Tuesday 30 January 2018

New Album Releases: February - Screaming Females, Caroline Rose, All The Luck In The World & more

Screaming Females - All At Once
Screaming Females - Photo: Farrah Skeiky

Info: REMY's monthly new album releases round-up returns for February, featuring singles already released from albums coming out over the next four weeks in the above playlist to give you a flava flav. After having a listen to roughly 30 singles from albums that are dropping in February the nine featured here appeal to me the most, and hopefully will to you too. For those that are interested there will also be new LP's from established acts such as MGMT, Franz Ferdinand, and Wild Beasts (which I believe will be their last).

As mentioned though, these bands and their albums excite me, New Jersey's Screaming Females' All At Once piqued with me a lot, and I ended up checking out all of their recent singles as a result. Alongside what promise to be strong debut's from Sweden's ionnalee and Montréal's FRIGS, we give a big shout out to Wicklow band All The Luck In The World, who are currently based in Berlin, and their sophomore album A Blind Arcade, a taster of which we have in single 'Landmark' and which will be reviewed here on the blog upon release.

There's also music from Brussels via Loma, Tallin, Estonia's Holy Motors and a big, big LIKE from me for Vermont's Caroline Rose, you need her music in your life, I loved her singles to date and can't wait to hear more.

February 2nd:

Field Music - Open Here

Rhye - Blood

February 9th: 

Holy Motors - Slow Sundown

February 16th:

ionnalee - Everyone Afraid to be Forgotten

Loma - Loma

February 23rd:

Caroline Rose - Loner

FRIGS - Basic Behaviour

Screaming Females - All At Once

All The Luck In The World - A Blind Arcade

Sunday 28 January 2018

Album: Andy Cooper - The Layered Effect

Andy Cooper - The Layered Effect

Info: 'The Layered Effect' by US rapper/producer Andy Cooper offers a punchy reminder of the creative fun to be had in digging for breaks, stringing up loops and layering up stratas of sound. Brimming full of delightful inflexions from the world of Jazz, Easy Listening, Film Soundtracks and Hollywood voices, it’s a perfectly stitched sound patchwork that pays loving hommage to the classic, funky days of early rap. A touching testimony to the joys of Hip Hop then and now.

More than just the skinny white dude who's into old school beats, Andy Cooper has won his stripes after a twenty year stint with Hip Hop trio Ugly Duckling. For Andy, rap is a noble form. He’s a wordsmith extraordinaire, snappy and audacious, tipping his hat "to all the microphoners who still bring that dedication and expertise to their craft".

Andy Cooper is one of the trio behind West Coast Hip-Hop and boom bap collective Ugly Duckling who formed in 1993 and released their debut LP in 2000. Now Cooper releases his sophomore solo album The Layered Effect and it's my favourite international album release of 2018 so far. Although hip-hop and rap have been a staple of my musical diet since I was 12 years old and hooked on The Beastie Boys' Check Your Head and Ill Communication as well as House of Pain, and later on Public Enemy and N.W.A., a strong yearning for the origins of rap surged after seeing 1983 documentary Style Wars and hearing its amazing soundtrack. 

That journey continues, and while rap artists from before the early 90's had a treasure trove of samples to dive into, with the Beastie Boys taking it to another level with everything from Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, James Brown to Billy Joel, copyright issues and legal cases drained the reservoir almost overnight. Since then sampling has become a fraught exercise to the point of almost non-existence. Cooper's The Layered Effect harks back to those golden days and does its best to circumnavigate those waters, and it is a joyous homage to the origins of the genre.

The album starts explosively with the incredibly punchy 'Here Comes Another One' (feat. Blabbermouf), the jazz bass, the beats, the scratches, the rapping, it's 1980 all over again and I'm in heaven, talk about a striking opening salvo. Whisked of to a disco-funk inferno the chaos continues on the high-tempo swings and loops of 'Get On That', Cooper may infuse his lyrics and vocals with a nice dose of humour but when it comes to sound he is deadly serious about crafting tightly knit tracks, and it can be exasperating in a good way.

