seriously, I shared a house with a couple of friends. One of the guys worked as an usher in the old Lighthouse Cinema and sometimes he’d let me in to a matinée, when it wasn’t busy. That’s where I first saw films by Jim Jarmusch, Hal Hartley, Krzystof Kieslowski. I was really taken by Atom Egoyan, Jane Campion, Wim Wenders – Wings Of Desire was a big deal for me – and then Roman Polanski, John Cassavetes, Peter Greenaway, Harmony Korine... there were so many I could go on all day, but those come to my mind when I think back to when I was yet to start recording. They’ve all taken a hold on me. I really like your video for ‘Season of the Sparks’ – the solitary
Photo: Mark Earley
– Musicians On Film
Musicians On Film Adrian Crowley
Musicians On Film Adrian Crowley
pilgrimage and the landscapes put me in mind of a (very compact) Andrei Tarkovsky film.
some of the images fitted the atmosphere of the song. I’m always looking, though, and I love recommendations. I stumbled across Guy I like that video very much. Madden’s The Saddest Music It was made by a couple of in the World recently, and talented chaps who work under wondered how it had eluded the name ‘Souljacker’ (Sean me for a decade. Smith and Brian O’Brien). I loved the idea of a lone figure A number of your music carrying a wooden box through videos (like ‘The Saddest the changing landscape. The Song’ and ‘The Wishing shoot took two days with 4am Seat’) also play with starts, not including one alloverlaid and “aged” nighter that involved Brian imagery. Now that celluloid camping by the Sugarloaf to catch a long exposure of the night sky. We were trying to achieve a subtle science fiction undercurrent without using anything obvious. Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky is one of my favourite films ever, as it happens. omething about his work gives the sense that the landscape around film is largely giving us is a living thing that way to digital stock that has a soul, a conscience, a doesn’t age in the same memory. Every single shot is way, are you sorry to see perfectly composed and has a these organic effects devastating beauty. disappearing? I have a big collection of Your piece for ‘Juliet I’m in analogue cameras including Flames’ uses excerpts from a few Super 8 cine-cameras, Night Tide (1961), a so-called one of which – a Bauer from “B-movie” by the underrated the late 70s/early 80s – is filmmaker Curtis Harrington. a real beauty. Over the last Do you have a particular few albums I’ve made, I’ve interest in that kind of drawn loosely on the images hidden treasure? I’ve gathered with these I discovered that film by cameras. I’ve always loved chance on a royalty-free site. I the unpredictable nature of thought it was uncanny how processing film, and using old
film stock and light damaged film creates the chance of unique flares and artefacts gracing the image. There’s something to be valued in having background in uniquely analogue era. You had to be mindful about not wasting film, so you weren’t throwaway about making pictures. I hate the idea of losing creative discipline and concentration because of the ease of making quotidian documents, but I think you
“While I can’t help but lament the decline of the analogue medium, I’m also excited about new technology.”
keep that sense of the value [of making pictures], if you truly cared in the first place. While I can’t help but lament the decline of the analogue medium, I’m also excited about new technology. The video for ‘The Wishing Seat’ was done purely with the use of film, but ‘The Saddest Song’ was shot entirely with an iPhone in my attic and in a zoo in northern Spain. Adrian Crowley’s new album Some Blue Morning is out now on Chemikal Underground
March March 2015 2015
www.mandelahall.com plus special guests
BEST NEWCOMER 2014
THURSDAY 12 MARCH MANDELA HALL Doors 8pm. Tickets £13 /thisisella
A LIVE NATION, SJM, KILIMANJARO AND DF CONCERTS PRESENTATION, IN ASSOCIATION WITH CODA
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The Record R.S.A.G.
Kilkenny multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Hickey AKA R.S.A.G documents the recording of his forthcoming third studio album, Nocturnes.
his has been the most pleasurable recording process since I recording my first EP. The working title of Nocturnes is inspired by the various different moods which are conveyed on the album. I thought I had finished the album a few months ago but I’ve continued to write and record searching for this sound that is somewhere between organic, electronic, soundtrack and groove-based songs.
