Saturday, 31 December 2016

Video: THUMPER - Lonesome Freak!

THUMPER Lonesome Freak

THUMPER - Lonesome Freak

Info: Dublin noise-pop connoisseurs THUMPER have just released a new video for their track 'Lonesome Freak!' from their debut self-titled EP. Needless to say it's a raucous affair, featuring footage from some of the bands highlight live shows in 2016. Taking in performances from small to large venues covering Other Voices, Electric Picnic, KnockanStockan, Whelan's, The Workman's Club, Sin É & more, the five-piece display their ever-growing reputation as one of the capital city's must see live bands.

And if you happen to be in Dublin town tonight getting your jollies, what better place to go than to Whelan's on Wexford Street to see THUMPER in support of the equally fuzzed-out OTHERKIN!


Ticket info here:

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Friday, 30 December 2016

Remy's Music & Film's Best Irish Albums of 2016

Irish Album of the Year 2016

Info: Our 2016 Irish Album's of the Year reflect a pretty broad range of musical genres, and artists fully at the top of their game. Without doubt this is a great thing, I love becoming acquainted with styles and genres I'm unfamiliar with, and feeling instantly gratified by their sound. All of the above albums brought me great pleasure during the year, and I have nothing but gratitude to each artist and band for creating such great pieces of art. Thank you. 

Remy's Music and Film's Irish Album of 2016 awaits at the very bottom ;) And as in previous years, bar our Album of the Year, there is no particular order.

A Spotify Playlist of all 10 acts is also available at the bottom of this post.

10) Robocobra Quartet - Music For All Occasions

Robocobra Quartet Music For All Ocassions

The first of two albums in this list which have not yet been reviewed, but have had their tracks featured during the year, but lot's of listens have been had and now is as good a time as any to share my thoughts I suppose. Opening with the thundering 'Correct' (above video), Belfast's Robocobra Quartet, with Chris Ryan at it's helm, have been one of the more adventurous and experimental acts to emerge over the past few years. Their live shows are astonishingly good (check out their YouTube channel for a flavour flav), and their sound unique, second track 'You'll Shrug' hosts their trademark deliberately nonchalant opening and build-up that leads to a screeching clash of sounds. 

On Music for All Occasions however, they don't dwell on what we thought we knew.  The driving intensity of 'Find X' and 'Dirge For Self' are surrounded by the calmer ponderings of spoken-word focused 'Problem Solver' and 'Straight Lines', the latter of which floats in a 70's sci-fi capsule, lost, in space. There's poignant observance of life itself on 'Our Very Own Version of November Rain', and closer 'Album of the Year', a beautiful crossover of instrumental Beck meets Mercury Rev as it reaches it's end. This is music for the thinking man, the thinking man who is a bit confused, and quite crazy, and it's a lovely experience to absorb.


IMLÉ - 'Críochfort'

'IMLÉ is a word that describes the mystical effects of the hours between 2 – 6am on the human spirit and the unexpected, devilish and transformative effect they can have on the people who come alive at these times.' The multi-genre Dublin group Imlé released their debut self-titled album just last month. It's a see-saw of a trip from start to finish, effortlessly mixing the abrasive with the humorous with the beautiful. From the pounding opening of 'Críochfort' and MC Muipéad's rhyming, the indie rock funk leanings of 'Buail Aríst Mé', to the heart-wrenching call of Fergal Moloney's ancient voice, that is, in sound, not age! on 'Go Deo Go Deo', and again on the warm and moving 'Síos an Bóthar', which renders language irrelevant as far as the feeling the music relates is concerned.

Heavier moods are found on the likes of 'Lár na hOíche', which precedes the old school hip-hop sounds, circa. Ill Communication, on 'Fún Orm', in describing the sounds and tracks it may appear unworkable, but when listening to the album in it's entirety, Imlé circumvent coming across as disjointed. This is done by maintaining a loose but structured framework around the album's 9 tracks, where each instrumental and vocal never strays too far from their core sound. By keeping a small piece of each song noticeably familiar they have allowed themselves great room to try multiple styles, adjusting tempo and switching between three vocalists as required. An album made by fans of multiple musical genres, for fans of multiple musical genres, and people who like to have fun, beir bua!

8) Games Violet - Tragic Milkshake

Games Violet Tragic Milkshake

Games Violet - 17th Century

"Tragic Milkshake is a thoroughly enjoyable contemporary electronic journey courtesy of Games Violet, a feeling that is instantly tangible with the album's opening title-track. It's the kind of sound you'd imagine a young Gary Numan creating if he were in his early twenties in 2016, with the track doubling up as a wry look at the banality and acceptance of modern consumerism through the metaphorical medium of the much maligned (and rightly so!) continental breakfast. And in one track, Games Violet have set out their stall for the remainder of the album thematically."