We then come to 'The Perfect Definition', ear-sauce central, a satirical look at the stereotype of contemporary popular hip-hop which begs the question, "what should true rap music sound like?", I think Cooper deals with that query all across The Layered Effect. I'm not going to lie, I really enjoy 'Do The AndyPuppet', but whilst the chimes on the chorus feel infuriatingly irritating, I can't stop listening, the inventiveness of creating a rap song for kids works so well, and it's a trip into the strange to say the least.

Smooth as funk is 'Last Of A Dying Breed', a little bit of a Fun Lovin' Criminals Come Find Yourself vibe in the sound. Cooper takes a stab at the old school rappers who cock their eyes at modern music whom he refers to as the Last of the Mohicans and summarises with the lines; "Whining that they rude and they tryin' to diss, but dude they don't even really know you exist, it's not your time no more, hate say it you're a dinosaur, and even the great zealots who walked in grace, soon became relics locked in a case, you had your opportunity to testify, come on step aside, brother let it die...."

It doesn't get any more old school than 'Can't Be Satisfied', step into Cooper's time machine for a whirl into bone fide hip-hop beats and horns. It's stripped down, sometimes less is more if you want authenticity. 'B-Boy Blues' opens with a delta, well, blues intro, recalling the title of the Beastie Boys' 'B-Boy Boullaibaisse' from Paul's Boutique where they sampled Johnny Cash. It swaggers between hazy bursts of slick guitar progressions and pumping be-bop. 

Next track 'Sizzling Hot' is a beast of a song, a dance-floor filler with highly addictive hooks that launch you off into the space, a call to action by Cooper, it's time to party, and party hard like a boss. 'Rick Said So' is an entertaining and wry homage to the founder of Def Jam Records, Rick Rubin who produced iconic rap artists Run D.M.C., Public Enemy, LL Cool J and of course, The Beastie Boys, and you can certainly hear some of those acts shining through on the opening. 

The Layered Effect sees Andy Cooper get things off his chest with humour, pays tribute to the genre of rap music like a historical timeline, ideas you feel that swam around in his head for years and needed to be converted to music. It's a triumph in that sense, and a must hear album for both loose and dedicated fans of hip-hop and rap.

The Layered Effect is available via Rocafort Records website and on all major streaming platforms now.

Album: Robert John Ardiff - Between the Bed and Room

Robert John Ardiff - Between the Bed and Room

Info: The album was recorded in the boxroom of my house, the Cultural Centre Irlandais in Paris and in Little Gem recording studio with Andy Walsh. They were mixed by Ken McCabe (Come On Live Long, Loah, Fehdeh, Zaska). 

I wanted to create something that sounded like it was made by a human sitting in a room playing songs. I limited the recording process to 12 tracks per song and used all analog gear like the synths, the acoustic instruments and the tascam 12 track onto which everything was recorded. The results are lo-fi but I feel I have achieved what I set out to do. 

The songs are ones that I have carried in my pocket for a long time. Some of them are about growing up in a small Irish village, while others explore themes of love, betrayal and understanding. 

So Meath solo act Robert John Ardiff describes the process and goals he had when setting out to record his debut album Between the Bed and Room which was released this week. I'd listened to the album a few times before I read his description above, and the first thing that struck me from the very beginning and throughout the album was how bare it was, and this was a relief to me. Avoiding clutter and temptations in production seem to be a bit rare these days, and sometimes your mind just wants to hear something unclad. Of course the risk with this approach is that over 10 tracks this may become tedious, thankfully that is not the case here.

Opening with a Deep South gospel number in 'The Sun Don't Shine', Ardiff immediately disarms you and allows your shoulders to drop, it's the first hint of his vivid and descriptive lyrics which paint colour onto the musical canvas. Second track 'The Fall' has a slight Villagers feel circa their 2010 debut Becoming a Jackal, and it's a gorgeous moment which is executed perfectly, simultaneously haunting and comforting.

'Crawl Out of Your Hole' shows how the artist's subtle layering can bring an invigorating glow to proceedings, mainly delivered via the percussion tracking and static fuzz of the guitar as the build-up grows. Another slice of true beauty and lo-fi sauntering harmonies arise on 'Your Ghost', only four tracks in and we have range already. There's poetry in them there lyrics too, 'Summer (Carry The Coffin)' being possibly the most overt nod to Ardiff's experiences in his hometown village. Lines such as; "So carry the coffin or the corpse will walk, a secret's never sacred when the birdies talk, and the windows blink and the curtains shout, there's beauty in the words that come crawling from your mouth", encapsulating how everyone knows everyone's business, and that favoured past-time of gossiping. 

