State Magazine Ireland's Music Payload Fri, 30 Jan 2015 09:30:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Brand New Music – The Temps Fri, 30 Jan 2015 09:26:28 +0000 Say hello to Dublin 3-piece The Temps… information about them might be scant right now but we’re convinced that will change sooner rather than later.

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Natalie Prass – Natalie Prass - Sorrow blended into magic Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:01:55 +0000 If it isn’t obvious from the opening bars of this album, Natalie Prass has very obviously learned a thing or two from Jenny Lewis. Prass was once Lewis’ backing singer and the similarities in tone and delivery are absolutely undeniable. But the scope and breadth of Natalie Prass’ musicality is something that can rarely be taught, regardless of who is backing whom. Terms like cinematic, sweeping, epic, etc. may be cliché but there are few other words that can do the album any justice. In fact, if there is any justice at all, other instances of these words being used in this context could be redacted to give Prass her dues.

Starting slowly, the album eases into existence like witnessing your breath in the freezing, winter air. The sadness in the opening track is as vivid as a broken heart, a massive +1 for Prass for encapsulating perfectly this feeling in a song without falling into the traps of pity, loathing or regret. They’re in there alright, but the song doesn’t hang on them. Subtlety, then, is another +1. Flutes, strings, keys, guitar, orchestral pieces, sorrow and the ability to blend them into magic is what demarcates this album from other attempts. Rather than be known for a heartbroken album about breaking up, this should go down as one of the most innovative and beautiful debuts of recent times.

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CALEXICO announce new album; share new single Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:32:56 +0000 To mark the announcement of their new album Edge Of The Sun, which drops on the 13th of April, CALEXICO have shared the first track to be released from the forthcoming LP.  ‘Cumbia De Donde’, which features Amparo Sanchez, is totally infectious, clanging, and manages to encapsulate the classic CALEXICO sound with a newer creative intent.  Have a listen below and check out some of their upcoming tour dates –

01 UK Glasgow – Celtic Connections
02 UK London – Rough Trade East Instore @ 7pm

14 DK Copenhagen – Amager Bio
15 DE Hamburg – Grosse Freiheit
16 NL Amsterdam – Paradiso
17 NL Eindhoven – Effenaar
18 DE Berlin – Heimathafen – SOLD OUT
20 DE Cologne – E Werk
21 DE Munich – Muffathalle
22 CH Zurich – Volkshaus
23 IT Milan – Fabrique
25 LX Luxembourg – Den Atelier
26 FR Paris – Le Trianon
27 BE Brussels – Ancienne Belgique
28 UK London – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
30 UK Manchester – The Albert Hall

01 UK Liverpool – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
02 UK Belfast – The Limelight
03 IR Kilkenny – Kilkenny Roots Festival
04 IR Dublin – Olympia Theatre

11 NO Bergen – Bergenfest 2015
13 NO Oslo – Norwegian Wood Festival
17 DE Heidelberg, Halle 02
18 DE Ulm, Ulmer Zelt
19 DE Duisburg – Traumzeit Festival

19 DE Berlin – Columbiahalle

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Inherent Vice - Dazed and confused Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:35:45 +0000 Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Katherine Waterston, Josh Brolin, Reece Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Owen Wilson, Jena Malone and Joanna Newson
Certificate: 16
Running Time: 148 minutes
Release Date: January 30th

Paul Thomas Anderson and Thomas Pynchon kind of make the perfect partners for collaboration. One is an author who makes difficult sprawling novels, the author a director who makes difficult sprawling movies. That Inherent Vice, a pot-infused gumshoe detective story set during Nixon’s term and the Manson trial, was the choice is probably the greatest surprise considering its moderate straightforwardness by Pynchon’s standards. But hey, even Anderson will readily admit he’s not read Gravity’s Rainbow. (Really, who has?) It’s the ideal union though, the weight of The Master and There Will Be Blood would make you forgot just how funny Anderson can be, like with Boogie Nights, and Vice‘s meandering narrative, breezy California setting and ridiculous characters let’s him return to his most fun and playful.

Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix), a private investigator working out of a dentist’s office, receives a visit from his old-lady, Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterston), who asks him to help her new boyfriend, a wealthy land developer, from being institutionalised by his wife and her lover. Doc clearly still pines for Shasta and agrees, setting him on a journey that gets him involved with white supremacists, the Feds, a disappeared saxophone player and agent provocateur, dopers and a shit-kicking, Fred Flintstone haired Detective named Bigfoot. And then there’s the small matter of the Golden Fang; which might be a drug smuggling gang, a boat that got lost in Bermuda Triangle or a consortium of dental surgeons. Who knows, man.

The first thing that strikes is how within five minutes, how real the world feels. Regular Robert Elswit’s cinematography is washed out, looking like the print was left to soak in the salt water surf and covered in flecks of sand. The costumes, like Doc’s polo neck/jean jacket combo, are spot on. Johnny Greenwood’s paranoia tinged score is excellent but experiencing PTA digging in the record crates is the true hit — the rattling snare of Can’s Vitamin C as the camera prowls through Gordita Beach and the movie’s neon titles appear is to cinema goers what good dope is to Doc.

Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in The Master was framed by his hunched over stance, and if anything, he’s even more physically committed here. He shows a strong touch for Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker style slapstick, bounding, figuratively and literally, through scenes. His tendency to mumble plays perfectly with Doc’s confused and hazy demeanour. It’s essentially a one man show with other characters swooshing past his orbit. Best of all is Josh Brolin as hippy-hating Detective Christian “Bigfoot” Bjornsen. He’s terrifically confrontational, whether it’s trying to get a confession or ordering pancakes, his only moments of calm coming from his bizarre obsession with frozen bananas. Elsewhere, Jena Malone blossoms too as a dope-lactating mother with fresh gnashers, Benecio Del Toro’s naval lawyer gets the best lines and Martin Short’s deranged dentist threatens to just about run away with the whole movie.