7) James Darkin - Go No Matter What

James Darkin Go No Matter What

James Darkin - Chase

"The overall feeling you are left with by the end of Go No Matter What is that Darkin had a clear plan, as with every creative endeavour, tweaks and surprises appear along the way, but the album has been patiently and carefully constructed, and that effort has paid off here on what is a fine example of contemporary Irish electronic music."

6) Eordeslajyr - HÄXAN

Eordeslajyr Haxan


"Like the intro theme to an apocalyptic film, 'Vigil' begins like a raging thunder, Thor's hammer pounds your senses, and the electronic sounds, in particular the manic beat and yet again, industrial percussion, are so well executed, it almost turns into some kind of anarchic mid-90's electronic dance explosion, with the mushroom cloud expanding and reversing frantically. Although it's theme has been touched on before now, the burning of the witches comes on final track 'Lead Me To The Steak', a subtle crackling wood sound effect flutters in the background, the sharpening of a blade, the hammering of a wooden steak into the Earth. Static overload reflects the burning, the pain, the agony and the injustice, but fittingly this makes way for a euphoric rising, the wronged individual has been set free, they've burned in the fires of Hell, but it was overground."

5) This Side Up - Full Fat

This Side Up Full Fat

This Side Up - Full Fat

"For someone who is admittedly by no stretch of the imagination an expert on hip-hop music, I managed to find plenty on Full Fat that felt familiar in relation to the many albums and sounds I have subconsciously built up over the years since I was a teen. It's hard not to think that this could be one of those albums that creates and stores memories long after it's release, this labour of love has certainly borne fruit for This Side Up and us music fans."

4) Johnny Fox - Cais

Johnny Fox Cais

Johnny Fox - Bonita Serena

by Noël Duplaa 

"Throughout, the songs are woven together with the connecting thread of field recordings from their time in Brazil, from drunken parties to chirping birds, giving the album a feeling of real intimacy, binding the tracks together, creating a palpable sense of time and place throughout the work. Listen to how single 'Bonita Serena' takes its time creating a hazy, reverb soaked mood, before finally cresting on a wave of drums and harmonies. Or the slow, approaching thunderstorm of album closer 'O Que Nunca Quis', as it swells and menaces, never breaking. The grunge logic of some of the melodies, like 'Essa Dor' and 'Exposta' makes it feel like, with a different aesthetic, some of these songs could have been loud stompers - the thing is, they manage to retain the tension of that form of songwriting, but instead of explosions of noise, deliver a sultry simmer and throb, their odd angles internalised and restrained. So instead of just being an expression of confused anger in a rock song, they become the giddy, buzzing hum of infatuation fizzing just below the surface." 

3) Plutonic Dust - Grand Delusions

Plutonic Dust Grand Delusions

Plutonic Dust - Kill for Gold

"'Rain Talk' ushers in that 90's vibe I mentioned, it's whirling through house and rave, and it's gorgeously nostalgic, but it's also pertinently modern, the funky guitar riff has an acid-jazz strain running through it, á la St.Germain, the whole package is near-perfection here and once again Moran's vocals soar to ecstatic heights. 'Kill For Gold' kills it, I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said this was one of the most appealing modern electronic tracks I've heard based on my tastes from early 80's synthpop....The keys are haunting and when the guitar comes in at 1:53 we're catapulted into full disco-funk mode, an amazingly fresh blend of styles."

2) BANTUM - Move

BANTUM feat. Loah - Take It

"Where Legion saw BANTUM's first landing, a full embracing of his musical intuition spread across a longer album, Move casts not one, but multiple nets away from that centre. There's no doubt that more people will be drawn to the album as a result, little doorways open up all across it's seven tracks for music fans of many styles and genres, but with his talent to be heard touching everything. Ruairí Lynch is probably the most competent and adventurous electronic artist in Ireland right now, and Move is easily an album of the year for 2016."