'Magpies and Crows' has a very interesting jazz-blues sound on it's intro, and here I'm reminded of a mixture of Richard Hawley's Late Night Final and a small sliver of Bon Iver. A firm favoured which was featured here last year is previous single 'Paint Your Nails', Robert John Ardiff at his most haunting and pained. At the time I referenced Sufjan Stevens' Carrie & Lowell, and I suppose the reason I'm mentioning all of these artists I'm hearing in my head is because I love them all, and their albums, and as a result it makes perfect sense to me that I'm enjoying Ardiff's sound so much. These aren't blatant comparisons or overly noticeable by any means.

Between the Bed and Room concludes with a sunshine moment via the delightfully endearing 'Yoga Pants', we don't feel like we're being shown a vision of a rural Irish getaway, the music makes it feel far more exotic and balmy than that. Hats off to Ardiff for this debut album, there isn't a bad song in there, there is no 'making up the numbers' just for the sake of pushing out an album, every song stands on its own and is highly enjoyable, and it was a journey I really felt a part of from start to finish.

Like / Listen & Follow:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Robert-John-Ardiff-1547857318858213/

Bandcamp: https://robertjohnardiff.bandcamp.com/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6EGnIjpNcG5bArBuOxcgJ7?si=olY6FR_gTSiIp7DHcCo6YQ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/robertjardiff

Saturday 27 January 2018

Review: Whelan's Ones To Watch 2018

EHCO - Sarah Ryan Photography
Jessica Lord of EHCO - Photo: Sarah Ryan Photography

Photos: Sarah Ryan & Remy Connolly

Info: With the dust settled on last weekend's Whelan's Ones To Watch it's time to reflect on another great start to the year courtesy of the annual showcase festival. It's sadly unavoidable but I didn't get to catch all of the acts I wanted to, even though I know this is going to happen in advance it still bugs me afterwards! I had run out of steam by the end of the 3rd night and missed a great line-up on the Sunday as a result which included Sub Motion, Tanjier and Young Earth. I also heard great things from others about Ailie and Susie Blue in particular on the last night. I had also intended to catch The Felonies upstairs on the Saturday and failed to do so, hearing great things about their set afterwards exacerbates the disappointment! Joined by my fellow gig enthusiast and incredible photographer Sarah Ryan (who I must thank profusely for the best of the snaps here and the photo edits also!) off we went into the iconic venue.

The first act I caught on the Thursday night was Eve Belle on the main stage, it's always good to kick off with an act I haven't seen live before and she didn't disappoint. A stunning and unique vocal performance was delivered by the alternative folk act and the heart was warmed. It was then straight upstairs for a band whose sound I have enjoyed so much over the last two years but had somehow not seen live before, Dublin's Silverbacks. Getting to hear their single 'Dirty Money' live was a proper treat for the ears.

Eve Belle - Sarah Ryan Photography
Photo: Sarah Ryan


Back down to the main stage and Galway romper stompers The Clockworks played all da hits and some new tunes too including forthcoming single 'Rumours In The Stockroom' which will be with us in the next couple of weeks. Aside from their infectious pop-rock sound you have to admire their tireless cross-country gigging dedication, with the group regularly playing live shows in Dublin as they broaden their fanbase. Another boomerang trip upstairs to see Derry anarchy-rockers The Wood Burning Savages, man alive they never disappoint, firebrand rock riffs and assertive performing are always the order of the day. 

The Clockworks

The Clockworks

The Wood Burning Savages

The Wood Burning Savages

I caught a quick song or two from the epic Little One on the main stage and couldn't go see anyone else until I'd heard one of my favourite Irish singles of 2017, 'The Habit', it was hard to leave but thankfully Sarah was on hand to capture the moment, as well as The Girl Talk who were on after whilst I hung out for a few acts upstairs. 

