Last December I was asked to suggest a list of some of the best new Irish bands for Hot Press’ Hot for 2010 feature (that ran in last fortnight’s issue). I sent off a batch of names of people who I thought were doing something a little different and most of ’em made the shortlist. Below is four of my picks, who I interviewed for the spread. Go check ’em out and see what you think.
Hot For 2010
No Mean City
“It all kinda started through a mutual friend,” begins No Mean City’s uber vixen Jilly St John. “I had been making little guest appearances on friends’ acoustic sets while out on the raz and I got a buzz from it, so I basically texted everyone I knew telling them that I’d like to start a band. I was introduced to Paul [Monk, guitar] a few days later and we had written our first two tracks together within the week.”
While they may only be babbies in the NI music scene (they formed a handful of months ago) the Derry native’s live shows have already got tongues wagging from those in the know. Fronted by former model Jilly, the quartet’s penchant for drunken tattoo parties mixed with their ability to craft a sugary hook over a satisfyingly chunky riff have marked them out to be a very exciting prospect over the next 12 months. Don’t believe us? Have a listen to their cheeky cover of Nelly Furtado’s ‘Maneater’ on their MySpace for proof.
“It was actually my idea to cover ‘Maneater’” laughs Jill. “I felt that the track suited the bravado and sex appeal I wanted as a female vocalist in a mainly male dominated genre of music.”
HEAR THEM: www.myspace.com/nomeancityband
SEE THEM: The Pavilion, Belfast (February 27)
Two Door Cinema Club
Already bigged up by the likes of Kanye West and the Beeb, 2010 looks like it’s set for the taking for Bangor’s electro lovers Two Door Cinema Club. The trio are currently poised to unleash their debut record (released via Kitsune) Tourist History in March and after a quick listen Hot Press can confirm that it’ll be one of the Irish releases of the year.
“I have to admit, we’re a little bit nervous at the moment,” confesses Kev Baird. “When you give up pretty much everything else in your life to be in a band, your first album is quite a big deal. We’re super excited as well though. We’re more excited than nervous I think. We can’t wait for everyone to hear it.
“We know that there are a lot of expectations surrounding the album but we’re trying to not let it affect us too much. We’ve had our game plan for the next wee while sussed before any of that happened, so it won’t change what we’re going to do. That Kanye thing blew us away though. Especially when we found out it was Daft Punk who told him about us! At the end of the day though, we’re just really happy that people are appreciating what we’re doing and we’re looking forward to the summer even though we don’t think we’ll see our families and girlfriends for quite a while….”
HEAR THEM: www.myspace.com/twodoorcinemaclub
SEE THEM: The Limelight, Belfast (Feb 22), Dolan’s, Limerick (March 2), Roisin Dubh, Galway (March 4), Stiff Kitten, Belfast (March 5), the Button Factory, Dublin (March 6), Sandino’s, Derry (March 7).
Rams’ Pocket Radio
Rams’ Pocket Radio are another brand spanking new band on our list, but when you watch the experimental outfit (which is centred around lynchpin Peter McCauley) you’d be forgiven for thinking they’ve been on the live circuit for years.
“Rams’ Pocket Radio started after my first band [Ego] split.” says Peter. “During that period I was playing drums in Mojo Fury but I had a lot of creative energy that I wasn’t using so I started a collaborative project with a friend. We tracked some stuff in his studio but after a few recordings we realised that we weren’t collaborating, we were just sessioning on each others’ music. I had fully formed ideas in my head and I wanted to see what would happen if I captured that on record without going through a collaborative, translation process.
“It was a big leap and it took a good while to build up the courage to do it,” continues the musician. “Most of the experience I had musically up to this point was either playing drums for a band or sessioning for someone else. After some recordings, I drafted in some experienced musicians to play the stuff live. At the time it felt like a risky move as I hadn’t fronted a band before, but after winning the Music Quest battle of the bands a few months ago I felt convinced that we were on the right track.”
HEAR THEM: www.myspace.com/ramspocketradio
SEE THEM: Rams’ Pocket Radio don’t have any shows booked at the time of going to press.
While Lisburn’s Clown Parlour (a band who showcase Mojo Fury frontman Michael Mormecha’s more avant garde ideas) may have been a studio project for the last eight years, it was only a matter of months ago that he decided to take the genre straddling side project on the road and this writer for one is glad that he did.
“The live band only came together in early ‘09 so that I could tour the EP I released,” smiles Michael. “I was lucky enough to have friends and great players around me to pull off what was on the recordings.”
Employing a range of theatrical elements, the Clown Parlour live show is pure, undiluted fun and with a debut album currently in the works, it shouldn’t be too long before they play in your town.
“I feel real particular about how Clown Parlour is presented live, because it’s almost like a self portrait to me and I’m excited about what’s coming up in 2010. The album is nearly finished and that will be followed by a release tour. We’re also launching the official website and online shop soon too (as well as shooting a few videos in the new year) so that is definitely enough stuff to keep me outta mischief I reckon.”
HEAR THEM: www.myspace.com/clownparlour
SEE THEM: The Speakeasy, Belfast (January 30).