**Note to all music fans: This album's title track, dayum.

Remy's Album of the Year 2016 - August Wells - Madness Is The Mercy

August Wells Madness Is The Mercy

August Wells - She Was A Question

Noël and I simultaneously fell in love with August Wells' Madness Is The Mercy, from the scattered singles that the duo released throughout the year until finally we could feast our ears on a whole LP in September. It was a beautiful and warm path that lead us there, and I'm still falling head over heels for it, from my favourite 'She Was A Question' whose chorus has replaced Elvis' 'Heartbreak Hotel' as the song I like to holler out in the shower, to the slick coolness of 'A Little Too Real'. Beautiful sounds, lyrics, wry wit and incredible music courtesy of former Rollerskate Skinny frontman Ken Griffin and New York pianist John Rauchenberger made this our undoubted album of the year, something we knew straight away in September, below is Noël's review (and below that our Spotify Playlist!), and I couldn't have summed up Madness Is The Mercy better myself.

August Wells - A Little Too Real

- Review by Noël Duplaa

"The collaboration between ex-Rollerskate Skinny frontman, Ken Griffin, and New York pianist, John Rauchenberger, August Wells release their sophomore album Madness is the Mercy on Sept 9th through Cork’s FIFA records.  Following on from their brilliant singles ‘She Was a Question’ and ‘This Man Cries’ (both reviewed glowingly on these hallowed pages), the album expands on their established aesthetic and themes in surprising and rewarding ways.

"Here in the wild, under blue skies, time doesn’t try to pass me by."

From the very first song Griffen sets out his stall, sketching lost, sad and untethered characters whose ability to counterpunch horror with wry humour, keeps them ticking over, but just about. Look how quickly he draws you in and fleshes out the very first character: "Lucy was sad, sad to the core.  She said, ‘let’s jump out that window, sweetheart on the count of four.  Well, don’t you find it all such a bore? People like us don’t exist anymore - we’re invisible now. Sweetheart, we’re free.'"

We've previously, (and somewhat ecstatically) reviewed the album's singles 'This Man Cries' and 'She Was a Question', and they served their purpose with aplomb, highlighting the oak-barrel baritone of Ken Griffen, the subtle but luxurious arrangements, and the deft, deliberate lyricism employed to hilarious and devastating effect in equal measure. However, the album pulls off the difficult trick of maintaining a strict aesthetic while never becoming dull or predictable.  

Album highlight, 'Come On In Out of That Night' is the kind of gospel and blues tinged singalong, that Leonard Cohen mastered in songs like 'Closing Time' - soaked in booze and regret, but still full of love and fight.  Granted, the album’s gears only really move from stately to jaunty, but simple elements of colour - the electric guitar in 'Daddy', the saxophone in 'A Little Too Real'- give the album a sense of depth and variation. By the time you get to the genuinely heartfelt plea of 'Have a Good Night Everyone', you really feel like you’ve been drawn into this rogue’s gallery, and like those great character driven movies of the 70’s, you may feel the urge to jump right back in and hang out with them all over again. We would advise you to follow that urge.

The combination of Griffen’s potent, expressive baritone and the stately, controlled presentation instantly brings to mind comparisons like Leonard Cohen, Scott Walker and Johnny Cash, along with more recent deep voiced luminaries such as Nick Cave, Matt Berninger and John Grant. The thing is, when songs are as stark and stripped back as these, there’s nowhere to hide shoddy lyrics or weak melodies, so it’s a shocking and heartening fact that with 'Madness is the Mercy', August Wells show that they have the chops, heart and vicious wit to stand proudly in that esteemed company."

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Remy's Live Music Photo Diary of 2016, Part 2

Rocstrong Hard Working Class Heroes Remy Connolly 1

Info: In Part 2 of our 2016 live review (Part 1 is here!) we recommence where the year began, at Whelan's Ones To Watch, in some ways the second half of the year became more obtuse in terms of gigs I attended, in a very good way, these ones are often the most memorable events. Yet the highlights were many, Ash in Abner Brown's Barbershop, and The Olympia, Canalaphonic, two back to back Gigonometry sessions in The Workman's Club, David Keenan at The Grand Social and Hard Working Class Heroes all spring to mind, it was jam-packed and hectic, in all the right ways.


Whelan's Ones To Watch, Summer Watch @ Whelan's

 Never go full 'Dutch Gold'

 Young Earth


 Brass Phantoms

 One of my favourite live photos of 2016, Kevyn's drummer, Jack Callan


 Hot Cops

 Hot Cops

 The Clockworks

Oh Joy

Ash @ Abner Brown's Barbershop

No year of live music is complete without as many visits to Abner Brown's Barbershop as possible, and whilst the highlights are always of up and coming acts, main man David Judge pulls in the big names too during the year. None were so big as Downpatrick's iconic indie-rock trio Ash who arrived with tour bus and a monstrous amount of gear, which even made our consumate host slightly nervous! I was a massive, massive fan of Ash as a teenager and 1977 was the first album I ever bought on CD. To see them live in such an intimate setting was incredibly exciting, I was on secondary camera duties on the night, which pretty much meant making sure the recording light was still on. 

