IT seems that the whole industry is making good use of this unexpected good weather before the summer comes to a close. As I write this, hurtling down the motorway towards the rebel city, things have begun to heat up within the music industry: in the charts, on stage and in the release column.
First off, a follow up from last week. Orla Gartland and Villagers battle it out as both vie for the number one slot on their hometown music charts. On one hand, the independent underdog armed with fresh energy, internet clout and an indie rock fan battalion. On the other, the seasoned artist with a decade-plus of fanbase-building around him and his most accomplished record in years. We await the results eagerly of this Ali vs Foreman-esque sales brawl. But as spectators in this fight, we are the real winners.
And for those avoiding the sun, fear not for there's a number of high quality recorded concerts headed your way. Although the practice has wained given the return of the outdoors as an option, the past year and a half have seen a huge swell of competent and talented production companies present our native talent in stunning A/V instances.
Take the newly announced ‘Seconds Away’ series. Spearheaded by independent promoters Singular Artists, an offshoot of the legendary Aiken Promotions, this multi-week presentation of Irish music begins on September 1. Recorded in the National Stadium in Dublin and presented by BBC R1’s Gemma Bradley, the programme will be broadcast every week of the month and features great northern talent such as CHERYM, Soak, Conchur White, Dani Larkin, Sam Wickens and more. With highlights broadcast from RTÉ 2F on Dan Hegarty’s show and visuals hosted on Nialler9’s YouTube page, there’s plenty for you to dig into this month.
Meanwhile, over on RTÉ Culture it was announced that Sessions From Oblivion will be among a welcome return. The music series, previously online-only, will feature the likes of N.O.A.H., Nimah Regan and David Bowie collaborator Gerry Leonard in its first episode (just to give you an idea of the star power here). Also featured are The Mary Whallopers, Gerry Leonard and Celaviedemai, which illustrates the diverse talent pool available to us on the island. Don’t miss out on this one.
On the live side, things progress in both good and crazy ways. On one hand, we have Galway-based record label Strange Brew (Junior Brother, Anna Mullarkey, Paddy Hanna) announce their festival. Fall Right Into Place, taking place at Claregalway Castle, looks to showcase the likes of And So I Watch You From Afar, Soda Blonde, The Scratch and more from the 8th to the 12th of September. It's a real stellar line-up, showing off some of the best talents we’ve developed over the last year, and should be the biggest live news story we have this week.
However, the Electric Picnic vs Laois County Council saga continues. With permission denied by the council for the festival to take place a second time this year, Tánaiste Leo Vardkar has asked for the Attorney General to step in and find a workaround on regulations that pleases both parties. It should be noted at this point, without humour, that the regulations in question that informed the council's decision were created by the very board that both Leo and the Attorney General sit on. You’d think that makes things easier. You’d be wrong.
And finally, we end the column as always with our spotlight cast on some of the best releases from independent artists over the last week. The queer cottage-core of Niall McDowell’s ‘Tennessee’ has completely grabbed my attention with its sharp lyricism and effortlessly gracious arrangements. Snarling 90s indie meets country. Also of note is Carrie Baxters ‘Something In The Water’, a bright pop track that's flooded with guitar and stellar production – Baxter’s one to keep an eye on.