Monday, 31 October 2011

Mixtape: Irish Halloween Anthems!

I wasn't going to do a Halloween mix but seeing as this is an Irish festival which has gone global it seems only right to share some spooky songs with a loose Halloween connection!

The Cranberries - Zombie:

Zombie Live by The Cranberries

The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra - Devil & Me:

03 Devil & Me by bplo

David Hope - See The Ghost:

See The Ghost by David Hope

The Ambience Affair - Devil in the Detail:

The Ambience Affair - Devil In The Detail by The Certain Three

Miss Paula Flynn - Ghost in my Car:

Ghost In My Car by Miss Paula Flynn

Arrow in the Sky - Ghost Town:

Ghost Town by arrowinthesky

Owensie - Dark Place:

Owensie: Dark Place by OOAL

Roesy - Shake The Devil Down:

Shake the devil down - 'Colour Me Colourful' (N4 Records 2006) by roesymusic

Fia Rua - Darkness:

Darkness (Demo) by Fia Rua

Fionn Regan - Violent Demeanor

HVNLP75CD Fionn Regan - Violent Demeanour by heavenlyrecordings

Entheos - Ghost on the Stairs:

Entheos - Ghost on the Stairs by briankilloran

The Pogues - Whiskey You're The Devil:

The Pogues - Whiskey You're the Devil by kizen6

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Album Review: Lisa Hannigan - Passengers

Lisa Hannigan is one of Ireland's best songwriters. Her second album 'Passingers' contain a number of amazing tracks which can only be admired and adored. Unfortunately theses wonderful tune sit among the ordinary!

Lisa Hannigan joins with James Vincent McMorrow and Villagers to raise the bar even higher in terms of musical composition, instrumentation and style. 'Passengers' is a deep artistic album which contains some great tunes that deserve your attention.

These include the epic opener 'Home', the current single 'Knots' and the sublime gorgeous 'Paper House'. In fact 'Paper House' is one of my favourite songs of the year. The vocals, strings and lyrics of 'Paper House' create a wonderful charming song. The other song I love is the love song 'Nowhere To Go' which almost deserves a review on it's own.

With all this positivity 'Passengers' you would think that it should be my album of the year. I find that some of the songs go nowhere in particular for me. A song like 'A Sail' brings to mind looking at a Monet on a wall and admiring it without being able to delve into it and really appreciate it's beauty. Even Ray Lamontagne's cameo fails to entice me on the track 'O Sleep'. Sometimes the lyrics get lost when the vocals get intense and for many of the songs I'm not a 'Passenger' in the song's journey.

However, 'Paper House', 'Nowhere To Go' and 'Home' are still epic tunes that you need to check out!

Lisa Hannigan - Passenger [10 out of 12]

Lisa Hannigan- Knots by MMMusic

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Album Review: Maria Byrne & The Broken String - Little Basement

'Little Basement' is the debut album from London based Corkonian Maria Byrne and it's a wonderful collection of inoffensive singalong songs which brings a warm glow into my life.

Charming, delicate and honest are three words I'll be using a lot to describe Maria Byrne's fabulous debut album 'Little Basement'. It's probably my most listened to album so far this year as I was fortunate enough to get a sample copy way back early in the Summer. The singalong chorus 'All You Need' has been the soundtrack to my family's Summer when played in the car.

The standout track is the warm charming 'Winter'. I love the slow piano introduction and the heartbreaking lyrics.
"Won't you come with me, closer on my pillow, won't you come with me, keep me warm in the Winter".
So simple, yet honest and full of warmth. I also love the strings at the end of the track. If there was any justice in the world this song would be all over the radio!

Winter - Maria Byrne & The Broken String by maria_byrne

The other amazing song from 'Little Basements' is 'Once Upon A Time in London'. The track resonates around Maria's vocals and lyrics with the instrumentation lifting the lyrics to the fore. It's a gorgeous track.

The lead single from the album is 'Home' which is an up-tempo good time folk song and can be bought here. Other tracks of note include 'Jack', the title track and the already mentioned catchy as anything 'All You Need'.

All You Need - Maria Byrne & The Broken String by maria_byrne

Little Basements is an honest, delicate, charming album which has the ability to bring colour into an Autumn day in Ireland!

Maria Byrne & The Broken String - Little Basement [11 out of 12]

Maria headlines Upstairs in Whelans on Thursday October 27th with support from comedian Maeve Higgins. Full details here:

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Album Review: Shayne Thomas Byrne - Magnolia

Strong debut album from Mullingar's Shayne Thomas Byrne. Magnolia consists of seven varied tracks of the highest quality in the folk/rock genre.

The album kicks off with a short piano track leading into the title track. I admit the album doesn't begin well as the lyrics describe dancing with Nancy Spain and drinking Whiskey in the rain! I'm thinking .... oh-no is this a poor Mundy/Damien Dempsey tribute! Thankfully that thought disappears before the end of the track as the song develops into an enriching story of love and loss with a great chorus and fantastic backing vocals.

The next three tacks are sublime. The Long Road Ahead, Walk Away and in particular Always are songs of great depth and they feature the wonderful vocals of Kathleen Mahon. Her contribution on the track 'Always' invokes comparisons to Natalie Merchant.

Always by shaynebyrnemusic

It must be said that Shayne's vocals are limited but pleasing on the ear. His lyrics are well tuned and the musicianship is excellent throughout. For me the best track on Magnolia is the moody 'Telescopic Conversations' which just rolls on nicely with some wonderful guitar rifts from around the three minute mark.

