Saturday, 18 April 2015

Record Store Day 2015

Tomorrow is Record Store Day. Apart from the great offers and chances of getting your hands on some fine records, there is also the opportunity to catch a few live gigs around the country.


There are a few recommendations going round as to what to buy on Record Store Day. The Telegraph in the UK have compiled a nice list here. If you are looking for the best releases in americana and alt-country then check out Twang Nation's summary. I might be preaching to the converted here (in facet I'm sure I am) but the value of a record store goes way beyond just the stocking and selling of albums and singles. Record stores were, and still are for me, the heart of expanding musical knowledge. You might come across the odd artist on the internet that I'm sure that you wouldn't find in your local record store but, you cannot beat those recommendations from your local record store staff. So head on in today to your local store, browse the music and catch a few of the great live gigs that are happening. It just might make you want to come back.


This preview is going to have an Eirecana bias to it i.e. I'll be highlighting all the americana, alt-country, and folk musicians but do check out all artists and records on offer today. Everyone deserves a bit of support.

Dublin
Freebird Records have a number of live bands playing including Tomorrows, Lynched and more. Tower Records have a great line-up including Colm Mac Con Iomaire and The Urges on Saturday and on Sunday Mundy, The Mighty Stef. Spies, Cry Monster Cry, Fox Jaw, This Other Kingdom.

There is also Golden Discs around the city who have a fair few gigs going on in store. I'm leaving out a few record stores here but consult here for the full list.












Cork, Galway and Elsewhere
In MusicZone in Douglas, there are live sets from Live sets from Wasted Spaces (11am), The Shaker Hymn (12pm), John Blek & The Rats (1pm), John Spillane (2pm), and Raising Jupiter (3pm) as well as Fox Jaw. There is also a load of gigs happening in Golden Discs in Cork (though I dont know if that is a independent store). In Galway, there is a BYOB event in the city and Wingnut Records should have some decent record choices available.












So that's the summary. I have left out HMV's own event this weekend. As they are not a independent record store, they don't get to participate in Record Store Day. However the chain has gone ahead and organised "Record Fest". In fairness, they do have some great artists playing including The Mighty Stef, Buffalo Sunn ,Cry Monster Cry, Tucan, The Flaws, Riot Tapes and more on HMV Henry St. So make up your own minds on that one.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Eirecana Radio - 3rd December 2014

I'm almost there on the Eirecana radio back catalogue. Soon enough I'll have the shows uploaded within a week of being broadcast. Imagine that! Don't forget to listen back to previous shows on Mixcloud if you want some quality americana radio!

Eirecana radio is on flirtfm.ie every second Wednesday at 2pm. Catch up with previous shows on Mixcloud. Any requests, send them my way too.

You can stream the show through Mixcloud. The playlist is below.



Artist (with Link)
Song
Album
Canada
People Like You
I Wanna Love You
Make My Head Sing
To Love Somebody
Somebody Else
Bad Girl Boots
Bad Girl Boots EP
Company Man
DeReconstructured
Algiers
Do To The Beast
The Wayward Shepard
The Wayward Shepard
Rumble Shake
Rumble Shake
Mississippi Wine

Remixoilogised
Rain Plains
Left For America
Kosher
Too Long Gone
Atlantic
The Voyager
The Voyager





Submit Music
If you want to submit music for the show (even your own), you never know I might play it! Please feel free to contact me at the email address: ron [at] eirecana.com So have a listen. If you like the show, check the back catalogue on Mixcloud. If you really like the show, tell someone!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Album Review: Whitetrash And The Spear-Headed Sparrowhawks - Lostman EP

I have written about Whiterash on the blog before. He got in touch with me recently about the new EP that they are releasing. So seeing as the EP was launched last week, it is high time that I reviewed
it.

The "Lostman" EP was launched last week with abig night in the Grand Social in Dublin. The EP itself was self-funded with the money for the post-production raised through a Fund-It Campaign. But back to the music. The EP was mixed and recorded by Dave Heraty. I mention that because one thing you notice about all the tracks on the EP is the strong, full, bright sound that inhabits all of the tracks. These are not peeled back, raw, melodies. It's the exact opposite. There are layers of instrumentation here yet the songs never feel like they are too busy. A tough task to master. The arrangements are superb.



