Archive for ‘free music’

January 7, 2013

A rush and a push and 2013 is ours

by sweetoblivion26


Pic: Me/Declan Kelly

When the rush and stress that is the end-of-year best-of lists (all those hyphens is enough to bring me out in a rash) is over, it’s time to start imagining what lies in store for the next 12 months of music.

Being honest, I go through phases with music (and with blogging too, as my haphazard approach proves). Sometimes I’m all about new music, soaking up whatever fresh sounds I can get my ears around; other times I can’t find anything new that excites me, and retreat back to the familiar songs that made me swoon first time around.

There are such distinct emotions associated with those two endeavours that I wonder if each phase maybe reflects how my own life feels during each particular phase. When I’m full of energy and happy to embrace change, I reach for the new stuff; when things are out of sorts and I’m struggling to find balance, I put my hand out and grab the old.

Now that I’m clearly in an introspective mood, it’s this love I have for older music that I sometimes feel is at odds with music blogging. The Irish blogging scene generally tends to be driven by people who have an urge to discover new music and write about it, and that in itself is proof of how hungry we are for new sounds here. That isn’t criticism – and I couldn’t for the life of me imagine how terrible things would be if no one gave a toss about new Irish music – but when I want to write about older music, about old tracks, old albums, old artists, I wonder if doing that is at all appropriate.

If I stopped for a second and thought about it, though, of course it is. Just because this is a ‘new communication platform’ that I’m using, and just because it is often used to share the joy of new music, doesn’t mean we all have to do the same thing. There are blogs dedicated to every single type of music every created scattered around the internet. One little barely-read blog spouting lines about an old Bonnie Prince Billy track isn’t going to put a dent in this charming online world.

So I resolve to, when the mood strikes me (I’m contrary like that), post whatever music I’m listening to that really makes me want to write, to share whatever I’m feeling at the time. I can’t promise that this year I’ll finally ‘crack’ blogging, and I’m not sure if that’s even what I intend to do, but I do know I’ve been slacking of writing about music for the sake of it, and this space is just perfect to scribble in.

So, in the spirit of this, here are some new tracks I’m enjoying right now.

(On a related note, if you’re in an Irish band, you might be interested to hear that I write a monthly column with accompanying podcast for The Ticket in the Irish Times. If you’d like your MP3s considered, drop me a line at

What are you listening to at the moment? All recommendations gratefully received.



Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Big Star

Melody’s Echo Chamber

Caoimhin O Raghallaigh

June 29, 2012

Podcast & Column: NewFound Sounds

by sweetoblivion26

Now is a very exciting time to be involved, in any way, with Irish independent music. It’s not that the music being made now is necessarily better than in times past, or more important, but that the game itself has changed. It is easier and cheaper to access recording materials; it’s easier and cheaper to promote your music thanks to the internet and its numerous iniatives; we still have great venues; the DIY spirit is alive and kicking; and collectives and labels are springing up all over the place.

There is another side to all of these changes, and that’s the uncertainty that surrounds the music industry; the unstable record sales; the cautious big-name record labels; the fast ascent to fame of newborn bands who really needed another few years to ‘find’ themselves before being introduced to the world; the speed at which you can burn away after living fast on a high of blog posts and bandcamp sales. Music is more disposable, and listeners won’t always pay money for it.

And yet…. this isn’t a post about all the difficult parts to this new musical era that we are all still wrangling with, the download-or-don’t debates, the fear, the uncertainty. It’s about the fact that despite all of this, great music is still being made. It’s sometimes overwhelming how much new music floods into my inbox every week.

Some of it is quality, some isn’t. But that’s to be expected with any creative form. There are still a lot of people doing inspiring things, so it’s an honour, really, to get to be involved in spreading the word in some way about them.

