Having kicked off in fine style with two nights in Dublin, the 2009 IMRO showcase heads north tonight for an incredible eight band bill at The Limelight & Katy Daly’s in Belfast. As with all the remaining dates on the tour, State is on hand to provide you with a handy guide to the acts taking part and a taster of what they have to offer:
2008 was a successful year for indie quintet Sparks Fly. They were one of the few Northern Ireland acts to be chosen to perform at the Hard Working Class Heroes festival in Dublin, where they caught the eye of former Killers manager Larry Little. Their debut EP was described by AU magazine as “…pathos addled indie the likes of which Elbow or Doves would be proud.”
MP3: Sparks Fly – Creatures
Yes Cadets are so hot off the press they’ll burn your fingers. As one of the latest bands to emerge from an exploding Northern Irish music scene they are set to whip up a storm well beyond their native Belfast. They have taken the working men’s approach over the last few months, spending every available hour locked up rehearsing in an old West Belfast linen mill. The result is a heady cocktail of hook-laden electro-pop, post-rock dynamics and heartfelt song writing that is causing quite a stir on both the stage and the airwaves.
MP3: Yes Cadets – Art Party
Formed in 2007, Panama Kings were crowned JD Unsigned band 2008 and not being a band to rest on their laurels, or accept that prizes might automatically mean progress, they immediately set about consolidating their reputation, releasing the critically acclaimed debut EP ‘Young Blood’ in the summer of 2008, winning new fans in the press and being played on radio by Zane Lowe, Radio Ulsters Across The Line, Steve Lamacq, Huw Stephens and Tom Robinson. They were one of State’s own Faces of 2009.
John Shelley & The Creatures
JS&TC formed in February 2007 and soon after released their first EP ‘Big Day Out’. Following this and a large number of live dates the band released their first single ‘Angeline’ to much critical acclaim. The track racked up numerous plays on BBC Radio 1 and also the BBC Radio Ulster’s Across the Line, U105fm and Phantom 105.2. The band consists of four members, two of which hail from Dublin and two from the North of Ireland.
MP3: John Shelley and the Creatures – Long May You Reign
The Jane Bradfords
The Jane Bradfords are a four piece. Sometimes they can be as large as a seven piece. Sometimes its just one guy in a studio cursing at old keyboards that used to work perfectly well. The Jane Bradfords are difficult to pigeonhole into a genre; on the surface they’re Indie, but elements of Pop, Electro and even post punk are all in the mix. There’s the nonchalant swagger of The National, the driving, tight Peter Hook style bass and at times the euphoric hosannas of Arcade Fire, but they have a defiantly unique sound.
MP3: The Jane Bradfords – The Evening Angels Gather Here
Escape Act are an absorbingly upbeat pop-rock trio. Reinforced by lyrical smarts, stage outings that electrify and creative promotional tactics, the Belfast three-piece continue on a steady upward trajectory. Their debut album ‘Loosely Based On Fiction’ was recorded by Andy Miller (Fratellis, Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai) at Chem19 Studios in Glasgow, Scotland. It received rave reviews in its native Ireland, and the band also gained attention for their unique promo strategy – each track was released on a different MP3 blog before the whole album became available on digital stores and in various special edition physical packages.
MP3: Escape Act – God Says
Push Borders are one of Northern Ireland’s newest and most promising prospects. They achieve a lyrical intimacy, and intensity of sound, which will course through you maniacally, then fade to a mere hint of a pulse, before then lifting you up again. Described in the media as both ‘an evolutionary, clockwork orange style, build up of keys, percussion and guitar’ and ‘heart-achingly beautiful’, they create cascading soundscapes which are sewn together with an underpinning pop sensibility.
MP3: Push Borders – Garden State
The Benjamins are Andy McClenaghan + friends
The Benjamins = Violent Femmes x Weezer
The Benjamins keep it simple, write great tunes and put on a show.
MP3: The Benjamins – Love Like Fire
Eight of Northern Ireland’s best bands then for £3. Seriously, don’t miss out.