Written by acclaimed singer-songwriter Francie Conway, ‘Somewhere In Heaven’ is a song with a simple message that holds great meaning for many. Francie has been a long time collaborator with an Irish icon of music, Finbar Furey. Finbar was so impressed that not only does he play Banjo, Whistle and Uillean Pipes on the recording himself, but he also suggested Aslan lead vocalist Christy Dignam to perform the vocals.
‘The strong hooks bring you in and the downbeat material creeps up on you.’ The 405
The prolific Richie Egan returns with Jape’s fifth studio album ‘This Chemical Sea’, available from January 23th on Faction Records.
Revered by critics and fans alike in their native Ireland, Jape is the only act to have received the Meteor Choice Award for best Irish album twice: for their third album ‘Ritual’ (2008) and their last full length effort ‘Ocean of Frequency’ (2011).
On this LP, Jape have tangibly honed their sound, and written what the band calls ‘the first album which has a uniquely ‘Jape’ sound from start to finish, a type of gothic pop with lyrics of unusual depth.’ The record combines the mindset of genre-bending music that the band have always been admired for with a strict adherence to a pop format. It incorporates a nod to some of Egan’s biggest experimental influences (Voices from the Lake, Raymond Scott, The Microphones), but never veers away from placing the songs firmly within the frame of the pop genre.
The hooks throughout the LP are strong and resonate above the bouncing keyboards, particularly on the record’s lead single ‘The Heart’s Desire’. The Peaking Lights remix of the track, which premiered on The Line of Best Fit and received coveted airplay on Huw Stephens’ show, takes the song’s irresistible melodies and lets them flow for seven minutes, highlighting the band’s talent for penning an irresistable chorus.
The record’s strengths are enhanced by the skilful mix of David Wrench, who has worked with the likes of FKA Twigs, Caribou, and Jungle. The powerful melodies are nurtured, but never at the expense of the stunning instrumentation on tracks such as album opener ‘Seance of Light’, where the synthesisers shimmer and shine on a sea of deep electronic bass lines, along with other album highlights ‘Love on the Crest of a Wave’ and ‘Absolutely Animals’.
Following an extensive tour of Australia and Europe, Egan relocated to Malmo, Sweden in 2012, where he found a studio to write and record the majority of the new record. Egan explained his intention was to ‘make a coherent album that was a pure expression of my inner thoughts.’ Far from an insular process however, this was the first time somebody else was let in on the creative process. The tracks would be shared with fellow band member Glenn Keating for feedback, something Egan feels ‘was inspiring and helped me to push myself so much harder.’
Further adding to the collaborative aspect of the album, mercury prize nominated Villagers’ frontman Conor O’Brien features on the LP’s penultimate song ‘Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon’. However, regardless of outside influence, Egan also manages to demonstrate his penchant for taking inspiration from the personal, such as in the staggeringly beautiful final piano line of ‘Breath of Life’. This was written the same week his mother fell extremely ill, and its melody is something he believes reflects the ‘magical quality of music and its ability to induce memory’’.
As a man who has worked in many bands prior to, and alongside, Jape (The Redneck Manifesto, Villagers, David Kitt), Richie Egan has an impressive back catalogue of work, but ‘This Chemical Sea’ may well be considered his greatest achievement thus far. It is a compelling pop record with all the attributes of an album which will last well beyond its 2015
February 3rd sees the return of the IMRO Live Music Venue of The Year Awards, presented by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) in recognition of music venues that provide the very highest standards in live music entertainment. Qualifying venues include pubs, hotels, arts centres, theatres, purpose built music venues and many more.
We have a limited number of guest list places available for this event.
Simply email: email@example.com with your name(s).
“The Harsh Winds of Rathlin” is the second single to be taken from Axis Of’s new album ‘The Mid Brae Inn’.
This “weather-beaten journey through the Axis Of environment” is accompanied by a video that sees the band return to their roots. The video, produced by Misfits for Media, was filmed at the Attic Bar of Ma Kellys in Ballymoney, which for a long time was a setting for some of the bands most chaotic shows.
“The Harsh Winds Of Rathlin” is accompanied by a live bonus version of “Wetsuit” and is available from 21st January, 2015 on Smalltown America.
The release of ‘The Mid Brae Inn’ follows on 23rd February 2015.
Tickets for their upcoming tour are available here.
You can BUY the single from Independent Music here.
The concept behind the record centres on a character, Mr. Wednesdae, with lead-singer, Razmo, taking inspiration from the vocal stylings of retro kid’s cartoons in order to give the character his distinct voice. Throughout the record, Mr. Wednesdae relays his spiritual and modern day social commentary.