Today marks the first monthly NewFound Sounds podcast/column in The Ticket. It’s pretty thrilling – and not a little nerve-wracking, if I’m honest – to get to combine three things I love (radio, writing and music, needless to say) in one package, and have it featured in The Irish Times.  If I’m even more honest, part of me didn’t believe it was actually happening until I woke up this morning and checked the website straight away on my phone (let’s not get into print-versus-web journalism in this post, however…)

But here it is. You can check out the column here, and listen to the podcast here. Any feedback, suggestions or comments welcome. I’m sure it will evolve as it goes on, and I’m really looking forward to finding new bands and themes for it. This month’s podcast features tracks from A Driftwood Manor, I’m Your Vinyl, Horsemen Pass By, SlowPlaceLikeHome and Seamus O Muineachain, who are all making totally different but utterly gorgeous music.

This week’s theme is new music, and the next two, I can tentatively say, will feature Irish bands playing in upcoming festivals. I’m thinking it would be great to focus on Irish metal / hip hop / experimental music in the coming months too, with input from people within those scenes….

All of this wouldn’t be possible without a brilliant editor, so a huge thanks to Anthea McTeirnan for giving NewFound Sounds her stamp of approval and encouragement.

A big thanks also goes to Lauren Murphy, who does the gig guide for the podcast (and put up with me growling ‘gah! noise!!’ into the mic everytime something moved while we were recording it). You’ll hear more of Lauren on future podcasts.

As for the theme music, another huge thanks must go to Toby Kaar, who kindly provided a selection of unreleased tunes for me to pick a song from. Sound! Check his music out here.

PS: If you’re looking for more independent Irish music, here are a few links for you:

Harmless Noise

The G-Man Blog


The Point of Everything

Community of Independents (DOI – I do interviews for them)

On the Record


Body & Soul disposable camera pics & half-frame pic by me

June 27, 2012

Nibiru, You Kiss By The Book, Niamh de Barra

by sweetoblivion26

Yesterday I squinted my way through an interview with the band Nibiru for a Community of Independents shoot at a sunny Bernard Shaw – it will be aired on DCTV on Thursday night, and online the next day. I had this image in my head of Nibiru as grizzly guys in their late 20s/early 30s – and it turns out they were a little more fresh-faced than that.

They are all members of different bands and two of them had just come back from touring Europe with one of their other projects. It never fails to impress me how people can jam, practise, write, tour and record with a number of different bands at the same time – and I say that as  a freelancer who is always juggling a few different things.

Here’s a track by Nibiru to whet your appetite for the interview:

You Kiss By The Book

In other news, Hefty Horse will present a special fundraiser for the band You Kiss By the Book (whose Americana stylings couldn’t be more different than Nibiru’s sound) in July

You Kiss By The Book + Mumblin Deaf Ro+ Hidden Highways
The Grand Social


Wednesday July 11th

That is a pretty sweet line up – entry is €10 with free digital copy of new album and doors are at 8pm.

Here’s more info from the band themselves on their fundraising intiative:

You Kiss By The Book have finished their third album, Family Tree, and are looking to raise some money to give it a physical release. The record was recorded wth the help of Sean Lynch is his recording studio in Cabra, mixed Paul and Fran at Storm Studios and mastered by Stephen Quinn at Anologue Heart.

The money made on the night will go towards releasing the album on CD, which we plan to have out towards the end of July. We will be accepting any extra donations for the album and we will give you a thank you on the liner notes. There will be t-shirts and vinyl available at a discounted price as well.

Niamh de Barra

Finally, Niamh de Barra has released another EP, Below the Sea. Niamh’s music is as dark and atmospheric as always, but this time she has expanded her sound, introducing electronic textures and beats. With its layered vocals and tribal grooves, it’s a treat for the ears.

You can download the album here.

