Wednesday, 30 January 2019

RTÉ Choice Music Prize - Irish Song of the Year 2018 Shortlist Announced

RTÉ Choice Music Prize Irish Song of the Year 2018 Shortlist

The shortlist for this year's RTÉ Choice Music Prize, Irish Song of the Year 2018, in association with IMRO & IRMA, was announced today on RTÉ 2FM’s Tracy Clifford Show. The shortlist is as follows:

Fontaines D.C. – Too Real

Niall Horan - On The Loose

Hozier (feat. Mavis Staples) - Nina Cried Power

Gavin James - Always

Laoise - Again

Mango X Mathman feat. Day_S – Lord Hear Us

Picture This - One Drink

Pillow Queens – Gay Girls

Saint Sister - Causing Trouble (Kormac Remix Feat. Jafaris) 

Wild Youth - Can’t Move On

To vote for the RTÉ Choice Music Prize, Irish Song of the Year 2018, visit Votes are limited to one per person per day. Only votes cast in the Republic of Ireland will be counted. Voting closes at midnight on Sunday 3rd March.

As part of RTÉ’s continued commitment to promoting Irish music, RTÉ 2FM celebrates the announcement of the shortlist across its schedule throughout the day with another All Irish Music All Day from 6am to midnight.

The winning song and album will be announced at the RTÉ Choice Music Prize live event, held in Vicar Street, Dublin on Thursday 7th March and broadcast live on RTÉ 2FM in a special four-hour extended show from 7-11pm. A special television programme of the event will be broadcast shortly afterwards on RTÉ2. 

Tickets for the 2018 Choice Music Prize are on sale now from all Ticketmaster outlets and from priced €28.00 including booking fee.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

International Playlist #020 - Guide Dog, Waterstrider, BLUFRANK, Captain Kill, Los Blancos

Guide Dog - Dead Beat
Cardiff's Guide Dog

It's been waaaay too long since my last round-up of new independent single releases from around the globe, something which will have far more focus in 2019 with a monthly round-up of tracks which I love and I'm sure you will too. To kick off the year we have two singles from Welsh acts Guide Dog and Los Blancos (both dropped in December), a most welcome return to these pages from Oakland, California's Waterstrider, plus a single each via Norway's Captain Kill and a collaboration between Egyptian band BLUFRANK and techno producer Lav.

1) Guide Dog - 'Dead Beat'

'Dead Beat' is the first single to be released by Cardiff's Guide Dog from forthcoming sophomore album Generation Y. A crunching glitch opening accompanied by a deliciously distorted fat guitar riff, the track rollicks incessantly through its 4-plus minutes. There's so much happening here, shivering beats, blues-rock passages and a cacophony of collapsing sonic walls, like a weird and wonderful mixture of Super Furry Animals, Daft Punk and Primal Scream.

2) Waterstrider - 'Weaker One'

The project of Californian alternative electronic act Nate Salman, Waterstrider has just released what is easily one of my favourite singles of the year so far. 'Weaker One' is irresistibly dream-like and escapist, the flow and rhythm are about as smooth as you can get as the track glides listlessly into its glorious sounding verse.

3) BLUFRANK, Lav - 'Time, Money'

Both hailing from Egypt, with Lav currently based in Canada, herself and BLUFRANK combine to create the most appealing downtempo and electro-pop vibe you could ask for on single 'Time, Money'. A really tight and tidy bass / drumpad combo draw you in very early to the hypnotic nature of the track. Around a third of the way through they embark on a smorgasbord of disco-funk, dub step and ambient sounds. Delightful.

4) Captain Kill - 'Spacecakes'

Norwegian rock band Captain Kill released their latest album, Monkey Metal Thunder, at the start of the month. Here we have opening track and single 'Spacecakes'. Classic rock sounds litter its intro, from the opening rock riff, rattle of the cymbals and anthemic vocal delivery. The sheer driving energy of 'Spacecakes' from start to finish, with minimal switches in tempo, makes for a very entertaining and likeable listen. The mother-load is dropped however at the 2:58 mark, fans of Thin Lizzy or Wolfmother will really dig this passage.

Los Blancos - Ti Di Newid  Cadw Fi Lan
Los Blancos

5) Los Blancos - 'Cadw Fi Lan' 

Our second act from Cardiff, Los Blancos hared double A-Side 'Ti Di Newid / Cadw Fi Lan' last month. Lethargic and listless in the most comforting manner, the sleepy dim glow of 'Cadw Fi Lan' ('Keep Up') nods to past and present, perhaps Lou Reed fronting Mercury Rev at half-speed. Subtle brass moments joined by jangle-pop guitar riffs add warm colours to what is a seriously chill release by the Welsh band. 

Video: LNT - Revolving Door

LNT - Revolving Door

LNT - 'Revolving Door'

Dublin alternative-rock five-piece LNT released their latest single 'Revolving Door' with accompanying video directed / produced by Olga Kuzmenko last week. Knee-jerking jolts between hard-rock outbursts and ominous drone-like builds provide a dark overtone to a wonderfully visual and filmic music video. A monster rhythm and angst-laden guitar riffs ably disseminate the feeling of exasperation and claustrophobia which the band aim for.

News: Kelsey Lu set for debut Dublin show at The Workman's Club, 9th of March

Kelsey Lu - The Workmans Club - Tickets

Selective Memory present Kelsey Lu live for her debut Dublin show. One of 2019's most exciting and emerging artists, Kelsey Lu has announced a live show at The Workman's Club on Saturday 9 March 2019. Tickets €15 (incl. booking fee) went on sale on Friday 25th January and are now available from Ticketbooth (

Named by The Guardian and Nialler9 as "one to watch", Kelsey Lu has already collaborated with some of the biggest names in music including Florence Welch, Solange, Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) and Lady Gaga. The success of these collaborations has seen Kelsey Lu appear as live special guest with Solange, Kelela and Blood Orange.

A classically trained cellist with the voice of an angel, Kelsey Lu is set to release her anticipated album with Chrysalis later this year following the release of her 2016 live EP 'Church' on True Panther Sounds. 

Single: Orwells '84 - Cailín

Orwells '84 - Cailín

Dundalk indie-rock troupe Orwells '84 released their latest single, 'Cailín', yesterday ahead of their headline show in The Spirit Store on the 2nd of February. Taking inspiration from the heady days of 60's psychedelic garage-rock, 'Cailín' is perhaps their biggest toe-dipping into shangri-la and kaleidoscopic warped sounds. There are also notable Britpop strands, a little bit Kula Shaker, a little bit early-doors Stone Roses. Where the track and Orwells '84 truly imprint their stamp of originality on the music is via the unexpected trad-rock break-out at 3:10, Horslips anyone!? Yes. The joyful thing about Orwells '84 is that their singles are musically instantly appealing, but they maintain the listener's interest by adding significant quirks into each new release.