Doc is an unreliable guide through the changing Los Angeles landscape, drifting bemused on a cloud of smoke, meeting one fantastically named piece of the puzzle at a time — and what monikers, like Puck Beaverton, Sauncho Smilax or Petunia Leeway. Trying to keep up with plot can be a chore and maybe isn’t the point. It’ll surely frustrate some, but best just to let its feverish reality wash straight over you.

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Electric Six to play Belfast’s Limelight Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:26:53 +0000 Detroit shock-rock outfit Electric Six will play Belfast’s The Limelight 2 this coming November 26th.  Having played the venue pretty much every year for the last five years, Electric Six seem to be developing a tenure with The Limelight.  Not that we’re complaining, you can’t go wrong with a good ol’ sing-along to ‘Gay Bar’ and  ‘Danger, High Voltage.’  Tickets go on sale this Friday and are available here, priced at £13.50.

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Slow Club - Hammocks, hammocks everywhere Thu, 29 Jan 2015 12:16:02 +0000 Who are you and where are you from?

I am Rebecca and I fell from heaven obviously. (Sheffield)

Who are your favourite artists from home?

I currently love a band called Seize the Chair

What’s it really like touring?

80% uncomfortable, either too hot or too cold, a weight gain hell. Sedentary yet never still. BUT once a day you get to walk out on stage and perform for people that you appreciate and love so it is ALL WORTH IT.

What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?

I love playing in Sheffield because all our friends and family come and my Dad can give me a lift home.

What’s your ideal festival line-up?

Hammocks are everywhere, there’s only 100 people invited and I have approved them all, there’s designated nap times and no bands play. Oh no, Perfume Genius plays 4 times.

What has been your biggest achievement of the year?

It is the 28th January so this year I have achieved not dying in this bitter winter we have suffered.

What was the worst piece of advice you were given?

Pasta is good for you.

What do you do to relax?

Rock back and fourth in a corner with Katy Perry ‘Roar’ on repeat.

What are you reading?

The Women who Run With Wolves. I’m ready to be okay with my wild woman now.

How about TV, anything good on the box?

RuPaul’s Drag Race makes me very happy.

Do you have a favourite YouTube video?


What website do you visit most?

I couldn’t possibly tell you that.

What is your favourite:


The Writing’s on the Wall – Destiny’s Child


‘Dreams’ – Fleetwood Mac

Lost classic song?

‘Wish I didn’t miss you’ – Angie Stone

Record label?

Pie Face Records

Who is your favourite current artist?

Taylor Swift

A new artist that you are most excited about?

Nadine Shah – utterly magic beautiful woman making amazing dark and beautiful music.

What was the last great gig you have seen?

Katy Perry Prismatic tour

Worst show?

I don’t believe any shows are bad – everyone is just trying aren’t they?

What should we expect from your Irish shows?

HORDES of people as we haven’t played in Ireland for years. I hope it is like Beatlemania.

Slow Club play in Dublin’s Pepper Canister Church on February 18th. Tickets are available from the usual outlets

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Lapalux - To sleep, perchance to dream Thu, 29 Jan 2015 09:47:52 +0000 We don’t come across many albums loosely based on the experience of hypnogogia (a transitional state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep) here at State but, if the first taste of Lapalux’s second album Lustmore is anything to go by, it’s a rich source of inspiration. Signed to Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint, the Essex producer has recruited vocalist Szjerdene for the track ‘Closure’ – a truly lovely, dark hearted piece of electronic music. Lustmore is out in April.

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Big Hero - Holding out for... Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:32:51 +0000 Directors: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Cast: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, T.J. Miller, Damon Wayans Jr.
Certificate: PG
Running time: 102 mins
Release date: January 30th

When Disney concluded their recent insane mega-dealings and took Marvel under their roof, there was serious excitement at the prospect of new, Disney-animated Marvel cartoons. Who would it be? Iron Man? Captain America? Squirrel Girl? Unbelievably, the answer was even weirder. Big Hero 6 was an obscure and short-lived comic team a few years back, and although this new animation is based loosely on it, it bears such little resemblance that you have to look really hard in the credits to see that it’s a Marvel film at all. We join Hiro (subtle), a brilliant but troubled teen (no!), as he refuses to use his genius for anything other than underground robot fights. After his big brother gives him a shot of inspiration however, he decides it’s time to put his abilities to good use and save the city of San Fransokyo (a pretty cool stylistic hybrid of the two cities) from evil kabuki-masked bad guy Yōkai, who looks suspiciously like kabuki-masked bad guy Amon from Nick cartoon The Legend of Korra.

One thing that does remind you that you’re watching a Marvel film is the story structure. Yep, it’s another origin story. All the ingredients are here, all the predictable suffering and redemption you’ve come to expect from the hero’s (or in this case, Hiro’s) journey. The fact that it’s a team movie could have set it apart from the countless other superhero story origins, but the other team members are never really given a chance to be developed beyond their goofy gadgets. These include a set of magnetic rollerblades, bizarre exploding chemical balls and a giant fire-breathing lizard costume. Look, it’s weird. Just go with it.

