Ring in 2011 with Ireland’s most exciting new bands

“THE ONLY way to spend New Year’s Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel. Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears.”

That was the verdict of the English/American poet and essayist WH Auden, but if he were around today and had chance to experience the New Year’s Eve party at the Róisín Dubh, he might have concluded that mellowness and prostitutes were not the way to go.

Instead he might have said: “The only way to spend New Year’s Eve is with friends surrounded by fine musicians so that when the evening ends everyone is bound to be satisfied.”

A good way to leave 2010 satisfied and enter 2011 in a positive frame of mind then is to get along to the Róisín on Friday December 31 from 8pm, with friends, and immerse yourself in the music of some of the finest and most exciting indie/alternative acts in Ireland right now.

The Cast Of Cheers

If asked to say who were the most exciting new bands who released debut albums in 2010, were, I would, without hesitation say Belfast’s Not Squares, Co Down’s Two Door Cinema Club, and Dublin’s The Cast Of Cheers.

The Dublin quartet describe themselves as being “like the end of the world and dancing” and. They merge the guitar heavy attack and thunder of post-rock, with danceable rhythms, and indie-rock songwriting.

The intricate, duelling, guitar riffs of Conor and Neill is underpinned by the equally dextrous bass playing of John and the pile driving drumming of Kev. It makes for a live music experience that is high on skill, ferocity, raw power, and relentless energy.

Those who wish to get a taste of what they are in store for on the night can avail of a free download of The Cast Of Cheers’ debut album Chariots by going to http://soundcloud.com/richtercollective/sets/the-cast-of-cheers-chariot/

They also will serve...

First act on for the night will be We Are Losers. This Dublin band is the lo-fi indie-pop project of Super Extra Bonus Party guitarist Gavin Elsted. Their songs are catchy and full of such time honoured pop ad libs as ‘Yeah, yeah’ and ‘Woo woo’. Have a listen to their new EP at http://growuptobelosers.bandcamp.com.

Next up is post-rock band Enemies, who hail from the same Co Wexford DIY scene that has also produced fellow post-rockers and Richter Collective lablemates Adebisi Shank.

Guitarist Lewis Jackson described Enemies’ music as “intricate, upbeat, almost tropical rock” while State magazine said it has “plenty of high fret playing with soothing, emotive melodies”.

Enemies released their debut album We’ve Been Talking in June. It was recorded at the Hive Studios in Wicklow and mastered in Washington DC by TJ Lipple, who has also worked with MGMT.

One of the highlights of the night is bound to be the performance of Lost Chord. The band is led by vocalist/guitarist Dave Phelan and the line up is completed by Eoin O’Reilly (guitar ), Yoseph Sheridan (drums ), Darren Nestor (bass ), and Aiden Mulderry (synth ).

At numerous Róisín Dubh shows, the band not only delivered great songs but they also know how to entertain audiences. Anything could happen, there could be video screen projections, the lighting of sparklers, or band members running around the venue AC/DC style - Dave, sitting atop Eoin’s shoulders, still playing the guitar.

Lost Chord are indie-rock band, but that is a term with many meanings. Does it mean music made on an independent label? Independent music that is also a specific genre? Or something else?

For Dave indie is more an approach and attitude to music, and a willingness to explore and accommodate a broad spectrum of styles.

The band can play hard rock (‘Some Other Long Haired Boy’ ), Krautrock (‘Ronald and Nancy’ ), electro-pop (the original version of ‘Cheats’ ), Afrobeat (‘You Do Not Do’ ), melodic indie pop (‘Up North’ - for my money a song on a par with anything released by any major indie band this year ), and Goth styled pop (‘Records Not Fear’ ).

Lost Chord’s debut EP There Is No Lost Chord, released in January, showcased the band’s diversity to great effect. Now signed to Dublin indie label Bluestack Records, the band are currently working on their debut album.

The penultimate band on the night will be Dublin’s Le Galaxie - Michael Pope (guitar/synth ), Anthony Hyland (guitar ), Alastair Higgins (drums ), and David McGloughlin (bass ).

Born from the ashes of 66e, Le Galaxie play a kind of music that is mostly instrumental prog-rock/dance/electro/indie-rock, and always of epic proportions - often with a sci-fi or space travel theme.

“We’re more interested in science fiction than the real world,” Michael Pope once told me. “We’ve been watching sci-fi for years and it’s something we’re all passionate about. For my part I love films like Andromeda, 2001, Solaris, and Blade Runner. I also like Star Trek - the kitsch early ones and new ones.”

Dr Who - or rather its celebrated original theme music from the 1960s episodes - was also an inspiration as 66e morphed into Le Galaxie. “If you listen to ‘Le Galaxie’ it’s a rip off of that menacing, throbbing sound,” says Michael. “It’s our tribute to Delia Derbyshire who created the theme music in the BBC Radiophonic workshop.”

Gugai will be DJing afterwards. Tickets are €20/15 and are available from the Róisín Dubh and Zhivago.


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