Orwells '84 - The Spirit Store - Dundalk

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Single: Hunting Hall - Helium

Hunting Hall - Helium
Photo: Marc Carr

Hunting Hall - 'Helium'

Hunting Hall is the solo project of Dundalk native, Tim Shearwood. Through debut single, 'Helium', Shearwood looks to move forward from previous indie rock projects - The Curtain Thieves and latterly Third Smoke - and into a more electronic, immersive world.

His opening gambit is a wonder of conflicting feelings. Here, submission and defiance compete in angst-fuelled lyrics while lush rhythms lift the battle upwards – reaching an almost spiritual end point. The alchemy of moving the troublesome into the sublime - and Shearwood has the temperature just right. It’s a beguiling track which shows masterful command of emotions – guiding us on a winding pathway between structure and chaos.

On the surface, and in particular in its first half, Hunting Hall's debut solo single 'Helium' is a musically care-free affair, keeping proceedings light-hearted with an uplifting electro-pop veneer. Tim Shearwood's vocal however hints at a ponderous reflection that is filled with regret, not at ones own choices, but more the choices of others that are outside of our control, drifting relationships that the protagonist was not ready to let go of; "I don't want whiskey, I want you to miss me, friends of mine..." A bountiful smattering of 80's-tinged synth allow the listener the dual choice of simply letting the music wash over them in a detached manner, or pausing to absorb the track's themes, not an easy balancing act to execute by any means.

Single: Durty Mick - Heavy Metal

Durty Mick - Heavy Metal

Last November we shared the intriguing single 'Beige Slave' by Dublin DIY act Durty Mick, latest single 'Heavy Metal' is an equally beguiling affair. Once again the 19 year-old is armed merely with mic & laptop, yet produces a surprisingly polished sound. I wouldn't want any 'enhancements' made here, they would only serve to detract from the mellow jangling flow of the track, Owen Murphy's pessimistic vocal tone is unintentionally engaging, tying the entire mood of 'Heavy Metal' together, a satirical scoff at gym bunnies and the obsessive bubble they inhabit.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Irish Playlist #046: James Joys, Digg Deep, Jafaris, Gorilla Troubadour, A. Smyth & more

James Joys - Fugitive Wound
James Joys

Info: For REMY's latest playlist of the best Irish single releases from the past fortnight we have a wide array of genres and styles. From ambient techno, experimental pop, indie rock, electro-pop and alternative folk, I hope your ears become as pleased as mine are.

1) James Joys - 'Fugitive Wound'

Belfast solo act James Joys released a piece of highly addictive ambient electronic music in the shape of single 'Fugitive Wound', and I mean highly addictive. I keep getting to just over 4 minutes in the track, and realising I'm two thirds of the way through in the blink of an eye, pinging back to the start again. The unholy chaos that warbles and snakes through this six minutes of nirvana is strangely the antidote to the hustle and bustle of real life. The pace becomes so intense it almost trips over itself, and then there's the drift into calm inflections, calm yet nightmarish, unreal stuff.

2) Digg Deep - 'Soak It Up'

What a warm and incredibly pleasing fusion of multiple pop sub genres 'Soak It Up' is courtesy of Dublin's Julia Mahon aka Digg Deep. The opening first minute races through dream, downtempo, synth and electro pops, before settling into an almost calypso meets ska manoeuvre. Sometimes with singles you get that moment of euphoric joy, 'Soak It Up' fires them out everywhere with great generosity. 

3) Jafaris - 'Time'

Jafaris releases his best single since 2017's 'If You Love Me' from his Velvet Cake EP. 'Time' feels unleashed, free and centred all at once, the unwillingness to stand still and a deep dive into 80's-centric funk-pop unravels any strings that were present on previous releases. When you think of experimentation you think of a deliberately considered direction, however, here there is experimentation in abundance but it feels like an after-thought, the music and delivery is unleashed.

4) Gorilla Troubadour - 'Tom Cruise Does All His Own Stunts'

Channelling early, mid, and late noughties indie-rock with a crushing hard edge, Dublin four-piece Gorilla Troubadour barge their way through a rambunctious just shy of three minutes haymaker in the form of 'Tom Cruise Does All His Own Stunts'. Bass and percussion act as a dual machine-gun of rapid-fire rock outbursts that explode in your face and leave you dizzied and delighted.

A. Smyth 

5) A. Smyth - 'Fever'

You can find stepping stones in A. Smyth's solo debut single 'Into the Darkness' and 'Coming Back to You' (both released last year) that led directly to 'Fever'. The latest single opens with a very, very early Larry Mullen drum intro circa October, waves at Springsteen's 'Thunder Road', flirts with Ryan Adams' early 2000 output, and then spits them all out into a trundling pop-rock gem. Smyth is churning out the singles over the last 12 months, a song-writer in bloom.

6) Dean Maywood - 'Jane'

A song-writer who is fully immersed in classic folk, and who can bend those sounds into some mighty fine 21st century interpretations, Donegal's Dean Maywood has been on REMY's radar since his heart-breaking single 'Oileán na Marbh' last year (below - read about the uninhabited island here). Latest track 'Jane' entwines bone fide country trysts with a surprise, and to die for, rock riff between 2:00-2:35, Maywood leads the way within a genre that battles against popular demand.

7) Somebody's Child - 'Toes'

The second single from Dublin electro-pop act Somebody's Child acts as a counter-banger to stellar debut 'Make You Alright', that's two on the bounce, 'Toes' doesn't hold back in its aggressiveness, a key component to what makes his music stand apart from the pack. The punch, the release, the outburst, the bravado, all vacuum packed into a glorious package of angst. How hard is it to not love this single? What elevates both singles and pushes them far over the line is the vocal, and its personality.

8) Motions - 'Play the Hits'

Why is it that I can't get the image of INXS frontman Michael Hutchence bopping to this track with massive 80's headphones on his head, out of my head. Dublin band Motions keep on track with hot synth beats and guitar on their latest single 'Play The Hits', the slam is hard, the delivery is soft, and it's lovely plus.

To listen to our last Irish independent playlist, go here!

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Album Review: Gareth Quinn Redmond - Céim•eanna

Gareth Quinn Redmond - Céim•eanna

Multi-instrumentalist and ambient act Gareth Quinn Redmond released his latest album Céim•eanna earlier this week, continuing what is turning into quite the prolific output from the Dublin musician, his third album in just under 2 years. Of the record itself he shares; "Once again, I am writing within Satoshi Ashikawa's concept of Environmental Music but developing it through a modern lens inspired by how we engage with music on a day to day basis. It is designed to engage, enrich and reflect one's ever changing surroundings."