Arriving early, I had a surreal and awkward moment, expecting to see both Ray and Dave in the barbershop, I casually strolled in the door, only for neither of them to be seen anywhere, three heads looked up from their phones and there was Tim Wheeler, Rick McMurray and Mark Hamilton, Tim said 'How's it goin'?', I replied; 'Grand yeah thanks!', and walked straight back out onto the street to get a coffee, cool as a cucumber?

On my return about 20 minutes later familiar faces were there and we got ready for what was to be a very, very special night, they played a great set with all the hits and a superb time was had by all! Another major highlight of 2016.


ROCSTRONG @ The Grand Social, SOWYG EP Launch


David Keenan @ The Grand Social

Myself and Ray arrived at The Grand Social to interview 90's star, Finley Quaye, whose debut album, Maverick A Strike, sold over 1 million copies, but the star of the night for me was Dundalk singer-songwriter David Keenan, a young gentleman bursting at the seams with talent. David blew me away, and I was forewarned pre-show that this would happen, and it did, he was immense. For me he's up there with Ireland's best song-writers of the last 50 years, so remember that name, that's not a statement I take lightly whatsoever.

"David has it all, voice, guitar playing, lyrics, hes a master of all three, growing like a wildflower, sublime" - Damien Dempsey

David Keenan Remy Connolly

Photo: Ray Kennerney

The Sound Feed get ready to move into JaJa Studios, 10th September

The Sound Feed JaJa Studios

After a long stretch of being homeless and having to do our interviews off-site, The Sound Feed are finally ready to recommence interviews and performances at our new studio in Stoneybatter, at JaJa Studios. My endlessly patient better half Anna comes out to help me and Ray put the finishing touches to the place as we do a bit of painting and general DIY. It would be remiss of me to not acknowledge Anna's support in everything I've done on the blog, including multiple nights at gigs, show and tell sessions, and calling on her encyclopedic knowledge of music from the 60's to the modern day when required! Thank you dear!

Canalaphonic, 2016

Next up we had our second live show of 2016 as The Sound Feed as part of the Canalaphonic Festival in Portobello and Rathmines at The Barge Pub, but before that, we had one of the acts from our roster in for the very first interview and performance in our new studio, Dublin funk-pop maestro TADGH. It was a dream start, and not only did TADGH get us going with a bang, he also completely stole the show on our stage at Canalaphonic, a must see live act.

TADGH The Sound Feed

Photo: Ray Kennerney

Sydney's All Our Exes Live In Texas come to the Thirty Four Café, Dublin 8

My good mate Mick Radojkovic, radio DJ, musician and music blogger from Sydney, sent me a Facebook invite to a gig down the road from me all the way from the Southern Hemisphere. Knowing Mick's great taste in music, and yes, it was a 20 minute walk from my home, but that was irrelevant! I went down to the 34 to check out indie-folk band All Our Exes Live In Texas, who are hugely popular in their home country, in a wee café in Dublin 8. Nights like this are what makes live music magical and special, and when the four-piece played a cover of Tame Impala's 'Eventually', I was in extra heaven.

Gigonometry @ The Workman's Club - Rosa Nutty & Drown


Ríona Sally Hartman @ Arthur's Pub, Thomas Street

This was a long overdue trip to one of my local music venues, and a first time visit at that, Arthur's has been slowly building it's reputation as one of the south inner cities go to places for quality live music, and I will be visiting more in 2017. Here I caught the multi-faceted and genre-spanning Ríona Sally-Hartman, in jazz chanteuse mode!

Hard Working Class Heroes @ Dublin city centre environs

HWCH was special, run like clockwork and with an overall roster that was pretty mind-blowing, I really, really enjoyed all three nights I attended, criss-crossing over Liffey bridges and checking timetables frantically in order to maximise the good times, I was overall happy with my endeavours by festival end. 

Petty Youth

 Handsome Eric

  Video Blue


Ella Naseeb 



Bitch Falcon

Pranks & Chinese Newspaper @ Whelan's

Info: Well holy moly, thrash can, beat the band, hit it hard rock music, both support act Chinese Newspaper and Pranks produced a rock lovers dream come true. After scooting my way up from the very end of HWCH's on the Saturday night, pretty exhausted after three nights on the bounce, I really wanted to see Dublin duo Pranks. I was pretty much dead on my feet to be honest, and fit for bed, but both support and main act reinvigorated me instantly, they were both superb, and I'm dying to see them both again in 2017.