Polaroid & pics by me

March 23, 2012

Some musical things for the weekend

by sweetoblivion26

Happy (almost) weekend! Here’s the latest Sweet Oblivion show (click) and playlist

Artist / Track / Album

THEESatisfaction – Enchantruss – QueenS

Big Star – Ballad of El Goodo – #1 Record

Grandaddy – He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot

Townes van Zandt – Waiting Around To Die

Yawning Chasm – Seen Like A Bird’s Cold Cold Eye – Snarl

Woven Skull – Cattlemart Crows – Moods of the Hill People

Leyland Kirby – A fluid wilderness of nothing – Sadly, the future is no longer what it was (Limited edition)

Áine O’Dwyer – In A Fugue State of Mind – Music For Church Cleaners

Robert Glasper Trio – Mood – Mood

Cogar There Are Dreams Where They Speak

One track I’ll definitely be playing next week is from S Carey, whose new EP ‘Hoyas’ is due out on Jagjaguwar in May. I loved his debut, and this new track is a confident, electronics-tinged progression on the subtly affecting, gently-creeping feel of his earlier work.

Sweet Oblivion will be on 2FM this Sunday at 11pm. It’s the weekly 2XM on 2FM slot and it’s a great one to be included in! I’ll be playing some tracks from the likes of Little Xs for Eyes, Lower Dens, Balam Acab and Orcas.

In other news, this gig sounds extremely interesting: Resound playing the Button Factory on Thursday April 19, doors 730pm and tickets: €12/10.

The gig features Resound, You Can Call Me Frances, Buzz Aldrin Allstars and Ryan Taylor Doyle, and the visuals will be looked after by Donal Dineen, Hector Castells and Jane Cassidy. If you’re wondering who Resound are, they’re a talented bunch indeed:

Crash Ensemble Cellist and Kaleidoscope co-curator, Kate Ellis. RTE Lyric FM composer in residence, Linda Buckley. Rising star aka Glitterface of NanuNanu, Laura Sheeran. Jazz maestro and world music specialistFrancesco Turrisi. The inimitable John Lambert aka Chequerboard. Old-time and traditional fiddle player (amongst other things), Adrian Hart. Words of wisdom from the award winning poet Billy Ramsell and visuals from the uber talented Jane Cassidy.

You can call me Frances is a band of four dancers, Justine Cooper, Jessica Kennedy, Emma Martin and Áine Stapleton, They formed in Dublin in 2010 and taught themselves to play an instrument.

The Buzz Aldrin Allstars are a collection of like-minded musicians from the following bands – Si Schroeder / 3epkano / Halfset / Strands / United Bible Studies / Beautiful Unit.

Finally, Ryan Taylor Doyle says he is a solo artist “after years of trying to put the perfect band together and failing miserably”.

Finally, I’m currently putting a feature together for The Ticket on Limerick, and if you’re in the Limerick area on Sunday then I highly recommend you head to A Love Supreme in Leddins Bar, where the Cork Shape Note Singers will be performing. It’s a daytime event (4pm – 8pm) that promises to be the perfect place to raise your spirits and invigorate yourself for the week ahead. More info here.

One of the organisers behind the event is mynameisjOhn, who has just released a video for one of the tracks from his new EP:

Pics: From my Golden Half

February 11, 2012

Latest Sweet Oblivion shows plus playlists…

by sweetoblivion26

Hey folks, here’s a little update on the most recent Sweet Oblivion shows.

You can listen to them all on the RTÉ Radio Player, which is a really handy addition to the site.

Here’s the link to the most recent show – if you click through to this, you will then be given the option to listen to even more Sweet Oblivion shows. Just click on ‘Listen Back Further’.

As always, thanks to everyone who listens in, I couldn’t do the show without you.

