(Photograph: Dublin at the foot of the mountains)
1. Future Kings of Spain – ‘A Place For Everything’ from Future Kings of Spain.
2. Bats – ‘These Ones Lay Eggs’ from the Cruel Sea Scientist EP.
3. Ten Past Seven – ‘No Bother’ from Shut Up Your Face.
4. Taste – ‘Blister On The Moon’ from Taste.
5. My Bloody Valentine – ‘Soft as Snow (But Warm Inside)’ from Isn’t Anything.
6. Whipping Boy – ‘We Don’t Need Nobody Else’ from Heartworm.
7. El Diablo – ‘I Still Love You, You Know’ from The Crooked Straight.
8. Terrordactyl – ‘Calabunga’ from the Terrordactyl EP.
9. Adebisi Shank – ‘Horse’ from This is the EP of a Band called Adebisi Shank.
10. NPB – ‘Kim Novak’ from The Sociables Prefer Pop Music.
11. Estel – ‘Regardez Moi (I’m Up To My Neck In Shit)(Again)’ from The Bones of Something.
12. The Redneck Manifesto – ‘The Dillon Family Dancers’ from Cut Your Heart Off from Your Head.
Words (and selection) by mr. x indeed:
The first track of Future Kings of Spain’s first album; still a classic that they’ve yet to top.
I first saw BATS supporting the Locust in Whelan’s, I was impressed but it’s hard not to be by a band screaming in unison that they will "destroy you" (I later found out that the threat was actually aimed at the Creationist Kent Hovind). Since then I’ve seen them a few times and I think it’s safe to say that they are one of the most exciting Irish bands at the moment. Their music lurches spastically from disco to metal, stopping in a few places in between. Last I spoke to the lads they say they’re working on an album to follow up the Cruel Sea Scientist EP, and if the 5 tracks on the EP are anything to go by, it should be quite astonishing. ‘These Ones Lay Eggs’ shows a broad spectrum of what they are capable of.
Ten Past Seven are an instrumental three-piece from Kerry. They appeared, released an amazing album Shut Up Your Face, and then seemed to disappear from the Dublin gig circuit for a year or two. They are probably one of the most musically adept bands I’ve seen in years. Time-signatures pass in the blink of an eye, songs come to shuddering halts before breaking into passages of free-jazz style playing.
Taste - nothing new here but it is always important to salute the masters. I personally am of the opinion that if a person prefers Phil Lynott to Rory Gallagher they should not be allowed to posses an Irish passport. Sure Lynott has a statue in the city centre of Dublin but it looks like Willy Wonka. And I could never see a big Lynott festival really taking off (http://www.goingtomyhometown.com/).
Whipping Boy evokes something that seems very unique to Dublin, some sort of playful but resentful grudge against the world around oneself. The band manages to flourish under an intensely constricting atmosphere. This is something that indie music in Ireland lost many years ago. Great art in Ireland often came from oppressive surroundings, from the oppression from Britain that created purpose for Yeats’ art, to the oppression of terrorism that brought the spark for Stiff Little Fingers, to the economic oppression that created the bleak atmosphere of Whipping Boy’s Heartworm album.
Ireland now seems more comfortable and there is no spark in a lot of the music today. Musicians begin to worry about their style more than where their next meal is coming from. And although this is great for the artist in question, the art suffers because there is no drive to do something different, something that could allow them to escape.
Country music is often underrated. El Diablo created something unique; something that sounded like it was from somewhere between Tennessee and Galway.
Terrordactyl rock harder than a quarry. Their debut EP is an astoundingly diverse record. Calabunga, the track I’ve chosen here, sounds like a cross between straight up driving rock, The Locust and Primus (if Claypool would stop doing Residents impressions and just focus on rocking).
Adebisi Shank (Oz reference, anyone?) released the This Is The EP Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank EP last year and was the readers’ choice of Best Irish EP of 2007 on nialler9’s hugely influential blog. I’ve been told that they are currently recording their debut album with the guy who engineered Faraquet’s The View From This Tower. Oh, and they’re getting big in Japan.
Keep an eye on these ones.
The NPB, or National Prayer Breakfast as they were sometimes known, strayed along a strange path. Starting off a humorous group fixated as much with Karl Marx as they were with James Dean; they somehow became a weird grimy blues rock band stuck in the 1960s over the course of two and a half albums. A bizarre blip on the radar maybe, but they never had a bad song.
Estel are usually an instrumental band, but when Mike Watt asks if he can do vocals on a track you best not say "no". Estel combine the repetitiveness of Krautrock bands like Can with the bluntness of post-punk bands like The Fall, as you can imagine in a live situation they are something quite elemental. This comes off of their most recent, and strongest to date, album The Bones of Something.
They actually have completed a full record with Mike Watt and Steve MacKay of the Stooges, but accordingly there are no plans to release it anytime soon, (one annoying thing about Irish bands is that they seem to be inherently disorganized).
The Redneck Manifesto are great.
Here’s a favourite of theirs.
And finally, The Richter Collective are a new conglomerate of different Irish independent labels and promoters. They’ve got a pretty good catalogue here where you can get many of the best Irish albums and EPs of recent days.