The opener on the EP is the dark and moody title track. The first thing that strikes you when you listen to the EP is Conor aka Whitetrahs's voice. It's hard to imagine how anyone can sing like that for long. The gravely voice feels like its resting on the shoulders of a man who has been crossing the country on freight train carriages who has gathered more experiences in a week than I could amass in a year. What I'm trying to say is that when he sings about going to Jackson you believe him. With the guitar licks, harmonica and those words, Lostman is the essence of a confessional of regrets that you can easily identify with.



The gospel like "Release Me" opens with a chorus that sounds like it came straight out of a Baptist preacher. It's only when the rhythm section kicks in that you realise it is not the work of a southern churchman. The guitar dominates this song yet never feels like its controlling the song. The solo is a straight up in your face and and when the songs picks up pace in the final third, you cant help tappin' your foot.



I won't feature all the track here. They are on Soundcloud for you to explore. "Runnin' Down the Mountain" which I have discussed previously again has echoes of a southern gospel tune while "Grave Robbin' Man" and "Devil's Chain" again explore the experiences of men hard done by.

It's rare that an artist can fuse gospel with alt-country and rock without it sounding like a mess but WhiteTrash has skilfully welded all these genres into one sound. It's powerful, chest thumping melodies are ones would be all the better for listening to.


You can get a physical copy of the EP through BandCamp where t-shirts and the like are also available. Keep up with what Whitetrash and the rest of the Sparrowhawks are up to with their Facebook.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Cry Monster Cry

My quest to bring you the best americana music from this fair isle continues. Often I come across artists that I feel as though I have written about when in fact they've just become embedded in my subconscious having seen them so frequently on social media, gig listings, magazine interviews and reviews. Every time I see them mentioned, I remember to look into the music but then I forget again, well not this time.

Cry Monster Cry are made up of brothers Richie and Jamie Martin. The Dublin brothers seem like they were always destined to be recording music. Richie was taught the violin by his mother, then moved onto the guitar and went on to study music in college. Meanwhile Jamie first started by playing piano and, according to their bio, tried out nearly every instrument under the sun before studing English in college. It all reads like a masterplan for forming an alt-folk group, the two members covering each discipline of the process. Despite how it reads, the brothers only formed Cry Monster Cry three years ago.

Having grown up listening to their parents records, especially on long car journeys, the brothers experienced the sounds of Bob Dylan, The Everly Brothers, Van Morrison, Ray Charles and Simon and Garfunkel. These early influences seem to have stuck with the them. Their sound clearly consists of folk melodies with both the lyrics and arrangements bringing the alternative to this alt-folk mix.
Despite having formed not that long ago, Cry Monster Cry have been busy with their output. The first EP "The Fallen EP" was released fairly soon after they formed and contains five tracks of warm, harmonious, lyrical beauty. The title track of the EP, "The Fallen" is a wonderful tune. Listening to it, I am somehow reminded of waves moving up and down moving against the keel of a boat. The song has a flowing melody that you experience for a few gentle minutes and then it's gone.



My favourite track off the EP is "On Tangled Shores", a true slice of alt-folk. The electric guitar notes add a sense of sparseness to the melody. It's a proper story song with no real chorus. The words about a former lover add real emotion to the song. When the song takes off halfway through, you are really hooked.



Since the release of the first EP, the lads have been gigging around Ireland and started recording their debut album last year. "Rhythm of Dawn" was released in February and the band are currently touring in support of it. The first single from the new album is "Postcards", a real pop-folk tune. The returning vocal refrain and those little mandolin licks really add to the warmth of the track that drags you in.



Cry Monster Cry have an official website and they are doing some gigs at the moment. Check out their Facebook page for more. You can preview and download the album on iTunes.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Eirecana Radio - 19th November 2014

Still working on the back catelogue of Eirecana radio shows. Here is another show with some great music. Don't forget to listen back to previous shows on Mixcloud if you want some quality americana radio!

Eirecana radio is on flirtfm.ie every second Wednesday at 2pm. Tune in.

Eirecana Radio - 19th November 2014 by Eirecana on Mixcloud


You can stream the show through Mixcloud. The playlist is below.