I’m very interested in spacious bass driven
We tried a few unusual techniques in the studio, including using a mic, a condom and a bucket of water for an interesting drum effect. I also tried some Brian Eno-esque blind recording techniques. They didn’t really work though -it just sounded messy. Some random bits of percussion did sound good though, when I reversed it and chopped bits off until it formed a decent rhythm. I actually like doing this with more ambient sounding tracks. There is no release date for the album as yet but watch out for the space between the spaces - much more to follow soon. Jeremy Hickey
Photo: Tara Thomas
I’ve mainly been working from my home studio. Unlike my previous albums I’ve been recording early in the mornings. This has had
a clearer and more focused approached to my quality control. I put down a few ideas in the morning and whatever pieces, if any, that would stick in my head later that night I’d keep and begin to flesh out. I record most of the instruments in my studio apart the drums. A lot of these were recorded in Sun Studios in Dublin under supervision of my co-producer James Darkin. It’s a great drum room and James is very creative with his ideas for maximising a performance along with interesting micing techniques.
– The Record
The Record: R.S.A.G.
grooves. Electronic wise I find what Jamie xx, FKA Twigs, Jon Hopkins, John Talabot and SBTRKT are doing is quite interesting. Mix this with the drum sounds of Can, early Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Tame Impala and you’ll have an idea of where I’m at. I’m most inspired by movies and get a lot of the mood ideas this way. For example Jon Brion’s track ‘Phone Call’ in Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Min’. It’s just over one minute long and yet expresses so much. Fantastic scene.
Not Gospel Let Galway Shake
There’s actual genuine excitement about these actual forthcoming things. None of the aforementioned acts are ‘big time’ enough - though they absolutely should be - to mean that feverish speculation leads to hacks, leaks and subsequent rushed release dates that make several people in certain offices slightly annoyed. There will be launch nights, and on those nights, there will be a physical copy of the album, a thing which you have, up until that moment, not heard at all (the exception here of course is if you happen to be a mate of theirs, in which case they will have played it to you while both of you were sloshed in their living room).
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This is all noteworthy because speculation and anticipation have gone the way of the CD-r. The idea that you would await and eventually behold a new album has been utterly undermined by the seemingly arbitrary and oppressively constant slew of advance streams and surprise uploads. Albums now simply appear, unannounced. The first ten seconds of the first three songs are given apparent consideration, before the compulsion to return to S02E05 of whatever it is becomes too much. Musicians: should you really value a song, don’t make it track four. Things have swung wildly in the other direction, as they tend to. PJ Harvey has dispensed with any sort of wait entirely, and you can now pay to watch her retune an autoharp before the third take. It is only a matter of time and bandwidth before we, the paying public, start lining up outside band practices, watching The Libertines iron out the kinks. Or indeed, The Kinks. With this in mind, I’m now charging €15 an hour to come by my house and watch me think of riffs. There’s no guarantee I’ll actually pick up a guitar or anything. But just imagine the anticipation. Brian Kelly
Illustration: Mike Dwyer - www.factoryedgedesign.com
– Not Gospel
here is excitement in the air in Galway City. There are musical releases on the way. Three local acts of note, namely bog-punk pioneers Rural Savage, Alex Chilton-worshippers Oh Boland and pop dramatists Dott, all have albums or split albums coming out in the next few months. At this moment, they exist solely on hard drives, in Dropbox folders, and quite possibly on CD-rs, though no-one could possibly justify why that would be the case at this point in history.
88mph The Noise Made By People
Broadcast The Noise Made By People
hen they first surfaced in the mid 90s, their sound met a glut of hapless comparisons, but in truth no one else was making music like Broadcast. Only those familiar with 60s West coast psyche-pop curiosities The United States of America had heard anything quite like this. Less kooky than Pram and more spooky than Stereolab, they laid on the cinematic vibe thicker than Portishead. Devotion to their sonic ideals developed into a legendary perfectionism. Early sessions for the album were abandoned, they built their own studio, and before you could say “The Velvet John Barry and Nico” years had
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passed and the 21st century was looming. Thankfully the noise made by Broadcast was worth waiting to hear.
nonchalantly provide RZA with a hotbed of samples, should he choose to return to his signature sound.
