by / September 14th, 2011 /

Top Story: IMRO Showcase Tour Preview: Athlone, Cork, Mayo

Week two of the 20th anniversary IMRO Showcase Tour and three more shows across the country. Here’s our guide to who you can see showcasing their wares this weekend…

Thursday 15th September – Athlone IT

Very much one of the year’s most talked about Irish bands, Bipolar Empire arrive on the IMRO tour on the back of their impressive debut album and a summer spent at festivals up and down the country. Powerful guitar pop topped off by a soulful vocal approach, they show no sign of slowing down now the nights are drawing in.

Brainwashington are a band from Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Formed in April 2010 the band features ex Skinsizekings frontman Robbie Gannon. With a style rooted in both progressive and old school rock, influences come from a broad spectrum. Brainwashington have released 2 E.P’s over the last year, both positively recieved. They are currently completing there first full length album A Prayer To St.Anthony and plan its release for October 2011.

Henrietta Game‘s merging of disparate musical influences has resulted in a blend of sound that some have classified as alternative-folk and others have found difficult to categorise. It is worth noting that various members of the band are classically trained musicians, which adds a depth of sheer quality to their work. Since the release of their critically acclaimed album Black Ship (produced by Tommy McLaughlin from Villagers), there is no doubt that Henrietta Game have experienced a meteoric rise in the Irish music scene and they look set to continue to do so.

Marc O’Reilly‘s roots may lie in Waterford and France, but his sound rests somewhere between the American-influenced folk blues of Peter Green and contemporaries such as Ray LaMontagne and Gomez. Following stints in different alt/rock bands, Marc began to make his mark in 2010 as a solo performer, playing at last summer’s Electric Picnic festival and supporting fellow Irish songwriters including David Kitt. He also began the creative and recording process that has led to his album My Friend Marx‘s imminent release on new Irish indie label, Salt & Shake Records.

2010 saw the release of Nova Static’s self titled debut e.p.. four tracks of love, loss, piracy and possibly gay vampires, it demonstrated perfectly how the band harness an eclectic range of influences to create their own unique sound.
In support of this release Nova Static toured the country. Highlights included performing on the Electric Arena stage at Electric Picnic and supporting Killing Joke, Little Comets, Dinosaur Pile Up, Ham Sandwich amongst others.

Friday 16th September – Cyprus Avenue, Cork

Bona Fide Federation (pictured) have created a fresh sound with a line up of drums, cello, piano, bass and vocals. Last year, the band won the Sea Sessions Battle of The Bands and were singled out by the judges as “a breath of fresh air, their pure originality making them stand out from all the other acts”. Bona Fide Federation launched their indie-pop debut single ‘Festival’ on the 17th of June in the lead up to the Sea Sessions 2011, where they performed on the festival’s main stage.

Festival by bonafidefederation

Formed less than a year ago in August 2010, Dead School released their debut double single, ‘Frailties/Standing on the Edge’ in April to great acclaim and have been receiving very positive reviews and consistent airplay on both National and Regional Radio since the release.The Band have already recorded live sessions for Red FM, 96 FM, Beat FM, Tipp FM, Galway Bay FM and KLCR. The post-punk terrain has been covered before, but Dead School bring elements of this sound kicking and screaming into 2011.

3.17 (Single) by Dead School

With a musical sound that encompasses alternative rock to modern sensual soul, The Empire Lights will stop at nothing to make it. Previously known as Love Street, The Empire Lights debuted their new name, image and sound in August 2011. The original pop and soul- flavored sound of The Empire Lights can be traced through the individual musical influences of the band, which range from Thin Lizzy to Kings Of Leon, from Coldplay to Michael Jackson.

Momentum demo by The Empire Lights

Fingersmith are a three-piece alternative rock band from Cork. They released their debut album The Annexe in early 2010 and received extensive national radio play in Ireland, most notably recording live sessions for the leading national radio station 2fm, where top DJ Cormac Battle (ex-Kerbdog) described them as “the best unsigned band in the world”.

In Valour is Cork-based vocalist and musician Valerie, and howard, a producer/artist who resides in Sydney, Australia. In spite of the 9,753 miles between them, they’re very much connected through the music they create. ‘Their unorthodox mix of ethereal vocals and sweeping electronics…bridge the considerable gaps between Portishead, Clannad, and Mazzy Star” according to Dan Hegarty, 2fm. Their first single ‘Into the Light’ was mixed by producer Stephen Shannon and released earlier this year. It is now accompanied by a music video directed by Seán Breathnach who also takes over laptop duties from howard, so they can perform the tracks live.

Into The Light by invalour

Saturday 17th September – Bar Ritz, Mayo with Finbar Hobin presents

Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters from Limerick City, is made up of four gentleman. Despite their ages, they have many years experience in the world music scene, churning out music to the masses, from punk rock and metal to traditional Irish. In late 2006, after years of touring with their past bands, they found themselves together in a practice room, collectively-minded, agreeing that they had exhausted their current projects. Undefeated and heavily inspired, they created Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters; a rock and roll band with a seductive and gloomy sound, ignoring all trends of the current music scene. A band with a long and varied list of influences that blend and create songs from unstoppable head bopping to horror harmonies and sublime silence.

After their headline gig at London’s Water Rats Theatre in November the News Of The World wrote of New Sunset Hotel “their like a golden jukebox, switching from the synthpop catchiness of Bibles to the Springsteen rock of American Wake”. The last 12 months have been hectic for New Sunset Hotel. They have gone through a line-up change as well as recording their highly anticipated debut album. With the album completed they are now ready to bring their anthemic songs to the masses.

Bibles by New Sunset Hotel

Sligo solo artist Pearse McGloughlin creates tender and haunting songs of forgotten moments and quiet reflection. Dreamy and atmospheric, his work has an organic aesthetic reminiscent of Mazzy Star or Grand Salvo, shot through with exuberant bursts of emotion. His debut album Busy Whisper received widespread critical acclaim and made many ‘Best Albums of 2009’ lists.

Race The Flux are an ambitious rock and electronic four piece from the west of Ireland, formed in 2008. Utilizing chunky synthesizers, dramatic piano, innovative guitar and bass phrasing and the use of electric and acoustic drums they forged a new and fresh sound. After spending the year writing, they are currently touring Ireland with their dynamic set. They have recently finished recording their four track Debut EP and it is set to be released in the near future.