Low, Arthur Russell, Lord Huron, Benoit Pioulard

Pic by me, Dublin There are few things better than going through a phase of listening to the same artist for a week after not listening to them for quite a long time. That immediate feeling when you put on the first track is like a restorative sigh – you can instantly relax into that blissful space where every note, every beat is deliciously familiar. With that in mind, here’s some Arthur Russell for your ears. Thanks to his intense work ethic and ability to create music spanning a number of genres, you can listen to him if you’re in … Continue reading Low, Arthur Russell, Lord Huron, Benoit Pioulard

Sam Jackson, David Turpin, Christian Bookshop

A pic I took of Sarah Grimes of September Girls before a Community of Independents interview  There are two new (and radically different) albums out now that I’d love to draw your attention to. One of the bands, Christian Bookshop, have featured on the blog before. A duo of Jimmy Monaghan and Aisling Walsh, they’re based in the West and have just released their self-titled debut album. Like many good things, it’s available on Bandcamp: Rather charmingly, these timeless folk songs were recorded “over two weeks in a pantry in Belmullet, Co Mayo“. The domestic setting seems to have imbued … Continue reading Sam Jackson, David Turpin, Christian Bookshop

Nibiru, You Kiss By The Book, Niamh de Barra

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 … Continue reading Nibiru, You Kiss By The Book, Niamh de Barra

Real church music: Áine O’Dwyer

I’m not really a religious person, but I’m no atheist either. Maybe you’d call me spiritual – or just plain indecisive – but whatever it is, I believe there’s something other than ourselves out there. With that in mind, when I listen to a piece of music that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and a shiver run down my spine, I feel a jolt of something that can’t be described in words. Some people believe that spaces are marked with the invisible fingerprints of those who once passed through them, and that music made … Continue reading Real church music: Áine O’Dwyer

Donal Dineen, Irish music, and whether radio really matters

Does radio really matter? Does it matter to you, to me, to him, to her, to bands, to venues and listeners and dancers and writers?

Of course it does, you might say.

But does it really? It wasn’t that long ago when the only way you could hear a new track was to tune in to a specific show at a specific time; before Bandcamp and SoundCloud, before blogs and mp3s, you had to wait for music. Now, music is everywhere. Rustle the cyber-branches of the internet and mp3s will fall on your head; two listless clicks and you have a free song in your Downloads folder. With or without the band’s permission.

Radio is an intimate, vital force. The presenter is a curator, handpicking music they love and that they want you to love too. They search and find, paw and poke through shelves and boxes, because they know you like to do that too. They want your feedback; they want to speak to you. With you.

That’s what Donal Dineen does, what all great, talented, special radio presenters do. They invite you in. They open the door, hand you a mug of tea, and sit you down. Or they tuck you in, give you a book, tell you to breathe out. They offer you this chance to escape for an hour, or two, to dive into an aural world with them, to share with them.

Continue reading “Donal Dineen, Irish music, and whether radio really matters”

Focus on: Stop/Run

It never fails to amaze me how many people are creating beautiful, challenging and eye-opening music in Ireland. And in turn, it never fails to amaze me how many people get up off their arses and put on unusual gigs, or unique events, simply with the aim of bringing new sounds to people and exploring the realms of music and performance. There’s a real feeling in the air these days when it comes to Irish music events that if you can imagine it, it is possible. And this is being exploited in a wonderful way by those who call Ireland’s … Continue reading Focus on: Stop/Run

New Independent Record Store: Wingnut Records, Galway

If you’re in Galway and in the mood to buy some records, you now have a new independent record store to visit – following the closure of Redlight Records a few years back, and the recent liquidation of the Zhivago Records chain , Wingnut Records is the newest local record store on the block. (There is also HMV, but that’s not an independent store). Wingnut is based in Bell Book & Candle, which is a treasure trove with lots classic books and old VHS tapes – I’d highly recommend a visit there. I used to go to Bell, Book & … Continue reading New Independent Record Store: Wingnut Records, Galway