Here are the playlists for the most recent shows:

[Artist – Track – Album]

9 February 2012 (click)

Jens Lekman – 17 Maple Leaves [7′ Version]

Cloud Nothings – Fall In – Attack on Memory

Wild Nothing – Nowhere

Sharon Van Etten – Serpents  – Tramp

PJ Harvey  – This Mess We’re In – Stories from the city, stories from the sea

Ghost Estates – October

mynameisjOhn –  The Cumulative Recorder – The Thinker & The Prover EP

Twin Terrace –  You Keep Coming Back – Twin Terrace

Kim V Porcelli – I Want Your Love – Chic

Mark Lanegan – Harborview Hospital – Funeral Blues

Sufjan Stevens – Casimir Pulaski Day – Come on Feel the Illinoise

Benoit Pioulard – Ailleurs – Lyon

Olafur Arnalds – Film Credits – Living Room Songs

Deadball Specialists – Trapatoni’s Men – Wingnut Fundraiser EP

2 February 2012 (click)

Kayfabe – Bicycle Day In The Cosmos

Peaking Lights –  All the Sun That Shines – 936

Logikparty – Anti Omerta

ESG – Erase You

Fela Kuti – Everything Scatter (Toby’s Indigo Edit)

Arthur Russell – See Through Love

Blonde Redhead – Melody – Misery is a Butterfly

Bill Ryder-Jones  – Leaning From The Steep Slope – If

Sharon Van Etten – Serpents  – Tramp

Wild Nothing – Nowhere

07-Perfume Genius – Dark Parts – Put Your Back N 2 It

Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It – Put Your Back N 2 It

Songs of Green Pheasant – Deaf Sarah – Soft Wounds

26 January 2012 (click)

Perfume Genius – All Waters –  Put Your Back N 2 it

Kayfabe – Bicycle in the Cosmos

Nicolas Jaar – And I Say (ft. Scou Larue and Will Epstein)

Come on Live Long – White Horses  (REID Remix)

Simon Bird – Nightcall (Kavinsky Cover) – Quompilation #2 

Slow Place Like Home – Carte Blanche – Coastal Hubs for Chivalry

Bantum – Elephants and Time – Come on Live Long Remix

Mark Lanegan-  Ode to Sad Disco – Funeral Blues

Lower Dens – Brains

Perfume Genius – Hood – Put Your Back N 2 it

Perfume Genius – Normal Song – Put Your Back N 2 it

Elliott Smith – Rose Parade – Either Or

Orcas – Carrion

19 January 2012 (click)

Yawning Chasm – Stars are Going Out

Peter Delaney – If You Become Impossible – Duck Egg Blue

Marisa Nadler –  Box of Cedar – Ballads of living and dying

Sharon Van Etten – Love More – Serpents

The Unthanks – Nobody Knew She Was There – Here’s the Tender Coming

Orcas – Carrion

Band of Clouds – No Maps No Compass – Outside Broadcast

A Winged Victory for the Sullen – We Played Some Open Chords and Rejoiced, for the Earth Had Circled the Sun Yet Another Year

The Caretaker – Tiny Gradiations Of Loss (excerpt)

Brigid Power Ryce – Wild Grin

Gillian Welch – Everything is Free –  Time (The Revelator)

Mary Margaret O’Hara – Body’s in Trouble – Miss America

12 January 2012

Songs of Green Pheasant – Teen Wolf – Soft Wounds

Songs of Green Pheasant – For People – Soft Wounds

Seamus O Muineachain – Down I Go – Between Islands

Band of Clouds – So Long Bitter Root Hill – Outside Broadcast


The Lives of Millionaires – Chrysalis

The Star Department – Antlers

Logik Party – Anti Omerta

Slow Place Like Home – More Chlorine in the Gene Pool – Coastal Hubs for Chivalry EP

Toby Kaar – Fela Kuti – Everything Scatter (Toby’s Indigo Edit)

