Music: Relive Castlepalooza 2014

Were you at Castlepalooza a few weeks back? One of my favourite music writers Lorraine Harrison was kind enough to recount her musical experiences at what is arguably the best independent music festival of the year for Have a read and let us know your own Castlepalooza memories. 

All images are by Dublin Photographer Ruth  Medjber. Visit her website HERE

Castlepalooza 2014 pictures

Arriving early on site on Friday Castlepalooza fans were met with hot temperatures and clear skies. Fast forward to about 7.00pm and it came. Rain; something all Irish festival goers are used to and know to prepare for. Then it continued. And continued.  And continued. There is only so much preparation you can do and layers a person can bring.

As luck would have it most of Friday’s musical delights took place under the covered shelter of the Metro Herald stage. Dubliners Sleep Thieves were amongst the highlights while DJ Arman Giorgio brought on the festival atmosphere with mixes of well-known tracks and acts such as LCD Soundsystem to delights of the rain trodden faithful. While many bring ear plugs camping to drown out the sound of some gobshite with a guitar “entertaining” the dwellers (it’s five AM, he’s playing Kodaline…again.), this was a first; using earplugs to drown out the sound of rain.

Festival Fashion

Festival Fashion – Credit to Ruth Medjber

One thing that makes Castlepalooza unique compared to other festivals is the variety of things you can do other than seeing music acts. During the day the stunning Charville Castle’s banquet hall is the location for lessons in things like yoga, hula hooping and burlesque. Yes you can actually learn to strip in a castle. If that doesn’t have you counting down the days to next year nothing will.

Saturday was again a mainly rain filled affair again meaning the majority of the crowd could be found at the Metro Herald stage once more. Benny Smiles was true to his name as the masses were left beaming from ear to ear from his unique brand of upbeat electro pop. Haüer’s 80s infused infectious beats could only have been improved if the set took place late in the night rather than mid-afternoon. One of the stand out new acts of the festival.  Sounds of System Breakdown showed why they’ve made a name for themselves as an unmissable live act while over on the main stage crowds began to brave the elements for O Emperor and the soaring vocals of We Cut Corners.

Hauer on stage - Credit to Ruth Medjber

Hauer on stage – Credit to Ruth Medjber

Day three of a festival is always a tough, but particularly when after the biblical rains of the previous 36 hours. It was just too much for some as the campsites were noticeably emptier. Thankfully for those who stayed there was no need for Noah and an ark. One of the early highlights of the day was Acrobat while over in the Metro Herald tent Elaine Mai, despite some technical difficulties got the crowd dancing to a top notch Destiny’s Child remix. In the relaxing setting of the banquet hall Sive’s elegant vocals matched the elegant surroundings. Derry’s The Clameens ensured theirs was a name to be remembered with their catchy brand of indie guitar pop, while Tvvins and Daithí regaled a packed out Metro Herald tent. If there is a finer way to exit a festival then by watching Summer Camp perform the Home and Away theme tune then I’ve yet to find it.

There’s no way to argue it, the weather was dismal and did affect everyone’s experience of Castlepalooza. Yet, it was still one of the weekends of the year and showed why the festival is held in such high regard. Had this weather appeared at any other festival in the country it would have been a complete disaster.

For more photos from the festival “like” Ruth’s Facebook page. See if you can see yourself in these pictures and tag away! 


Music: Fight Like Apes – WhigField Sextape EP Review

Fight Like Apes have been around for many years, serving up an Irish answer to fellow female fronted band Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

With Jake Summers and Lend me your face, particularly reminiscent of of YYYs’ ballsier tracks, remaining firm favourites among
Irish indie music fans, every time word comes out about a new release the anticipation is palpable.

Fight like Apes Whigfield SextapeIt has been over three years since the release of second album ‘The Body of Christ and The Legs of Tina Turner” so the announcement of a new single and impending EP, ‘Whigfield Sextape’ comes with much expectation. The name of the EP is a giveaway of what is to come. For younger readers, ‘Whigfield’ were the pop outfit that released “Saturday Night” (who still knows the dance routine?) 20 years ago; it is probably the definition of pop music. What lies on this EP is their usual rambunctious fiestiness toned down a fraction with electro-pop elements. Hence, Whigfield Sextape; at least that is this bewildered blogger’s take on it.

Purist fans will be let down by this one; the type of fans that like to hang onto a band’s earlier days, regardless of the fact that when people making the music grow their music develops alongside them.

It is almost as if the band’s early 20s angst has melted away and revealed a more mature, subtle and melodic side. Lead single Crouching Bees is a delightful track with lead vocalist MayKay displaying her unique and piercing vocals at their best. The simplistic chorus of “Hey- ay- eh-ay” feels like a tip towards their celtic heritage, which works well over a cheerful melody.