LITTLE ONE - Sarah Ryan
 Photo: Sarah Ryan

The Girl Talk - Sarah Ryan
Photo: Sarah Ryan

Proper Micro NV was the next port of call, and the electronic act gave a theatrical as ever performance with a fine set which was littered with tracks from his superb Colours EP as well as some new material. I told all y'all before the festival commenced to go see Girlfriend and I hope you heeded my advice! They put on another epic set and one of the most energising performances of the entire weekend, they really are a band that I could happily go see playing live every weekend and never get bored of it. Needless to say the joint was packed for them and there was a large contingent of musicians in the audience too which is always a positive. Looking forward to seeing them again very soon.

 Photo: Sarah Ryan

Photo: Sarah Ryan

Finally on the Thursday night we all gathered for a jammers main stage performance from former Enemies man Eoin Whitfield and band, aka EHCO. It was my second time seeing them in the space of six weeks after hitting up their headline show in The Bowery in early December and it was even better again on this occasion. It's quite tantalising at present with EHCO having released just two singles until now, understandably at this early stage, in the form of the hugely popular 'Raise It Up' and 'FIA'. These two tasters give a snapshot of the live magic, it's a full on escapist electronic sound why swims seamlessly from hypnotic to sharp industrial beats and euphoric finales. Can't wait to hear more, in the interim you should do yourself a favour and check him out live without delay.

EHCO - Remy

After a rather late end to the night on Thursday I was all set for the Friday, and first up was Dublin folk act Sarah O'Gorman upstairs whose debut EP last year, Concrete Rain, was a highlight for me, lovely mellow and soulful sounds to soothe a tired, well, soul. After I was down to see Molly Sterling on the main stage, 'Plain Static'? Yes please, delighted to have been able to catch another one of my favourite Irish single releases of 2017 live once again. 

Sarah O'Gorman

Molly Sterling

Molly Sterling Whelan's

Main stage highlights were brought courtesy of the immense funk-rock troupe MUNKY who gave it socks, we were invited to say hello to front man Zachary Stephenson's mother who was watching at home on Whelan's live Facebook stream, which we all duly obliged before he told us (and mother) that "this next song is about taking drugs". It was great to see another Dublin band and long-time favourite Oh Joy back in action, it had been a while since I saw them live, and their set was the best I've seen them, the new material sounding fresh as a daisy and a boisterous performance to boot, a debut album is in the pipeline from the trio also.


Oh Joy

Oh Joy

A quick scooch to the front-bar for indie-rockers Drivelight and then I pretty much spent the remainder of the night at the upstairs venue to catch great sets from LOWLI, Dowry (Éna Brennan), JyellowL all of whom justified being a hotly tipped act to keep an eye on in 2018, and a mercuriously dark (in every sense) performance from electronic troupe SYLK who I had wanted to see live for quite some time. 



Dowry Éna Brennan



Saturday, slight fatigue kicking in, inability to properly converse with others without scaring them, but very happy to be in Whelan's once again for another night of sterling acts. A big favourite of mine since the THUMPER man began doing his solo work is Joey Gavin who kicked things off at the Front Bar, again, a much needed tender and entertaining beginning. From that point it was two hours of manic running around, I'd been told Bad Hands who were on after Gavin were ones to check out but unfortunately couldn't make it on time. Main stage I caught Bray indie-rock four-piece No Tie Friday before hopping upstairs for Van Panther, this was the typical 'going in dark' to see an act, I knew none of their music, and I was really impressed. They had a breezy pop-rock sound that was wonky in all of the best ways, at times reminder me a bit of Weezer particularly courtesy of their excellent drummer. I think my old pal Stephen White who was with me enjoyed them quite a bit too.

Joey Gavin

Joey Gavin Whelan's

No Tie Friday

Van Panther

Van Panther

Wowie zowie there was some truly exciting acts playing the main stage on the Saturday night in the shape of BODIES and For Foresters. BODIES were a class apart, it was heaving for their set, to the point where it was difficult to get near the front of the stage. Front man David Anthony McGeown gave it all as did his band, it was mood-driven, ambient, dark and delightful. 