In spite of all the rocket fists and nanobot armies, the film’s true key weapon is Baymax, Hiro’s robot buddy voiced with disarming adorability by 30 Rock‘s unsung hero Scott Adsit. Of all the characters the film offers, Baymax is the one you’ll remember because the film is exponentially better when he’s around. Other characters try to be in-your-face funny and fail, but it is Baymax’s innocence and subtlety that give him such winning humour. His ‘low battery’ drunk routine is hilarious and when he kicks ass he still keeps it light and fun. Well, until the film almost ruins things by taking it a bit darker than necessary. For the most part though, he is the heart and soul of a movie that would be merely a fun but passable confection without it. Oh, and don’t forget to wait until the end of the credits for your traditional Marvel treat.

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Kingsman: The Secret Service - Secret agent, man Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:21:13 +0000 Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Michael Caine
Certificate: 16
Running time: 129 mins
Release date: January 29th

In recent years the likes of Attack The Block and Channel 4’s Misfits have asked the audience to get on side with unsympathetic groups of uncoof yoofs of the ASBO (is that still a thing?) generation who are thrown into the middle of unlikely and fantastical adventures. In Kingsman: The Secret Service – reuniting the Kick-Ass team of graphic novel author Mark Millar, writer Jane Goldman and director Matthew Vaughn – we are once again asked to believe in a hero who looks like he’s just walked off the set of Jeremy Kyle. Luckily, Taron Egerton’s Eggsy turns out to be quite an affable chap after he’s taken under the wing of Colin Firth and drafted into the recruitment programme of a secret spy agency calling itself Kingsman.

What ensues is charming, funny and thrilling in roughly equal measure, as we watch Eggsy go through the trials of proving his worthiness against a group of hilariously over the top toffs, like dropping Lee Nelson into The Riot Club. It’s during this second act however, that Kingsman does stray dangerously close to becoming another in the 21st century production line of YA fiction adaptations. It has it all; a teen proving themselves as a standout individual despite starting out as the underdog, a burgeoning romance with an underdeveloped love interest that they will ultimately be forced to face off against and a cartoonishly evil villain (here, a fun Samuel L. Jackson) who operates at the highest levels of society, controlling the fates of all mankind unless our unlikely hero can bring it all crashing down. Mix some James Bond in there and that’s it. It’s this element that seems to put the film in danger of being a decent, but seen-it-all-before, spy flick. But when the film kicks off, it really kicks off.

The action in Kingsman is nothing short of insane. A sequence involving Firth’s Harry going off the rails against a thinly-veiled Westoboro Baptist Church parody is so intense, exciting and unabashedly ultraviolent that it’d have the King’s Speech crowd puking into their handbags. At times reminiscent of the action in Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim, the camera whips, darts, pushes and pulls so every hit, shot, stab and slice in the film is clean and satisfying (even if the camera doesn’t linger as long as the more sadistic viewer might like). The third act cranks up to the point where the denouement is a literally mind-blowing acid trip. Never in a million years would a Bond movie be so audacious. ‘Give me a far-fetched theatrical plot any day,’ says Harry at one point. It takes a while, but Kingsman gets there and when it does, it’s worth it.

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Listen to Dawn Landes cover ‘Atlantic City’ Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:05:28 +0000 Thanks to the stark, dramatic nature of the original Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Atlantic City’ is always ripe for a cover version but even so, Dawn Landes new reading is a beauty. Aided by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, it combines her Kentucky roots with more urban surroundings of her adopted Brooklyn home. It comes from her forthcoming Covers EP, including songs by Tom Petty, Roxy Music and Dolly Parton.

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Run The Jewels, Wu-Tang and more for Forbidden Fruit Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:09:44 +0000 It was only yesterday that we were wondering whether Forbidden Fruit would make a return this year and, what do you know, now we have the first line-up announcement. Top of the shop for State readers will now doubt be the return of Run The Jewels (photographed above by Mark Early) but the world at large will no doubt go more for Fatboy Slim. The other names so far are Wu-Tang Clan, Cyril Hahn, Matador, Ejeca, Mr. Scruff, Dusky, Joey Badass, Bakermat, Earl Sweatshirt and Booka Shade (Live) – all suggesting that the bill will be very electronic / hip-hop heavy.

Early bird tickets for 29th – 31st May are available at €39.50/€49.50 per day and €99.50 for the weekend, later rising to the general price of €49.50/€59.50 and €125.50.

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Free Wyvern Lingo gig tonight Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:21:36 +0000 About to head off to London to support Hozier at his two Shepherds Bush shows, Faces of 2015 Wyvern Lingo have announced a special hometown pop up gig tonight at the Harbour Bar in Bray. Kicking off at ten, it precedes a full Irish tour next month:

Friday 06 Feb – Mayo, Castlebar, Ruby Room
Saturday 07 Feb – Galway, Roisin Dubh
Thursday 12 Feb – Cork, Coughlans
Friday 13 Feb – Limerick, Dolans Warehouse
Saturday 14 Feb – Kerry, Dingle McCarthy’s
Sunday 15 Feb – Kerry, Killarney INEC
Friday 20 Feb – Belfast, McHugh’s
Saturday 21 Feb – Dundalk, The Spirit Store
Thursday 26 Feb – Dublin, The Sugar Club – SOLD OUT

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How to Make it in the Irish Music Industry – Seminar - Twisted Pepper, Dublin, this Thursday January 29th. Wed, 28 Jan 2015 08:35:34 +0000 As tough as it is to make progress in the Irish music business, the group Made It might have something to add to the debate. Hosting a seminar in Dublin’s Twisted Pepper this Thursday, the panel will be focusing on the experiences of those who have succeeded in the industry and will be joined by MayKay Geraghty (Fight Like Apes), Bodytonic’s Eoin Cregan, journalist Una Mullally, HWCH’s Angela Dorgan, JP Canning from IMRO plus live music from Carry on Troubadours. Tickets for the discussion are €12 and available from here.