Any number of superlatives can consistently apply to Quinn Redmond's work; escapist, calming, imaginative and cosmological to list but a few, but the most important impression I have had is a long-lasting residual effect on the soul, figuratively speaking. It's hard not to tie his three albums to date together in sequence, a trilogy (which may continue yet) marking a journey for the listener, and a reflective voyage of self-discovery. Céim•eanna takes gentle steps onward from last year's Gluaiseacht, the latter in turn doing the same from 2017's Laistigh den Ghleo (as an aside albums 1 & 3 do not connect in my view without 2).

Opening with it's title-track, deft and faltering piano keys grow in strength alongside a more assertive keyboard progression, finding their feet until GQR slowly pushes the musical boat out into his latest landscape which begins to unfurl just before the six-minute mark. Segmented pace is everything with the artist, and when the violin joins the beautiful fray at 6:32 we reach self-administered mini-injections of euphoria, don't give them too much too early. It is difficult not to completely submit to the passage of play that sweeps through the track's final 3 minutes, it is intense, an enchanting madness worthy of any film score.

'Séimh' is an Irish word I've always loved, a kind of feeling version of onomatopoeia. Very appropriate for the sounds we hear here, its multiple translations include the English words calm, mellow, genial and placid. The second track twinkles, a light in the corner of a dark room that pulsates between bright and dim, like a paranormal sequence of Morse code starting its long trip through time to a destination and intended recipient that only it knows. Haute ambience!

A hopeful spring of wonder arrives in the shape of 'Dathanna', beginning with a piano that sounds like it has been played by a thousand different pianists over centuries, a warm and comforting energy gets its slow release, peaking at the third minute. Again this strikes me as a piece that would not be amiss in a silent documentary examining contemporary human behaviour and society, I can't remember if I've referenced this previously to Gareth Quinn Redmond's music, but specifically I think of the breathtaking and wonderfully rudderless observations of 1982's Koyaanisqatsi or Bernard Hill's series Wild China (muted!).  

Quinn Redmond goes for expansive broad-ranging realms again on the 12-minute plus 'Lonrú' (shine / illuminate), a place where he seems most at ease, and where I enjoy residing most. It's the sweetest meander, on your back and afloat, mind wiped clean of the world. On the surface, like any long track, the trick is to give the listener the impression of aimlessness, and then, with great patience, hit them with the mother-load of exhilaration when they are at their most lost. GQR has an innate mastery when it comes to this modus operandi, and the shot in the arm here lands precisely for me at 7:26 with the forceful bloom of the strings. Towards track's end, he overhauls it all and reverts to the opening, we're back in the room with that old piano that opened 'Dathanna', magic.

Like a stripped down live old soul or blues record by a solo artist (little bit Nina Simone!) we encounter final track 'Tar Éis'. It's quite a heart-breaking affair, and after only one minute I don't want it to go anywhere else, I just want it to continue as is indefinitely. The artist won't play ball however, and he's right not to, veering steadily into electronic ambient territory, a pull-push vs. the raw piano notes, like a morphing orb, that light in the corner of the dark room finally extinguishes, and we're left alone in total darkness, surrounded by nothing.

Céim•eanna by Gareth Quinn Redmond was released on the 15th of January, and is available to download / stream on Bandcamp and Spotify below;

Gareth Quinn Redmond - Céim•eanna Album Review

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

The Midnight Organ Fight Revisited - Homage Live Show to Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison @ The Pepper Canister Church

Scott Hutchison - Frightened Rabbit

A host of Irish bands come together to remember the late Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit in Dublin’s Pepper Canister Church as part of the First Fortnight festival this Saturday night, the 19th of January.

Now in its tenth year First Fortnight is a music and arts festival that aims to challenge mental health stigma and to create an open discussion and understanding of mental health.

HamsandwicH, Columbia Mills, The Young Folk, FIELDS and Amidships will all perform tracks from the critically acclaimed album The Midnight Organ Fight with all proceeds going to First Fortnight and the Scott Hutchison Foundation.

For those that missed out on tickets to this sold out show, you can email to be put on the waiting list should any become available.

Midnight Organ Fight Revisited by Jacob Stack
By Jacob Stack

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The Last Mixed Tape announces its 5th Anniversary Line-Up at The Sound House, 7th February

TLMT 5 - The Last Mixed Tape

One of Ireland's most valuable music critics, Stephen White, celebrates the 5th year of The Last Mixed Tape at The Sound House in Dublin on Thursday, 7th of February. As with previous years, TLMT has arranged a mouth-watering line-up comprised of Sorcha RichardsonJackie Beverly and Dowry. Like The Last Mixed Tape itself, these shows have become annual highlights for fans of independent Irish music. Previous acts who have performed at the yearly celebration include Swords, Paddy Hanna, Montauk Hotel, Bad Bones, September Girls, Beauty Sleep and other quality acts which have shaped the local music scene in their own unique way. 

TLMT has garnered a solid and reliable reputation amongst bands and music fans as a place where analyses of music is conducted in a most impartial manner, but more importantly, he backs up his written word with evidence. On a personal level, and this probably isn't the most appropriate place to state this (but a half-decade is a landmark achievement!), my respect for his views on music grows year on year since I started reading The Last Mixed Tape, not to mention his unwavering support for Irish artists. He'll hate me saying all this, but it is what it is, I don't want to inhabit an Irish music landscape where TLMT does not exist, so let's celebrate!

Taking place at the Sound House, Dublin on Thursday, February 7th TLMT 5 will feature live performances from acclaimed songwriter and TLMT favorite Sorcha Richardson, Sorcha’s recent single ‘Can’t We Pretend’ featured in TLMT’s Top 10 Songs Of 2018. 

Jackie Beverly will also appear as part of the line-up, Beverly's debut single 'Out of Reasons' featured in TLMT's Top 50 Songs of 2018. Dowry, will perform at TLMT 5 next month, the multi-instrumentalist, whose debut single was the breath-taking ‘In É’, recently made TLMT's 10 Emerging Artist for 2019. See below for music from all three artists.

Founded in 2014, the Last Mixed Tape is run my music critic Stephen White and has dedicated the last five years to covering all aspects of the Irish music scene and supporting acts coming out of the country. 

Tickets to TLMT 5: Sorcha Richardson / Jackie Beverly / Dowry live at the Sound House on February 7th are priced at €10 and are on sale now via eventbrite. Doors are at 8pm.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Irish Playlist #045: The Murder Capital, John Blek, SOAK, Talos, SYLK & more

The Murder Capital - Feeling Fades
The Murder Capital - Photo: Neelam Khan Vela

Info: REMY's first independent Irish playlist of 2019 is here, it goes without saying that the standard is high, and we carry on where we left off in 2018, with more sumptuous singles to get into our ears.

