Schoolboy Q – Dublin

May 30th, 2014 by

It’s a bit redundant to go on about a gangsta rapper’s chest-beating, but Schoolboy Q does seem fairly sure of himself. He’s already scored a few points with the old Dubs jersey trick, and it’s not long before he tells us we’re making history – that the next time he’s in Ireland “it’ll be in a bigger […]


Doom – Dublin

March 27th, 2014 by

Doom is rap’s most enigmatic character – a cult comic book supervillain whose alter-egos include a powerful sorcerer, genius inventor and a three-headed space monster. It’s funny then to see Metal Face casually ambling onto the Sugar Club stage in a check shirt and maroon cardigan, looking like he’s spent Sunday evening on the couch […]


Icebreaker presents Kraftwerk: A Future Past – Dublin

March 14th, 2014 by

Kraftwerk’s self-curated brand is one of the most rigid in modern music, and the iconic image of Man Machine automatons is crystallised in the current live show — pristine electronic pulses honed with nano scale precision, with the four robots lined up as vector graphic avatars. It’s a universal truth that’s rarely challenged, but Kraftwerk: […]


Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron

March 7th, 2014 by

With all the hype building around the release of Schoolboy Q’s major label debut, he couldn’t help but bow down to gangsta rap peer pressure. A year-and-a-half after his Black Hippy companion Kendrick Lamar’s socially conscious Compton memoir Good Kid, M.A.A.d. City, Q has no problem playing the bad guy. Oxymoron is all about confrontation from […]


Danny Brown – Dublin

March 4th, 2014 by

Danny Brown’s got one foot on the monitor in the Academy, headbanging, lurching forward and pulling out the devil horns, egged on by the swirling mosh pit and flying ping-pong plastic pints. It wouldn’t look out of place if you dubbed some Slayer over the top, instead of stabby synths and stuttery kick drums. It’s […]


Mark McGuire – Along The Way

February 27th, 2014 by

Guitarist Mark McGuire’s first post-Emeralds solo album may take a few listens before you stop sniggering at the back. It’s an “odyssey through the vast, unknown regions of the mind”, according to the inner sleeve ‘preface’. There’s also an 8,000-word narrative arc in four chapters, in case McGuire’s meandering fretwork and ambient synth arpeggios don’t […]


Swans… climbing a ladder to God

August 13th, 2013 by

Michael Gira tells State he’s “just a little braindead”. He’s having a rare day off tour with Swans at his home in upstate New York, ears ringing as he tries to recharge for the short final leg of the band’s world tour, including three shows in Ireland. For 30-odd years Swans have been discussed in […]


Primavera Sound 2013, day three – Barcelona

June 7th, 2013 by

This is the final part of our Primavera Sound 2013 review – parts one and two. Day three begins with a pact to massage the head and turn the dial down a notch, so we set up camp from 4pm in the 3,000 capacity Rockdelux Auditori, the indoor concert space in the spectacular triangular building […]


Primavera Sound 2013, day two – Barcelona

June 6th, 2013 by

This is the second part of State’s Primavera Sound 2013 review. You can read the first part here. A bit of customary second day dilly-dallying means we miss a lot of the hipster Beyoncé, aka Mrs Carter’s little sister Solange at the Pitchfork Stage. Like Jessie Ware on the same stage the previous evening, Solange […]


Primavera Sound 2013, day one – Barcelona

June 5th, 2013 by

There’s a level of smugness and one-upmanship that comes with Irish music fans’ annual pilgrimages to foreign festivals. Most of us are guilty of the gloating Facebook status updates and links to obscure headliners, the revelation that there’s no need to pack wellies, and the wristband that stays on for days after the flight home, […]


!!! – Thr!!!er

April 29th, 2013 by

After spending most of the last decade pogoing in and out of punk-funk/disco-punk circles, !!! (Chk Chk Chk) may have taken the edge off with their fifth album. The California crew’s raucous early records took the ‘Walk This Way’ video template — conjuring up images of jackboots kicking through CBGB’s and gatecrashing into Studio 54 […]


Autechre – Exai

March 22nd, 2013 by

Autechre - Exai

If the copyright ever runs out on the term ‘heavy metal’, Autechre should claim it back from the guitar gods. The future-industrial clang on Exai has a greater metallic yield than any down-tuned Fender, and it would finally help to classify the electronic duo. This being Autechre, Exai’s metallic sheen sound doesn’t evoke oil-caked foundries, […]


Broadcast – Berberian Sound Studio

January 18th, 2013 by

The recording rooms in the movie Berberian Sound Studio could easily be Broadcast’s rehearsal space – a Formica-panelled Aladdin’s cave littered with hanging cables, whirring reel-to-reel tapes, valve oscillators and chunky dials. The studio looks like a spiritual home for the analogue aesthetes, who’ve always been more about Radiophonic Workshop clutter than Kraftwerk austerity. It […]


Swans – Manchester

November 26th, 2012 by

Swans leader Michael Gira once said the band’s mission is to fuck your insides, in “that deep sex death place in your stomach”. The band’s live reputation is a mix of urban myth and early-80s No Wave doctrine: mass seizures, vomiting, perforated eardrums, Gira locking doors and turning off air conditioning, just for starters. After […]