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Trash - City of plod Tue, 27 Jan 2015 19:22:27 +0000 Director: Stephen Daldry
Cast: Wagner Moura, Selton Mello, Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen
Certificate: 15a
Running Time: 114 minutes
Release Date: January 30th

An English writer and an English director, telling the story of a group of poor, third-world slum kids coming into a very large amount of cash thanks to series of convoluted circumstances and putting their street smarts to good use… yes, Trash is after that Slumdog Millionaire money and critical acclaim. Whereas last time Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy put the best of their combined talents to come up with something vital and original, this time round we’ve got the director of Billy Elliott and the writer of Notting Hill falling back on their most annoyingly clichéd habits.

Set in the favelas and dumping grounds of Rio De Janerio, things kick off with two young friends – Raphael (Rickson Teves) and Gardo (Eduardo Luis) – finding an abandoned wallet containing some cash and a key. They enlist the help of Rato (Gabriel Weinstein), who knows what the key unlocks, and they’re off following clues to a mystery they don’t fully understand. Hot on their tale is Officer Gonz (Selton Mellow, who looks distractingly like an evil latino version of Adam Scott), under the orders of a corrupt politician, who doesn’t want the contents of what the key unlocks to make it into the public eye. There’s also Martin Sheen as a kindly local priest and Rooney Mara as a charitable English teacher, but they seem to only be here for the English speaking audiences to recognise someone on the poster.

Speaking of the poster, anyone who has seen it or the movie’s trailer will already know how the movie ends, not that the story is anything but formulaic from the beginning. Even as director Stephen Daldry doesn’t shy away from showing the kids on the receiving end of some truly punishing abuse, there’s never really any sense of permanent danger. We hear a lot about the corruption and villainy of the people in positions of power in Brazil, but it’s all very two-dimensional. Bad guys are bad, that’s it. Also, every grown-up except Sheen and Rooney (i.e. all the Brazilians) is not to be trusted, and while Daldry does find some beauty in the grottier sides of the city, it’s unlikely Brazil will be using the film to lure tourists in.

Richard Curtis injects some light humour here and there, and keeps the dialogue between the kids honest and realistic, but the mystery itself doesn’t make for much of an attention grabber. It’s all ‘Find A to solve B which will give you directions to C to solve D’ and so on until the plot is over, without much in the way of character developments or moments of reflection. The kids are mostly great in the leading roles, and Sheen and Mara bring solid support, but it’s all too forgettable. It’d be all too easy to say “Trash IS Trash!”, but it’s not exactly favela-ous film-making either. Instead it just feels recycled from other, better movies.

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The Charlatans – Modern Nature - "There is never any doubting either its honesty or accomplishment..." Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:03:52 +0000 One of Britain’s most celebrated bands, The Charlatans have forged a long and successful career, yet it is on this, their 12th studio album, that they truly deliver. Emerging from a much vaunted, yet often highly homogenous era of Britpop, Tim Burgess and co always seemed like a band that had more to offer, with varied levels of success through the years. Modern Nature justifies the faith in a somewhat cathartic manner.

Recorded in response to the tragic death of drummer Jon Brookes to brain cancer two years ago, it was the band’s intention to pay homage to their departed friend by creating a series of lighthearted, yet uplifting songs. While tracks like ‘So Oh’, ‘Come Home Baby’, and ‘Emilie’ delightfully enforce this objective, the unsurprisingly somber undertones of ‘Talking in Tones’ and the reflective lyrical content of ‘Let The Good Times Be Never Ending’ portray a band in mourning.

A known music fan, (recently taking up a guest presenting spot on BBC Radio 6) Burgess is never afraid to explore new territory and with Modern Nature he once again fails to disappoint. Whether it be the use of the gospel choir on ‘Come Home Baby’, the jazzy underscore of ‘Keep Enough’ or the tuneful bongo rhythm and understated double bass on ‘In The Tall Grass’, this is an album brimming with charm and personality. Although the record’s vibrancy does indeed fade towards the end as things begin to sound more ‘Charalatany’, for want of a better word, there is never any doubting either its honesty or accomplishment, which is a true testament to the band’s endeavour. A refreshing triumph.

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Ye Vagabonds and The Brand New Switcheroo - Unplugged for best results. Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:44:02 +0000 Who are you and where are you from?

I’m Brían Mac Gloinn, one half of Ye Vagabonds, and part of The Brand New Swictheroo for some of our sessions. I grew up in the a few miles outside Carlow Town, and I’ve been living in Stoneybatter, Dublin for the past two and a half years.

Who are your favorite artists from home?

There’s a small music scene in Carlow that was mainly based around one cafe, which just closed down before Christmas. Tommy Tea-Time is easily my favourite Carlow based artist. Tommy is a pure Carlow lad who’s a very close friend of ours. We used to run an open mic night in the cafe that Tommy wanted to take part in, but he couldn’t sing, so he started doing spoken word versions of well-known songs instead with a few of the regular musicians of the cafe, including ourselves, backing him up. Pretty soon Tommy started to write his own epic poems, ‘Like a Hot Love Madrigal’ about how he got his title or ‘Santa Clause and The Eagles saving Christmas on Dublin Street’ (where the cafe was) and then he’d read them off brown paper chip bags at the gigs. The whole band became Tommy Tea-Time and the Scrabble Beat Box Band. Apart from Tommy, there are plenty of good songwriters and singers like Eric Butler, Paul Galbally, Dan Craig and David Donohue.

What’s it really like touring?