Faws – Camille – Antonym

5 January 2012

Mitten – Similar Sense- See You Bye

Toro y Moi – New Beat – Underneath the Pine

M83 –  Midnight City – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming

Kuedo – Ant City – Kuedo

THEESatisfaction –  Do You Have Time – Transitions

Hauschka – TwoAM – Salon Des Amateurs

A Winged Victory for the Sullen – Steep Hills of Vicodin Tears – s/t

Olafur Arnalds – Fyrsta – Living Room Songs

Dirty Beaches –  True Blue – Badlands

Widowspeak – In the Pines – Widowspeak

Arborea – Phantasmagoria in Two

Low – Especially Me – C’mon

Meg Baird – Share – Seasons On Earth

Gillian Welch – Tennessee – The Harrow and the Harvest

January 20, 2012

Lightbox tour, Rest & Ten Past Seven gig, new Daniel Rossen song

by sweetoblivion26

The past two years have seen a huge rise in the amount of young electronic musicians emerging from their bedrooms and plonking themselves onto blogs, radio shows and into the ears of many.

It’s not like Ireland wasn’t a place for great electronic-based music before, but it’s very easy now to get your hands on the software needed to make purely electronic tracks, and even easier to get your music online and into people’s heads. You don’t even have to release a full album – look at Toby Kaar, who is wowing people on the strength of a handful of official tracks, great remixes and awesome live shows.

That all brings me to Feel Good Lost, and the Fundit campaign set up for this Cork-based duo’s new project, The Lightbox Tour.

This tour will involve a number of young Irish producers – here’s what Brendan Canty of Feel Good Lost had to say about it:
We are organising a short Irish tour taking in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway, Belfast and Waterford over a week at the end of February. The tour will have 7 acts wich include Bantum,Feel Good LostMontoReidSert OneSimon Bird and Tenaka.

The tour will go under the banner ‘Lightbox’ as each of the acts perform using visual based music hardware such as Monomes, Kaoss Pads, APCs and iPads. Feel Good Lost will be providing live visuals for each of the acts over each of the nights.

Workshops will be staged before each night which will allow people to come and see how each of the acts interacts with the software/hardware so as to provide an even more interactive elements to the nights.

Each night will also host DJ sets in secondary rooms which will include guest DJs such as Nialler9, Jim Carroll, Logicparty and Ian Malaney as well as several of the featured acts.

Ten Past Seven/Rest gig
Two Cork-based bands are teaming up to play in a nicely unusual venue: Rest & Ten Past Seven will play at WRKSHP, which is based in Sample Studios. This in turn is based in the Old FÁS Building in Cork on the second floor and is a great example of an abandoned space being used for a creative purpose.

The gig will take place in Cork on Saturday, February 4 and admission so far is TBC but I will update as soon as it is confirmed.

This is instrumental rockers Rest and Ten Past Seven first co-headlining bill since 2006 (I feel a bit old reading that!).

They say that the capacity for the show will be very limited, so you can expect to get up close and personal with Corkonians on the night. I expect it will be intense!


Ten Past Seven:

To find out more, visit:

Daniel Rossen

Finally, here’s the new tune from Daniel Rossen,  he of Grizzly Bear/Department of Eagles fame. It’s sweet, it’s piano-based, and it’s suitably minor-key-mournful for all us Grizzly Bear fans out there.

You’ll find it on his solo debut Silent Hour/Golden Mile, which will be released on 16 March this year.

January 13, 2012

Pick n’ Mix: Choice Music Prize, Out on a Limb Records, Winged Victory for the Sullen

by sweetoblivion26

It’s Friday, so how about a little catch up on what’s been going on this week? Music, radio, juicing (!) and more are included here.

Choice Music Prize

By now, we all know that The Choice Music Prize nominees have been announced – was your pick in there? I have to say that I’m delighted to see Tieranniesaur and Patrick Kelleher and His Cold Dead Hands in there, and overall the list is really solid. It’s never going to satisfy everyone, and it’s nigh on impossible to put together a list of 10 nominees that every single person will be happy with.

I did have fears based on the new sponsors, Meteor, given how disconnected the old Meteor Awards were from the Irish independent music scene, but overall the decisions here are down to the judges, a very trustworthy and knowledgeable gang.