1) The Murder Capital - 'Feeling Fades

If there's one thing I can guarantee you over the course of the next 12 months, it's that you are going to be hearing more and more and more of Dublin five-piece The Murder Capital. A rattling sound that is post post-punk and a disillusioned anger, they join ranks with fellow Dublin act Fontaines D.C. in starting a new and much needed injection of arresting song-writing and performance against a backdrop of banal meaningless rock music which has hogged the airwaves for far too long.

2) PEACHFACE - 'You Never Saw Me Dance'

Self-described as a track "where lyrical loneliness and wistful arpeggios play off lush layered harmonies and shimmering synths", that's a damn fine description, I'm sold! The debut single from Dublin synth-pop trio PEACHFACE, 'You Never Saw Me Dance', recalls the breezy care-free harmonies of Belle & Sebastian and Kings of Convenience with really well delivered minimalist synth-pop fuzz, a really impressive opener which has me eager for more.

3) Ruth Mac -'Speed'

Currently based in Berlin, Galway artist Ruth Mac produces a wonderful debut single in 'Speed', interestingly I can hear the continental indie-pop vibe permeate the entire track, from instrumentation (Oh Boland's Niall Murphy fills in on guitar here) to her highly pleasant on the ear vocal. It's perfectly chill and the antidote to a chaotic day, week, year, with Ruth Mac coming across as an established act who has been doing this for years. A debut EP and Irish tour dates are coming down the line before long.

4) Pascalwillnotsurvivethis - 'Hey Bud'

Former WASPS man Danny McClelland from Coleraine released his solo debut single 'Hey Bud' under the moniker of Pascalwillnotsurvivethis this week. This is the type of thrash lo-fi indie I adore. Stripping away everything you'd be tempted by, McClelland and band whirl their way through a cacophony of pinging peaks and troughs to produce a ball-busting piece of heaven.

All in Ur Head - SYLK
SYLK w. Daragh Locke

5) SYLK feat. Daragh Locke - 'All in Ur Head'

Live SYLK are an act that will make you happily numb to reality and pull you out of your body with their hypnotic and mesmeric sound-potion. This sense is less overt in their recorded work but no less potent, 'All in Ur Head' is so chock-a-block with ominous, in your face bulky beats and quick-fire vocals that the option of not being subsumed by the overall method is removed from the listener. Daragh Locke's input is complimentary, allowing the track switch from full industrial drone to a jolt from the slumber when he enters the fray. 

6) SOAK - 'Knock Me Off My Feet'

Derry's SOAK lays out a wonderful cocktail of ambient, acoustic and pop charm with new single 'Knock Me Off My Feet'. Initial listens have flicked mental switches upwards in my brain that I know will lead to being hooked on the track. A highly-charged rhythmic trundle flows without respite through its 3-plus minutes, a blunderbuss of glittery 80's retro-pop and Bridie Monds-Watson's endearing vocal push the song way beyond mere enjoyment.

7) Talos - 'The Light Upon Us'

Cork's Talos, aka Eoin French, has a reputation which precedes him via his critically acclaimed 2017 debut album Wild Alee which was shortlisted for the Choice Music Prize. With a second album, Far Out, on the near horizon, he shares latest single 'The Light Upon Us'. Orchestral, uplifting, and full of sparkling emotion, the single indicates that his creative well has not diminished whatsoever. 

Talos - The Light Upon Us by Niall O'Brien
Talos - Photo: Niall O'Brien

8) Crome Yellow - 'Wash Basket Earpiece'

Oh god, from the first 5 seconds of Crome Yellow's latest single 'Wash Basket Earpiece' I was away with the fairies in my head, seriously, what a delightful jam, and without showing my hand, a total killer of a single for 2019 at this very early, early stage. The funk is so cool, but so strong, the music is extremely laid-back to the point the Waterford four-piece are barely playing their instruments (but they are obviously). I want to disappear in this forever, also, lil' bit Republic of Loose, yurt.

9) Rêves - 'Depths & Between'

Dublin's Rêves released new single 'Depths & Between' yesterday, the piano intro reaches inside and you instantly submit to it. I've mentioned before how difficult it is to make a song stand out lyrically about complicated / problematic love and romance, a very common theme for obvious reasons! However, Rêves give additional meaning to the theme in a unique way on this track, and they've been able to do it because the music manages to spark life again into a much traversed subject.

10) John Blek - 'The Blackwater'

Cork's John Blek has two album's under his belt, both of which I listened to before listening to 'The Blackwater', 2016's Cut the Light and 2017's Catharsis, Vol.1, the beauty of both had me bewildered as to why he wasn't in a more prominent position on the Irish music spectrum. Echoing Dylan without being Dylan, here we have a serious song-writer in our midst. It's that rare moment where you have a song-writer who is almost writing music for no one, to never be heard, but if you come across it, gosh. This is the type of lyrical and musical craftsmanship that would be gobbled up in the U.S. without question if it were one of their own, a tour there and in the U.K. would surely deprive Blek of day-job cruelty.

John Blek - 'Salt in the Water' from Catharsis Vol I

Fiach Moriarty - 'Everything Will Rhyme'

Following a three year hiatus, Dubliner Fiach Moriarty returns with a beautifully mellow and 1920's-infused slice of crooning nostalgia via 'Everything Will Rhyme'. Having worked with big hitters Damien Dempsey, Duke Special, Mundy, and band members from Bell X-1, The Walls and The Dubliners, Moriarty drifts into his own with a dollop of honey on 'Everything Will Rhyme'. Outrageously jazzy brush on snare, and a wonderfully balmy vocal breeze give exactly the right amount of warmth for those dark January blues. 

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

New Album Releases: January - Eerie Wanda, Sharon Van Etten, Toro y Moi, Steve Gunn, Sneaks & more

Eerie Wanda - Pet Town
Photo: Raphaël Irié

New year, same old me, the first instalment of REMY's monthly round-up of new album releases is here, for January 2019, traditionally a quiet month, but thankfully there are some very strong and most interesting LP's coming out over the next couple of weeks.

I'm tickled pink by the singles I've heard thus far courtesy of Amsterdam indie-pop trio fronted by Marina Tadic, Eerie Wanda, from forthcoming sophomore album Pet Town. Single 'Sleepy Eyes' was / is my first internal music euphoria of the year, I can't wait to buy this album, fingers crossed they will conjure up an Irish date in 2019 (puhlease!).

New Jersey indie rock act Sharon Van Etten's sixth studio album, Remind Me Tomorrow releases on the 18th of this month, with a Dublin date fixed for the 29th of March in Vicar Street. My first introduction to Van Etten's music was 2012's Tramp, and I've had a keen interest in her music since, thus far she's released three singles from the album with 'Jupiter 4' grabbing me the most.

Another band from the turn of the decade I got into was South Carolina chillwave act Toro Y Moi, whose 2011 banger Underneath the Pine was brim full of gleeful psychedelic pop moments such as 'New Beat' and 'Good Hold'. He's back now with his 7th album, Outer Peace, and I'm digging single 'Innerpeace' bigly right now, especially the faux-vocalised stammer.