My experience of touring has been fairly small scale. Last year we hitched around the country to play a few gigs in the West and organized it two weeks in advance. We don’t have a road manager or driver or anything. Staying on people’s couches or floors all the time and hitching everywhere is great, but it can be intense too. More recently, we’ve done some gigs with a car that we borrowed, and that’s really easy in comparison. Since there are only two of us with our instruments, we can fit all our gear in an Opel Corsa, or on a train or bus if we want to. The car we use doesn’t have a working radio so we ended up singing the whole way down to Dingle for our gig at Other Voices in December. Travelling to play gigs has been a really energizing experience for me so far. Having grown up in a small town with a small music scene, it’s exciting to meet other musicians and people who are into the same music as us, especially if they come to see us at one of our gigs.

What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?

So far my favourite venue is An Díseart chapel, which we played at Other Voices in Dingle. We decided not to use the PA system and play completely unamplified. The acoustics in the chapel are incredible. It felt like we were playing a third instrument together by singing into the space, so we really did our best to play with those acoustics while we had the chance. There were about 60 people there and the room was dead silent, just as the sun was setting and the room grew eerily dark. Harry Clarke did the stained glass windows there too. Churches are great for singing harmonies in. There’s something really special about that one in particular though. Generally my favourite type of gig is unamplified, like the sessions we do in Walsh’s and The Harbour Bar.

What’s your ideal festival line-up?

I’d get Dock Boggs, Karen Dalton, Margaret Barry, Paddy Tunney, Grayson and Whitter, Rutherford and Burnett, Sweeney’s Men, Padraig O Keefe, Bob Dylan, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James and Bert Jansch to play a stage around a kitchen table hosted by The Annulments. Then I’d have Devendra Banhart, Grizzly Bear, Joanna Newsom, Fleet Foxes, Lisa Hannigan, Villagers and Bon Iver along to one stage in a good acoustic space. I’d have Tom Waits run a twisted carnival for insane jazz musicians, I’d give Twin Headed Wolf an area of their own, then have My Fellow Sponges play every morning at a breakfast gig. I suppose Lisa O Neill would have to sing for supper too.

What has been your biggest achievement of the year?

We’ve been playing together for years, but Ye Vagabonds only began in September, and it’s been an incredible few months since then. For me, the biggest achievement of the year was playing with the Booka Brass Band to a sold out Vicar Street on New Years Eve for the Turning Pirate Mix Tape. I’ve been at the Mix Tape every year for the past few years, so just playing at it was an amazing feeling. Playing They’re Red Hot, which is one of our favourite end of night tunes, with the Booka Brass Band, in front of 1500 people and the best sound I’ve ever heard on stage, was really incredible.

What was the worst piece of advice you were given?

I have no idea, nothing too interesting anyway. We were advised to go on the X Factor many, many times though. I can’t imagine that choreographed dance moves and fireworks would go too well with our type of music.

What do you do to relax?

I listen to a lot of music, most of the time. That goes along side most of what I do. I cycle a lot, read, write and play chess a lot too. Most of my spare time is spent with friends or family, and a lot of that is spent playing music. I’m in college full time and I play gigs a few nights a week, so I don’t have a lot of free time these days.

What are you reading?

At the moment I’m reading Invisible Cities by Calvino. It’s giving my imagination a lot to play with. Everything seems to be possible in the world described in the book. Reading it is making me want to travel too, as it opens up possibilities of what the world could be like off the beaten path.

How about TV, anything good on the box?

I don’t watch TV at all. It never occurs to me to watch something on TV and I don’t have a TV anyway. I like watching films, but that’s a more focused thing to do than just flicking on the TV. I study film in college, so a lot of the films I watch are related to what we’re doing in college. I like old films, and the best one I’ve seen recently is Some Like It Hot with Marilyn Monroe. My favourite film is High Noon featuring Gary Cooper at his best and a brilliant sound track.

Do you have a favourite YouTube video?

Save the Album: Devendra Banhart is one of my favourites. Most of Father John Misty’s interviews are also hilarious.

What website do you visit most?

I’ve been laying off the computer recently, except for emailing and college work. I’d say I probably visit Youtube more than anything though. Up until a few years ago I would have been on The Rising Storm almost every day. They gave the best album recommendations of forgotten music that I never would have found otherwise. I also end up on regularly enough when I’m looking for versions of songs.

What is your favourite:


Different albums serve different purposes at different times. At the moment, I’d say Rejoicing in the Hands by Devendra Banhart or Rain Dogs by Tom Waits.


That’s a tough one. Maybe Blue Ridge Mountains by Fleet Foxes

Lost classic song?

My Lagan Love by Margaret Barry

Record label?

Domino seem to be putting out a lot of my favourite artists these days.

Who is your favourite current artist?

Lisa O Neill is my favourite artist at the moment. We’ve been lucky to get to know Lisa over the past year and even to do a show with her in December in the Unitarian Church. I find her ideas about songwriting to be really inspiring. She’s a real teacher. This time last year I was completely absorbed in her album Same Cloth or Not, and I’m excited to hear what she does next. Her voice has taught me an awful lot too, and gave me a lot of confidence to sing whatever way I want to.

A new artist that you are most excited about?

Twin Headed Wolf are definitely the ones I’m most excited about at the moment. They’re incredible performers and songwriters. Their debut album is in the works at the moment, and I can’t wait to hear it when it’s complete.

What was the last great gig you have seen?

This is the Kit in the National Concert Hall’s Engineering Room was one of my favourite gigs recently. She’s got the smoothest sound and the sweetest songs about things like vitamins and a goose. I’m looking forward to seeing her when she’s back in Ireland in March.

Worst show?

I don’t like saying bad things about anyone so I’m not going to answer that question.

What should we expect from your Irish shows?

