by / January 23rd, 2008 /

News: SXSW Irish artists announced


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:

Cathy Davey

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

Iain Archer

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

Paddy Casey

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

Channel One

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.

Laura Izibor

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.

  • I’ll see you there!

  • odran smith

    That Petrol Emotion was a Northern Irish, London-based band with an American vocalist called Steve Mack. The band evolved from the Derry Hitmakers and The Undertones. It was formed by guitarist John O’Neill and second guitarist Raymond Gorman. The band was completed by Damian O’Neill (bassist from 1985-1988 then guitarist from 1988-1994) along with drummer Ciaran McLaughlin and bassists John Marchini (1988-1991) and Brendan Kelly (1991-1994). From 1985, the band released a number of singles. Even though they charted seven singles in the UK, they never improved on their first chart hit “Big Decision” in 1987 which reached number 41. They did, however, reach the Top 40 of the UK Albums Chart with the album – Babble. They also reached number 1 in the UK indie charts with their albums Manic Pop Thrill and Fireproof.
    The band’s sound evolved over the years from John Peel-approved heavy indie rock on Manic Pop Thrill and Babble, to melodic pop rock after John O’Neill’s departure on the albums Chemicrazy and Fireproof, via dance and sample experimentation. Many believe that this dversity alienated people in the contemporary scene and so, That Petrol Emotion are considered very much before their time.
    That Petrol Emotion were also renowned for a devastating live performance of tight musicianship and intense playing. They were described by Rolling Stone magazine as “The Clash crossed with Creedence” but their influences range from The Beatles to Television to Wire to Captain Beefheart to Can. They split in 1994.
    Seán Ó’Néill (a.k.a. John O’Neill) went on to form the band Rare, while The Undertones reformed in the 2000s for an album, without Feargal Sharkey, on Sanctuary Records. Ciaran McLaughlin and Raymond Gorman still sporadically perform new, original material.
    On 26th March 2008 Steve Mack announced that the band were reforming to play at least one concert in the summer. They are scheduled to appear in Ireland’s The Electric Picnic in August.

    Interview with Steve Mack

    1) Wikipedia claims you were “pioneers for such bands as the Stone Roses, Oasis, Blur and Radiohead.” Do you see yourself in any of the aforementioned. I’ve read the Manic Street Preachers and the Super Furry Animals say nice things about the band over the years. Producer Jacknife Lee called his first band Compulsion after a T.P.E. song. Do you find any of that stuff gratifying?

    Wow – I wonder who wrote that stuff – seriously. Certainly I think many a band saw us tearing it up over the years, and we met a lot of bands who said we inspired them, which is always gratifying. It’s nice to give back and keep the music flowing. It’s particularly nice years after the fact, when all you really have left to think about is the legacy you left behind, if any.

    2) Was the possibility of John O’Neill rejoining ever discussed?

    What, back in the day? No, he left because he wanted out. And we moved on, and I believe we became a better band. I don’t mean that as an indictment of John in any way, it’s just that we matured and became better musicians, performers, and song writers. He said as much to us every time we saw him.

    I always try to explain to people who aren’t in bands that being in one is like having four separate relationships, which is why it’s so difficult. And extending this metaphor, you don’t go back to an old partner.

    3) Will T.P.E. record any new material?

    At this point that’s unclear. Certainly Ciaran and Raymond have some incredibly great new songs, but they don’t see them as Petrols songs as far as I know, and recording new material is a far greater commitment than playing a few gigs.

    4) Were the band really banned by BBC Radio One?

    Absolutely. We had a quote from a Gerry Adams book on the back of Genius Move that caused all the trouble. It wasn’t a Gerry Adams quote, but the connection was there. In retrospect it was an extremely foolish thing to do. Then again, looking at the political situation in Ireland now, how dangerous and inflammatory was it really? Again, we never had great timing.

    5) Have there been any arguments about what songs to include in your new live set? I personally hope you play ‘For What It’s Worth’, ‘Cellophane’, ‘Natural Kinda Joy’ and ‘Scum Surfin’.

    Well, you’ll get one of those. And yes, plenty of arguments.

    6) Have you seen the lineup for Electric Picnic? Are there any bands artists on the bill you’re looking forward to seeing?

    Sure – looking forward to seeing the Valentines again, Sex Pistols for the first time, Duffy (who I LOVE), Gomez, Franz Ferdinand (who are one of the few bands I’ve seen recently that do as good a show as we did back in the day), The Kills, can’t wait to see Grinderman, The Roots are going to be awesome, and I’m curious about Foals.

    7) You built an owned a studio in London called Bang Bang. Did anyone famous come through it’s doors.

    I produced a couple of Stereolab singles, one of which I’m very proud of. High Llamas first LP was recorded there. Gallon Drunk did their first single there which I loved. Breed did a great album. Tons of others, but those are probably the highest profile acts.

    8) You do the Harry Shearer website come about? Was it the Simpsons or Spinal Tap that drew you in?

    He’s a really forward thinking guy, and he was working with RealNetworks, so when I left that job I took him with me as I knew he’d be lost without me championing him.

    9) Why choose Dundalk instead of Derry for your Irish comeback?

    Beats me!

    10) How many of the band now have children?

    Everyone except me! But I’ve only been married five months, so give me some time…

    11) Did the band play SXSW? Is the London gig your first in so many years?

    SxSW got cancelled. Sore point. Yes, London is the first gig in 15 years.

    12) You were in a band called the Throw Ups who were a precursor to Mudhoney. Do you ever think you’d have had more success if you’d stayed in the states? Are you the missing link between indie/dance and grunge?

    Thrown Ups. With an “n” at the end. It’s interesting to think about what would have happened if I stayed in Seattle. I’m sure I would have been involved in the whole grunge thing as all my friends were, but I’m very proud of my European sojourn. I was the first Seattleite in a high-profile band.

    As for the link, well, you could say that. We loved the hard noisy stuff, and we loved to dance!

    13) Will the band ever release a Best Of?

    Very doubtful. We were on three separate labels which makes that sort of thing very difficult.

  • Pat

    Can anyone tell me with certainty which version of “Big Decision” by That Petrol Emotion charted? Was it the 2:43 album version, the 4:39 “Extended Version” that appears on the 2001 Polydor re-release of Babble, or perhaps another version?

    Silly as this question may seem, I’m asking on behalf of the program director of an independent radio station in upstate New York who’s very detail-oriented.