Washington's Eva Moolchan performs as Sneaks, loosely described as minimal synth, there are strong dub overtones to single 'Hong Kong to Amsterdam' from her third album Highway Hypnosis. The track is a most welcome bunch of knuckles in the jaw, and that (very) mini Talking Heads' plonk at 1:21 is magical.

If like me you draw great comfort and enjoyment from the spaced-out acoustic psychedelia of the 60's and early 70's, you'll love Brooklyn-based contemporary folk act Steve Gunn's new album The Unseen in Between, track 'New Moon' shimmers and wobbles with a glod warmth that echoes The Velvet Underground & Nico / Nick Drake. 

For me personally, few things touch the soul in a more powerful manner than solo piano with no vocals, Keith Jarrett and Haushcka spring to mind, their styles are very contrasting, and so too is that of Naples composer and multi-instrumentalist Bruno Bavota. I'm easily lost in his single 'The Night Of' from new album Re_Cordis, it's surprisingly short for a piano piece coming in at just over three minutes, but the duality of tenderness and impact are delivered with ease within this timeframe nonetheless. Molto, molto bene.

Two other albums that piqued my interest come courtesy of the Sufjan Stevens meets Justin Vernon LP Tomb from Angelo De Augustine, single 'Somewhere Far Away From Home' also channels snippets of Elton John's 'Tiny Dancer', atmospheric lo-fi indie from the L.A. act. There's a bit of a stir being caused by abstract hip-hop solo artist Malibu Ken ahead of the release of his debut self-titled album, here we feature single 'Acid King', thick morphing beats and twisting warped effects provide the bedrock to this hip-hop, well, trip!

18th January:

Bruno Bavota - Re_Cord

Malibu Ken - Malibu Ken

Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

Steve Gunn - The Unseen in Between

Toro Y Moi - Outer Peace

Angelo De Augustine - Tomb

25th January:

Eerie Wanda - Pet Town

Sneaks - Highway Hypnosis

Other artists of note with album releases in January include: Deerhunter, Maggie Rogers, The Dandy Warhols. 

Monday, 7 January 2019

EP: LIERS - Elixir

LIERS - Elixir

Info: After an impressive first year in 2018, North Dublin rockers LIERS have just released their first EP. 'Elixir' is also the name of their third single which accompanies the release, loaded with their trademark intense and uncompromising raw grunge rock with sultry yet shattering vocals. The EP also features previous hit singles 'Host' and 'Universal Female', which gained much acclaim and helped the secure a slot at last year’s sold-out Electric Picnic.

For all of the many genres sprawling around us these days, the influence of grunge-rock is as rare as hens teeth for some reason, that early 90's period producing some of the best rock albums ever written. Dublin's LIERS seek to redress this paucity on debut EP Elixir, unapologetic about their influences, although some are far more subtle than you might imagine.

Beginning with latest single and title-track 'Elixir', the modus operandi is moody, and darkly emotive, if you were to throw a dart at the grunge map it might land on Soundgarden or perhaps Chris Cornell's earlier band Temple of the Dog, go forward a few more years and Bush's underrated Razorblade Suitcase waves from the searing chorus.

Back in April in my review of 'Universal Female' I acknowledged the undoubted Foo Fighters thread, but on its quieter moments, and in hindsight Sugar's Copper Blue is touching verse and pre-chorus plenty. Okay, enough about influences already, more than a mere homage to the past, where LIERS excel from the very beginning of Elixir is the execution of the smash and grab, exemplified with aplomb here at the 2:36 mark, chugging bass and guitars crunch the end of an almost 20 second light percussion / vocal duet. 

The nostalgia-filled 'Can't Go Back' is most enjoyable, the vacuumed guitar effect rolling us up in a blanket of warm post-grunge glow. The most rustic moment on the EP comes via 'Realise', a game of two halves, literal 'in the garage' rock leads to a second half of rising drum crescendos and a pained vocal release courtesy of Liz Seaver. Final track 'Host' will have fans of the genre licking their lips, there's a sense of youthful naivety and angst curled up tightly together, it's very Foo. 

Elixir is an honest collection of tracks, each of which pay their respects dutifully to the band's influences. The most challenging obstacle for LIERS now is to ascertain how they can break through via a rebooted genre that has not quite taken off locally just yet in comparison to other guitar-based styles. Either way, I dig what they're doing and then some.

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Saturday, 5 January 2019

Single: Sarah Hickey - Hollow

Sarah Hickey - Hollow

The debut single from Cork singer-songwriter Sarah Hickey, 'Hollow', is a very strong opening salvo with plenty of interesting strands. From the bluesy tones of the guitar and chugging bass-line we get a grooving strut right from the outset. Hickey also has an interesting and versatile vocal which, combined with the music, doffs its cap to the likes of Fleetwood Mac or Heart, mixing introspective sombre tones with powerful peaks, the most pleasing aspect though is the soft and balmy timbre. This is a good, solid start.

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EP: Rocstrong - All On Black

Rocstrong - All On Black

When Rocstrong released his debut EP SOWYG (Show Off What You Got) in 2016 the potential for a disparity in sound were already being hinted at, shifting between swinging soul-pop ('Get Loose'), rock-based blues grooves ('SOWYG') and thumping pop beats ('Go Head'). In the intervening two years up to the release to his latest EP All On Black the Dublin artist was on a mini-hiatus, honing those early creative flourishes, whilst still releasing a scattering of singles.

On the surface, audibly Rocstrong's sound is filled with grit, fun and a love of life, thematically however, he covers a wide variety of topics that gnaw at him, such as the poverty gap (having to leave a resource-rich Democratic Republic of Congo with his parents as a child for a better life), seeing parallels between Ireland and his country of birth through a new lens, in his own words; "Greed has crippled where I'm from and the same will happen globally sooner or later". 

In addition he covers the war in the Congo on 'Blood Spilling', his adaptation to life growing up in his hometown of Tallaght with 'Talla Boy', and his journey as an artist asserting himself on the hard-hitting 'Homicide'.

Opening with 'Blood Spilling', Rocstrong carves a slightly foreboding mood, "From a good thing, change the way I do the things I do to a sure thing, knowing well it could bring drama, swear to god Mama, I ain't yet recovered from all of that trauma..." Tribal undertones bounce off disorientating chopped beats and swirls of sound, a balance between regret and hope is struck, with Rocstrong ultimately standing tall in defiance, the past won't hold him prisoner.