That said, it is perhaps inevitable that the music would all come from one corner of the Irish music scene – I wonder how this could be remedied, or should it be up to other awards ceremonies to reward the best albums in Irish hip hop, metal, trad, etc?

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Free music: Out on a Limb Records

Out on a Limb Records have been giving away free downloads of albums from their back catalogue all during the week. So far, Owensie, Windings and Giveamanakick have been featured. Who is on offer today? Check out their website and twitter for more info.

Free music: Orcas

Orcas is the new musical project by duo Rafael Anton Irisarri (The Sight Below) and Benoit Pioulard. The first inklings that they were working together came when they released a haunting cover of the Broadcast song Until Then, in tribute to the late Broadcast musician Trish Keenan. Now they’re back with their first original release, which is available for free download (see below). Combining their ambient sensibilities and love for layered, ghostly sounds, Carrion is both stark and beautiful. Expect a full album later this year.

via Self-Titled Mag

Katie Kim

Fancy listening to some incredible old Katie Kim songs? Check out VAULTS Vol 1, which is only available to buy on tape during her forthcoming tour, and is on Bandcamp now for your listening pleasure.

Walpurgis Family

I achieved one of my dreams a few months ago when I got to sing as part of a small ‘choir’ for a song on the Walpurgis Family album. The album, Dawn, is released this month and it has already gotten a rave review from Patrick Freyne in Hotpress, who really knows his stuff.  Here’s Let’s Go Camping from the album – listen closely and you might hear me (ha!). Congrats to Jeroen and Popical Island on the release!

Accessible venues

Is your favourite venue fully accessible to all people of all abilities? You might be surprised to hear the truth about whether wheelchair-users can get to gigs in their favourite haunts, as this fantastic article by Louise Bruton in The Ticket in the Irish Times shows today. Good on Louise for highlighting this!

Many venues tick the boxes but do not go further than the token requirements. The wheelchair area often has a restricted view or limits you to having one mate with you, even if you’re with a gaggle of mates.

First Fortnight

This great event, which aims to challenge mental health prejudice through creative arts, brings Royseven, Cashier No9, Le Galaxie and dREA together at The Button Factory at 8.30pm on Saturday night. More info here.

Whelan’s: Ones to Watch

What homegrown acts should you be listening to in 2012? Whelan’s have put on a showcase aiming to tell you just that. The gigs have been going since Wednesday, and run until tomorrow (Saturday), when the following bands play:






Dying Seconds


Holy Roman Army

The Gandhis

Come On Live Long

Nanu Nanu

Trap Door

Futures Apart


Gypsies OnThe Autobahn

Hush War Cry

My tips are Nanu Nanu, Depravations, Alarmist, Bouts, and Come On Live Long – but heck, it’s a bloody great list of bands.


I love Radiolab in a big way – it’s like the younger, more rambunctious sibling of This American Life. Its latest show is about the bad things that people do, like, er, commit murder. Expect to feel very informed (and a bit wary of humanity) after listening to this.

Elastic Witch

Gib from the independent record store Elastic Witch had a chat with me for this week’s Sweet Oblivion. You can listen to it by following the link here.

Gig of the Week

My gig of the week next week is definitely going to be A Winged Victory for the Sullen. They play the Sugar Club on Thursday 19 January and it’s going to be a guddun’. Tickets are just €13.50 and you can find out more here.

Drink yr Juice

Courtesy of the great Home Organics, a blog post about juicing for all you vegaholics out there.

Instant Love

This looks great – it’s a book about taking photos with Polaroid cameras, and it comes out in May. I’m doing one of Susannah Conway‘s photography e-courses at the moment and loving it.  It’s really changing the way I see things, even if I’ll never be the next Cartier-Bresson ;)

Jon Cohen interview

Montreal-based musician Jon Cohen is playing Ireland next week – Dublin’s Grand Social on Friday 20 January to be exact. If you’re a fan of Brendan Benson, The Dears, and Broken Social Scene, I think you’ll really dig his stuff.