The rebellious side to the band remains in the lyrics of some of these tunes, with Tyson taking a swing at the band members that left (Don’t leave this band, you’ll go insane) and Bwah! in which they recall the sharpness in which their songs are delivered: “We’re making tunes with spinal chords”. 

If you are expecting Fight Like Apes to deliver a carbon copy of their earlier work, this is not what you are going to get from the ‘Whigfield Sextape’ EP. You are going to get something a little more progressive, exacted and melodic, which works well with MayKay’s intense vocal.  The EP is very about Fight Like Apes and how they percieve their development and approach to making music, so it is fitting that it is a step away from their previous work.

While we may here grumbles about their latest work not being “the same” as their first releases, their ability to embrace a slightly fresher sound is commendable. Wouldn’t it be boring if a band released the same style of music every time they made a new album or EP? Fight Like Apes are thinking forward in terms of their style and what lies forward is more progressive development, more delectable tunes, and more fantastic releases.

Music: Nicole Maguire – What You Really Mean | Album Review

Nicole Maguire is a young singer -songwriter who has the backing of some of Ireland’s most accomplished musicians such as Paul Brady. With such calibre championing her, the pressure was very much on when it came to the releasing her début album.

The support from fellow Irish artists has been justified as What you really Mean’  is a charming and elegant effort from the Cork born singer.

Nicole Maguire Album Review

The 24 year old singer sold her car to fund the album and gave her heart and soul into the creation of a fine folk album, produced by Grammy nominee Mitchell Froom.

Throughout the album it is as though the acoustic guitar and Maguire’s voice were cut from the same material; they are the main focus of the album, from beginning to end, with notable and experienced percusionists and guitarists lending a smoothiness to each song.

Not yet impressed? What if it was mentioned that accomplished singer songwriter Vonda Shepard lends backing vocals? Thought that would do it.

Among the highlights of this 11 track album is Hard Love, the lead single on the album. This is a subtly fierce love; her damaged lyrics contrasting beautifully against the music. Have a listen below to hear for yourself.

This is a wonderful album that heralds a positive future for the younge singer. Perhaps she will be able to buy a new car very


Music Flashback: Tiny Vinyls – Hide In The Shadows

They say you shouldn’t look behind and only forward, however 2013 was a fantastic year for music. I say there is no harm in looking back if it means reminiscing on some brilliant tunes. One under-celebrated single was Hide In The Shadows by Dublin  band Tiny Vinyls. 

These guys are on the up and up after playing a number of venues around Dublin including The Button Factory. Keep your ears readied for a brand new single over the next couple of weeks, and an EP to come in the summer. In the meantine, grace your ears with this fantastic track; worth a listen if only for the crisp vocals, slick guitar and shudder bass.

I have a sneaky suspicion Irish music fans will be hearing a lot more from Tiny Vinyls.


Tune of The Week: Squarehead- Two Miles

Squarehead has been one of the most talked about Irish bands over the past 12 months.

The Dublin Band has released a brand new track from their 2013 album ‘Respect’. Two Miles  is a powerful track with bouncey vibes; a real feel good number, perfect as we are in the throes of spring.

Squarehead is playing The Workman’s Club on March 16th, so prep yourself if you’re planning on going by taking a listen below.

Tune of The Week: The Crayon Set – Attack

It’s Friday, and that means one thing on – Tune of the Week! This week I have fallen totally in love with this trippy little number from a band I’ve been singing the praises of for years; The Crayon Set

I reviewed the band’s album last year; an album by which I was utterly warmed from the inside out.

This is scuzzy pop perfection peddled by Robert Baker’s delightful vocals, I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I have been.

The colourful (sorry) band have such an understated talent that it is difficult not to appreciate, particularly when listening to this gusty tune. Have a  listen below and let me know what you think!

Music: Alanna Eileen – The Finding | Review and Stream

Alanna Eileen EP Review

Alanna Eileen is an Australian born singer, now based in Dublin and she recently released her warm and autumnal EP The Finding’.

The five track EP is a folkish, soothing offering with understated beauty streaming from its lyrics and notes from beginning to end.

Despite Alanna Eileen’s Australian roots, there is a distinctly celtic feel about the EP found most inherently in the tune of each song.

From opening track A Key to closing number Empty Pockets ‘The Finding’ is an easy listen.

Highlight of all five tracks comes from the 4th in the EP, Stolen Arms. It is a quietly intense number that embodies Alanna Eileen’s sound; mystifyingly beautiful and understandedly so.

‘The Finding’ is not groundbreaking, nor is it fierce but it would be a safe bet to say that was not the attention of Alanna Eileen. If this EP is a teaser of what is to come from the Australian born singer, we can expect soft, touching and relaxing music for quite some time from.

Listen to the album below and tell me what you think.