Whilst much of All On Black is personal, tracks like 'Ching, Ching, Ching' are relatable, and visible in the real world when seen with open eyes. A bit tongue-in-cheek, with strong pop sensibilities, the lead single from the EP is also a sharp rebuke to the never-ending pursuit of money, and ergo, greed. In an earlier review of the track we wrote that sonically 'Ching, Ching Ching' served up; "Rock drums, ultra soul-pop vocal, humming guitar, bass, electronics that harp back to the less manic moments of The Prodigy's Music for the Jilted Generation or Massive Attack's recent jams." The tempo and drone of the music reflects this soulless obsession perfectly. 

My favourite track on the EP comes via 'Homicide', instantly gripping, and fresh-sounding, it shows Rocstrong punching in the arena of established alternative pop and hip-hop acts, a mini undertow of something you might expect from Glasgow's Young Fathers. Again that hummed drone sound plays such an important part to the mood and energy, the tightrope between brevity and sinister walked with ease. 

The rock-fusion of parts of SOWYG rear their head full force on 'Talla Boy', chaotic pounding drums and guitar riffs reflecting a chaotic landscape, where safety was expected, the artist is faced with a new and alien kind of survival. Just in case you were forgetting the importance and vibrancy of Rocstrong's revelry, he pulls the pop card from the back pocket to close All On Black with the grinding pop of the highly enjoyable 'Gold Glow', funk, dance, electronic, all in the mixer. 

At times on both EP's the overall feeling is that Rocstrong is engaged in the most unconventional type of experimentation and song-writing, his palate is so broad in terms of influencing styles you wonder can he pull it off, but also, I feel like we're still waiting for him to truly zone in on who he is as an artist. This is not a negative, it's a positive, it's always beneficial to spread your wings wide before landing, and there's plenty of time for that, the longer he spends circling in the air, the better the destination will be. 

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Tuesday, 1 January 2019

A Celebration of Live Irish Music Photographers 2018

Franz Ferdinand - Carrie Davenport
Photo by Carrie Davenport

Info: For the second year running here on REMY we celebrate the incredible work of Irish-based music photographers. Last year's post was a huge success, and went on to become the second most viewed article on the blog of all time. In a somewhat lengthy intro last year I went into detail on the importance of the role of the photographer as an archivist, how a picture moves far beyond what words can ever describe, and the sheer dedication, time and passion involved in capturing a magic moment, so I won't digress further on this occasion! 

I would however, like to offer my sincere thanks to all of the music photographers who contributed to this post, I massively appreciate their time and effort in sourcing a photo which means something special to them. Scouring through an entire years work is no easy feat, and once again I am in awe of their talent and dedication to their craft. We rightly celebrate our wonderful musicians often, so it's only right that we take the time to appreciate the wonderful people behind the camera lens also! To them, I am most grateful.

The below collection of photographs were taken by photographers who are based in Ireland for the most part of the year (although some may spend more time on tour than at home!). They are from all levels, full-time professionals to gifted beginners and everywhere in between. As with last year's post, I have placed them in alphabetical order by artist, with the inclusion of website / social media links for each photographer, do give them a follow, you won't be disappointed!

Note: All photos were kindly provided by the below photographers with permission purely for this post and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without their permission.

1) Miguel Ruiz Manzano - Ash - Electric Picnic - August

Ash at Electric Picnic 2018 by Miguel Ruiz

Photo by Miguel Ruiz Manzano

"Ash is not only my favourite Irish band, but Tim Wheeler is one of the best songwriters and performers of his generation. 

This pic sums up Wheeler's personality: the kindest guy in the music industry, and a man who can really rock out his iconic Gibson Epiphone Flying V on the main stage of Electric Picnic."

2) Jack Farrell - Bicurious - Whelan's - March

Bicurious - Jack Farrell

Photo by Jack Farrell

"I was deliberating over what photo to choose for some time but it only felt right to keep it local, considering the wealth of talent in Ireland at the moment with acts across all genres including the likes of Kojaque, Vernon Jane, Kettama and Mango x MathMan.

I chose this shot of Bicurious because I feel it truly captures their raucous nature, both on stage and in the studio. With a heavy hitting support lineup of Tribal Dance, Phazam Haze and Griff of New Secret Weapon, it was easily one of the most enjoyable gigs of the year."

3) Faye Bollard - Broken Brass Ensemble - Knockanstockan - July

Broken Brass Ensemble - Faye Bollard - Knockanstockan

Photo by Faye Bollard

"I may have mostly selected this photo because I always end up with a stupid grin on my face remembering this gig.

It was the last act on the main stage for the weekend. It got crazy, the band really interacted with the crowd and everyone was loving it.

The guys had everyone running from one side of the field to the other, which might sound draining for Sunday night at a 3 day festival but looking around at how happy everyone was, dancing with people they didn't know, in appreciation of this hyperactive brass band - it really captured the "spirit of Knockanstockan".

4) Glen Bollard - The Coronas - 3Arena - July

Coronas, The - Glen Bollard

Photo by Glen Bollard

"This was my debut year as a music photographer. One of the first big opportunities came in the form of one of the first bands I ever saw as a fan, the Coronas. A fellow photographer Alan McCarthy was also working the show, a lot of my knowledge was learned from working with Alan when I first started. He tipped me off that something big was coming as part of the intro. So I set myself up at the end of the catwalk and made sure my settings were on point. Even though the ISO ended up being a little high, I was happy with the result. This snap to me was the real "I am going down the right road" moment that has pushed me to chase this even more. Recently I just covered the 4 Olympia shows for the band in which I got some of my favourite photos yet. This photo however, sticks in my mind as the real turning point."

5) Aaron Corr - David Byrne - 3Arena - October

David Byrne - Aaron Corr

Photo by Aaron Corr

"I've always been a fan of Talking Heads and David Byrne but up until now I have missed any shows that he has played in Ireland. It was a dream to shoot the first three songs of the show and then kick back to watch it all unfold.  The lights were the best, particularly given I had to shoot from a distance and to the sides. It's one of those rare shows where I barely deleted anything when reviewing them after. Not only was this one of the best shows of 2018, it was one of the best shows I've ever seen."

6) Allen Kiely - David Keenan - Body & Soul - June

David Keenan - Body & Soul - Allen Kiley Photography

Photo by Allen Kiely

7) JB Photography - Dreaming of Jupiter - The Secret Village Festival - August

Dreaming of Jupiter - JB Photography

Photo by John Branagan

"When you're shooting a gig , you only get seconds to find a moment of connection like this."

8) Owen Humphreys - Editors - Vicar Street - October

Editors at Vicar Street - Owen Humphreys

Photo by Owen Humphreys

9) Peter O'Hanlon - Florence & The Machine - 3Arena - November

Florence & The Machine - 3Arena by Peter O' Hanlon for Hotpress

Photo by Peter O'Hanlon (for Hot Press)

"After seeing Florence Welch preforming at Electric Picnic back in 2009 (I think), I became an instant fan, to see her climbing the rigging and still keep on singing was amazing. So jump forward 5 years to when the music photography bug bit she was always top of my list. This year I got my chance, and boy did I enjoy it, she prances around like like a ballerina, so I picked a spot and knew she would bound my way eventually. I picked this photo because I just love the movement in it, I know it's probably not the best shot "technically" but I just love the way the light catches her hair and the overall movement of Florence".

