In the company of Strands, Solar Bears, Dinah Brand and some other top albums. We feel quite proud:
Some nice, well deserved endorsements of Thread Pulls, Porn on Vinyl and Holy Roman Army as well!
Gig :: Michael Stevens / Haley Bonar
Tonight a very special gig takes place at Bewley’s Cafe Theatre with Michael Stevens and Haley Bonar performing intimate acoustic sets. For Mike, it’s a rare chance for him to shake off his big, boisterous band known as Groom and for Haley, an opportunity to share her songs with a fresh audience, considering she’s come all the way from the USA.
Originally this gig was schedule to include Squarehead‘s Roy Duffy but he had to cancel on account of illness so there will be an extended sets from Mike and Haley. Shame because I was looking forward to posting this gorgeous flyer made by little Nora Stevens ahead of her dad’s show but I can still say it’s awesome, right?
Doors 8:30pm, €8.
The Golden Age, Popical Island ****
It may be a golden age for the Irish music scene, but Groom’s Michael Steven remains the guy standing outside in the rain with his nose pressed against the glass. Much like Britpop-era My Life Story, Groom have an outsider edge that provides a nice counterbalance to their chamber pop pretensions. This is one of their finer moments.
(By Eoin Butler: read here)
POPICAL ISLAND PRESENTS
Michael Stevens (Groom)
Roy Duffy (Squarehead)
and special guest Haley Bonar
Thursday, October 21st
Bewley’s Café Theatre, Bewley’s (top floor), Grafton Street
Admission: 8 euros
Doors: 8.30 pm
Photo: Laura Pyne
Songwriter and singer with Dublin indie-poppers Groom, Michael also writes and sings with Lie Ins and, previously with alt-folk band Settler. On this night, Michael will mainly be playing songs from Groom’s new album “Marriage”, which is out now on Popical Island.
What they’re saying about “Marriage”…
“An album of lyrical infallibility. 8/10” – Harmless Noise
"exuberant, creative, literate and impeccably produced indie pop…The frontman has that rare gift of being able to convey real emotion and wry humour in simple, beautifully clever language – sparkling couplets shine from every song. 8/10" – Alternative Ulster
“…there’s not an ounce of filler to be found…File amongst ‘poetic, heartfelt, genre-bending pop’, grab each other’s hands and dance along to the realities of love, sappiness aside. In Marriage, Groom have it nailed right on. 8/10” – State.ie
More here: http://www.myspace.com/groomtheband
Singer and songwriter with Squarehead, Roy (centre in the photo below) is quite simply one of the best songwriters in Ireland.
Photo: Loreana Rushe
With a workrate that would put us all to shame, Squarehead have recently been dazzling audiences all over the place with their smart, cardigan grungepop and soaring, timeless anthems. When “Fake Blood” initially appeared on the recent Popical Island #1 compilation it instantly became the song of the summer.
"Squarehead’s "Fake Blood" is a charmingly ramshackle slice of indie pie and stands out a mile on the Popical Island compilation." –Jim Carroll, The Irish Times
More here http://www.myspace.com/squareheadmusic
Photo: Cameron Wittig
Haley Bonar is twenty-five years old, and already on her fourth album. Her new album, Big Star, is a watershed moment for her—a record like a Cormac McCarthy short story: simple on the intake, but revealing universal truths with a powerful emotional impact as it sinks in. In the words of filmmaker Ali Selim (Sweet Land) “Her voice is an invitation to amazing places.”
"[Bonar] possesses a voice that’s ideal for conveying mixed emotions about romance, fame, life, what have you: On ‘Arms a Harm’ and opener ‘Green Eyed Boy’, she sounds freshly bruised and tender, but sings forcefully rather than quietly. Tempering that vulnerability is a natural wryness on ‘Better Half’ and the country-tinged stand-out ‘Highway 16’. She never sounds better than at the end of opener ‘Green Eyed Boy’, singing wordlessly but emphatically as the song crashes around her." -Pitchfork
More here http://www.myspace.com/haleybonar
Read in full here: http://bit.ly/9uonYz
Before they banded together with a bunch of like-minded Dublin indie-popsters under the Popical Island umbrella, Michael Stevens and friends were already knocking out choice tuneage as Groom, and this third album is evidence of their talent. A concept album of sorts, Marriage is fixated with relationships, and the 10 songs flow together via seamless instrumental segues, but that is where the prog allusions end.
Instead what we are dealing with is exuberant, creative, literate and impeccably produced indie-pop. Melodies and arrangements are grin-inducing good, but best of all are Stevens’ lyrics. The frontman has that rare gift of being able to convey real emotion and wry humour in simple, beautifully clever language – sparkling couplets shine from every song. Fans of Belle & Sebastian and Neutral Milk Hotel will find much to clutch to their bosoms, and in ‘Mysteries Of Life’, a tongue-in-cheek tale of unrequited love from the school science labs to unfulfilled adulthood, the band have a genuine indie-pop classic on their hands. Chris Jones
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
KEY TRACKS: ‘MYSTERIES OF LIFE’, ‘MY BOHEMIAN LIFE PART I’, ‘DOORWAYS’.
FOR FANS OF: BELLE & SEBASTIAN, NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL.
Nialler9 has nominated Groom’s song “A Music Lesson” to represent Ireland in the Music Alliance Pact, or MAP for September 2010. In the man’s own words: "Every month, MAP (Music Alliance Pact) asks 35 music bloggers across the world to share a track from their home country that they think you should hear."
Read more here