Before For Foresters another one of the highlights of the weekend for me occurred via the infallible punk noise of Dublin trio Alien She, again at the Front Bar. Space was a high premium, the word was obviously out that they were one of the ones to watch over the weekend. Their set was gloriously anarchic, chaotic and spirit-lifting, and drummer Jon Dots destroyed his kit, it ain't a festival unless you see at least one drum stick snapping in half and Dots was just the man to provide the moment towards the end of their set. 


Alien She

Alien She Whelan's

Alien She Whelan's Ones To Watch

Alien She

And so to the mighty experience that is a For Foresters live show, front man Gabriel Blake is a tour de force. Blake was impassioned, and angry, you can tell he is a song-writer who feels the bullshit of this country deep within his bones, but he doesn't deliver that anger in a preachy way, he's subtly comic about it to soften the delivery, whilst also making it powerful. Unfortunately during their quieter moments there was such a loud amount of chatter from the back of the main stage that it was off-putting, but I won't whinge about that right now. Ultimately For Foresters brought their A-game and once again justified their credentials as one of the finest live acts in the country, it was a see-saw of blistering energy, mournful story-telling and theatrical balladry, it was a beautiful beast.

For Foresters

For Foresters Whelan's

For Foresters Whelan's Ones To Watch

My 2018 Whelan's Ones To Watch literally came to a crashing end upstairs with Slow Riot, a short way into their set I tripped (sober!!) whilst crossing over to the other side of the stage, thankfully it was so packed only the people in the front row saw it! Dignity in tatters, but camera somehow unscathed, I took a few last snaps after regaining my composure and then felt it was time to call it a night! Slow Riot were a great end to a great weekend for me, no more festivals for a few months, but plenty of more live shows. A massive thank you to all the acts who entertained us and a big up to the staff at Whelan's who as always, make these events run so smoothly and are beyond obliging. Sometimes I wonder about how long this burgeoning Irish music scene bubble can last, I hate to think of it ending, but on the evidence of last weekend, it's nowhere near around the corner.

Slow Riot

Slow Riot

Gig Guide: SelfMade Dublin, Gigonometry & Hatchlings EP Launch

SelfMade Dublin
The inaugural SelfMade Exhibition takes place next week on Friday, 2nd February

SelfMade - Friday, 2nd February, Third Space, Smithfield, Dublin 7.

SelfMade is a platform to explore DIY music in Ireland through performance, discussion, and art, with a strong focus on inclusion in music. Our goal is to celebrate the work of DIY musicians and to create a supportive space to explore the realities of getting a music career off the ground.

Our first event in February 2018 will focus on the experiences of eight female fronted acts who are making waves in the music industry. Women are under-represented at all levels in music, and we want to use our first event as a platform to hear from women who have pushed beyond this barrier. We know their stories and experiences will be valuable to people of all genders. The evening will be an mix of artwork, acoustic performance, discussion and zines showcasing an intersection of music from Irish artists and celebrating the work behind the scenes. The event will feature pieces from contributing illustrators, as well as a panel discussion chaired by vocalist, Jess Kavanagh (BARQ).

Additional performers and panellists include Carol Keogh, Farah Elle, Mary Barnecutt, Hvmmingbyrd, Grainne Hunt, Sive, Zoe Gough and Romy.

The first SelfMade event is now sold out, however, a waiting-list has been arranged and you can contact the organisers for placement at selfmadedublin@gmail.com


Gigonometry Presents - The Felonies, Boom Child, The Elephant Room & Emma Langford - Thursday, 8th of February, The Workman's Club, Dublin

Our February line-up is a magnificent mix of styles; The Felonies bring their high energy show, fresh from their Whelans Ones to Watch set, to the Gigonometry stage, after a guaranteed high-octane performance from punk-poppers Boom Child. The Elephant Room make fine music, providing a perfect follow-on to the mesmeric Emma Langford, who will open up the show high on a superb 2017 that saw her receive critical accolades and numerous national airplays along the way. An act not to be missed.

Admission: €8/€5 (students/unwaged/undead)

Hatchlings EP Launch - Wednesday, February 14th - Whelan's

Maynooth band Hatchlings launch their debut EP, Montessori, on Valentine's Day Upstairs in Whelan's, which will be the band's final Irish gig before they depart for two months to the U.S..