After our gig on the 20th of February in The Mermaid Theatre in Bray we’ll be taking a bit of break from gigs until the summer, outside of the usual sessions. I can’t say too much about our plans just yet, but I’d like to do some shows for small audiences where we might get a chance to try out some new songs we’re working on. We’re keen to play more of our own songs so that we don’t get known as a solely traditional group, as that’s not how we see ourselves. I’d imagine that there will be some element of folk songs in our gigs, but as our own songs develop we’ll be trying to play those more and take the opportunity to do something with them. I’d say to keep an eye out over the next few months anyway, and get down to one of the sessions or the New Frontiers of Folk gig in the Mermaid Theatre on the 20th to get an idea of what we’re doing.​

You can catch Brian Mac Glionn with both Ye Vagabonds and The Brand New Switcheroo as a part of the Banjo & Bovril Nights at The Harbour Bar in Bray – 5 nights of music, poetry, banjos and Bovril.

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A Winged Victory for the Sullen…”I think every note should count” - Dustin O'Halloran on why modern life is marvellous Tue, 27 Jan 2015 10:17:51 +0000 In 2006, Dustin O’Halloran became a household name in hip households when a trio of his sparse, lovely solo piano pieces landed on the soundtrack to Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. ‘Opus 17′, ‘Opus 23′ and ‘Opus 36′ had an immediate emotional resonance that made you wonder where you’d already heard them when you hadn’t, and elegant memorable melody has remained O’Halloran’s calling card throughout a prolific decade of solo work, film scores and A Winged Victory for the Sullen.

The band is O’Halloran’s collaboration with Adam Wiltzie, ex-Sparklehorse member and one half of drone pioneer duo Stars of the Lid. In 2011, AWVFTS led off their first album with the almost sickeningly gorgeous, elliptically titled Steep Hills of Vicodin Tears. You could see the lineage here: Stars of the Lid were the band behind ‘Dopamine Clouds Over Craven Cottage’, wherein they perfected the art of hiding a breathlessly beautiful piece of music behind a half-daft name. You don’t always want people to know how much you mean it, particularly when you really mean it.

AWVFTS, who tour Ireland and the UK next month, released their second album Atomos, the score of a contemporary dance piece, late last year. Like their self-named debut, the record is a spacious, enveloping meeting of musical minds, a summit between texture and space and unabashed melody. As their Irish show approaches, O’Halloran talked to State about the art of collaboration, the great state of film music and why sometimes it’s not so bad when the music stops….

You and Adam Wiltzie have collaborated on two albums now, coming from apparently quite different musical backgrounds. How does the process of collaboration work and how you decide on a collaborator?

“For myself I think good collaborations find you. I met Adam pretty randomly in Italy when I was living there and we became mutual fans of each other’s music. When we started working on music we didn’t realize what it would become or if it would even work. It’s all been a serendipitous surprise really. I think we both have learned a lot from each other… and also give each other space. Ultimately, a good collaboration brings you out of your own head and helps you find places you would not have gone otherwise. I think Adam and I have pushed each other to new places, especially with Atomos. We really tried to find the boundaries of our music and it’s nice to feel that; to know you can grow. I think we still have some more music to make together”.

You said in an interview in the Quietus that you and Adam have such different ways to work….

“Well, we have both been making records for a long time, so you tend to have your ways of working. It’s hard to be more specific, but I would say Adam really is great at using space, finding parts that you would not otherwise hear and stretching them out; creating a sense of timelessness. I think I’m more into the details of arrangements, crafting out subtle details”.

You’ve cited Erik Satie as an influence. In The Rest Is Noise, Alex Ross wrote of his Gymnopedies that it “discard[ed] centuries of knotted-down complexity in favour of a language at once simple and new”. Does that ring true to you and is that something you took from him for your own work?

“I think Erik Satie was really a break through in contemporary music and maybe one of the first minimalists. He created strange and simple melodic structures that were deceptively simple. I have always been attached to this kind of musical language and try to seek out what is necessary. I’m not much into over-embellishment, or playing notes just to fill space. I think every note should count”.

Is it always obvious in AWVFTS who did what? It would appear so – the shifting cloud-like STOL-style chords are Adam, the poetic piano and strings are you – but I remember reading Elvis Costello saying that when he collaborated with Paul McCartney they switched roles: Elvis went as sweetly melodic as he could while Paul shoved way too many words into one note. I’ve always imagined that one of the pleasures of collaboration is not being yourself and I wonder whether your musical personality changes.

“I think people would be surprised and who did what. We really switch roles a lot and especially with the new record we both rubbed off a bit on each other. Sometimes I would work on guitar sounds and Adam would work on strings. By the time we finished the record it was hard to remember who did what”.

Can you say something about the experience of scoring a ballet? This is a first for you, as far as I know. It seems like a very different task to scoring a film.

“When Wayne McGregor asked us to score his new dance piece, neither of us had ever worked on a dance score. It was totally new ground and we were intrigued. It’s a contemporary dance piece, not ballet, so all traditions were out. Wayne really wanted to push the boundaries of dance and what dance music can be, which is why he asked a group who barely has any rhythm in their music, I suppose. We didn’t know how it would all work, but when we saw his choreography I was really blown away at how wonderful it worked together with the music. It created this shell for the dance to live inside and felt really fresh to me. If you ever get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it. Their dancers are just incredible. What they put into it is just staggeringly beautiful and intense. Wayne is definitely one of the great artists of our time and I feel lucky to have been able to work with him”.

AWVFTS are on on Erased Tapes along with Nils Frahm, Peter Broderick, Rival Consoles and numerous other great acts. Like Rough Trade in the ’80s, Domino in the ’90s, Bella Union in the ’00s, they just seem like the most incredible detectors and nurturers of talent.

