Not long now until Austin, Texas turns into a veritable orgy of live music for a full week from March 12th – 16th for the annual South by Southwest Festival. The Irish contingent has just been released for the festival, which will see R.E.M, My Brightest Diamond, Vampire Weekend, The Breeders, Man Man, Lightspeed Champion, Jens Lekman and a gazillion more international bands take the stage.
Music From Ireland has announced the Irish acts heading to Austin this year which include Cathy Davey, Iain Archer, Paddy Casey, Oppenheimer, Fight Like Apes, Channel One, Delorentos, Distractors, Driving by Night, Laura Izibor and The Bleedin Bleedins.
Music From Ireland is a brand which has been built around showcasing Irish acts at international music festivals. Spearheaded by FMC (First Music Contact) it is funded by Culture Ireland, IMRO and the Arts Council of Ireland. It is also supported by Live Wire Business Management and Delta Airways. There will be two Irish showcases that week with an official MFI SXSW showcase in the Soho Lounge, Friday 14th March with another the MFI Full Irish Breakfast Official Party taking place in BD Reilly’s, Thursday 13th March from 12 noon.
Also announced are the acts for Canadian Music Week taking place in Toronto on March 8th which include Delorentos, Iain Archer, Cathy Davey, Paddy Casey, Angel Pier, Channel One, Fight Like Apes and Class of 1984. Both line-ups are subject to confirmation.
State will be in Austin covering SXSW, so in preparation, we’ve been doing our homework on each act:
The great Irish success of the year so far (and hot favourite for the Choice Music Prize), Cathy Davey has benefitted from that rarest of things, a major record label’s patience. Whereas her 2004 debut Something Ilk was a solid if unspectacular success, last year’s Tales Of Silversleeve has seen her propelled into a much more established league, including supporting REM at one of their Olympia open rehearsals.
Interview: The Torture Garden
Video: Rueben Live from Belfast
An overnight success ten years in the making, Iain Archer came to London from Bangor, via Glasgow. Two mid nineties solo albums came and went but it was in Scotland that Archer was to find his musical calling, first as a member of the Reindeer Section and then Snow Patrol. Winning an Ivor Novello award for co-writing ‘Run’ wasn’t a bad way to re-launch a solo career that has spawned a further two albums and considerably more mainstream attention.
Video: When It Kicks in
Without doubt the beneficiary of the Irish love affair with young men with acoustic guitars, Paddy Casey nevertheless offered a slightly grittier version of the singer songwriter, no doubt honed by his early days busking on the streets of Dublin. Following the multi platinum success of Living, the future of the Irish record industry seemed to rest on the follow up Addicted To Company.
Video: Addicted to Company
Not ones to let themselves be limited by their location, Belfast duo Oppenheimer have wasted little time in looking outside their home country, scoring releases for their 2006 debut in the US, Australia, Japan and UK. If their floating electronic pop is not exactly what you’d expect from a Belfast band it has certainly caught people’s attention elsewhere, especially across the Atlantic, where they have had a track used in Ugly Betty. They come to SxSW on the back of a support tour with They Might Be Giants.
Video: Breakfast in NYC
Fight Like Apes
The name that has been on everybody’s lips since their first EP arrived last summer, Fight Like Apes have transferred their seeming Irish omnipresence to a more measured approach, touring the UK with The Von Bondies and soon to head to Seattle to start work on an album that will see their way with a melody do further battle with their desire to shout and scream like naughty children. Which trait wins out will determine whether they become the stars that everyone is predicting or stay a cult proposition.
More: The Torture Garden
Video: Battlestations live – Whelans, Dublin
This Dublin band have been slowly building up momentum over the last few years with regular gigs around Ireland and beyond. With a sound that has become increasingly electronic over the years, comparisons to M83, Soulwax and My Bloody Valentine are perhaps inevitable yet certainly evident. Live, they deliver a thrilling smorgasbord of thumping beats and sonic synthesizers. Last year’s Permissions EP marked them out from the pack and with an album due out this year, the future looks promising.
Video: Channel One live
Eschewing the notion that all Irish guitar bands have to live in the shadow of what has gone before, Delorentos have proved that forging your own identity is indeed an option. Initially appearing in the midst of the Bloc Party / Franz Ferdinand twisted riff frenzy, the Dubliners have stayed the course to deliver an excellent debut album, headline some pretty major shows and even point to their next direction with this Jape remix.
More: Jape remix of “Stop” @ Nialler9
Video: Umbrella live in Easons (Rihanna cover)
Friends since they all met as sixteen year old lads trying to sneak into city centres pubs, Distractors have honed their vibrant rock -n’ roll around the live circuit before making their presence felt with debut single ‘The Last Stand’ and it’s striking video.
Video: Last Stand Music video
Driving by Night
If you can judge a band by the company they keep then Belfast’s Driving By Night are doing alright for themselves. Support slots with the likes of Keane, The Thrills, Kings of Leon, The FutureHeads, Faithless, and Arctic Monkeys have raised their profile no end and a showcase at the In The City Festival has prompted extensive industry interest.
For one so young, Laura Izibor seems to have been around for an age. In fact it’s been four years since she first emerged as a 15 year old, winning the 2FM Song Contest and being talked about as the next big thing ever since. Her career has taken her to the States and to Atlantic Records, where her transformation into a R&B diva is being slowly and carefully managed.
Video: From My Heart to Yours
The Bleedin Bleedins
Formed by ex-pat Barry Kelly in Boston in 2004, the Bleedin Bleedins have gigged solidly in the US while maintaining their links back home – upcoming gigs include ones with Delorentos in New York and Bell X1 in their hometown. Equally inspired by dance rhythms as they are classic alternative rock guitar, the Bleedin Bleedins have their foot in camps all over the place.