Telescopic Conversations by shaynebyrnemusic

'Magnolia' is a gutsy debut which has it's special moments [Always and Telescopic Conversations] and it's dodgy moments. The songs are well written but the main vocal style lets the lyrics down on some tracks. There's a lot of promise shown here but I'd have loved an extra couple of tracks on the album. As it stands 'Magnolia' feels more of a mini-album or long EP. In general 'Magnolia' is an album you should check out!

Shayne Thomas Byrne - Magnolia [8 out of 12]

Amhrán Gach Lá - Eleanor McEvoy

Eleanor McEvoy is currently on tour in the UK supporting her new solo album entitled 'Alone'. It's like a 'Best of ..' in an intimate format and includes all her best songs like Sophie, Just for the Tourists and Only A Woman's Heart.

Buy the album here:

Have a listen to two of the tracks here:

You'll Hear Better Songs by noblepr

"Harbour" by Eleanor McEvoy by noblepr

Tour Dates: UK with Sharon Shannon

Tuesday 18 Band on the Wall Manchester

Wednesday 19 Rescue Rooms Nottingham

Sunday 23 Glee Club Birmingham

Monday 24 Thekla Bristol

Tuesday 25 Union Chapel London



Friday 4 The Helix, Dublin

Thursday 10 Hole in the Wall, Kilkenny

Eleanor McEvoy is one of the most entertaining musicians to follow on Twitter and can be found here:!/eleanormcevoy

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Amhrán Gach Lá - I Draw Slow

I'm going to be at The Venue Theatre, Ratoath this Saturday night to see the amazing 'I Draw Slow'.

Check out this video entitled 'Swans' recorded 'live' on a hill in south Dublin in one take with 5 microphones, directed by Hugh O'Conor.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Amhrán Gach Lá - Shouting at Planes

Cavan's 'Shouting at Planes' are playing the 'Hooley in the Park' festival this weekend in Mullagh, Co. Cavan. It's not a bad line-up but at €25 a tad expensive!

Here's the press info: "‘The Stunning’ will headline on the Saturday evening with support from Republic Of Loose, The Flaws, Ham Sandwhich, Riptide Movement, TKO, Shouting At Planes, Sa La V plus many more. Gates open at 3pm with the first band taking to stage at 4pm. ‘The Stunning’ will take to the stage at 10pm. Full bar facilities will be on site (subject to license). Tickets for Oct 15th are €25 + booking fee’s and are available from ticket master outlets nationwide or from the box office on site from Sept 7th"

Oh on the Sunday for €20 you get to see Jedward & lots of other x-factor wannabees!

To The Sea - Shouting At Planes by Shouting At Planes

Monday, 10 October 2011

Amhrán Gach Lá - Kiernan McMullan

On Thursday night while Dublin music fans were celebrating the opening night of Hard Working Class Heros, Kiernan McMullan was performing in Boyles of Slane.

I can genuinely say that Kiernan is the most talented guitarist and songwriter I've met. His performance was simply phenomenal and if there's one act you must check out from reading this blog let it be Kiernan McMullan!

'Like' him here:

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Introducing: A Mix of New Irish Bands #4

Every fortnight I'm going to share the new music I find with you in a compilation Mix post. This is number four and features some particularly good bands!



Wiltz is a fine Wicklow three piece instrumental post-rock band who have put their debut self-titled EP onto bandcamp for free downloading! WHat I hear you say ANOTHER instrumental post-rock band from Ireland? Yeah but I like this music in a 'God is an Astronaut' style!



Donegal's traditional Irish band Fidil was formed in 2008, after the launch of the critically acclaimed duet album of the same name by Aidan O’Donnell and Ciarán Ó Maonaigh. Their bringing gutsy Irish trad into a whole new era!

Fidil - Hudi's by IASCA


Allie Bradley

Belfast's Allie Bradley makes enriched radio friendly pop and has two EPs released already. Think on the lines of an Irish Amiee Mann. Allie is definitely someone to check out live in the future.

Elliott by Allie Bradley


The Needables

I love the band's bio: "The Needables are Beat and Floyd Needable, both former fishermen, both former members of a cartoon themed barbershop quintet, and both men living lives of blissful ignorance, who, on two non-simultaneous occasions, woke up to the realisation that the strings of their hearts made a kinda country twang." Brilliant! An Americana Irish rock band are few and far between and The Needables are a very good band indeed!

Beauty From A Kiss by The Needables


Declan Kelly

There is a place in this world for instrumental music like this produced by Galway's Declan Lynch. That is all!

Krakatoan Rebuttal by DeclanQKelly


Like There's No Tomorrow

LTNT is the solo band/album by Anthony Mackey, usually found in Ireland's stubborn hard rocking rock band Large Mound. Listening to the album brings to mind US indie band nostalgia. For fans of Yo la Tengo, early REM, They Might Be Giants etc.

Like There's NO Tomorrow - Last Chance by anthonymackey

Buy the album:


Fear of Folk

It's a bit tricky to write about 'Fear of Folk' as info on the band is a pit patchy and I only have one mp3 [sent directly to me] to make judgments. The track while not making me enthusiastic shows that the band 'Fear of Folk' has a a great future in the American/Country genre!!/pages/Fear-of-Folk/197877423592919?sk=wall


My Pilot

I've a habit of leaving the best until the very last! The music on My Pilot's first two EPs interest me greatly. My Pilot is an alternative rock band but there are some sublime sounds within the EPs such as my favourite 'Innocent Grace':

My Pilot - Innocent Grace by My Pilot