Here’s a link to the interview I did with him for Thumped.

Dirty Beaches

Finally, I’ll leave you with this video from Dirty Beaches. I really love his stuff and so does Cohen – we had a chat about how he really wears his influences on his shirt sleeve, and yet manages to maintain his own originality.

His album Badlands and other releases can be found on Bandcamp.

Here’s the video for his song True Blue:

What have you been enjoying this week?

January 8, 2012

New Irish music: Seamus O Muineachain, Band of Clouds, Songs of Green Pheasant

by sweetoblivion26

These days, I find myself playing more and more Irish music on the show – more and more Irish songs that I adore. So much so that in planning this week’s show I’ve realised I won’t have any room for anything outside of Ireland (plus I’ll have an interview hopefully on the show too, with an Irish music-making and music-supplying person, all going to plan).

It’s a wonderful way to be, particularly as Sweet Oblivion is not an Irish-only show, and I try not to confine my playlists by location/gender/genre/etc. I try to be mindful and have some balance there, but it’s got to be something I really like or love (and/or think others will love) before I play it.

Here are two recent releases from Irish musicians that I’m particularly enjoying, and one from an Irish label.  I love the atmosphere that they create, and I think you will too.

I’ve played tracks from Galway-based Jimmy Monaghan aka Seamus O Muineachain on the show consistently throughout the year (and was absolutely chuffed and surprised when he asked to use a photo I took on the cover of one of them).  I got the first EP out of the blue, and hadn’t realised that Seamus was Jimmy of Music for Dead Birds, one of the many great bands to have released albums on the Rusted Rail label.

So I literally listened to it blind, so to speak, and was blown away. It was magical. Later, I met Jimmy while interviewing the equally prolific Tony Higgins – but I didn’t actually realise his identity as ‘Seamus’ until after the interview. “You’re HIM!?’ was my reaction when I found out.

Here’s his third EP, and as usual it is available for free download. While keeping the focus on the piano, Jimmy has added more musical flourishes to these tracks compared to the previous EPs – a scatter of cymbals, a rather yearning violin and a touch of electronics to add drama.

On the subject of bands who released on Rusted Rail, the next album to come from the micro-label, which is run by Keith Wallace, is ‘Soft Wounds’ by Songs of Green Pheasant. The delicate, double-tracked vocals and plaintive horns on opener Teen Wolf had me hooked from first listen.

Made by Sheffield-based Duncan Sumpner, this is the 4- and 8-tracked album of your dreams, if you love nothing better than sinking into an aural bed of softly-sung, lo-fi, feathery goodness. It’s pop, in the most understated sort of sense. If the B-section of your record shelves contains Bedhead, Beirut, and Belle and Sebastian, you’ll want Soft Wounds to do your ears some subtle damage.

Find out more – and pre-order before its January 12th release – here.

Keeping with releases that are perfect for grey winter nights in, the Band of Clouds album is another one for you sensitive types. When you’re listening to this, close your eyes and pretend that John Haggis and friends have gathered in your home to play you these songs. The lights are dimmed, the turf fire is blazing, and outside there’s a storm a-gatherin’.

Outside Broadcast is the perfect companion to Songs of Green Pheasant and Seamus O Muineachain, because there is a similar energy running through it, one that you can feel in the pit of your stomach.  It’s perfect winter listening because, just like the other releases, it has a smudge of mournfulness on it, a sadness that’s simmering beneath.

It’s no surprise, really, given its genesis:

John Haggis pieced this long player together while he was recovering from an operation which helped him to walk again. No longer able to play music live with his friends, hiding away and making this album became a music therapy of sorts.

The album was made by John, who’s from Granny It’s Ok To Experiment studio in Waterford, and features a host of acts including Katie Kim and Deaf Joe.