Artist (with Link)

Song

Album

The Viking Project

Got Sunk Down

The Viking Project

Johnny Kaplin

Sparkle and Shine

Sparkle and Shine

Owsley Brothers

Diamond in The Rough

Owsley Brothers

Steve Young & The Union

DutyFree 200

Eagle Fort Rumble

Calexico

Epic

Algiers

Afghan Whigs

Algiers

Do To The Beast

Son Volt

Highways and Cigarettes

The Search

Bob Bradshaw

Ohio Girl

Home

Jayne Trimble

I’ll Follow You

Run Onwards

Gavin Glass

Sunday Songs

 

Twin Terrace

Our Friend The Atom

Plural

Fifth on The Floor

January in Louisiana

Ashes & Angels

The Black Keys

When The Lights Go Out

Rubber Factory

Owen Tromans

Golden Margins

Golden Margins

 





Submit Music
If you want to submit music for the show (even your own), you never know I might play it! Please feel free to contact me at the email address: ron [at] eirecana.com So have a listen. If you like the show, check the back catalogue on Mixcloud. If you really like the show, tell someone!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Ben Glover

Hopefully I get more than one post done in a week but at least I'm building back up to regular activity. I'm finally writing about a artist that I came across last winter some time and have a reminder in my phone since to write about. So you might be already aware of Ben Glover but have you heard my thoughts!!

Ben is one of those who music and outlook fit very snugly into the Eirecana genre. His style and influences are a mix of both traditions from across the Atlantic. He cites that so himself describing playing his first sessions as a young teenager in Co. Antrim and slipping in the songs of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. This connection between the music and character of roots, americana and Irish music is probably described best in Ben's bio on his website: "In the summers during studying law at university he paid his way across the Atlantic by performing Irish folk ballads, the songs of Christy Moore and The Pogues in the bars in Boston, while back home in the pubs of Ireland he was singing Dylan and Springsteen." I have often talked on this blog about my belief in that special connection yet indescribable connection between the sound of traditional and roots in American and Ireland. To give you a flippant fact to argue my case, would there be any other country in the world that 500,000 tickets would be sold for a country artist (Gareth Brooks). Whatever that relationship is, Ben Glover recognises it too and it has become the basis of his latest release: Atlantic.

"Atlantic" is not Ben's first record. By the time of the release of his latest in September, he had a number of records under his belt including "The Week The Clock Changed, Through the Noise, Through the Night" and "Before the Birds", the latter having been released after he moved to Nashville to pursue the music full-time. He also married a Mississippi woman which I imagine gives a better perspective on the relationship and similarities between the music of his native land and that of the southern States.

His music up to Altantic could be described as singer-songwriter fare. Some of the tracks I have listened to on the albums are acoustic guitar led, americana melodies with his very earnest voice shining throughout. If you're looking for comparisons, well I wouldn't much further than Josh Rouse or Josh Ritter. For Atlantic, Ben relocated to his childhood holiday home of Ballyliffin in Co Donegal to record. It is obvious that the surroundings and I'm sure the many memories had an influence on the recording.

My favourite track on "Atlantic" is the belter "Too Long Gone". The song kicks into action straight away. The vocal refrain helps build up to a addictive chorus. With the backing vocals adding a hint of soulful mourning to the melody, the song reels you in and then enfurls you in its arms.

In a number of interviews Ben done for the album, the theme of finding your place in the world and that yearning for home has been mentioned.

The opener "This world is a dangerous Place" has a ambivalence about it. You're not sure if he is saying you should never leave home or telling you to get out there and live your life anyway. The melody is simple, but still requires your attention. A special little song.


The hymn-like "Oh Soul" immediately follows "This World is a Dangerous Place". As has been described before it feels like a hymn of the 21st century. A song that feels like it belongs in that baptism scene in "O Brother, where arth thou?"The album is not all soulful musing or musical eulogies, "Sing a Song Boys" is simple in design and execution and is al the better for it. A foot-tapin' sing-along that seems at home in one of those sessions Ben started out in his musical career all those years ago.



It really is a wonderful piece of work. The production by Neilson Hubbard should be commended, the arrangements for both vocals and instruments are superb. Atlantic is a record that help shapes that relationship between musical styles from two countries either sides of that vast ocean.


To learn more about Ben's thought's on making Atlantic, you can here a interview with him on the always excellent "Country Fried Rock" podcast. His official site is here where you have listen to snippets of many of his tracks and buy the albums too. He is also on Facebook and Soundcloud too.