Since coming together, Hatchlings have kept busy, performing in premier Irish venues such as Whelans and the Roisin Dubh, at several festivals including Electric Picnic and Vantastival, and performing internationally, headlining a Manchester festival and a sold out show in Saint Quentin, France. Hatchlings are now in the process of recording their debut EP, set to be released in 2017.

The birth of Hatchlings coincided with their founding of Common Grounds Collective, a group dedicated to promoting a creative lifestyle and giving artists of all mediums a platform to share their work. Their involvement in Common Grounds Collective has resulted in collaborations with creatives from around the world. Hatchlings are Jamie Bishop, Conor Cunningham, Peter Kelly, Eamon Travers, and Darragh Brannigan.​​​​​​​

Early-bird tickets are €5 or €7 on the door on the night, you can purchase tickets here.


Single: Kraków Loves Adana - Rapture

Kraków Loves Adana - Rapture
Photo: Ebba Ågren

Kraków Loves Adana - Rapture

Info: Taken off their forthcoming record​, 'Songs After The Blue' (out April 6th, 2018) Kraków Loves Adana, the Hamburg-based duo of Deniz Cicek and her partner Robert Heitmann, give another foretaste with their new single 'Rapture'.​It’s the follow up release to their previous released single 'American Boy'​ with its official video being directed by ​Wy​’s Ebba Ågren. 'Rapture' is an ode to the cassette, with the walkman making music a private experience, with the mixtape reflecting romance, with its shabby sound embodying a somehow misplaced nostalgia.

Born in the late eighties and due to the fact that her parents always were a few steps behind regarding technology, Deniz was surrounded by cassettes until her early teens. The first cassette she ever listened to was one she found in her parents’ collection, it was a self-made tape that said​ 'Kate Bush - Hounds Of Love'. At that time unknowing who Kate Bush was, the curiosity to hear what was on a rectangular piece of plastic was enough to get her enthusiastic about this medium.

Not having internet access or a computer until the age of 17, Deniz recorded the first songs she wrote on a small portable cassette player. The video to 'Rapture' reflects this nostalgia and underlines the mood of the song - it is about movement, getting lost in your own small world and forgetting everything around you, which can be a form of rebellion, especially as a teen.

I'll start by saying that Kraków Loves Adana are currently my favourite band so expect gushing words from here on in. Having released their debut album Beauty in 2010, the duo are on the verge of completing their fourth studio album this coming spring. My introduction to the German act came with last years single 'Beautiful Lie', an instantly mesmeric and appealing track which had me hooked to their sound straight away. Delving into their discography since has been nothing but rewarding. With 'Rapture' that sense of satisfaction is further augmented. Unsurprisingly given the theme of the single, Cicek's vocal is wrapped full-circle in Heitmann's retro-synth, recalling one of my favourite OST's for Drive

When you have a preference for a particular genre of music, that rare moment when a band comes along and ticks all of your boxes is an exciting experience, what is rare is wonderful as the saying goes. Kraków Loves Adana's ability to create strong atmospherics and moods leads to great gratification for this listener and I'm very much looking forward to their next album, fingers crossed they'll make the trip to Ireland some day.

Like / Listen & Follow:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/krakowlovesadana/

Bandcamp: https://krakowlovesadana.bandcamp.com/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2LgLvxq44FkRvstBiPFjsN?si=1L8S1zFpRDWNZ1GRo5QC8A

Twitter: https://twitter.com/krakwlovesadana

Film: The Popcorn Podcast - 2017 Film Review

Elle 2016 Movie Isabelle Huppert Paul Verhoeven

Info: A few weeks ago myself, Adebayo Flynn, and Gavin FitzGerald decided we'd shoot the breeze and do a podcast of our favourite films of 2017. We will be releasing regular podcasts from here on in, which will initially focus on film, but may broaden as time goes on, but we promise they won't be formulaic, i.e., we won't just be doing 'favourite films' and will be focusing on a variety of characters and ideas within and outside of the topic. We picked one film each, all three of us had to watch each others picks, and we shared our thoughts above, it's worth noting that two of the three films were directorial debuts. 