It’s just 7 euro to download the digital version of Outside Broadcast, or 10 euro for the CD/vinyl.

Happy listening! Let me know if you enjoy any or all of the above releases.

I’ll be playing tracks from all of these on Sweet Oblivion this Thursday at 5pm, on RTE 2XM.

December 1, 2011

Two years

by sweetoblivion26

My radio show, Sweet Oblivion, has been broadcast on RTÉ 2XM for more than two years now (it goes out at 5pm on Thursdays), but up until recently the only way you could listen back to an old show was if I uploaded the show to

That was fine and all – but I can’t afford a costly subscription to the site so I could only fit 12 episodes on there at any given time.

So I’m over the moon to say that RTÉ’s recently launched Radio Player features 2XM shows, all broadcast on a high-quality stream.

Here’s the link to my most recent show (click).

If you want to listen to older shows (they’re archived for the past month and a half, no earlier than that unfortunately) to the left of my toothy face is a link that says ‘Listen back further’.

I’ll be putting my set lists up here as there’s currently no facility to do that on the player.

If you have any feedback, requests or otherwise, please tweet me or comment here.

I really appreciate when anyone takes the time to listen to my show, so thanks to my longstanding and new listeners. And thanks to the bands who send in their music – you all rock.

The show’s on tonight at 5pm and features Minnie Riperton, Marvin Gaye, PJ Harvey, THEESatisfaction and lots more… but in the meantime:

Here’s the setlist for Sweet Oblivion // 24 November

Twin Sister – All Around and Away We Go – Color Your Life EP

Burrows – Milk and Glass – In Winter


Kuedo – Ant City – Severant


M83 – Wait -Hurry Up we’re dreaming

Benoit Pioulard – I walked into a blackness and built a fire – Lyon


Laura Sheeran – Save Your Heart – Murderous Love EP

Bill Ryder-Jones – By the Church of Apollonia – If…

Rachel’s – A French Galleasse – Selenography


A Winged Victory for the Sullen – Minuet for a Cheap Piano – AWVFTS

Olafur Arnalds – Fyrsta – Living Room


Come on Live Long – White Horses – Mender

Girl Band – Elastic – Girl Band


Peaking Lights – All the Sun that Shines – 936

June 18, 2011

Focus on Galway: Rusted Rail, Brigid Power Ryce, So Cow & Yawning Chasm

by sweetoblivion26

Ah, Galway. I’ve had visions of this little city running through my head for the past few weeks, all because of a series of interviews I did for the Irish Times‘ music supplement The Ticket a few weeks ago. The article came out yesterday – you can read it here – but due to word counts I simply couldn’t include everything I spoke to people about.

Usually that’s not an issue – I’ve worked in this business long enough to know you just have to forget about what you cut to make your word count, like scraps of scribbled-on paper thrown in a bin. It’s just part of the job.

But I enjoyed doing these interviews so much, and felt so welcomed into the fold when I visited Galway, that I’ve decided to put some longer versions of these interviews on the blog. There is so much going on in Galway at the moment; for such a relatively small city there are great little pockets of people working away at their music, putting on gigs in their own homes, setting up nights to bring more Irish music to the city, even buying their own vinyl-pressing machines so they can press their own records.

Yet at the same time, Galway isn’t necessarily the place people flock to for gigs – except for the Roisin Dubh, which has a fantastic reputation in Ireland and abroad, people don’t tend to visit the West for gigs unless for special occasions, like the upcoming Galway Arts Festival. This can be reflected in the audience numbers at the smaller local gigs, where I’d venture they don’t always get full houses.

Will Oldham playing the Roisín Dubh a few years ago

While not having a jammed-to-the-rafters gig doesn’t indicate that your gig is of a low quality, people can get discouraged when they feel that their work is being taken for granted. It’s great to have your work acknowledged and to feel that you are making a contribution to the local ‘scene’ or scenes, even on a very small scale.


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