“Robert and Sofia at Erased Tapes work pretty hard to bring the music they believe in to the people. I appreciate this a lot, especially since it’s so tough to keep a label alive these days. I think it’s a good moment for the label and like all things time will move on and fads will change, but hopefully the people fighting the good fight will be able to continue”.

Your pieces on the Marie Antoinette soundtrack and, subsequently, your solo piano albums were important for my musical development as a listener. Along with other works of similar vintage (Jóhann Jóhannsson’s IBM 1401, Max Richter’s The Blue Notebooks), this work directed me towards contemporary music and from there to a greater appreciation of classical or composed music in general. They were gateway works; let’s say I probably wouldn’t be quoting at you from an Alex Ross book if I hadn’t heard ‘Opus 17′ in 2007…

“We all have our gateway music that leads us down our paths. For myself, I have found through the works of others being able to really appreciate more atonal pieces: Xenakis, Bartok, Schoenberg, Scriabin and so on”.

In asking this I’m aware you’ve been playing piano since you were four – is composed music something you’ve always been steeped in? How did your parents get you into the piano as a pre-schooler?

“My mother was a ballet teacher and she really encouraged me to play. But trust me, I hated practising. I think what was really encouraging is after I had finished my practising I would sit and write things on the piano, and I think this planted a seed. Even my early teacher was really encouraging and let me play one of my first pieces at a recital. I was probably nine years old”.

On film music: It seems you can’t put on a movie anymore without hearing yourself or Max Richter or Jóhann Jóhannsson, and Ólafur Arnalds is right now being heard by more than five million UK TV viewers every week on Broadchurch. It is a great time to be a lover of film music – from the listener’s perspective. Is it a great time to be a film music composer?

“Yeah, I think it’s a good time all around. There is more interest among ensembles and orchestras in playing living composers and films are using more interesting artists; a changing of the guard, I suppose. I think Jóhann Jóhannsson is definitely one of the living greats. Our studios our actually right next to each other, and he is good friend. I do enjoy scoring films. It’s a big challenge and you usually end up with music you would never had written for yourself. It’s such a big collaboration between directors and actors and cinematographers, and so on. But I also feel it’s really important to continue writing for yourself as well. Where there is no compromise and no timeline. It’s where you really find yourself, I think. When it comes time to work on a film you really draw from this well of ideas that you need to nourish”.

In interviews with you, we read about Satie and Debussy and other touchstones for you that are pretty intuitive. Is there any music that you are into that we would be surprised by?

“I have been going through a period lately of not listening to much music at all, so maybe that’s a surprise. I find after writing and working on music all day, the sounds around me are really interesting – and I want to give my ears a break…”.

A Winged Victory for the Sullen play the Pavilion Theatre on February 10th.

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Booka Brass Band – Nute - You know how to blow, don't you? Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:03:17 +0000 Featured on our State Faces of 2015 mixtape, the track ‘Nute’ will make it’s next appearance on Booka Brass Band’s debut EP BBB. The release is available to pre-order now here (including lovely 7″ vinyl) but to whet your appetite here’s a new live video, recorded at the Button Factory last year.

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Faces of February details - The free live showcase returns Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:26:44 +0000 It was only a couple of weeks ago that our Faces of 2015 launch show packed out The Mercantile but, not one to rest on our laurels, we’re back early next month. Saturday 7th is the date and our guests will be Buffalo Woman (photographed above by Olga Kuzmenko), Participant and Pockets. Doors are at 8.30pm and, as ever, entrance is free.

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Kíla – Suas Síos - "It might just prove the pinnacle of their long career..." Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:51:38 +0000 With the 30th anniversary of their first gig – in front of three people in the Baggott Inn round the corner, it’s tempting to consider Kíla one of the great untold stories in Irish music. Sure, many State readers will have seen them live at some point, or probably own an album or two, yet their continued global adventures and success in the world of soundtracks remains largely unheralded. Yet their cottage industry has thrived through a large number of projects, both recorded and literary. What they perhaps need now is an album to jolt the wider world into deserved appreciation.

Well, what do you know. Suas Síos is a record of such scope, such vision, such quality that it might just prove the pinnacle of their long career so far. The title track barrels along at such a pace that you’re almost caught off guard, the band swapping vocals lines and brewing up a storm of traditional instruments in a style reminiscent of a Celtic ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’. A hard kicking opening, it seems as though the eight piece are on a mission. As is producer (and former member) Karl Odlum, who has conjured up all sorts of magic from their various and varied contributions.

All of which means there are moments that – were they to replace the pipes and fiddle with electric guitars – wouldn’t sound out of place on a And So I Watch You From Afar or Overhead The Albatross record. In fact, there are elements of the Kíla sound to be found across the Irish musical landscape. ‘Am’ and ‘Length Of Space’ have am ambient beauty that the electronic set would be proud of and it’s hard not to draw comparisons between the increasing number of Irish emcees and Rónán Ó Snodaigh’s quickfire vocal delivery. Add in elements of Arabic and African music, plus even a unexpected way with a pop melody (‘Abair’) and you have an album – and a band – that is gloriously unique. Long may they continue.