If you like what you've heard follow The Popcorn Podcast on SoundCloud here https://soundcloud.com/the-popcorn-podcast

Pre-cursor!** This podcast definitely contains spoilers, as do the trailers below, so if you want to watch the films first, I've listed them at the very end of this post.

Adebayo Flynn is a Dublin painter / artist who has had sell-out exhibitions of his work in the capital and has also collaborated with Herstory.ie which celebrates the cultural impact of women throughout Irish history to the modern day. His paintings and varied styles go against the grain of the 'established' art community which has inadvertently become a barometer of his success. 

Gavin FitzGerald is a film director whose interest in the Irish music scene led to his 2017 collaborative documentary The Truth About Irish Hip Hop which featured the likes of Jafaris, Rusangano Family, Mango, This Side Up, 5th Element and many other prominent members of the genre. More recently Gavin directed Notorious which became the highest-grossing Irish-made documentary of all time.

Elle - Trailer

Get Out - Trailer

Hounds of Love - Trailer

Reviewed films:

Elle - Directed by Paul Verhoeven (Robocop, Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers)
Get Out - Directed by Jordan Peele (Debut feature)
Hounds of Love - Directed by Ben Young (Debut feature)

Friday 26 January 2018

Photos: Public Service Broadcasting @ The Academy, 24th Jan. 2018

Public Service Broadcasting Dublin The Academy

All Photos: Remy Connolly

(to start slideshow on PC, click on 1st photo)

Info: Shortly after the release of the their sophomore album The Race For Space in February 2015, I had the pleasure of both interviewing, and soon after seeing, London's Public Service Broadcasting at The Button Factory in Dublin. It was a memorable experience and I was lucky to be close to front of stage. On Wednesday night PSB returned to Dublin at The Academy for the first time since that 2015 show, with support from Belfast blues-rock supremo Pat Dam Smyth who has been based in London also for the last few years. Incidentally Smyth is currently working on a new album which will be the follow up to last year's brilliant Goodbye Berlin EP.

Pat Dam kicked off the evening sans band and you wouldn't really notice at times, solo he gets so into his set that you can't help but follow him right inside. It's disarmingly casual, but at the same time pulls your head and ears so thin they might snap, exuding the demeanour of a blues-rock legend that has surfaced from the past and is entirely comfortable in the moment. 

After his set I was making my way back to the front of the stage and one of the highlights of the evening happened. I love observing people act out their best and worst moments, a fairly gruff and bald gentleman with a Dublin accent somewhere between neutral and strong was having a good old whinge to his partner. "Things have changed so much (ah for fuck sake I thought), look at them all, fucking hipsters with beards everywhere who don't have a clue about music". To be fair, there were a lot of beards, but there are lots of beards everywhere nowadays, including my own, and there were lots of beards in the 1800's too, these things are cyclical. I felt bemused that he was so angry about beards when he had paid for a ticket to see a band he was obviously looking forward to seeing, beards can be an awful irritant however when you just want to enjoy a rare Wednesday evening in town so maybe he had a point. 

And so to the main attraction, Public Service Broadcasting, I've included a live performance video at the BBC Music Festival from 2015 to give a flavour of what unfolds at their shows. They were supreme yet again, with the focus on latest album Every Valley, being an historical ode to the Welsh mining community, the display footage managed to capture both the intense activity of the era but also in the eyes of the workers an almost foreboding knowledge of what was to come when their way of life would be swept from under them. Whilst such visuals in isolation can have an impact, they are vastly heightened when accompanied by carefully constructed musical pieces, and this is something PSB excel at. 

Where their previous albums dealt with themes that their fans would be aware of, such as the Second World War and the U.S. - Soviet rivalry to reach the moon, but may not necessarily be able to relate to on a personal level, Every Valley is a poignant mirror image of the turmoil many have experienced over the last decade. A Thatcherite devastation vs. a faceless 21st century devil. Your livelihood being snatched from you at the stroke of a brush. At times their shows elicit the early days of cinema, where an orchestra would play music below the screen to add drama to the unfolding scenes, and at others the electric guitar and drums just bang out a hypnotic reprise that you don't want to end. All in all Public Service Broadcasting aspire to create a unique live experience for their audience, and that is what makes attendance at their shows so rewarding. Below are a few photographs from Wednesday's concert.