Time is flying! The 2010 IMRO Showcase Tour is one month old now and this week sees it pay two visits to Derry for dates at Masons and The Cellar, as well as a trip to Kildare’s Late Lounge in-between. Altogether, a whopping 16 acts will be involved, making this the busiest week of the tour…
Thursday, April 15th – Masons, Derry (in association with Smalltown America)
The Wonder Villains
At the tender age of 17, the Wonder Villains are already garnering comparisons to Ellie Goulding and Little Boots with their synthy indie-pop. They’ve landed support slots for Oppenheimer and Duke Special and are also scheduled to open for New Young Pony Club in Belfast later this month. The trio’s debut single, ‘Oh Peter’, is being praised across the board and is receiving airplay on BBC Radio in Northern Ireland.
MP3: The Wonder Villains – ‘Oh Peter’
No Mean City
No Mean City have wasted no time in getting their act together. Formed only a matter of months ago, the Derry-based quartet have already released an EP and are maintaining a rigorous gigging schedule. Meaty guitar riffs, heavyweight rhythms and clean-cut female vocals define the band’s sound and it’s a fine combination that’s brought them to the attention of BBC Radio 1 and numerous critics who’ve tipped No Mean City for great things in 2010.
MP3: No Mean City – ‘TigerKissRose’
With the BBC and XFM already championing his music, Conor Mason’s talent has also seen him called-up to perform alongside heavy-hitting acts like Sigor Ros, Elbow and Gomez at the Hydro Connect festival in Scotland. The singer-songwriter has already released one album, When It’s Over, and is currently writing material for the follow-up.
MP3: Conor Mason – ‘Better Than Nothing’
With an average age of 16-and-a-half, Derry five-piece the VoxPopx trade in a sound defined by heavy dance rhythms, upbeat melodies and sing-along choruses.
MP3: The Vox Pox – ‘The Upper Hand’
More Than Conquerors
Coupling abrasive riffs with sublime melodies, More Than Conquerors have rightly earned praise for their exploits to date. The four-piece have played alongside several fellow Northerners, including Duke Special, Six Star Hotel and General Fiasco, as well as performing their own headline shows. The band are currently promoting their self-titled EP, which is due for release later this month.
MP3: More Than Conquerors – ‘I’ve Done Nothing’
Friday, April 16th – The Late Lounge, Kildare
Kildare natives Juliet’s Rescue already have an impressive CV. They’ve recorded an EP with Neal Calderwood, played to a capacity crowd at the Button Factory and landed a slot at last year’s Oxegen festival. The band’s alt rock sound has found favour with radio listeners, with their tunes being played on several Irish national stations and BBC Radio 1.
MP3: Juliet’s Rescue – ‘Make Yourself a Hero’
Already with a string of singles and an Oxegen appearance to their name, electro-rock trio Miracle Bell are gearing-up for the release next month of their debut album, Light Shape Sound. They’re also in the middle of a tour that will see them play several dates nationwide as well as two nights at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool.
MP3: Miracle Bell – ‘Fit for Love’
Seven Days are preparing to release their first record after scoring a major coup to record with producer Greg Haver, who’s previously worked with The Manic Street Preachers and Super Furry Animals. The four-piece’s sweet blend of soulfulness and funk earned them a spot at Oxegen 2009, as well as opportunities to play alongside the Coronas and the Blizzards. They’re a hard-working bunch, too, and are currently undertaking a full-scale nationwide tour.
MP3: Seven Days – ‘Easier’
I Love the Monster Hero
Referring to himself as “an extendable and expandable one man band from Dublin,” I Love the Monster Hero’s music is an eclectic mix of pop, rock, folk, electronica and R&B, which he alternately refers to as “dirty artrock” and “clean psychpop.”
MP3: I Love the Monster Hero – ‘Toni Bailey’
Described as “the kind of band you’d get if Gemma Hayes and Dave Grohl had some sort of musical lovechild,” Susie Soho formed just last year and almost immediately the quality of their alt rock songs lead to them being asked to play the IMRO New Sounds stage at Oxegen. They achieved airplay success with their first single, ‘Spinning Top’ and it’s recently-released follow-up looks to be replicating that feat. Their debut album, Where All the Ladders Start, is now nearing completion.
MP3: Susie Soho – ‘Tease‘
Saturday, April 17th – The Cellar, Draperstown, Derry (in association with the G Sessions)
When the likes of Steve Lamacq and Neil Hannon sit up and pay attention to your music, you must be doing something right. In the case of the Q, it’s their magnificently catchy punked-up garage rock. Since their formation six years ago, they’ve built-up a loyal following and have made several TV and radio appearances. Their list of achievements so far also includes two appearances at the Glasgowbury festival and a limited edition 7″ single, which sold out on pre-order before its release. The group now have their sights set on recording their debut album later this year.
MP3: The Q – ‘Magpie’
Silhouette is the alias chosen by solo artist Shauna Tohill, allowing her to collaborate with a wide range of musicians with little fuss. Drawing comparisons with Kate Bush, her music is dramatic and emotion-stirring with the aim, as she says herself, “to inspire, touch and consume people who need music the most.” Shauna has already made several radio and TV appearances and has worked with a number of prominent producers, including Shaun ‘Mudd’ Wallace and Billie Farrell.
MP3: Silhouette – ‘Volume Destroyed’
Choosing to work under the Building Pictures moniker, singer-songwriter John Gribbin has already achieved a lot in his relatively short career. He’s worked on songs with the likes of Iain Archer, Eleanor McEvoy and his own brother Ciaran, who co-wrote Madonna’s hit single ‘Celebration’. John has also had his songs featured in TV programmes and has contributed vocals to film soundtracks. Last summer he spent time in New York, where he played several gigs and collaborated with established pop music writers on new material.
MP3: Building Pictures – ‘Building a Picture’
Few bands work harder than LaFaro. Having just completed a UK tour, the Belfast punk rockers have returned home to find a diary full of domestic dates and a 2FM session awaiting them before heading back across the Irish Sea for another roadtrip. With a sound that’s been compared to Big Black, the Jesus Lizard and Girls Against Boys, the band have twice been chosen as BBC Northern Ireland’s Across the Line Act of the Year. To date, the four-piece have released two EPs and are set to release a self-titled record this month.
MP3: LaFaro – ‘Atlantic’
Pretty Child Backfire
Taking their cue from MGMT, Foals, Vampire Weekend and Justice, Pretty Child Backfire deal in upbeat, danceable indie-rock. Together for just over a year, the band have already released one EP and are currently working on a second. Their live shows are also gaining them a fearsome reputation, with their sets being described as “tightened to near snapping point.” It’s a finely-honed skill that’s won them gigs alongside And So I Watch You From Afar and fellow IMRO Showcase Tour debutantes Juliet’s Rescue.
MP3: Pretty Child Backfire – ‘Truth Is Only Better When We Keep It Secret’
Next week sees the IMRO Showcase wagon roll into Dublin’s Sugar Club and Dolan’s of Limerick for the last leg of the tour before the grand finale in the Academy on May 1st.