10) Carrie Davenport - Franz Ferdinand - BBC Biggest Weekend - Belfast - May

Franz Ferdinand - Carrie Davenport

Photo by Carrie Davenport

"I chose this photo because it just makes me smile - it's the most ridiculous looking jump, he looks almost photo-shopped in but it's a real shot and when I caught it I knew it was the shot I'd end up loving from that show! They're a fun band to listen to and to shoot so a photo like this suited them to a tee."

11) She Bop Imagery (Ciara Brennan) - Girlfriend - The Workman's Club - April

Girlfriend - Ciara Brennan - SheBopImagery

Photo by Ciara Brennan

"This is a photo of Girlfriend when they supported Pillow Queens in Workman's back in April. This photo really stood out in my mind when I was initially asked to be part of this list but then I went back and forth between some more photos from this year. I've had the best year with photography, I've been to some amazing gigs, launched my website, taken some really fun portraits, spent the summer working at a summer camp in the US as a photographer and teacher and I've worked with some fantastic photographers along the way. The reason why I chose this photo is that this band blows me away every time I see them, their stage presence and their music always captures the crowd. The movement of Hana in this photo is just captivating to me. I hope I get to photograph these girls again in 2019!"

12) Moira Reilly - Grace Jones - Trinity Summer Series - July

Grace Jones - PhotoReilly - Moira Reilly

Photo by Moira Reilly

"This set really stands out when I look back on this year of photography, Grace Jones is so spectacular and it was tricky picking a favourite shot from the set. I had heard a lot about how amazing Grace Jones's performances are so when she was announced to perform I got my name down asap. As I was shivering away in my optimistic summer shirt, while the Irish weather did its unpredictable thing, she came straight over to the side of the stage I was at which worked out great! I love this photo in particular with the spotlight above with her hand pointed towards it, almost like she's preaching!"

13) Sean Smyth - The Hot Sprockets - Knockanstockan - July

Hot Sprockets - Knockanstockan 2018 - Sean Smyth

Photo by Sean Smyth

"This is a photo that's got a bit of meaning for me. Firstly, my partner, Conor Biddle, was on lighting duty and I always try and catch shows that he's lighting. Secondly, it was taken with my brand new phone a Huawei P20 Pro. It was the first gig I brought it to and I was amazed with how it performed. You don't always need to have a big dSLR to get results. And thirdly, it was taken during The Hot Sprockets' set, which, little did I know at the time, was going to be the last time I's see them perform as a band. Sadly, they've announced that they're winding down."

14) Renate Canga - James Vincent McMorrow - Olympia Theatre - May

James Vincent McMorrow - Renate Canga - Rens Lens

Photo by Renate Canga

"The night I took this photo it was my first time ever being in the pit alongside many other brilliant photographers who I used to admire from afar whenever I attended concerts. Also, James Vincent McMorrow has such an incredible voice it was a pleasure to capture his essence!"

15) Zoë Holman - Kojaque - Knockanstockan - July

Zoë Holman - Kojaque
Photo by Zoë Holman

"This is the photo I'm choosing, because it's one of the gigs I remember most. Some gigs, you shoot totally focused on the image you're getting. Some gigs have such an incredible atmosphere, that you can feel the entire crowds energy and it makes capturing it feel electric. It was one of the most engaged crowds of any festival act I shot this summer. "

16) Imagery by RÓ (Róisín Murphy O'Sullivan) - LE BOOM - District 8 - November 

Imagery by RÓ - Le Boom - District 8

Photo by Róisín Murphy O'Sullivan

"The band I chose was Le Boom and it was shot in District 8 on the 9th of November 2018. January will mark one year since I decided to give photography a go as a career. I chose this photo because it captured the essence of what live music photography is for me, when you look at a photo and you can feel the energy, excitement and passion that person on stage is feeling and also because it contains a very dear person who gave me the courage to go chase my dream."

17) Kieran Frost - Le Galaxie - Indiependence - August

Le Galaxie - Kieran Frost

Photo by Kieran Frost

"I spent the August Bank Holiday weekend running around Deer Farm in Mitchelstown at Indiependence festival. Le Galaxie were the final act to take to the Big Top stage on the Sunday night… at the end of their final song, the Jurassic Park theme tune played, and this was my final frame, which i think summed up a very fun (and hectic) weekend."

18) Kristy Hal - Little Dragon - Beatyard - August

Little Dragon - Kristy Hal

Photo by Kristy Hal

"Preparation, determination and just not giving a fuck." 

19) Olga Kuzmenko - Mantar - Bloodstock Festival - U.K. - August

Mantar - Olga Kuzmenko

Photo by Olga Kuzmenko

"I shot this at the Bloodstock Festival in August. One of the things I love about festivals is discovering new bands. I had never heard of Mantar before; a black metal doom punk band comprised of just a drummer and a guitarist/vocalist. I love the juxtaposition of the aggressiveness of the music with the frail skeletal frame of guitarist/vocalist Hanno Klänhard."

20) Stephen White (The Last Mixed Tape) - Nick Cave - Kilmainham - June

Nick Cave  Kilmainham 2018 - Stephen White - The Last Mixed Tape

Photo by Stephen White

"This may not be the best photo I took in 2018, but it is the most meaningful. For me, photography has always been a passion and a way of communicating visually. I shoot in black and white because I'm colourblind, I shoot live gigs because of my love of music and whenever I shoot I am always looking to capture a moment. However, like a lot of people, I can suffer from burnout which will usually result in me losing sight of that aforementioned passion. 

The day Nick Cave came to town, I felt low. For personal reasons. So, when I got the email informing me that I had been granted a photo pass to shoot one of my musical idols, instead of excitement I felt anxiety. I simply didn't want to go, and I definitely did want to photo anything. I mulled over the email for an hour or so before replying and eventually gave in almost on instinct. I was tired, but something in the back of my mind was driving me. 

Standing in the pit I tried my best to muster up whatever energy I had left after the three days of Forbidden Fruit that had come before, but a less than stellar round of photoing Patti Smith, who was supporting, had left me deflated. She was brilliant, my photos were not. This all changed when Cave appeared. Strutting down a ramp that led right to the crowd barrier he walked as if he was the embodiment of the music that was now blaring behind him. As he moved towards me and the rest of the photographers at the side of the stage, all the tiredness, anxiety etc was overcome with excitement. I don't take many photos when I'm shooting gigs, so I waited as he came closer and closer until he was literally standing right in front of me gesturing to the crowd. I wanted to capture the sense of presence and command he had, so when I began to point at adoring fans waving white roses at him, I took this photo. The rest of the shoot is a blur. 