Their high standards are evident. Without ever becoming bland or overpolished there is nothing that sounds out of place here. It is impossible to think of an instrument or tone, or even a note that would be better served with another. Critically though the beautifully restrained layers of sound are allied with equally considered songwriting. Always a more interesting chord change than you were expecting.
Trish Keenan’s often icy delivery belies her pastoral lyrics. Like a sequence of haikus she reflects on human experience in the greater context of nature. With simple language and measured economy, the words disseminate everyday life and emotions via melodies you have already learned from dreams. The vocal carries itself so assuredly some tasteful piano chords and a few sound effects were enough to make it a single. The confidence is reflected by Keenan’s willingness to interpret Tennyson.
True, much of it might be lovingly rehashed, but the miscellany of inspirations, when filtered with such skill, produce an unusual and beguiling brew. Analogue synths, strings, heavily treated guitars, wonderfully sympathetic drums and more contribute to a sophisticated retro-future soundtrack. When they choose to stretch out on an instrumental they
After three more albums Trish tragically died from pneumonia in 2011. However, it didn’t take that sad event to reveal the haunting beauty of Broadcast. It was apparent from the first notes of their debut single and lives on in all their music. Jonathan Wallace
Agony Uncle St. Patrick’s Day
Agony Uncle Agonising? Le Galaxie mainman Michael Pope is here to help.
s Day On...St. Patrick’
This hit, that ice cold, Michelle Pfeiffer, that white gold, this one for them hood girls, them good girls, straight masterpieces, stylin’, while in, livin’ it up in the city, got Chucks on with Saint Laurent, got kiss myself I’m so pretty. Oh. Actually, those are just the lyrics to ‘Uptown Funk’. Well, I’ve written them out now so it’s a hassle to go back. Right, St. Patrick’s Day...
Illustration: Loreana Rushe
What is your earliest memory of St. Patrick’s Day? Barry, Dublin When my teacher Mrs. Lang told us that Saint Patrick was a 5th-century RomanoBritish Christian missionary and bishop who drove all the penises out of Ireland. What with Guinness and novelty leprechaun hats, the commercialisation of St. Patrick’s Day is undeniably shite. Are you a fan of the day itself?
Niall, Kerry It is literally the most execrable and abhorrent day of the Irish calender year. It turns men into droogs and women into barmy banshees. But Mikey Graham waved at me from the parade once, that was pretty sweet. RIP Mikey. St. Patrick was, of course, a Welshman. What other Welsh people do you think should be hailed as Irish saints and why? Laura, Cork Well, Tom Jones has made love to half the men and women on this island already, so I guess we should make it official before he becomes pure energy in 2019. Have you ever been to Belfast on St. Patrick’s Day? It’s like they’re trying to pretend they’re Irish too much, you know? (And yes, I’m sorry about the misuse of Star Trek terminology in the December issue.) Brian, Dublin Brian, so glad to hear from you. I felt pretty bad about
our last encounter. I fear I may have been too rough on you. It’s not your fault that you’re a complete jerk. Oh, and I don’t believe in Belfast. St Patrick’s Day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. If you go re-write the history books, how would it have panned out? Louise, Belfast St. Patrick would have brought abortions to Ireland. How do you plan to celebrate St. Patricks Day this year? Patrick, Laois I’ll be far, far away in Texas with Le Galaxie. I’ll be doing my bit for the Irish diaspora, though, and filling my cowboy boots with sick. Do you break or continue Lent on St. Patricks Day? Shannon, Belfast What’s Lent? Is it one of those dating apps? Because I’m looking for a new once since I got banned from Tinder for ‘excessive use of swag’.
NEXT MONTH’S SUBJECT IS...BONO. SEND YOUR QUESTIONS TO ASKMICHAEL@THETHINAIR.NET