Chinese Newspaper

Chinese Newspaper

Chinese Newspaper





Gigonometry @ The Workman's Club - Maria Kelly, Flecks, Dreaming of Jupiter & Buffalo Sunn

That Flecks cover of Talking Heads' 'This Must Be The Place' though....

Flecks - This Must Be The Place

Kevin Nolan @ The Sound Feed

Myself and Kevin have developed quite the bond through music over the past few years, we had done a variety of very different interviews by email on the blog, and I had long wanted to interview Kevin in person, but this was held up for quite sometime in between moving studios. At long last in mid-October we got to have that chat in person and as always, his views and ideas fascinated me, his performance for us was also one of the highlights in the studio of 2016 personally. The below photo was taken by Ray and I think he captured the moment perfectly well!

Kevin Nolan Musician The Sound Feed


Orchid Collective @ The Sound Feed

And another memorable moment in The Sound Feed studio! Dublin and Derry four-piece Orchid Collective dropped into us, having just released their stunning debut EP, Courage, one of the best independent Irish releases of 2016. I had a great chat with the lads and a lot of fun, they also provided one of the exceptional studio performances of the year as well (below).

Ash @ The Olympia

One of my best mates from when I was a wee lad Kevin Healy texted me to ask did I want to head along and see Ash at The Olympia in November back in September and I was like, hell yeah! Kev and I had been massive fans of 1977 when we were in secondary school, got quite the slagging over it too from all the moody Manics and Smiths fans, but we didn't give a fiddlers. Having seen them in Abner's only a few months previously, the prospect of the full 1977 shebang at The Olympia was an exciting one, and on top of the album, they played all of the hits on the encore, 'A Life Less Ordinary', 'Burn Baby Burn', 'Jack Names The Planets', 'Uncle Pat', and of course a cover of John Williams' Star Wars classic, 'The Cantina Band', the lot, fanboy heaven. Strangely, this was the only big venue live show I went to in 2016.

Scoops @ The Grand Social

After major league bantz in the studio, a few nights later I went to see Scoops at The Grand Social, and it was a helluva night. One of the finest purveyors of live music right now, they did not disappoint in the slightest. Goal for 2017, interview Scoops in a pub and call it 'Scoops with Scoops', I'll get my coat.

This Side Up @ The Grand Social

Irish hip-hop music is on the rise, rise, rise, and an integral act in this movement are Sligo trio This Side Up, as well as their support on the night, 5th Element, who will be up to exciting stuff in early 2017, watch this space. I was very grateful to attend TSU's preview album launch at the Tivoli Backstge on Francis Street in Dublin 8 a few months earlier, and the big party at The Grand Social was just as special, it was time to #getrowdy.

Photo: Gavin FitzGerald


Montauk Hotel, Hvmminbyrd & Noel O'Brien @ The Tivoli Backstage

October and November felt like the most hectic months of the year for me, so many highlights to bring the curtain down on 2016, but there were still two great nights of live music left in my tank. The first of those two nights saw me take in 5 bands in one night, the three above at the Tivoli Backstage, followed by the Midnight Hour in Whelan's, if you can learn how to move fast between two venues, you're going to squeeze a lot of good music in! 

....and then to Whelan's for Junk Drawer and Galants. I had a great time hanging out with my good friend Dave Conway who runs the monthly Gigonometry sessions in The Workman's Club whilst enjoying some of the finest music Belfast and Dublin has to offer!

Heroes in Hiding, Third Smoke & Flecks @ Opium

My second time seeing Heroes in Hiding and Third Smoke on the same stage, in the venue, in a short enough space of time. HIH have been a mainstay feature on the blog over the years, and a mutually supportive act in terms of what I'm at, all in all, like the Chinese, a great bunch of lads. Third Smoke are also rapidly becoming my 'most seen live act' by default, fate and or / chance, and every single time they blow me away, a wickedly good live proposition. 

On a personal note, I'd like to give a huge thank you to all of the bands that made 2016 such a special year. No matter what happens in their pursuit of honourably endeavouring to make a career out of their craft, they can rest assured that they have participated in the golden era of Irish music. Without sounding mushy, their music and live performances will now stand the test of time, a permanent imprint has been made. You can't buy immortality, but like it or loathe it, the digital age provides that. Someone will archive and unleash their special moments in the future, and even if they don't get to make a career out of their passion, their spirit will be recorded permanently. In the here and the now, I salute them and I'm very excited about 2017, thank you all.