The band played a string of Irish festivals on the back of their debut EP, ‘Shoot Me (It’s Just TV)’ and were selected for the Guinness Amplify project. Having already taken to the stage at Whelan’s Ones to Watch earlier this month, and with gigs in The Spirit Store and at Guinness Live Stages next month, 2015 look set to be another busy year for Cult Called Man. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter.
Michelle Lockey’s (USA) fourth CD, More to Life, released September 2014, features the tracks “Deep is My Soul” and “In The Dark (A Tale of Love)”, both of which use Amanda’s lyrics.
We wrote last week that hit Irish songwriter, Brendan Graham, was getting set for chart success in Korea with the release of his song, “If Came the Hour”, by Grammy Award-winning Korean artist, Sumi Jo, in collaboration with Secret Garden. The song, released in Korea under the title, “Moon Flower”, has since shot to Number 1 in the Korean Classical Charts.
On the back of this success, Universal has now released the digital single of “Always There” (in Korean) by Lim Hyung Joo and Secret Garden. The classical crossover singer, Lim Hyung Joo, has sold over 1 million records in South Korea since the release of his first album at the age of 12.
Irish animation, Song of the Sea, has been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Film category. The film features a stunning soundtrack composed by Kíla and Bruno Coulais, along with the vocals of Lisa Hannigan and Nolwenn Leroy.
The Cartoon Saloon production is not the first Oscar nod for the Kilkenny-based studio as its animated feature, The Secret of Kells, was previously nominated for an Academy Award.
Song of the Sea has been nominated alongside Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. The Academy Awards will take place on Sunday 22nd February.
The soundtrack to Song of the Sea is now available to purchase on iTunes.
Hozier’s international rise continues as he has just been included in the BRIT Awards 2015 nominees. The Wicklow musician has been nominated in the Best International Male Solo Artist category.
The category also sees nominations for Beck, Jack White, John Legend and Pharrell Williams.
The awards are set to take place at London’s O2 Arena on 25th February.
Working on Love is Niall Toner‘s fifth all-original album, and was recorded in Nashville with producer, Keith Sewell, and a stellar line-up of musicians, including Samson Grisman on bass (The Deadly Gentlemen/David Grisman Band), Justin Weaver on mandolin and guitar, (Wynonna Judd Band ), John Mock on harmonium and whistles (Dixie Chicks), Keith Sewell on guitar, fiddle and mandolin, (Lyle Lovett Band/Dixie Chicks) and Scott Vestal (Sam Bush Band) on 5-string banjo. Niall played mandolin and banjo, and sang all the lead vocals, with harmonies by Wendy Buckner and Keith Sewell. The sessions were cut at 16 Tons Studio on Music Row, and mixed and mastered at the Toolshed Studios in Mount Juliet, TN. Engineer was Michael Esser.
This is basically an Album of Love Songs, and it seems appropriate that it should be released to co-incide with St.Valentine’s Day, the annual celebration of LOVE.
Working On Love, is, as the title suggests, an up-tempo song about a couple working continuously to improve their relationship. Josie’s Reel is a glimpse of innocence, and paints a picture of a somewhat clumsy man trying to make an impression on a dancing girl. I Know What Lonely’s About is a love song about the loneliness of separation but with a happy ending. Old Tyme Love is another old-style love song which tells the story of a touring performer on the road wanting to get back home ASAP. When Tomorrow Comes is one of those up-tempo style bluegrass Songs which has at its heart, a story of break-up and separation, but nonetheless expresses its emotion over a hard-driving bluegrass rhythm. The Mountain and the Sky uses that metaphor to describe a relationship on the very edge of crumbling, or maybe not. Walk On Water is a full-on gospel song written with Terri Lynn-Weaver, and draws its inspiration directly from the Bible parable about Jesus walking on water. Bill Monroe’s Mandolin, is, as far as Niall knows, the only love song ever written about a mandolin, and a fairly special one at that! The song was first recorded in 2001, but Niall always harboured an ambition to re-cut it in a more ‘story-telling’ version. The only instrumental on this album represents Niall’s take on two traditional Irish themes/styles. Planxty Coolasnaughta is named so because it’s in the style of the great Irish harpist, Turlough O’Carolan, and The Flower Of Liffey Hall is a hornpipe of Niall’s, named for his grandaughter, Caoilinn. The People Wondered is an acapella song performed in Shape Note Hymnal style, based on the concept of the ‘Doubting Thomas’.
The album will be made available in as many formats as one could desire: hard copy CDs in the shops, including Claddagh Records, viewable at Niall’s live shows, iTunes, Amazon, and from Niall’s website at: www.nialltonerband.com
Official release date : February 14 2015.