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ASIWYFA album and tour details Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:45:28 +0000 Not long to wait now for the fourth album from And So I Watch You From Afar, with the release of Heirs confirmed for May 4th via Sargent House. Unsurprisingly, the Belfast band will head out on a weighty European tour in support – although Ireland is yet to make it onto the schedule:

28-Apr Tue UK GLASGOW King Tuts
29-Apr Wed UK MANCHESTER Gorilla
30-Apr Thu UK BRISTOL Marble Factory
1-May Fri UK LONDON Islington Assembly Hall
4-May Mon FRANCE PARIS Fleche d’Or
8-May Fri NETHERLANDS EINDHOVEN Effenaar, Small Hall
9-May Sat NETHERLANDS DEVENTER Burgerweeshuis
10-May Sun FRANCE NANTES Le Ferrailleur
11-May Mon FRANCE CLERMONT FERRAND La Cooperative de Mai Club
13-May Wed SWITZERLAND BERN Dachstock @ Reitschule
15-May Fri ITALY MILAN Leoncavallo
16-May Sat ITALY ROME Venue TBC
17-May Sun ITALY MODENA La Tenda
20-May Wed CROATIA ZAGREB Zedno Uho Festival
21-May Thu HUNGARY BUDAPEST Dürer Kert
23-May Sat GERMANY MUNICH Ampere
26-May Tue GERMANY WIESBADEN Schlachthof
27-May Wed GERMANY LIEPZIG Täubchental
30-May Sat GERMANY ESSEN Zeche Carl
31-May Sun GERMANY COLOGNE Underground

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St Vincent Iveagh Gardens date Mon, 26 Jan 2015 10:14:32 +0000 We’re not out of January yet, but the summer is already starting to take shape gig wise. The latest announcement sees St Vincent visit Dublin on July 10th for a show in the perfectly formed Iveagh Gardens outdoor venue. Tickets go on sale this Thursday.

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Mortdecai - Tache rules everything around me Fri, 23 Jan 2015 23:41:36 +0000 Director: David Koepp
Cast: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor
Certificate: 15a
Running Time: 107 minutes
Release Date: January 23rd

It’s difficult to know where to even start critiquing a film like Mortdecai, a creation so incapable of taking any aspect of itself seriously; how can anyone else attempt to? Perseverance is required to finally come to the conclusion that, yes, Mortdecai is quite a terrible film, but not in the usual run-of-the-mill way that terrible films often come to pass, i.e. nobody making the movie was particularly bothered in making something worthwhile. No, the problem with Mortdecai is that it tries WAY TOO HARD, and what we’re left with is one of the most interesting cinematic misfires of recent times.

In case the promotional barrage hasn’t already ingrained it into your subconscious, Johnny Depp is Mortdecai, a moustachioed rogue with a penchant for Russell Brand-esque intelligent verbosity and a pinch of Pink Panther-ish sleuthing on the side. He and his wife Johanna (Gwyenth Paltrow) have fallen on financially hard times, so he takes on a job assigned by MI5 agent Martland (Ewan McGregor) to recover a stolen priceless painting. So he’s off with his faithful man-servant/bodyguard Jock Strapp (Paul Bettany) in tow, heading from London to Hong Kong to Russia to Los Angeles, crossing paths with mobsters and terrorists and slimy businessmen (Jeff Goldblum) and their nymphomaniac daughters (Olivia Munn), trying to piece together the plot as they go along.

The primary problem with the film is that it can’t seem to settle on an IQ level, so we end up with a barrage of jokes that will have different members of the audience laughing at different times. There are fart jokes and penis jokes and vomit jokes and about a quarter of all the punchlines involve Mortdecai’s moustache, but then there’ll suddenly be a very pointedly funny line about art or adultery or Americanisms that will take you unaware, forcing you to laugh out of sheer shock of the joke’s existence.

The character of Mortdecai isn’t beyond the odd sexist quip with an arched eyebrow, leading us to believe that he’s been kept in a nuclear survival bunker for the past fifty years watching Austin Powers movies as if they were documentaries, while the movie Mortdecai seems to have a different opinion of the fairer sex, as Paltrow’s Johanna seems to be the only one here with her head screwed on properly.

Depp plays the title character like a wimpish version of Jack Sparrow, all flighty runs and girly screams, and his reunion with director David Koepp proves to be even less fruitful than their previous collaboration on the undercooked Stephen King thriller Secret Window. Koepp does try to keep things interesting on a visual level, but is constantly left abandoned by the script from Eric Aronson (whose only other screenwriting credit is 2001 Lance Bass starring rom-com On The Line). We might’ve forgiven most of the comedic hokum if the plot was worth a damn, but you’ll be left asking so many questions – one character in particular has a knack of following Mortdecai everywhere, even when Mortdecai himself isn’t aware of his destinations – that you’ll just give up and hope things get funnier.

They don’t, but a certain type of numbness begins to creep in after an hour or so; all the bright colours and over-acting and story nonsense adding up to the cinematic equivalent of white noise.

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Longitude 2015 – First Acts Announced Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:03:41 +0000 Longitude Festival will be back this summer with Hozier, Alt-J and festival stalwarts Chemical Brothers confirmed as headliners. Add to that Caribou, SBTRKT, Little Dragon, Wild Beasts, Jungle, Hudson Mohawke, Young Fathers, Gengahr and Girl Band and you start to see the complete picture. Nominated for a second year running for the best Mid-sized festival at the Irish Festival Awards, this time as the incumbent, Longitude has once again set a high benchmark for the others.

As of yet only the headliners’ slots have been announced, local hero Hozier on Friday, July 17th with Alt-J and Chemical Brothers performing on July 18th and 19th respectively. Tickets are priced at €149.50 for a weekend pass and €59.50 for day passes (both incl. booking fee) and go on sale on Friday, January 30th.

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Listen to the new LUKE-B mixtape Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:40:28 +0000 Released today on through the excellent Loud Mouth Collective, Wicklow producer LUKE-B’s Beat Tape Vol 2 is – as the name suggests – a second excursion into the world of boom bap and swing styles of hip-hop’s golden era. Download it for free from today.

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