Afterwards, I walked home with the feeling all live photographers get when they know they've caught something special. It was a hot summer's night as I walked down the Liffey, ears ringing. But in that instance, I remembered why I do whatever it is I do. Those moments are important."

21) Andre Aravena - Nothing But Thieves - The Academy - November

Nothing But Thieves - Andre Shoots - The Academy

Photo by Andre Aravena

"This photo is of Nothing But Thieves in The Academy in November. These guys are one of my favourite bands and getting to shoot them is not something I will forget anytime soon. I took this shot during the second song they played and I'm really happy with how it turned out. I really love how everything in the background is vibrant and alive while the guitarist ( Joe Langridge-Brown ) seems to be frozen in time. This was shot on my Sony A7 III the setting were 1/200 sec, F2.8, 28mm & ISO 2000."

22) Billy Cahill - Otherkin - Electric Picnic - September

Otherkin - Billy Cahill

Photo by Billy Cahill

"Its essential that you get to see Otherkin at some stage in your life (musically speaking.) A young band  with a mission to conquer all in front of them, a fearless foursome with a magnificent frontman in Luke Reilly,  a guitarist with attitude who can walk on air, and he often does exactly that, with help from the legions his loyal fans. 

On the go since 2014 this young band have a very impressive list of gigs in a supporting role to bands like  Guns 'N" Roses at Slane and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. They have taken on numerous home and European festival tours to spread their words and music. Successful EP's and  the wonderful "OK" album followed and most people agree that the only way for them now is megastardom.

Not many bands can claim to have not one but two doctors in their line up so medical emergencies are no bother to these boys. Fantastic to be able to say I shared a stage with Otherkin."

23) Alison Kenny - Pale Waves - The Academy - October

Pale Waves - Alison Kenny - Yellow Lens Photography - The Academy

Photo by Alison Kenny

"Shooting Pale Waves was one of my highlights of my newfound photography venture this year. They were one of my first "favourite bands" I got to shoot which was so exciting for me. As well as that, the entire shoot went so well, from the supports to the main act,  thanks to an incredible light show from start to finish. I was really proud of this silhouette shot of Heather, along with countless others. I found it so hard to only post a few to my Instagram! 
I remember being so buzzed after this shoot and couldn't wait to get out and shoot more and see what would come next!"

24) Anamaria Meiu - Post Malone - Longtitude - July

PostMalone - Anamaria Meiu - Marlay Park Longitude, July 2018

Photo by Anamaria Meiu

25) SNIPER - Rita Ora - Summer In The City Festival - R.D.S. - June

SNIPER Design - Rita Ora

Photo by SNIPER Design

"Rita Ora at Summer in the City, June - a mini day-long festival which also featured John Gibbons, Matoma, Chasing Abbey, Alex & Echoes, and The Chainsmokers at the RDS Dublin."

26) Cathal Mac an Bheatha - Saint Sister - The Olympia - October

Saint Sister - Olympia - Cathal Mac an Bheatha

Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha

"A last minute front row ticket from a friend led to seeing one of my finest gigs of 2018. Saint Sister held the reverent audience spellbound as their rapturous sound filled the auditorium of the Olympia Theatre.

Thankfully, I had my camera in my bag and managed to capture what turned out to be my favourite image of the year. Catching the light behind Morgan made for a ghostly, atmospheric shot - I'm already looking forward to seeing them again."

27) Nicholas O'Donnell - Shame - Tivoli Theatre - November

Nicholas O'Donnell - Shame - Tivoli Theatre

Photo by Nicholas O'Donnell

"This is what live music should be like, people jumping around the stage and giving it socks. Took a number of tries to catch him perfectly in the air."

28) Sarah Ryan - Sigrid - The Olympia Theatre - November

Sarah Ryan Photography - Sigrid - Olympia Theatre

Photo by Sarah Ryan

29) Killian Broderick - Soccer Mommy - The Grand Social - September

Killian Broderick - Soccer Mommy - The Grand Social

Photo by Killian Broderick

"Soccer Mommy released one of my favourite albums of this year so to be able to shoot her was very exciting for me. I think this shot really embodies her spirit and attitude."

30) Ruth Medjber - St. Vincent - Electric Picnic - September

Ruth Medjber - St. Vincent - Electric Picnic

Photo by Ruth Medjber

"On the days I need to be a badass bitch I channel my inner St. Vincent. Seeing her perform at Electric Picnic this year was inspiring. I had originally planned on leaving the fest after her set and heading off for an early night. She inspired me to get back on it, hit the bar and dance til 8am. It was mega hard choosing just one shot from her set. The whole gig was an insane visual delight. I went with this in the end, it's got the power stance, the curled lip, flick of the hair and her intense concentration on shredding."

31) Leah Carroll  - Ty Segall - Tivoli Theatre - June

Leah Carroll  - Ty Segall - Tivoli Theatre

Photo by Leah Carroll

"My favourite shot for 2018 is Ty Segall at The Tivoli Theatre. The mix of the venue and the act really came together. It was a last minute gig cover for The Thin Air and I really didn't know too much about Ty Segall before the gig. The crowd were really into it and the band reacted to their energy, building and building with every song. You could tell the security were a little concerned at the energy from the start, but the crowd were full of good vibes for Ty and he gave it his all. This shot epitomises the absolute bangers that Ty was unleashing on his unrelenting crowd."

32) Dara Munnis - Vulfpeck - The Olympia Theatre - October 2017

Vulfpeck - Dara Munnis

Photo by Dara Munnis

"I took this shot at the first of Vulfpeck’s two sold out shows in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre at the start of October 2017. I had spent the entirety of September on a European bus tour, so these two shows offered a great reason to head back to Dublin to visit my family and also catch up with who are probably my favourite band. I flew in the day before the show, and tragically, my luggage decided not to join me (thanks Vueling!), so, with most my camera gear left behind, I went in to these shows armed with just 1 camera and lone 35mm prime. 

I *love* shooting like this, embracing the limitations and making the most of it. For this particular shot, I had a heads up that guitarist Cory Wong was going to make a surprise appearance in a box for the guitar solo of their song ‘Funky Duck’, and conveniently I had some friends occupying the box directly across from it, so I barged in and set myself up for this somewhat Wes Anderson-esque composition."

Camera settings : 1/200 f/2.0 ISO1600 - Canon 5D3 + EF35 1.4L USM

33) Niall O'Kelly - Vince Staples - Forbidden Fruit Festival - June

Vince Staples - Niall O'Kelly Photography

Photo by Niall O'Kelly

"When it comes to festivals there's a thread with me, I always seem to be drawn to good hip-hop acts, it's completely unintentional, but as it happens, rap artists always seem to end up being the coolest shots from festivals for me, just like Vince Staples right here at Forbidden Fruit!"